The Washington Times - February 20, 2012, 10:22AM

Roughly three-quarters of all Division I teams were in action this weekend, which makes it an appropriate time to begin the weekend rewind.

This doesn’t span the entire globe, but it’s a solid enough sampling for a time of the year when it’s hard for a college basketball writer to wedge lacrosse into the schedule …

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You play … to win … the game: The victory most likely to mean something in May belongs to Notre Dame, which used a defense that so often frustrates opponents to collect a 7-3 victory over Duke. The Blue Devils dominated their opener a week earlier against Rutgers, but couldn’t solve goalie John Kemp (14 saves) and the Irish D. …

A nod also to Ohio State, which is off to a 3-0 start after outlasting Denver 10-9 on Sunday in Jacksonville, Fla. The Buckeyes nursed a two-goal lead over last year’s surprise final four team in the most logical way within the rules: With a possession of nearly five minutes. It will be tough to top that clock killing at any point in the next three months, but Ohio State did what was needed to secure an early conference victory.

We’re talking about practice: Some notable teams haven’t yet opened their schedule, including the entire Ivy League (Cornell, Harvard, Penn, Princeton and Yale) and Georgetown. At least until Friday – when Georgetown hosts Maryland and Penn visits Duke – practice is all this handful of teams can do.

They were who we thought they were: It was quite the conventional opener for Johns Hopkins, which relied on its ample depth to pull away from Towson for a 12-6 victory on Friday.

The Blue Jays didn’t get any goals from their starting midfield (0-for-16), but no matter; Lee Coppersmith provided a pair of scores from the second line. Coach Dave Pietramala has a welcome problem: Figuring out whether to pair Coppersmith with either John Greeley or John Ranagan, or allow Greeley and Ranagan to remain together on the same line.

Either way, Hopkins is one of the preseason national favorites precisely because of its midfield depth.

Playoffs? You kidding me? Playoffs?: There’s no sugarcoating it – Sunday wasn’t a particularly pleasant day for Navy. The Midshipmen dropped a 13-7 decision to Jacksonville, saved only six shots and are now 0-for-8 in two games on extra-man opportunities.

A loss to a relative Division I newcomer isn’t the end of the world; just ask Denver, which shrugged off an early-season loss to Jacksonville two years ago and reached the NCAA tournament anyway. But it still had to be a sobering moment for the Mids, who are hoping this spring to move past consecutive losing seasons. Sunday showed improvement won’t occur instantaneously.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it: Maryland has one obvious way to alleviate pressure on its rebuilt defense: Faceoff specialist Curtis Holmes. The junior won 19 of 20 draws as the Terps struggled early before dispatching Hartford 12-6 … Virginia survived its trip to Drexel 9-8. Is that a reason for the Cavaliers to panic? Not really. Five of the teams’ last six meetings have been decided by four goals or less. Regardless of the coach, the Dragons are always ready for the Hoos. …

Quietly impressive result? Villanova thrashing Lehigh 17-7 behind seven points from Kevin Cunningham. … Bucknell finds itself 0-2 after a two-goal setback against Massachusetts. The Bison, winners of last year’s Patriot League tournament, play three of their next four on the road, and all three (Villanova, Navy and Drexel) are serious opportunities for stumbles. …

Eric Lusby scored four goals in his return from knee surgery as Loyola collected a 13-8 victory over Delaware. Bank on that victory looking more valuable in two months than it does today. The Blue Hens reliably get better as the season progresses. … Look who’s off to a 2-0 start: Robert Morris after wins at Bellarmine and UMBC under a new coach. … League off to the worst start? The America East is 0-5, with Binghamton yet to get underway.

Patrick Stevens