The first games of college lacrosse are played this weekend on February 4th, and it will be incredibly competitive. There are teams that have the potential to move from last to first in their respective conferences, and old legacies may be renewed.
There is so much at stake this season with legends retiring and program integrity at risk. Some teams will prove themselves to the masses, while others will sink to the bottom. These next few games are some of the most exciting while also the most heated. Predictions for the games are necessary, especially with the weight of opening weekend.
John Hopkins Win vs Jacksonville
John Hopkins is incredible this year, with a great returning cast. Players like Garrett Degnon and Jacob Angelus should help their winning chances. The Russell Melendez transfer is great for the team, and all ends of the lacrosse field are covered in talent.
This is not to give Jacksonville a disservice, as they have played incredibly as of recently. They were 14-3 last season and 5-0 in the conference, with the fighting power of a titan. The first two games of the season last year, they lost a few very close games to very good schools. Expect similar results from them again.
Syracuse Dominates Vermont
As much as Vermont has been very consistent and pumped out a bit of star talent, they are no match for Syracuse. However, last lacrosse season they had a 12-7 record but won every in-conference game. They made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament, which helped their case.
Syracuse may have the hardest year-to-year schedule in college lacrosse, and it will not define them. They played ten ranked teams in 14 games, losing the majority of them. They are incredibly young and have the best recruiting class coming in to change the game.
What hurts Vermont the most is losing the No. 1 draft pick in the National Lacrosse League, Thomas McConvey. Without the scoring power and adding Syracuse’s incredible recruiting class and transfers, it should be an easy game. Last year’s season opener ended in an almost 30-5 win in favor of the Orange, but they will need to get the ball rolling early for that to happen. Vermont will not lay down easily though, so there should be genuine competition.
Denver Sweeps Utah
Denver University is universally know for their decade of competitiveness, and Utah is not incredible. They may have a decent class coming in and some returners back, but last season saw them at 10-4. They play less competition and lost some key players, so this should not be a blowout.
Although Denver was not great record-wise either at 9-6, they were also younger and had more emerging lacrosse talent. With this being Bill Tierney’s last season, we should expect a team to rally for their coach and find victory.