May 23, 2009

Live Blog: NCAA Division I Men's Semifinals

LMO's staff blogs live from Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., where Duke and Syracuse throw down at 12 p.m., followed by Virginia and Cornell. Winners advance to Monday's NCAA championship game.


Syracuse 17, Duke 7

* Nims, Perritt Put 'Cuse in Repeat Position
* Perritt Sparks Syracuse's Semifinal Outburst
* Duke Offense Stifled by the Orange Crush

Cornell 15, Virginia 6

* Cornell Stuns UVA, 15-6, in NCAA Semifinal
* Complete Effort Fuels Cornell Upset
* Moran's Impact Endures on Program He Built


Post-Game Reactions/Comments

posted Saturday at 6:50 p.m. by Matt DaSilva

Well, no one saw that coming -- no one outside of Cornell's locker room anyway.

"We came into this game expecting to win from the get-go," said Big Red midfielder Max Seibald.

That much was readily apparent, as Cornell rode a hot start to a 4-1, first-quarter lead and never looked back.

"We knew we needed to get off to a strong start against Virginia," said Big Red head coach Jeff Tambroni. "We talked a lot about believing with our guys. We heard a lot from the media about how we weren't supposed to win this game and I think by starting strong early, our players could believe in themselves and play at such a high level."

With all of Virginia's big-name scorers silenced, Cornell freshman Rob Pannell was Saturday's offensive star with three goals and three assists. Fellow Big Red attackmen Ryan Hurley and Chris Finn added three goals apiece.

More post-game quotes:

"I'm at a little bit of a loss to explain what happened to us today...We just seemed a little gassed early. Cornell was clearly carrying the play to us. The big rock started rolling down the hill a little bit, and we just couldn't get our arms back around it." -- Virginia head coach Dom Starsia

"It wasn't our best day on close defense... I though Cornell was very alert around the goal. A lot of that emanates also from the fact that [John] Glynn and Seibald can kind of soften you up front. You get caught eyeballing those guys for just a little too long and Hurley and Pannell, those guys could find seams in behind our defensemen." -- Starsia

"Our best defense is our offense, and our best offense is our defense. It's comforting standing at the midfield line knowing they're going to make stops, and you don't have to worry about them letting in goals and that we're going to have to keep scoring." -- Pannell, on Cornell's defense

"We'll try to control the pace of the game a little more than we did the last time." -- Seibald on NCAA championship game opponent Syracuse, which defeated Cornell, 15-10, during the regular season.


New York State of Mind 

posted Saturday at 5:06 p.m. by Paul Krome

This one's all over but the shouting, folks. Cornell is on its way to an upset of top-seeded Virginia. The Big Red lead 15-6 with under four minutes to play, and they're milking clock despite three flags on the field for Virginia penalties.

Cornell will meet Syracuse in Monday's championship game, making it an all New York affair. It'll be the Big Red's first trip to the NCAA final since 1988, when they beat Virginia in the semis and lost to the Orange in the title matchup.

I'll forego a final post in favor of heading down for interviews. DaSilva will have the final score on the scoreboard.

Check back later for reaction on the Red's roll.


After Three: Stanwick Heating Up, but Cornell has the Answers 

posted Saturday at 4:44 p.m. by Paul Krome

Virginia's Steele Stanwick, a talented freshman attackman, is heating up, but Cornell has had the all-important answer each time.

Stanwick's netted two goals this quarter as the Cavaliers are showing some life. He scored on the crease on a feed from Danny Glading with 9:29 to play, then again on his own after several fakes at the 6:34 mark. But those goals haven't triggered runs, as Cornell's Ryan Hurley answered Stanwick's first marker on a pick-and-roll from Pannell. A couple minutes after Stanwick's solo, Rocco Romero fired a laser from about 12 yards out to maintain Cornell's seven-goal lead.

The Cavs aren't done yet. Their defense is playing with more energy, and they've stripped Cornell players a few times. But Virginia hasn't capitalized to any significant degree.

I mentioned Tambroni and the clock. He called a smart timeout with 2:18 to play. The pace had picked up, and the Cavaliers had just stripped an ambitious Cornell player executing an ill-advised one-on-two drive. A Big Red teammate was in the right place to scoop the ball, and then Tambroni decided it was time for a settle-down timeout. Ultimately, Cornell again milked time off the clock and ended the quarter with a few shot attempts.

The Big Red lead 11-4 after three quarters.

Orange Crush: Reaction from 'Cuse Rout 

posted Saturday at 4:32 p.m. by Paul Krome

A quick chat stew of comments from Syracuse's 17-7 win over Duke in the first semifinal.

Duke's Max Quinzani on playing in the semis in front of a home crowd: "The pressure was last year. I was just trying to have fun this year."

Duke coach John Danowski on the first half: "It's been a long time since we've been behind in a game, so I think we began pressing a little bit. We tried to force the ball and make plays."

Syracuse's Patt Perritt on having a career game in the semis: "On this stage it's nice to come out and be able to play like that. ... Coach said during the week just try and place the ball. Shoot it overhand and put it to the far corners and that's what I tried to do, and it worked."

Syracuse's Kenny Nims on the offense: "Any given day, someone new can have a huge day. That's been the story of our season pretty much all year, and I wouldn't be surprised if someone new stepped up and had a huge game on Monday."

Syracuse coach John Desko on neutralizing Duke's speed: "We really felt that Duke concentrates on the center of the field, that they want to go after ground balls and get possessions there and beat you there. So we challenged our group all week to say, 'Hey, this is their game. I think it's our game.' They did a good job of understanding that and performing today."

Halftime: Seeing Red 

posted Saturday at 4:08 p.m. by Paul Krome

No other way to describe it. Starsia must be howling mad as Cornell is patiently and accurately finding the right man to shoot in the right spot. The Big Red lead at the break, 8-2, and they've gotten the crowd on their side.

Cornell has controlled the tempo, and that's included a fast break when the opportunity presented itself. With about three minutes left, LSM Chris Livadas got the ball in the back end, fed a streaking Pierce Derkac, who found Austin Boykin in the center of the field. Boykin fed Pannell, who turned and scored.

Ten seconds later, Mike Timms was flagged for a push. The Big Red converted the EMO when Chris Finn snuck into a hole in the Cavalier zone, caught a feed from Pannell and scored.

Virginia's Shamel Bratton ended a 17:32 scoreless streak with a left-handed runner, but it was a one-on-one affair. Mostly, Cornell's defense has cut off the Cavs' shooting angles.

Tambroni's managed the clock as well. Cornell has ignored three stall warning and chewed up possession time on various occasions.

John Glynn hasn't been an offensive factor other than taking every faceoff. Starsia said earlier this week he thought the more Glynn faced off, the more likely that Glynn might assume a secondary role up front. That's happened, but it hasn't made a difference as Pannell (2g, 2a) is quarterbacking the offense effectively.

PB Nuggets: It's Virginia's largest deficit of the season. Cornell has an 18-12 shot advantage.


Upset Brewing 

posted Saturday at 3:46 p.m. by Paul Krome

Midway through the second quarter, Virginia hasn't shown much inclination to cut into Cornell's 5-1 lead. The Big Red stretched it to four when Rocco Romero drove down the right side, past Chris Clements, and fired a rocket past Adam Ghitelman 37 seconds into the period.

Since then, Shamel Bratton misfired a basic pass and the Cavs attempted some poorly advised shots. On occasion, Virginia's had people open, but Cornell has collapsed effectively. Tambroni said he wanted his defense to not get caught up in individual defense on Virginia's "names," just play good team defense and make sure the seven on the back end corralled Virginia's six. They've done that, as Virginia hasn't scored in more than 15 minutes.

Another Cavalier turnover with six minutes to play.


After One: Cornell Up, 4-1 

posted Saturday at 3:32 p.m. by Paul Krome

Virginia hasn't looked like itself. Steve Giannone threw away a pass without any pressure just a few minutes in. There hasn't been much flow from the Cavs offensively. Even Danny Glading's goal came on a one-on-several effort. He was falling away from a double team as his shot beat Jake Myers.

Dom Starsia called timeout with 2:34 to go in the midst of another uninspired possession. His message didn't get through. While Giannone found Steele Stanwick relatively open about 6 yards away from the creese, Mas Feely separated Stanwick from the ball. Cornell was able to milk the quarter's final two minutes and protect its legs and a 4-1 lead.

Cornell's John Glynn and Virginia LSM Chad Gaudet exclusively have gone at it in faceoffs. That matchup stands tied at three.

Good to see the Cornell band belting out the school's fight song after Big Red goals and entertaining fans at the break. I prefer this over the alleged sports music piped in through the stadium's sound system.

Press box nuggets: Cornell is 11-0 when leading after one and 11-1 when scoring first. Virginia is 2-2 when trailing after one. Cornell outshot the Cavs, 10-4.


Cornell Asserts Early 

posted Saturday at 3:17 p.m. by Paul Krome

Cornell wanted to control tempo and work for good shots, and it's worked thus far - even when it hasn't worked. The Big Red have surged ahead 3-1 in a half-field game with 5:35 to go in the first quarter.

Rob Pannell found Ryan Hurley on the doorstep for an extra-man goal to give Cornell that cushion at the 9:27 mark. About a minute prior, the passing game clicked, sort of. Pannell fed Hurley near the crease, but he dropped the ball. Jonathan Thomson scooped the loose ball and scored.

Cavalier defenseman Matt Kelly is indeed guarding Pannell - as so in the teams' first matchup - but despite the lefty-on-righty presence, Pannell has been able to find his teammates.


Brian Carroll Starts in Midfield for Cavs 

posted Saturday at 2:53 p.m. by Paul Krome

Starters announced. Brian Carroll, not Kevin, starts in midfield for the Cavaliers. Likely a misprint on info distributed to media. Game clock set at 15:00. As soon TV is ready, I guess we'll play ball.


Cornell-Virginia Pregame 

posted Saturday at 2:45 p.m. by Paul Krome

I've assumed command of the live game blog after DaSilva and Ohanian headed to the press conference room -- with a stop by the former at a men's room along the way, no doubt -- for interviews with players and coaches from Syracuse's 17-7 thumping of Duke.

The Big Red and the Cavaliers are warming up. The stadium scoreboard clock is set to hit 0:00 shortly before 3 p.m. Hopefully they'll get the hoopla done fast so we can get this one underway.

As most of you know, this game represents basically a non-rivalry, as the teams have met just seven times (Virginia leads, 5-2) and five of those have come in the NCAA tournament. Cornell coach Jeff Tambroni noted at media day that it's tough to attact southern teams to Ithaca, N.Y., for games and expressed gratitude that Virginia signed a four-year deal with his school. The Cavaliers used a second-half comeback to beat the Big Red, 14-10, in Charlottesville on March 8.

Virginia's talent needs little additional commentary, but Tambroni did note that his team wore down in the second half in part because it was the Big Red's third game, compared to Virginia's seventh. He and attackman Rob Pannell expressed a need for Cornell to control the pace of the game in order to stay in it in the second half. We'll see how it all plays out.

Here are your projected starters.

Cornell:

A Rob Pannell
A Ryan Hurley
A Chris Finn
M John Glynn
M Rocco Romero
M Max Seibald
D Matt Moyer
D Mike Howe
D Max Feely
G Jake Myers

Virginia:

A Garrett Billings
A Danny Glading
A Steele Stanwick
M Shamel Bratton
M Kevin Carroll
M Steve Giannone
D Ken Clausen
D Matt Kelly
D Ryan Nizolek
G Adam Ghitelman

Check out the Blog from the ‘Boro for other nuggets from today and the rest of the weekend. I'll check in with updates and comments.


Final: Syracuse 17, Duke 7

posted Saturday at 2:22 p.m. by Matt DaSilva

Lights out.

Syracuse picked Duke apart even further in the fourth quarter, never relenting in a fish-in-a-barrel type shooting performance en route to a 17-7 victory in the first NCAA Division I men's lacrosse semifinal Saturday at Gillette Stadium.

Duke's frustration became evident in the form of penalties in the fourth quarter, including two unsportsmanlike penalties. The Orange capitalized with two extra-man goals - both by Tim Desko.

The 17 goals were the most scored by Syracuse in an NCAA semifinal since an 18-17 loss to Maryland in 1997. Duke last allowed 17 goals in a 2004 loss to Maryland.

Some key stats: Syracuse won 18 of 27 faceoffs. Kenny Nims and Pat Perritt led all scorers with four goals apiece, with each also adding an assist. Cody Jamieson added two goals and an assist as the Orange's fourth attackman. Zach Howell and Max Quinzani led Duke with three goals apiece.

I'm handing the reins over to PK for the Cornell-Virginia semifinal, but be sure to check back here for post-game comments, reactions and more coverage from this game, as Syracuse advances with the chance to become Division I's first repeat national champion since Princeton won three in a row from 1996 to 1998.


Third Quarter: Syracuse 14, Duke 6

posted Saturday at 1:56 p.m. by Matt DaSilva

It didn't take Syracuse long to reassert itself coming out of halftime. Seven seconds, actually.

Jake Moulton won the opening faceoff of the third quarter and caught Duke off guard by taking a shot himself, scoring just the second goal of his career to put ‘Cuse up 9-4 at the 14:53 mark.

And for Duke, the bleeding never stopped.

Syracuse has turned this NCAA semifinal into a blowout, with the Orange closing the third quarter on a 4-0 run.

I'd hate to be Blue Devils' midfielder Steve Schoeffel today. He continues to get victimized by Syracuse's Pat Perritt, who now has a career-high four goals, including the off-speed bouncer that evaded Duke goalie Rob Schroeder with 26.2 seconds remaining in the third quarter to give ‘Cuse the 14-6 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.

Duke has not allowed this many goals since a 16-9 loss at Ohio State on April 3, 2004.

The major difference between these teams: Syracuse's Matt Abbott and Jovan Miller are not liabilities like Duke's short sticks. The Orange can continue to push out on the Blue Devils without worrying about those guys getting beat.

Also of note: Stephen Keogh's goal at the 2:29 mark was his 47th of the season, tying him for 10th place on Syracuse's single-season list with Paul Gait, Tom Marechek and Mikey Powell. Pretty heady company, huh?


Halftime: Syracuse 8, Duke 4

posted Saturday at 1:07 p.m. by Matt DaSilva

Now this is the up-and-down, run-and-gun affair the NCAA wanted.

Duke started it just 11 seconds into the second quarter with a text-book fast break off the faceoff that looked like a rapid feeding clinic. Ned Crotty wheeled the ball back to faceoff man Sam Payton, who dished to Max Quinzani on the crease to close within 4-3.

Syracuse turned the tables just a minute later, with Kenny Nims finding Cody Jamieson on the crease. Jamieson had a nifty catch, turn and finish before Duke's defense could react.

The pace hastened from there. Duke ran into some hard luck, hitting two pipes, and a heating-up John Galloway. Syracuse's sophomore goalie made two sprawling saves to hold the Blue Devils at bay.

On the opposite end, Syracuse's Pat Perritt swam over Duke's Steve Schoeffel and fired a low bouncer past Blue Devils goalie Rob Schoeder to make it 6-3 ‘Cuse at the 7:28 mark.

Duke midfielder Brad Ross scored on a time-and-room shot 22 seconds later to close within 6-4.

It was nearly nine minutes into the second quarter before there was a settled possession. Syracuse showed its versatility by scoring out of the 6-on-6 set, with Perritt -- who has picked his spots at will -- potting his third goal of the game on a low-to-high shot in the cage's upper-right corner with 4:40 remaining in the second quarter.

Twenty-seven seconds later, Jamieson took Duke short stick Andrew Rullan top side and stuck his second goal of the game to give Syracuse an 8-4 lead.

The Orange has done an efficient job of finding and exploiting the short-stick matchups, while the Blue Devils have been prone to turnovers on their offensive end. Look for some adjustments from Duke in the second half, specifically on the defensive end.


First Quarter: Syracuse 4, Duke 2

Syracuse just dealt Duke two crushing blows in the last minute.

After 'Cuse long pole Joel White scored on a low bouncer at the 7:13 mark to put the Orange up 2-0, the Blue Devils answered. Ned Crotty and Zach Howell connected twice, the second time on a pretty extra-man feed by Crotty on the doorstep that tied the game at 2 at the 4:32 mark.

After the teams exchanged rapid possessions, with both Syracuse's John Galloway and Duke's Rob Schroeder calmly reining in saves, 'Cuse looked to perhaps settle for a final possession with under a minute remaining. An opportunistic Pat Perritt snuck a goal between Schroeder's right leg and the pipe with 35.3 seconds remaining.

Duke won the ensuing faceoff, but turned the ball over. Syracuse got it behind to Kenny Nims who took defenseman Mike Manley on an inside roll. Ryan McFadyen was late to slide and Nims shot it high past Schroeder for a goal with one second remaining in the quarter.

Syracuse outshot Duke 11-9 in the first quarter and scooped twice as many ground balls (12-6). Schroeder made five first-quarter saves; Galloway made four.


Daniello, Not Jamieson Starting

posted Saturday at 12:02 p.m. by Matt DaSilva

Only deviation from the projected starters to today's actual starters: Syracuse attackman Chris Daniello will get the start, rather than Cody Jamieson. How will Jamieson be dispatched? We'll see.


Duke, Syracuse Set to Square Off

posted Saturday at 11:36 a.m. by Matt DaSilva

Greetings from Gillette Stadium.

Note for those already planning to attend the NCAA men's lacrosse championships when they return here in 2012: leave early. That is, unless you like driving at a snail's pace down Route 1 while suburban white kids in tank tops and aviators blare Lil' Wayne from their SUVs.

At least the overcast weather has not done anything to dampen the spirits of these fans, who are beginning to filter in as Duke and Syracuse warm up on the field.

For those watching on ESPN2 at home, I've got a favor to ask you. Please keep a tally of every time Quint Kessenich refers to lacrosse as "the revolution."

Seriously, though, comment below and let us know how the broadcast is going, as play-by-play man Dave Ryan and color commentator Kessenich have generally stepped up their games this season. The seven-overtime epic between Maryland and Virginia was made for TV, and Kessenich, for one, capitalized.

Duke-Syracuse is one of those matchups you'd love to see more often in lacrosse. They have not met since the 2002 NCAA quarterfinals. Syracuse won, 10-9.

Here are the projected starters for Syracuse:

A Stephen Keogh
A Kenny Nims
A Cody Jamieson
M Dan Hardy
M Matt Abbott
M Pat Perritt
D Sid Smith
D John Lade
D Matt Tierney
G John Galloway

For Duke:

A Max Quinzani
A Zach Howell
A Ned Crotty
M Brad Ross
M Justin Turri
M Steve Schoeffel
D Parker McKee
D Mike Manley
D Ryan McFadyen
G Rob Schroeder

Check out the Blog from the ‘Boro for some story lines coming into today. I'll check in with quarterly updates and comments.

This should be a fun one, with explosive, run-and-gun offenses combating each other.


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