NCAA lacrosse tournaments: Saturday preview

May 21, 2010

Saturday's NCAA Division I quarterfinals


(At Princeton)

Notre Dame (8-6) vs. No. 3 seed Maryland (12-3)

Time: Noon

Outlook: The Fighting Irish, who knocked off No. 6 seed Princeton in the first round, haven't been to the final four since 2001. Their strength is in the midfield, with junior Zach Brenneman leading the team in both goals (23) and points (35) and senior Grant Krebs ranking second in goals (22). The Terps, aiming for their fourth appearance in the national semifinals under coach Dave Cottle, have relied on an attack paced by junior Grant Catalino (34 goals and 20 assists) and junior Ryan Young (18, 29). Don't be surprised if Maryland assigns junior defenseman Brett Schmidt to Brenneman. Schmidt, a converted long-stick midfielder who has tangled with standout midfielders such as Virginia junior Shamel Bratton and North Carolina sophomore Jimmy Dunster, would seem to be a good test for Brenneman, the Fighting Irish's top playmaker.

No. 5 seed Duke (13-4) vs. No. 4 seed North Carolina (13-2)

Time: 2:30 p.m.

Outlook: The Blue Devils, 4-0 in the quarterfinals over the past five years, will lean on an attack of fifth-year senior and Tewaaraton Award finalist Ned Crotty (19, 57), senior Max Quinzani (61, 13) and junior Zach Howell (43, 16). But if the first midfield of senior Steve Schoeffel (15, 4) and sophomores Justin Turri (14, 15) and Robert Rotanz (8, 4) can force opposing defenses to extend, that will open the middle for the attack. The Tar Heels, looking for their first final four appearance since 1993, have five players with at least 20 goals each. In North Carolina's 13-7 win over Duke on March 10, junior attackman Billy Bitter registered four goals and two assists. Can he work his magic again?

Edward Lee


No. 8 seed Penn (15-3) at No. 1 seed Maryland (19-1)

When: Noon

Outlook: Although the Terrapins defeated Penn 12-6 on April 2, they will not discount the Quakers' motivation to return to the final four for a fourth straight year. The Terps are driven, too, aiming for an 11th national title and their first since 2001. Both suffered heart-breaking losses in last season's semifinals — the Terps 8-7 to North Carolina and the Quakers 13-12 in overtime to eventual champ Northwestern. Each team features a Tewaaraton Trophy finalist in its top senior midfielder. Maryland's Caitlyn McFadden, the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, and Penn's Ali DeLuca, the Ivy League Player of the Year, contributed 70 points each and rank high in all key statistics. While the Terps are known for a high-powered attack (14.4 goals per game), led by Karri Ellen Johnson's 60 goals and 16 assists, they also possess the nation's top scoring defense, allowing just 6.6 goals per game. The Quakers aren't far behind, scoring 11.83 goals and allowing 6.83. A key for both could be goaltending, as Terps goalie Brittany Dipper made a career-high 12 saves in the ACC final, and Penn's Emily Szelest made a career-high 18 saves in the NCAA opener.

Katherine Dunn

Other games

Syracuse (14-6) at No. 5 seed James Madison (17-2), 1 p.m.

No. 6 seed Virginia (14-5) at No. 3 seed North Carolina (16-2), 1 p.m.

No. 7 seed Duke (14-5) at No. 2 seed Northwestern (18-1), 2 p.m.

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