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Central New York Final

Cornell face Syracuse for the National title and bragging rights for the best in Central New York.
Cornell is just about an hours drive down Interstate 81.

Lax geek fact:
The last time Cornell was in the Championship game was in 1988. Which just happened to be against Syracuse. And in 1998 as well as 2009, Cornell defeated Virginia in the tournament to get to the title game. In 1998, Cornel beat UVA 19-6 before losing to Syracuse 8-13.

If Syracuse were to win, the running joke is that they would need the ring to be a toe ring, as they already have 10. If Cornell were to win, it would be the first time in 18 years someone other than UVA/Princeton/Syracuse/Hopkins has won.

These two teams have already faced each other this year. Syracuse won that contest 15-10.
In the previous meeting, Cornell scored early and inside, which happens to be one of my biggest disappointments about Syracuse all year. Cornell stayed with ‘Cuse for the first quarter and was tied 4-4. Then the Syracuse spurt occurred in the second and third quarters. Max Siebald was held to 1 goal and 1 assist, and Jake Myers had 10 saves and 15 goals against. If I were to just look at the last time they played each other, I would feel comfortable picking Cuse by 5 or 6.

However, I have seen Cornell live the past two weeks beat Princeton, and beat UVA. They look flawless. They are not making unforced errors. They are methodical in executing THEIR game plan. I believe in the UVA game, if it weren’t for Ghitelman making like a sieve and letting everything through, Cornell still would have won, but the score would have been at least a little closer.

Syracuse’s defense had been a worry for me, especially with having Sid Smith guard Ned Crotty. Smith performed exceedingly well, as did Galloway as SU clamped down on the defensive side of the field. But as is the MO with ‘Cuse, their aim is just to score as much as possible and hope it is enough.

This game is setting up to be a classic. Cornell is a good team and is playing hot right now. Syracuse is a great team that does make some mistakes. On one hand I would like to see Cornell break the strangle hold of 4. On the other hand, I have always been a Cuse fan as watching a Gait game got me into the sport (minus the Mikey years). I think Cornell has the talent and team play. They also have the momentum. Syracuse has the swagger. They have been here before…many many times.

In this game I am going to say that Cuse with their amazing amount of offensive weaponry proves to much to handle and wins by 2.

Perritt Shines in SU’s win over Duke…

Thoughts from Foxboro

Pat Perritt has been a work horse for the Syracuse Orange all year. His stats (13 Goals / 13 Assists / 14 Ground Balls) might not show a huge offensive threat, or an assist machine, but his play has been consistent and hard.

After coming into Syracuse as the number 4 recruit by Inside Lacrosse, Perritt had a lot to live up to. It was the supposed best recruiting class ever as the Orange had the #2, #3, #4 recruits.

His freshman year, he helped the Orange get to the Final Four where they were stopped by Virginia. His Sophomore year, saw the Orange finish the season with one of their worst records, not even making the NCAA tournament, and faced some personal issues off the field. He worked hard, got his act back together and was readmitted. His Junior season, last year, Perritt helped Syracuse to a redemption National Championship. This year, his senior year, it is time for him to shine.

Coming into this game, Pat Perritt had put up 21 points, 8 points, 13 points in his seasons, and had 26 points this season. All season it had been about the team and winning their second national championship. Today, he stepped up to the challenge. Perritt put up 4 goals and 1 assist. Most coming when Duke was still within reach of the Orange.
Syracuse started the game with John Galloway in goal. As much as I thought Al could have started after his performance against MD last week, John proved why he is the starter. Galloway ended up with 11 saves and 7 goals against.

Syracuse also put Sid Smith on Ned Crotty. A risky call as Sid does not have the footspeed as Crotty. After the first quarter, Crotty had 2 assists (on each of Duke’s goals), but Smith completely shut him out, as Crotty did nothing the rest of the game.

Coach Danowski’s team chokes again.

Once Syracuse started to pull away it was like the floodgates opened. I don’t care if your team is losing by 8 at the start of the 4th quarter. You need to keep your your team’s head and fight in the game. . Syracuse added onto their goal total, and Duke piled up penalties in the 4th as the game slipped through their fingers.
Duke’s biggest hole this game was their defense.

The goals were coming from all over as Syracuse had seven different players score. It was the most goals allowed by Duke since 2004.

Duke’s poles were too trigger happy as four different poles tried to take it coast-to-coast and score. None of them did. Joel White the LSM for Syracuse scored on Duke though.

Syracuse looks good. If they play like this on Monday, there will be yet another banner hoisted to the rafters.

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by Elizabeth Cozart

Photo from GoDuke.com

Photo from GoDuke.com

Duke rookie longstick CJ Costabile describes himself as a bit of an “oddball.” He says he’s “happy,” “spontaneous,” and “loyal.” What he doesn’t say is that he’s also friendly, polite and personable.

But put him on the field and CJ becomes somewhat less concerned about the feelings of others. As a player, he describes himself as “persistent, “versatile,” “smart,” and “hungry,” adding that what he likes most is separating an opponent from the ball.

“I like defense the most,” says the 19-year old from New Fairfield, CT, “especially taking the ball away. I’m almost starting to feel like it’s a lost art. It’s awesome to check someone and knock the ball away. It sort of demoralizes the other guy.”

CJ stops, recognizing that his last statement might be misunderstood.

“I mean that sometimes playing defense means making the most of my athleticism,” he continues. “And the way we play defense at Duke is a team defense. Everybody’s gotta be on the same page and that was instilled early on.”

From the beginning of the school year, CJ says, the Duke defense spent time together, doing things together outside of practice that will bring them closer on the field. Bowling and skeet shooting were particular favorites, he says. Video games, too. Current Duke lacrosse team choices include Halo, NHL 2009, and the UFC demo.

Teamwork and unity are clearly things that are important to CJ’s life and his game. He says that while winning the MVP trophy at the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in May was a real thrill, the highlight of his rookie season was a moment in practice.

“One day I made a suggestion in practice to Coach Gabs (Duke assistant coach Chris Gabrielli) and he said ‘that works.’ That was really cool. It felt like I was learning and he was trusting me.”

CJ says that his teammates never frowned on him for being a freshman and he was sure that the squad had faith that he could get the job done.

“At the UNC game in the tournament,” he says of the final game which Duke won 15-13, largely on the strength of CJ’s explosive three-goal hat trick, “when Ned (Crotty) fed me the ball, he trusted that I could get the job done. It’s a progression. You build the trust in the other guys and they’ll believe in you, too.”

Summer camps were a big factor in his development, CJ says. He calls them “hugely important.”

“Without them I probably wouldn’t be here,” he said, referring to his spot on the Duke team. He points out that his hometown is hardly the center of the lacrosse universe.

“Coming from New Fairfield, which isn’t a hotbed of lacrosse,” he says, “no D1 coaches come and recruit. The camps are where you get seen.”

He advises young players who are interested in exposure to choose a camp that will both teach and give them plenty of opportunity to play.

“And go to the ones where you know the coaches will be,” he says. “Another great thing to do is go to camps that schools run. For example, if you want to play at Duke, go to a Duke camp so that the coaches can see you.”

CJ also got a lot of exposure at last year’s U-19 world championships, where the US won the gold medal at the games held in Coquitlan, in British Columbia. The US team has never lost a U-19 game.

“It was awesome to be able to represent the country,” he says. Again stressing the concept of teamwork, CJ tells of a story in which a player from West Point who had been injured and unable to play came to speak to the American squad.

“He talked to us about about missing the game and representing his country, the camaraderie, how he wishes he could fight side by side with his comrades, almost in service to his country. That was cool.”

Of his freshman year at Duke, CJ says that classroom demands have been one of his biggest adjustments.

“The hardest thing to deal with has been the academics at such a high level, maintaining that while still playing lacrosse,” he said.

Of the biggest influences in his life, CJ says it’s his parents. One or both of them have come to every Duke game this season and he says that “without them I wouldn’t I have been able to develop into the person I have become. They have been supportive from the start and continue to be my biggest fans”

“CJ is an extremely well balanced and even keeled young man and athlete,” said Duke head coach John Danowski. “ He loves to play and is loved by his teammates. His development has been impressive and he will continue to improve as he gains more DI experience.”

Costabile says he’d advise a young player trying to decide on a school to look past lacrosse.
“You just gotta find the right fit for you,” he said. “Look at a school, say ‘would I like to come here if I didn’t play?’ You want to put yourself where you’re going to succeed. What if you get hurt? It’s good to dream high but not everyone is going to play at Hopkins or Duke. Find the school that’s the best fit for you.”

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I knew it was a leap picking Navy last week, but that was just embarrassing. Hopefully this week goes a little smoother. I think I got caught up too much in the numbers last week.

This week it is the NCAA’s version of Steel Cage Grudge Matches, as 3 of the 4 contests see rivals face each other for a second time this year. Planned? Hmmmm.

Syracuse faces Maryland Saturday 12:00 at Hofstra’s Shuart StadiumNCAA Johns Hopkins Syracuse Mens Lacrosse

Cuse by 3. There…said it. Got it out of the way. Syracuse just has too many weapons on offense. Cody Jamieson showed up big netting 3 goals and 1 assist last week against Siena…and by that I am referring to his points and not his middle.

If the emergence of Cody isn’t enough the Orange also have Kenny Nims (64pts), Steve Keogh (50), Dan Hardy (35), Pat Perritt (23), Chris Daniello (20), and more. Their offense has been held to less than 10 goals in only 2 games. Once in a weird showdown with Georgetown, and once against a typical tough Princeton defense.

On defense the Orange have Sid Smith, Matt Tierney, John Lade, Joel White (LSM), and John Galloway in goal. The defense if anything is where Syracuse needs to step it up. While statistically they only let in 7.4 goals per game, I can tell you they are still not the force they were last year. I am not saying they are bad…just not the well oiled machine that was their defense last year.
Maryland was only able to put up 7 goals against Notre Dame last week. They will need to score more than that to stay in the game against Syracuse. Surprisingly the amazing lineup of Maryland attack was held to 0 goals against the Irish. They took 8 shots (only 4 made it on goal).

Maryland has not put up more than 10 goals against any teams in the top 20 except for 1 game and that was against Duke.
Maryland’s defense won them their upset over Notre Dame. The Irish only had 3 goals. Goalie Phipps had 9 saves with 3 goals against for a save percentage of 75%.

While Yeatman is a big physical attackman, I think his presence has actually hurt the chemistry of Maryland’s attack unit. Think Jeremy Shockey of the Giants. Sure he was gifted…yet they won out the playoffs, and SuperBowl while he sat out and didn’t even go to the games.

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Cornell takes on Princeton in a rematch at 3:00pm in Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium. john_glynn

Cornell won the first match 10-7. I think this game’s results will be exactly the same. Cornell by 3.
After the loss, Princeton has gon on to win its next three games albeit against Dartmouth, Brown, and UMass. Each of those three games they have let in 7 goals. In each of those three games, Princeton has only let in 1 goal in the first have, but 6 in the second half. Fairly consistent loss of focus in the 2nd half.

Cornell is kind of like Syracuse. They focus more on offense, and outscoring their opponent rather than on defense and holding an opponent from scoring.

Against Princeton previously they were able to jump out to an early 3-0 lead in part due to their sheer dominance at the face off X.

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Down at the Naval Acadamy, UVA takes on Johns Hopkins at noon.danny_glading

This is another rematch game from earlier in the season. UVA took that one 16-15. UVA will win this one by about 3. It won’t be a blowout, but Hopkins has not looked dominant especially of late.

I won’t beat a dead horse, but a National Championship team needs a goalie saving more than 51% shots, and letting in less than 9.6 goals. The Jays don’t have that. What they do have is a fiery coach that seemingly wills them to keep winning. In the past 4 games, Hopkins has gone into OT and won against Towson, Loyola, and Brown.

If I am Virginia, and this game goes to OT, I am faceguarding Brian Christopher who has gotten the game winner in each of those OT games.

Virginia has put up 10+ goals in every game except for one wretched 5 goal performance against Duke. Their average is 12.7 goals per game. Their starting attack has over 90 goals alone. On defense, Ken Clausen leads the close D unit, and Adam Ghitelman has put up decent numbers in net (55%Save, 8.1 GAA)

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Duke plays UNC in the late game (3pm) at Navycrotty

This will actually be the third meeting between Duke and UNC this year. Duke has won the other two meetings. I believe they win this one as well. Duke by 1

I don’t understand Duke. They lose to Cornell, Maryland, and Harvard, but beat UVA twice. In the second game against UVA they hold Virginia to 5 goals. 3 games later they switch focus and score 14 against one of if not THE best defense in the country. The answer to both lopsided wins was possession. When an opposing team only has 15 shots on goal, there is a good chance you’ll win. Duke also shot very well and accurately to start. Once that crack shows in a goalie’s confidence, Duke seized on it, and neither goalie was able to save much. Tommy Phelan for Navy ended up with 14 Goals Against and only 5 saves. Ghitelman fared a little better with 14 Goals against and 9 saves.

UNC needs Bitter to step up against Duke. In their first game he only had 1 Assist (0 Goals). In their 2nd game, he did better with 2G/3A. If he can play like he did against UMBC with 8 Goals and 1 Assist, UNC might be able to pull off an upset.
UNC was a team many people thought had a chance to be #1 this year

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In the first round, there are 3 games that should be very interesting.

Saturday May 9th, Brown plays Johns Hopkins at noon.hopkins

Broooown! Rob…this one’s for you buddy.
One of the mild surprises of the selection was to see Brown as a #9 seed. The Bears are 12-3 on the season. This season they have losses to #10 Hofstra (in double OT), unranked Penn (by 1), and #4 Princeton. Their ranked wins came over #15 UMass, #18 Harvard, and #7 Cornell. That one last win over Cornell was enough to get an invite to the show.

Brown’s offense is lead by Andrew Feinberg (40Goals/16Assists), Kyle Hollingsworth (20/26), Thomas Muldoon (32/11), Reade Seligmann (12/20), and Brady Williams (17/14). Their EMO offense is struggling, converting on 39% of their chances. Brown’s difficulties continue at FO where they are winning 41%. Where Brown succeeds is their goalie and defense. Their man down unit is stopping opponents 74% of the time. Their goalie is 2008 Ivy Player of the year, Jordan Burke. His Goals against average is 7.74, and his save% is at 61.7%. These two reasons (defense and Burke) are how Brown beat Cornell. Cornell scored 0 of 4 attempts on EMO. That is 0. Burke had 18 saves and only 9 goals against.

Johns Hopkins ended up the season 9-4. The Jays lost to #4 Princeton, #1 Syracuse, #5 Virginia, and #6 North Carolina. They have ranked wins over #9 UMBC, #10 Hofstrra, #13 Maryland, #12 Navy, and #14 Loyola. Aftter a 3-4 start the team won out. Hopkins has been on a trend the past couple of years. Start off poor, then finish very strong. Statistically speaking this is directly correlated to the play of their goalie Mike Gvozden (MikeyG). This is not necessarily a bad thing. Ask any NHL player and if their goalie is hot during the playoffs then that is all that matters. The regular season is a distant memory. Gvozden on the year is saving 51.2% of the shots he faces letting in an average 9.5 Goals Against. The Hopkins defense did not give Gvozden too much help in the beginning of the year (slides looked slow), but have since stepped it up. The Man down unit is stopping opponents 63% of the time.

On offense, The Jays are led by Kyle Wharton (31/9), Chris Boland (23/16), Mike Kimmel (18/21), Brian Christopher (25/11), and Steven Boyle (19/15). On offense, their EMO is scoring on 47% of their chances.

While Brown has played well at times this year, the Hopkins machine is just too much to handle. I think Brown can put up a fight, but towards the later part of the game, Hopkins depth and multiple threats pull away. The Jays take this one by 4.

Sunday May 10th, Maryland plays Notre Dame at noon.notredamefightingirish

The once highly touted then highly booted Will Yeatman faces his old team …

Anyone find it ironic that the school with the stereotypical mascot of a fighting Irishman (and let’s be honest…what other stereotype goes with an angry Irishman…think Denis Leary), levied such a strict penalty on Yeatman?

Notre Dame is 15-0. No losses. Ranked wins over #14 Loyola, #16 Penn State, #6 UNC, #17 Bucknell, and #19 Villanova. Notre Dame parallels Syracuse in the fact that both schools USED to have good football programs that are now in the tank. Actually the similarities end there…but that doesn’t mean ND is overrated.

I have heard the statements from coaches and past players that Notre Dame is undefeated yet untested…that they need to beat some good teams (Does that infer UNC is not a good team). Everyone also blames ND for poor scheduling. To these naysayers, I say that it is not Notre Dame’s fault that they are not in a top league like the ACC that has to play each other (inflating their own SOS). Nor is it their fault that on open games, teams find little incentive to travel out to Indiana.

The Fighting Irish are led by Neal Hicks (25/17), Duncan Swezey (22/20), Ryan Hoff (32/3), Grant Krebs (28/9), and Peter Christman (14/18). They don’t seem to be missing Will Who. Notre Dame has a number of threats even though they don’t have the “flair factor”.

In goal, Scott Rodgers has posted an amazing 6.08 GAA, and 66.3%. Granted he hasn’t faced stiff competition, yet against UNC, which has some very sharp shooters, Rodgers posted one of his best games ever saving 16 of 23 shots (7.0 GAA/70%save).

I also will throw in the comment that since they have not had such a ragged schedule that late season injuries/fatigue does not plague the team as much as others.

Maryland is 9-6. They had losses to unranked Georgetown, #9 UMBC, #5 UVA, #12 Navy, #8 Johns Hopkins, and #6 UNC. They have ranked wins over #3 Duke, and #6 UNC.
Maryland had a tough schedule this year, yet I am surprised they did not do better. With the amount of offensive talent this team has, they just couldn’t put together the whole package day in and day out. Wether it was a Sophomore slump or the chemistry built last year was affected as there were some changes to the chemistry.

Their special teams units faired well as a whole, as their EMO worked 50% of the time, and Mandown 70% of the time. They also won 52% of their faceoffs. The special units of MD really is like the rest of the team. Not bad, but nothing jumps out and says greatness.

The points leaders are Grant Catalino (22/21), Ryan Young (19/16), Dan Groot (19/14), Will Yeatman (13/13), Travis Reed (16/7). In cage for the Terps should be Brian Phipps. While splitting time with Carter, Phipps just puts up a better performance. (Jason Carter 7.54 GAA, 49.1%. Brian Phipps 7.63 GAA 58%)

By seedings I am not picking the underdog…by traditionalists I am. I am picking Notre Dame to win by 3. I believe MD’s defense will be surprised by the abilities of a number of ND players. ND’s offense, while not overly impressive, will put up enough goals (especially since Rodgers will be standing on his head making big saves for the Irish)

Duke/Navy is my pick for game of the week.  They meet Saturday May 9th at 7:30pm.navy

Duke ended up 13-3. They lost to #18 Harvard, and #13 Maryland. Ranked wins over #17 Bucknell, #14 Loyola, #6 UNC (twice), and #5 UVA (twice). I have no idea how they lost to Harvard and MD but in the same breath were the only team to beat UVA.

Duke’s offense is lead by Tewaaraton finalist Ned Crotty (20/45). The Blue Devils also have Max Quinzani (39/9), Zach Howell (21/16), Justin Turri (15/10), and Brad Ross (18/6).
For special teams, they are 46% on EMO, 62% on man-down, and 55% on FO.

If I had to pick one weakness, it would be in goal. Not that Schroeder is bad, but Duke’s offense is that damn good. Schroeder has a 7.69 GAA, and save% of 50.8%

Navy. What can I say. I love their defense, their physical play, their hustle attitude.

Navy is 11-4 on the year. Losses to #6 UNC (by 1), #17 Bucknell (by 1), unranked Colgate (by 1), and #8 Hopkins. Ranked wins over #13 Maryland, and #17 Bucknell.
Being an LSM, I love defense, and am really excited to hopefully see them in Foxboro. The only game they let an opponent score more than 10 goals was their loss to Hopkins. Their opponents are averaging only 7.2 goals per game. Their Man down is insane. They stop opponents EMO 85% of the time. Hell, If I were Coach Meade, I’d let my defense play man-down the whole game…leave a middie at midfield for a quick outlet pass on a save/turnover. Why? Cause they can ……and their offense needs a little help. The Navy offense is only averaging 9.1 goals per game. Their EMO is only successful 44% of the time. And they only have 2 players with 30+ points on the year. The offense is led by Brendan Connors (21/10), Tim Paul (18/13), Andy Warner (13/14), Pat Moran (20/3), and Joe Lennon (13/9).

In goal for Navy should be Tommy Phelan who has a 7.69 GAA and a save% of 63.3%.
If I were Navy, I would not waste too much time focusing on Crotty. Even in Duke’s losses he put up at least 3 assists each game. They should focus on who he is passing to. Quinzani can and has been shut down before. Navy’s defense should be able to handle Max fairly easily.
I am going with the choke factor on this one. Usually you hear about players “not being able to finish”. Coach Danowski just can’t finish. Under Dano’s tutelage, Hofstra excelled at mediocrity. Even when they had a stacked team in 2006 they failed against UMass. More recently at Duke with much of their starpower intact, they couldn’t even get to the finals in 2008.

Navy with a major upset takes a close one by 1-2.

The Princess Bracket:

Every year I look to see who the NCAA has snubbed, who they have overrated, and who they have screwed. This year, as I was looking at the teams, I was reminded of the movie the Princess Bride.

I can picture the selection committee sitting around a stone table talking to each other:
“Virginia beat the most top 10 teams, but they lost to Duke twice, so we CLEARLY can not choose UVA”.
“Duke however has lost to two lowly teams, so we clearly can not choose Duke”.
“Cuse is rated #1 by the coaches, but lost to UVA and Princeton, so we clearly can not choose Cuse”.
Of course the reporters and pundits would have to interject with “Come on…you’re just stalling now aren’t you?”

To which the committee continues unfazed, “Notre Dame is undefeated, but only beat one top 10 team, so we clearly can not choose Notre Dame.”

Pressed for time, the committee tries to distract those trying to follow, “We pick……Oh look what’s that over there? (throws dart at names on a wall)……UVA!”

OK. So maybe the selection did not proceed exactly as I have explained, but it is plausible. No one team clearly dominated the field. Aside from Notre Dame and Navy being higher seeds, I don’t have a huge problem with this year’s field. Part of me thinks Cuse should be #1, but the top 4 could all be shuffled around depending on what team you like more. I can live with a #2 seed.

Overall, I think this is one of the less controversial tournaments as far as who got in, and even seeding. However, as is the case every year, too much emphasis is put on SOS. The calculations double dip the SOS, and as we all know double dipping is not an acceptable practice.

For those whiners out there:
Georgetown was not snubbed, as they couldn’t finish. Yes they have talent, but all that matters is the W.
Harvard was not snubbed. While they beat Duke, who else did they beat? No one.

Now…time for my whining:
My complaint with Notre Dame, is that while they did not have a strong SOS, they did beat 3 top 20 teams and were undefeated. This accomplishment is more deserving than a 7 seed. Especially since the only measuring stick is their win over UNC, and UNC is higher than them. Move ND up to 5 and UNC down to 7. If ND were in UNC’s spot, they might have a shot at making it to the Final Four. Personally I would love to see at least SOME variation in the final four. I don’t mind seeing 2 or 3 stalwarts every year, but seeing the same teams year in and year out does get a little tiresome.

Navy I think should be in Maryland’s spot. Navy has 4 wins over top 20s, and less losses than MD. Also Navy thoroughly beat MD by 6. MD has only 2 top 20 wins, more losses, including Navy. I think Navy’s seeding will screw them playing Duke in the 1st round. With their current spot, Navy COULD upset Duke, but would they have enough in the tank to then beat UNC again?

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Syracuse fans are hoping a #2 seed will help them get back to championship weekend in Boston.

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This week there is a double header at M&T Stadium that is billed as a great day of lacrosse. However, Maryland vs. Duke, and Princeton vs. Hopkins just is not as exciting as it once was. A Maryland vs. Hopkins game would have been better.

Maryland plays Duke at 2:30 at M&T Stadium.

Maryland is 2-1. No wins over ranked teams, and 1 loss to #5 Georgetown.

Maryland’s scoring against Georgetown was a big surprise. Their attack which I think so highly of, did not produce (3goals). It was their midfield that showed up. Not only did their midfield unit score most of the goals, they also won 17 of 26 face offs. Maryland is still a team to be reckoned with.

Duke is 2-1. They beat #17 Colgate by just 1 goal, and lost to #14 Harvard. Duke is not waiting until the post season to choke. The Blue Devils just can’t seem to find a rhythm either on offense or defense. The once feared Duke scoring machine only got off 29 shots against Harvard. Their EMO is 2 for 7 on the whole year. Duke is relying too heavily on their midfield lines as their top three scorers are Ned Crotty (4G, 8A), Brad Ross (6G, 2A), and Steve Schoeffel (5G, 0A). Max Quinzani (4G, 1A) has not been able to do much without Greer or Danowski by his side.

On the other side of the field, goalie Rob Schroeder is letting in more than 50% of the shots he faces (24 Goals Against, 22 Saves).

Duke is also below 50% on face-offs.

The Blue Devils should fear the turtle. Maryland should be able to get their midfield and attack firing on Schroeder. Couple that with winning most of the face-offs, Duke will lose and fall into lacrosse mediocrity…Just like Hofstra used to be.

Princeton faces Johns Hopkins at 6:00pm at M&T Stadium.

This game should be better than the beating Duke will take.

Hopkins is 1-0 after a thorough thrashing of Siena last week. While this was expected, there were two key stats in the game that should be examined before this game. The 1st is that Hopkins EMO unit was blanked (0 for 3). The 2nd is that Hopkins was thoroughly beat on face-offs (7 of 18). The Jays need to shore these parts of their game up before facing Princeton. The main highlight was the play of Mike Gvozden and the defense. Yes, I was a hater in the first half of last year, as Gvozden looked like a black hole, but then he turned his season around and was saving everything that was thrown at him. It was nice to see the defense only let Siena take 26 shots on cage, and Gvozden start off with a 73% save percentage (3GA, 23SV).

Hopkins has enough depth that if Princeton can shut down leader Steve Boyle (4G, 2A), Kyle Wharton (3G, 0A), Brian Christopher (1G, 2A), or Mike Kimmel (1G, 1A) can step it up.

Princeton is 1-0 after beating Canisius 14-6.

Interesting to point out, at the half, Princeton was actually losing by 1 to Canisius. That changed in the 3rd quarter, as the Tigers unleashed a barrage of shots and netted 8 goals. Jack McBride led the way (4G, 1A), followed by Tommy Davis (3G, 0A), Chris McBride (2G, 0A), and Rob Engelke (2G, 0A). Key stats for this game were that of the 14 Princeton goals, only 5 were assisted. The Tigers had 6 chances on EMO and converted on half of them. Princeton only allowed 22 shots on goal.

While Princeton’s style of play should guarantee Hopkins doesn’t run away with it, Hopkins defense should smother the Tigers’ attack. This should be a low scoring game with Hopkins winning it on their defense/goalie and midfield scoring.

Syracuse vs. Virginia - Photo by Getty Images North America

Photo by Getty Images North America

The game of the week, if not year is UVA at Syracuse on Friday at 7pm.

This should be a great rematch of last year’s quarterfinal game. Both teams have similar styles of hard defense, and lots of firepower.

Syracuse is 2-0 with no wins against ranked teams.

Their offense is averaging 53 shots per game and 19.5 goals per game. Their main threats are Kenny Nims (6G, 8A), Steve Keogh (8G, 3A), Dan hardy (3G, 3A), Chris Daniello (5G, 0A), and Tim Desko (3G, 2A). Between Nims and Keogh they have picked up any slack left by Leveille’s graduation. The third attack spot has seen Daniello, Desko, and Niewieroski round out the 1-2 punch. The Midfield is led by Hardy, and transfer Kahoe, however Abbott needs to contribute more.

Their defense keeping opponents to 18 shots per game, 4.5 goals per game. Even though they lost Evan Brady and Kyle Guadagnolo, Sid “Vicious” Smith is back, bringing back the physical style of play. He is joined by Matt Tierney and John Lade at close D. In net for Syracuse is John Galloway who has started this season off with a 56% save percentage.

Where Syracuse really excels is their special teams. Their EMO is 8 of 9 (89%), and their man-down unit is a perfect 100% (0-10).

UVA is 4-0 with no wins over ranked teams. Their offense is averaging 53.5 shots per game and 13.25 goals per game. The top guns for UVA are Garrett Billings (14G, 8A), Steele Stanwick (7G, 6A), Brian Carroll (10G, 1A), and Danny Glading (2G, 8A).

Their defense is allowing 5.75 goals per game and 23.5 shots per game. Close D is led by Ken Clausen who plays a fun style of D to watch. His flashiness is complemented by the physical play of Matt Kelly. In between the pipes is Sophomore Adam Ghitelman, a solid goalie who has put up a 62% save percentage this season.

UVA’s special teams is a possible weakness. Their EMO is only 25% (3 for 12), and their man-down unit is 58% (5-12).

I think both attack units will witn the battles against their opponents’ defenses. Glading, and Bilings proved it in last year’s game, and their attack unit only got better with the addition of Steele Stanwick. For Syracuse, while Leveille put on a one-man show against Virginia’s D, I think both Nims and Keogh have stepped it up, and now Syracuse actually has more threats on attack than UVA can cover.

At midfield Syracuse’s defensive middies should be able to hold Carroll from having a huge game, although no one can stop him completely. The question will be can UVA stop Hardy. I think Hardy is one possible deciding factor. The other as stated before will be special teams. If UVA racks up penalties (averaging 3 per game), Syracuse can, and will take advantage. In a close 1 or at the max 2 goal game, Syracuse edges out UVA.

Originally posted on LaxSpot on 06/05/2008

I thought it would be interesting to take a look at this years 2008 Lacrosse all Americans and see how the numbers correlate to the team’s overall success. Not surprisingly the teams with the most all Americans in each division (Duke, LeMoyne, and Gettysburg) all had great seasons.  However, none of those teams won the championship.  Coincidentally the teams with the 2nd highest number of all Americans in each division won their respective championship - Syracuse, NY Tech, and Salisbury.  So sometimes it’s good to be #2.
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Originally posted on LaxSpot on 12/24/2007

So I was browsing Amazon today – Christmas Eve is not too late to be shopping for presents – and came across the Duke Lacrosse books for sale. I knew former Duke Lacrosse coach Mike Pressler had co-authored a book, but I hadn’t realized there were two others on the market. I’m glad to see it. I hope a lot of people are interested in hearing the true story now that the sexy headlines are no longer in the national media. However, I seriously doubt all those who were so dangerously eager and fast to accuse the team of wrongdoing will give any time or interest to understanding the whole story. They were hoping the truth to be something other than reality, and once that hope expired their interest did as well.

I do have to question the decision of two of the publishers to put the three accused player’s faces on the cover. Their pictures were already widely circulated, but it seems unnecessary. If these books truly are an attempt at justice than the photos seem to contradict that effort. But I guess that’s a naïve view. Covers have the sole purpose of selling books, and I’m sure the publishers know what their doing in that respect. It is interesting that the Pressler book didn’t take the same approach though.

These three books all seem to be getting good user reviews. I haven’t read any of them yet – mainly because I very rarely have time to read a book. But I am interested and plan on picking one up. Might as well be the Pressler book I guess. This man has been severely wronged so I hope this book puts some good money in his pocket.

Duke Lacrosse Books

Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case (Hardcover)
by Stuart Taylor (Author), KC Johnson (Author)
Average rating – 4.5 stars

It’s Not About the Truth: The Untold Story of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case and the Lives It Shattered (Hardcover)
by Don Yaeger (Author), Mike Pressler (Author)
Average rating – 4.5 stars

A Rush to Injustice: How Power, Prejudice, Racism, and Political Correctness Overshadowed Truth and Justice in the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case (Hardcover)
by Nader Baydoun (Author), R. Stephanie Good (Author)
Average rating – 4.0 stars

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