Scouting report

May 27, 2002

NCAA men's final

ESPN and Channel 2 analyst Quint Kessenich breaks down today's NCAA Division I championship game at Rutgers Stadium. Kessenich was a freshman goalie for Johns Hopkins in 1987, when the Blue Jays last won the NCAA title.

No. 2 Syracuse (14-2) vs. No. 4 Princeton (10-4)

Time: 11:30 a.m.

Coaches: Princeton's Bill Tierney is 6-1 in title games and Syracuse's John Desko is 1-2.

When Syracuse has the ball: The marquee matchup will be Damien Davis vs. Michael Powell (38 goals, 39 assists), where it's strength and power vs. speed and quickness. Expect Princeton to shut off Josh Coff- man (39, 26), as he presents matchup problems. Princeton may even show zone at times. Syracuse's shot selection against Virginia seemed faulty, and the Orangemen need strong play from midfielders Spencer Wright (21, 11), Brian Solliday, Steve Vallone and Sean Lindsay.

When Princeton has the ball: The Tigers will attack Syracuse's weakness, its midfield defense. They will utilize picks up top to create separation for Brad Dumont (20, 6) and Owen Daly (15, 6), and invert behind the goal with Josh White (17, 8), Matt Treneven and Dan Clark. Ryan Boyle (19, 33) will be covered by John Glatzel, and may become a decoy. Syracuse defenseman Sol Bliss (knee) is slowed by injury, leading to a favorable matchup for Sean Hartofolis (29, 8). The Orangemen must deny B.J. Prager (33, 2) the space he thrives on.

Key matchups: Both teams struggle to control faceoffs, where wing play on loose balls will be the decisive factor. Joe Rosenbaum and Ricky Schultz could emerge as heroes for Princeton. With 19 saves, Syracuse goalie Jay Pfeifer (.542 save percentage) was razor sharp in the semifinals; Princeton's Julian Gould (.601) was less dynamic, but efficient angle play is his signature. Princeton's clearing game has been a problem. Syracuse's offensive pressure could lead to some easy goals.

Bottom line: Syracuse escaped Virginia in double overtime, but at what cost? Desko's substitution patterns will be essential to stem fatigue. Historically, Syracuse is the only team that has been able to beat Princeton in the playoffs.

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