Quarterfinal weekend has arrived. That figures to be incentive enough for fans of collegiate lacrosse to take notice. But in case there are some that need convincing, there are compelling reasons to watch all of the games, even — or perhaps especially — the ones that are sequels.
Rematches tend to be inevitable at this time of year, of course. Teams with championship aspirations are encouraged to assemble strong schedules, and the universe of elite programs in Division I men’s lacrosse, though larger than it was just a decade ago, remains finite. Two of the four quarterfinal contests feature opponents that have seen each other before this season. Both of those, however, were one-goal affairs, so spectators shouldn’t mind witnessing an encore.
MATCHUPS: NCAA men’s lacrosse schedule
The Saturday sequel in Hempstead, N.Y., features fourth-seeded Notre Dame against No. 5 Denver. The former Great Western Lacrosse League rivals have maintained acquaintances since joining other leagues and manage to stage a close match every year. Their paths crossed again in the postseason two seasons ago in the semifinal round as Denver prevailed en route to the program’s first title. This season’s encounter on March 12 was another instant classic, an 11-10 win for the Pioneers on their home field courtesy of a Connor Cannizzaro buzzer beater. For the Fighting Irish to turn the tables, they’ll have to find a way to neutralize DU’s outstanding faceoff specialist Trevor Baptiste. The good news for Notre Dame is the team displayed a lot of scoring depth in last week’s 15-9 first-round win against Marquette. Two of Notre Dame’s top offensive weapons, midfielder Sergio Perkovic and attackman Ryder Garnsey, played through injuries and should be closer to full strength.
Saturday’s opening clash in Hempstead between No. 3 seed Ohio State and Duke is not a rematch, but there is plenty of…