College Lacrosse Roundup: Big Ten Lacrosse Returns, Young Stars Caitlyn Wurzburger and Brennan O'Neill Shine

College Lacrosse Roundup: Big Ten Lacrosse Returns, Young Stars Caitlyn Wurzburger and Brennan O'Neill Shine

Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics

Welcome to Lacrosse Playground's College Lacrosse Roundup, where we recap all the notable news, scores and highlights of the past week, while previewing upcoming matchups and analyzing the latest Tewaaraton trophy race.

Top Moments of the Week

Bobby Abshire put on a stellar performance that included these two highlight reel goals in Army's upset over Syracuse.

Chris Gray continues to score at will, and this shovel shot was no exception.

Top recruit Caitlyn Wurzburger provided a picturesque moment with her behind-the-back goal against Northwestern.

Brennan O'Neill unleashes a BTB rocket that goes top shelf.

Asher Nolting does it all with this nifty ground ball and backhand goal for High Point.

Best Games You Missed

Men's Lacrosse

North Carolina avoides the Upset on Tuesday against High Point, 17-15

Asher Nolting led the field with nine points (4 G, 5 A) for High Point, followed closely by Chris Gray of North Carolina who ended the day with seven points (3 G, 4 A). Tanner Cook and Jacob Kelly helped the Tar Heels escape the upset on Tuesday by adding five points (3 G, 2 A) for Cook and four points (3 G, 1 A) for Kelly. High Point’s Brayden Mayea and Kevin Rogers each added five points.

Both keepers had great days with Collin Krieg saving 10 of 25 shots, while High Point’s Antonio Arcona kept it close with 18 saves on 35 shots. The biggest game changer that led to North Carolina’s win was at the faceoff stripe with the Tar Heels going a combined 30-for-35. North Carolina and High Point will face off against each other again next Saturday, February 27.

Virginia sneaks passed Loyola, 15-12

Connor Shellenberger and Matt Moore each had five points apiece with Shellenberger having two goals with three assists, while Moore added five goals in the win on Saturday evening. Loyola on the other hand had two players with four points, with Evan James having three goals along with a helper, while Kevin Lindley added four goals. Virginia will play at Syracuse next Saturday in the ACC opening weekend. Loyola will host Utah on that same day.

Rutgers tops Penn State, 11-9

Connor Kirst led Rutgers to an upset victory over Penn State with seven points (3 G, 4 A), while Adam Charalambides helped with four points (3 G, 1 A). Penn States gunslinger Mac O’Keefe was held to only one goal on seven shots. The Nittany Lions were lead by TJ Malone with five points (3 G, 2 A) and Dan Reaume with four points (3 G, 1A). It seems that the Nittany Lions will be looking for a new identity this year with there visionary Grant Ament already in the pros. Penn State will host a tough Maryland team, while Rutgers will travel to play Ohio State next weekend.

Ohio State beats Johns Hopkins, 14-8

Tre Leclaire led the Buckeyes with four goals along with his teammate Griffin Hughes who added four points (3 G, 1 A), while Jack Myers also added three goals in the win against Johns Hopkins. Connor DeSimone lead the Blue Jays with four points, recording three goals along with an assist. Ohio State will face off against Rutgers who is coming off a hot win against Penn State, while the Blue Jays will travel to Ann Arbor to play Michigan next Saturday.

Jacksonville wins in OT over Mercer, 12-11

Matt Stagnitta (son of the Whipsnakes head coach Jim Stagnitta) led Jacksonville to victory with six points (3 G, 3 A). Evan Tyler followed leading the team with goals at four including the game-winner. Mercer’s Michael Quinn had five points (2 G, 3 A) followed by Collin Stewart with three goals, and Nick Rockefeller and Will McCarthy with two goals apiece. Mercer was leading in the final quarter by one with five minutes to play before Matt Stagnitta tied the game with just over a minute to play. Evan Tyler put away the game winner with just over a minute left in overtime. Jacksonville will travel to Annapolis to play Navy, while Mercer will play Cleveland State on February 27.

Women’s Lacrosse

Robert Morris tops Liberty, 9-8

Three players from Robert Morris had three points each. Kelley Flynn and Mackenzie Gandy had two goals with one helper, while Melanie Gandy had a goal with two helpers. Mia Toscano led Liberty with three goals. Robert Morris will be playing against Fresno State on Tuesday, while Liberty will be looking for its first win against Cincinnati.

Central Michigan beats Marquette, 11-10

Central Michigan was led by Audrey Whiteside who had five points on the day (4 G,1 A) along side Natalie Karlen who had three points (2 G, 1 A). Marquette was led by Lydia Foust who had three goals and Lindsey Hill who added two helpers in the loss. Central Michigan will play at Vanderbilt on Wednesday February 24, while Marquette will still be looking for their first win against Kent State on February 27.

Vanderbilt inches past Colorado in OT, 11-10

Vanderbilt had four players with three points in Elizabeth Scarrone (1 G, 2 A), Cassidy Orban (2 G, 1 A), Gabby Fornia (1 G, 2 A), Bri Gross with (2 G, 1 A). Colorado on the other hand was led by Charlie Rudy with four points (3 G, 1 A), Zoe Lawless with three goals and Ashely Stokes with two points (1 G, 1 A). Vanderbilt will play host to Central Michigan on Wednesday, February 24, while Colorado will host Denver on February 28.

Tewaaraton Tracker

Men’s Lacrosse

Michael Sowers (Duke)

Sowers is leading the Blue Devils and is currently second in the nation behind Chris Gray with 19 points from seven goals and 12 assists. Sowers isn’t nearly putting up the numbers he was while he was in the Ivy League at Princeton, but certainly with this talented Duke team, he does not need to. It will be interesting to see how Sowers does against the fierce competition of the ACC.

Chris Gray (North Carolina) 

Chris Gray is currently leading the nation with 23 points on 14 goals and nine assists through four games. It will be fun to watch how dominant this North Carolina team continues to be when they are only a mere two games away from their first ACC matchup against Virginia.

Ethan Walker (Denver)

Ethan Walker is currently tied with Sowers for points with 19 points on 12 goals and seven assists. We'll have to wait and see how many more possessions and shots Walker will get for the Pioneers when TD Ierlan gets on campus and begins to play games with the Denver.

Women’s Lacrosse

Casey Harkins (American) 

Casey Harkins has posted 107 points (46 G, 61 A) through three and quarter seasons and is returning for her fifth year. In 2020, before their season was cut shot, Harkins had 52 points (18 G, 34 A) through only seven games, which is nearly 7.5 points per game. Keep an eye out for Harkins to have a hot start to the season. American begins there season on February 27 against Mount St. Mary’s.

Katie Hoeg (North Carolina) 

Katie Hoeg is currently third in the nation in points and third on her team with 12 points on five goals and seven assists. North Carolina will play Duke and Vanderbilt next weekend and it will be fun to see how Hoeg can continue to climb on the Tewaaraton watchlist.

Emma Vinall (American) 

Emma Vinall from Fairfax, Virginia is looking to run stride for stride with her fellow teammate Harkins. Vinall at the end of the 2020 season had 47 points (42 G, 5 A), and a total of 147 career points (128 G, 19 A). It’ll be interesting to watch the one-two punch from both Harkins and Vinall as they are both favorites to win the Tewaaraton.  American begins there season on February 27 against Mount St. Mary’s.

Izzy Scane (Northwestern)

Izzy Scane is currently third in the nation with points with 12 on nine goals and three assists thus far through the 2021 season. Playing Johns Hopkins back-to-back with only a day break in between will be tough and we'll have to see if Scane can take advantage and put some more numbers up.

Jamie Ortego (North Carolina)

A new addition to the watchlist, Ortego leads the nation in points with 14 on eight goals and six assists, and is part of the powerful North Carolina top-scoring trio that includes Scottie Rose Growney and Katie Hoeg.

What to Watch this Week

We've teamed up with Lacrosse Reference to provide you with the top games to watch this coming weekend based on Lacrosse Reference's ELO ratings. The ELO system is a method for comparing the relative strength of teams. The higher the ELO rating, the better the team. The difference in two teams’ ELO ratings can be used to estimate the likelihood of each team winning.

Men’s Lacrosse

Loyola (1746 ELO) at Virginia (1717 ELO) - 5pm ET on Saturday, February 20

Rutgers (1667 ELO) at Penn State (1830 ELO) - 12pm ET on Saturday, February 20

Syracuse (1740 ELO) at Army (1638 ELO) - 12pm ET on Sunday, February 21

Penn State (1804 Elo) vs Maryland (1752 Elo) - 5:30pm ET on Friday, February 26

Syracuse (1692 Elo) vs Virginia (1746 Elo) - 6pm ET on Saturday, February 27

Duke (1856 Elo) vs Air Force (1532 Elo) - 12pm ET on Saturday, February 27

Denver (1743 Elo) vs Providence (1610 Elo) - 2pm ET on Saturday, February 27

Ohio State (1682 Elo) vs Rutgers (1602 Elo) - 12am ET on Saturday, February 27

Women's Lacrosse

Stony Brook (2146 ELO) vs USC (2057 ELO) - 12pm ET on Tuesday, February 23

North Carolina (2229 ELO) vs Duke (1782 ELO) - 6pm ET on Friday, February 26

Maryland (2126 ELO) vs Michigan (1770 ELO) - 4pm ET on Friday, February 26

James Madison (1995 ELO) vs High Point (1809 ELO) - 4pm ET on Friday, February 26

Colorado (1746 ELO) vs Denver (2035 ELO) - 3pm ET on Sunday, February 28

Note: ELO only uses the final score, the location of the game, and the date of the game, and it does factor in some season-to-season carryover. To reiterate, this is not a ranking based on past performance, but an attempt to sort teams based on “current” strength. Consider these ratings in beta for the time being.

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