Gameday Guide: What to Watch for This Weekend in Men's Lacrosse

The Big Ten tournament kicks off Saturday at 4 p.m. with Michigan-Ohio State. (Photo by John Strohsacker)


Welcome to the Gameday Guide.

Every weekend during the college lacrosse season, US Lacrosse Magazine staff will riff here on the juiciest matchups, trendiest topics, biggest storylines and hottest takes.

If last night’s 11-9 upset win by No. 20 Loyola over No. 9 Georgetown was any indication, May Madness might have started a couple days early.  

“I just saw our confidence grow,” Loyola coach Charley Toomey said on CBS Sports Network after the Greyhounds’ second-half comeback improved their record to 7-5 entering next week’s Patriot League playoffs. “That’s something that’s got to take us forward. We broke our huddle and said it’s a new season.”

Looking forward, we get our first taste of postseason play this weekend with the start of the Big Ten and MAAC tournaments. Several key regular-season finales and rematches also dot the schedule. After April seemed to race by, tournament bids are up for grabs and Memorial Day weekend is on the horizon.

In other words, it’s gonna be May (*insert NSYNC .gif here*).

As always, check out our TV Listings page for the entire list of games coming up.

GAMES TO WATCH
All times Eastern

Day

Time

Away

Home

TV/Stream

Fri 5 p.m. UMass No. 12 Delaware Lax Sports Network
Sat 12 p.m. No. 11 Syracuse No. 4 Notre Dame ESPNU
Sat 12 p.m. No. 17 Stony Brook Vermont ESPN3
Sat 12 p.m. No. 14 Drexel Towson Towson Sports Network
Sat 12 p.m. No. 5 Lehigh No. 18 Villanova Nova Nation All-Access
Sat 1 p.m. Mercer Bellarmine ESPN+
Sat 2:30 p.m. No. 13 Navy Lafayette CBS Sports Network
Sat 4 p.m. Michigan Ohio State BTN
Sat 6 p.m. Johns Hopkins Penn State BTN
Sun 4 p.m. No. 2 Duke No. 3 North Carolina ACC Network

GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 2 Duke at No. 3 North Carolina

The first matchup between these teams was an instant classic that Duke’s Joe Robertson iced on a diving effort in overtime to clinch the 12-11 win for the Blue Devils. It also gave us one of the most iconic images of the 2021 season by Duke Athletics staff photographer Nat LeDonne.

Without the benefit of an ACC tournament, the final regular-season showdown holds even more weight on NCAA tournament seeding. Duke currently holds the top spot with a 4-1 conference record, while UNC sits one game back at 3-2. Both teams are coming off close wins over Notre Dame. Duke capped its improbable comeback against the Fighting Irish with a goal by Cam Mulé in — you guessed it — overtime.

Of particular interest will be how the Tar Heels mark Blue Devils leading scorer and Tewaaraton candidate Michael Sowers (29 goals, 31 assists), who’s three points away from moving into third place on the D-I career points list. In the first meeting on April 1, UNC shadowed Sowers with senior defenseman Cam Macri and limited the No. 2 pick in this week’s Premier Lacrosse League College Draft to a single goal that came on a fast break.

Duke’s No. 14-ranked scoring defense that’s allowed only 9.69 goals per games this season will again be tested by Chris Gray and Co.







Game No One’s Talking About
Mercer at Bellarmine

A contest between teams with respective 5-7 and 4-10 records might not be the most compelling matchup on paper, but it takes on an added significance when you understand the context. 

First, the stakes. The fourth and final spot in the SoCon tournament is on the line. Mercer (2-3 SoCon) controls its own destiny, while Bellarmine (1-4) needs a win and top SoCon seed Richmond (6-4, 5-0) to take care of business against Air Force (3-8, 2-3).

The game is also a rematch of the first D-I men’s contest of 2021 in which Bellarmine prevailed 9-7 and which you might remember because inactive Bellarmine midfielder Cam Herbert streamed the game on his iPhone via Periscope and in doing so united the lacrosse community.

“There was so much uncertainty, and that game provided a lot of people with a lot of hope,” Bellarmine head coach Andrew Whitley said Thursday. “This game is important as well, but for a very different reason. It’s very introvertedly focused for the two programs, where the first one was very extrovertedly focused. This game is important to Bellarmine. It’s important to Mercer. It’s important to the Southern Conference, and the fact that the world has kind of returned to that’s where the focus is, I think is a sign of a very positive direction for the world at large and also for the sport.”

UPSET WATCH
No. 5 Lehigh at No. 18 Villanova

This is an intriguing out-of-conference matchup and Villanova’s only game this year outside of the Big East. The Wildcats (6-4) are a far cry from the team that lost 16-1 to Georgetown in its first game of 2021. In all but one of Villanova’s wins this year, its senior-laden defense has held opponents to less than double digits.

The Wildcats’ only losses this season have come at the hands of the Hoyas and Denver. In a mid-week matchup, Villanova gave the Pioneers all they could handle but fell 11-10 in OT on a Ethan Walker goal.

The biggest obstacle to the upset bid will be Lehigh junior Mike Sisselberger, who leads the country in faceoff win percentage at an astonishing .793 clip. The Mountain Hawks have built an undefeated 9-0 record almost exclusively against Patriot League opponents.  

Under-the-Radar Stars

Keegan Khan, Villanova, Sr.

Numbers don’t lie. Khan leads the Big East in points per game and is tied for ninth nationally with the likes of Hofstra’s Ryan Tierney and Rutgers’ Adam Charalambides. Ranked fifth all-time at Villanova in career points, Khan, a senior attackman from Chatham (N.J.), has 86 goals and 85 assists in 48 games. 

Christian Mulé, Lehigh, So.

Cam Mule wasn’t the only member of his family making headlines last week. Two days after his older brother scored the game-winning goal for Duke on an extra man opportunity in overtime against Notre Dame, Christian Mulé went off with 10 points on seven goals and three assists in an 18-12 win over Bucknell.

He was named to the USILA National Team of the Week for the performance — the most points by a Mountain Hawk since 2015. The sophomore from Dix Hills (N.Y.) has proven to be a consistent scoring threat and put up 27 goals to go with 13 assists in 2021.

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Follow @USLacrosseMag on Twitter and Instagram for highlights, results and stories from across the college lacrosse landscape, and check back to USLaxMagazine.com for a gameday roundup.

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