Pivotal weekend matchups
A lot of attention has been devoted to Saturday’s Smartlink Days of Rivals, which features Army against No. 12 Navy at 11:30 a.m. and No. 11 Johns Hopkins against No. 15 Maryland at about 2 p.m.
But there are some critical games involving other local teams Saturday.
* Since UMBC joined the America East conference in 2004, the Retrievers and Albany have split the league titles with UMBC winning in 2006 and 2008. The two schools will tangle Saturday, and with both teams undefeated (2-0) in conference play, the winner will likely sit in the driver’s seat to host the season-ending league tournament. The No. 7 Retrievers are just 1-2 when playing the Great Danes on their home turf, but UMBC boasts one of the most prolific midfields in Peet Poillon, Kyle Wimer and Alex Hopmann. No. 17 Albany is hopeful that senior attackman Corey Small will play for the first time since undergoing leg surgery last month.
* Despite Georgetown’s troubles this season, Loyola coach Charley Toomey has consistently held to his theory that the road to the Eastern College Athletic Conference title runs through the Hoyas. The No. 19 Greyhounds are the reigning league champions and with a 3-1 record in the ECAC, they are a half-game behind current leader Massachusetts (3-0 in the conference). But Loyola is 0-3 at Georgetown, which has won seven ECAC championships since the league was formed in 2000. The Hoyas, who upset then-No. 20 Fairfield last Saturday to improve to 1-2 in the conference, would love to play spoiler again. The Greyhounds could use another big outing from attackman Shane Koppens, who has posted six goals and four assists in his past two games against Georgetown.
* Since 2003, Towson has won three Colonial Athletic Association championships (2003-05) and Hofstra has captured two (2006 and 2008) with Delaware winning in 2007. Both teams currently sit atop the CAA standings with identical 3-0 league records. Since losing to Johns Hopkins, 12-7, on March 7, the Pride has run off five consecutive wins, including tagging No. 4 Princeton with its only loss of the season. Opponents are averaging less than seven goals per game against Hofstra. The Tigers have been on a run of their own, winning four of their past five contests. Attackman Bill McCutcheon has already surpassed last year’s total of 15 goals and six assists by recording 17 goals and 11 assists thus far. Towson is 12-5 against Hofstra when the Tigers are the hosts.
* Mount St. Mary’s has won two Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference crowns (2001 and 2003) and finished as a finalist three times (2002, 2005-06). But that pedigree won’t mean much to Providence, which won the league championship in 2004, 2006 and 2007. The Friars would appear to be marching to another title, courtesy of a 4-0 conference mark that is also shared by Marist. Prior to losing to Dartmouth on Tuesday, Providence had won five straight contests, and opponents averaged just six goals per game in the past six. The Mountaineers hold a slim 8-5 advantage over the Friars in the teams’ all-time series, but Providence has never won at Waldron Family Stadium in five contests. Freshman Cody Lehrer has scored three of Mount St. Mary’s five man-up goals.