The ACC unbeatens survived road trips.
Two of the three Ivies without a conference loss didn't take to a neutral field game.
Loyola is surging, Notre Dame is sinking and Massachusetts is in good shape in the CAA.
Let's get to the lacrosse weekend rewind:
1. Virginia wins a classic. Never mind for a moment the Cavaliers seemed to have a rout in hand when they built a 6-0 lead at Maryland, only for the Terrapins to nearly tie it with less than three minutes left. It turned into another grind-it-out game for Virginia, which last month beat Syracuse in a game an officiating decision played a part in as well. Nonetheless, the Cavaliers are still perfect and can clinch the No. 1 seed in the ACC tournament with a defeat of North Carolina Saturday at the Meadowlands. If they can get a little more from Shamel Bratton --- you know, besides a game-icer with 1:51 left --- they'll be tough to take out in the first event at the new stadium in the swamp.
2. Cornell felled. Is the Big Red a serious contender to return to the final four? It's OK if they're not; they'll get a plenty big pass just because of what they lost from last year. Still, after a 7-1 start, who saw Saturday's collapse against Dartmouth coming. Cornell had taken 12 straight from the Big Green, and Dartmouth turned to untested sophomore Fergus Campbell is goal. So what happens? Campbell stops 23 shots, and the Big Green wound up with an 8-6 victory that looks a lot closer because of a pair of garbage goals in the final 10 seconds. Maybe it was just a bad day, but there's probably a better pick to make the semifinals than the Big Red.
3. Lafayette magic fading? That 6-0 start was nice. The loss to Drexel wasn't exactly a shock. But losing at home to Mount St. Mary's? Maybe, like Cornell, the Leopards had a bad day. But it could also be a harbinger of a rough April. The Patriot League could use someone playing extremely well and not, say, losing 17-2 to Hofstra. As if there was much doubt before, this will almost surely be a one-bid league this season.
4. Villanova's Wildcat strike. Here's how the Big East was supposed to shape up: Syracuse setting the pace, Georgetown and Notre Dame in pursuit, and everyone else beating each other up. Hasn't worked out that way. Notre Dame has yet to play the other presumed heavyweights, and it lost at Villanova on Saturday. The Wildcats (6-3) made a significant leap going from the CAA to the Big East, but they've held up well outside the black eye Syracuse gave them. They're not in a cult of one, though, and there's a real chance for 'Nova to wind up second in the Big East before the season is through. Of the three biggies, only Georgetown --- in the last weekend of the season --- remains.
5. Hopkins dips below .500. It's an almost near-annual thing: A traditional power enduring a losing season. Princeton, Syracuse, Virginia ... they all dealt with it in recent years and moved on. At 4-5, maybe it is Johns Hopkins' turn. The Blue Jays are 4-5, and their postseason resume is uninspiring at best. April 17 --- the date of the annual game with Maryland --- looms large for the Hop even if it tops Albany next week.
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS ...
1. Loyola. Again leading off this section, the Greyhounds keep plugging. Saturday's defeat of Ohio State effectively turns the ECAC into a three-team race: Loyola, Fairfield and Denver. Both teams still loom for Charley Toomey's team, and neither one must come to Baltimore. Still, the Greyhounds are 6-2 and have avoided the sort of inexplicable loss that's cropped up for them in recent seasons.
2. Princeton. Now the lone unbeaten in Ivy League play, the Tigers knocked off Brown in the same neutral-field doubleheader that caught Cornell. Princeton isn't perfect, and their scoring is back in line to what you'd expect from the Tigers. Of course, they also got 17 saves from Tyler Fiorito against the Bears. While Virginia-North Carolina is arguably the showcase game of the Big City Classic, more might be learned from Princeton-Syracuse.
3. Massachusetts. Two down, three to go for the Minutemen, whose initial foray into the CAA is going quite nicely. Massachusetts avoided being part of the annual Penn State revival with a 10-8 victory in State College. Next up is a visit from a plucky Towson team, but all signs point to the Minutemen's May 1 visit to Drexel being a pivotal juncture in the conference race. For now, anyway.
... AND WORKING OVERTIME (in practice this week)
1. Notre Dame. High on the list of awful predictions here was suggesting Notre Dame, after its defeat of Duke, would be unbeaten entering its game at Georgetown. The Irish are instead 5-4, and in great danger of tumbling out of the postseason chase. Their latest setback was a 9-8 loss at Villanova, and they sit along with Providence as the lone teams winless in Big East play. Georgetown and Syracuse still loom, and it's starting to look like the Irish will need knock off one of them to play into the middle of May.
2. Brown. But more for the sake of fine-tuning. The Bears are 3-4, yes, but narrowly lost to Duke and Princeton this week. There's still time to recover and make a push in the Ivy League, and I've got a sneaking suspicion this is the best team that will leave this weekend with a losing record. But Brown can't wait long to go about demonstrating that.
3. Rutgers. Just when you think the Scarlet Knights have turned the corner, they go and lose at home to a team with a losing record. In this case, it was St. John's. Princeton, Syracuse and Georgetown all lurk later in the schedule, so there's an opportunity to make a splash. It's just as likely the Scarlet Knights muddle through and wind up a tick above .500 when it's all over.
THIS WEEK'S TOP FIVE GAMES
1. Virginia vs. North Carolina in East Rutherford, N.J. (Saturday, 4 p.m., ESPNU). It's likely 1-vs.-2 --- for the first of up to three times. Should be fun.
2. Princeton vs. Syracuse in East Rutherford, N.J. (Saturday, 6:30 p.m., ESPNU). The Cuse is rolling along, and Princeton has watched its early money victories against Hofstra and Johns Hopkins lose value in recent weeks. There's a lot at stake for the Tigers.
3. Navy at Maryland (Saturday, noon, ESPNU). The lower ranked team has won the last six meetings in this series, and Navy's going to check in a whole lot lower (if at all) than Maryland will this week. This isn't going to be easy for the Terps, who are coming off consecutive losses to North Carolina and Virginia.
4. Loyola at Fairfield (Saturday, 1). If an eastern team is going to win the ECAC, it'll probably be either the Greyhounds or the Stags. Both must still play Denver, but this is going to go a long way in determining an automatic NCAA tournament qualifier.
5. Notre Dame at Georgetown (Sunday, noon, ESPNU). This looked a lot better a month ago, though Georgetown has done nothing to embarrass itself and in fact ground out an overtime victory at Navy on Friday. No AQs are at stake, but neither team can really afford to let the opportunity for even a top-20 victory slip away.