Six things we’ll learn about college lacrosse ‘09 this weekend:
1. Will Navy have wiggle room? In most years, the Midshipmen beating Georgetown, Maryland and Army in succession would alleviate some pressure. But both Georgetown and Army are below .500, and Maryland isn’t the top-five team people thought the Terps could be. So instead, Navy might need to win at Johns Hopkins today if it doesn’t want the Patriot League tournament to become a must-win scenario.
2. Speaking of the PL tournament —- who gets home field? It should be Colgate, which plays host to Bucknell with that very prize at stake. Attackman Brandon Corp is enjoying a superb season, and a perfect season in the Patriot might be one of the Red Raiders’ rewards.
3. Who wins the ACC/Ivy League challenge this weekend? Since it involves two of the second-division Ivies, here’s a vote for the ACC. Virginia should handle Dartmouth in Charlottesville, and given the Cavaliers’ loss last week at Duke, things might get a little out of hand. Meanwhile, Maryland gets a road date with Penn that could turn out to be a bit scary if the wrong Terps team shows up.
4. Can Georgetown salvage some pride? This is the week to do it, with a visit to ECAC leader Massachusetts this afternoon. The Hoyas (5-6) aren’t in the playoff picture, and even winning their final three games won’t erase those ugly losses to Hobart and St. John’s. But it’s been 20 years since Georgetown last finished at .500 or worse, and that’s got to mean something to a team that still has top-10 talent.
5. What’s the weekend’s most meaningful game? Purely by rankings it is Princeton’s visit to Cornell. But look closer and see that North Carolina’s trip to Hofstra carries some serious weight. The Tar Heels are still adjusting to life without goalie Grant Zimmerman, and the Pride could use an extra solid victory as insurance in case of a CAA tournament upset. Whoever emerges might be the weekend’s biggest winner.
6. Who made Notre Dame’s schedule? The unbeaten Fighting Irish play at Quinnipiac this morning, then fly home to play St. John’s tomorrow. Notre Dame should win both games, but that’s no one’s definition of a good idea. And since the Irish are a fairly soft 10-0, a loss to either team might be enough to cost them a home game in the tournament.
—- Patrick Stevens