(Photo by Kevin Schoonover)
(From an ALC release)
STAUNTON, Va. -- Staring down a big weekend of lacrosse as the ALC travels to and hosts some marquee matchups, along with some big intra-conference battles.
Division I - North
Purdue @ Pittsburgh
Coming off a tough weekend in Virginia, the Panthers are looking to bounce back by hosting Purdue on Friday night. Goalie play from the Panthers continues to be spectacular and the team showed some serious fight as they scored 10 on the Flames and nine on the Hokies. Meanwhile Purdue comes in off a 17-1 win over Central Michigan. This game will be a battle of goalie play and at the faceoff dot.
James Madison @ Pittsburgh
The Panthers are 0-1 in divisional action and James Madison hasn’t played a game. Hard to classify games as must wins, but the Panthers dropping to 0-2 would put a huge damper on their ability to make the ALC tournament. Meanwhile, the Dukes are in their first MCLA season and are 1-1. Panthers are coming off a game Friday night and will need to be well-conditioned to ensure they have the legs to win on Saturday.
NC State @ Liberty
This is a rematch of last year’s semifinal, which the Flames dominated. NC State played Clemson as close as anyone and appears to be trending in the right direction. Will Brad Thompson (11g, 13a) continue to dominate or will Ryan Reynolds (62.5 sv%) shut the door. NC State’s Owen McWilliam is quietly putting together a strong season at the dot, which could pose a problem for the Flames.
James Madison @ West Virginia
The Mountaineers are in a similar situation as Pittsburgh as going 0-2 will make their ALC chances tough. Pending the outcome of the Dukes-Panthers game on Saturday, this might be dubbed a must-win game by both teams. No matter, as we should expect some fireworks as both look to end their weekend on a win and position themselves in the ALC tournament race.
Florida @ Liberty
The Flames welcome No. 8 Florida to town. We will all know a lot more about the Gators as they take on Georgia Tech and Michigan State on Friday and Saturday prior to their game at Liberty. As it stands now, the Gators are winning through stout D and opportunistic offense. Liberty will need to contain the trio of Dexter, Dugan and Haligan if they hope to stop the Gator offense. Offensively the Flames will rely on Keaton Mohs (7g, 6a), Carter Elliot (2g, 2a) and Cooper Branham (8g, 4a).
Division I - South
Clemson @ Arizona State
Coming off two ranked wins and laying claim to the state of Georgia, the Tigers head west to battle upstart Arizona State. The Sun Devils are 3-0 and coming off a convincing win over San Diego State. ASU, inspired by elite goalie play, will need every save possible as they look to contain the Clemson offense that is averaging 16 gpg. Be sure to tune into this game on Arizona State’s YouTube Channel.
Clemson @ Grand Canyon
A glutton for punishment, the Tigers take on Grand Canyon just 20 hours after they play ASU. The Lopes took South Carolina to overtime, so they are no slouch. Clemson will rely on the play and experience of netminder Danny Laible (59.6 sv%) and Garrett Brennan (31g, 8a) to lead the team to victory. Future Hall of Famer Buff Grubb will have some tricks up his sleeve to prepare the squad.
Virginia Tech @ Arizona
The Hokies leave Blacksburg for the first time to face off against newly-minted Top 10 Arizona. The Wildcats just laid the boom on No. 12 Colorado State and then No. 6 Chapman. The Cats offense is alive and well, averaging 13 gpg while the Hokie D is giving up just 8.5. Something’s got to give.
Virginia Tech @ Arizona State
The Sun Devils will be coming off a game against Clemson on Friday while the Hokies coming off a game against Arizona on Saturday. Both teams will be looking to start their week right with a win. This may be a battle of goalies, as Hokies netminder Hunter LeClair is saving 63 percent of the shots he sees and Aidan Shah is at a 76.2 sv%. Both offenses will have to weather the goalie storm.