Sunshine and overtime were in vogue this week as Princeton, Maryland, Cornell, Ohio State and Navy all prevailed in sudden victory. In the era of parity, you must win your one-goal games and approach every opponent with equal respect. The score of the weekend was 11-10, apparently, as Virginia, Princeton and Maryland all took huge games by that score over Syracuse, Hopkins and Duke, respectively.
A sellout crowd in Charlottesville saw an 11-10 nailbiter between the Wahoos and the Orange Sunday afternoon, one of several marquee games this weekend that finished with that score. The Cavaliers got a career day out of Rhamel Bratton (four goals) and Brian Carroll and Ken Clausen also made big plays for Virginia. Shamel Bratton was hampered with hamstring issues and was limited to only EMO (extra-man offense) play. Virginia showed great team speed and played hard in the win. The Wahoos play VMI on March 9 and fly to Cornell on March 13.
Extra-man performance kept the Orange in the game early against Virginia, but they didn't get going in the half-field offense until the fourth quarter. Syracuse is a very good team, but concerns remain about who is the quarterback of the offense. I think this coaching staff needs to figure that out if it wants to challenge for a third straight national championship. Georgetown comes to the Carrier Dome on Saturday (ESPNU, 2 p.m.).
The Terps got their best shooter to his preferred location as Grant Catalino found the net five times, and Maryland held off Duke in an ACC rivalry game. Catalino (6-5, 230 pounds) reached the 100-point mark for his career and now has 104 points on 62 goals and 42 assists. This is a team that flies around and feeds off the emotion of players like Bryn Holmes and Brian Farrell. Coach Dave Cottle's EMO is now 8-for-11 in 2010. Maryland has beaten two quality opponents (Georgetown and Duke).
4. Notre Dame
Irish received a hat-trick from Zach Brenneman in a 11-9 win over a feisty Loyola squad. Playing in the NFL stadium environment may go a long way in May. The Irish will be favored in their next six games, starting on Tuesday against Drexel.
5. North Carolina
Workmanlike win by the Heels at UMBC on Saturday behind Sean Delaney's five points and an EMO unit that converted on 4-of-5 opportunities. The UNC defense has only given up 25 goals in five games, limiting opponents to 24 shots per game and 21 percent shooting. Carolina gets a severe test on Wednesday night at Duke's Koskinen Stadium (ESPNU, 7 p.m. ET)..
In an era of homogenous offensive lacrosse, give Princeton coach Chris Bates credit for implementing a unique and innovative offensive system. The Tigers use the two-man game on the ball and operate in three distinct pairs, often flash and backdoor cutting with their off-ball players. The movement can cause confusion and changes the 'hot' man's defensive responsibility. It is difficult to prepare for, as witnessed by their nine-goal first half against Hofstra and seven-goal outburst on Saturday in their JHU win. Freshman midfielder Jeff Froccaro, who tore his ACL in his senior high school season, scored four goals and now has seven after two games. Cousins Jack and Chris McBride are the epicenter of the Tigers' offense. The orange and black tackle Manhattan on Tuesday and UMBC visits Princeton on March 13.
Blue Devils fell in overtime to Maryland 11-10 after a late comeback. Duke went on a 3-0 run over the final 4:22 as Will McKee tied the game with 13 seconds left, setting up the overtime. I thought the Blue Devils played hard, but gave up too many transition goals, and didn't shoot well. Most concerning right now has to be the lack of production from front-line midfielders Rob Rotanz, Steve Schoeffel, Mike Catalino, Will McKee, Justin Turri, and Jon Livadas. Attackmen Ned Crotty and Max Quinzani are doing all of the heavy lifting. Duke hosts North Carolina on Wednesday (ESPNU 7 p.m. ET) and now has top losses to ND and MD.
8. Johns Hopkins
Blue Jays struggled with Princeton's half-field offense in the first half but made some technical adjustments and played excellent defense in the second and third quarters. Hopkins went scoreless in the second quarter and only took 27 shots. I didn't think they had an offensive MVP as Princeton did a fine job against Steven Boyle and Michael Kimmel. It was encouraging to see 2009 leading scorer Chris Boland return to the lineup. The Blue Jays are still a work in progress on the offensive end, don't have great team speed and rarely push the tempo in transition. JHU plays UMBC on Tuesday March 9 (ESPNU, 7 p.m. ET).
The Hoyas took care of St John's 9-6 on Saturday in Washington, D.C. Red Storm senior goalkeeper Gavin Buckley is one of the best kept secrets in Division I lacrosse. Georgetown got three goals from Andrew Broncaccio and Rickey Mirabito and now travels to Syracuse on Saturday for a Big East conference showdown (ESPNU 2 p.m. ET).
The Greyhounds played well in Saturday's Face-Off Classic, falling by two to Notre Dame despite some off-field distractions and the loss of leading scorer Cooper MacDonnell, who couldn't go after spraining his shoulder against Quinnipiac and sitting out against Bellarmine. He was trying to play right up until the morning of the game, so it's a good bet he'll be on the field in Saturday's game against Duke.
Pride bested Brown 15-12 on Saturday in a key non-conference game between the CAA and Ivy League. Hofstra is fun to watch -- they're extremely skilled and slick on the attack with Jay Card, Jamie Lincoln and Stephen Bentz.
Big Red needed OT to get past Army. Cornell's dominant 20 of 28 day in face-offs that was the difference.
Midshipmen have losses to Loyola and North Carolina so their 8-7 overtime win against rival Bucknell was a season-saver. Navy turned the ball over 19 times but goalie RJ Wickman made 18 saves and Patrick Moran had a hat trick, including the game winner. Navy will be favored in their next four games.
Curtis Dickson exploded for a career-high eight goals and dished out two assists as the Blue Hens charged past Albany 16-9. Midfielder Martin Cahill had another three-bagger, his fourth of the young season. Delaware hosts Stony Brook next Saturday in a gigantic non-conference game between two teams who have serious NCAA tournament aspirations. The over/under goal total for the match-up is 30 1/2 goals.
The Bison appeared to be in the driver's seat in the Patriot League, but couldn't rally for the OT win against Navy on Saturday, despite outscoring the Midshipmen 5-1 in the fourth quarter to force the extra frame.
Crimson beat Holy Cross 9-7 a few days after a one-goal loss to Georgetown. Dean Gibbons had four goals and one assist and Jeff Cohen who had two goals and one assist for coach John Tillman. Harvard is at UMass on March 13.
Brown lost to Hofstra, 15-12. Thomas Muldoon scored four goals and one assist, while Reade Seligmann and David Hawley added three goals each. Seligman, who had 21 helpers in 2009, also distributed a game high four assists. Matt Chriss made his first collegiate start in goal for the Bears and made 13 saves. Brown hosts Hartford mid-week.
18. Stony Brook
Jordan McBride had another monster game -- six goals in a 14-11 win over Towson. Seawolves have wins over Siena and Towson and a loss to UVA.
The Retrievers fell to 1-2 on the season with a hard-fought loss at home against North Carolina on Saturday. The road doesn't get any easier this week with a game against Johns Hopkins Tuesday night at Homewood Field.
The Dragons opened the season with a loss to Virginia, but have followed it with three consecutive wins over Vermont, St. Joe's and Binghamton.
Quint Kessenich covers lacrosse for the ESPN family of networks and welcomes your opinions at firstname.lastname@example.org.