Pressler's analysis

May 23, 1998

Duke coach Mike Pressler, who directed the Blue Devils to the program's first Final Four appearance last year, gives his position-by-position breakdown of the national semifinals (Duke lost to Maryland, 15-9, and did not play Loyola this season):

No. 1 Loyola (13-1) vs. No. 5 Maryland (13-2)

Time: Noon

TV/Radio: ESPN2/WJFK (1300 AM)

Attack: Loyola's attack is one of the best shooting units in the game. If the Greyhounds get their hands free, they will cause Maryland goalkeeper Kevin Healy problems. The Terrapins' attack is a veteran group. It compares to the Princeton attack because it has played together for such a long time. Andrew Whipple is Maryland's catalyst. He makes everyone else go. Edge: Maryland.

Midfield: Mark Frye is an outstanding athlete for Loyola. The Terps have more balance, and the Greyhounds will have to decide whether to put the long pole on Brian Zeller or Frank Radin. Loyola will live and die with the invert in the half-field offense. Maryland will look to run more up-tempo when it gets the opportunity. Edge: Maryland, close.

Defense: Loyola will mix its defenses between zone and man-to-man. Maryland will play straight man-to-man and will be very aggressive. The intangibles will depend on the referees. If the Terps go to the penalty box eight or more times, the Greyhounds will have an advantage because they are outstanding on extra-man opportunities. Maryland will try to beat up Loyola. Edge: Maryland.

Goal: Healy was outstanding until the playoffs and truly dominated in Atlantic Coast Conference play. Loyola's Jimmy Brown was terrific vs. Johns Hopkins in the final regular-season game but can be inconsistent. This could come down to one save in the end. Edge: Even.

Faceoff: This could determine the outcome with Maryland's Brian Haggerty squaring off against Loyola's Jamie Hanford, two of the best faceoff men in the game. When the Terps are successful, they are at 60 percent or better. Can Hanford hold up for 60 minutes? Edge: Even.

Keys to winning: 1. Loyola cannot allow itself to be dominated on faceoffs. 2. Brown must have 15-plus saves for the Greyhounds. 3. Maryland must play its tempo. 4. The Terps have to stay out of the penalty box.

Overall: Keep your eyes on faceoffs. Edge: Maryland, close.

No. 2 Princeton (12-1) vs. No. 3 Syracuse (11-2)

Time: 2: 45 p.m.

TV/Radio: ESPN2/WJFK (1300 AM)

Attack: Chris Massey, Jesse Hubbard and Jon Hess compile the most capable attack in the game. Can Syracuse play these guys one-on-one without any team help? Princeton has not played a more dynamic group than Casey Powell, Ryan Powell and Matt '' Cutia. Princeton will look to double either Powell immediately. If the Orangemen dodge the slide, it will be a long day for the Tigers. Edge: Even.

Midfield: Josh Sims has emerged of late and is a first-team All-American. Syracuse must slide to him quickly. Princeton's midfielders, other than Lorne Smith, will defer to their attack. Edge: Princeton.

Defense: Princeton's sum is better than its parts. Cook is outstanding. He could do a great job on Casey Powell. The Tigers' team defense will be very quick to slide to every mismatch. If Syracuse leaves the defenders on an island, it could be a long day for the Orange. Can the Syracuse defensemen contain the best attack in the game? We will see today. Edge: Princeton.

Goal: Both teams hooked their goalies in the quarterfinals. The game should be within a couple of goals late and a save or two could mean the difference. Edge: Even.

Faceoff: Princeton has struggled at the X all season. If the Tigers get 50 percent, they will be pleased. The Orange could dominate the middle. If Syracuse goes 60 or more percent, the Tigers could be in trouble. Edge: Syracuse.

Keys to winning: 1. Who can inflict whose will, meaning tempo, on the other? Princeton will play a very slow, methodical pace on offense. The Tigers don't need 50 shots on goal to get 15 goals. Princeton is one of the best shooting teams in the game. 2. The Orangemen will need to up the tempo to try and crack either an untested goalkeeper or a goalkeeper that has been rattled. 3. If Casey Powell gets six or more points, watch out for the Orange. 4. If Syracuse doesn't slide to the Tigers' attack, Princeton could roll.

Overall: Play in the goal could be the difference. Edge: Princeton, slight.

Pub Date: 5/23/98

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