Jesse Kohler’s Playoff Preview: Duke vs. Denver

Since 1989 (when I witnessed the greatest lacrosse game ever played), this is one of my favorite times of the year. It seems like the “Lacrosse World” is back in balance as Championship Weekend quickly approaches.  Almost every second round match-up played out as expected.  No arguments from anyone, Duke dismantled Johns Hopkins. The Drexel Dragon’s exciting run finally ended as Denver imposed it’s offensive control and sent Coach Voelker and his squad back to sunny Philadelphia for the summer.  St. Anthony’s Prodigal Son, Mike Chanenchuk, returned to “The Island” and with the help of Joe LoCascio and Connor Cannizzaro, as they dissected an over-matched Bryant defense.  In one of the most exciting games of the season, Notre Dame defeated the trio of superheroes at Albany when the Karmic Lacrosse Gods’ show-down on Matt Kavanagh’s back-to-back solo efforts of ground ball wizardry and game-winning goal.  No matter their tournament seeds, all of these teams were good bets to make it to this point,so let’s sit back and enjoy the show.

The ultimate match-up this weekend is Saturday’s double-header, as Denver and Duke look to pop the lights on the Jumbo-Trons. The Pio’s players and fans have to love their chances.  The program continues to make the push to championship weekend, and who better to send you into battle than the seasoned and savvy T-Bone!  Denver is offensively sound and puts big numbers on the scoreboard with countless guys who create and make shots.  Factor that in, plus the chip on the Jeremy Noble and many of his teammates’ shoulders (some of whom were under appreciated and overlooked by the All-American committee) and Denver could be taking the trophy out west.  The Blue Devils are bringing it hard from all angles of the field and move very efficiently from defense to offense.  The apparent loss of Josh Dionne is tough but let’s face it, Case Matheis is battle-tested and @theBigBadWolf is the best player in college lacrosse not named Thompson.  Duke is “gonna dance with who brung’em” and ride the first midfield until their wheels fall off.  Deemer “Always keepin It” Class(y), and Myles Jones are the big guns, but hometown hero and Lake Avenue legend Christian Walsh has quietly eaten teams up with a balanced 42 points this season.  My bets are that if The Devils bring home the trophy, the guy wearing #19 plays a vital role.

I don’t know much (I’ve always been told I’m more of a face guy than a numbers man) but I do believe that you can expect to see scorin in the mid-teens when Duke and Denver come to play in the House that Ray built.