The More Things Change...

The More Things Change...

The More Things Change...

The More Things Change...

This NCAA tournament started off a little different. There were Seawolves, Jaspers, and Stags but no Terrapins, Tarheels, or Greyhounds. All four quarterfinal games were decided by a goal for the first time ever. Of course there is also the obvious update of equipment with offset heads and unbreakable shafts that are light as a feather. But throughout it all, this Final Four is strikingly familiar. The same group was here in 1996 and 2000. Although, it should be noted, these teams didn’t exactly travel a paved path to reach Rutgers. A very young Johns Hopkins squad has 6 one-goal victories in their 12-1 record. UVA lost to Penn State by five late in the season. Syracuse had to replace the top face-off man and top goalie in the country from last year’s team. Finally Princeton had a bunch of question marks surrounding it after opening the season 2-4 (including a loss to Yale). But not of that really matters any more. As Johann Gottfried von Herder, the 18th century philosopher, once said, “Whoever perseveres will be crowned.” Come Monday afternoon, 45 college kids will walk away looking like Kings.

Princeton vs. Johns Hopkins

This game was intense in March and hopefully the two teams will be able to replicate the excitement on Saturday. Princeton has to watch for a few things. First, on face-offs, Princeton got worked. It was a combination of Kyle Harrison putting the ball in the right places and his wings being there. Princeton will want possession and they need better performance from their wings if they are going to get it. Second, Princeton’s big guns need to show up. Discounting Ryan Boyle’s late goal, the Hop shut out 4 of Princeton’s top 6 scorers. That’s not going to work this weekend. Finally, Julian Gould needs to be solid, not spectacular, just solid. If he folds then so will Princeton’s chance of playing on Monday. On the flip side, Johns Hopkins needs a big game from their keeper Nick Murtha. I am personally a big fan of Murtha because everyone was caught sleeping on his skills and the kid has come through. A great story. He needs to play well though. The good news for Murtha is the poles he has in front of him like Mike Peyser and PJ DiConza are nasty. It will be interesting to see how those guys match up. Finally, JHU needs an offensive outburst from someone. I still can’t figure out who is their top gun. Benson, Boland, or Ford are probably the top candidates and one of them needs to put 3 or 4 on the board. One more thing, I know this theme has been played but I still find it fascinating that Dave Pietramala will be coaching against the guy (Bill Tierney) who recruited him to play at Hopkins. You never know how people’s paths can/will cross again. Johns Hopkins 10 Princeton 9

Virginia vs. Syracuse

This is the match-up that you see featured in all those Brine ads. The speed versus power debate. The two met during the regular season in Charlottesville resulting in a 15-13 victory for the Cuse. In order to reverse that outcome, Virginia has to put a lot of points up and the best way to do that is get the ball in Conor Gill’s stick. He is without question the most underrated player in college lacrosse right now. If Gill wanted to drop 5 a game he could; instead he moves the ball and spurs the offense. Syracuse has to put John Glatzel on Gill to disrupt him because if you remove Gill you remove the heart. If Gill doesn’t get started, the player who could carry UVA is Tillman Johnson. When he is hot you can’t get anything by him. You could say that is true with any goalie but it is more so with Johnson. It will be interesting to see how Virginia matches up defensively after loosing ACC Player of the Year Mark Koontz to a torn ACL. Even with Koontz, Syracuse has just so many weapons that it almost isn't fair. Like bringing knives to a fistfight. Powell, Springer, Coffman, the list goes on. They can’t be stopped but it is possible to slow them down a bit and if Virginia scores a lot then they may have a chance but I doubt it. Plus, can you really beat a team that has a goalie who rocks football pants? Syracuse 16 Virginia 13

If you are anywhere nearby take a run over to Rutgers and check out what should be some excellent lacrosse. If not, check out for a story right after the game.

Post A Comment To This Story >

Familiar Ground
    by (#2700) on 5/23/02 @12:22PM
Is there such a thing as NCAA lax nobility? 19 of the 20 NCAA semi-final games played over the past decade involved at least one of the following 4 programs: Syracuse, Hopkins, Virginia, or Princeton.

See ya in NJ.
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Mark Koontz
    by (#4796) on 5/23/02 @12:36PM
I thought Koontz was out for the year (including playoffs).
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    by (#1329) on 5/23/02 @12:44PM
...I thought Koontz was out the rest of the season ? How can they say in this article that Mulligan from 'Cuse was the top goalie from last season? NO WAY he was. Tierney was the best and it showed the most in the championship and even in the semi's vs Towson. They should be saying in the article that Princeton had to deal with replacing the games top goalie, not 'Cuse. 'Cuse most definitely had the best faceoff man in the country last season though, I'll agree with you on that one no doubt. Peace...
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    by (#31124) on 5/23/02 @1:49PM
Koontz IS out. What the guy is saying is that even if he wasn't, UVA is still going down. I agree with that assessment. You can't run with Big Orange; period. Another point: Hopkins doesn't fold in close games this year. Even though Princeton doesn't lose 1 goal games in the playoffs, I think they will this time because Kyle Harrison is going to come up big in the faceoff X.
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   princeton by 5/23/02 @3:02PM
The More Things Change
    by (#2770) on 5/23/02 @3:07PM
JHU isn't in the finals if the U.Mass goalie has more than 4 saves - Princeton should be favored. The loss of Koontz hurts U.Va., but Johnson should have a better game than the first time. Put your best defenseman on Gill and Christmas scores at will. The key to the game is the Syracuse goalie - with an average day, 'Cuse by 1 (but don't bet the ranch).
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   (no subject) by 5/23/02 @5:48PM
no doubt
    by (#12400) on 5/23/02 @5:01PM
i was mad in the begining of this tourney because of all the crap teams they let in but now i am happy...this is going to be a sick weekend of lacrosse...uva wins and gill is tourney mvp...don't doubt b-more
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   SO TRUE by 5/23/02 @7:09PM
      JHU by 5/23/02 @7:23PM
UVA all the way
    by (#19860) on 5/23/02 @7:55PM
UVA is going to be singing the Good old song monday afternoon. Gill, Christmas and Yevoli will tear any defense apart, you have to shut the entire trifecta down to beat the hoo's. UVA by a couple.
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   (no subject) by 5/23/02 @11:30PM
      sure will.... by 5/23/02 @11:53PM
         also... by 5/24/02 @12:16AM
            Chuck Says........... by 5/24/02 @10:07AM
               Issue #1 Predictions..... by 5/24/02 @10:09AM
               HEEEEYYYYYY.... by 5/24/02 @1:14PM
                  it sounds like by 5/24/02 @1:45PM
                     Coffman's a Lence by 5/24/02 @3:17PM
                        Put that dime... by 5/25/02 @2:48AM
         Cally=effeminate by 5/24/02 @12:15PM
            okay... by 5/25/02 @10:21AM
               thank you by 5/25/02 @11:21AM
                  yeah by 5/25/02 @6:17PM
(no subject)
    by (#13195) on 5/24/02 @10:54AM
JHU and UVA in the final, and UVA takes it. BL downs Loyola tonight at Homewood.
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   no way by 5/24/02 @1:05PM
      I wouldn't..... by 5/24/02 @1:10PM
      Is this Lieberman by 5/24/02 @3:19PM
    by (#21004) on 5/24/02 @4:17PM
uva by 2.. no one can handle them.. gill will tear them up.. as for the MIAA's.. go loyola!!
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   Hopkinz by 5/24/02 @4:24PM
cv lax over ew big
    by (#31035) on 5/24/02 @10:08PM
cv over ew, and uva over syracuse
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