04/04/2013 10:35 AM ET
Five matchups to watch in college lacrosse
Albany vs. Johns Hopkins highlights a busy weekend slate
By Eamon McAnaney
Lyle Thompson leads the country in points per game and will be looking to entertain a national television audience on Friday night against Hopkins. (Courtesy of Albany athletics)

No. 20 Albany at No. 11 Johns Hopkins, Friday 7 p.m.

The Great Danes already have a win at Syracuse, can they add a win at Homewood Field to the resume. Lyle Thompson leads the country with 7.1 points per game and Albany head coach Scott Marr expects the national television audience will like what they see at attack with Lyle, his brother Miles and cousin Ty.

"We're fun to watch", said Marr. "They play to have fun. In their words they 'play for the creator.' They are dynamic and they play the game at a different level. It's pretty special." 

This will be a difficult task for a Johns Hopkins defense that has been surprisingly inconsistent. If the Jays do not pay attention to detail they could suffer a resume damaging loss at home.

No. 14 Drexel at No. 12 Penn State, Saturday 1 p.m.

The Nittany Lions will celebrate 100 years of Penn State lacrosse when they host Drexel Saturday afternoon, but head coach Jeff Tambroni is probably more interested in celebrating opening up 1-0 in CAA play Saturday night.

"You can't say either team needs it but we both really, really want it because the difference between being the No. 1 seed and fifth place in this league is really small."

This one could mean a little extra for Tambroni's crew since a 13-11 loss to the Dragons in last year's CAA tournament cost Penn State a post season bid. "We need to be mentally tougher," said Tambroni. "They are gritty and they play hard and we need to match that mentally and physically."

Georgetown at No. 10 St. John's, Saturday 2 p.m., Bethpage High School

How does St. John's handle prosperity after knocking off No. 1 Notre Dame and cracking the top 10? After looking for publicity earlier in the season, the Johnnies this week have been covered on SNY, and in Newsday and the Post, but they better be careful or they could suffer the same fate as Hofstra and Bucknell and fall out of the top 10 as quickly as they made it.

"You focus on the fact that 2-1 in conference play does not guarantee a spot in the Big East tournament, no matter who we have played. The only way to guarantee we get into the Big East tournament is to win four conference games," said Red Storm head coach Jason Miller.

This will be a unique meeting between the Hoyas and Red Storm because it will be held at Bethpage High School. "That adds something certainly," said Georgetown head coach Kevin Warne. "It gives us a chance for our Long Island guys to play in front of their friends and families and my assistant coach Matt Rekowski gets to return to his alma mater."

No. 6 North Carolina at No. 19 Virginia, Saturday 3:30 p.m.

North Carolina head Coach Joe Breschi came up with a classic Jedi mind trick this week to make sure his players don't develop a false sense of security facing a 5-5 Virginia club.

"I told him we're 3-2 in 1 goal games and they are 1-3 in 1 goal games," said Breschi. "So we're 3 goals away from being 5-6 and they are three goals away from being 8-2. That got their attention." Sharp shooters Rob Emery, Ryan Tucker and Mark Cockerton will provide a challenge in a season already full of them for Heels Freshman goalie Kieran Burke. "It will be a huge test," said Breschi. "The best thing about our tough schedule is that he has seen a lot of shots. I mean Princeton took 57 shots. He has been great in a sense of poise and composure and he will only get better the more his voice opens up and he becomes the leader of the unit."

No. 8 Syracuse at No. 7 Princeton, Saturday, 5 p.m.

You know there is going to be a little extra juice involved in a game between two programs that have combined to win 17 National Championships. "There's a reason we're playing it in the football stadium", said Princeton head coach Chris Bates. "As soon as we beat Brown, our players were saying 'Syracuse week, Syracuse week.' We didn't have to spend too much energy getting them up for this one."

Faceoffs will be key because the 'Cuse offense will be a unique test for the young Princeton D. "They don't wow you but they are very efficient," said Bates. "They are not high tempo as far as getting up and down the field but they are high tempo off the ball, that's for sure."

Eamon McAnaney is an on-air host for SNY and a contributor to SNY.tv. Follow him on Twitter @EamonMcAnaney.
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