staff, March 19, 2015

Each Thursday I'm posting my Big Ten men's lacrosse notebook where I touch on each of the six men's teams and look ahead to their respective weekends.

Don?t forget to check out the BTN TV schedule for lacrosse as well as the BTN Plus live streaming schedule, too.


No. 20 Johns Hopkins (3-4): The Blue Jays almost pulled off the upset in the Carrier Dome against No. 1-ranked Syracuse. Hopkins raced to a 5-2 lead after a quarter and was tied 10-10 in the fourth before yielding three goals to the Orange. The 13-10 setback was disappointing but many encouraging things were taken by the Blue Jays from the game. Primary amongst these positives was the play of goalie Eric Schneider. The senior tri-captain had been struggling but made 13 saves against Syracuse. Freshman Shack Stanwick scored two goals and added two assists and was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the fourth time this season.

Virginia invades Homewood Field this Saturday for a key non-conference game. The No. 8 Cavaliers (5-2) are coming off a tough 11-9 loss to Notre Dame. Both Virginia and Hopkins have suffered some key injuries on the defensive side of the ball but the Wahoos were dealt a serious blow last week when attackman James Pannell was lost for the season. Both teams have shown the ability to score a lot of goals. The question on Saturday will be what defense can stand up and make the critical stops necessary to get the win.

No. 5 Maryland (5-1): The Maryland defense was once again superb as the Terrapins throttled Villanova 11-2. The Wildcats had been averaging 12 goals per game. The Terps have not allowed only 16 goals in their last four games. Defenseman Casey Ikeda repeated as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week.

This sturdy defense will have their hands full this weekend with second-ranked North Carolina. The Tar Heels are playing some outstanding lacrosse and feature two of the best attackmen in the game in Jimmy Bitter and Joey Sankey. The Tar Heels also have a solid midfield core with the likes of Chad Tutton and Peyton Klawinski. Maryland should have the advantage at the faceoff with Charlie Raffa, and they need to win this battle if they want to establish tempo and control possessions.

Michigan (4-3): The Wolverines won an exciting four-overtime marathon against St. Josephs 9-8. The win snapped a two-game losing streak and was a great accomplishment for the young program. Peter Kraus? (1, 2) lone tally was in the fourth extra frame that won the game. Mike Schlosser was strong with four goals and netminder Gerald Logan finished the game with 18 saves.

Drexel is the opponent this Saturday for Michigan at 1pm ET and can be seen on BTN Plus. The Dragons (2-5) were NCAA Quarterfinalists a year ago but have gotten out of the gates slow in 2015. They are a very dangerous team, as former Drexel and current Michigan Assistant Coach Conor Ford is well aware. This will be Ford?s first game coaching against his former team.

No. 15 Ohio State (7-2): It?s been a great week for the Buckeyes. On Saturday Ohio State knocked off then-No. 3 ranked Denver 13-11. It was the first time since 2013 that the Buckeyes knocked off an opponent that high. Redshirt sophomore Tyler Pfister was solid, scoring three goals and handing out a helper. Pfister was recognized with the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week for his performance. With a quick turnaround the Buckeyes then traveled to Maryland and defeated the No. 16 Towson Tigers 7-6. Attackman Carter Brown, a Maryland native, enjoyed the homecoming with a five point performance on four goals and an assist.

Ohio State travels to South Bend, IN this weekend to tangle with 3rd ranked Notre Dame. This will be the third straight game against a ranked opponent for the Buckeyes. The Fighting Irish are terrific on offense with players like Matt Kavanagh, Conor Doyle, and Sergio Perkovic. They stood toe to toe with and beat Denver — can Ohio State do it again on Saturday?

Penn State (3-4): The Nittany Lions dropped a tough one to UMass by a score of 12-8. This team cannot seem to establish any consistent rhythm this season. Right when you think they have turned the corner Penn State has another hiccup. TJ Sanders was a bright spot with two goals and an assist, but offensively this team is averaging under 10 goals per game.

Things don?t get any easier for Penn State as No. 6 Denver is the opponent on Sunday in Long Island. The Nittany Lions will need to be patient and smart on offense and will need a big day from goalie Conor Darcy. Talk about some tough sledding- after Denver Penn State plays Ohio State, Maryland, and Hopkins.

Rutgers (3-6): The Scarlet Knights broke a three-game losing streak when they drubbed Delaware 17-12. Attackmen Scott Bieda (5g) and Christian Trasolini (4g) combined for nine scores. At the faceoff Joe Nardella was awesome as usual, not only going 18-31 at the dot but he added five points (2g, 3a) on top of that. Nardella earned Big Ten Specialist of the Week for the output. This past Tuesday the Scarlet Knights took #13 Princeton down to the wire before falling 12-11.

This weekend Rutgers battles NJIT. The Highlanders are a new Division I program and are looking for their first ever win.


Mark Dixon, a former Johns Hopkins lacrosse player, contributes to Inside Lacrosse and calls Big Ten men's lacrosse games on BTN. Follow him on Twitter (@dixonlacrosse).