May 16, 2014

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Ten-2-Watch: Finally, The NCAA Dance is Here

by Lacrosse Magazine staff | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

Each week, the Lacrosse Magazine staff picks and previews of the weekend's best, from all levels of the college landscape. Use #Ten2Watch to discuss the games to come, and tweet @LacrosseMag to make your own picks. Also make sure to vote in our LaxMagazine.com Fan Vote Game of the Week.












Last Week 5-5 4-6 5-5 5-5 6-4 6-4 5-5 4-6 5-5 4-6 5-5 6-4
Overall 78-42 75-45 73-47 71-49 71-49
70-50 70-50 70-50 68-52 65-55 65-55 65-55













W:BC@SYR SYR  SYR SYR SYR SYR SYR BC SYR SYR SYR SYR SYR
M:ALBvND ALB ALB ALB ALB ALB ALB ALB ND ND ALB ALB ALB
W:DUK@MD MD MD MD DUK MD MD MD MD MD MD MD MD
M:MDvBRY MD MD MD MD MD MD MD MD MD MD ND BRY
W:UVA@UNC UNC UNC UNC UNC UNC UNC UNC UNC UNC UNC UNC UNC
M:DUKvJHU DUK DUK JHU DUK DUK DUK JHU DUK JHU DUK DUK DUK
W:NW@FLA FLA NW FLA NW NW FLA FLA NW FLA NW NW FLA
M:DRE@DEN DEN DEN DRE DEN DEN DEN DEN DEN DEN DEN DRE DEN
W3:MID@GET GET GET GET GET GET GET GET GET GET GET MID GET
M3:TUF@RIT RIT RIT RIT TUF RIT RIT TUF RIT RIT RIT RIT RIT


WD1: No. 7 Boston College (15-5) at No. 2 Syracuse (19-2)

  
The attention is on the high-powered Albany offense, but Notre Dame is seasoned out of the ACC. (Dirk Dewachter)

Saturday, 1 p.m.

Boston College has made a name for itself this season as a team that is now a force to be reckoned with after once being considered the laughing stock of the ACC. During the regular season, they played each of their ACC foes to a close battle. Three games worthy of note were against teams that have been No. 1 at least once during the season – a one-goal loss to both Maryland and North Carolina and a two-goal loss to Syracuse. The Eagles have earned their second shot at Syracuse after defeating NEC champion Bryant 17-9 and first-time Patriot League champion Loyola 8-3. Junior Covie Stanwick led her squad to its most recent win against the Greyhounds with three goals and an assist, pushing them into the quarterfinals. For the season, she leads with 84 points from 47 goals and 37 assists. Also strong offensively is Mikaela Rix with 72 points, but she is also a threat in the center circle controlling 73 draws thus far. As the No. 2 seed, Syracuse advanced after a first-round bye and a 13-6 win over Stony Brook. The Orange is led by two Tewaaraton finalists on attack – senior Alyssa Murrary and sophomore Kayla Treanor. In Division I, Treanor is tied for first in points (105) with Hopkins senior Taylor D'Amore, but will surely take over the No. 1 spot as Hopkins was eliminated in the first round. She has tallied 71 goals and 34 assists, while Murray trails with 94 points from 55 goals and 39 assists. In the midfield, Kailah Kempney has controlled 100 draws for the Orange. Will the No. 7 seed Eagles fly to victory and bring an unexpected upset to Syracuse?

MD1: Albany (12-5) vs. No. 6 Notre Dame (10-5)

Saturday, 2:30 p.m. at Hofstra University (ESPN2)

You almost feel for Notre Dame on this one, as the No. 6 Irish have received scant attention since their first-round win over Harvard - a complete performance 13-5 victory over a very good Crimson team. But, the dueling stories out of the first round have been on Bryant, with its marquee upset over the No. 2 seed Syracuse and Albany, which upset No. 3 seed Loyola and has the Thompson's at the helm grabbing the lacrosse world's rapt attention. While Albany can score in bunches, so can the Iris, who have scored 46 goals in their last three games and hold victories over tournament teams Maryland, Syracuse and the Crimson since the start of the ACC tournament. The Great Danes may be getting all the eyeballs for what their offense and the Thompsons do up front, but their first round victory was a function of their defense, which forced Loyola out of its game plan and kept them off-balance all day in round one. If they can step up again, the Cinderella story could roll all the way to the NCAA semifinals.

WD1: Duke (11-7) at No. 1 Maryland (20-1)

Saturday, 1 p.m.

The lone unranked team left in the NCAA Tournament is Duke, a squad that finished the regular season fairly average at 9-6 and fell unexpectedly to Virginia in the ACC tournament. Entering the postseason, they defeated Stanford 13-8 and then knocked off the tourney's eighth seed Notre Dame 10-8. Now, the Blue Devils have advanced to face the top seeded Maryland Terrapins, which, after a slow start due to their two weeks off, downed Ivy tournament champion Penn 13-5. The Terps boast the fourth best scoring offense with 14.81 goals per game, as well as the third best in draw controls led by Tewaaraton finalist Taylor Cummings, who captured 10 of her team's 17 draw controls against Penn. For the season, she has 111 draw controls. Cummings also has 77 points (54 goals, 23 assists), 34 ground balls and 28 caused turnovers. Offensively, Brooke Griffin leads in goals with 56 for the Terps, while Kelly McPartland leads in assists with 30. On the defensive end, Tewaaraton finalist Megan Douty has tallied 30 ground balls and 18 caused turnovers as the go-to one-on-one defender for the Terps. For Duke, senior Maddy Morrissey was instrumental in edging Notre Dame with her career-high six points. Kerrin Maurer commands the Blue Devils offense with 84 points (55 goals, 29 assists), while Taylor Virden has been key in the midfield with 61 draw controls, 37 ground balls and 26 caused turnovers. These two squads will meet again as familiar ACC foes after the Terps cruised past Duke 19-10 on the first of March.

MD1: No. 7 Maryland (12-3) vs. Bryant (16-4)

Saturday, 12 p.m. at Hofstra University (ESPN2)

Managing the emotional hangover from a program-defining first-round win over Syracuse at the Carrier Dome will be the name of the game for the Bulldogs as they play the first quarterfinal tournament game in the school's brief Division I history to open the weekend at Hofstra. With stars Kevin Massa at the X and Gunnar Waldt in net, Bryant faces a Maryland team that counters with Charlie Raffa and Waldt's big competiton for the first-team AA spot in net, Niko Amato. As coach Mike Pressler says, confidence is going to be key for Bryant against the storied Maryland program that has reached the NCAA finals twice under John Tillman, most recently in 2012. "When you believe it and expect it and [a victory like the one over Syracuse] happens, you're not surprised or shocked," he told Gary Lambrecht. For Maryland, neutralizing the Bryant advantages over most teams at X and in net will go a long way, but will want to avoid getting into a big hole like it did last week against Cornell before storming back for a Mike Chanenchuk game-winner in the final seconds.

WD1: No. 6 Virginia (11-8) at No. 3 North Carolina (15-4)

Saturday, 2 p.m.

As a surprise to many with a 10-8 record, Virginia earned the No. 6 seed going into the NCAA Tournament, but with its 13-11 win over Princeton in the second round, the Cavaliers are trying to prove many people wrong and show they deserved that seeding. The true test will come down to this weekend as they face familiar ACC rival North Carolina, which was seeded third. During the regular season, the Tar Heels came out on top, winning 14-10. But a lot has changed since then. North Carolina struggled late in the season with losses to Northwestern, Syracuse and Duke, but then turned it around with a win over Georgetown in the first round when senior Abbey Friend made history. With four goals and an assist, she became the program's career goal leader while also tying the single-season goal record. Friend now has 195 goals in her career and this season alone, she has netted 62. For the Cavaliers, Courtney Swan leads with 79 points (53 goals, 26 assists) and has also tallied 91 draw controls, 23 ground balls and 11 caused turnovers. But she doesn't want to sing her swan song just yet. Swan hopes to carry her team into the semifinals at Towson – but will North Carolina beat them to it?

MD1: No. 1 Duke (14-3) vs. Johns Hopkins (11-4)

Sunday, 12 p.m. at University of Delaware (ESPNU)

The thought of Blue Jays in the playoffs bring back mixed memories for those associated with Duke program. Johns Hopkins beat the Blue Devils by a goal in both the 2005 and 2007 national championship games. It's not the same as it was then. In fact, it's another decade. Duke has won two of the last four national championships and Johns Hopkins missed the NCAA tournament all together a season ago. Duke walloped the Blue Jays 18-5 in the first-round of the 2010 playoffs en route to the program's first title. This year, the top-seeded Blue Devils are the favorite, but does anybody really think Johns Hopkins is a typical unseeded team? There's no shortage of storylines to watch. Duke' athletic, rangy defense against Johns Hopkins two-man game oriented attack and midfield dodgers. Duke goalie Luke Aaron faces his stiffest tournament test in his second ever NCAA tournament start and Johns Hopkins goalie Eric Schneider has steadied the second half of the season. Can Hopkins' defense slow down Duke's attack or midfield? There were questions about the Duke midfield heading into the year, but Deemer Class has surpassed expectations, become the first Duke middie to put up 60 points in a single season. Myles Jones has emerged right alongside him. In a bit of coincidence, 29-year-old Duke defenseman Casey Carroll will play the team he last faced in the 2007 title game, before he joined the Army and served four deployments as an Army Ranger. And always, when Brendan Fowler is involved, watch the faceoffs. Fowler has a 60.1 win percentage and Johns Hopkins' Drew Kennedy is just percentage points behind at 59.7.

WD1: No. 5 Northwestern (13-6) at No. 4 Florida (18-2)

Saturday, 2 p.m.

In a rematch of the American Lacrosse Conference championship game, when Florida clutched the title by only one goal against Northwestern, the Wildcats will be looking for revenge in the quarterfinals this weekend. Both Florida and Northwestern earned byes the first round with their No. 4 and 5 seeds, respectively. Many predicted this matchup would happen once again, so it begs the question: did the NCAA committee plan it this way? Several factors go into seeding and the at-large bids once the automatic qualifiers are settled, but it's interesting to note that the other remaining teams are all from the ACC powerhouse, while the two ALC teams are placed in the same bracket and just happen to meet once again. It looks like third time's the charm. The Gators defeated the Wildcats 13-12 in the regular season, then again in the conference title game 9-8. Will they be able to do it again? Their squad is led by nationwide goal scorer and Tewaaraton finalist Shannon Gilroy, who has docked 103 points (83 goals, 20 assists), 81 draw controls, 23 ground balls and 23 caused turnovers. For the Wildcats, Alyssa Leonard boasts the most points with 47 from 37 goals and 10 assists, as well as the most draw controls with 153.

MD1: Drexel (13-4) vs. No. 5 Denver (15-2)

Sunday, 2:30 p.m. at University of Delaware (ESPNU)

You can bet the residents of Coquitlam, British Columbia will be finding ways to follow Sunday's Drexel-Denver matchup in Newark, Delaware. The former is the hometown of Drexel's leading scorer and CAA Player of the Year Ben McIntosh (46 goals), and the Dragons' 35-goal redshirt freshman Cole Shafer, as well as Denver's leading goal scorer Wesley Berg (42). In all there are 10 Canadians between the team teams, six on Drexel and four on Denver. Nick Saputo, a Long Island boy, led the highlight reel for the Dragons in the first round, scoring back-to-back goals five seconds apart off his own faceoff wins to give Drexel a 7-6 lead over Penn. It never trailed after that. Denver has won 12 in a row and took care of North Carolina with a strong defensive performance in the first round. With a win the Pioneers will make their third final four in four seasons under coach Bill Tierney. Drexel has won nine in a row, and at this point of the year, each win is a history-making one. It started with a pair of OT wins in the CAA tournament to give the Dragons their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance and they got their first tournament win a week ago. Is a final four berth in the cards?

WD3: Middlebury (12-5) at Gettysburg (17-2)

Saturday, 11:30 a.m.

This weekend’s NCAA tournament games at Gettysburg will provide a nice warmup for next weekend’s Final Four, which will also be hosted by the Bullets. Its first game should be a great one. These two historically dominant squads were hurtling toward an NCAA quarterfinal matchup in Vermont last spring, before RPI stunned Gettysburg in the Round of 16. So now, for the second straight season, only one of these two teams will be playing in the NCAA quarterfinals. Gettysburg has lost just two games, by a combined two goals in overtime, this season, but this is their first shot a team from the NESCAC. Middlebury, which reached the NCAA tournament as a Pool C team after being bounced in the first round of the NESCAC tournament, buried Gettysburg’s Centennial rival Franklin & Marshall, 14-5, earlier this season. Middlebury swung through Gettysburg on its Spring Break trip last year and took down the Bullets, 14-11. Middlebury has reached the past two Final Fours and Gettysburg still returns plenty from its 2011 NCAA championship team, but for one team, the ride ends this weekend.

MD3: Tufts (19-2) at No. 1 RIT (20-0)

Sunday, 2 p.m.

So you say you like scoring? Well, Sunday's North region final features the first (Tufts, 18.8 goals per game) and third (RIT, 17.1) highest scoring teams in the country, and both the Jumbos and Tigers boast a staggering array of offensive weapons. Both squads also do the little things that typically translate into goals. They both have above above-average faceoff units, they ride particularly hard and they are ruthless when given man-up opportunities.

Tufts and RIT also have underrated defenses that have statistically given up plenty of goals -- 9.91 for the Jumbos, 8.25 for the Tigers -- but that's often the product of the style of game the like to impose on their opponent. What will happen when they try to run their system against a team that loves doing the same thing? Well, that's why Sunday will be must-watch lacrosse.


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