ncaa lacrosse quarterfinal preview

Saturday’s Virginia-Georgetown matchup highlights what should be an entertaining quarterfinal round of NCAA Men’s Lacrosse.

The NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament continues this weekend with a pair of quarterfinal matchups on both Saturday and Sunday.

This comes after last weekend’s round of 16 was one to remember.

Not only did No. 12-seed Syracuse suffer one of its worst tournament losses ever (18-8 at the hands of No. 5-seed Georgetown) but No. 10-seed Loyola additionally squeaked out a one-goal win over No. 7-seed Denver.

Here were the final scores for the first round:

No. 1 North Carolina: 16

No. 16 Monmouth: 4

No. 8 Lehigh: 5

No. 9 Rutgers: 12

No. 6 Notre Dame: 10

No. 11 Drexel: 8

No. 5 Georgetown: 18

No. 12 Syracuse: 8

No. 4 Virginia: 13

No. 13 Bryant: 11

No. 3 Maryland: 17

No. 14 Vermont: 11

No. 2 Duke: 16

No. 15 High Point: 10

No. 7 Denver: 13

No. 10 Loyola: 14

Now, we move on to the quarterfinals, with the two Saturday games taking place at Hofstra University and the two Sunday games occurring at Notre Dame.

What are the times of these matchups? Which games should you look forward to? Which players should stand out from the rest?

NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Quarterfinal Dates, Times, TV Info

No. 4 Virginia vs. No. 5 Georgetown — Saturday, May 22, 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU

No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 9 Rutgers — Saturday, May 22, 2:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU

No. 2 Duke vs. No. 10 Loyola — Sunday, May 23, 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU

No. 3 Maryland vs. No. 6 Notre Dame — Sunday, May 23, 2:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU

What to Watch for

The game of the weekend is likely the first one that’ll be played — Virginia-Georgetown.

Both teams field highly talented offensive players — Virginia’s Connor Shellenberger (attack), Payton Cormier (attack), Matt Moore (attack), and Charlie Bertrand (attack) along with Georgetown’s Jake Carraway (attack), TJ Haley (attack), and Graham Bundy Jr. (midfield) should make this a back-and-forth battle for a Championship Weekend berth.

Georgetown’s offense has been superb for much of the year; the Hoyas have put up double-digit goals in all but three of their games this season. Carraway and midfielder Declan McDermott became the heroes in Georgetown’s most recent win over Cuse, each putting up five goals.

Virginia, on the other hand, has notched double-digit goals in every single one of its 2021 matchups, with the Cavaliers’ lowest total coming in a 20-10 defeat at the hands of Syracuse back in February. Moore and Shellenberger each recorded two goals and three assists in UVA’s first-round victory over Bryant.

Sunday’s most interesting matchup is probably the one between No. 2 Duke and No. 10 Loyola. While many likely believe the Blue Devils could notch a fairly easy win, I would scale back on saying it’s a shoo-in victory for head coach John Danowski’s squad.

One of the reasons why Loyola is a No. 10 seed and had to make its way into the tournament with an at-large bid was because the Greyhounds dropped out of the Patriot League Championship due to a positive COVID-19 test. This team could’ve potentially won its conference and earned a higher placement within the national bracket — the fact Loyola is a No. 10-seed may alter some fans’ face-value perspective of the Greyhounds.

All in all, don’t sleep on Loyola. The Hounds put together a terrific showing in a 14-13 win over No. 7 Denver in the first round and received superb production from senior attackman Aidan Olmstead (five goals).

Loyola goalie Sam Shafer recorded 16 total saves in the victory including one to seal the deal as time was expiring.

Loyola will face a Duke squad that’s one of the more dangerous in the country and has lost just two games this year (one to No. 6 Notre Dame and one to No. 1 North Carolina). I’m not saying the Greyhounds will defeat the Blue Devils, but expect it to potentially be close when the final whistle blows.

Which Players to Pay Attention to

The five finalists for the 2021 Tewaaraton Award are still alive in this tournament.

For those who don’t know, the Tewaaraton Award is presented to the top male and female college lacrosse players in the country — essentially the Heisman Trophy of the sport.

Here are the five finalists:

  • Chris Gray, senior attackman, North Carolina (83 points [leads country], 46 goals, 37 assists)
  • Jared Bernhardt, senior attackman, Maryland (82 points, 59 goals [leads country], 23 assists)
  • Michael Sowers, graduate attackman, Duke (75 points, 34 goals, 41 assists)
  • Jake Carraway, graduate attackman, Georgetown (62 points, 46 goals, 16 assists)
  • Pat Kavanagh, sophomore attackman, Notre Dame (59 points, 23 goals, 36 assists)

Carraway along with fellow Georgetown attackman TJ Haley (who leads the country with 47 assists) will be facing a Virginia defense that can be shaky at times (the unit allowed double-digit goals to teams like Utah, High Point, Robert Morris, and most recently Bryant in the first round).

Expect the pair of Hoyas to put on a show in what could be a crucial victory for Georgetown.

A great matchup should be North Carolina’s Chris Gray (the leading point-scorer in the nation) going up against a Rutgers defense that only allowed five goals when it faced Lehigh in the first round. Gray will certainly possess a challenge on his hands, but given his playmaking abilities, expect him to fare well Saturday afternoon.

Jared Bernhardt and Maryland (one of the championship contenders of the tournament) should put together a strong performance against Notre Dame. The star attackman recorded six goals and one assist in the Terrapins’ round-one win over Vermont.

And finally, Duke’s Michael Sowers is always one to watch when turning on college lacrosse. One of the top feeders in the country, the graduate attackman is a magician from behind the net and has been the quarterback of this Blue Devil offense the entire season. He’ll definitely be an issue for a Loyola team that’s allowing 9.8 goals per game.

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.