PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Cole Blazer, Marquette
Libertyville, Ill., junior, goalkeeper
The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Blazer fueled the No. 4 seed Golden Eagles’ run to their second straight Big East tournament championship. Five days after failing to make a save in a 16-8 loss to Denver, he had 12 stops — including four each in the second and fourth quarters — and scored a goal on a last-second heave in an 11-8 upset of the top-seeded Pioneers in a semifinal May 4. Blazer followed that effort with an 11-save outing in a 10-9 victory over No. 3 seed Providence in the title game Saturday. Blazer, the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and a two-time All-Big East second-team selection, ranks 14th in Division I in goals-against average (8.74) and 15th in save percentage (.536).
GAME OF THE WEEK
North Carolina (8-7) @ NO. 8 seed Albany (14-2)
Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ESPNU
Outlook: Tom & Mary Casey Stadium will be rocking as the Great Danes host their first NCAA tournament game since 2007. The Tar Heels are the reigning national champions, but can senior defenseman Austin Pifani (31 ground balls, 21 caused turnovers) contain Albany junior attackman Connor Fields (51 goals, 57 assists)? The faceoff battle between North Carolina senior and Calvert Hall graduate Stephen Kelly (54.9 percent, 7.1 ground balls per game) and Great Danes freshman T.D. Irelan (72.2 percent, 11.4 ground balls) will be significant.
WEEK AHEAD FOR STATE MEN
NO. 1 Maryland (12-3)
Coming up: Vs. Bryant, Sunday, 2:30 p.m., Maryland Stadium, ESPNU
Comment: The Terps have won both meetings against the Bulldogs. Junior midfielder Connor Kelly accounted for nine of the team’s 18 goals in the Big Ten tournament en route to being named Most Valuable Player.
NO. 10 Loyola Maryland (10-5)
Coming up: At No. 3 Ohio State, Sunday, 5 p.m., ESPNU
Comment: The Greyhounds are 7-1 against the Buckeyes, who won the last meeting May 2, 2013, in an Eastern College Athletic Conference tournament semifinal, 18-11. Sophomore goalkeeper Jacob Stover (McDonogh) ranks fifth in Division I in goals-against average (7.80) and 10th in save percentage (.556).
NO. 11 Johns Hopkins (8-6)
Coming up: Vs. No. 6 Duke, Saturday, 2:30 p.m., Homewood Field, ESPNU
Comment: The Blue Jays have a 12-6 advantage in this series, but the Blue Devils have won the past two meetings. Junior midfielder Joel Tinney has scored the winning goal in four of the team’s eight victories this season.
NO. 12 Towson (10-4)
Coming up: At No. 8 Penn State, Saturday, noon, ESPNU
Comment: The Tigers have won 14 of 22 games against the Nittany Lions, who have triumphed in four of the past five contests. With five ground balls and one caused turnover in Saturday’s 9-4 victory over Massachusetts in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament final, sophomore short-stick defensive midfielder Zach Goodrich has set career highs in both departments with 42 ground balls and 10 takeaways.
15 – Consecutive appearances by Maryland in the NCAA Division I tournament, which is a nation best. The Terps also lodged their 15th straight season of at least 10 wins, which is another NCAA high.
25 – Wins amassed by senior goalkeeper Jackson Brown, which is a record in Hobart's Division I history. Brown also ranks third in saves (537), fourth in goals-against average (10.04) and fifth in save percentage (.532).
318 – Points by Brown senior attackman Dylan Molloy, which are a program record. Molloy, who also ranks third in NCAA history in goals with 197, passed Darren Lowe's mark of 316 points set in 1992.