5/25/23 – The 2023 Men’s National Championship has quickly approached and the field is now cut down to four (Duke, Virginia, Notre Dame, and Penn State). Three Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) teams are still alive and one Big Ten school. Here is an overview of what it will take for the final four teams to win it all:
No. 1 Duke (15-2):
The Blue Devils of Duke University are coming off of a dominant win over red-hot Michigan. Duke stopped the cinderella run of the Wolverines. Brennan O’Neill has had an insane season and throughout the tournament, he keeps getting better and better. Dyson Williams is also a name that can take Duke to the promise land. Duke needs to contain on defense. They have the offensive fire-power to be champions but they cannot just rely on O’Neill to take them there. The Blue Devils are coming off arguably the most dominant quarterfinal win, which will likely help them to win it all.
No. 2 Virginia (13-3):
Virginia, the second of three ACC schools in the final four. The Cavaliers are a very well balanced team with stars all over the field. Redshirt junior Connor Shellenberger has excelled when it matters most with a 6 goal performance against Georgetown. Petey LaSalla is one of the best FOGO’s in the country and shined in the quarterfinals. Virginia capitalizes when everyone is playing well together as a team with not just one player shining throughout.
No. 3 Notre Dame (12-2):
The Kavanagh duo is a highlight real just waiting to happen. Pat Kavanagh is the distributor while Chris Kavanagh is the scorer. All three ACC schools have taken games from one another making the debate for who is truly the best in the country a toss up every week. A national championship win is really the one aspect that will decide that this point in the season. In a 12-9 win in the quarterfinals against John’s Hopkins, Jake Taylor and Jack Simmons each tallied three goals a piece. The Kavanagh’s were shut down for long periods of time in the game, but the Fighting Irish have the talent to have players step up at any given moment.
No. 5 Penn State (11-4):
Penn State is the lone Big Ten school left and the only program that is not a member of the ACC. The Nittany Lions are definitely the biggest underdog going into championship weekend. Penn State played a close fourth quarter with Army but then went ahead going into halftime. However, they allowed Army to climb back into the ballgame. The game came down to the final second and Penn State held on 10-9. This drama in a contest is not going to work out well for Penn State if they want to etch their name in the record books. Penn State, however, will likely have to play the “Army role” from behind this weekend being the lowest seed remaining.