The Weekend That Was (Updated)
The semifinals are set for Saturday.
No. 3 Syracuse vs. No. 2 Virginia, noon
No. 5 Johns Hopkins vs. No. 1 Duke, 2:30
Here's a look at some of the games over the weekend.
*Did Notre Dame Have Prom on Saturday Night?
In the first half of its quarterfinal against Syracuse, it looked like every ND player but senior G Joey Kemp (Georgetown Prep) and his stick head with the Irish flag's colors had been out doing something the night before. Kemp had 11 saves in the first half and helped keep the Irish within 6-2.
In the third quarter, Kemp continued playing well and his teammates finally caught up. ND was 6 for 8 shooting and it led until the game's final 6 minutes 23 seconds.
*Rare Freshman Goalie in the Semifinals
Syracuse freshman G John Galloway is aiming to become the
fourth fifth true freshman to start for a national champion.
Rodney Rullman, UVa, 1972
Kevin Mahon, Johns Hopkins, 1974*
Quint Kessenich, Johns Hopkins, 1987
Derek Kenney, UVa, 1999
(Jay Pfeifer was a redshirt freshman when SU won the title in 2002.)
*Thanks to "Chris," probably Chris Tsien of the Blue Jay Bananas, for reminding us of Mahon. According to Bob Scott's Lacrosse: Technique and Tradition book, Mahon was a freshman and his first varsity game was a victory over Maryland in the regular season finale in 1974. He also played in the title game, won by JHU.
*Virginia's Zone Defense
Virginia used more zone defense on Saturday than it had all year, according to Coach Dom Starsia. Why?
Maryland put its big midfielders on the top line--juniors Jeremy Sieverts, Jeff Reynolds and Dan Groot. On the second line was put the smaller guys--senior Max Ritz, junior Drew Evans and freshman Tony Mendes.
The alignment was done by Coach Dave Cottle to force Virginia either to take a longstick off freshman Travis Reed or to put shortsicks on the more physical runners like Sieverts and Reynolds and/or to fast runners like Mendes.
Sieverts and Reynolds scored in the first half--Reynolds off a faceoff, Sieverts after he beat sophomore SSDM Mike Thompson. Sieverts had a couple other very good looks against the SSDMs. And after SSDM Will Barrow was beaten on a goal by sophomore LSM Brian Farrell late in the 2nd quarter, Virginia went to its countermove: A zone defense.
Initially, UVa went to the zone after timeouts. (It's an old basketball trick.) As the game wore on, though, it went zone more and more.
"I kept asking the guys in the huddle what they liked," Starsia said. "And they were saying zone."
The defense was a brilliant move. It put the pressure back on Maryland's young attackmen to be patient. After the goal by Sieverts, Maryland finished the game 2 for 22 shooting; both goals were by Farrell.
*Johns Hopkins Hits Early Home Run
For a few weeks in this space we have been talking about how the Johns Hopkins offense takes what the defense gives it.
Early against Navy, however, the Blue Jays went for the home run: They attacked the matchup between their best offensive player, Paul Rabil, and Navy's best defender, Jordan DiNola.
On the second possession, Rabil went past DiNola, used a swim move past the slide defender and eluded one more defender before he scored on a close shot for a 1-0 lead.
I was surprised at the ease with which Rabil scored. Because in the past, DiNola had done well in that matchup. In a 10-9 loss in the regular season last year, Rabil had one goal in three quarters against DiNola. His final two goals came after DiNola left the game with cramps.
In the regular season meeting this year, Johns Hopkins made it hard for DiNola to find Rabil. Before Rabil came onto the field, the attackman DiNola was guarding while waiting for Rabil went to the opposite end of the offensive box; that forced DiNola to follow and made one of the LSMs defend Rabil.
In the end, they matched up twice. Once Rabil threw the ball away, the other possession was a wash.
On Saturday, Rabil finished with three goals and an assist.
The Blue Devils were 21 for 50 (42 percent) in their win over Ohio State. I lost count of how many of their goals either were to the corner or were off-hip on OSU's goalie, but it was at least 13. There were a couple bounce shots for goals, too. The Hopkins defense had better be ready.
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