The ACC Women’s Lacrosse Tournament begins on Thursday (today) at Richmond Sports Backers Stadium in Richmond, Va. Of course the Syracuse Orange are participating, but so are seven other teams. We run down all four opening round matchups and what to expect below.
For those interested in watching, all games are available on ACC Network Extra.
11 a.m. ET: (1) North Carolina Tar Heels (13-2 overall, 6-1 ACC) vs. (8) Duke Blue Devils (8-8 overall, 1-6 ACC)
The Tar Heels (No. 2 RPI and ranked 3rd in both polls listed above) will probably lock up a top-four seed if they get to the championship game. Duke (No. 23 RPI) needs a win just to be considered for the NCAAs. If they lose, they fall below .500 will be done for the year. The problem for the Blue Devils is that they got pasted by UNC on Saturday 19-7, so they have their work cut out for them.
2 p.m. ET: (4) Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11-6 overall, 4-3 ACC) vs. (5) Boston College Eagles (12-5 overall, 3-4 ACC)
This another rematch from last Saturday, in which the Eagles surged past the Fighting Irish 16-10. With that victory, Boston College (No. 11 RPI and 12/15th ranked) should be a lock for the NCAAs. Notre Dame (No. 22 RPI and 13th ranked in both polls) should also be in as well, due to a couple big wins and being a midwestern team. In every year that I've seen, there has been one seed based around a midwestern "hub" and I don't think this year will be any different. Certainly a win for either team would help solidify their standing with the selection committee.
5 p.m. ET: (2) Syracuse Orange (13-5 overall, 5-2 ACC) vs. (7) Virginia Tech Hokies (11-7 overall, 2-5 ACC)
At this point, the Orange could still get a seed, but would likely have to get the AQ to do so. A loss on Thursday or Friday will almost certainly eliminate Syracuse from one of the top eight seeds. A lot would depend on other conferences if SU gets to Sunday and loses in the championship.
The Hokies (No. 30 RPI and 20th in the IWLCA poll) are on the bubble. A win on Thursday would go a long way towards getting them into the NCAAs. They have a couple of nice wins this year, but have lost five games in a row. A loss on Saturday could see Virginia Tech miss out yet again. In other years, I would say that their record and being in the ACC would be good enough for sure, but there are a lot of worthy bubble teams this season.
8 p.m. ET: (3) Virginia Cavaliers (10-7 overall, 4-3 ACC) vs. (6) Louisville Cardinals (11-6 overall, 3-4 ACC)
The Cavaliers (No. 10 RPI, 12/14 ranked) were in a similar position to Duke a couple of weeks ago. After a 2-4 start, Virginia has gone 8-3 since then, which includes three straight wins. I have Virginia definitely in for the NCAAs, though a win or two in the ACC Tournament certainly won't hurt. Louisville (No. 27 RPI, 18/19 ranked) says hello to the top 20 once again after their big win over Syracuse on Saturday.
I would say the Cardinals will most likely get into the NCAAs this year, with that win as well as having geography on their side (midwestern-ish team). A win over the Hoos would cement it beyond all doubt. These two teams played each other a couple of weeks ago, with Virginia pulling out an 11-7 win. Louisville led by three goals early in the game. Virginia came back to tie the game early in the second half and scored the last four goals to secure the victory.
I’ll continue to monitor the ACC Tournament throughout the weekend and get into more detail concerning the NCAA Tournament next week