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Wilson’s Wheelhouse: NCAA Tournament Recap

What a weekend!  I know, I know… I always say that but it’s always true so I’m sticking with it.  If I say it over the summer, fall or winter, you can give me crap about it but right now, it couldn’t be closer to the truth.

I was able to get out to Long Island to provide color commentary for the webcast of the CW Post-Dowling game on Satruday and the weather was good, the atmosphere was electric and the game was really tight with Post pulling out the 9-8 win.  Dowling took the regular season match up 8-7 so this was a good revenge win when it was all on the line for the defending national champs.

I would have taken more pictures, but somehow providing color commentary took up most of my time.

I have to say that the game was sloppy.  Actually it was really sloppy, which surprised me quite a bit.  I know it’s a big game and that both teams were flying around out there but I saw way too many dropped balls, awful passes and bad decisions.  There were some high points however, as both goalies played quite well and the longpoles for both Post and Dowling were some of the better players on the field.  I saw some very impressive individual performances from a number of the poles.

The game atmosphere was about as Long Island as it gets with angry rap music blaring during warmups, lots of physical play, eye black galore and almost everyone seemed to know each other already.  LI lax is the real deal but it’s also a pretty small world.  Face off specialist for Post, Mike Cama, was really good all day as well and if Post wants to knock off LeMoyne (who took down Limestone in the other Semi), Cama will need to have another big day as he has all year.

In the D3 lax Semifinals, Tufts knocked off Cortland 10-9 in Upstate NY to garner their first National Championship invite in the program’s history.  Tufts is only the second NESCAC team to ever play in the National Championship game (although Wesleyan has made the final four twice, losing to Cortland both times).  Tufts went down by a couple but fought back and then their keeper, who has struggled mightily at times this season, really shut the door and kept the Jumbos alive.

Did Tufts win because Cortland thumbed the ball? Nope.
Tufts needed a big save from right out front to ice game...
and BOY-O, did they ever get it!

On the other side of the bracket, Salisbury edged out Stevenson 14-13 in OT to get back to the NC game.  This was the 3rd time these two teams had met up with each taking one in the regular season.  When you consider how good both of these teams are and that they could each by considered #1, it was fitting that the game ended in OT.  Tufts-Salisbury should be a great game where Tufts will try to out run and gun Salisbury.  In years past I would have said no way that will happen but this year I expect another tight game and I like both teams’ chances.  More on this later in the week though.

in D1ville, UNC got smoked by Duke and I will be the first to admit, I don’t know what is going on with the Blue Devils.  When I think they’ll do well, they don’t.  When I think they’ll falter, they pour it on.  Whatever I say is going to happen won’t happen.  Remember that.  Ned Crotty keeps reminding us why he was selected to the US team.  DOMINANT player and really the easiest call for a Tewaraaton winner since Mikey Powell.

Maryland dropped a tough one to Notre Dame.  ND didn’t even have to rely on their goalie to bail them out that often either because their D really stepped up and won the game.  Grant Catalino and the Terp O never really settled in to a rhythym and the ND O dodged hard and moved the ball well.  I think Cornell will test the Irish on Saturday though.  They have a more team oriented offense and although the shooters aren’t of the Maryland quality, Cornell will push the ball inside for closer shots whereas Maryland settled for a 12-14 yard shot at times.

Cornell got the Final Four by beating Army and it was clear the Big Red did not take the Black Knights lightly as Cuse may have done.  Cornell played hard and played smart and although that seems simple, playing smart against a team like Army is tough because of how scrappy they are.  If Cornell can best Army, they can beat the Irish as I think the two are similar but it will be closer because Notre Dame has slightly better offensive players than Army.

The best game of the weekend was Virginia-Stony Brook.  No question there.  UVa went up by 3-4 goals early but SBU just kep coming back for more.  Their goalie play was excellent for much of the game and their face off guy was on fire.  Evidently he learned from Matt Schomburg, ex-Adelphi all-American and Team Australia FoGo, so that makes sense.  Schommy was one of the absolute best in the biz and can still teach as well as anyone out there.

SBU's Charlie Parr was very good in cage all day for the Sea Wolves, who came up just short.

Stony Brook is definitely headed in the right direction as they had a ton of talented players out there at every position.  Propos to UVa for weathering the storm and fighting all day.  Adam Ghitelman, the Viriginia keeper, made the big saves when had to and the Wahoos are moving on thanks to him and their multi-faceted offense.

There will be lots of news this week leading up to Championship weekend so I’ll be around breaking down the games and trying to figure out Duke.  Wish me luck!

On a side note, I also saw an MLL game between Toronto and Chesepeake and I just have to say wow.  Sure, the game has changed at the Pro level but these guys are straight up nasty.  Far better players than their college contemporaries and they barely even practice.  The team concepts aren’t quite the same because of this, but the game is exciting and I hope this is the MLL’s summer to really break out.

About the Author:
Connor is a life-long lacrosse player who doesn’t know when to give up on the game. He played and coached at Wesleyan University and now plays for the Southampton LC in NYC. Connor lives with his fiance in Brooklyn and thanks her for allowing him to keep the dream alive.

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