The 2019 men’s Division I lacrosse season is dwindling down, but in many ways is just getting started. Over the next month, we’ll see the best teams in the sport battle it out in a tournament. At the end, in Philadelphia, one team will hold the trophy.
With the tournament’s opening round getting under way this week, we picked three must-watch games.
(All times Eastern)
May 11, 5 p.m. Eastern, ESPNU — Army vs. Penn
This game will feature one of the nation’s top offenses and one of the best defenses. The Penn Quakers are third in scoring in all of Division I men’s lacrosse, putting 14.86 shots in the back of the cage per game. On the other side, the Army Black Knights have the second best defense in the country, allowing just 8.35 goals per game.
Both sides come from competitive lacrosse conferences in the Patriot and Ivy leagues, but Penn and Army didn’t share any common opponents this season. Penn has won 11 games in a row, while Army has won four straight.
Penn’s offense is led by junior attack Adam Goldner, who has scored 50 goals in 14 games, good enough for the third-best goals per-game average mark in the country at 3.57. Army’s attack has been powered by freshman Brendan Nichtern, who has tallied 50 assists in 17 games this season, the sixth most in the nation.
May 11, 2:30 p.m. EST, ESPNU — Georgetown vs. Yale
A matchup between the Hoyas and Bulldogs will likely feature lots and lots of goals. Yale is second in the nation in scoring with 15.2 goals per game, while Georgetown is sixth with 14 goals per game.
The Hoyas aren’t a one-man show on offense. Both Daniel Bucaro and Jake Carraway are among the nation’s leading scorers. Bucaro, a senior, is fourth in the country with 3.41 goals per game, while Carraway, a junior, has a 3.12 mark.
Jackson Morrill has a big hand in Yale’s attack, as the junior is ninth in the country in assists with 2.67 dimes per game. The Bulldogs typically have the upper-hand in the possession battle too, as TD Ierlan is the nation’s leader in face-off winning percentage, taking victories in 77.2 percent of his battles. Ierlan also leads the country in ground balls, scooping up 14.27 per contest.
Georgetown and Yale shared one common opponent this season in Villanova. The Hoyas beat their Big East rival 16-13, while Yale lost 11-10 in overtime to the Wildcats.
BRACKET TAKEAWAYS: Yale's path to defending its title won't be easy
After an 11-year NCAA Tournament drought, @HoyasMLacrosse is making its second straight appearance. Head coach Kevin Warne joined me to talk about the Big East title game win over Denver and the program’s incredible run these last 2 years:pic.twitter.com/Qwh8tu48vl— John Fanta (@John_Fanta) May 5, 2019
May 12, 2:30 p.m. EST, ESPNU — Maryland vs. Towson
This is the first time these two in-state foes have met in men’s lacrosse since March 12, 2011. All-time, Maryland leads the series 28-5 and is on a 10-game winning streak. It would be hard to call this a rivalry based on merit and record, because Towson and College Park are just 40 miles apart, there’s a lot of Marylanders that will be fired up about this match-up.
The Terps had a solid season, winning 11 games with the nation’s 18th best offense and 25th best defense in the nation. But Maryland is hungry for a win after dropping back-to-back games against another in-state foe, Johns Hopkins. The Terps have been led on offense this year by junior Jared Bernhardt, who has scored 45 goals through 15 games.
Towson is riding a four-game winning streak and is coming off winning a CAA championship. The Tigers have the 17th best offense and the 28th best defense in the country. Brendan Sunday is their leading scorer, notching 45 goals through 15 games. Towson has the second best face-off man in the country in Alex Woodall, who has a 74.5 winning percentage.
The lone common opponent Towson and Maryland shared this year was Johns Hopkins. While the Terps lost both bouts to the Blue Jays, the Tigers beat Hopkins 17-8 in the opening game of the season.
Mitchell Northam is a graduate of Salisbury University. His work has been featured at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Orlando Sentinel, SB Nation, FanSided, USA Today and the Delmarva Daily Times. He grew up on Maryland's Eastern Shore and is now based in Durham, N.C.