May 18, 2012

Ten to Watch: The Bracket Mayhem Continues

by LaxMagazine.com staff

After last week's quarterfinals, 10-2-W is down to the final four as the real-life playoff action on the fields continues. Coyne has made a magical run to the semifinals as the first No. 12 seed in the history of the competition to do so. Things are getting serious as four players were eliminated last week. We haven't devolved to name-calling yet, but it's pretty close.

Follow the weekend's action here at laxmagazine.com. All Times Eastern.


VS.
    

VS.
Overall 
 78-42    73-57   76-44   77-43
Seed

No. 1

  No. 12

  No. 3
  No. 2

M:HOP-MD HOP   MD   HOP   HOP
         
 

W:LOY@MD

MD

 

MD

 

MD

 

LOY

M:LIME@LEM

LIME

 

LIME

 

LIME

 

LEM

W:PSU@FLA

FLA

 

FLA

 

FLA

 

FLA

W:UNC@SYR

UNC

 

UNC

 

SYR

 

UNC

M:LOY-DEN

LOY

 

DEN

 

DEN

 

LOY

W:COR-TRN

COR

 

TRN

 

COR

 

COR

W:DUKE@NU

NU

 

NU

 

NU

 

NU

M:UVA-ND

ND

 

UVA

 

UVA

 

UVA

M:DUKE-COL

DUKE

 

DUKE

 

DUKE

 

DUKE

MD1: Johns Hopkins (12-3) vs. Maryland (10-5), Noon Saturday at Navy

NCAA Quarterfinal

Johns Hopkins and Maryland will meet for the 109th time Saturday, for the 12th time in the postseason and for the first time in the NCAA tournament since 1998. A trip to the final four is at stake, as the winner of arguably lacrosse's fiercest rivalry can punch their ticket to Foxborough. Johns Hopkins is looking to return to the NCAA semifinals for the first time since 2008, while Maryland could make it back-to-back Memorial Day Weekend appearances. Event organizers are expecting a potentially record-breaking crowd to fill Navy-Marine Corps Stadium.

The Terrapins won the mid-April meeting between these two teams 9-6 at Homewood field, as they got four second-half goals from junior attackman Owen Blye and held the Blue Jays to a season-low six goals in stunning fashion by shutting out Hopkins for the game's final 29 minutes and 17 seconds. Johns Hopkins' midfield struggled to produce against Maryland in the first matchup — a trend that has developed in each of the Blue Jays' three losses. Without junior John Greeley, who re-injured his left knee against Navy, Hopkins will rely more John Ranagan and Rob Guida. Meanwhile, Maryland's methodical offense grinds out long possessions and lulls the opposition to sleep before striking.


Like most playoff games, faceoffs will be critical to determining the outcome. Maryland's Curtis Holmes won only 4-of-14 in the first meeting, but the Terps used freshman Charlie Raffa (10-of-14) against Lehigh in their first-round win. Hopkins' Mike Poppleton was 14-for-19 in the April contest, and he'll get most of the looks Saturday.


WD1: Loyola (14-5) at Maryland (18-3), Noon Saturday

NCAA Quarterfinal

Loyola senior defender Kellye Gallagher face-guarded Erin Brennan, Penn's top assister, last week in Loyola's 10-9 OT win over the Quakers in first round. In the quarterfinals, she will likely draw Maryland's Alex Aust. The sophomore attacker has exploded for the Terps, leading her team in assists (51) and points (93), well ahead of Tewaaraton finalist Katie Schwarzmann in the latter category. Schwarzmann leads Maryland in goals (65) and is a huge threat in transition. Possessions are tough to come by in College Park, too. Terps attacker Karri Ellen Johnson is one of the best draw specialists (67) in the country. Loyola freshman Joanna Dalton only started taking the draw this year, and while she had a team-high 5 DCs versus Penn, the Greyhounds still lost the draw control battle in the first round, as they have in seven of its last eight games. It's the Hounds' high caused turnover count (214) and great goalie play from Kerry Stoothoff that has them on a four-game winning streak.


Loyola head coach Jen Adams has a tall order to defeat her alma mater, and her colleague and friend Cathy Reese. (Adams was Reese's assistant at Denver and an associate head coach at Maryland before taking over the Greyhounds' program.) The Greyhounds haven't defeated the Terps since 2003, and are 0-3 against Maryland in the NCAA tournament.


MD2: Limestone (16-1) at Le Moyne (17-0), Noon Saturday

NCAA Semifinal

When these two teams squared off last spring, Le Moyne completely dominated the faceoffs (18-for-24), held a 40-25 advantage in shots and won the ground ball battle (36-29), but the Dolphins still found themselves on the bad side of an 11-9 outcome. What made up for discrepancies for the Saints was the performance by Shayne Jackson (1g, 5a) and Riley Loewen (5g), along with goalie Steve Gartelman (11 saves).

What has changed? For Limestone, Jackson, Leowen and Gartelman are all back, along with Jake Ternosky, an OCC transfer who is the top faceoff man (217-for-312, 69.6%) in Division II. Meanwhile, Le Moyne has replaced all of its stars from last year and still managed to post a perfect season. The Dolphins methodical approach makes it difficult for everyone to match their discipline, but as Dowling found out two weeks ago, this Saints team has the firepower to overcome just about anyone.

WD1: Penn State (12-6) at Florida (18-2), 12:30 p.m. Saturday

NCAA Quarterfinal

Florida won when these teams last met in the ALC regular season on April 1, and won convincingly, 20-11, behind five goals and seven draw controls from Shannon Gilroy. More recently, Penn State was one of the last teams in the tournament as an at-large pick and downed Towson on the road last weekend in the first round, a game after which Nittany Lions coach Missy Doherty said, "I like the corner we turned in this game, in terms of competing on a national level."

But Florida has risen to the very top of the nation's elite, pretty quickly in just its third varsity season. The Gators are the top-ranked team in the tournament and ended the regular season ranked No. 1 in the nation. But they only eeked out a 6-4 win over Albany in the first round in Gainesville. Penn State is used to the surroundings having traveled there twice this season, the latter for the ALC postseason tournament a few weeks ago. But the Gators love being at home, where they are 13-1 this season.

WD1: North Carolina (15-3) at Syracuse (17-3), 1 p.m. Saturday

NCAA Quarterfinal

Both teams enter this NCAA quarterfinal coming off strong showings in last weekend's opening round. Syracuse posted its 16th victory in the past 17 games with a 15-5 win over Dartmouth, while North Carolina doubled up Navy 14-7 at home. Both teams are accustomed to playing deep into the postseason. The Orange are making their fifth quarterfinal round appearance in the past six years, and eyeing their third final four berth in five years. The Tar Heels are aiming for their fourth straight appearance at championship weekend. Syracuse is averaging nearly 15 goals per game, while UNC scores 13 per game. Both are also ranked in the top 10 nationally in defense, and both are battle tested against strong schedules in 2012. One goal will likely decide this one.

MD1: Loyola (15-1) vs. Denver (9-6), 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Navy

NCAA Quarterfinal

The top-seeded Greyhounds have turned the tables on this burgeoning ECAC rivalry with 12-9 and 14-13 (OT) victories over the Pioneers, the latter coming in the conference championship game and both happening in Denver. Loyola gets the de facto home draw this time, joining Johns Hopkins and Maryland as three of four local teams playing in the Annapolis quarterfinals. Expect a large (record?) crowd filled with sunburnt crab cake eaters. Denver coach Bill Tierney isn't buying the trite adage that you can't beat a team three times in one season. "They are one of the most complete teams I've seen in a long, long time," he said. "They're a machine." The Pioneers do boast the ultimate X-factor in Chase Carraro, who was a beast in Denver's 16-14 first-round win over North Carolina. Who will be the bigger spark plug -- Carraro or Loyola long pole/superman Scott Ratliff? The Greyhounds will need a key defensive play or two out of Ratliff as well.


I picked Denver, but the confidence rating is not that high for me. If the Pioneers defense can find some way to slow Loyola's offense enough - hot goalie, maybe - I think Denver can make their second straight final four. But it's hard to ignore that Loyola has beaten the Pioneers twice this season, both times in Denver. It would be bad way to end the season by losing the third matchup closer to home.


WD3: Cortland (20-1) vs. Trinity (Conn.) (19-1), 4 p.m. Saturday

NCAA Semifinal

Trinity established itself as the top team in the NESCAC - a conference that is sending two teams to the final four (Middlebury also qualified) - which typically makes the Bantams the favorite in every game they play. Cortland plays in the relatively weak SUNYAC (don't let the number of bids to the tourney fool you), but the Red Dragons make up for that by playing an extremely tough non-conference slate.

Both teams have huge defensive challenges. The Bantams have to find a way to tame the three-headed scoring monster of Lindsay Abbott (70g, 59a), Maria Di Fato (75g, 27a) and Erin Kollar (64g, 19a). The Red Dragons will have to slow down quarterback Liz Bruno (23g, 28a) along with snipers Hadley Duncan (55g, 5a) and Caite Irvine (46g, 5a). Ultimately, this one will be determined by the goalie that can make one or two more saves than her opponent.

WD1: Duke (12-6) at Northwestern (18-2), 8 p.m. Saturday

NCAA Quarterfinal

The Wildcats routed the Blue Devils, 13-5, back in February, but that game might not be predictive of what will happen tomorrow. It was a freezing, raining mess of a day with 24 combined turnovers and 43 combined fouls (28 of which were committed by Duke). It was also very early in the freshman season of Kerrin Maurer, who has since emerged as a double threat (24g, 24a) and points leader for the Blue Devils. Since then, Duke has had an uneven season (12-6), but it's been good enough to make it to the quarterfinal round. The Blue Devils have never won in Evanston, and senior attacker Shannon Smith burnt Duke for 5 goals back in February. Smith is currently one goal away from tying Kristen Kjellman's program record 250 goals, so she'll have extra motivation to hang a few on Blue Devils goalie Mollie Mackler (8.56 gpg).

MD1: Virginia (12-3) vs. Notre Dame (12-2), Noon Sunday at PPL Park

NCAA Quarterfinal

When coach Kevin Corrigan takes the sidelines opposite Virginia at PPL Park on Sunday, he'll be facing his alma mater and the team for which he grew up rooting. Corrigan's father, Gene, was the Cavaliers' head coach from 1959-1967 before becoming Notre Dame's athletic director and the ACC commissioner. So it'll be a bittersweet moment filled with a lifetime of memories for Kevin, who has spent the last 24 years in South Bend. It won't be the first time Virginia and Notre Dame have met, however, as the schools have played six times previously — all in Charlottesville — and Virginia has a 5-1 edge, including 3-0 in the NCAA tournament. The last meeting was a 14-10 Virginia victory in the 2006 first round.

The Fighting Irish are making their fourth quarterfinal appearance in the last five seasons, though they advanced past the Great Eight just once — in 2010, when they lost to Duke in the national title. Virginia has made it to each of the last four semifinal rounds and could make it five with a win. One of the game's most anticipated individual matchups will pit reigning Tewaaraton Award winner Steele Stanwick against Notre Dame senior stalwart defenseman Kevin Randall. They're two of the game's most intelligent, cerebral players, and they could turn in an epic one-on-on battle.

MD1: Duke (14-4) vs. Colgate (14-3), 2:30 p.m. Sunday at PPL Park

NCAA Quarterfinal

The Tewaaraton is in focus as finalists Peter Baum of Colgate and CJ Costabile of Duke square off in the NCAA quarterfinals, but the bigger key will be how the goalies respond in a battle of two high-octane offenses. You know what you're going to get out of Duke junior Dan Wigrizer -- nothing spectacular, but with big-game experience to shake off some goals. Conor Murphy, on the other hand, will make just his second career start for Colgate. His first wasn't too shabby -- 15 saves in a 13-11 first-round upset of UMass. But now there's tape on him. How will the sophomore play Sunday? That will factor prominently in this Cinderella story.


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