Men's Lacrosse Game Notes for the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals
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#7 Massachusetts (12-3/5-0 ECAC)
#1 Johns Hopkins (11-1/Independent)
Sunday, May 19, 2002 * 12:00 p.m.
Homewood Field (8,000)
Radio: WMUA 91.1 FM (Amherst, Mass.)
SUNDAY'S GAME AGAINST JOHNS HOPKINS
Massachusetts enters the game with a 12-3 record, while Johns Hopkins enters the game with an 11-1 record. The eighth-seeded Minutemen defeated Fairfield, 17-4, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, while top-seeded Johns Hopkins had a bye last weekend. This is the fourth all-time meeting between the two schools, with all three previous meetings taking place in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals. The three games were all played at Homewood Field, with the Blue Jays winning all of them. The last time the two teams met was on May 21, 1989. The Blue Jays won the meeting by a score of 9-4, despite 26 saves from former Minuteman goaltender Sal LoCascio. This is the 14th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance for Massachusetts, and eighth trip to the quarterfinals. This is the 31st straight NCAA Tournament appearance for Johns Hopkins, which has appeared in 14 NCAA title games and has advanced to the semifinals 22 times. The 31 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament is the longest active streak of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament by any Division I team in any sport. In addition, this is the 27th time in 31 years the Blue Jays have been seeded in the top four. Johns Hopkins has earned a bye in each of the last six years, the nation's longest active streak. The Blue Jays have won seven national championships and have a 46-22 (.676) all-time tournament record.
SCOUTING THE JOHNS HOPKINS BLUE JAYS
Johns Hopkins enters the quarterfinals having won its last eight games. Because they received a first round bye, the Blue Jays have not played since defeating Loyola, 8-4, on May 4. They have won five one goal games this year, including one in overtime. Johns Hopkins is led offensively by junior attack Bobby Benson (26g, 10a), sophomore attack Conor Ford (15g, 15a), sophomore midfielder Kevin Bolland (11g, 18a), freshman attack Kyle Barrie (17g, 8a), freshman attack Peter LeSueur (12g, 10a) and junior midfielder Adam Doneger (16g, 3a). The defense is anchored by senior goaltender Nick Murtha, who has started all 12 games. Murtha has a 7.90 goals against average and a .611 save percentage. He is ranked 11th nationally in goals against average and eighth in save percentage. Freshman Kyle Harrison takes a majority of the faceoffs and has won 93 of 148 (.628), which is good for fifth best nationally. Johns Hopkins has one of the nation's best man-up offenses, having scored on 18 of 42 (.429) opportunities.
SOME VALUABLE QUARTERS
Massachusetts has had a number of impressive offensive quarters this season. The Minutemen have scored six or more goals in a quarter eight times. They netted a season-high 11 goals in the third quarter against Rutgers to blow open a close game and tallied seven goals in the third quarter against Fairfield as part of a 15-0 run that broke open another close game. Twice this season they have scored six goals in the fourth quarter to finish off come-from-behind victories (against Brown and Penn State). The Minutemen scored eight goals in the first quarter against Georgetown en route to a 16-13 victory, and they netted seven goals in the second quarter against Navy en route to a 13-10 victory.
GETTING BACK TO THE BIG DANCE
Massachusetts will be making its eighth all-time NCAA Tournament quarterfinals appearance and first since 1997, when it lost, 11-9, to eventual national champion Princeton. The Minutemen clinched the ECAC Lacrosse League's automatic bid to the 2002 NCAA Tournament on April 20, with a 16-13 road victory over Georgetown. Massachusetts is tied for eighth all-time in NCAA Tournament appearances with 14.
McFARLAND STRONG ON DEFENSE
Senior defenseman Matt McFarland (Garden City, N.Y.) has been the anchor of the Minuteman defense. He leads the team in ground balls with 99 and has shown a scoring touch with four goals and four assists for eight points. McFarland has consistently shut down some of the nation's top offensive players. He limited Navy's Eddie McKinnon to a goal and no assists. McFarland held the nation's top scorer, Hartford's Brian LeMastro, to two goals and no assists. He limited Harvard's Matt Primm to a goal and an assist. McFarland scooped up a season-high 12 ground balls against Syracuse on April 26. McFarland was named first team All-ECAC and All-New England at the conclusion of the regular season.
MORLEY IS A MARC(ED) MAN
Senior Marc Morley (Canton, N.Y.) has scored 11 goals over the last three games, including a career-high six against Rutgers in the last game of the regular season. Morley leads the team in scoring with 50 points on 37 goals and 13 assists. He has recorded at least one point in 14 of the 15 games, and has scored two or more goals 12 times this season. Since being held scoreless on April 13, Morley has scored 17 goals in the last five games. He reached the 100-point plateau for his career when he scored four goals against Harvard on April 17. Morley enters the game against Johns Hopkins with 116 career points on 79 goals and 37 assists.
THREE'S COMPANY; FOUR'S A CROWD
The Minutemen enter the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament as the only team in the country with four 30-goal scorers. Senior attackman Marc Morley leads the way with 37 goals. Senior attackman Dan Paccione (Amityville, N.Y.) has 34 goals, junior midfielder Kevin Leveille (Delmar, N.Y.) is next in line with 33, and junior midfielder Chris Fiore (Freeport, N.Y.) joined the 30-goal club with his 30th of the season last weekend against Fairfield. Morley, Paccione, Leveille and Fiore have combined to score 134 of the 214 (.626) Minuteman goals this season. The Minutemen have a total of seven players on their roster with 20 or more points. Freshman Gene Tundo (Orchard Park, N.Y.) has 30 points, while sophomore Jeff Zywicki (Nepean, Ontario) and senior Don Little (Clifton Park, N.Y.) each have 25 points.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES
Senior Dan Paccione and junior Chris Fiore have both seen big jumps in their offensive production from a year ago. Paccione is currently second on the Minuteman squad in goals with 34 and points with 46. Last season, the attackman scored 13 goals and three assists for 16 points. He has become a major factor in the offense and is also the team's top faceoff man. Paccione has won 85 of 155 (.548) faceoffs this season, despite not taking any faceoffs last season. Fiore, a midfielder, has also seen his offensive production increase. He enters the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals ranked fourth on the team in points (41) and goals (30). He has scored at least two goals in eight of the last 10 games, and has seven assists over the last four games. Last season, Fiore scored 11 goals and eight assists for 19 points.
SCHELL(ING) THE OPPONENTS
Freshman goaltender Bill Schell (Mahopac, N.Y.) has been solid in the cage since taking over the starting role on March 20, against Albany. Schell currently has a 9.68 goals against average and a .555 save percentage. He has shown a tendency to play well in big games, making a career-high 20 saves against then-No. 3 Georgetown and stopping 15 shots against then-No. 2 Syracuse. Schell made some big saves early in the game against Fairfield last weekend, and finished with eight saves while allowing just four goals. He was replaced late in the game. Schell has made 10 or more saves in seven of the 10 games he has started this season. He enters the game against Johns Hopkins with a 9-2 record, and has scooped up 40 ground balls in 11 games. Schell has made 116 saves, while allowing 93 goals against.
RECAPPING THE FIRST ROUND GAME
Massachusetts defeated Fairfield, 17-4, in first round play of the NCAA Tournament at Brown Stadium last Saturday. Senior Dusty Smith (West Chester, Pa.) opened the scoring at the 8:18 mark of the first quarter off a feed from senior attack Dan Paccione. Sophomore Neil Lundberg (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) put the Minutemen up two goals at the 2:58 mark, but less than a minute later, Justin Geluso put Fairfield on the board with a tally. He then tied the game with 51 seconds remaining in the quarter, but Paccione put the Minutemen up for good with a score just six seconds later off the faceoff. Massachusetts scored the only three goals of the second quarter to take a 6-2 lead into halftime. Sophomore Jeff Zywicki scored at the 5:05 mark, and then junior Kevin Leveille put the Minutemen up 5-2 off a feed from junior Chris Fiore. Massachusetts added another goal just before the break as Paccione scored his second of the game with 10 seconds remaining off a pass from Smith. Massachusetts continued to dominate in the second half as it outscored the Stags, 11-2 in the half. Senior Don Little recorded a hat trick in the third quarter and also assisted on one of senior Marc Morley's two goals. Also scoring in the quarter for the Minutemen were Fiore and Smith. The Minutemen kept up the offensive onslaught in the final quarter. Paccione completed his hat trick just 20 seconds in off a feed from senior defenseman Matt McFarland. Little then added his season-best fourth goal of the game less than a minute later. Other Minuteman scorers in the quarter were Leveille and sophomore Kevin Glenz (Merrick, N.Y.). Fairfield's Matt Buecker scored a goal at the 6:59 mark of the fourth quarter ending a 15-0 Massachusetts run. Scott Raasch added an extra-man goal less than a minute later to complete the scoring in the game. Freshman Gene Tundo and Lundberg each added two assists for Massachusetts. Freshman Bill Schell made eight saves in the cage for Massachusetts, while C.J. Kemp and Cory Gibbons combined to make 13 saves for the Stags. Junior Derek Kunkel (Centerrach, N.Y.) relieved Schell late in the fourth quarter and did not make a save or allow a goal in 3:40 of action. The Minutemen out-shot Fairfield, 48 24, and scooped up a season high 60 ground balls. The Minutemen won 14 of 25 faceoffs.
IN THE FACEOFF CIRCLE
Massachusetts has used primarily two faceoff specialists this season, freshman attacker Craig Conn (St. Catherines, Ontario) and senior Dan Paccione. Conn has taken 214 faceoffs and has won 114 (.533) of them, while Paccione has won 85 of 155 (.548). As a team, the Minutemen have won 209 of 406 (.515) faceoffs. Conn has scored four points in the last two games and has won 32 of 48 (.667) faceoffs. Paccione has scored four goals and four assists in the last two games, while only taking four faceoffs.
TUNDO CONTINUING TO HELP OTHERS
Freshman Gene Tundo enters the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals leading the Minutemen in assists with 22. He is fifth on the team in scoring with 30 points and is coming off a two-assist performance against Fairfield in the first round. Tundo had a team-high four assists in the 16-13 victory over Georgetown on April 20, that secured an NCAA Tournament bid. He has recorded at least one point in all but two games this season and has nine multiple-point games. He has recorded three or more assists in a game three times this season.
ZYWICKI STARTING TO COME INTO HIS OWN
Sophomore Jeff Zywicki is beginning to come into his own as a player. He enters the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals tied for sixth on the team in scoring with 25 points. He has netted 14 goals and 11 assists this season. As a freshman, Zywicki had just one goal and two assists in seven games played. This season, he has been a scoring threat throughout the year, beginning the season with two goals and an assist against Hofstra. Prior to coming to UMass, Zywicki had played box lacrosse in his native Canada.
LEVEILLE CONTINUING THE POINT PRODUCTION
Junior Kevin Leveille reached the 100-point plateau for his career when he scored the game's first goal against Rutgers in the final game of the regular season. He added another goal and a pair of assists, to finish the game against the Scarlet Knights with 103 career points. Last Saturday against Fairfield in the first round, he added to that total with a pair of goals. In his three seasons with the Minutemen, Leveille has scored 68 goals and 37 assists. He is currently third on the team in scoring with 45 points on 33 goals and 12 assists. He has been held scoreless just once this season (in the loss at Yale on April 13). In the five games since being held scoreless, Leveille has 14 goals and four assists.
AMONG THE NCAA STATISTICAL LEADERS
Senior defenseman Matt McFarland is ranked eighth nationally in ground balls per game. He is averaging 6.60 ground balls and has a team-high 99 on the season. Senior attackman Marc Morley is ranked 14th nationally in goals per game, averaging 2.47. He has scored a team-leading 37 goals this season. As a team, the Minutemen are ranked second nationally in scoring offense, averaging 14.27 goals per game. They are ranked 10th in man-up offense, scoring on 18 of 47 (.383) opportunities. Massachusetts is fourth in winning percentage (.800) and scoring margin (4.87).
The defensive midfield is led by the play of senior Paul Hutchen (Lake Forest, Ill.). He is joined on the group by sophomore Justin Walker (Fairport, N.Y.) and freshman Greg Scott (Westport, Conn.). Hutchen, who is the team's fastest player, has scored a goal and an assist this season and has scooped up 25 ground balls. He was recently named an NEILA Scholar-Athlete. Scott has 12 ground balls and Walker has eight. The defensive midfield has helped the Minutemen limit opponents to under 10 goals per game.
JUST A FEW EXTRA THOUGHTS . . .
This is the third trip to the NCAA Tournament under head coach Greg Cannella, and second time he has led the Minutemen to the quarterfinals. He also did it in 1997 when Massachusetts defeated Hofstra, 6-4, in the first round. Cannella made two trips to the NCAA Tournament as a player with the Minutemen in 1987 and 1988, and he also made one as an assistant coach in 1993. Cannella was named ECAC and New England Coach of the Year for the second straight season... Kevin Glenz has four goals and an assist over the last two games after going seven straight games without a point... Every member of the Minuteman team has a sticker with the #43 on their helmet, a patch on their jersey and they all wear a black sweat band in memory of former Minuteman Eric Sopracasa, who passed away during a lacrosse practice on May 5, 1999... A Minuteman victory would give them a program high 13 wins on the season, it would also advance UMass to its first-ever semifinal... The game will not be televised, however, it can be heard live on the radio by tuning into WMUA 91.1 (www.wmua.org).
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