Half of the Division I men’s lacrosse Final Four is set as top-seeded Notre Dame and No. 4 seeded Denver won their quarterfinal games on Saturday.
No. 1 Notre Dame secured their spot in the Final Four by defeating Albany 14-10 while No. 4 Denver topped Ohio State 15-13 in Denver. Notre Dame and Denver will meet in one semifinal on May 23 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The other semifinal matchup will feature the winners of the two games today.
No. 2 Syracuse and No. 3 North Carolina will attempt to reach the semifinals today when they face Johns Hopkins and No. 6 Maryland, respectively. The two quarterfinal games will take place at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, and can be seen live on ESPN2.
If Syracuse and North Carolina are able to capture victories, it will mark the first time since 2005 that the top four seeded teams reached the semifinals, according to the NCAA.
Johns Hopkins is playing in their record 43rd NCAA tournament while Maryland is a participant for the 87th time, which is the second most of all-time. Syracuse has made 34 NCAA tournament appearances and has won a record 10 national titles. Denver and Notre Dame are the only two programs still alive to have not won a national title.
No. 2 Syracuse vs. Johns Hopkins
The Watertown Daily Times reports that the top-ranked Syracuse Orange’s (13-2) game against No. 10-ranked Johns Hopkins Blue Jays (10-6) is the 13th time the two winningest programs in Division I Lacrosse will meet in the postseason.
Syracuse reached the quarterfinals for the 31st time with an easy 20-8 victory over Marist in the opening round. The Orange are led by senior attackman Kevin Rice, who leads the team with 77 goals and 44 assists. He recorded a career-high nine points (four goals, five assists) versus Marist. Jordan Evans added five goals for the Orange against Marist.
Johns Hopkins earned an automatic bid in the tournament by winning the Big Ten Tournament title in its first year in the conference. The Blue Jays defeated Virginia 19-7 in the opening round.
Junior attackman Ryan Brown and goalie Eric Schneider lead the way for the Blue Jays, who have won six straight. Brown has tallied a goal in 32 straight games. Johns Hopkins also have two of the top freshman in the country in Shack Stanwick and Joel Tinney.
Johns Hopkins leads the all-time series 27-25-1, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard, though Syracuse won this year’s meeting between the squads (13-10). The Orange also defeated the Blue Jays the last time the teams met in the NCAA tournament (2008).
No. 3 North Carolina vs. No. 6 Maryland
No. 3-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels (13-3) renews their rivalry with former ACC foe and No.7-ranked Maryland Terrapins in the second quarterfinal of the day. This is the 66th time the school’s have met with Maryland holding a 41-24 edge in the series, according to UNC Athletics. The Terrapins defeated the Tar Heels 10-8 in their earlier meeting this year.
Both teams received an at-large bid. UNC defeated Colgate 19-12 in the first round while Maryland disposed of Yale 8-7.
UNC is in the NCAA tournament for a ninth straight year and 30th time overall. Their No. 3 seed is the highest the programs has won since 1991.
UNC’s starting attack trio of Luke Goldstock (five goals, one assist), Jimmy Bitter (two goals, four assists) and Joey Sankey (four goals, one assist) combined for 11 goals and six assists against Colgate. Bitter has tallied 75 points this year (36 goals, 39 assists).
The Washington Post is reporting that Maryland is chasing a little bit of program history. With a win today, the Terrapins would reach 14 victories in a season for just the second time in program history. Maryland boasts the top defense in the country, surrendering 6.63 goals a game.
[Photo via Syracuse Athletics]