May 15, 2012

First Impressions: WD1 Quarterfinal Matchups

by LaxMagazine.com staff

Shannon Gilroy tied a career-high with seven draw controls and scored five goal with Florida and Penn State last met April 1 in an ALC regular-season game. 
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com 

Lacrosse Magazine writers at the games over the weekend asked the winning teams about their upcoming quarterfinal matchups. Here's what they had to say.

Loyola at Maryland, Noon Saturday

The No. 6 Greyhounds needed overtime to outlast unseeded Penn, 10-9, but they did it, and will now play in their second consecutive NCAA quarterfinals. They will face No. 3 seed Maryland in College Park.

Loyola will need to clean up its act versus a veteran Maryland team that's been to three straight final fours. Against the Quakers, the Greyhounds had 13 turnovers and 25 fouls. They also lost the ground ball battle, 19-15.

"We made a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes, and we really haven't been a team that makes a lot of mistakes," said Loyola head coach Jen Adams.

The Terps beat Atlantic 10 champion UMass, 15-12, in the first round. They won out-ground balled the Minutemen, 15-10 and will enter the match-up on a seven-game winning streak.

The Terps and the Greyhounds have not met since 2008, when Maryland won 20-4. In that game, current Loyola assistant coach Dana Dobbie was a Terps midfielder. She had three draw controls, bringing her season total to 114 to set a new season NCAA record. (Dobbie finished the 2008 season with 126 DCs, a record that was broken earlier this month by Jacksonville junior defender Rachel Hannon's 131 DCs.)

Adams was also at the game, as Maryland's associate head coach alongside Terps head coach Cathy Reese. Adams will be taking on both her alma mater and her former colleague when the Greyhounds travel to College Park.

"Cathy's one of my best friends in the world, but I'd love to beat her," said Adams after the Penn win. – CLARE LOCHARY

Penn State at Florida, 12:30 p.m. Saturday

These two American Lacrosse Conference teams last met on April 1, when Florida (18-2) won, 20-11. Gators freshman Shannon Gilroy tied a personal-best with seven draw controls and scored five goals. Gilroy performed well in Florida's gritty 6-4 win over Albany in the first round of the tournament, leading her team in draw controls (five) and goals (two).

Florida's 20 goals was the most that Penn State (12-6) has allowed all year, but head coach Missy Doherty seemed confident that her team was capable of handling the top-seeded Gators after defeating Towson, 15-8, in the first round. The Nittany Lions were one of the last teams into the tournament, but they almost doubled up on the Tigers, who won the Colonial Athletic Association championship.

"Florida is an extremely athletic team, and defensively we'll be prepped to step up," said Doherty. "I like the corner we turned in this game, in terms of competing on a national level."

Doherty also shrugged off the idea of road jitters – the Nittany Lions have already traveled to Gainesville twice this season, for the April 1 game and the ALC tournament. Florida is 17-1 at home this season. – C.L.

North Carolina at Syracuse, 1 p.m. Saturday

Fourth-seeded Syracuse this regular season faced each of the top six seeds in the Division I women's tournament -- except North Carolina.

"It's an awesome opportunity because we didn't get to play UNC at all, except in fall ball," Syracuse's Michelle Tumolo said after the Orange beat Dartmouth, 15-5, in the first round at the Carrier Dome on Sunday. "It's going to be a fresh game."

This one will also be at Syracuse, where the Orange (17-3) host the fifth-seeded Tar Heels (15-3). The Orange, after going through final exams until last Wednesday and graduation the day before the Dartmouth game, will have a week of practice without any distractions.

"This was a tough week," Syracuse coach Gary Gait said after the Dartmouth win. "It will be nice this week to practice in the Dome before we get to play in it, and really take advantage of earning the home game in the next round."

North Carolina advanced to the quarterfinals with a 14-7 win over Navy, a win that came after a stretch of losing two of its previous three games (a 14-10 loss to Maryland in the ACC championship April 23 and an 8-7 decision to Northwestern April 13). – COREY McLAUGHLIN

Duke at Northwestern, 8 p.m. Saturday

After defeating Notre Dame in the first round of the NCAA Division I women's lacrosse tournament, Northwestern will host Duke in the second round.

Duke advanced to the second round with an 11-9 victory over Virginia. After a high-scoring first half, the Blue Devils held the Cavaliers to just two goals in the second half to secure the win. In what was a fairly even game, Duke got its biggest advantage from the draw, in which it doubled up on Virginia, 15-7.

The Wildcats have already taken on the Blue Devils once this season, routing Duke, 13-5, in Durham, N.C. In what was a close game at halftime, Northwestern carried the day in the second half, scoring eight of the game's 10 goals following the intermission.

The Wildcats' leading duo had its fingerprints all over the result, as Shannon Smith scored five goals and Erin Fitzgerald scored four goals, with the senior attacker also tallying an assist in Northwestern's easy victory. While the Blue Devils were heavily outpaced on the score sheet, they did manage to match the Wildcats in draw controls and ground balls, with Kim Wenger securing five draw controls and Emma Hamm securing four draw controls.

After Smith was held to just one goal and two assists on Saturday, when she scored no fewer than four goals in each of the four games that made up Northwestern's championship run last season, coach Kelly Amonte Hiller stressed that Smith had to remain calm.

"Keep doing your thing," Amonte Hiller said. "The more pressure they put on you, the more other people are going to be open and that's important for our team to realize. A lot of people stepped up [Saturday] and that's going to be important [against Duke] as well. They're going to key in on our top scorers and our top dodgers and what not, and when they do that, we got to move the ball and find the open girl." – JONAH ROSENBLUM


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