The Face-off (formerly known as ULN Staff Picks) is back and in a slightly different format. We used to ask a few staff members to submit their picks each week, but The Face-off will now feature Team Haslam v. Team Nelson. Tim Haslam and Steve Nelson will pick a person in the lacrosse community to pick for their team. This week will feature Pete Stevenson (Team Haslam) and Jordan Harris (Team Nelson).
Olympus @ Skyline
PS: Got to go with my first coach Marty on this one. Don’t these two teams play for a rock or something? Loser buys Hector’s? Olympus by 3.
JH: At first glance both these teams have had pretty similar years. Both have only beaten 1 team with a winning record. Both are riding two game losing streaks, and neither of them were really competitive in the losses. Both have had games that they would probably like to replay. The Bountiful game for Olympus, and the Judge game for Skyline. Both teams are right near that lower bubble for Division 1 and would benefit greatly from the win. (That’s a story for another day about how using Laxpower PR IN to seed 3 tournaments is ridiculous. Shameless plug: Read The Great Debate about this very topic!)
Lane Kadish has been a literal “do-it-all” player for the Eagles. In addition to leading the team in points (5.22 PPG), he is also by far their best face-off man (72%). The drop-off in production after Kadish is steep. Olympus is a bit more of a balanced team with 3 players averaging over 4 PPG (Trusting high school stats at my own peril here).
Coach Wescott will have a plan for Kadish. I don’t think you can stop him, but you do what you can to wear him out and minimize his impact. I favor balance over superstars, so I’m going to go with Oly by 1 in a nail-biter.
Juan Diego @ Brighton
PS: The greatest part about going to a Brighton home game is the taco truck. Good lacrosse is just a bonus! This could be the toughest test the Bengals have faced this season, at least in-state, but they should easily get by JD. It’s a marquee match-up though that could be a foreshadow for May 21. Brighton by 5 – 1 Chicken, 1 Carne Asada and 1 Al Pastor to go please.
JS: Tough to bet against Brighton in any game this year. They have been a buzzsaw against Utah competition, with the closest game being against Corner Canyon. Even then it was still a 5 goal game. Bubba Fairman is coming off a 9 (!!!) goal performance against Bingham. As I said earlier, trusting High School stats can be a risky move, but according to the stats he is scoring on 77% of his shots. Even if that’s 20% off, it’s still impressive. Brighton is lacking the dominate face-off player they have had in the past, and Tristan Courtney is at almost 60% on the year for JD. If JD wants to get the upset, they need Courtney to dominate. The best way to stop Brighton’s offense is to keep the ball from them.
I pegged Brighton as the team to beat pre-season, and I haven’t seen anything to change my mind. I see the Bengals by 3+ in this one.
Herriman @ West Jordan
PS: Herriman is just too much to handle at this point in the season. Mustangs run rampant over the Jags, 8-4.
JS: So far Herriman and West Jordan have played two common opponents, Riverton and Jordan. In those two games Herriman was +12 and West Jordan was +3. I don’t love comparing games like that, every matchup is unique, but I think it’s indicative of a trend. Herriman hasn’t been held under 10 goals this year, and West Jordan’s offense has been kept under 10 in 3 of the last 4 games.
I think Herriman’s offense is too much. Herriman wins by 4.
Copper Hills @ Jordan
PS: Copper Hills close loss to Herriman is giving me the reason to go with them. Copper Hills wins 11-10.
JH: Both Copper Hills and Jordan lost heartbreaks to good teams in their last game, Herriman and West Jordan respectively. Copper Hills has been competitive in all their games this year, the largest margin defeat is just 2. They are on the brink of being a top 10 team with a little more time. Jordan’s average margin of defeat is 5.33, but that includes an 11 goal loss to the extremely talented Miners of Park City.
My gut tells me to go with Copper Hills, but my heart says to go with my namesake. I’ll take Jordan by 1.
Colorado Mesa @ Westminster – Mens
PS: The second match-up of the year ends the same as last time. 13-6 for The Fighting Mason’s.
JH: Westminster kicked off their D-II campaign with a bang the first game of the year by not just beating CMU, but crushing them by 8. Minus a slip-up against Whittier, the Griffins have been perfect in their inaugural campaign. The Griffins have been in some close games recently, including a neck and neck game with the 2-7 Adams State Grizzlies. The average margin of victory in their last 4 games is just 3. The Mavericks started off very slow, losing 4 of their first 6 games. 2 of those games were against top 25 DII teams, and the experience of playing some tough games early in the season seems to have them back on the right track. In their last 4 games they have been dominate with an average margin of victory of 7.75. CMU will come in with revenge on their mind. It’s tough to beat any team twice in a season, and even tougher to beat a league rival twice. Trends matter a lot during a course of a season, and the Mavericks are trending the right direction at the right time.
I’m taking the Mavericks over Westminster by 2 in the rematch.
Let’s hear it lax fans. Who do you see winning this week?
|Team Haslam||Team Nelson|
|Week 1||Tim Haslam||Steve Nelson|
|Fremont @ Davis (B)|
|Bingham @ Judge (B)||Judge||Judge|
|Riverton @ Herriman (G)||Herriman||Herriman|
|Davis @ Mountain Crest (G)||Davis||Davis|
|BYU @ Colorado (M)||Colorado|
|Week 2||Pete Stevenson||Jordan Harris|
|Olympus @ Skyline (B)||Olympus||Olympus|
|Juan Diego @ Brighton (B)||Brighton||Brighton|
|Herriman @ West Jordan (G)||Herriman||Herriman|
|Copper Hills @ Jordan (G)||Copper Hills||Jordan|
|Colorado Mesa @ Westminster (M)||Westminster||Colorado Mesa|