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Monday, March 2, 2009
UVA-SU matchup all that and more

By Quint Kessenich
Inside Lacrosse

If there is one lacrosse game I'd like to capture and show sports fans every year, it's the annual Virginia-Syracuse matchup. This rendition had it all -- playmaking, fast breaks, highlight-reel goals, a crowd of 16,595 and a heart-pounding finish. I'll be surprised if both schools aren't involved with championship weekend in Foxborough, Mass., in May.

Meanwhile, in Baltimore, on a cold and overcast Saturday in M&T Bank Stadium, Princeton dissected Hopkins and Maryland handled Duke in the third annual Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic.

The shocker of the week was St. John's upset of Georgetown. Cornell, Hofstra, Bucknell, Loyola and Albany all picked up nail-biter wins.

Quint's Power Rankings

1. Virginia Virginia
Last week: 1
The Wahoos beat Syracuse behind four goals from Shamel Bratton. "Sham-Wow" was unstoppable. Danny Glading netted the hat trick in a thrilling game. The Cavs play VMI and Cornell this week.

2. Syracuse Syracuse
Last week: 2
There were 16,595 fans who watched the hometown Orange lose an epic game with UVA. Kenny Nims found the net four times. Cuse will be in Washington, D.C., on Saturday to take on Georgetown.

3. North Carolina UNC
Last week: 4
The Heels are undefeated at 5-0 after beating Lehigh 14-6. Bart Wagner tallied seven points playing on his high school field north of Baltimore. UNC hosts Detroit on Tuesday and hits the road to face Notre Dame on Sunday.

4. Princeton Princeton
Last week: 5
I tried to sound the alarm here all through February: Princeton is back. The Tigers jumped on Hopkins early (up 9-1) as Jack McBride scored four goals, face-off man Paul Barnes hit net twice and freshman goalie Tyler Fiorito made 11 saves. Princeton has improved its overall team speed and seems more aggressive on offense and in transition. The Tigers play Friday night at UMBC.

5. Maryland Maryland
Last week: 8
The Terps took care of Duke 11-8 in Charm City behind the work of midfielder Jeff Reynolds, who won consecutive faceoffs -- and Maryland scored twice within five seconds. Grant Catalino was involved in six of the Terps' 11 goals. Maryland squares off with Towson on Saturday.

6. UMBC UMBC
Last week: 9
This is a huge week for UMBC. The Retrievers host Hopkins on Tuesday and entertain Princeton on Friday night. Don Zimmerman, who led Hopkins to three NCAA titles in the 1980s, has his best chance to beat his former team. A key question is whether UMBC can win enough faceoffs.

7. Cornell Cornell
Last week: 7
Cornell survived a scare from Army, winning 9-8. Army goalie Tom Palesky (Plano, Texas) was unreal, making 22 saves in defeat. The Big Red tackle Virginia on Sunday. Cornell will go only as far as its defense and goalie will take it.

8. Hofstra Hofstra
Last week: 10
The Pride will be in Baltimore on Saturday facing Hopkins (ESPNU, noon ET). They trailed 10-3 in the third quarter against Brown and needed two overtimes and four goals from Jay Card to improve to 2-0. The margin for failure and success in Division I lacrosse has never been such a thin line.

9. Georgetown Georgetown
Last week: 3
The Hoyas could not handle the success of a Maryland win and fell to St. John's 10-9 after trailing 7-3 at the half. The Red Storm inverted Georgetown to death, held the ball and pulled off the upset. Where do you rank a Hoyas team that is so wildly inconsistent?

10. Johns Hopkins JHU
Last week: 6
Yikes. Hopkins fell behind Princeton 6-1 after the first quarter Saturday and unraveled. The Jays suffered self-inflicted wounds on the defensive end -- ill-advised slides, poor pick defense and penalties … all of which can be corrected. Steven Boyle, Brian Christopher, Mike Kimmel and Chris Boland were bright spots on offense. Hopkins has an opportunity to bounce back Tuesday in Catonsville against UMBC.

11. Notre Dame Notre Dame
Last week: 15
The Irish crushed a short-handed Dartmouth squad 19-7.

12. Harvard Harvard
Last week: 11
Unlike Georgetown, Harvard followed up a quality win with a workmanlike victory over Stony Brook.

13. Denver Denver
Last week: 14
The Pioneers are in Philadelphia at Penn on Friday and in Providence on Sunday.

14. Loyola Loyola (Md.)
Last week: 16
The Greyhounds took care of business against Penn State. They are at Siena on Tuesday, looking for 2008 revenge, and travel to Durham on Saturday for a key game with Duke.

15. Duke Duke
Last week: 12
The Blue Devils have a bunch of fixes to make after consecutive losses to Harvard and Maryland. They slide quickly to all midfield dodgers yet don't support mismatches when inverted. They're getting no production from their third attack slot or second midfield and have strategic flaws in their clearing game.

16. Bucknell Bucknell
Last week: 19
Bucknell beat Navy 8-7 on a buzzer-beater by Charlie Streep. The Bison are at Hobart next weekend.

17. Albany Albany
Last week: 17
Albany needed two OTs to take down cross-town rival Siena this past Wednesday. The Great Danes play Delaware on Friday.

18. Ohio State OSU
Last week: 18
The Buckeyes are in Happy Valley on Saturday. They beat Fairfield 11-6 over the weekend.

19. Navy Navy
Last week: 13
Have one-goal losses become the norm in Annapolis? The Midshipmen play Mount St Mary's on Tuesday and Lafayette on Saturday.

20. Villanova Villanova
Last week: Not ranked
The Wildcats have beaten Rutgers and Penn and are off to a 3-0 start.

St. John's and UMass are on the cusp of being Top 20 teams. Quint Kessenich covers college and professional lacrosse for Inside Lacrosse. He can be reached at quint@insidelacrosse.com.