Simmons Column: No Benefits to Snow-Crosse

Photo Credit: Ian Neadle

Playing lacrosse in the snow is not easy. It is harder to pass, clear, collect ground balls and see the ball as a goalie. Snow leads to a sloppy game and creates parody between unequal teams; that is what we saw in the Loyola-Holy Cross game. Three games had game times changed or were postponed on Saturday: UMBC-Monmouth, Penn State-Villanova, and Georgetown-Towson. I can’t tell you why Loyola-Holy Cross wasn’t postponed, but it should have been.

First off, congratulations to the Purple Knights on a big win. Saturday was the first time ever Holy Cross had ever lost a Patriot League game. Statistically, Loyola won the game. The Greyhounds had 17 more shots, 9 more groundballs, two fewer turnovers, three fewer f/o violations, 12 more f/o wins, and a better clearing percentage than Holy Cross. That being said, Holy Cross goalie Michael Ortlieb had 13 saves while the two Loyola goalies had just a combined four saves.

With about an inch of accumulation on the ground and heavy snow falling, dodging was completely out of question. Holy Cross is definitely an improved program, but on a normal day Loyola should blow the Purple Knights out of the water. With snow on the ground, any game is up for grabs no matter how unequal the teams.

Lacrosse is not meant to be played in the cold and certainly not meant to be played in the snow. Yet every year we get games played earlier and earlier, and that’s fine for a team like Syracuse that plays indoors and has an full indoor field to practice on, but what about a team like Cornell that can’t practice until February (due to Ivy League rules) and is forced to play on a small indoor field or a gym unless it wants to brave frigid temperatures and inclimate weather.

In cold weather the game gets distorted and fans don’t come out to the games, no one wins. I know this is a theme that keeps coming up and keeps being dismissed, but really, let’s stop playing lacrosse in snowstorms.

Denver – The Pioneers took down Furman with ease, but next week Denver has a date with North Carolina in a big matchup.

Syracuse – Syracuse is much improved from last year, that is not in question at this point. Ben Williams went 21-25 at the faceoff X in a dominant performance. Bobby Wardwell played extremely well picking up 11 saves against Army. The Orange open up conference play when Virginia visits the Carrier Dome next Sunday.

North Carolina – The Tar Heels had a very nice win over Johns Hopkins on Saturday and will take on Denver this week.

Duke – Did not play this week.

Notre Dame – UND demolished a much weaker Michigan on Saturday. The Irish play Dartmouth this week in a game it should easily win before playing Denver the following week.

Virginia – UVA has a 3-0 start to its season, easily putting away Rutgers this past weekend. Virginia’s next test will be this weekend against Syracuse, and I’m not sure the Cavaliers are up to beating Syracuse in the Carrier Dome.

Harvard – The Crimson barely snuck by UMass, not a good team. This week Harvard will take on Holy Cross and then Duke. A tough slate considering Holy Cross was able to take down Loyola this past weekend. I expected big things from this team, but if they’re not careful Harvard could be surpassed by Ivy League foes Cornell, Penn and Yale.

Cornell – After getting smacked by Syracuse two weeks ago, the Big Red doubled up Hobart on Friday night. Cornell is a good team but has been challenged for practice time by the upstate NY weather. Binghamton and Cornell will faceoff on Tuesday and this weekend Cornell and Albany will travel to Dallas, TX to play a showcase game at SMU. This could be a very dangerous team if it gets it together.

Army – The Black Knights have a very strong team defense led by one of the best goalies in the country, Sam Somers. Although Army fell to Syracuse on Sunday, they proved that they can hang with the big time programs.

Albany – This week the Great Danes have games against Bryant and Cornell. I would expect Lyle Thompson to be back after leaving Saturday’s win over Drexel with an injury. Bryant should be an easy win, but I’m not sure Albany has the ability to beat Cornell.

Johns Hopkins – A win over Princeton would go a long way this week. The Blue Jays fell to North Carolina by two this weekend. Hopkins has a potentially high-powered offense with a stellar attack line. The Jays also feature an excellent goalie in Eric Schneider.

Loyola – I’m not sure we can take a whole lot out of Loyola’s loss to Holy Cross, it pretty much can be chalked up to the snowstorm these two teams were playing in. The Greyhounds will have a game against Lehigh this week before taking on Duke.

Yale – The Bulldogs were able to beat Maryland this week. Yale has a chance to take the Ivy League this year, but even if they don’t, a win over UMD should help them when if it comes to an at-large bid.

Maryland – Wow, a four-goal loss to Yale. I didn’t see that coming. Maryland has some excellent pieces to work with and I expect them to bounce back. Up next, though, is a tough challenge from another Ivy League opponent in Penn.

Towson – The Tigers have a loss to Loyola by four, but now have wins over Johns Hopkins and Georgetown to add.

Marquette – Still a contender, the Golden Eagles have a solid 3-0 record and wins over Lehigh, Hofstra and Richmond. A note of concern, Marquette only beat Richmond by one goal. This week the Eagles will have an opportunity to beat up on Detroit.

Penn – At 2-0 Penn enters this week with a game against a reeling Maryland. This could be a huge opportunity for the Quakers.

Princeton – Princeton had a nice win over Hofstra in the snow this weekend, and will be tested again this week when they travel to Hopkins.

Colgate – The ‘Gate should enter the top twenty this week, mostly due to a lack of other options. Colgate has a 3-0 start but still looking for a signature win.

Bucknell – Honestly, there isn’t a whole lot of quality left. There are a couple of teams that could take these last two spots, and I think Bucknell is interchangeable especially with Lehigh here.