No. 8 Loyola (3-0) at No. 11 Duke (2-2)
Friday, 7 p.m.
About Loyola: The Greyhounds are off to a 3-0 start for the second straight year, but they face their stiffest test yet in the Blue Devils. Loyola has been fueled by its starting attack of sophomore Mike Sawyer (nine goals), senior Matt Langan (2, 7 assists) and sophomore Patrick Fanshaw (4, 1), but the offense needs more production from the midfield. A defense anchored by senior goalkeeper Jake Hagelin and senior defenseman Steve Dircks has surrendered an average of 5.3 goals, which is tied for fifth in Division I.
About Duke: The Blue Devils may have resurrected their season with their overtime upset of then-No. 3 Maryland last Saturday. Senior attackman Zach Howell has recorded 12 goals and two assists, but freshman attackman Jordan Wolf was the hero against the Terps with his three-goal performance, including the game-winner in overtime. Sophomore goalie Dan Wigrizer, who matched a career high with 17 saves against Maryland, was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Week.
Outlook: Duke has beaten Loyola in eight of the teams' past nine meetings, and gets to play a night game on familiar turf. But can the Blue Devils ensure that the team that struggled in a 7-3 loss to Penn doesn't resurface? The key for the Greyhounds is pouncing on ground balls and quelling any Duke rallies, especially in transition.
No. 11 Virginia (3-2) at No. 7 North Carolina (4-2)
Saturday, 1 p.m.
About Virginia: The Cavaliers dropped their ACC opener to Maryland a week ago, so they want to even their record in a hot conference race. Severna Park graduate Julie Gardner (12 goals, 9 assists) leads a balanced attack averaging 13.6 goals, but they put up more than 20 twice, including 21 on Syracuse.
About North Carolina: In their ACC opener, the Tar Heels aim to build on Monday's 13-3 win over Denver which followed losses to Northwestern and Penn. They average 10.7 goals, led by North Harford graduate Corey Donohoe (19 goals, 4 assists), who is closing in on the school scoring records.
Outlook: The series between the two perennial NCAA tournament contenders is tied at 12, but the Tar Heels have won three of the past four, including their 2010 NCAA quarterfinal. The Cavaliers' young midfield has come along quickly and a lot of players can score, but the defense has given up five goals more per game than Carolina and they may struggle to contain Donohoe.