Today's NCAA men's quarterfinals

May 20, 2006|By GARY LAMBRECHT

No. 2 Hofstra (17-1) vs. No. 10 UMass (11-4)

Time -- Noon

Site -- LaValle Stadium, Stony Brook (N.Y.) University

Outlook -- This contest is guaranteed to produce a team making its first appearance in the national semifinals. UMass, which slumped against its better regular-season competition down the stretch and got into the tournament unseeded as a result, produced the first round's only upset by edging sixth-seeded Cornell. The Minutemen are trying to become only the third school from New England to make the final four. Yale (1990) and Brown (1994) are the others. Senior attackman Sean Morris, a Tewaaraton Trophy finalist for the second straight year, will need to have another big game today for UMass to advance, as will faceoff and defensive ace Jake Deane. UMass is the only team to beat Hofstra, although its 11-7 win came in the season opener at home, in frigid conditions. Hofstra has the most potent one-two offensive punch in the game. Junior attackman Athan Iannucci (62 goals, 18 assists) and senior attackman Chris Unterstein (41, 36) have produced 103 of Hofstra's 229 goals. The Pride hasn't played the toughest schedule, but it beat Johns Hopkins and Princeton in March, has great senior leadership and has out-scored its opponents by a 2-to-1 margin.

No. 6 Johns Hopkins (9-4) vs. No. 8 Syracuse (9-4)

Time -- 3 p.m.

Site -- LaValle Stadium, Stony Brook (N.Y.) University

Outlook -- Fourth-seeded Hopkins and the fifth-seeded Orange, which missed last year's final four after going to 22 straight, could create the tournament's best quarterfinal match. Syracuse, beset by injuries and inexperience, staggered to a 1-4 start, its worst in 31 years - including a 14-9 loss at Hopkins - before recovering by beating Cornell and Princeton and going unbeaten in April and May. The freshmen trio of midfielder Pat Perritt and attackmen Dan Hardy and Kenny Nims has combined for 31 goals and 14 assists. Senior attackman Brett Bucktooth (33, 17), the hottest player left in the tournament, has seven consecutive games with at least a hat trick. Hopkins also has battled youth and injuries, but won three straight one-goal decisions to finish the regular season before blowing out Penn last week. Sophomore attackman Kevin Huntley and sophomore midfielder Paul Rabil, the top two scorers, have done much damage to the Orange. If the defending national champs get to their fifth straight final four, their edge in the faceoff game and their maturing defense will be huge factors. Junior goalie Jesse Schwartzman is 27-4 in 31 career starts.

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