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Mitchell Northam | | May 14, 2019

NCAA men's lacrosse quarterfinals preview: An Ivy League battle, 3 ACC teams and No. 1 Penn State

The 2019 men's Tewaaraton Award finalists are revealed

Each of the top four seeds in the NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse tournament survived the first round. Now, things get a little tougher.

The quarterfinals of the tournament are this weekend. On the line are trips to the semifinals on May 25 in Philadelphia.

MLAX TOURNEY: Press release | Interactive bracket | Printable bracket

Still alive and competing for the title are the 2018 champs Yale, 2018 runner-up Duke, ACC champs Virginia, Big Ten champs Penn State, Ivy League champs Penn, and at-large contenders Notre Dame, Loyola and Maryland. The Terps advanced this far by upsetting No. 6 Towson 14-13 in overtime.

Here’s everything you need to know about the next stage in the tournament.

No. 3 Virginia vs. Maryland — May 18, 12 p.m., ESPNU

The Terps and Cavaliers used to play at least once — and sometimes twice — annually when both were members of the ACC prior to Maryland leaving the conference in 2012. Since then, they’ve met on a lacrosse field just three times, most recently in 2014 with the Terps winning 9-6.

HISTORY: Memorable championship moments

Virginia enters this game with the fifth-best offense in the nation, scoring 14.29 goals per-game. The Cavaliers handily beat Robert Morris in the first round, 19-10. Virginia also has the 15th-best defense in the country, allowing 10.12 goals per-game.

Leading the Virginia attack is sophomore Matt Moore, who is 16th in the country in assists, dishing out 2.29 per-game. Fellow sophomore Ian Laviano leads the team in goals, scoring 43 of them this season. Junior midfielder Dox Aitken is 10th in the country in man-up goals, scoring seven this season.

Maryland has the 17th-best offense in the nation, scoring 12.69 goals per game, and the 26th-best defense, allowing 10.56 goals per-game. Junior Jared Bernhardt guides the Terps’ attack, ranking 16th in the nation in goals per game with 2.94.

No. 2 Duke vs. No. 7 Notre Dame — May 18, 2:30 p.m., ESPNU

This will be the third time this season that the Fighting Irish and Blue Devils have met on a lacrosse field. Duke won the first matchup, 14-8, while Notre Dame won the second in the ACC tournament, 12-10.

BRACKET TAKEAWAYS: Yale's path to defending its title won't be easy

Duke enters this contest with one of the country’s best defenses, ranking fifth in goals allowed per game with 9.19. Senior goalkeeper Turner Uppgren is sixth in the nation in goals against average with a 9.28 mark and a save percentage of .514. Junior defender JT Giles-Harris anchors the backline, ranking in the top 50 in the country in forced turnovers with 1.51 per game.

While the Blue Devils got to the quarterfinals by squeaking past Richmond, the Irish easily topped Johns Hopkins 16-9. Notre Dame does a solid job in fending off attackers, ranking ninth in the country in clearing percentage with a .872 mark. Junior attack Bryan Costabile is 28th in the country in scoring, notching 2.67 goals per game. He is also 10th in the nation in man-up goals, scoring seven.

No. 1 Penn State vs. No. 8 Loyola — May 19, 12 p.m., ESPNU

Penn State is the favorite in this tournament, entering the quarterfinals coming off a 25-10 win over UMBC. The Nittany Lions bring with them the top offense in the country, scoring 17.81 goals per game, which is two goals more on average than second-place Yale. Leading that Penn State offense is Mac O’Keefe, who is the country’s top scorer with 4.13 goals per game.

TOURNEY TIME: 3 can’t-miss men’s lacrosse games in the first round of the NCAA DI tournament

The Nittany Lions aren’t too shabby on defense either, ranking 20th in goals allowed per game with a 10.25 mark. Junior goalkeeper Colby Kneese is 16th in the nation in goals-against average, letting in 10.04 per game.

But the outcome of this game is far from guaranteed. Penn State might be mighty, but Loyola is legit too. The Greyhounds are eighth in scoring offense, scoring 14.06 goals per game, and are 10th in defense, allowing 10 goals per game. 

Leading the Loyola attack is Kevin Lindley, who is second in the nation in scoring with 3.69 goals per game. Also on the attack is the versatile Pat Spencer, who has scored 103 points this season, good enough for third in the nation. Between the pipes is goalkeeper Jacob Stover, who is third in the country in saves per-game with 14.44.

No. 4 Penn vs. No. 5 Yale — May 19, 2:30 p.m., ESPNU

These two opponents are very, very familiar with each other. This will be the third time this season that they have met on a lacrosse field, with Penn winning each game by a single goal. With this game being played in East Hartford, Conn. — just 39 miles from Yale’s campus — the Bulldogs might have some home field advantage.

MORE LACROSSE: Rankings | Stats

Penn is third in the nation in scoring offense, notching 14.73 goals per-game, and are powered by Adam Goldner, who averages 3.53 goals per game. Senior goalkeeper Reed Junkin mans the net for the Quakers with a .541 save percentage.

Yale has the second best scoring offense in the country, putting up 15.44 goals per game. The Bulldogs also have the best FOGO man in the nation in TD Ierlan, who wins 78.1 percent of his battles at the X, a mark that leads the country. Jackson Morrill guides Yale’s offense, dishing out 2.63 assists per game which is 10th best in the country.

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.

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