NCAA Opening Round Rundown + Stat Freaks!
With so few games, we’re going to cram a bunch of items from this past weekend of NCAA action into one post. So let’s take a look!
12 Robert Morris at Canisius 6 (Play-In)
The biggest head scratcher of the bracket was Canisius playing host for this game. It took a true miracle of a play to even qualify for this game, compared to a team that had been ranked in the top 20 this year despite being in a small conference. It just didn’t make sense. So Robert Morris did their thing and moved on to play Maryland.
11 Robert Morris at Maryland 14
This was a shocker…at first. Robert Morris controlled the first half of play to a degree I don’t think anyone truly thought was possible. Maryland was completely on their heels and things were not looking good. Enter the halftime adjustment. Coach Tilllman for Maryland has proven time and time again that he is just a flat out excellent coach. He plans well and truly understand the mental part of the game. He made the changes he needed at half and the Terps came out on fire to win the second half and the game. Robert Morris still had their chances, but Maryland answered back every time. They should probably not try doing that again…
9 Richmond at Albany 18
The Danes put up the biggest point total of the weekend and sent the spiders packing. In true Albany fashion, 12 of their 18 goals were assisted with Connor Fields leading the way with five helpers. Tehoka Naticoke was the top scorer with 5 goals. Fields was the biggest story line, though. Since his injury at the end of March, his field time has been spotty with his production also lacking. His health going forward is going to stay as one of the top concerns as the level of competition increases.
13 UMass at Yale 15
This I did not see coming. The CAA was very weak this year, but I really did like how UMass looked in their conference championship. Combine that with how Yale had been playing and this was going to be a one sided battle for New England. Nobody told the Minutemen, apparently. They came out with two quick goals and kept it close for the entire first half. The third quarter is where Yale did their damage, they just had too many weapons and overpowered UMass. The Minutemen rallied, but fell short about halfway through the fourth.
11 Villanova at Duke 17
This was the other major beating in the first round, and it wasn’t all due to Justin Guterding. While he did score a pair of goals and have one assist, he was one of five Blue Devils to score three or more points. When you’re a team as talented as this and you share that much, it’s never a good thing for the other team. Duke scored on their first three possessions and never looked back. What really broke things open was their four goals run in the second where Villanova never touched the ball once. It was a tie game and then Duke won every faceoff and scored every time in a three minute span. That’s tough for anyone to recover from. Especially when it happens again a few minutes later (3 goals in two minutes). That’s a bad quarter.
9 Georgetown at Hopkins 10
Now this game was a shock! Hopkins was coming off a Big Ten conference Championship and was looking great. Georgetown was a bid stealer that overachieved against Denver. Apparently, they weren’t done. Hopkins jumped out to the early lead and was looking good thanks to Mr. Joel Tinney. But as the end of the quarter neared, the Hoyas came back. Three goals in two minutes tied up the game and shifted the power away from Hopkins, who would then be held scoreless for over two quarters’ worth of time. Thanks again to Mr. Tinney. The credit for the comeback goes to Kyle Marr, who scored every single Blue Jay goal in the fourth quarter to tie the game and force overtime. It took almost the full extra period, but Shack Stanwick notched the game winner to send Hopkins into the quarterfinals.
12 UVA at Loyola 14
This score looks closer than it was. UVA held a one goal lead for all of three minutes in the first quarter, then it was all Loyola as they scored nine of the next 10 goals of the half. Even with UVA wanting to play fast, that is a huge deficit to make up in an NCAA game on the road. UVA did come close in the fourth quarter and started making things interesting, but it was too little too late. Even though they held Pat Spencer to “just” five points, the ‘Hoos needed much more offense to compensate.
9 Denver at Notre Dame 7
Denver came out of the gate firing and that’s exactly what they needed. While their first possession ended in a save, they scored on the next two which established the cushion they needed. They almost blanked Notre Dame for the first quarter if it weren’t for some late clock heroics by Ryder Garnsey. The Irish did make things interesting as the third quarter ended, gaining the lead just four minutes into the fourth. After that, it was all Denver. They scored on the next three possessions to close out the game. Denver won every faceoff in the fourth quarter, when it mattered the most.
10 Cornell at Syracuse 9
Syracuse was a home underdog here and almost pulled it off. They feel to their same struggles as they had all year, which was playing a complete game. After halftime, Cornell was significantly improved while Cuse started to miss on their execution a bit. Jeff Teat was held to a single assist on the night while Syracuse was predictably very spread out in the offensive production. The future is incredibly bright for Cuse, though. They are loaded with young talent that gained a season of experience and return almost their full lineup. They also didn’t have fall ball. Cornell on the other hand has one of their toughest matchups possible with Maryland. The Big Red are susceptible to great game planning, which is what Maryland is great at. It will be exciting to see how they adapt.
This was expected to be much lower than normal, and it certainly was. 2017 saw 2 offensive players, none from the defense, 1 goalie, and 5 FOGOs. This year is not much different at all. Take a look:
Offense: The Cutoff here is a combined 7 goals and/or assists
|Jackson Morrill – Yale: 7G, A, 9 Shots vs. Massachusetts|
|Connor Fields – Albany (NY): 2G, 5A, 4 Shots vs. Richmond|
|Kyle Marr – Johns Hopkins: 5G, 2A, 11 Shots vs. Georgetown|
Defense: For here, you need 8 GBs, CTs, and/or points
Faceoffs: Greater than 70%, at least 10 attempts
|Brian Smyth – Duke: 23/28, 16 GB, 1G, 1A vs. Villanova|
|TD Ierlan – Albany (NY): 24/29, 21 GB, 1A vs. Richmond|
|Austin Henningsen – Maryland: 13/18, 6 GB vs. Robert Morris|
Goalies: Greater than 70%
Marr and Smyth interestingly enough are both first time additions to this list. I also love that TD Ierlan was on the list last year and returned once again, in fashion. Last year he went up against UNC and recorded a 23/30, 11GB, and 1 assist day. This year, he had almost the exact same stat line except the he scooped up at additional 10 ground balls on his own.
But for me, I have to give the weekly honors to Jackson Morrill. UMass gave the Elis much more of a game than they were really planning on, and without this sort of effort from Morrill, there may have been a major, major upset. His eight points led the weekend, which was huge, but scoring seven goals on just nine shots in the NCAA tournament is ridiculous.