Mark Dixon, BTN lacrosse analyst, April 20, 2016

As we head into the stretch drive of the lacrosse season every game is important, the next one the biggest on the schedule. This has never been truer than in the Big Ten. For each team is battling for the conference tournament while at the same time having a little eye on the big dance, the NCAA Tournament. As we take a look at the week that was we know we can look forward to many more great games to come.

All three weekend games air live on BTN and are available live on BTN2Go, too. On Friday, it's Penn State at Rutgers . On Saturday's it's Johns Hopkins at Michigan. On Sunday, it's Ohio State at Maryland.

No. 5 Maryland Terrapins (10-2, 3-0 Big Ten)

This past weekend the Terrapins welcomed Rutgers into College Park for a battle of conference unbeatens. In the end Maryland emerged victorious 11-8 but had a few scratches on their shells that show they were in a battle.

Maryland was down 6-3 after Josh Jordan of Rutgers scored an extra man goal with 12:05 left in the third period. From there it was all Terps and the hosts ripped off seven straight scores to take a 10-6 lead with 7:27 left in the game. This is the third week in a row Maryland had to recover from a deficit. It speaks volumes to the resolve and firepower of this team. The usual suspects of Matt Rambo (3 goals, 2 assists) and Colin Heacock (3 goals) were in the scoring mix, but help came in the surprising form of Dylan Maltz (4 goals). This Maryland team is deep and dangerous and has an arsenal of weapons to choose from. You never know who may step up and have a big game. On this occasion it was Maltz.

Last night Maryland throttled Navy 10-5 to keep their momentum going. Balanced scoring was on display as four Terps scored twice each.

Now in sole possession of first place in the Big Ten the Terps put their focus on Ohio State for a primetime battle this Sunday, 7 p.m. ET on BTN. Here's the link to watch live on BTN2Go.


No. 11 Johns Hopkins (7-4, 2-1)

The Blue Jays traveled to Penn State for a critical matchup with the Nittany Lions. Hopkins jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead and looked like they were going to run away with the game. Penn State battled back, making plays and pressuring the Jays into a number of turnovers. Like last year?s regular season affair the teams would go to overtime after an ill advised shot by Ryan Brown of Hopkins led to a Matt Florence goal with just 29 seconds left in the game.

In the extra frame the Blue Jays forced a Penn State turnover. On the ensuing possession John Crawley (3 goals) fired a rocket past Nittany Lion goalie Will Schreiner to give Hopkins a 12-11 win. Crawley and linemate Holden Cattoni (3 goals) were terrific all night. For a team that is down four midfielders due to suspension and injury it is amazing this team can still find ways to win.

Hopkins is currently third in the league and will travel to Michigan to take on the Wolverines in the Big House. Game time is 5 p.m. ET Saturday and will be on BTN. Here's the link to watch live on BTN2Go.


No. 17 Penn State (7-5, 1-2)

The Nittany Lions have been so close the last two games. Coming off a tough overtime loss to Maryland, Penn State was looking to knock off Johns Hopkins for the first time ever this past weekend. Despite a boisterous and supportive crowd of 2,700 it was not meant to be as the Nittany Lions fell 12-11 in overtime to the Blue Jays.

Nick Aponte (4 goals) was fantastic all game for Penn State. His change of direction dodge is one of the best in the country. His evolution as a playmaker has been fun to watch this season. At the faceoff dot Billy Lombardi put in another great day of work, going 15-26. With a win over Denver and two near misses against Maryland and Hopkins you get the sense this team will be very dangerous in the postseason.

A critical game is on the horizon as the Nittany Lions travel to Piscataway this Friday night for a monster showdown with Rutgers. Currently in fourth in the Big Ten Penn State can vault the Scarlet Knights with a win and take one step closer to securing a berth in the Big Ten Tournament.


No. 19 Rutgers (9-3, 2-1)

The Scarlet Knights are one the most improved teams in college lacrosse and a very tough out. We saw both traits on full display this past weekend as Rutgers gave Maryland all they could handle before falling 11-8. Rutgers is a team that had a lot of close losses in 2015 but ended the campaign on a high note when they beat Ohio State. They have done a great job of carrying and building on that momentum here in 2016.

Jules Heninburg (4 goals) continued his hot hand after a five goal performance against Michigan last week. Linemate Scott Bieda (2 assists) was held in check most of the game by Terp Tim Muller but still was able to make plays. Rutgers struggled at the faceoff, something that really hurt them when Maryland started making a run.

Despite the loss Rutgers is still in 2nd place in the conference. A win over Penn State assures them of a spot in the Big Ten Tournament. High Point Solutions Stadium will be rocking this Friday night at 5 p.m. ET on BTN. Here's the link to watch live on BTN2Go.


Ohio State (6-7, 1-2)

Ohio State turned back Michigan 10-7 before more than 25,000 at the Showdown in the Shoe. After six straight losses victory sure had to taste sweet for the Buckeyes. Trevor Hodgins (3 goals) led the way, while Carter Brown (2 goals, 2 assists) continued his stellar play.

In the process of finding different scorers the Buckeyes have developed a system where anyone can step up at any time. Last week in a 13-12 loss to Johns Hopkins it was Johnny Pearson who stepped up with four goals. This week it was Hodgins. One consistency this team needs, however, is solid play from Brown.

The Buckeyes have a tremendous opportunity this Sunday as they pay a visit to Maryland. Presently in 5th place in the conference Ohio State could climb those standings if they knock off the Terps.

BTN will have the game live for you this Sunday at 7 p.m. ET. Here's the link to watch live on BTN2Go.


Michigan (3-8, 0-3)

The Wolverines keep playing hard but just couldn?t muster enough juice to knock off the Buckeyes. After a Decker Curran ( goals) cut the Buckeye advantage to 6-5 with 13:50 left in the fourth period the Wolverines could get no closer. Ohio State went on a 4-0 to establish distance and ultimately close the game out.

Michigan goalie Gerald Logan (19 saves) was brilliant all game long, making great stops and keeping his team close. Six different players scored for the Maize and Blue, led by Sean McCanna (2 goals).

Making the conference tournament at this point is a tall order, but the Wolverines will continue to battle. Next up is a date with Hopkins scheduled for this Saturday. You can catch it live at 7 p.m. ET on BTN. Here's the link to watch live on BTN2Go.


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