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Lacrosse Weekly - NCAA Quarterfinals Edition

Not that great of a day in Ithaca, but a great day on the field.
Syracuse is back in the Final Four. After a two year absence Syracuse makes its triumphant return to the biggest stage in Division 1 Lacrosse. #3 Syracuse did so by playing against a better than expected #6 Notre Dame team and emerged from Ithaca, New York victorious by a score of 11 to nine.

This game was really too close for comfort in the third and forth quarters. Syracuse had a nice lead at the half, winning six to two, but Notre Dame came charging back in the third. The Irish added six goals in the third, while SU only managed one. Therefore, Syracuse was down by a goal entering the fourth quarter. John Galloway let in a couple soft goals in the third and the game momentum vastly favored Notre Dame entering the forth. The game went back and forth between Notre Dame being up a goal and then even. Finally, with 5:05 remaining Syracuse took a ten to nine lead. Syracuse then added one more goal before finishing strong. Meanwhile, with some time still on the clock, Notre Dame won the last face off. John Galloway made two dramatic saves after a Notre Dame time out, and then got a clear after a diving pass from Syracuse’s defense. Syracuse then ran out the clock with over a minute remaining to punch the final ticket to the Final Four.

Syracuse was led in scoring by Dan Hardy. It is completely fitting that #22 would lead the team back to the Final Four. Stephen Brooks also added two goals. Mike Leveille had two assists and one goal as well. Kenny Nims did his party by picking up five ground balls for The ‘Cuse. John Galloway, the freshman goalie, had some sensational saves, but none more important than the final two he made last in the forth quarter. He finished the game with 11 saves and nine goals against in the win. The real hero of the game was Danny Brennan, who performed magnificently at the X, or in this case a –. He won 17 of the 24 face offs he took. As Notre Dame Coach Kevin Corrigan said, the face offs in this game were “hugely important.” DBren started the game five for five, which definitely helped fuel the Orange’s first half dominance.

Syracuse again led in most statistical categories. Syracuse took 48 shots, while Notre Dame only took 34. Notre Dame only picked up 19 ground balls, but Syracuse had 27. DBren won 17 of the 24 face offs in the game, which means that the Irish only had seven. Syracuse cleared 13 of 16 balls and Notre Dame cleared 15 of 18. Syracuse had failed to truly take advantage of man up opportunities the last few games, but Syracuse did well converting on both extra man chances they had in the game. Notre Dame only converted one of two. Finally, Syracuse had a total of 11 saves, while Notre Dame’s Joey Kemp played a great game and earned 20 saves. The complete box score can be found here.

There were obviously three other games this weekend to punch more tickets to Massachusetts. Those games were:

The Annapolis Bracket:

#2 Virginia 8 – #7 Maryland in overtime.

#5 Johns Hopkins 10 – Navy 4.

The Ithaca Bracket:

#1 Duke 21 – Ohio State 10

The up to date bracket can be found here.

It was great to see the game in person. The energy in the stadium was very apparent and the players clearly fed off of the crowd on numerous occasions. Notre Dame fans did a great job trying to boost their team into the Final Four, especially during the third quarter, but Syracuse’s offense and defense proved to be superior in the end. Syracuse will now play next Saturday at 12:00pm against #2 Virginia in the first national semifinal game. The winner will play the winner of #1 Duke v. #5 Johns Hopkins in the National Championship for all the glory. It should be an excellent Final Four with some teams that the crowd should be familiar with. I will preview the upcoming match later this week, and I will be buying my tickets to the Final Four very soon. Until then, rest easy knowing that Syracuse is back in its rightful place in the Final Four and a new streak of appearances can begin.

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