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The Final Push To Memorial Day Weekend Is Here. Everything You Need To Know Heading Into The NCAA Lacrosse Quarterfinals

8 teams. 7 games. 

That's all we have left in the 2023 NCAA Lacrosse season. And after this weekend it'll all come down to four of them in Philadelphia on Memorial Day Weekend. 

That right there is always the goal when every college lacrosse season starts. You have friends and family who all look forward to Memorial Day Weekend as the unofficial start to summer. Maybe they're heading to the beach for the weekend, maybe they've got some other vacation planned. Your goal is to be one of the 4 teams who have to turn down those plans because your schedule is already booked for MDW. We'll find out who those 4 teams are this weekend. 

Quarterfinals Schedule

Saturday, 12pm // #2 Virginia vs # 7 Georgetown // ESPNU

It's terrifying how deep this Virginia team is. Obviously it all starts and ends with Connor Shellenberger. But even if Georgetown finds a way to contain Shellenberger, that just means that Xander Dickson is going to have a huge game. But even if they find a way to stop Dickson, that just means that Payton Cormier is going to go insane. And somehow if Georgetown manages to bottle up the entire Virginia attack unit, that just means that midfielders like Thomas McConvey and Jeff Conner and Griffin Schutz and Peter Garno are going to feast. 

This Virginia team is too deep, and they're ready to make their 3rd trip back in 4 seasons to championship weekend. I don't want to say this is going to be a complete reboot of the 2021 quarterfinal matchup between Virginia and Georgetown when Shellenberger popped up for 6 goals to lead the Cavs towards a 14-3 shit pumping over the Hoyas, but it might be pretty close to that. 

Jordie's Pick: Virginia, big. 

Saturday, 2:30pm // #1 Duke vs #9 Michigan // ESPNU

This has been an unbelievable season for Michigan lacrosse. I've said it before, but each of their last 3 wins have all been the biggest wins in program history. They won the Big Ten for the first time. They won an NCAA Tournament game for the first time. And now they have a chance to take down the #1 seed in the nation. 

It's not going to happen. 

Much like Virginia, there are just wayyyyyy too many weapons on Duke. Michigan did a perfectly fine job at limiting the damage CJ Kirst did to them last week against Cornell. But Duke has like 3 CJ Kirst's on offense. Michigan might have enough magic left in them to make this game interesting in the 1st half. But there will be a span of like 4 minutes at some point in this game where Duke scores a million goals in a row and Michigan won't even have time to blink before they realize what happened. 

Jordie's Pick: Duke

Sunday, 12pm // #6 Penn State vs #13 Army // ESPNU

It's been so long since we've had a service academy in the Final Four, and I'd love for that streak to come to an end this week. Army has been playing some great lacrosse all season long. They won the Patriot League tournament, and have only lost 3 games all season by a combined 4-goals. They had a 1-goal loss to Cornell in April, a 1-goal loss to BU to close out their regular season, and a weird loss to UMass to start the year. So teams are never going to be able to fully put Army away. 

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Penn State had a great bounce back year so far after a dog shit 2022 campaign. They were regular season Big Ten champs, and technically could be considered Ivy League champs as well after they went on a 3-week stretch of beating Yale, Penn and Cornell in the regular season.

I think these two teams are about as evenly matched as it gets. Both teams have really balanced scoring. Both teams are riding a hot goalie. Both teams can get some extra possessions in the faceoff-X. This is about as much of a coin flip as you can ask for. The only two things I'll say give Army the advantage here is that 1) the game is being played at the Naval Academy which should give them some extra juice, and 2) they have a kid on their team named Gunnar Fellows. That's a fucking sick name. Hard to lose with a name like that. 

Jordie's Pick: Army in OT 

Sunday, 2:30pm // #3 Notre Dame vs #6 Johns Hopkins // ESPNU

Two teams that haven't been back to Championship Weekend since 2015. But since 2015, these two programs have gone in totally different directions. Notre Dame has been a perennial contender every year since, and Hopkins has had some dark, dark years. 8 years and two totally different directions later, they find themselves back in the same place. 

Hopkins has done enough this year to prove that all the "Hop is back" chatter is more than just a meme. They've established an identity, they're tough to play against, and they have a couple of big time scorers like Russell Melendez and Garrett Degnon. But...I think the quarterfinals is where their ceiling is at right now. 

Meanwhile, Notre Dame is a fucking buzzsaw. Unless they're playing against Virginia, this team just brutalizes whichever opponent is in their way. They doubled up Georgetown, they beat Duke by 5, they destroyed UNC twice, they went 3-0 against the Big Ten teams they already played this season. And on Sunday, they'll make that 4-0 against Hopkins. It's only a matter of time before we get to watch the Kavanagh brothers play on Memorial Day, and here's their best chance to make it happen. 

Jordie's Pick: Notre Dame by 5.

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