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NCAA Lacrosse Tournament Preview - Quarterfinals

Georgetown wishes they were playing lacrosse this weekend. But they aren't.
The Quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament have arrived. That means another game for your Syracuse Orange. This time #3 Syracuse travels away from the friendly confines of the Carrier Dome to take on #6 Notre Dame in familiar Ithaca, New York, on the campus of Cornell University.

Syracuse heads into the contest with a record of 13-2, their only losses coming against Virginia in overtime at the Face Off Classic in Baltimore, Maryland and against Colgate at the end of the regular season. Notre Dame similarly has a record of 14-2, their losses coming to Ohio State and North Carolina. Syracuse averages 13.8 goals per game, while Notre Dame is averaging 12.3. Syracuse allows 7.2 goals against per game, while Notre Dame allows 6.8. The Orange 83.8% successful in clears and 57.1% successful at winning face offs, while Notre Dame is 80.1% successful at clears and wins 65% of their face offs. Syracuse has faced Notre Dame before, the last time in 2001 in the national semifinal game to advance to the championship. Syracuse is 2-0 lifetime against Notre Dame. Syracuse is the all time leader in win percentage in the NCAA Tournament with 75% and second all time with total number of wins with 54 NCAA victories.

This game is not about the numbers however. These two teams could not be more different in the style of ball they play. Syracuse is a run-and-gun offense that loves to play up tempo lacrosse. With the likes of Mike Leveille, Kenny Nims, and Dan Hardy, the offense that faltered last season is no more. With Syracuse averaging almost 14 goals a game Syracuse’s offensive troubles have all but disappeared. Conversely, Notre Dame plays a slow and deliberate style of offense, making each possession count. They will look to move the ball very deliberately and try to expose and force a mistake in the defensive packages to get a high percentage look at the goal. Look for Alex Wharton to take most of the big shots for Colgate.
There will be a big time clash between Taylor Claggett of Notre Dame and Danny Brennan of Syracuse at the X. Brennan leads the nation in win percentage, winning 67.6% of the face offs he takes. Claggett on the other hand is simply performing very well, earning 12 of 18 against a very good X man in Colgate’s Kevin Eck last week in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. He has a 64% winning percentage. While Brennan sat out most of the Canisius game, look for DBren to step up and take the majority of the face offs on Sunday for the Orange. The superior man in the X will give his team a big advantage on the turf Sunday.
Syracuse will play Notre Dame at 3:00pm from Ithaca on ESPN U. Other games, also on ESPN U are as follows:
Saturday May 17:
12:00pm - #7 Maryland v. #2 Virginia at Annapolis, MD.
3:00pm - #5 Johns Hopkins v. Navy at Annapolis, MD.
Sunday May 18:
12:00pm – #1 Duke v. Ohio State at Ithaca, NY.
The complete and up to date NCAA Bracket can be found here.
The #5 Seed women’s lacrosse team will play this weekend as well. They will play North Carolina at 1:00pm Saturday in the Carrier Dome for the right to go to the Final Four hosted by Towson. Hopefully Syracuse will earn the right to appear for the first time ever in a Final Four and make it the first time that Syracuse will have both lacrosse teams make it to Championship Weekend.

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