College Lacrosse Weekday Watch: #WhyD3

Photo credit to Jade Woll Photography and Lynchburg Athletics
Photo credit to Jade Woll Photography and Lynchburg Athletics

Weekday lacrosse games aren’t the most exciting on paper, but can provide some good excitement if you tune in to some of these games. And it’s rare that there’s a top five matchup on a weekday.

The highlight of the work week comes from Division III, where a top five matchup will take place Wednesday in Maryland, with No. 2 Lynchburg taking on No. 5 Salisbury. This game was originally scheduled for last Saturday, but got postponed to a few days later due to the brutal temperatures along the east coast. The Hornets took both meetings last year, the first coming at the season opener, and the second coming in during the NCAA Quarterfinals. Lynchburg went to the Division III Championship game during Memorial Day Weekend, where they eventually fell to the high-powered Tufts offense 19-11.

Lynchburg brings back eight of their top 10 scorers from last season, including five of their top six, who all broke the 30-point mark. Their top two returners are seniors in Aaron Murphy and Austin Stewart. Murphy was a Third Team USILA All-American, while Stewart had a whopping 108 goals and 126 points on the season, good for a spot on the First Team USILA All-American squad. They’ll also return FOGO Bobby Distler and goaltender Chris Hawley, but they do lose First Team All-American defenseman Eric Lombardo, Second Team short-stick middie Chris Hower, and Honorable Mention defenseman Hunter Thompson.

The Sea Gulls are back as a usual threat in D3, and hope to return to the National Championship game, where they lost to Tufts back in 2014. They defeated Hampton-Sydney two weeks ago 12-7, behind four points from James Burton, including two goals, and a pair of goals also coming from Garrett Reynolds, Brendan Bromwell, and Nathan Blondino. Sophomore goalie Anthony Stavrakis made eight stops in the game. As for other players, the Gulls bring back two of their three First Team All-Americans in midfielder Thomas Cirillo, who was second on the team with 62 points, and short-stick middie Preston Dabbs. Leading scorer Carson Kalama is now a junior, but there are questions on defense as well. No Knute Kraus, Martin Wallace, or Austin Kemp as poles, and their goalie Connor Anderson graduated.

That’s one of nine games on the D3 slate for Wednesday, which includes Eastern hosting York.

In Division I, three games are scheduled for Tuesday, including Vermont taking on NJIT, Stony Brook opening their season against Sacred Heart, and the highlight of the day, which is High Point hosting Boston University. BU is 2-0, but haven’t played that strong in those two games, including Friday’s 8-5 tight win against UMass Lowell. Freshman James Burr has been a gem for the Terriers, leading the team in goals with six and tied for the team lead in points with seven, along with sophomore Jack Wilson. But in order for the Terriers to compete in the Patriot League, they’ll need contributions from Ryan Hilburn (1 G, 1 A), Sal Talkow (1 G, 1 A), Cal Dearth (0 G, 1 A), and Adam Schaal (0 G, 0 A). Goaltender Christian Carson-Banister will need to be strong yet again in the net against a very talented High Point squad.

The Panthers are coming off of a 17-6 loss to third ranked Duke on Friday. Dan Lomas led the way with two goals, while Matt Thistle added another. Expect to see some action from Michael Leclair and T Moyer on offense as well. Sophomore goalie Zach Tuell made 12 stops in the loss against Duke. At faceoffs, senior Jamie Piluso went 5-of-13 from the “x”, while freshman FOGO Alex Woodall went 5-of-12. Look for both guys to get even time taking draws until there’s a possible No. 1.

On Thursday, Jacksonville travels to New York to take on St. John’s. The Red Storm are 0-1 after falling to Rutgers 19-11. Eric DeJohn had a hat-trick and three assists in the game, while Jason DeBenedictis also recorded a hat-trick. Questions remain on defense, with Mark DiFrangia graduated, and goalie uncertainty. Junior Joe Danaher started in net, but was pulled after 18:40 into the game after giving up 10 goals and making one save. Redshirt-freshman Michael O’Keeffe made 11 saves, but gave up nine more goals, for the remainder of the game. Senior Harry Burke may be called upon as well. The Dolphins are 1-1 on the year after narrowly defeating Vermont 17-16 last week and losing to Monmouth 11-5 Sunday night.

In Division II action, top-ranked Limestone travels to take on Emmanuel Tuesday afternoon, while No. 6 NYIT takes on St. Thomas Aquinas and No. 12 Mount Olive hosts Roberts Wesleyan. The highlight for D2 will come on Friday, when No. 10 Tampa hosts No. 5 Adelphi.