What to Watch Today
Here's a look at a few key matchups in the Hopkins-Syracuse national championship game.
Questions for Johns Hopkins
1. Who will defend Mike Leveille?
Leveille (#19, 48 goals, 32 assists) is Syracuse's first-team all-American attackman. In the regular season meeting he was defended by senior D Matt Bocklet. But that was before Bocklet (#7, 90 groundballs) became a wing on faceoffs. When Bocklet goes to the wing, his man usually is defended by sophomore Sam DeVore (#44).
In those situations on Saturday, DeVore guarded Max Quinzani and got away with it for the most part. Leveille, however, is a different challenge. Especially with the way Danny Brennan (#40) can win faceoffs.
So watch if Bocklet goes on the wing and, if so, where DeVore is on defense. If he's on Leveille and Brennan is winning faceoffs, I wouldn't be surprised if SU attacked that matchup immediately.
2. Can Steven Boyle handle the pressure?
I think Boyle (#10, 18 goals, 15 assists) is going to be guarded by junior D Sid Smith (#33) today. Smith is an impressive defender, especially on-ball. He is very aggressive and I thought he played very well against Ben Rubeor of Virginia.
Boyle has had a good tournament--his goal on a one-handed shot against Duke was particularly impressive--and he will need to be composed and active against Smith. If Smith is taking away the ball easily, Hopkins may use Tom Duerr (#27, 5 goals) as its ball-handler on attack.
Questions for Syracuse
1. Are you really going to use a freshman on Paul Rabil?
One thing that has become clear in this tournament: It is very, very hard to defend Rabil (#9, 30 goals, 13 assists). UVa junior Mike Timms had success in the past against Rabil by using his long wingspan to back-check or trail check.
But when Rabil gets his hands free and releases a shot--it has been timed at 102 mph--the goalie rarely has a chance even to move his stick. Freshman LSM Joel White (#10) did okay against Rabil in the regular season; Rabil had one goal but also had 10 shots. Something tells me if he has 10 shots today he will have at least three if not four goals. Essentially, two freshmen--White and goalie John Galloway (#15)--stand in the way of stopping Rabil.
If I were a Syracuse fan, that prospect would make me very nervous.
2.Watch the Shortsticks
Senior SSDM John Carrozza (#17) played relatively well against UVa in the semifinals; but freshman Josh Amidon (#9) had a long afternoon. I wonder if junior Matt Abbott (#3, 13 goals, 8 assists) will play more on defensive midfield today.
Abbott's advantage is that he can turn any turnover into a transition opportunity, as he did when he scored the short-handed goal that got the Orange back into the game in the third quarter on Saturday.
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Posted by: potuswin | May 26, 2008 11:35 AM
Posted by: Griff | May 26, 2008 11:36 AM
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