Today's NCAA men's quarterfinals

May 19, 2007|By GARY LAMBRECHT

No. 4 SEED CORNELL (14-0) VS. NO. 5 SEED ALBANY (15-2)

Site: Princeton (N.J.) Stadium Time: Noon Outlook: Before UMBC and Delaware became great stories in the NCAA tournament, Albany (N.Y.) had become the Division I story of the year, behind coach Scott Marr. Now, the Great Danes must win their first quarterfinal against a balanced, explosive Cornell team bent on winning its first NCAA crown since 1977 and reaching its first final four since 1988. Unless Albany does a superb job at the faceoff X - and neither team has been dominant there - it looks like a tall order. Albany could hang close in a shootout, with dynamic attackmen Frank Resetarits and Merrick Thomson leading the way. But Cornell is averaging 14.4 goals per game, allowing just 6.4, and seems to have all the answers necessary to get to Baltimore. Sophomore M Max Seibald's foot injury could affect the game, but look for attackmen David Mitchell and Eric Pittard and G Matt McMonagle to close the door on Albany.

No. 3 SEED J. HOPKINS (10-4) VS. No. 6 GEORGETOWN (12-2)

Site: Princeton (N.J.) Stadium Time: 3 p.m. Outlook: This contest, only the second meeting between the schools, could turn on the law of averages, toughness and experience. Since reaching its only final four in 1999, Georgetown has failed six times in the quarterfinal round. This year, the Hoyas have gone 8-1 in games decided by two goals or fewer, have gotten huge lifts from freshmen and former Duke recruits Craig Dowd (A) and Scott Kocis (M), and have one of the game's dynamic young players in 6-foot-4 freshman M Andrew Brancaccio. The Hoyas also play a bullying style that sets the tone for their stingy defense. Hopkins, trying to make its fifth final four in the past six seasons, is 29-6 in one-goal games under coach Dave Pietramala and has the ingredients to end the Hoyas' run. Junior M Stephen Peyser, who missed half the 2006 season with a broken jaw he suffered in a preseason scrimmage against Georgetown, is on a roll at the faceoff X, while junior M Paul Rabil leads a dangerous, balanced offense. If inconsistent senior G Jesse Schwartzman turns in another big-game performance, the Blue Jays are going back to M&T Bank Stadium, maybe with surprising ease.

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