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Lacrosse Weekly - NCAA Quarterfinals OR Goodbye Seniors

What a tragic outfit to leave the program wearing.
It was going to be an interesting game either way. And sadly Syracuse ended up just short in a tense, overtime tilt sending Maryland to the Final Four and Syracuse and their magnificent seven seniors home. No title, just heartbreak. Syracuse's season ends in overtime against Maryland six to five.
Syracuse started the game with scoring two goals. The first was from Jeremy Thompson with a nifty dodge and hand switch to bury one near the end of the first quarter. The second came from Jovan Miller shooting a laser with 4:45 to go in the second period. Then Maryland added two goals of their own to send the teams to the locker room 2-2. Maryland continued their run, scoring two more goals to start the third quarter. Syracuse would then add another goal. Maryland would not go away however as they added a goal with one second left on the clock in the third period from a deflected pass in, right by John Galloway. Syracuse went on to tie the game by adding two goals, one of which with only 1:05 remaining in regulation thanks to Jovan Miller's second goal of the day. But Maryland was able to get possession in the overtime and put one past Galloway again to win 6-5, ending the Orange's season.
  • Jeremy Thompson and Jovan Miller each had two goals. Jojo Marasco had the other goal.
  • Marasco also had the only assist for Syracuse on the day.
  • Joel White again led Syracuse with five ground balls.
  • Syracuse struck out at the X most of the day. Thompson was 0-4, Chris Daddio was 2-5, Josh Knight was 0-1, and Ricky Buhr was 1-4.
  • John Galloway had 11 saves and six goals against.
  • Maryland led in most statistical categories in this game. They led in shots 34-22.
  • Maryland had 19 ground balls while Syracuse had 12.
  • Maryland won 11-14 faceoffs in the game.
  • The Terps were a perfect 13-13 in clears. Syracuse was 15-16.
  • Maryland failed to score on three extra-man opportunities. Syracuse was 1-1.
  • The Orange had 11 saves. Maryland had nine.
  • Syracuse had only nine turnovers, while Maryland had 13.
  • Out of 25 Maryland possessions they had 11 stall warnings. Not a fun game to watch.
John Galloway said in the postgame press conference that the last second deflected goal to end the third quarter wasn't the difference in the game. I agree. It was mainly Syracuse's inability to win a faceoff and control the ball at the offensive end. While Syracuse gave a valiant effort to come back and tie the game with just over a minute left in regulation, clearly Syracuse might have made this a different game if they were given more possessions and Maryland didn't hold the ball for minutes on end. And Syracuse's offense did not get a lot of chances to score. Syracuse almost could have taken the lead in the ticking seconds of the final minute but Syracuse missed and there was no back up. And thus Maryland continues in the tournament, while Syracuse, and this fine senior class, is done.
There could be a lot said about this class and their legacy. Despite the last two years of early exits, this class deserves a lot of credit for helping bring Syracuse back from missing the tournament to a National Championship. And two National Championships in four years is never a bad thing. While it's a bitter ending for Syracuse, those seniors have two rings and can look back on their time and know they did great things at and for Syracuse. The greatest game I've ever watched, especially in person, was that '09 final against Cornell. So we wish those seniors the best of luck, like all Syracuse students becoming alumni this May. It's been a fun season and 15-2 is not too shabby.

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Syracuse - Maryland Open Thread

Brian and I are live from Gillette Stadium for the "North Regional" of the NCAA Lacrosse Championship. Game 1 is #1 Syracuse vs. unranked Maryland; game 2 is #5 Duke vs. #4 Notre Dame. The first game features the top seeded Orange, who have never lost in Foxboro, against the unseeded Terrapins, who upset North Carolina last week with some trickery. The second game is a rematch of last year's National Championship game; no doubt the Irish are looking for a little revenge. I'll have coverage here on Orange::44, while Brian has things over at CollegeCrosse. Lacrosse coverage coming at you from all angles!

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Ernie Davis to be Immortalized?

This uniform could become reality. Sort of.

Today, voters all across New York State are voting on school budgets and school board members. Here in Elmira, things are no different. Regardless of whether the budget here passes or not, the Elmira City School District's board of education has already voted on and approved a measure to combine sports programs. Currently there are two high schools in Elmira -- Elmira Free Academy (Blue Devils) and Southside High School (Green Hornets) -- and each school fields teams in many sports. That all will change this fall.
In a clear attempt to save money, the school board thought it more feasible for the district to financially support a combined district-wide sports program, instead of separate teams for the two high schools. Whether this will indeed save money remains to be seen, but what is certain is that the new merged teams will highlight the all-stars from each of the schools, while some of the lower talent at each of the schools will find themselves left off the roster.
What does this have to do with Ernie Davis? Well, for starters, it initially brought to mind for me the mini-uproar, locally at least, when the film The Express featured Ernie Davis wearing a jersey for "Elmira High School" during the recruitment scenes. While the dialog clearly made reference to Ernie playing for Elmira Free Academy, evidently the wardrobe department never got that memo when costuming that scene. But on a more practical and relevant level, the connection to Ernie is this: "The Elmira Express" is one of the potential new names for the combined Elmira teams.
The Elmira School District has set up a website for the public to vote on a choice of potential nicknames for the new team, or submit their own suggestion. "The Express" is currently competing against such names as Cougars, Titans, Eagles, and Falcons. Additionally, the public can voice their opinion on the team's primary color: red, orange, black, blue, green, or teal. Yep, that's right. This fall, Elmira could field a football team decked out in orange jerseys named The Elmira Express.
Then again, we could see teal Cougars. This could end badly.
I have faith in the citizens of Elmira to make the right decision here. Still, it might not hurt for the loyal readers of Orange::44 to go check out the voting page. Now, I'm not telling you how to vote, but...

Update: The field has been narrowed to Express and Titans, while the color schemes have been narrowed to black/white/red or black/white/teal. Orange is out of the running. It was a short dream, but a dream nonetheless. Students and Elmira residents have the opportunity to vote on their final selections starting May 20. While the vote is non-binding, a committee of students, parents, teachers and coaches will consider the tally in making their final decision.

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Lacrosse Weekly - NCAA Opening Round

The winningest goalie keeps on winning.
The #1 seed Syracuse Orange took on the Siena Saints from nearby Albany. With a trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals on the line Syracuse outlasted the Saints for the right to take on Maryland in Foxboro this coming weekend. Syracuse won 10-4 as the superior talent advances.
Syracuse took an early two point lead with big shots from Josh Amidon and Bobby Eilers. But Siena came right back and tied the game with good offense, faceoff wins, and a red hot goalie in Tom Morr. Syracuse then added two more goals before the end of the first half to go into the locker room 4-2 thanks mostly to Tommy Palasek scoring and then assisting to JoJo Marasco hitting a behind the back shot. Syracuse would then rattle off four more goals to take an 8-2 lead with ten minutes left in the fourth quarter. Siena would add two more goals, ending their 30-plus minute drought. But Syracuse would finish the game with two goals, sending them to the next round.
  • JoJo Marasco led Syracuse in goals with three. Josh Amidon and Bobby Eilers each added two.
  • Tommy Palasek had four assists in the game and added a goal to finish with five points.
  • Joel White continues to be a ground ball machine. He led the team with five in the game.
  • Jeremy Thompson didn't take the majority of faceoffs in this game. Good thing. He was 1-4. Ricky Buhr was 5-10. Chris Daddio was 3-3.
  • John Galloway played all but one minute of the game. He had seven saves and four goals against in the win. Backup Matthew Lerman had one big save in the last minute of the game.
  • Syracuse led massively in the shots category. They had 51 to Siena's 22.
  • Syracuse had 34 ground balls and Siena had 15.
  • Syracuse finally again led in faceoff wins. Syracuse was 9-17 overall. Siena had 8.
  • Syracuse's ride worked well as Siena only cleared 17-23. Syracuse was 24-25.
  • Siena failed to capitalize on the one SU penalty. Syracuse was 2-6 on EMOs.
  • Siena had 19 saves thanks to Morr. Syracuse had 8 combined.
  • Siena had 19 turnovers in the game, pretty close to their season average. Syracuse had 11.
  • This was the first game in Division 1 lax that has used replay. The NCAA approved it for last year's tournament but it was only utilized this season in this game to correct the massive timing/scoreboard malfunction before the end of the first half going from about 2:45 remaining to :03.
  • Syracuse has had pretty goals all season, but the Palasek to Marasco goal in the first half was just as pretty as any. A quick feed in the crease to a streaking Marasco for a behind the back goal. Awesome.
  • The first half was slow, but anytime Syracuse goes on a six goal run the other team is probably losing the game.
  • Big kudos to Morr from Siena who probably played the best possible tournament game against a top seeded team you could. Despite the loss, Siena is solid between the pipes next season.
Syracuse will next face Maryland in the NCAA Quarterfinals in good ol' Foxboro, where the Orange have won two National Championships and have never lost a game. We'll see if Syracuse continues that trend against Maryland, a team Syracuse defeated on their way to the 2009 National Championship. Be sure to check College Cross for previews and other writings on this game. Correspondent John Brennan and I will be on hand this weekend in the press box no less (Someone actually gave us credentials. WTF?!?), so keep it here, College Cross, and Twitter for all the NCAA coverage you can handle.

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Orange::44 Bracketology - 2011 NCAA Lacrosse Tournament

Welcome back to May Madness.
Syracuse may be the #1 seed, but that isn't all we're focused on here at Orange::44. We love may madness, and as John and I have done for the past few years, we've each filled out a bracket for this year's NCAA Lacrosse Tournament. I explain my bracket, as well as talk about the tournament and Syracuse's road, on Matt Mc's Sports Fix, which you can listen to by clicking here. That should explain my picks. I asked John if he wanted to write anything to explain his picks below. He literally just told me "Just put something to the effect that I've done really well in lax brackets in the past, so I just know how to pick 'em." Whatever you say chief. His bracket is below. Mine is above. We'll see who the better picker is. Also, enjoy the commentary above.

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Lacrosse Weekly - 5/9/11

Kapow! Didn't know the scoreboard went that high.
Syracuse's 2011 campaign is in the books. In only the second year of Big East Conference play, Syracuse has won the trophy again. But that is not the trophy the Orange really want to hoist. That trophy comes at the end of the month if you're good and lucky. But that's something to discuss later. First, Syracuse had to handle one final regular season team in St. John's heading to the Carrier Dome.
Syracuse started the game with Joel White scoring with the long stick, becoming the leading scorer with the long poll in school history. Then less than a minute later, St. John's best player Kevin Cernuto scored in coming from behind the cage on John Galloway. But then the Orange went on a four goal run, leading the Johnnies 5-1. Cernuto added one more before Syracuse added two to end the first quarter up 7-2, the last with a bounce shot from Jeremy Thompson off a long pass from John Galloway. The second quarter saw a three goal run from St. John's before Syracuse added a four goal run of their own as the teams went to the locker rooms with Syracuse up 11-5. St. John's then added one more final goal at the start of the third quarter before Syracuse went on a nine goal run to end the game. Two in the third quarter and seven in the fourth. Syracuse finished the game with their highest goal total of the year 20-6.
  • 15 different Syracuse players contributed to the 20 goals. Tommy Palasek, JoJo Marasco, Stephen Keogh, Derek Maltz, and Joel White each had two goals.
  • Pakasek and Collin Donahue each added two assists, with eight other players contributing one assist.
  • Palasek led in points with four in this game. Donahue had three.
  • John Lade lead the orange in ground galls with five. White is also the leading player for ground balls for long polls at Syracuse as well.
  • Six players took faceoffs for the Orange. Thompson was 3-9, Ricky Buhr was 5-8, Josh Knight was 2-4, Chris Daddio was 1-5, Drew Jinkins was 1-1, and Kyle Carey was 0-1. Perhaps Thompson should take more of a midfield role and let Daddio take more of the faceoff responsibilities.
  • Syracuse led all quarters in scoring, but they led the first 7-2 and the fourth 7-0.
  • Syracuse almost doubled St. John's shots 50-26.
  • SU led ground balls 41-34.
  • St. John's won 16 faceoffs to Syracuse's 12.
  • Both teams only failed to clear twice in the game. SU was 31-33 while St. John's was 22-24.
  • Syracuse continued to have tough extra man defense. St. John's was 0-4. Syracuse was 2-5.
  • Both teams had 13 saves. Galloway had 9 saves and six goals against in the 50 minute win. Matthew Lerman had 1 save, Ben Levy had three, and Paul Dubas had zero. None of the three allowed a goal.
  • St. John's had 24 turnovers to Syracuse's 15.
  • The complete box score can be found here.
Syracuse will stay #1 in both polls after a win, but at this point in the year no one cares about rankings. It all matters about seeding. And yes, Syracuse was granted the #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. With the #1 RPI (Stupid Math), and the #3 strength of schedule, as well as being #1 in both polls, Syracuse earned the #1 seed. The complete NCAA Bracket can be found here, but I'll have a separate post about my bracket picks later.
Syracuse wins the Big East as the final standings shake out like this, with NCAA seeding information included:
1. #1 Syracuse 14-1 (6-0)*
2. #4 Notre Dame 10-2 (5-1)
3. Georgetown 7-7 (4-2)
4. Unseeded Villanova 11-4 (3-3)
5.St. John's 4-10 (2-4)
6. Rutgers 6-9 (1-5)
7. Providence 3-12 (0-6)
*Big East Regular Season Champion
Three Big East teams make the post season, but reflecting on Syracuse they win their regular season finale, the seniors' last game in the Carrier Dome for the regular season. They are the winningest class in Syracuse history. They also have never lost a Big East game, despite the fact it's only been two years. We thank them for everything they have done and here's hoping they leave on top, winners of three National Championships. But time will tell. Meanwhile they have put in the work, gone through the season with only one loss, and have been rewarded with the #1 seed in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
Stay tuned here for some orange flavored bracket analysis, but also be sure to check out College Crosse for all sorts of tournament analysis, as well as my musings on what is ahead in May Madness from a wider perspective.

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One of the legends of 44 will be back permanently.
Interesting news out of Syracuse today as former Syracuse great Floyd Little has taken a job as Special Assistant to Athletic Director DOC Daryl Gross. He will be put in charge of development of donor relations, will assist with student-athlete and team development, recruiting, and handle various special projects. While he currently lives in Seattle (say goodbye Sean), he will plan to move back near Syracuse to take the job sometime this July.
First reactions, this is obviously a great move for Syracuse. This is one of the best players ever to be at Syracuse, having success both in college and the professional ranks. He is a member of both football halls of fame, and still holds records at Syracuse for touchdowns (46) and punt returns for touchdowns (six). He also holds the single season all purpose yards mark with 1,990 in 1965, which also led the nation that season. He's always been an advocate of Syracuse and has come back quite a few times over the last few years for various honors and just because he wanted to be here. He will surely help with donations, but also with various other special projects. I'm not sure recruiting will get any sort of bump due to him being there. After all, how many high schoolers have heard of our care about Little? I'm guessing not many. But that being said, he is a good salesman for the school so we'll see what kind of impact he can have on kids thinking about heading to Syracuse. Doug Marrone and Floyd Little in your living room could be a pretty powerful situation. Again I like Little, I like this move, and it should be a positive one for Syracuse. Seems for once like a decision made by the athletic department I have no issues with.

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Lacrosse Weekly - 5/3/11

Your new #1 team in the nation.
Syracuse played their biggest game of the year with the most at stake. The winner would basically win the Big East Conference title for the season, but more importantly would in all likelihood lock up the #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament coming in just a couple weeks. And the likely benefit of being the #1 ranked team in the country again. Syracuse managed to win in a convincing way over previously unbeaten Notre Dame in front of a huge crowd in the Carrier Dome 11-8.
Notre Dame jumped out to an early two goal lead after winning faceoffs and taking good shots. They came ready to play at the start, and the ND defense was playing well. But then Syracuse found their chances with good dodges, and capitalizing on easy shots at point blank range due to ND's defensive gaffs. They went on a four goal run to end the quarter up 4-2. Also adding to the momentum was a huge home run pass from John Galloway off a save to JoJo Marasco who hit a streaking Scott Loy for a goal seven seconds before the end of the first. Syracuse won the second quarter as well scoring two goals to ND's one. Zach Brenneman tried his best to keep Notre Dame in the game, but Syracuse went to the locker room up 6-3. And that was after possibly the best goal this season from Stephen Keogh through his legs off a feed from Jovan Miller. Syracuse again added three goals to two in the third quarter as Syracuse played tough defense. Finally Notre Dame tried to make a game at the end of the fourth quarter by adding three goals, but it was too late by then. Syracuse ended up winning on the back of tough defense, and smart, crafty offense. Additionally, Syracuse caused a lot of Notre Dame turnovers and made point blank shots, where Notre Dame was unable to do those two things, despite bettering Syracuse on faceoffs.
  • Keogh had another four goals against Notre Dame, tying his mark he had last year against them. Both Marasco and Steve Ianzito had two assists. Marasco also had one goal. Jeremy Thompson and Tommy Palasek had two goals a piece.
  • Thompson was 3-6 on faceoffs. Chris Daddio, who will most likely be the heir apparent for next season went 5-11. Ricky Buhr was 1-4 and Josh Knight was 0-2.
  • Syracuse and Notre Dame were even in shots at 33.
  • Syracuse managed one more ground ball than Notre Dame 30-29.
  • Another team again did better at the X. Syracuse won 9-23, with Notre Dame winning 14.
  • Syracuse was perfect in clears in this game 23-23. Notre Dame was 17-20.
  • Neither team capitalized on extra man opportunities. Syracuse was 0-1. Notre Dame 0-2.
  • John Galloway earned 12 saves with eight goals against. ND goalie John Kemp had nine saves and 11 goals against in the loss.
  • Syracuse only had eight turnovers in this game which is huge. Notre Dame had 17, some forced and some unforced.
  • The complete box score can be found here.
Syracuse, after beating #1 returns to #1 again (By the way how weird was it that the visiting team in the Carrier Dome was #1?). The Media and Coaches Polls are both out and Notre Dame falls to #3/4 respectively. Cornell is at #2, Hopkins is #4/3, and Denver/Maryland round out #5/6. I think the polls are about right, but honestly how is Hopkins getting first place votes over Syracuse or Cornell or even Notre Dame still? Villanova is #9/10 and at this point probably will get an at large bid.
Taking a look at the Big East, and it is all but Syracuse's title at this point. Take care of business in their last game on Saturday and it's theirs. The full standings are as follows:
1. #1 Syracuse 13-1 (5-0)
2. #3/4 Notre Dame 10-1 (5-1)
3. #9/10 Villanova 10-3 (3-2)
4. Georgetown 6-7 (2-3)
5. St. John's 4-9 (2-3)
6. Rutgers 5-9 (0-5)
7. Providence 3-11 (0-5)
Syracuse takes on St. John's next as I said. They will cruise to another Big East title if they just take care of business. That game is Saturday May 7 at 1:00pm from the Carrier Dome and broadcast locally on TWCS and SNY. Syracuse remains undefeated in Big East play all time after one fantastic game against Notre Dame, a team that has never beaten Syracuse.

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