Albany’s Lyle Thompson is one of the most polarizing figures to ever step foot on a lacrosse field and he continues to dazzle. (Mandatory Credit: John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com)
The First Round of the NCAA men’s lacrosse Tournament is in books and there were pretty of intriguing moments. I take a look at what jumped out at me.
- Lyle Thompson is like a piece of fine art – If you’ve never watched college lacrosse and tuned into Saturday’s game between Albany and Cornell, you were mesmerized by the talent of attackman Lyle Thompson. The senior scored three goals and registered six assists to added to his total of 116 points for the season. Thompson just makes it look effortless and he looks even more impressive than a season ago. Going forward, no team wants to face the Great Danes in the NCAA Tournament.
- Notre Dame has a ton of depth – Despite facing adversity in the opening half, Notre Dame was still able to top Towson on Saturday. While the comeback was impressive, what was even more incredible was the fact that the Fighting Irish tallied 12 goals without star attackman Matt Kavanagh registering a single point. This is the very same guy that is one of five finalists for the 2015 Tewaaraton Award, which is annually given to the top player in college lacrosse. On the season, Kavanagh has 26 goals and 24 goals. Against the Tigers, the Irish had three players (attackman Conor Doyle, midfielder Nick Ossello, and midfielder Will Corrigan) register multiple points. If Notre Dame can still win games when Kavanagh doesn’t register a point, this is a team that many won’t want to play going forward.
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- Connor Cannizzaro continues to shine – The 2015 offseason was extremely difficult for Maryland. The Terrapins lost the likes of Niko Amato, Mike Chanenchuk, and Goran Murray (academically ineligible). However, the transfer of Cannizzaro may have been the toughest pill to swallow. Cannizzaro took his talents to Denver to play for legendary coach Bill Tierney and alongside his brother, Sean. Cannizzaro has had a monster season in which he totaled 53 goals and 31 asssists. He tallied five goals in Denver’s win over Brown this past weekend. Having a player like Cannizzaro on a team that already has Wesley Berg and Zach Miller doesn’t even seem fair. What’s every interesting is the fact that if the Pioneers defeated Ohio State and Albany upends Notre Dame this weekend, a battle of two elite offenses could take center stage.
- Never sleep on Hopkins – Despite being an inconsistent team for a large part of the regular season, Johns Hopkins really has caught fire at the right time. After winning the Big Ten Tournament, the Blue Jays trounced traditional ACC powerhouse Virginia 19-7 on the road. The attackmen trio of Ryan Brown (4, 2), Shack Stanwick (3, 2), and Wells Stanwick (2, 2) absolutely torched the Cavalier defense on their way to an easy win. Hopkins is always a threat to make it to Championship Weekend. The Blue Jays do have a tough test ahead with No. 2 Syracuse awaiting them in Annapolis.
- Blaze Riorden is unreal – When Albany comes up, usually it’s talking about Lyle Thompson and rightfully so. However, in Albany’s win over Cornell, the story was goalie Blaze Riorden. Riorden is generously listed at 215 pounds and is a very stellar netminder. However, Riorden intercepted a shovel pass on Saturday and took it the length of the field and scored. It’s not something you see every day and watching this kid celebrate was a very cool thing to watch. If you haven’t seen the goal, check it out below.