D3 Lacrosse: Five Teams To Watch This Weekend (Feb. 12-13)

Rick Smith will be one of a few student-athletes to watch on the Illinois Wesleyan University men’s lacrosse team. (PHOTO COURTESY: Dave Naprstek)

By NoontimeSports.com

The second week of the NCAA Division III lacrosse season began Sunday — February 6, to be exact — with more teams returning to the field this weekend.

Like we did last fall during football season, we will be highlighting five teams to watch every week this spring, so without further ado, let’s highlight the squads will be keeping our eyes on this weekend!

Colorado College (men’s lacrosse): A new chapter of Tigers men’s lacrosse begins this weekend with coach Mike Horowitz leading the Black and Gold into not one, but two contests.

Colorado College will travel to Memphis, Tennessee to compete against Illinois Wesleyan University on Saturday and Grove City College on Sunday.

Anders Erickson returns for his senior season after leading the team in goals (42), assists (44), and points (86) last spring where he became the second student-athlete in program history to record at least 40 goals and assists (or more) in a single season.  

Illinois Wesleyan University (men’s lacrosse): After an impressive 2021 campaign, which saw the Titans advance to the NCAA Division III quarterfinals, the Green and White return with expectations of not just winning the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) but perhaps contending for a national title.

IWU has the potential of a deep playoff run, but before the Green and White think about postseason lacrosse they will focus their attention on this weekend’s opponents: Colorado College and Rhodes College.

Saturday’s non-conference clash between the Titans and Tigers is what we would call a must-see, must-watch contest, which will feature some talented student-athletes on both ends of the field, including Rick Smith and Max Bousky, who were named the 2021 CCIW Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year, respectively. Smith produced 74 points on 49 goals and 25 assists while Bousky tallied a career-best 178 groundballs in 15 contests, which is an average of 11.86 ground balls per game.

The Salisbury University women’s lacrosse team clinched its second perfect season in program history last spring. (PHOTO COURTESY: Joey Gardner, FotoJoe Photography)

Salisbury University (women’s lacrosse): After clinching its second perfect season in program history last May, coach Jim Nestor’s squad hopes to make a triumphant return to the national semifinals with hopes of contending for their second-straight championship.

Salisbury will take it one game at a time, the team’s motto for the 2022 campaign, which begins Saturday at Stevenson University. The two teams have not met since February 15, 2020, when the Sea Gulls soared past the Mustangs by a score of 14-2.

As expected, the Sea Gulls will be the team to watch this year, thanks to some key returners from last year’s squad, including Lydia McNulty, who produced career-highs in goals (62), points (72), ground balls (18), and caused turnovers (12). Additionally, McNulty was one of two student-athletes to locate the back of the net 11 times on 18 free position shots (Erin Scannell also converted 11 of 18 free position shots).  

Mary Clair Hisle returns between the pipes after starting all 20 games last spring.

Rhodes College (men’s lacrosse): Picked to finish second in the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) inaugural preseason poll, the Lynx will once again be a team to watch, both in and outside of their conference, as well as this weekend against Grove City and Illinois Wesleyan.

Rhodes won five of nine games last spring, but lost to Centre College twice, including the conference championship.

Matt Leone and Ryan Dancy return after leading the Red and White in scoring while Tyler Pellegrino is back – he led the unit with 10 assists.

Virginia Wesleyan University (women’s lacrosse): After producing a 2-12 season last spring, the Marlins will look to begin its 2022 campaign with a win when they welcome Methodist University to campus for a Sunday matinee.

The Marlins and Monarchs have met four times with each squad winning two matchups.

Last season, Virginia Wesleyan trimmed a 12-4 deficit at the break with 10 second-half goals, which unfortunately was not enough to defeat Methodist, which tallied eight markers during the final 30 minutes.

Mikayla Callahan returns after leading the squad with 36 draw controls while Helen Kennedy-Butler is back after an impressive first season, which saw the Bel Air, Maryland native produce a team-high 21 goals and 27 points on 41 shots (Natalie Dunn also recorded 41 shots last spring).

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