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2023 National Tournament

2023 Division Playoffs

Division I Elite 8 Preview

#1 Navy (8-1)

            vs Elite 8 (3-0)

Key Wins

            vs Maryland 10-5 Season Opener
            vs Loyola 15-7
            vs Michigan 13-4

Key Losses

            vs Virginia 10-8

By the Numbers: Navy averages over 15 goals per game. Except for the 10 goals scored by Virginia, the Midshipmen gave up 5.4 GAA. Running and gunning is their calling card as the reigning champions love transition and average over 40 shots per game, trusting their defense to get the ball: that is, if they lose a face off, which is rare. Don’t be tempted to dismiss their settled offense, but all things preferred, Navy has the horses and wants a faster pace.

#2 Maryland (9-2)

            vs Elite 8 (3-1)

Key Wins

            vs Loyola 11-6 Season Opener
            vs Cortland 10-0
            vs Vermont 8-4
            vs Ohio State 7-3
            vs Penn State 4-2

Key Losses

            vs Navy 10-5

By the Numbers: Currently on an 8-game win streak, the Terps defense has only given up a total of 7 goals in their last 3 wins over Penn State, Ohio State and Towson. In half their games, Maryland has scored double digits or more. With a balance sheet like that, imagine what practices are like because the red and white never seem to come unhinged, instead, just grow more resilient when the game is on the line.

#3 Virginia (5-1)

            vs Elite 8 (1-0)

Key Wins

            vs Navy 10-8
            vs Penn State 8-4

Key Losses

            vs Michigan 9-6

By the Numbers: The ‘Hoos defense gave up a meager 3.6 goals in their 1st three wins. The last three have told a different story as it has more than doubled to 8.3 GAA. With a massive upset over Navy 10-8 on a Friday night, Virginia could not handle their Saturday return game vs Michigan and fell 9-6 to end the season. If history proves correct, UVA will be the wiser with a 1:00 pm Elite 8 game, and should they prevail, be much more organized for a 7:00 pm Final Four.

#4 Penn State (4-3)

            vs Elite 8 (1-2)

Key Wins

            vs Ohio State 8-6
            vs Cortland 11-1 (1st Round)

Key Losses

            vs Maryland 4-2
            vs Virginia 8-4
            vs Villanova 9-8

By the Numbers: The Nittany Lions live and die by the sword as Penn State has scored 37 regular season goals while surrendering 35, leading to a 6.85 GF and 5.14 GAA, which does not leave a lot of room for error. As National Tournament host, Penn State advanced to the Elite 8 with a 11-1 1st Round victory over Empire Conference Champion Cortland. Sleeping in your own bed makes a difference as PSU welcomes Ohio State in a rubber match as the blue and white won 8-6 in the regular season.

Ohio State (8-2)

            vs Elite 8 (0-2)

Key Wins

            vs Penn 7-6
            vs #2 Division II Louisville 11-8 Season Opener

Key Losses

            vs Penn State 8-6
            vs Maryland 7-3

By the Numbers: Starting the season 8-0 with a 5.25 margin of victory, the Buckeyes fell to Penn State 8-6 and Maryland 7-3 in back-to-back games to end the regular season. Think OSU likes ending on a low note, not these Buckeyes as we’re pretty sure they’re chomping on the bit to exact some revenge. One of the top teams that can chirp with the best of them and then back it up, expect everyone to know when they arrive.

Loyola (6-4)

            vs Elite 8 (0-3)

Key Wins

            vs Delaware 5-2
            vs Villanova 8-5 (1st Round)

Key Losses

            vs Maryland 11-6
            vs Navy 15-7
            vs Penn 7-6
            vs Fairfield 9-8

By the Numbers: A welcome addition to the Elite 8 as these Hounds aren’t worried about history after securing the #3 seed in the Chesapeake Conference with a 5-2 effort over Delaware then advancing to the Elite 8 with a win over Villanova 8-5. Sitting at 3-4 mid-season, Loyola is on a 3-game win streak as all 3 games have been decided by 3 goals. Hounds could easily be 8-2 save for 1 goal losses to Penn and Fairfield. Hence why you play the games as Loyola knows that to beat UVA, everything will have to fall into place, just like it has over the past three weeks.

Fairfield (8-1)

            vs Elite 8 (1-0)

Key Wins

            vs UMass 8-5 Season Opener
            vs Fordham 9-4
            vs Loyola 9-8
            vs Providence 13-7
            vs Hellfire 8-4 (1st Round)

Key Losses

            vs Hellfire 5-4

By the Numbers: Except for the Stags lone loss to Hellfire 5-4, which they avenged 8-4 to advance to the Elite 8 for the 2nd consecutive year, Fairfield has scored a minimum of 8 or more goals in all 8 of their wins. While they have surrendered 7 GAA over the last 4 games, the Stags have confidence late in games to rely on their defense to give the offense more opportunities than their opponents when they take control of the game. The Stags come in battle tested with a Top 10 SOS.

Holy Cross (6-2)

            vs Elite 8 (0-0)

Key Wins

            vs Vermont 8-7
            vs #7 Division II Brown 5-4 Season Opener

Key Losses

            vs UMass 10-9
            vs Providence 8-6

By the Numbers: Losing only two games by 3 goals total, sandwiched between three game win streaks has Holy Cross looking forward to their 1st Elite 8. With 3 of those wins by a single digit, expect the Crusaders to go toe to toe with their National Tournament opponent as they have nothing to lose but everything to gain after rejoining the league in 2023.

Division II Elite 8 Preview

#1 High Point (8-1)

            vs Elite 8 (1-0)

Key Wins

            vs MCLA Elon 10-6 Season Opener
            vs William & Mary 17-14
            vs West Chester 6-3
            vs UMBC 8-0

By the Numbers: Ascending to the #1 ranking for the 1st time in school history, High Point is on a 10-game win streak and has outscored their last 3 opponents 41-11 on their way to back-to-back Elite 8 bids. Defensively, they have given up double digits only twice as their two closest wins were by three goals apiece. They play an up-tempo offense and live out of a 2-3-1 while goaltending and their defense have been superb.

#2 Louisville (9-3)

            vs Elite 8 (1-0)

Key Wins

            vs MCLA Purdue 11-7
            vs Kentucky 14-12
            vs Xavier 10-7
            vs Division I Cincinnati 9-8

By the Numbers: Reaching their highest ranking ever, Louisville brings a 13.36 GF to the Elite 8 while defensively having a 6.2 GAA. It’s feast or famine for the Cards as they are 1-3 when giving up double digits but 7-1 when scoring more than 10. More than any other team, Louisville has the greatest mix of competition as they are geographically in an ideal spot to compete against a wide variety of programs. Adapting to any style of play may be their best calling card as the last 15 minutes of the 2022 Elite 8 should be a precursor to State College as this veteran team has their sights higher than just one and done at the National Tournament: they have packed their bags for the entire weekend.

#3 West Chester (9-3)

            vs Elite 8 (0-1)

Key Wins

            vs Williamson 8-5
            vs UMBC 9-5
            vs Drexel 9-8 OT
            vs TCNJ 13-9

By the Numbers: After losing 2 of 3 mid-season, the Golden Rams ride a four-game win streak into the Elite 8. Dispatching Williamson for a second time 10-5 in their Conference Championship bodes well as they are no stranger to playing in a high stakes game when everything is on the line. West Chester is the only team remaining that has given High Point a run for their money as a Sunday rematch is the only goal remaining for the visitors from the Liberty.

#4 Electric City (5-2)

            vs Elite 8 (1-0)

Key Wins

            vs Binghamton 8-7 2OT
            vs Kutztown 8-5

By the Numbers: March has been kind to ECLC after starting out 0-2 with losses to Division I Syracuse and Vermont, and by kind, we mean scrappy as ECLC jump started their season with a 2OT win at Binghamton before cruising to the Keystone Conference Championship. Making consecutive National Tournaments, with a year under their belt, anything is possible with Georgetown on deck for their Elite 8 opener.

Georgetown (6-3)

            vs Elite 8 (0-0)

Key Wins

            vs UMBC 13-3
            vs George Mason10-3

By the Numbers: How good is Georgetown as four of their six wins have come against George Mason (2-0) and UMBC (2-1). Staring at a possible 0-4 record, the Hoyas reeled off 6 straight to claim back to back Chesapeake Championships and a ticket to the National Tournament. Outscoring their last five opponents 57-13 as their toughest opponent to date awaits in the Elite 8. With a high lacrosse IQ and a 2022 Final Four under their belt, don’t be deceived by their small roster as you only need 10 on the field.

Kent State (8-4)

            vs Elite 8 (0-1)

Key Wins

            vs Akron 13-6
            vs Xavier 8-5
            vs Slippery Rock 10-7

By the Numbers: The official Dark Horse of the tournament, give credit to the Golden Flashes as their offense has been on fire the last five games, averaging 11 goals with a 4-1 record: even more significant as the team averaged just three in their 1st two. While it might be a surprise for some, not for Kent State as they long have been a mainstay in the Midwest North Conference.

Brown (5-4)

            vs Elite 8 (0-0)

Key Wins

            vs Bryant 6-4
            vs Marist 7-6

By the Numbers: Headed to their 1st Elite 8 in program history, Brown comes in battle tested and one game over .500. Competing against New England Division I teams such as Holy Cross and UMass should make life a little easier in State College as they face a formidable Division II foe. The Bears have the ability to create their own luck as anything is possible when the postseason starts out 0-0. One thing we know for certain is that all of their March games went wire to wire as Brown will look to steal it in the 4th.

Binghamton (8-2)

            vs Elite 8 (0-1)

Key Wins

            vs Division I Providence 6-5
            vs Division I Cortland 6-5
            vs RIT 8-5
            vs Niagara 10-4

By the Numbers: Division II teams always benefit from playing up and none was more successful this past spring than Binghamton. Although the Bearcats were slow to start, their philosophy of beginning the season with Division I Top 20 opponents paid off in the big way as they currently own a 7-game win streak which includes a 6-5 win over eventual Division I Empire Champion Cortland. This was especially evident in their own Conference Championship when they shot out to a 3-1 lead before RIT evened up 5-5 at the end of the 3rd. Headed to the 4th was all Binghamton as they claimed a home win to advance to the Elite 8 in spectacular fashion.

NCLL DII Playoff Capsules

Team: Duquesne Dukes
Coach: Joe Leonello
Captains: Owen Campbell, Braedan Bohlender, Mattew Penny
2023 Record: 6-0
Leading Scorers: Jake Stevens, Matt Spaulding
Top Defensemen: Patrick Fisher, Owen Campbell
Outlook for Playoffs: “To keep our momentum and win Duquesne its first NCLL Conference and National Championship Titles,” midfielder Salvatore Getty said.

Team: West Chester Men’s Lacrosse
Coach: Robert Amanto, Garrett O’Neil
Captains: Vincent Riccardo, Anthony Bachmayer
2023 Record: 8-2, 6-0 (in Conference)
Leading scorer: Michael Federico
Top Defensemen: Ryan McCauley
Outlook for playoffs: “Win it all,” Riccardo said.

Team: Bryant University
Coach: John Hooper
Captains: Michael McNeil, Brian Wildman, David Mirani, Aiden Hill
2023 Record: 5-1
Leading Scorers: Keo Kiriak, Joe Chipetta
Top Defensemen: Team Defense (No one really stands out)
Outlook for Playoffs: “Winning the New England Conference,” McNeil said.

Team: Binghamton
Coach: None
Captains: Cole Banks, Rob Walker
2023 Record: 5-2
Leader scorers: Cole Banks, Anthony Madsen, Eddie Montemurro
Top Defenseman: Liam McKenna, Brad James
Outlook for playoffs: “Top come out strong off the gate and keep our place,” Walker said. “To win the game at the face off, at X and work hard in transition.”

Team: Niagara University
Coach: Mike Englert
Captains: Ryan McNair, Joe Flood, Max Privitera and Frankie Pasquariello
2023 Record: 6-5
Leading Scorers: Ethan Knauf (14), Tyler Hart (13), Jayson Blackman (12), AJ Campbell (8), PJ Abbott (7), Ryan McNair (7) and Brady Knauf (6)
Top Defensemen: Zachary Drewno, Zach Mossman, Joe Flood, Charlie Marzec and Dylan Brown
Outlook for Playoffs: 4/29 12: 30pm vs Binghamton. Winner plays in championship against either Clarkson or RIT at 4:00pm.

Team: University of Akron Zips
Coach: Doug Wild, JC Everett
Captains: Josh Kernc, Jake Heflin, Jackson Carrel
2023 Record: 3-6
Leading Scorers: Jake Heflin 49pts, Zach Massa 38pts
Top Defensemen: Kaden Geiger, Josh Kernc, Aidan Ragnon
Outlook for Playoffs: “The team was missing 3 starters the last three games of the season and are eager for their return for playoffs,” Heflin said.

Team: High Point University 
Coach: Austin Miller
Captains: Jarrett Meibaum, Stefen Shapiro
2023 Record: 9-1
Leading Scorers: Jarrett Meibaum, Jack Sundin
Top Defensemen: Geoff Araste, Stefen Shapiro
Outlook for Playoffs: “A year marked by remarkable all-around program growth has shown this team that we are capable of great things when we buy in and band together,” Miller said. “While this growth exciting, we won’t be satisfied with anything less than winning the national championship.”

NCLL DI Playoff Capsules

Team: University of Maryland
Coach: Team Coached
Offensive Captains: Evan Jones, John Sulier, Junior, Micah Kranzel
Defensive Captains: Jordi Andreou and Sam Matusek
Leading Scorers: Evan Jones and Brennan Treacy
Top Defensemen: Jacob Purcell and Matusek (has had double-digit saves every game).
Playoffs Outlook: “We look to bring back what this program has fought for so hard these past few years,” president Jordi Andreou said. “We want to prove to everyone that our club is legit and fight for our seniors as it is their last year at a chance for the Frederick Cup!” Maryland has been Division I Finalists in the most recent back to back Championships.

Team: Ohio State University
Coach: David All
Captains: Nate Macrae & Jack Nageotte
Leading Scorers: Ethan Shackett & Joe Cristiano
Top Defensemen: Tim Rodgers & Aeden Mckenna
Outlook for Playoffs: “We know we can win this thing”, said president Nate Macrae.

Team: Villanova
Coach: Team Coached
Captains: Will Riechers, John Baran, Connor McLaren, John Fischetti
Leading Scorers: Billy Moore, RJ Benn
Top Defensemen: John Baran, Connor McLaren
Outlook for Playoffs: “Ready to make a splash,” Captain Riechers stated as the Wildcats host and are most dangerous at home.
Team: Dirty Cats (University of Vermont)
Coach: Team Coached
Captains: Tim Smith and Teddy Pesek
Leading Scorers: Logan Sandals and Quinn Mills
Top Defensemen: Aedan (Big Red) Knowlton, Cooper Graham, and Teige Burke
Outlook for Playoffs: “The boys are hungry to win a national championship. This season has had its ups and downs, but we think we can win and make it to Nationals,” VP Pat Wilson said. “We may lack the talent that some of these other teams possess, but we make up for it from our pure grit. We’ve played through the cold winters, have sat through the long drives, and have dealt with adversity. We are now ready to show to the world what being a dirty cat is all about.”

Team: Penn State
Coach: Team Coached
Captains: Rob Esgro and Evan Waitte
Leading Scorers: Evan Waitte and Michael Burke
Top Defensemen: Jake Cislo and Will Andre
Outlook for Playoffs: Penn State is poised and motivated to take home the championship this year on its home turf on the back of lockdown defense and stout goaltending.

Team: Hudson Hellfire Lacrosse Club
Coach: John Pellino
Captains: Connor McElroy, Max Marchi, Ben Mayo
Leading Scorers: Steve Scanlon, Sam Bissmeyer, Dante Dalmaso 
Top Defensemen: Austin Widner 
Outlook for Playoffs: “We’re here to win,” McElroy said. “We’ve already proven ourselves as a dominant force within the league. Our goal is to bring home a national championship. Every game matters.”

Team: Holy Cross 
Coach: Kevin McNamara
Captains: Cole Malnati, John McMillan, Max Congdon, Patrick Nistl, Mike Ryan
Leading Scorers: DJ Kelly (Senior Mid), Michael Hendriksen (Senior Mid), Jackson Harris (Sophomore Att), Max Congdon (Junior Mid), Ryan Laposta (Sophomore Att), Jack O’Connor (Sophomore Mid)
Top Defensemen: Cole Malnati (Junior) Mike Ryan (Sophomore), Nick Merageas (Sophomore), Pat Noonan (Sophomore), Wyatt Lorenzen (Freshman), Mac Henderson (Freshman)
Outlook for Playoffs: “As a new team to the NCLL, our expectations were unknown coming into the season,” Malnati said. “However, as the season progressed we as a team realized the potential that our team had. We are excited and honored to have an opportunity to make noise in the playoffs and are confident that we will find success against the other top teams in the NCLL.”


Team: Fairfield
Coach: Dan Ryan
Captains: Marco Falcone, Jack Rafferty, Pier-Angelo Bonda, Matt Irvine, Jake Kueny, Jake Lanius, Finn Collins
Leading Scorers: Arinze Nzeako, Daniel Mallee
Top Defensemen:  Marco Falcone, Jake Kueny, Jake Lanius
Outlook for Playoffs: “We’re two games away from Nationals,” Falcone said. 

Team: UVA
Coach: N/A
Captains: John Whelan and Grant Kuehn
Leading Scorers: Nick Callis, Ethan Ashley, Edward Sinnot
Top Defensemen: Corbin Switzer, John Whelan, McCullough Campbell
Outlook for Playoffs: “Virginia is coming to national championship weekend with a lock down defense and offense firing on all cylinders poised to take home the championship,” Kuehn said.

Unranked Fordham picks up two clutch OT victories over Top 20 teams

Fordham had a pair of key upsets in OT that could provide some momentum in the upcoming playoffs.

The Rams knocked off #5 Hellfire 7-6 on a goal by senior attackman Brian Arella to hand Hellfire their 1st loss of the spring.

Fordham then beat #20 Sacred Heart 5-4 when freshman midfielder Bobby Lynch scored in the extra session. Junior Midfield Zack Walsh had a late goal that tied the game 4-4 late in regulation.

Freshman long-stick midfielder Andrew O’Loughlin won crucial face-offs late in both games as well as an early goal early against Hellfire.

Freshman short-stick defensive midfielder Chase Dotson was aggressive and had some key clears throughout both games.

 Seniors Raj Mehta and Tommy McHugh split time in goal and had clutch saves down the stretch and in overtime.

“These victories were huge for us and our season,” McHugh said. “We have been working hard all year long and last night is when I really think we put it all together. We were not satisfied with some of our performances at the beginning of the year and we were looking forward to the opportunity to play two great-ranked teams and prove ourselves. We are very proud of the effort of the team from the seniors down to the freshmen.

“These two victories put us at 4-2 on the season with two games remaining against conference foe Hofstra and Division II Marist. We hope these two victories propel us into the rankings and put us in a position to have a good look at the playoffs.”

With 2 Top 20 upsets, Fordham has put themselves smack dab in the middle of teams vying for a spot at at the National Tournament: held at State College May 13 & 14, the hot hand could lead to a deep run. If that happens, mark this edition as one of, if not the best Fordham has ever had.

Hellfire ranked 5th in the country after upset of #4 Fairfield in inaugural season

In a weekend of upsets and there were quite a few, one should not come as a surprise as #14 Hellfire took down #4 Fairfield to earn their 3rd Top 20 upset as a 1st year program.

Steve Scanlon led Hellfire with three goals, while, Eddie Gaines and Sam Bissmeyer also scored for the newcomers to Division I and the NCLL.

Hellfire executed their face-offs, which maintained the ability to maintain long offensive possessions. Creighton Morgenfeld went 6 for 9 at the X, which enable Hellfire’s offense the opportunity to chip away at their defense and exploit any Stag weaknesses. Additionally, Hellfire’s riding game between the 30s created consistent pressure allowing opportunities to either attack in transition or to secure their defensive strategy.

The starting defense led by Austin Widner, Ben Wettstein, and Liam Kephart was crucial to Friday’s Top 5 upset, by far the biggest win of their inaugural season. The defense locked down Fairfield’s offense and gave netminder Pat Ruther the opportunity to keep the visitors in the game before earning a last second score to earn the upset.

“The biggest key to beating Fairfield was executing our plan and playing our game,” said Connor McElroy, one of the club’s founders with Maximus Marchi and Benjamin Mayo. “We hold ourselves to a high standard. From our effort and execution on rides and clears to our conduct on the sidelines. We have the utmost confidence in ourselves and each other, we trust each other. The selfless sacrifices of our teammates, from offensive midfielders filling in on defensive stands to any and everyone willing to take a hit to secure possession, we played for each other. This team-first mentality ultimately gave us the momentum and passion we needed to secure the win.

Because Hellfire could not anticipate who would or would not be able to play at Fairfield until a few days before the actual game, some even having to back out Friday morning, the players knew the team as a whole would need to step up to to compete with a solid Fairfield program. Thus in the weeks prior, Hellfire emphasized fundamentals on defense and offense to get everyone on the same page and be able to work with whoever was on the field.

“Our previous games in the season, such as beating defending Division II National Champion Union in triple overtime had exposed deficiencies within our offense and defense that we knew we needed to fix,” Mayo said. “The key point was emphasizing a more fluid and intelligent offense. During the Union game, for example, our offense lost possession numerous times through unnecessary plays. We are very confident in our offenses scoring ability, but when they are not playing together or intelligently, it impacts everyone. This resulted in most of the Union game being played on Hellfire’s defensive end.”

“Knowing we would have short numbers, we wanted to keep the ball on offense for as long as possible to alleviate pressure on our defense with fewer numbers than usual. We wanted to have smart goals, at the right time, after long possessions to decrease overall strain on the team. This was evident, for example, when Dante Dalmaso and the offense held onto the ball for almost two minutes while a flag was down so that we could burn out the clock and start the fourth-quarter man-up.”

Hellfire is looking forward to an April 14 shadow against Fordham and Sacred Heart, with the ultimate goal of beating current #1 Navy.

“The Army has recently reembraced its old Motto, “Be all you can be.” For the rest of the season, we hope to embrace the sentiment behind that motto and succeed in Hellfire and its members, becoming all that it can be,” Mayo said. “Through this, we hope to make an impact at the national tournament to round out our first year as a program.”

Hellfire has beaten ranked teams, but the players and coaches know they have to take one game at a time and continue to play their game and continue to improve to get to the playoffs.

“I am able to coach a group of athletes that come to the academy with a lot of confidence,” coach John Pellino said. “To come to West Point, you must have a lot of confidence in yourself, it is a place that requires a lot of confidence. They are taught leadership and will be in charge of our country’s sons and daughters so playing lacrosse is just part of that. They learn in their four-year training that it’s one step at a time and as you continue on the path success will follow.

“So, as we play different opponents and can successfully beat teams that play different styles, we can increase our confidence that we can play any style of game and come out on top. But you must take one game at a time and not look past each opponent.”

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