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Maryland vs Duke 5/26/12 Preview

Maryland vs Duke Round Three

This is the rubber match for these two teams having faced each other twice already.

MD won the first match up 10 to 7 even though they were outshot 40-28, outhustled on Ground Balls 28 to 27, and 11 to 9 on Face Offs, and turned the ball over more (20 to 15).
The keys to Maryland’s victory were Duke’s failed EMOs as they converted just 1 of 5, and Niko Amato’s play as he made 14 saves and only allowed 7 goals (67% save).

Duke won the second match up 6 to 5 with less impressive stats. Each team had 31 shots. Duke still scooped up more ground balls 27-26, won more face offs 8 to 6, and still struggled on EMO going 1 of 4. They key for Duke in this game was Wigrizer in net. He had 10 saves with 5 goals against (67% save). For reference Amato still had 6GA and 7 saves (53.9%).

The key players:
The main pieces of the puzzle in this third and final matchup of the year will be Nick Amato in net for Maryland, Dan Wigrizer in net for Duke, CJ Constabile roaming the middle of the field for Duke, and sideline generals Coach Tillman for Maryland, and Coach Danowski for Duke.

Niko Amato: Niko is a great goalie. He doesn’t face nearly as many shots as other D1 goalies, but he makes the saves. In 2011 he posted 118 Goals Against with 165 saves for a save percentage of 58.3% and a goals against average of 6.78. The underlying story to these stats is that Niko played even better during last year’s tournament. Against UNC, Syracuse, and Duke who averaged 11.2 goals per game, Niko’s goals against average was 5, and he was saving 70%.
Fast forward to 2012. Niko’s yearly numbers are a little lower but not by much. He has 116 GA with 138 Saves for a save percentage of 54.3%, and a GAA of 7.35. So far in this tournament, he has actually been a little off his game with 14GA, 13 saves which is a save percentage of 48.1%.
Even with his game off a little Maryland is still winning since he faces so few shots and does make some crazy key saves.

Dan Wigrizer: Who is going to show up? He was streaky last year, and I called him out on it. The hope of Duke fans was that he’d work through whatever and perform consistently this year. Has he become more consistent…not so much. Look at his last 8 games.
Against Syracuse and Marist, Wigi had 20 Goals against and 18 saves (47.4%).
Then he played much better teams UVA and Maryland and put up stellar numbers with 10 goals against and 24 saves (70.6%).
The next two games against Denver and UNC he slumped horribly with 21 goals against and 9 saves (30%).
In the most recent games in the tournament he goes from one of the worst slumps ever to playing lights out allowing 14 goals against with 21 saves (60%). I said it last year, and I’m saying it again this year. Much of Duke’s success this weekend will be based on how Wigrizer is trending.

CJ Constabile: He is an excellent FOGO with a pole, and on Saturday, I’ll post my pick for Tewaaraton and why it shouldn’t be CJ. For now I will just say he is a great athlete and huge asset to the team, however, only causing 1 turnover per game (19 on the season) it is not a stat to be proud of for an LSM. Constabile has been a savior on face-off duties (133 of 251 for 53%), especially with Fowler hurt. With his successon draws, and his tenacity, skills, and athleticism he has snagged 136 ground balls. CJ can also create transition offense as he has goals and 4 assists on the year. With a Maryland team that likes to win the ball, control play, and slow things down, CJ could be the X factor to help keep the ball out of Maryland’s molasses like death grip.

Coach Tillman is either brilliant or diabolical. His stall scheme works two fold keeping the ball out of opponents’ sticks, and getting them out of their game. His play calling has been efficient throughout the year. Whether you love the style Maryland brings to the field or not, you have to respect what coach Tillman is able to achieve.

Coach Danowski has coached the Duke Blue Devils to six straight Final Four appearances, yet has only one championship. He continues to get athletic recruits, and offensive guns, but one has to wonder why he can’t finish.

Other Factors:
Maryland lacrosse gets under opponents skin.
As much as stalling pisses fans off, it frustrates the hell out of opponents. The frustration of not having the ball, watching your opponent play keep away instead of lacrosse, and knowing you have to face a solid defense/goalie when you do get the ball, all builds up. When you finally get the ball you have to remind yourself to make it count. Many times with the pent up frustration, and rush of adrenaline kicked back on, teams will get the jitters and commit more errors, or take poor shots too quick. There were a number of Hopkins shots last week that looked like they were trying to force the issue.
Maryland has swagger. See the hidden ball trick they pulled last year in a big game. Watch the emotion on the sideline when they score. Look at the fight with Cooper and UNC’s McBride. Cliff notes: Game was fairly chippy and after a couple hits to the head, McBride had enough and tried (in a half-hearted attempt) to take down Cooper. Cooper went berserk and punches were thrown. If this game starts to get chippy in the least bit, the refs will step in and clamp down. If the refs start calling things tight, it only benefits Maryland and their stall.

Tale of the tape:
On the year, Maryland is 11-5 with wins over Duke, Villanova, Hopkins (twice). They have lost to UMBC, UNC, UVA, Duke, and Colgate.
The Terrapin offense is scoring 10.9 goals per game led by Joe Cummings with 30Goals and 15 Assists, Owen Blye with 17G/20A, John Haus with 15G/16A, Drew Snider with 20G/7A, Billy Gribbin with 20G/3A, and Mike Chanechuck with 16G/7A.
Maryland is controlling possession and averaging 34.3 shots per game, while opponents are only shooting 28.7 shots per game, and only netting 7.8 goals per game. They have been controlling through a 50.4% FO win percentage, and a plus 98 ground ball ratio on the year (+6.1/game).
Maryland’s EMO is converting 42% of their opportunities, and holding opponents to 35.1%.

Duke is 15-4 with wins over UNC, Syracuse (twice), UVA, Maryland, and Colgate. They have lost to Notre Dame, Maryland, Loyola, and Denver.
The Blue Devil offense is scoring 11.6 goals per game off of 38.2 shots per game and is lead by Jordan Wolf with 32G/31A, Chris Walsh with 33G/14A, Rob Rotanz with 38G/8A, Josh Dionne with 35G/8A, Justin Turri with 17G/12A, and Jake Tripucka with 15G/12A.
Duke controls the midfield winning 55.8% of their face offs, and have a +127GB ratio (+6.7/game).
Duke’s special teams is struggling on both sides of the field. They only convert 22.5% of their EMO chances, while opponents convert 44.6% of the time.

Closing:
Duke is on a roll right now. Duke looks solid everywhere (even Wigi is playing well of late). If CJ Constabile can keep the number of possessions up for the Blue Devils they have a shot. Maryland looked solid last week and even though they stalled, their offense seemed to score at will. I think Maryland will slow the tempo and get under Duke’s skin, and when Duke, and coach Danowski start to get frustrated, they lose.
Maryland by 2 (9-7)

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