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Talking Some Final Four

Yes, it's still mostly lax around here.
Sean from Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician and I frequently chat. By frequently I mean weekly. This week was my turn to answer questions he posed. Being that we just won National Championship #11 in lacrosse and I was there Sean wondered my thoughts on the whole weekend. We also chat about Flynn's draft status, chances for a threepeat, and the ABA of all things. Check out Orange::44 is an Absolute Magician version 26.0.
I'll be back later this weekend to wrap up the Final Four and let you knwo the schedule of events around this place for the summer. There are some, but you won't like it I'm guessing.

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Lacrosse Weekly - Championship Edition

Title #11 comes back to back. Amazing.
I had to take a little longer than usual for a postgame article to take this one in. Sitting in the stands in Gillette Stadium I said at least four times “well that’s it”. Then Syracuse pulled one of the most amazing feats the lacrosse world has ever witnessed in a championship game. To be there was unbelievable, to see it on television was a privilege, and to even hear about it as an SU fan must have been a treat. This one may not go down as the best finals game ever, but it will certainly be in the discussion. Syracuse pulls off a miraculous comeback for their 11th title over Cornell in overtime ten to nine.

This game was started with Cornell getting the first two scores of the game from John Glynn. Then Syracuse made it even when Cornell struck with 21 seconds left in the first quarter. Stephen Keogh earned goal 48 on the season to start the second quarter. Then each team scored again before Cornell got two goals to end the first half, including a man up goal from Max Seibald. The third quarter was low scoring, with each team adding one to head into the fourth quarter with Cornell up seven to five. Then an explosive fourth quarter occurred. After Dan Hardy closed the gap to one Cornell seemed to put the game unreachable at 5:31, down by three. Then Syracuse scored three goals, most notably with 4.5 seconds remaining by Kenny Nims, to miraculously tie the game back up. Then after Cornell won the face off in overtime, Sid Smith caused a turnover, and finally Cody Jamieson put in the game winner. Syracuse is the best in the lacrosse world again.

The Orange again did it with contributions from several players. Syracuse had eight different scorers in the game. Stephen Keogh and Cody Jamieson led in scoring with two goals a piece, including the game winner from Jamieson in the overtime. Matt Abbot and Dan Hardy each added two assists as well. Hardy and Jamieson each finished with three points a piece. Long stick midfielder Joel White led the team with ground balls and played fantastic on the defensive end and on face offs. Jake Moulton again played well, winning ten of 17 face offs. Gavin Jenkinson also won two of four. Finally, John Galloway played well on the day in the second half and finished with ten saves and nine goals against.

Cornell did an excellent job of limiting Syracuse’s shots. Syracuse had 33 in the game, while Cornell had 39. Cornell also edged out Syracuse in ground balls, picking up 30 to Syracuse’s 28. Syracuse won 12 of 22 face offs in the game, with Cornell taking ten. Cornell cleared 15 of 19 possessions, while Syracuse cleared 16 of 17. Syracuse’s extra man defense was excellent as Cornell could only convert on one of six opportunities. Syracuse failed to convert on their one opportunity. Both teams had ten saves.

This game was fun to watch. In the last play to tie the game with 4.5 seconds in regulation, to which I have seen a dozen times now, and I am amazed that it happened. First the check from Nims on Cornell’s Moyer, then White’s check to really free the ball, the crazy pass from Keogh to Matt Abbot, and then while getting hit passes to Nims in front of the cage somehow getting the pass perfectly after hitting the Cornell defender’s stick, finally resulting in that Nims goal was unbelievable. This was easily the best 20 seconds of lacrosse you could see this season. Next, how lucky were we that the NCAA finally decided to not drag their feet and actually clear Cody Jamieson. The kid will be a star next season. Clearly Syracuse had ridiculous offensive depth on this team that even when the team was confused and stifled by Cornell’s defense that several players can step up and play big to come back and tie the game. The complete box score can be found here.

I’ll be back shortly to round out the coverage on the weekend including some video, several pictures, and some memories from the season. Also I will be back with the blogging situation this blog will undergo over the next few months until football cranks up again. It was a special weekend and I want to revisit it again before we truly put this championship season to rest.

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NCAA Lacrosse Tournament Preview - Championship Edition

Time for another repeat don't you think?

Upstate New York is where the heart of this rivalry lies. Foxborough, Massachusetts is where the final battle will take place of the 2009 season. Both teams enter the championship after a routing of their competition, Syracuse winning 17 to seven, and Cornell upsetting #1 Virginia 15 to six. This should make for an interesting final on Memorial Day.

By now you know the successes of the Syracuse offense. Cody Jamieson has six goals in the NCAA Tournament, along with Stephen Keogh. Kenny Nims is the nation’s leading scorer with 31 goals and 42 assists. Dan Hardy has 24 goals and 16 assists. The Syracuse offense is powerful and impressive and has weapons near the crease, as well as outside. Cornell’s defense however held Virginia to just six goals and held Virginia to just 12 shots in the first half and 27 on the day. Matt Moyer matched up on Virginia’s All-American Danny Glading to just two goals and one assist. Syracuse’s defense is nothing to sneer at as well though, holding Duke to just seven goals, and limited Ned Crotty to just two assists on the day. Sid Smith was outstanding in the game, and John Lade was quick with his slides to truly make shooting difficult for Duke. He will most likely play on John Glynn who has 20 goals and wins 58% of the face offs he takes. Sid Smith will most likely take on Rob Pannell who has 24 goals and 41 assists on the year. Syracuse’s defense will have its hands full, but should shut them down much like they did against Duke’s dynamic duo. John Galloway, starting goalie for Syracuse, is certainly no stranger to playing in Foxborough (his fourth game in the stadium), and will be playing for his second championship in two seasons. He has been outstanding in the NCAA Tournament this year and played very well against Duke, especially early in the game. If Galloway plays well early, and Syracuse scores in the first quarter, the outcome will not be solidified until the fourth quarter, but Syracuse should maintain the lead. Syracuse is looking for their 11th NCAA Championship and looking to be the first repeat team since Princeton won in 1996-1998. Cornell is looking for its first championship since 1977. This game will be exciting early and often, but look for Syracuse to limit the scorers of Cornell, including senior captain and four time Ivy League first team member Max Seibald. Jake Moulton should continue his good work at the X and win more than half. Syracuse won this meeting earlier in the season 15-10, and this game should come out around the same. Look for Syracuse to win by four.

I will again be in Foxborough watching the game live, and listen to me Monday on Matt Mc’s Sports Fix to recap all the weekend’s action. You know the drill. Go to his site and click on the date in the bottom right to hear the show. I’ll have my game recap late Monday evening or early Tuesday. Hopefully we will be celebrating title #11 for Syracuse.

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Lacrosse Weekly - Final Four Edition

Another career day for another great Orange player.
“Today was by far our best performance all season.” Senior Kenny Nims sums it up perfectly. Syracuse came into Foxborough looking pretty even on paper with the Duke Blue Devils, the only program not to have a National Championship. They were sent home empty handed as the #2 Syracuse Orange beat the Dukies 17 to seven.

The game started with Syracuse getting first crack at Duke, with Chris Daniello putting SU on the board with 13:08 in the first quarter. Long stick Joel White then added another with 7:13 remaining in the first half. Duke then got on the board with a pair of their own from Zach Howell to tie the game 2-2. Then with 35 seconds remaining in the first quarter star of the day Pat Perritt hit his first goal to give SU back the lead. Then with one second remaining in the quarter Kenny Nims earned his first goal of the day as well on an excellent isolation and split dodge. Duke wasted no time trying to come back earning a goal only 11 seconds in the second quarter. Syracuse then added four goals in the second quarter with Duke only adding one more to leave Syracuse up 8-4 at the half. Then Jake Moulton, our face off specialist, took exactly seven seconds to start the second half to score. Syracuse then proceeded to outscore Duke 6-2 in the third quarter. By then it was basically over. Duke added one more before Syracuse finished the game with a stretch of three goals to finish the game. Syracuse was in control this game and clearly had the best offense on the field.

Kenny Nims had four goals on the day, but so did fellow senior Pat Perritt who had a career day. Seven other players also had goals, including Cody Jamieson and Tim Desko who each had two. Dan Hardy led the team with assists with two. He also added a goal. Jake Moulton led the team in ground balls with six. He was also the man at the face off X, winning ten of 17. Gavin Jenkinson also won seven of nine face offs. They were helped by several Duke procedure calls to give Syracuse the win at the X. John Galloway played well in his 57:17 in the game. He had 11 saves and only allowed seven goals. Backup Al Cavalieri came in but did not make any saves.

Syracuse once again led the shot category. SU had 48 shots while Duke had 32. ‘Cuse led in ground balls picking up 36, with Duke picking up 33. Syracuse won a total of 18 of 28 face offs, winning eight more than Duke. Duke was perfect on clears, converting 19 of 19, while Syracuse converted 22 of 25. Duke did manage to, after clearing, try to pass and miss it, allowing it to roll out of bounds. Syracuse converted 2-4 on extra man opportunities, and Duke converted 1-5. Each team had 11 saves.

While Pat Perritt was the offensive MVP, Sid Smith was clearly the MVP for the defense. He limited Duke’s Ned Crotty to just two assists. He was pressuring and swarming when he needed to be and really limited the Duke stars in this game. I still cannot say enough about Nims and Perritt in this game. They were masterful and their offensive awareness was key in this game. Galloway also did what Galloway has become known for; playing clutch in NCAA games. He started early and often making big stops on the Duke shooters, and was rewarded with having this game in hand in the third quarter. Syracuse played a great game on every side of the ball and I agree with Nims, this was Syracuse’s best complete performance on the season. The complete box score is here.

As you now know for sure, Syracuse will take on #5 Cornell at 1:00pm on ESPN and ESPNHD on Monday, Memorial Day. I will have my preview for the game in a bit, and also congratulations to SUNY Cortland as they won the D-III Championship this afternoon. Congratulations to LeMoyne on making it to the D-II finals as well. In the meantime, enjoy Matt Glaude from Hoya Suxa dancing in the parking lot after our big win over Duke.

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Nunes::44 - 5/22/09

See, Troy has the moves to play lacrosse.
Sean from Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician finally got back to me with some answers just in time for the Final Four. Tonight we talk lacrosse, Paulus, a little basketball, and quality eats on the hill. Enjoy.
1. Orange::44: Syracuse handled Maryland in the NCAA Lacrosse quarterfinals last Saturday. What were the things that surprised you or caught your attention about the game?

Nunes: Well, you had to be surprised with how well Al Cavalieri handled himself in the net. It's stressful enough to make your first start in NCAA lacrosse. It's another thing altogether to do it in an NCAA Tournament game. And something altogether even more stressful to do it in a game that could send your team to the Final Four. If he never starts another game ever again, which is rather likely given that Galloway is only a sophomore, it was a performance he and Syracuse fans will never forget.

2. Orange::44: The lacrosse team is heading back to Foxborough for the Final Four. Is title #11 on the horizon?

Nunes: Honestly, I could see them winning the whole thing. I could see them making to the Finals and losing. I could see them losing in the Final Four. I honestly won't be surprised by any outcome. All I can base Duke's quality on is how they fared against the top talent and considering they beat Virginia twice, and Virginia beat SU in the Dome, the Orange have their hands full. I expect it to be a classic, no matter the outcome. If they are able to beat the Blue Devils, it's probably a crapshoot no matter who they play. Virginia beat them and while SU beat Cornell earlier this year, this is a different Big Red team.

In closing...I don't have a clue. But I'm hopeful.

3. Orange::44: Chris Basile was charged with a felony recently. How will this affect the team and how red is Marrone?

Nunes: Well it sounds like it won't affect them at all. He's gotten the Total Recall treatment and he's been wiped clean from the memory banks. He's gone from the website and it's already like he never existed in the first place. I just hope his victims, which include Andy Rautins, get their stuff back.

The whole thing got kicked up a notch when it was discovered that Basile actually had a history of doing this. He was arrested at his previous college for doing the exact same thing. I don't know how he ended up at SU and who signed off on giving him another chance but I think this was a perfect reminder of the loosey-goosey Greg Robinson Era when players made questionable decisions and there didn't seem to be any checks and balances. I don't think we'll see anymore Chris Basile's under Doug Marrone's watch.

Honestly, I just wanted to say loosey-goosey.

4. Orange::44: What is the current status with Paul Harris and the basketball team? Any new developments?

Nunes: Other than his run-in with Ryan Miller at the Carousel Mall, no idea. He told Ryan that he was on his way to Chicago to begin training. We assume he means to get in shape for the NBA Draft. Although he never officially said he was gone, he said as much and it's now too late to turn back (from what I can tell). Some folks have actually floated Paul's name out there as a late 2nd round pick but I don't see how. This draft is LOADED and a guy like Paul, who isn't making any noise right now, is just lost in the shuffle. I fear that he's going to go down as a cautionary tale to future Syracuse stars.

If I had to guess, expect to see him in an NBDL team near you next season.

5. Orange::44: Greg Paulus has been called a distraction among many other things. Do you see him contributing positively to the football team, or is this just a lot of hype?

Nunes: Can it be both? I think no matter what, Greg Paulus is way overhyped. And he's overhyped because he turned himself into a topic of discussion. He went on PTI, Dan Patrick and so many other TV and radio programs to discuss his decision to play football and transfer to Syracuse. He doesn't have the right to play the humble card or the "I don't want to be a distraction card," not that he has been.

That said, he seems like a good guy (besides all the flopping) and I expect him to make the most of his opportunity. As each day passes I think this is more about his chance to learn the ropes at Newhouse for a career in broadcasting that also just to happens to include an outside shot at a football career. Regardless, I'm sure he'll give it his all and I think we'll see him on the playing field. Whether or not he's the starter, I don't know. I can safely say that Doug Marrone will not bow to any pressure to start Paulus if he's not confident... Marrone takes this opportunity too seriously to start granting favors already.

6. Orange::44: Who do you think will be MVP of the basketball team next season?

Nunes: Right now this feels like a 2000-2001 type of team. That team was led by a sharpshooting outside gunner (Preston Shumpert) who had help from a secondary scorer and rebounder (Damone Brown) and a reliable if not amazing point guard (Allen Griffin). The Shumpert role is obviously now Rautins and I hope that Wes Johnson will be a better Damone Brown. Triche & Jardine will likely trade time at the point and while neither will be Jonny, they can both be reliable. This team does have a lot more going on under the basket than that one, with AO and Rick Jackson.

That team went the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament. On paper, it feels like the same kind of outcome at the moment. But a lot can change in a couple months. It certainly has in the few leading up to now.

7. Orange::44: Finally, what was your favorite late night eating spot when you were on the hill?

Nunes: Well, if I was out on Marshall Street I was a regular at The Pita Pit. We would always wander in around 1-2am, screaming "BABAGANOUSH" at the top of our lungs and gorge ourselves under the guise that we were eating healthy. Sadly, I hear the Pit is gone which means that including Darwin's, the two most likely places to find me on a Friday night in Syracuse, no longer exist. Depressing.

If I was back at my apartment or house, it was a guarantee we'd order in and in that case I was all about the sandwiches at Dorian’s. Personally, I was an Ares and Artemis fan and downed more of them than I care to admit. Something about ordering sandwiches named after Greek Gods at 2 in the morning...just made the whole experience feel more exciting.
Editor’s Note: This is another installment in the ongoing collaboration between Orange::44 and Nunes/Magician. Usually every other Wednesday Nunes::44 will appear here, while the following week Orange::44/Magician will appear on his site. Until then, enjoy excellent Nunes/Magician articles as always and stay tuned to Orange::44 for complete postgame coverage from every Syracuse game.

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NCAA Lacrosse Tournament Preview - Final Four Edition

Back in Boston. Strap on the booze lacrosse shoes.

Syracuse is in another semi-final game. This isn’t new. But this game, on paper, is easily the best semi-final of the two. The #2 seed Syracuse is facing a very good #3 Duke team and this will be a lacrosse fans delight. Duke is the only program in the Final Four without a National Championship, but this will again not be the year as Syracuse should advance to Memorial Day.

Syracuse is an offensive machine, averaging 12.9 goals a game. They have balanced scoring, attaining sometimes ten different players putting the ball in the cage. The depth of Syracuse’s attack unit is crazy delicious, with the likes of Stephen Keogh, Kenny Nims, Chris Daniello, Greg Niewieroski, the coach’s son Tim Desko, and of course the very hot as of late Cody Jamieson. Keogh is second in the nation in goals per game with 2.9, and has 46 on the season. The same depth can be talked about in the midfield as well, as Dan Hardy, wearing famed #22, has 23 goals and 14 assists on the season. The SU defense is nothing to scoff at as well, with Syracuse only allowing 7.3 goals per game, a team low since 1970. Jovan Miller, Joel White, Matt Tierney, and the star Sid Smith will have their hands full with Duke’s offensive duo of Matt Danowski and Ned Crotty. These two can score and can score big. The two have combined for 68 points on the year and lead a very good Duke team that beat #1 seed Virginia twice during the regular season. The key match ups in this game are if Duke’s defense can stop this Syracuse offense. Duke goalie Rob Schroeder has played well in the NCAA Tournament and this season, with a save percentage of 52%, and again stopped Virginia’s offense. However Syracuse features a depth at attack and midfield that Duke has not seen this season. Similarly, Syracuse will have to contain Danowski and Crotty. Look for Tierney to take primary duty, while Smith should defend more inside. Smith is slower than these two Duke players however, so Syracuse will have to force more outside shots for the Blue Devils. Additionally, at the face off X, Syracuse is averaging exactly 50%, while duke is winning 54% on the season. Syracuse will again have to at least win half or better to limit Duke possessions, as Jake Moulton will have to step up big this weekend. Goalie John Galloway looks to be healthy again and should make the start for Syracuse. He has been sensational in the NCAA Tournament in his one game against Siena this year, and all four tournament games last season including two in Foxborough. If he plays well, Syracuse’s offense should take over and win this game. The experts are giving Syracuse a one goal edge in this game, but I say that Syracuse will outscore Duke in the second and fourth quarters and should make this a three to four goal game. Look for Syracuse to advance to Monday’s Natty Championship by three.

I will be making the trek to the greater Boston area this weekend and will be in the stadium live for this game, so look for my recap most likely on Sunday, with a hopeful preview of Monday’s game. Tailgating is always optimal at these weekends, and I look forward to enjoying some BBQing and consuming with fellow lacrosse aficionado, Orange::44 founder, and blogger Matt Glaude of Hoya Suxa, as well as some other excellent Syracuse alumni. Athough I am not on Twitter so I cannot provide live in game updates (but I'm sure Matt will), look for some special coverage coming your way Sunday besides my recap if all goes well. Stay tuned to Orange::44 all Championship Weekend for complete coverage of the 2009 Lacrosse Final Four.

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Lacrosse Weekly - 5/19/09

First start, first win. That's how you do it.
When you make a game plan, you hope that it will give you the best chance to win. When the goalie you game plan for is ill and is not in the game, you basically have to toss your game plan out the window. That is what Maryland had to do. I admit I was worried putting in a goalie in the NCAA Tournament for his first career start, but Syracuse played brilliantly at both ends of the field. #2 Syracuse punches their ticket to Foxborough against Maryland 11 to six.

Syracuse jumped off to an early three goal lead in the first quarter. Kenny Nims got Syracuse going early on a nice goal running from behind the cage. During the first quarter Al Cavalieri was sensational stopping several tough shots from Maryland. Syracuse’s Cody Jamieson then hit a goal to start the second quarter. Maryland then picked up two goals before dazzling saves from Cavalieri. Then Syracuse and Maryland got another goal each to end the half with Syracuse up 5-3. SU started the second half before Maryland answered back. Then it was all Syracuse for the next five goals. Maryland got two goals in garbage time when it was too late to close out the game, but Syracuse was in control basically the entire second half.

Eight different scorers added at least one goal to Syracuse’s tally. Stephen Keogh, Kenny Nims, and Dan Hardy all each had two goals. Nims, Matt Abbot, and Pat Perritt each had two assists. Nims led the Orange with four points on the day. Matt Abbot, the one man clear, picked up six ground balls on the day. Jake Moulton did well at the face off X, winning six of 12. Gavin Jenkinson also did very well, winning five of seven. Josh Knight lost his two face offs. Al Cavalieri was again outstanding in his first start as he made 14 saves and only allowed six goals.

Syracuse once again led in the shots category. Syracuse had 38 shots, while Maryland had only 26. Maryland led in the ground balls category picking up 34, while Syracuse had 30. Syracuse led overall in face offs winning 11 of 21. Maryland had trouble clearing the ball as they only managed 12 of 17, while Syracuse cleared 20 of 21. Each team converted on an extra man opportunity, as Maryland was 1-2, while Syracuse was 1-3. Finally, Syracuse had 14 saves, while the Maryland goalies combined for 11 saves.

Of course Syracuse had their back up goalie in as well, but Maryland also had to put in their back up as well. Although not a true back up, Maryland had been using a two goalie system most of the season, but recently settled on sophomore Brian Phipps as their starter. He was in for 13:58 when while protesting a call he tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). Jason Carter, who had seen considerable minutes this season, stepped in and played well, but Syracuse’s offense was simply too much for the senior to handle. The best goal of the day went to Tyler Hlawati who received an assist from Sid Smith for a rarely seen long stick to long stick goal early in the forth quarter. In this game Syracuse was visibly in control for the majority of the contest. Although time of possession is not a statistic that is kept, Syracuse possessed the ball more than Maryland, and looked sharp and far more active and confident than Maryland did. It was a nice victory for Syracuse. The complete box score is here.

Other quarterfinal scores were:

Hofstra Regional:

#5 Cornell 6 – #4 Princeton 4

Navy Regional:

#8 Johns Hopkins 8 – #1 Virginia 19

#6 North Carolina 11 – #3 Duke 12

The complete bracket is here.

So the Final Four is set. #2 Syracuse will take on #3 Syracuse at 12:00pm, while #5 Cornell will take on #1 Virginia at 2:00pm. Syracuse earns yet another trip to the Final Four and takes on a team that Syracuse has been dying to match up against in basketball, has taken their point guard as our potential quarterback, and a lacrosse team that has been quite embattled the last few years. The Duke Blue Devils will not be an easy team, and should provide a classic semifinal game, much like the Virginia game last season. Stay tuned for my preview later this week of course, and again for the record, I am still perfect in my bracket.

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NCAA Lacrosse Tournament Preview - Quarterfinals

Another quarterfinals, another SU game.
The NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament rolls on, and the Orange are of course still in it. Syracuse enters the quarterfinals against #13 Maryland, the only unseeded team to win in the first round and advance. Maryland, no stranger to the NCAA Tournament has been quiet as of late, not having headed to the Championship since 1998. Meanwhile, Syracuse is the defending National Champions and currently ranked #1, with a two seed in the NCAA Tournament. This should be a classic game with two powerhouse programs going at it for a ticket to the Final Four in Foxborough.

The last meeting these two teams had was in the 1997 NCAA semifinal, in which Maryland won in a shootout 18 to 17. That will not be the fate of this edition of the Orange however. Syracuse is averaging right around 13 goals per game. While Maryland held Notre Dame to only three goals last week, and kept them scoreless through 30 minutes of play, this should not be the case for the Orange. However, as I have said all year, Syracuse’s real weakness is the face off X, missing specialist Danny Brennan. Jake Moulton will again take primary duty at the X, and he again needs to win around 50% like in the Siena game for Syracuse to keep Maryland out of it. Syracuse will also need excellent wing play from Matt Abbot and Joel White. If Syracuse does that, no question the offensive strengths of Syracuse will shine though. Maryland’s goalkeeper Brian Phipps has only started the last few games for Maryland and has done well, but he needs to be on his absolute best to limit the score of Syracuse. Maryland’s offense is good, but it is not as deep as Syracuse. The Terps will no doubt run a similar offensive look as Siena, being very deliberate, patient, and trying to pick apart the defense of Syracuse methodically. If Syracuse stays sharp, and John Galloway stays absolutely brilliant like he was all last year in the NCAA’s, and last Sunday, this should not be a problem. Galloway is 29-4 as a starter, and Syracuse is 27-2 all time in the quarterfinal round, therefore the numbers, history, and momentum is all in Syracuse’s favor. Interesting note though, in the last three tournaments the team that has beaten Notre Dame has gone on to win the title. Last year SU did it, and this year, Maryland has taken out the Irish in the first round. Additionally, Will Yeatman on Maryland might be a familiar name to Orange::44 readers, as he was one of the young men at Notre Dame to get into a fight and drink underage. Oh yeah, he also likes to drink and drive. Looks like he’s pulled a Gottlieb and left ND for “greener pastures”. Either way, Syracuse should win this one and get to yet another Final Four. As my bracket is perfect you can kind of bet on this one. Syracuse will win, but in a fairly close game, by three.

The game is on ESPN U, but will also be simulcast on ESPN2 at 12:00pm on Saturday. Both in stunning high definition. I’ll catch it off my DVR later on Saturday so look for my lacrosse weekly feature Monday morning, as well as my thought on Greg Paulus among other things. Also, on a personal note, congratulations to my fellow future lawyers as my classmates and I graduate tomorrow from Western New England College School of Law. Best wishes folks.

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We're Talkin' Lax

I still wonder how this guy can run without feet.
Apparently people think I’m an expert on lacrosse. I’m not denying that I enjoy the sport, and especially the NCAA Tournament, where Syracuse is currently trying to defend its 2008 National Championship. Therefore I’ll once again be on Matt Mc’s Sport Fix today at 5:00pm. Unless you are in the North Country in New York State you won’t be able to hear it live, but shortly thereafter the link to the show will appear on the right side of the site, so click today's date and hear my take on the Siena game, the impending Maryland match up this Saturday at 12:00pm, and overall thoughts on the tournament.

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Lacrosse Weekly - 5/11/09

Syracuse earned a trip to the Regionals on Mom's Day.
The Carrier Dome was the site of several major events in the past few days. One of them was the first round of the NCAA Tournament pitting the #2 seeded Syracuse Orange against MAAC Champions and first time competitors Siena in the first ever meeting between the two schools. While some people in the media thought this game would be closer than not, clearly the Orange were far more talented than the Saints. Syracuse advances to the regional game 11 to four.

There was a lot of action in this game, but it was mostly on the defensive end. Syracuse finished the first half up 4-0. While that means that Syracuse led by four at the half, that also means that there were only four goals for a great SU offensive team, and that Syracuse and Siena played some damn good defense. That was definitely the case. Both goalies in this game were outstanding and John Galloway and Brent Herbst easily played the best games of their seasons. The second half is when the game opened up for Syracuse. The third quarter had four goals, with Syracuse and Siena going back and forth. Siena ended the quarter with a goal from Jordan Loftus, brother of former SU player Brendan Loftus. Then in the fourth quarter, Syracuse had a three goal burst. Siena earned a goal with 8:46 to go, but by then it was too much for Siena to hope to stay close. Siena earned another goal with less than a minute to go, but not before SU got two more.

Syracuse had some stellar play from who I would pick for MVP of Syracuse. Kenny Nims earned five more points getting a goal and four assists. Stephen Keogh had another great scoring day with a hat trick. Cody Jamieson earned his first start for The Orange and Syracuse was rewarded with a three goal, one assist day from Jamieson. Yes folks, he is as good as advertised. Kevin Drew and John Lade each led the ground ball category with four each. Jake Moulton took the primary face off duty again and he earned eight of 14. Gavin Jenkinson won two of four. Josh Knight lost his only one. And John Galloway was absolutely brilliant in the cage. He allowed four goals and had 13 saves. But the box score does not give his performance justice as he simply stoned several Siena shots on the doorstep. Maybe Galloway is just better in the playoffs, and he was.

Syracuse of course led the shot category with 34. Siena made a good effort with 22. ‘Cuse picked up 33 ground balls in the game, while Siena had 24. Syracuse took a big step forward by leading in the face off X, earning ten of 19. The Orange were almost perfect in clearing the ball, clearing 24 of 26. Siena had a big problem clearing, only managing 11 of 19. Syracuse’s penalty kill unit had its work cut out for it, but only allowed Siena to capitalize on one of six extra man opportunities. Finally, Herbst had 11 saves while Galloway had 13. Again both goalies were great.

Dan Hardy, wearing famed #22 in case you forgot, had an absolutely terrible day. While he did have a goal, he had one of the worst cases of the dropsies a lacrosse player has ever had. He looked like he played for the football team last year. Hopefully he will recover the next time, and I’m glad this happened against Siena rather than another team. Again, congratulations to Cody Jamieson, who played excellent in his first starting game, his first NCAA Tournament game, and thus earning his first hat trick. In case you didn’t see it, Syracuse went with an interesting look for the first time. They had their traditional white jerseys, but wore their away uniform orange shirts as seen in the picture above. It created an interesting look with the orange helmets they wear. Overall I approve, as they need to continue to wear them that way as it is what they wore to win their first tournament game. The complete box score can be found here.

The rest of the games from the weekend went like this:

Saturday May 9:

Brown 11 - #8 Johns Hopkins 12 F/OT

UMBC 13 – #6 North Carolina 15

Hofstra 8 - #5 Cornell 11

Navy 5 - #3 Duke 14

Sunday May 10:

Maryland 7 - #7 Notre Dame 3

Villanova 6 - #1 Virginia 18

Massachusetts 7 - #4 Princeton 10

Best Game of the Weekend – Brown v. Johns Hopkins

Most Interesting Game of the Weekend – Maryland v. Notre Dame

The games are now set. #5 Cornell will play #4 Princeton and Maryland will play #2 Syracuse in the Hofstra Regional in Hempstead, New York, while #8 Johns Hopkins will play #1 Virginia and #6 North Carolina will play #3 Duke at Navy in Annapolis, Maryland. The updated bracket is here.

Syracuse will again take on Maryland. It has been a number of years since Syracuse has played Maryland, but rest assured they are a good team. Syracuse matched up with them in the NCAA Championship in 1995, losing to Syracuse 13 to nine in College Park. Maryland has been to the Championship nine times and has won twice, the last time being 1975. This will be an interesting game for the Orange, and I will have my usual preview before next weekend. Until then, congratulations to the Orange for surviving and advancing on the road back to Foxborough.

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NCAA Lacrosse Tournament Preview - 1st Round

May Madness is back. Title defends begins.
It is May Madness, and Syracuse is back in the NCAA Tournament to defend their 2008 National Championship. Syracuse is a two seed in this year’s bracket, and will take on first time Siena from the Albany area. Will this game be close? It is not looking good for the Saints.

Syracuse enters the NCAA Tournament leading the nation in scoring. Senior leader Kenny Nims leads the nation in scoring with 4.21 points per game. Stephen Keogh is second in the nation in goals per game, averaging 2.93 a game. He also has 41 on the year. Dan Hardy also has 34 points on the year and will look to add to his total goals. Meanwhile the Saints have an excellent goalie in Brent Herbst, who saves 63% of shots on him, and Siena boasts the #2 defense in the nation, only allowing an average of 6.24 goals a game. Siena will look to play deliberate, slow lacrosse and frustrate Syracuse defenders by making them grow impatient and make mistakes. But as we all know, Syracuse’s offense is the best for a reason. They distribute the ball so well, and everyone can make shots and dodges. The experts are saying that this game will be close, but I do not buy it whatsoever. If goalie John Galloway even just shows up for Syracuse, pending an epic defensive collapse on the part of Syracuse, this should be a big one for the Orange. Wins in the face off X will be critical for Syracuse as well. Look for Syracuse to advance and play the winner of Notre Dame/Maryland in Hofstra next weekend. Syracuse by 5.

Syracuse will take on the Saints live from the Carrier Dome tomorrow evening at 7:30pm on ESPN U. This is coincidentally the shortest distance between two first round opponents, just a small jaunt down the New York State Thruway. That only means it will be unnecessary for Saints faithful to get a hotel in the Salt City. I’ll have a complete wrap up of the contest next week, and continuing coverage of the NCAA Tournament.

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Odds and Ends

It is that time again, so congratulations! You've earned it.
The Syracuse Orange Blogger Awards were this week. The SOB’s give out awards based on several categories for this past basketball season. The voters are members of the Syracuse blogging community and they also unveiled the awards on all of our various websites. The full wrap up and list of winners can be found right here at Nunes/Magician.

SU took a hit in the street cred department this week when Chris Basile, a walk on with the football team, was charged with felony burglary in the second degree and misdemeanor petit larceny. Awesome. He allegedly broke into a Winding Ridge apartment at 5:30 in the morning. Something more as the story develops.

I was on Matt Mc’s Sport Fix this past Monday talking lacrosse, lacrosse, and lacrosse. I talked about the Siena match, the overall bracket, I picked my Final Four, and even some upsets. Check the right side of the site and click on May 4th. I’m in around the 18 minute mark.

Finally, like I said I’ve been busy. I had finals all this week that took up all of my time. However I am done with Law School. In that spirit, this weekend is Syracuse’s graduation ceremonies. Therefore to all of my friends still at Syracuse that are graduating, and to all Syracuse students graduating this weekend, congratulations to you and best of luck to you in the future.

And Sunday is Mother’s Day as well, so thanks Mom. Love you.

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The 2009 SOB's: Favorite Moment of the Year

I genuinely wish I had one of these in my living room.
Welcome back everyone! The SOB’s are rolling on as it is time to reveal the favorite moment of the year. There were several interesting nominees for the award.

Ray of SWRLU enjoyed some fisticuffs:
The fights during the Seton Hall BET Game.

Nick Loucks of Nick's 2 Cents enjoyed that UConn game, but he enjoyed another moment the most:
As a collective moment, nothing since April 7, 2003 tops the 6-OT game... but for a single, jump-out-of-my-seat, key play in a clutch moment against a good team, Paul Harris' hustle-back-on-defense block late in the game against Kansas to preserve a chance to win was very memorable.

Matt Glaude of Hoya Suxa picked a non-Syracuse moment that was satisfying:
My favorite moment was actually two moments: St. John's beating Georgetown twice in the span of a week. That was sweeter than prison wine.

Alex O. of SWRLU (#2) enjoyed a posterizing:
Flynn Dunks on Rosario: Best Syracuse dunk since Hakim's teabagging.

There were two votes for Devendorf’s table antics:

Devo hitting a disqualified three-pointer at the buzzer to beat UConn in regulation, jumping on the scorer's table and beating his chest. Again, it didn't count. - Damon Amendolara of Orange Fizz

Devo's celebration of his non-game winner against UConn in the B.E.T. – Matt L of The Orange Report

And the other nominee was related to that UConn game but not quite it:
The UConn band playing the "Hey Song" in the 2nd OT, up 8. You never play the "Hey Song" with the game still in question...ask SSS during Pitt last year. I called it then, it would come back and haunt them. – Daniel of SWRLU

But the winner of Favorite Moment of the Year goes to… what else but that fantastic Syracuse/UConn game in Madison Square Garden.

UCONN game again. Not because it went to 6 overtimes, but I had about 12 beers and met this Dame at the bar who made a bad decision to come home with me. – Danny Carberry of The Sport Hump

The 6 OT win. – Andrew Rush of The Three Idiots

Watching the click tick down at the end of the 6-OT UConn game as the celebrations started amongst the players and a silently fist pumped to no one in particular in my living room. – Sean Keeley of Nunes/Magician

The wee hours of the morning on March 13th, after several overtime periods and tense moments. The cathartic release of beating UConn after all those overtimes. Then I spoke to like 50 people the next day and we all had the same conversation.

Person 1: Did you see it?
Me: Absolutely.
Person 1: All of it?
Me: Yes!
Person 1: Amazing.
Me. Epic.

– Brian Harrison, Orange::44

So there you have it, the winner of Favorite Moment of the Year is the 6OT Syracuse/Connecticut affair in the Big East Tournament. But the SOB’s are not done just yet. Head on over to The Three Idiots at 3:00pm for the Best Photo of the Year. Check out Nunes/Magician for the complete schedule and a wrap up of the ceremonies at 4:00pm as well. Thanks for stopping by for the SOB’s and we’ll see you next year.

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The 2009 SOB's: Best Game of the Year

I got fancy with Paint this year.

It is 5:00pm, which means it is time to unveil the winner of the SOB for Best Game of the Season. Welcome to all of you following the awards as we close out Day #1. On to the presentation.

Obviously this category has an obvious winner, but surprisingly this was not a unanimous decision. Matt Glaude from Hoya Suxa not too surprisingly picked the win over nemesis Georgetown in the Dome. “Beating the living piss out of Georgetown up in the Dome. Or just squeaking by. My memory is tainted with a hazy disdain.”

But with 11 of the 12 votes in the category, clearly it is the Syracuse v. UConn 6OT thriller from the Big East Tournament on March 12, 2009. Well, it started March 12th at least.

SU-UConn, Big East tourney. If anyone votes for a game other than this, it's because they had fallen asleep. Which means they should be immediately displaced to a retirement village, where they can watch "Matlock" reruns and enjoy strained corn. - Damon Amendolara, Orange Fizz

6 OTs. It has to be that Colgate thriller right? Right? Being in MSG for the Big East Tournament and that game specifically will always be something I'll always remember. That night was a night of history and the night this team will always be remembered for. – Jameson, Bleacher Report

6 OT vs. UConn, That game robbed me of about 2 hours of sleep, and I still believe that somehow, the people at Buffalo Wild Wings were involved in this madness. – Ray Biggs, SWRLU

Syracuse vs. UConn, Big East Tournament. 6 OTs and the Garden, and I was in attendance. What's not to like? – Daniel, SWRLU

6 OTs against UConn: Not only did we play in one of the best games ever, we won it. – Alex O., SWRLU (#2)

Do we need to vote on this? 6-OTs. – Matt L, The Orange Report

The number of overtimes in the game on March 12 ironically was also how many times better this game was than any other Syracuse game this season. The national stage... Against hated UConn... Manning up as the minutes kept passing into early morning... Silly stat lines... the Big East Tournament... Eliminating the Huskies in the BET again... AJ Price crying... That game was pure joy... SIX times better than any other game on the schedule. – Nick Loucks, Nick's 2 Cents

Oakland of course! C’mon, the Epic battles of all Epic battles down in the epicenter of college basketball. The Garrrrrdddeeenn. – Danny Carberry, The Sport Hump

Obviously the 6 OT game. Runner up, LeMoyne. – Andrew Rush, Three Idiots

No doubt it was the 6 OT epic win over UConn. Anytime they make a T-shirt to commemorate it, it was a classic game. – Sean Keeley, Nunes/Magician

And finally…
Syracuse v. Connecticut in the Big East Tournament. March 12, 2009. The second longest game in NCAA history was nothing sort of spectacular. Beating Jim Calhoun’s team was the most satisfying experience Syracuse Basketball had experienced since that famous 2006 BET run. If only I was there. – Brian Harrison, Orange::44

So there you have it. Your winner again was the fantastic, legendary game that was Syracuse/Connecticut in the Big East Tournament. Amazing. Feel free to relive the magic via video highlights right here. This concludes your awards broadcasting day. However we are by no means done. We still have plenty more awards to give out. Tune back in tomorrow over at Ray’s Superman Wears Rob Long Underoos at 10:00am where he will be revealing the Most Surprising Player award. Check back here tomorrow at 2:00pm when I reveal the Favorite Moment of the Season. Again your complete awards schedule is here. Thanks for stopping by and we’ll see you tomorrow for more of the Syracuse Orange Blogger Awards!

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Another year, another set of hardware.
The Syracuse Orange Blogger awards are back! I know the excitement is palpable. Starting today at 10:00am, the first award will be handed out at Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician. Then every hour until 5:00pm another award will be handed out. The blogs involved will then do the same thing tomorrow starting at 10:00am and ending at 4:00pm. Check out Nunes/Magician for the complete schedule and the blogs involved. This year 12 bloggers were on the voting panel, including yours truly here at Orange::44. Check out all the awards but be sure to head back here at 5:00pm today to see which game was the Best Game of the Season.
Also, just a reminder I will be back soon with complete NCAA Lacrosse Tournament coverage of the Orange's first round game, and the entire tourney. Look for that soon.

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Lacrosse Weekly - 5/4/09

The coach's kid looks like he's pretty damn good.
The regular season has ended for the Syracuse Orange lacrosse team. Expectations were high for the defending National Champions. That was certainly the case against Colgate, a team that has beaten them the last two years. Syracuse played a solid game in the Carrier Dome and put Colgate away 13 to seven.

Syracuse controlled this game from the jump. While the Orange lost the opening face off, Syracuse almost immediately forced a turnover thanks to Sid Smith, and Syracuse was off. Matter of fact, Syracuse forced three Colgate turnovers on their first three possessions. Syracuse jumped out to a 4-0 lead. Colgate earned one goal before the end of the first quarter, but if time of possession was a statistic that was kept, then Syracuse probably would have had the ball ten minutes. Heading into the second quarter, Syracuse had outscored opponents 46-14. Syracuse continued this trend by outscoring Colgate 2-1 to go into half time leading six to two after a buzzer beating shot that Dan Hardy sailed in from 12 yards away from the net. Syracuse then led off the second half by scoring three straight, opening with Cody Jamieson’s first career goal for Syracuse by bull dodging by an opponent and hitting a point blank shot, this time outside the crease. Colgate made a run closing the gap to three with three straight goals to start the 4th Quarter, but Syracuse came back to finish the game with three goals to win by six. The Syracuse defense did a nice job of limiting stud attack Brandon Corp, Colgate’s leading goal scorer, to only one goal, which really kept Colgate out of this game.

Syracuse spread the ball out quite well as 11 different scorers make the 13 goals Syracuse had. Dan Hardy and Tim Desko each had two. Kenny Nims led with four assists and had a goal of his own. John Lade had five groundballs in the game. Face offs were primarily taken by Jake Moulton again. He won five of 12 face offs he took. Additionally, Gavin Jenkinson won four of eight. Josh Knight lost both face offs he took, while Tim Harder also lost one face off. John Galloway had a decent game, making six saves and allowing seven goals. Outside of the crease John Galloway is the best Goalie I have ever seen. Inside of the crease he has faltered this season, and did let in some soft goals in this game as well. However he did make some outstanding saves and some of the goals were mistakes of his defense.

Syracuse led in shots 32 to 29, and Syracuse outshot Colgate 15 to three in the first quarter, but interestingly was outshot 11-3 in the second. Colgate had the most ground balls with 36 and Syracuse had 31. Again Syracuse struggled with face offs as Colgate won 14 of 23, leaving Syracuse only earning nine. Syracuse was perfect on their clears making 20 of 20, while Colgate cleared 16 of 18. Both teams converted one of two extra man opportunities. And finally, Syracuse had six saves, while Colgate goalie Tim Harrington had seven.

This game contained several awesome highlights. Joel White scored at the 5:40 mark in the first quarter after subbing in, immediately picking off a clearing pass, and then while one-on-one with the goalie faked high, low, and then hit the upper left corner for a great score. The Dan Hardy goal at 7:09 in the third quarter occurred because John Galloway attempted to pass the ball from behind the cage to the 50 yard line, it was tipped by a Colgate player, Dan Hardy recovers it by sheer luck, and streaks to the cage for the score. Finally, with 3:26 in the third quarter Kenny Nims scores off an assist from Tim Desko in which he had the ball in front of the net, was mugged by four ‘Gate defenders, he ended up falling and flat on his stomach ends up passing the ball to Nims for the score. This team is very talented on the offensive end and anyone seems to be able to score. The team distributes the ball well and should be a major threat to teams in the NCAA Tournament. The complete box score is here. Syracuse finishes #1 in the Coaches Poll here and the Inside Lacrosse Media Poll here.

Other scores impacted the selection process for the Tournament Other notable games were:

May 1:

Siena 7 – Providence 1 (MAAC Tournament)

Mount St. Mary’s 3 – Manhattan 5 (MAAC Tournament)

Quinnipiac 4 – Notre Dame 7 (GWLL Tournament)

Air Force 5 – Ohio State 10 (GWLL Tournament)

May 2:

Penn State 12 – Georgetown 11

Maryland 10 – Yale 6

Loyola 10 – Johns Hopkins 11 F/2OT

Massachusetts 11 – Rutgers 10 F/OT (UMass won ECAC Automatic Bid)

Brown 7 – Princeton 11

Hobart 7 – Cornell 8 (Cornell won Ivy League Automatic Bid)

Villanova 10 – Towson 9 (Villanova won CAA Automatic Bid)

Stony Brook 7 – UMBC 11 (UMBC won America East Automatic Bid)

May 3:

Ohio State 7 – Notre Dame 16 (Notre Dame won GWLL Automatic Bid)

Manhattan 5 – Siena 9 (Siena won MAAC Automatic Bid)

Duke 20 – St. John’s 7

The complete Inside Lacrosse scoreboard can be found here.

Syracuse now knows their impending match for the NCAA Tournament. The bracket is out and very interesting. Syracuse will take on first time NCAA participant Siena from nearby Albany. Syracuse always seems to get matched up with the “last one in” frequently. Syracuse has many of the tools to get back to the Final Four, and if Syracuse keeps their offensive machine rolling, and their defense finely tuned, they have a great shot to go deep into May. Later today I will have complete coverage of the NCAA Tournament Bracket, and also if you are in the Watertown Area I will again be appearing on Matt MC’s Sports Fix on ESPN Radio 1410 to discuss the lacrosse team and the NCAA Tournament field. Obviously I will provide links to the podcast when it becomes available tomorrow. Look for NCAA coverage later today.

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