The Big East will hold its first men’s lacrosse tournament on May 3 and 5, 2012, on the campus of Villanova University.
After this past weekend, that may feel like it’s 12 months too late.
Two weeks after losing the top spot in the USILA Division I Poll to Notre Dame, Syracuse is back on top after beating the Fighting Irish on Saturday at the Carrier Dome. The Orange outscored the then-No. 1 Irish 9-5 over the first 45 minutes of play, en route to an 11-8 victory that put Syracuse back on top and dropped Notre Dame to No. 4.
Both teams logged 33 total shots and 20 shots on goal in the contest, but Syracuse got an outstanding defensive effort from senior close defenseman John Lade. Lade tied the school’s single-game record with six caused turnovers while turning in a shutdown effort against Notre Dame leading scorer Sean Rogers. Rogers turned the ball over four times, and was held to just two shots during the game, finally scoring with 4:24 remaining in the contest and the outcome largely decided. Lade’s performance earned him Big East Defensive Player of the Week Honors.
With the win, Syracuse moved to 5-0 in conference play, and can clinch the Big East championship outright with a win over St. John’s on Saturday. If the Red Storm can succeed in upsetting the Orange, Notre Dame will share the championship. The Irish, meanwhile, will close out their regular season with a non-conference matchup, taking on No. 12 North Carolina on Friday night, in a game that will be nationally televised on ESPNU.
Need to Know
• After suffering a 12-8 loss to Mercyhurst on April 23 in their first defeat of the season, one might have thought the No. 4 Limestone Saints would be ripe for the picking in their matchup with No. 11 Catawba, a game that could influence the South Region rankings. Those observers were clearly proven wrong on Senior Day in Gaffney, S.C. The Saints’ dynamic duo of Shayne Jackson and Riley Loewen scored five goals apiece, with each of the two attackmen assisting on four more, pacing the Conference Carolinas champion Saints in a 19-3 win over the Deep South Conference champs. With the South Region all locked up, the Saints now await the announcement of their semifinal opponent in the NCAA Championship. The games will be played May 21 or 22.
• After running through the first 11 games of their season undefeated, the Wittenberg Tigers saw their shot at a perfect season come to an end at the worst possible time, falling 7-6 to Ohio Wesleyan in their final North Coast Athletic Conference game of the season. Battling Bishops sophomore midfielder Pat Bassett led all scorers with a hat trick, helping Ohio Wesleyan secure a three-way tie for the NCAC title with No. 15 Wittenberg and No.16 Denison. The Tigers did bounce back to close out the regular season with wins over Washington & Jefferson and Otterbein, shoring up their case for a berth in the NCAA Division III Championship. The field will be announced on Sunday night at 10 p.m. ET.
• Wins over Yale are always satisfying at Harvard, but the Crimson’s 9-5 win over the Bulldogs on Saturday was extra meaningful, as it allowed the No. 17 Crimson to secure the final spot in the Ivy League tournament, edging out Dartmouth and Princeton. Harvard and Yale finished the season with identical 3-3 records, and the Crimson’s win secured the third seed in the tournament. Harvard will take on No. 15 Penn in the first semifinal on Friday, while the No. 20 Bulldogs will have the unenviable task of facing No. 2 Cornell, which will host the tournament. Both semifinals will be broadcast online at ESPN3.com, while the final will air on ESPNU on Sunday at noon.
• Bowdoin senior midfielder Ben Chadwick was named the NESCAC Player of the Week after scoring four goals and assisting on seven more during a huge week for the Polar Bears. Chadwick scored two goals and assisted on another in an upset of then-No. 3 Tufts on Friday, then exploded for two goals and six assists against then-No. 9 Amherst, stunning the Lord Jeffs in the first round of the NESCAC tournament.
• Saint Michael’s sophomore attacker Pete Donnally was named the Northeast-10 Player of the Week after scoring five goals in a pair of wins for the Purple Knights. The native of Madison, N.J., scored a hat trick in a 5-3 win at Bentley on Wednesday, then scored two more goals, including the game-winner, in a 7-5 win over assumption on Saturday.
• Hartford junior goalkeeper Scott Bement was named the America East Player of the Week, the final conference honor of the season, for his performance in a 10-6 win over UMBC on Saturday. Bement stopped 14 of the 20 shots he faced to help the Hawks secure the No. 2 seed in the America East tournament, which starts Wednesday night when Hartford faces the Retrievers again and Binghamton travels to No. 13 Stony Brook, with the winners meeting on Saturday (3 p.m., CBS Sports Network).
• Skidmore’s Matt Levesque was named the Liberty League Offensive Player of the Week after leading the Thoroughbreds to a 13-10 win over Clarkson. The senior from Duxbury, Mass., scored a season-high five goals and picked up four ground balls.
• Ohio State sophomore midfielder Dominique Alexander was named the ECAC Lacrosse Ofensive Player of the Week after helping the Buckeyes clinch the final spot in the conference tournament. Alexander scored three goals, scooped up two ground balls, and caused a turnover in a 13-7 win over Bellarmine.
• Mercyhurst senior goalkeeper Zach Nash was named the ECC Goalkeeper of the Week for his performance in a win over No. 8 NYIT. The Rochester native bounced back from a two-save first half with seven saves in the second half – including four in the fourth quarter – allowing the No. 3 Lakers to secure a 10-8 win.