Previewing NCAA Division I men's lacrosse semifinals

May 26, 2011|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

No. 7 seed Virginia vs. No. 6 seed Denver

Saturday, 4 p.m.


Coach: Dom Starsia

Leading scorer: Junior attackman Steele Stanwick (29 goals, 35 assists)

Goalie: Senior Adam Ghitelman (9.81 goals-against average, .532 save percentage)

DENVER (15-2)

Coach: Bill Tierney

Leading scorer: Junior attackman Mark Matthews (45 goals, 24 assists)

Goalie: Freshman Jamie Faus (8.22 GAA, .570 save percentage)

When Virginia has the ball: With the dismissal of senior midfielder Shamel Bratton and the continued suspension of senior midfielder Rhamel Bratton, the ball goes through Stanwick's stick. The Baltimore native and Loyola graduate is a nifty dodger and might even be a better passer. If passing lanes are open, junior attackman Chris Bocklet (41 goals, 5 assists) and redshirt junior midfielder Colin Briggs (24 goals, 12 assists) will take advantage.

When Denver has the ball: Matthews is the focal point of many opponents' defensive game plans, but the Pioneers proved in their 14-9 defeat of No. 3 seed Johns Hopkins that their young midfielders can initiate. Sophomore Cameron Flint (27 goals, 10 assists) and freshman Jeremy Noble (15 goals, 15 assists) have quick bursts, and sophomore Chase Carraro (19 goals, 2 assists) is stronger than his 5-foot-8, 170-pound frame suggests.

Matchup to watch: The Cavaliers proved that their zone defense can shut down prolific offenses as they showed in a 13-9 defeat of No. 2 seed Cornell in the quarterfinals. The strategy gives Ghitelman a chance to see outside shots, but can the Virginia players fend off Denver's ability to dodge and create from virtually any place on the field?

Maryland vs. No. 5 seed Duke

Saturday, 6:30 p.m.


Coach: John Tillman

Leading scorer: Senior attackman Ryan Young (19 goals, 27 assists)

Goalie: Freshman Niko Amato (6.81 GAA, .578 save percentage)

DUKE (14-5)

Coach: John Danowski

Leading scorer: Senior attackman Zach Howell (42 goals, 16 assists)

Goalie: Sophomore Dan Wigrizer (9.21 GAA, .553 save percentage)

When Maryland has the ball: Young is the offense's quarterback, working from behind the net for shooting lanes or looking for teammates. He's usually looking for senior attackman Grant Catalino (26 goals, 10 assists) or junior midfielder Joe Cummings (25, 3). Sophomore attackman Owen Blye (17 goals, 12 assists) is a capable dodger, and a midfield paced by sophomore John Haus (13, 12) is flying under the radar.

When Duke has the ball: Howell has continued his reputation as a sharpshooter, but the offense as a whole has benefited from the insertion of freshmen Jordan Wolf (31 goals, 20 assists) and Christian Walsh (20, 13) into the starting attack. Like the Terps, the Blue Devils don't have a midfield that grabs the spotlight, but sophomore David Lawson (22 goals, 9 assists) and junior Robert Rotanz (23, 4) aren't exactly wallflowers.

Matchup to watch: Senior long-stick midfielder C.J. Costabile is dealing with an unspecified injury that limited him to just one faceoff in Duke's 7-5 win against No. 4 seed Notre Dame in the quarterfinals. If he is unable to face off, the Blue Devils could use four players to wear down Maryland sophomore Curtis Holmes (199-for-317, .628 percentage).

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