Edell's analysis

May 31, 1999

Maryland coach Dick Edell gives his position-by-position breakdown of today's national championship game between Syracuse and Virginia:

Attack: Virginia is unbelievably well-balanced and its offensive leader is Tucker Radebaugh. You have to have three solid defenders to play Virginia and I believe Syracuse does. Something to consider, too, is that Virginia plays a whole second attack line. It won't be because it's 90 degrees out or its second game in three days either. (Virginia coach Dom Starsia's) done it all season, which could be a factor. When you look at Syracuse, you start with Ryan Powell. Assuming he draws the best matchup, we could have a battle of the Ryans with Virginia defender Ryan Curtis. Edge: Virginia with its unselfishness and depth.

Midfield: Virginia's Jay Jalbert is such a factor on the offensive end and is confident anywhere on the field because he's played a season on attack and in midfield. Virginia will run three deep midfields again, but doesn't have to rely on them offensively because it gets so much scoring from its attack. What I thought was shocking with Syracuse was its defensive midfielders, who scored against Georgetown in transition. Matt Caione can do everything and has years of Final Four experience. Chris Cordisco just keeps coming up big again and again in the playoffs. Edge: Virginia.

Defense: Syracuse's short-stick defenders, Matt Alexander and Jeff Lowe, are two of the best athletes in America playing that position. Then couple them with great athletes at close defense. That's a solid, solid team defense. In the past, Syracuse has always had great defensemen but not the whole package. Now (Syracuse coach John) Desko has added a zone defense that was effective early, when it struggled against Georgetown and was more effective late because Georgetown had to figure it out with the clock winding down. Virginia has a premier guy in Ryan Curtis and the others, Doug Davies and Court Weisleder, are good quality defenders. The key for them will be to keep Syracuse from taking a large number of shots. Edge: Syracuse.

Goalkeeper: I love Rob Mulligan, who is playing his best lacrosse at the end of the year. He could become a factor. Then you've got to be nervous if you're Virginia when you start a freshman (Derek Kenney) in the most important position on the field. Edge: Syracuse.

Faceoffs: It's the biggest question: who's going to get the most possessions? It could come down to Virginia's Jason Hard and David Jenkins against Syracuse's Jason Denicker. Against Hopkins, Virginia performed the double whammy, winning the faceoff and scoring right away. Edge: Virginia.

Key for Virginia: Has to continue effectiveness in the faceoff circle, Kenney needs to be steady and offense needs to show its versatility.

Key for Syracuse: Needs to produce a large number of shots and defense must contain Virginia's attack.

Overall: Pick 'em. Syracuse's goaltending cancels out Virginia's faceoff advantage. I like Virginia's offense, but love watching the Syracuse defense. It's too close to call.

Pub Date: 5/31/99

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