Countdown to Football Frustration

Next Frustrating Hoops Victory

Next Lacrosse Annihilation

NCAA Lacrosse Tournament Preview - The Final Four

25 Final Fours? Yeah, I'll take that.
Two rounds of the NCAA Tournament are in the books, but the most important games are still to come. #3 Syracuse will now end their journey on the road to the Final Four in Foxborough, Massachusetts by playing #2 Virginia in the semifinal round for a chance to play for the coveted National Championship.

Syracuse enters this game looking to put another notch on the revenge list. Earlier this season Syracuse lost to Virginia in the Face Off Classic in Baltimore, Maryland by one goal in overtime. A lot has changed since then. Syracuse tore through the regular season and the first two rounds of the playoffs, trying to prove that Syracuse Lacrosse was back in full force. They have done so. Syracuse is averaging 13.6 goals a game, while Virginia is averaging 12.7. Virginia leads in assists per game though with 8.5, while Syracuse has 7.1. Syracuse is sporting a 55.5% save rate, while Virginia saves 51.6% of the time. Both these teams are very close on paper, so let us take a closer look at some of the match ups on the field.

Starting at the X, Danny Brennan will of course take all of the action for Syracuse. Still sporting the best save percentage in Division 1 in the nation, Virginia’s Garrett Ince is no slouch when it comes to earning the possession. Look for DBren to give Syracuse a lot of possessions in the game, much like he did against Notre Dame, who I think has a more talented face off man. Brennan also usually adds five ground balls to the state sheet so he should continue that tomorrow. The Syracuse defense will have their hands full with the attack unit of Virginia. Ben Rubeor, clearly the stud of the team, tallied three goals against Navy in the last round of the NCAA Tournament. He, along with Danny Glading and Garrett Billings all scored in the Navy game, and they will all test the Syracuse defense. If Virginia scores early and often it will be awfully tough to beat them. Another big piece in this match up is freshman John Galloway in goal for the Orange versus fifth year senior Bud Petit between the pipes for Virginia. This will be an interesting contest between Petit’s experience and Galloway’s talent. Whichever consistently prevents the other team from scoring will give their team’s offense a chance to stay on top of the scoreboard. While Virginia has struggled in the playoffs, do not let that fool you into thinking that any team can steamroll over this Virginia squad. They will be tough, prepared, and willing to do whatever it takes to get back to the National Championship. Syracuse will be more motivated than they have been all season however, so it will be an interesting test of wills on the field. Look for Syracuse’s transition game to play fast and loose and get some goals quick and easy on Petit, before he realizes what hit him.

This game I really think will come down to face offs and goaltending. If Brennan can continue dominating in the tournament, like he has all season, he will give Syracuse a huge advantage. If Ince gets under his skin though and pulls off some big takes, look for his confidence to build and give Brennan a real run for his money. Seeing as the last two Virginia games have been decided by a goal and the last Syracuse/Virginia match up ended by a goal in overtime, possessions will be very important. Also, we know both of these teams can score. If Leveille, Brooks, and Hardy can continue to put up numbers Syracuse will rely on the defense to prevent Virginia from either taking a lead or getting too big of a lead to overcome. Galloway will have to have a solid game and not let in any soft goals or have a lull like he did in the third quarter in Ithaca last weekend. If there is an epic collapse on defense and a scoring drought in this game by either team, I am sure the team on the receiving end will not recover. Therefore, solid fundamentals and defensive awareness will be necessary. Again, Galloway has the talent but not a lot of experience. Petit has a lot of experience, but is not as pure of a goal keeper as Galloway is. Both teams shoot very well and nine Virginia players scored on Syracuse in the last game, so it will be interesting to see if Syracuse defense can remain cool under pressure and allow the offense to keep Syracuse in a good position.

Syracuse will play Virginia at 12:00pm on ESPN 2 in stunning high definition. The other semifinal game is #1 Duke v. #5 Johns Hopkins, also on ESPN 2. The complete and up to date NCAA Bracket is always found here.

The time is right for Syracuse to make a big statement in this tournament against a tough opponent. It is really either team’s game to take, so it will simply come down to which team plays better on this day. Often in any NCAA game it is not the best team, but the best team right now. Syracuse must continue to execute and play with the purpose and passion that they have displayed all season. I will be enjoying the games in the highest of definitions; real life. I will hopefully file a report on the semifinal games on Sunday so be sure to look for that. If Syracuse wins they will of course play for the National Championship on Memorial Day on ESPN at 1:00pm. I hope I will be writing from a place of joy Sunday over a place of misery. Either way, Syracuse had a season to be proud of and should hold their head high for another year.

Labels: , ,

0 Responses to “NCAA Lacrosse Tournament Preview - The Final Four”

Post a Comment

Links to this post

Create a Link


  • Air Your Grievances

  • This About Sums It Up

  • I am less smart for having read your blog.
  • - Anonymous Georgetown supporter.
  • You are an idiot...
  • - Anonymous Nunes/Magician Reader.
  • Congrats on not being very good at what you do.
  • - Anonymous ACC supporter.
  • You are a dweeb, my friend. Grow a backbone.
  • - Anonymous UConn supporter.
  • ...vacuous, asinine, and mind numbing...
  • - Anonymous commenter.
  • Honestly, just admit that you are pathetic...
  • - Anonymous commenter.
  • You just don't have hoops experience.
  • - Twitter commenter.
  • Leave the journalism to talented people. Brian is just another hack and another fair weather fan.
  • - Twitter commenter.
  • A bad blog about Syracuse athletics.
  • - UConn Fan on Twitter (after winning NCAA).