Lacrosse notebook: BTN analyst Mark Dixon looks ahead

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Lacrosse notebook: BTN analyst Mark Dixon looks ahead

This weekend in Big Ten men’s lacrosse play, it’s Penn State at Maryland on Saturday followed by Rutgers at Michigan and Johns Hopkins at Ohio State on Sunday. Don’t forget to check out the BTN TV schedule for lacrosse as well as the BTN Plus live streaming schedule, too.

Here’s my look ahead at these three games with a focus on all six men’s teams.

No. 19 Johns Hopkins (4-5, 1-0 Big Ten)

The Blue Jays got off to a good start in conference play with a 9-7 win over Rutgers. The win ended a two game skid for Hopkins, who was playing the Scarlet Knights for the first time since 1998. This one didn’t come easy. The Jays saw a 6-3 halftime lead evaporate as Rutgers scored the first four goals of the third period to go up 7-6.

Hopkins was able to rally, getting goals from Holden Cattoni, Ryan Brown, and Wells Stanwick in the final stanza. Brown tallied four total goals on the day and was recognized as the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week.  Goalie Eric Schneider made 11 saves, including two doorstep stops in the fourth. Schneider was named Big Ten Co-Specialist of the Week.

Chocolate bunnies and jelly beans will have to wait as a big one is on tap this week as the Blue Jays travel to Columbus to take on Ohio State. This game could prove to be critical not only for Big Ten Tournament seeding but also could have NCAA Tournament ramifications. The last time these teams met was last season in Baltimore. Hopkins won that game 10-9 in triple overtime. How will Hopkins defend Buckeye offensive star Jesse King? How will their offense attack a stingy OSU backline led by Robbie Haus? Faceoffs will be critical in this one and will be fun to watch Drew Kennedy and Christopher May battle.

Take a break from the Easter ham and catch this one on BTN on Sunday 6 p.m. ET. Watch live on BTN and BTN2Go.

No. 3 Maryland (8-1, 1-0)

The Terrapins rolled to their seventh consecutive victory on Sunday against a scrappy Wolverine team. Leading 4-1 in the third quarter the Terps ripped off three goals in 0:29 to break the game open and win going away 13-4. Matt Rambo looked fit and quick on his way to a three goal performance.

Jay Carlson showed some offensive range with some nice dodges and SSDM Isaiah Davis-Allan was explosive on ground balls. Both scored twice. Defensively Maryland was Maryland. Defender Casey Ikeda had an assist and gobbled up four ground balls to earn Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors. Goalie Kyle Bernlohr allowed only three goals and was tabbed Co-Specialist of the Week.

This weekend Maryland will host Penn State on Saturday at 3 p.m – watch live on BTN and BTN2Go. The game can be seen live on the Big Ten Network before the College Basketball Final Four tips off later that day. This will be the first meeting between the teams since the first round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament, where the Terps prevailed 14-10. The Nittany Lions have lost three straight but held all three opponents under 10 goals. The Penn State defense is led by JP Burnside and Jack Donnelly. They front goalie Connor Darcey, who currently ranks ninth nationally in saves per game.

Michigan (4-5, 0-1)

The Wolverines hung tough with Maryland for a little over two quarters before falling 13-4. I have been impressed with the athleticism of this team and the play of their goalie Gerald Logan. Michigan is small but quick. They make plays with speed but need to work on the precision aspect. Logan is a big goalie that looks comfortable making stops and doesn’t flinch when pressured with heavy shots. He made 12 saves against the Terps, eight in the first half to keep the Wolverines in the game.

On Sunday the Wolverines will play host to Rutgers – watch this game live via subscription on BTN Plus. This game is significant as each lost their first Big Ten games and both could use a win in order to contend for a spot in the Big Ten Tournament. Only four of the six teams qualify. The last time these programs tangled was in 2012, with the Scarlet Knights winning 13-9. A loss by Michigan puts them in a tough spot to land a place in the tourney.

No. 14 Ohio State (8-3, 1-0)

The Buckeyes bounced back with a solid 10-8 win at Penn State this past weekend. It was a good rebound coming off of the 9-0 shutout loss to Notre Dame. Ohio State jumped to a 7-2 halftime lead then held off the Penn State rally. Carter Brown, Turner Evans, and Carter Brown combined for seven OSU goals. In 10 of 11 games the defense has held the opposition under 10 goals. Goalie Tom Carey wasn’t as sharp as usual against Penn State but still did enough to earn the win. He has been a steadying presence between the pipes all season for the Scarlet and Grey.

Hopkins is next on the docket for an Easter Sunday showdown. With the Buckeyes playing on Sunday and the Jays Saturday Hopkins has had an extra day of rest. Will it matter? The Buckeyes are 5-0 in Columbus this season. Can Brutus slow down a Hopkins offense that averages 12 goals per game? This is a huge game for both teams, and they know each other well. The Jays slipped by the Bucks in triple overtime a year ago. Winner grabs positive seeding position for the Big Ten Tournament.

Penn State (3-6, 0-1)

The Nittany Lions have been plagued by inconsistent play all season. Against Denver they led 6-4 but gave up the lead in the second half and lost. In their Big Ten opener Penn State was down 7-2 but rallied, only to come up a bit short, losing 10-8. Against Ohio State middie Mike Sutton was a force, tallying a hat trick. T.J. Sanders, asked to be more of a QB on attack instead of a scorer dished two assists. The offense is looking for leaders and production while the defense and goaltending has been strong; this unit has only allowed double digit goals once this season.

A tall task awaits the Nittany Lions this weekend as they travel to face Maryland on Saturday. Can Penn State control faceoffs and earn enough possessions to challenge the Terp defense? If the defense continues to play well can the offense muster enough to put a dent in Maryland’s armor? Find out 3pm Saturday on BTN.

Rutgers (4-7, 0-1)

The Scarlet Knights fought back in a big way amongst snow flurries in Baltimore but came up just short against Hopkins, falling 9-7. Rutgers had battled from a three goal deficit at halftime to take the lead but couldn’t hold on. Still, it was a solid effort and one to build on. Jules Heningburg scored twice for the Scarlet Knights, while netminder Kris Alleyne stopped 12 shots.

The game against Michigan this weekend is big for many reasons. One, Rutgers wants to get back on the winning track. Second, no team wants to go down 0-2 and have to fight out of that. Expect an intense, energized game between the two Sunday in Ann Arbor.

Read previous Big Ten men’s lacrosse notebooks below:

Mark Dixon
Mark Dixon, BTN lacrosse analyst

About Mark Dixon: Dixon, a former Johns Hopkins midfielder, is a nationally known lacrosse analyst and contributor to Inside Lacrosse. Dixon calls Big Ten lacrosse games on BTN and can also be found on Twitter @dixonlacrosse.

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