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Lacrosse Monday

If You're Undefeated, You're #1
For the last month or so, Virginia has reigned supreme over the college lacrosse landscape. After a 15-5 drubbing of ACC-rival Maryland on Saturday, the Cavaliers further solidified their position as the 2006 championship favorite. The Inside Lacrosse Media Poll and USILA STX Coaches Poll appear to agree as Virginia took every first-place vote available in both polls.

Inside Lacrosse Media Poll
As the release notes:

Virginia retained the top spot in this week's Inside Lacrosse media poll after whipping up on Maryland this weekend to move to 10-0 on the season.

Georgetown, which was No. 5 in last week's poll, moves up to No. 2, followed by Hofstra, Maryland and Princeton, respectively.

Jumping in this week's rankings are Penn, which beat Cornell last week. Penn moved from No. 18 in last week's poll to ninth this week.

In other Ivy success, Harvard moved from twentieth to sixteenth in this week's rankings.

Penn State and Army both moved back into the rankings this week after receiving votes last week. Loyola dropped out of the top 20.

Also, Inside Lacrosse has decided that as long as play is suspended at Duke, the Blue Devils will not be eligible for the media poll.
1. Virginia (24) - 10-0
2. Georgetown - 6-1
3. Hofstra - 7-1
4. Maryland - 6-2
5. Princeton - 5-2
6. Cornell - 6-1
7. (Hate) Johns Hopkins - 4-3
8. Navy - 7-2
9. Pennsylvania - 7-1
10. Massachusetts - 6-2
11. Notre Dame - 6-2
12. Towson - 4-4
13. UMBC - 4-3
14. Delaware - 9-2
15. Syracuse - 2-4

I never thought I would see the day where I feared having to excerpt more than the top 15 teams in a lacrosse poll so as to include Syracuse. What is more interesting, however, is that Post-Standard staff writer Dave Rahme didn't even include Syracuse on his ballot this week. As he notes:

I felt compelled to leave SU out of the top 20 for the first time. The Tuesday home loss to Hobart, which then lost by six goals at Fairfield, forced the issue. Hopefully, Saturday's victory over Loyola will spark a turnaround, but right now at 2-4 SU doesn't deserve to be included in the poll, although my gut tells me it is still better than some of the teams in there.
Dave is right on one point: Syracuse, by Syracuse standards, does not deserve to be ranked. However, can you honestly say that Lehigh, Fairfield, Army, and Colgate all deserve to be ahead of the Orange?

Syracuse is struggling, but if you put the Orange on the field against anybody from this motely crew, I'm going to take Syracuse to win eight times out of ten.

USILA STX Coaches Poll
Apparently, the fine people over at USILA are allergic to words strung together to form sentences as no press release accompanied this week's poll. Thus, all we get are the rankings:

1. Virginia (10) 10-0
2. Hofstra 7-1
3. Georgetown 7-1
4. Maryland 6-2
5. Cornell 6-1
6. Princeton 5-2
7. (Hate) Johns Hopkins 4-3
8. Notre Dame 6-2
9. Pennsylvania 7-1
10. Massachusetts 6-2
11. Navy 7-2
12. Duke 6-2
13. UMBC 4-3
14. Towson 4-4
15. Syracuse 2-4

Pointless NCAA Tournament Speculation
There was a recent thread over on the lacrosse forums discussing Syracuse's chances to make the NCAA tournament field this year. With huge games remaining against Princeton and Cornell, and RPI boosters in Massachusetts, Rutgers, and Albany, the Orange certainly are not out of the tournament mix yet.

As things stand currently, however, the Orange are far from a lock to receive a bid.

With this aside, I thought I'd piece together a far too early projection of the 2006 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Tournament field. Utilizing the selection criteria supposedly employed by the selection committee, I came up with what appears below. Take it for what it's worth, because it is premised on a lot of projection and speculation.

Automatic Bids
America East Conference: University of Maryland-Baltimore County
Colonial Athletic Conference: Hofstra
Great Western Lacrosse League: Notre Dame
Ivy Group: Pennsylvania
Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference: Marist
Patriot League: Navy

At-Large Bids
America East Conference: None
Atlantic Coast Conference: Maryland; Virginia
Colonial Athletic Conference: Towson
Eastern Colleges Athletic Conference: Georgetown; UMass
Great Western Lacrosse League: None
Independents: Johns Hopkins; Syracuse
Ivy Group: Cornell; Harvard; Princeton
Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference: Get Fucking Real, Douchebag
Patriot League: None

If you're wondering where I would seed these teams, it would be: Virginia (1), Marist (16), and Everyone Else (2-15).

Remember When Loyola Was Good? Me Neither.
Box Score

For whatever reason, Syracuse apparently looked functional Saturday afternoon in a 12-6 annihilation of Loyola in the Carrier Dome. As Post-Standard staff writer Donna Ditota notes, Syracuse rode its talented young rookies to the decisive victory:

All told Saturday, Orange freshmen accounted for five goals. For a team decimated by injuries to veterans in its midfield, those five rookie goals were significant.

"Teams were kind of dropping in and helping out on (Joe) Yevoli, Leveille, (Brian) Crockett and (Brett) Bucktooth," Desko said. "And we needed these guys to step up for us and put some points on the scoreboard."

"I think it was about time," said freshman middie Pat Perritt (2 goals), "for the freshmen to not play like freshmen any more."
I noted last week that a lot of Syracuse's troubles this season were based on the fact that the Orange weren't playing "Syracuse lacrosse." Well, despite generating a win, Syracuse did little to improve on its woeful 2006 statistical output. Pacing itself to victory on the back of Loyola's laughable shooting percentage and Peter Coluccini's 15-save performance, Syracuse, stastically at least, was not much better than its opponent:

4.01.06: Loyola at Syracuse

F.O.W. = Face-offs won
Cl.Opp. = Total team clearing opportunities
O.F.Cl = Opponent failed clearing opportunities
Poss. = Possessions
Sht% = Shooting percentage
S/Poss. = Shots per possession
G/Poss. = Goals per possession

What can reasonably be taken from the above? Nothing new.

Syracuse is still turning the ball over too many times on clearing attempts and continues to get hopelessly dominated in the face-off "x." Given the fact that this defense has yet to prove itself over a two-game stretch, Syracuse needs to improve in these areas so as to limit its opponents' possessions and mitigate the potential for doom.

But a win is a win is a win. And considering this team finally showed greater efficiency than its opponent for the first time in a month (Virginia), I think that's cause for mild optimism tempered by the gloom of reality.

Schadenfreude? Sure!
There aren't very many things I'm good at, but one of them is laughing the less fortunate. Thus, I submit the following videos from my new favorite distraction -- YouTube.

Submission #1
What do you get when you combine Bill Brasky and some poor sap who is probably a better mathlete than lacrosse star? One of the greatest slow motion replays ever, of course.

Submission #2
The video on this submission is a little grainy -- kind of like recovered Bigfoot footage -- but I highly recommend sticking with it. Your reward? Some kid getting dusted from about ten yards away.

Nothing says "Sucks to be you!" like watching a kid crumple to the turf.

Submission #3
What was that? You want to see a pointless sideline ass-cracker? You got it.

Submission #4
And, finally, my favorite of the bunch. This appears to be emanating from some adult lacrosse club tournament and the hit is well worth the eight seconds necessary to watch the video.

Nothing beats a hit that jars the ball loose from the crosse. Especially when it is unexpected.

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