DI Men's Semi-final Match-Ups Preview

DI Men's Semi-final Match-Ups Preview

DI Men's Semi-final Match-Ups Preview

DI Men's Semi-final Match-Ups Preview


UVA attack vs Maryland defense:

This will be the marquee matchup, but not necessarily the game-breaking one (look to the midfield battle for that). You would think that the Terps should counter UVA's quick-footed Christmas with Scissorhands Passavia, the sure and steady Yevoli with the sure and steady Howley, and the rangy Freshman Matt Ward with the rangy Junior Lee Zink. But expect Passavia and Howley to swap those matchups for most of the game, much like the Terps did in their win over UVA on March 29th. Christmas' stick protection isn't as good as Yevoli's, but Christmas explodes out of over-committing defense. Yevoli is in large part the field general of the 3 attackmen -- in fact, he's the only major player on UVA with more assists than goals -- so having a Passavia windmill all over him will disrupt ball movement for UVA. And Howley, who's quicker than you think, will blanket Christmas; he won't take the ball away, just stop him from getting around the corner. Prediction: Howley quietly nullifies Christmas, Passavia harasses Yevoli all over and forces UVA to run a lot of their offense from the top of the box, and Zink does a decent job on Ward (allowing some assists and a goal or two). Advantage: Maryland.

UVA midfield vs Maryland midfield:

This is where the game will be decided. AJ Shannon and Chris Rotelli will have to have big shooting days for the Cavs, and Maryland will need more production from every middie not named Mike Mollot. UVA's midfield is the more dynamic of the two -- Rotelli and Shannon are big, fast, heady, and have guns, Billy Glading is a sharpshooter, and Frosh Kyle Dixson is smooth. Maryland has longstick Brett Harper, who will likely nullify the middie he's covering at the time, but UVA's other middies are all more than comfortable taking it to the hoop themselves. Maryland runs a deliberate offense, usually taking their time to find the right matchups, but when Mollot drops down to attack the only real threat left at midfield is Ryan Moran, and he can be nullified by UVA pole Trey Whitty. Prediction: Rotelli, Shannon, and Glading put up the lion's share of the UVA offense, Maryland gets only a handful of points from up top, and UVA crushes Maryland on faceoffs.

UVA defense vs Maryland attack:

Virginia's defense is made up of captain Ned Bowen, Brett Hughes, and David Burman. Maryland will be giving up 30-40 lbs. per man with their attack unit of Joe Walters, Dan LaMonica, and Brian Hunt(when Molllot comes in at attack Brian Hunt goes out). Maryland's offense doesn't seem to have to run through any one player to get it going and they don't rely on one guy to be the dodger. They will work the ball around to the guy they feel has the best match-up without ever forcing it. It's a team of interchangeable parts that would make Eli Whitney proud. One thing they do effectively is attack the goal from many different angles. Virginia's defense just came off an impressive game against Georgetown. They will be able to keep the attack subdued for the most part. If Maryland's attack doesn't keep their feet moving they will take a beating as well. Again, the battle for supremecy lies at the midfield.

Tillman Johnson vs Danny McCormick:

A complete toss-up. Both goalies can get piping hot on occassion, often making shooting a pointless act. But McCormick is always at least solid -- its Johnson who can occasionally have that bad day.


A near carbon copy of the game ealier in the season -- Maryland shuts down the UVA attack, UVA's middies do the heavy lifting, and Maryland's attack comes out of their shell for a 10-9 win.


Syracuse Attack vs Johns Hopkins Defense Hopkins sports a team defense that has allowed a paltry 6.79 goals against on average to the toughest teams in the nation. That had absolutely no bearing on their first meeting with Cuse, however, allowing 15 goals in a one goal loss. Mike Powell went off with 4,4 as SU made a monster comeback run starting with 19 seconds left in the first half. That's ancient history, but one thing it does foreshadow is another epic battle by two historically elite teams.

If Powell stays at the midfield as he did against Princeton in a 15-5 victory SU's attack will be Mike Springer, Liam Banks, Brian Crockett and Brian Nee. Banks has been an integral part of Cuse's resurgence in the play-offs. He's not a threat to beat his man one on one, but he protects the ball well. Banks brings back the SU swagger with attitude and confidence. He's a throw back to the old days in many ways on top of his well chronicled years off due to personal issues. While he has adopted an offset head he doesn't have a bag on it like most young players today giving him the ability to play a different style. Banks can pop off thirty yard passes in an instant because he doesn't need to bring his stick behind his back and release it by his ear. This allows him to assess openings and hit them which he does with great efficiency. He is the ultimate run and gunner on a run and gun team due to his quick ball movement and decision making. The key to playing him defensively is to just run with him and look to keep your stick in the passing lane. Banks is neither speedy nor physical, but he does protect the ball well. Good defensive footwork will keep him from getting to the cage and keeping the stick on his hands will keep him from feeding. He'll still kill you in transition though.

Mike Springer is like a mutual fund investment. He won't dictate the market, but if everyone else is doing well he'll consistently pay dividends. He's not a threat to take it to the cage either, but if he gets his hands free anywhere inside the box he's lethal. The hardest shot in the world goes in the cage, out of bounds, or bruises the goalie. Rarely does a goalie control one of his shots, so if it doesn't go in his team still has a good chance of getting the ball back. What to do defensively? Shutting a player off on an offensive juggernaut like Syracuse is not the answer. It just puts too much strain on the other five players to make longer slides. The best Hopkins can do is have a special team awareness of sliding to him early, but more important is to concentrate on Cuse's dodgers so that draw and dumps are minimalized. Put your third defenseman on Springer.

Crocket and Nee are the other two attackmen. Crocket is a speedy dodger more along the lines of Powell, but not as polished. Nee is more of a shooter with his strong lefty cranks. Hopkins should take chances defensively against these two. Due to the style of Banks and Springer, Hopkins should put their best take away defenseman against one of these attackmen and look for turnovers.

Hopkins Attack vs Syracuse Defense Syracuse has had their problems defensively this year, but they've found their groove now. After losing Glatzel and St. George last year(two of the best defensemen in the game lost to graduation) they needed time to come together as a new unit. Solomon Bliss is the only returning starter and has done an admiral job of leading this inexperienced unit. They will be facing a Hopkins offense which has averaged 14.21 goals a game leading all Division I men's teams. Kyle Barrie, Bobby Benson, and Peter LsSeuer make up the attack. Barrie, LeSueur, and Ford are the dodgers while Benson hangs on the crease and tries to draw penalties. Benson will be dramatic and act like his man's not letting him move. Syracuse needs to be cognisant of Benson's predisposition to dive when given a love tap. Whoever's playing him has to be on his stick at all times because he's very crafty at getting open and deadly with the ball inside. He has very limited dodging skill so Cuse should but a diligent defender on him, but they don't need speed or take away skill. The problem Benson creates is that if you don't slide from him you complicate your defense. If you do slide from him he only needs a fraction of a second to receive the ball and score. Syracuse needs to have the backside defender cheating to the crease to cover Benson and free up his defender to slide. Other than Donegar at the midfield, Hopkins doesn't have much outside firepower so Cuse can afford to sink in and slide back out keeping things tight.

With LeSeuer and Barrie doing the dodging from the attack they represent similar styles. Barrie and LeSeuer are both scoring threats and will put pressure on their defensemen. The question is will Syracuse be able to support their defensemen without leaving Benson open in the middle.

Hopkins Midfield vs Syracuse Midfield

If Powell does play midfield he will be the best offensive middie as well as best defensive middie. He's tough on long sticks so when he gets matched up against shorty's Hopkins will have problems. Throw fellow midfielder Sean Lindsay out there with attackmen Springer and Nee and Hopkins will be in a world of trouble. Any one of those guys need only to have enough time to wind up and they can score from the outside. This wreaks havoc because if Hopkins cheats defensively toward Powell they leave the outside guns open, but if they don't cheat they leave one man to try and stop Powell. Powell at the midfield brings up a whole host of new problems for any defense. Steve Vallone has carried his share of the scoring load so far this year as well with 20 goals so far. Syracuse as always is deep with offensive talent with guys like Greg Rommel a freshman. Don't forget about last years hero Pat Hogan either.

Hopkins runs much of their offense through the midfield. Kyle Harrison has emerged as a heady young player who can push the ball to make things happen. If you break down Hopkins attack and midfield you could say that it revolves around the trigger men in Benson and Donegar. Adam Donegar in his senior year has shown improvement every year and is a dominant force. His ability to get shots off in tight situations and strong ones at that is unmatched in college lacrosse today. It's akin to Dan Marino's release time. He needs only an instant to get off a rocket whether on the run or stationary. Conor Ford has moved from attack to midfield so he has good chemistry out there at any position. He like all Hopkins players is very smart with the ball. Kevin Boland has proven himself this year as an all around threat with 20, 21. At 155 lbs. Boland uses his speed to hurt defenders.

Hopkins runs a controlled offense. They make high percentage plays while Syracuse will go for just about anything. Princeton/Hopkins and Syracuse are polar opposites when it comes to style of play and as evidenced in the last fifteen years both are capable of winning big games. That's why the next category is so integral.

Goalies Hopkins' starter Rob Scherr enters the game with a .605 save percentage on 138 saves. His goalie rating is 83.526. Jay Pfiefer has a .562 save percentage on 178 saves for a 99.950 goalie rating. Both goalies are competent in all facets of their positions, but Pfiefer so far has proved himself as a big game goalie. That's not to say Scherr won't play well. Pfeifer, like the whole Syracuse team this year has a tendency to save his best performances for the most important games. Last year he made 46 saves in the tournament and was named to the all tournament team.

Face-offs Chris Bickel is a senior face-off specialist for Syracuse who will square off with Kyle Harrison for Johns Hopkins. Earlier in the year Bickel won 19 of 33 face-offs against Harrison. That probably won't be much of an edge for either team.

Prediction Will Cuse's desire to prove everyone wrong be enough to deny Donegar, Benson and his fellow seniors a shot at the Championship. These guys will battle hard, and for the first time in eons there will be no orange in the finals. Hopkins over Syracuse 10-8.

Post A Comment To This Story >

    by (#7569) on 5/22/03 @6:12PM
This is practically the best story that ever hit this sight. The match-ups are perfectly analyzed. This "Mike" guy seems to know his lacrosse pretty good without sounded like some corny Quint Kessenich. Other than that I'm Calling it Virginia vs. Cuse in the finals. It could shape up to be a better game than last year when they met. But thats only by my gut feeling, im not ruling Maryland or Hopkins out at all. I just think Hopkins is more likely to choke. Cuse showed how bad they wanted it last weekend, if they come out with the same intensity, then my advice for John's Hopkins is to bend over and take it like a man. If Hopkins can counter, then it will be one hell of a lacrosse game.
Reply to this

   Hopkins vs. Virginia by 5/22/03 @9:51PM
      no way by 5/23/03 @8:45AM
         I agree... by 5/23/03 @11:49AM
      Terrapin Station by 5/23/03 @8:52AM
   yes by 5/23/03 @4:28PM
      That's Wat it's all about by 5/30/03 @4:53PM
Peach on Rev. Mike
    by (#33555) on 5/22/03 @6:22PM
Great write-up, I can't wait to see how it all works out this weekend. See ya'in PSInet and the green turtle.... Mike keep up the good work.
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    by (#44448) on 5/22/03 @7:12PM
It points to a U.Va. win, so you pick the Terps, which is a non sequiter. In fact, the game will be decidedby which team does better on a muddy, torn-up field. Historically, U.Va. does not run well on a sloppy track. As for Syracuse, based on last Saturday the only way they lose to JHU is for the goalie to have a sub-par day.
Reply to this

   No I disagree by 5/22/03 @7:42PM
Forget Cuse
    by (#43891) on 5/22/03 @9:04PM
Cuse is done for, hopkins is going to beat down on them. powell and springer are going to get carved up. powell is nothing but a little girl, and springer is a little wuss who's afraid to go to the goal. JHU and UVa in the final. As for the terps, you can already count them out,while it will be tough for the virginia attack there midfield is going to reck house, look for shanonn and rotelli to put up big points, mullets got nothing on the virginia D either. just because he can walk throught U-mass's D doesnt mean he can do the same for virginia.
Reply to this

   Forget U by 5/23/03 @8:31PM
   im sure by 6/18/03 @3:43PM
Terps and Powell
    by (#13144) on 5/22/03 @9:13PM
Great preview. Best story to hit the site since I've been reading it. My two big things going into this weekend are Mike Powell and Joey Walters. Powell is undeniable the best play in the country, at any postion. Period. Anyone who watched him play defense against Princeton, then turn around and toast their vaunted D has to agree. And Walters is one of the best pure shooters out there, arguably the best freshman in the country. If Walters gets his hands free, watch out Tilman Johnson. I'm picking Powell for 3 and 2, Walters for 2 and 1, Cuse vs MD on Monday.
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final weekend
    by (#9081) on 5/22/03 @11:19PM
like the others have said before, this is a first rate write-up on the final weekend of lacrosse in D-I, mike. i haven't been able to call any games right this whole year. i thought SYRACUSE would be untouchable with a stacked offensive unit, but the old adage is true: offense wins games, defense wins championships. losing three straight at one time seemed to hurt their chances at another championship, but they still have a solid chance at winning it all again, as long as they don't a)hit the goalie, b)hit the pipe, or c)over shoot the goal completely. there offense must be top notch to compensate for their lacking defense.
at a time i thought with there great start (7-1) i believed MARYLAND would beat anybody in D-I with their solid defense. they lost some games they should have won, but they could still win it all. their starting attack and middies are solid players, hands down. as long as they put up some numbers, the defense will hold their ground.
i was uncertain on what JOHNS HOPKINS was bringing to the table this year. what can be said about them though is that they are a solid team back to front, and easily the best team in all of lacrosse right now. if scherr comes with his A-game, it is hard to even compete with them. the jays middies control and distribute the ball so well, transition game is not a problem. still, they can not let up at all because another loss to cuse will be more detrimantal than the first (which is still possible).
i thought VIRGINIA would score in double digets every game (wrong again). if they had, they probably would have a perfect season. it is important that they avoid another semi-final loss, because they have something to prove this year. with the loss of one of the best x-attackmen to play the game, uva wants to prove that they can still win the big games. they will need someone in the midfield to go to work, and carry the team at critical moments.
so after alot of babbling and bad grammar, i finally say this: IT IS UP FOR GRABS. i've always been a cuse fan, so that is who i am going with. it should be an interesting weekend for us lax junkies anyway it goes though.
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shitty cut and paste job
    by (#50529) on 5/22/03 @11:44PM
whos the moron that tried to cut out pictures of the four teams players on the front page of the site? looks like a collage i made in 5th grade... get photoshop or something, cuz that crap aint "cutting it" ... it looks like $hit
Reply to this

   Who Cares?? by 5/23/03 @1:13AM
   (no subject) by 5/23/03 @1:17AM
      Amazing by 5/23/03 @2:40AM
         yea i agree by 5/23/03 @7:23PM
   And the Dunce Cap Award goes to... by 5/23/03 @9:09AM
      (no subject) by 5/23/03 @9:24AM
         And your contribution is... by 5/23/03 @9:33AM
            tool-box by 5/25/03 @7:26PM
               Hey Now by 5/27/03 @8:49AM
         Well by 5/23/03 @2:54PM
   Ur the only 1 paying attention to the pictures. by 5/23/03 @12:03PM
      It is a bit budget (nt) by 5/25/03 @7:27PM
   nice focus, renob by 5/23/03 @1:51PM
      yea by 5/24/03 @4:24PM
   wow pridelax sucks nutsack by 5/23/03 @8:23PM
      Not needed at all by 5/23/03 @9:16PM
big weekend
    by (#47133) on 5/23/03 @2:36PM
i wanna see maryland and hopkins in the finals but its gonna be hopkins uva i think hopkins is more ready this year after being the #1 team and getting dropped like a bad habit last year i think they are fired up and will come out on top no 1 here we go hopkins all the way baby!
Reply to this

   cuse #1 again by 5/23/03 @5:44PM
      'cuse by 5/23/03 @6:44PM
         right... by 5/24/03 @4:20PM
            Yeah by 5/24/03 @5:06PM
   wat? by 5/23/03 @8:24PM
you're all gay...
    by (#50529) on 5/24/03 @12:48AM
with the exception of myself, you all have no lives... the only reason i check this site out every once in a while, is to check out my stats....because unlike you fags, i play d-1... and you all sit around talking about it... haha
Reply to this

   do you want a cookie? by 5/24/03 @1:08AM
   Been there done that by 5/24/03 @1:14AM
   correct as usual by 5/24/03 @4:25PM