Today's Division I men's quarterfinals

May 21, 2006|By GARY LAMBRECHT | GARY LAMBRECHT,SUN REPORTER

No. 4 Maryland (11-4) vs. No. 9 Princeton (11-4)

Time -- Noon

Site -- Johnny Unitas Stadium, Towson University

Outlook -- For second-seeded Maryland to get past seventh-seeded Princeton and make its third final four in the past four seasons, the Terps will have to beat an opponent they have lost to five straight times in the postseason, since last beating the Tigers in 1977. Princeton, which has won six NCAA titles since 1992 under 19-year coach Bill Tierney and missed the tournament for the first time since 1989 last year, is the last of four Ivy League teams still standing among the original 16-team field. The defense is more athletic and prone to gambling than a typical Princeton group, and the Tigers have allowed only one team to score in double figures. Sophomores Alex Hewitt (goalie) and Dan Cocoziello (close defense) lead the unit. Princeton is just as young on offense, where 127 of its 141 goals have been scored by non-seniors. Maryland is banking on its skilled, athletic seniors, led by attackman Joe Walters and midfielders Xander Ritz, Brendan Healy and Bill McGlone, to solve the game's best matchup zone defense. If junior goalie Harry Alford comes up big behind a defense that has been strong all year, the Terps should prevail in a low-scoring contest. Maryland's offense is hot, but eight goals might do it.

No. 1 Virginia (14-0) vs. No. 5 Georgetown (12-2)

Time -- 3 p.m.

Site -- Johnny Unitas Stadium, Towson University

Outlook -- Eighth-seeded Georgetown, which reached its only final four in 1999, has failed to advance beyond the quarterfinals in five of the past six NCAA tournaments. This looks like the wrong year for that streak of futility to end. The Hoyas are a rugged, defensive-minded group that likes to rough up its opponents. That's not going to work against a Virginia team that has proved it can win at any tempo, with any style, and will make an overly aggressive defense pay with speed, great ball movement and accurate shooting. Georgetown needs to surpass its 9.8-goal scoring average, and it needs a knockout effort from sophomore goalie Miles Kass, who will get pulled for fifth-year senior Rich D'Andrea if the Cavaliers get going early. Virginia has the nation's deepest, most potent offense, led by attackmen Matt Ward and Ben Rubeor and midfielders Kyle Dixon and Matt Poskay. One reason this game could turn into a rout is the Virginia defense, led by senior defenseman Mike Culver. It's a big, athletic group that might be the best in the game at extending to force turnovers without getting caught, and it has dominated the middle of the field. Junior goalie Kip Turner is always good for three or four great saves.

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