COLLEGE PARK, Md. — The top-seeded Orange(14-3) continues its quest for its 12th NCAA championship on Saturday, May 18 when it meets Ivy League champion Yale (12-4) at 3 p.m. at Byrd Stadium in the quarterfinal round. It will mark the second postseason meeting between the two schools. The Orange defeated the Bulldogs in the 1992 quarters, 17-8, on its way to an appearance in the national championship game.
Syracuse advanced to the quarterfinals for the 30th time in school history with a 12-7 victory versus Bryant at the Carrier Dome in the tournament’s opening round. Yale moved on with a 10-7 triumph over No. 8 seed Penn State in State College. Byrd Stadium’s other quarterfinal pairing features No. 3 seed Ohio State versus Cornell at 12:30 p.m.
Tickets are available online through the University of Maryland website.
The game will be televised live nationally on ESPN2 with Eamon McAnaney, Quint Kessenich and Paul Carcaterra on the call. Fans can also hear the action live on the radio home of the Orange – ESPN Radio 97.7 FM in Syracuse. Live streaming audio is available on SUAthletics.com as part of Orange All-Access.
ORANGE IN THE NCAA QUARTERFINALS
Syracuse is 26-3 all-time in NCAA quarterfinal games. The Orange won 25 straight quarterfinal-round pairings from 1983 to 2009 before Maryland ended the streak in 2011. Syracuse head coach John Desko is 9-1 during his career in NCAA quarterfinal games.
FOR THE BYRDS, STADIUM THAT IS
The University of Maryland’s Byrd Stadium is a familiar NCAA playoff venue for the Orange. Saturday’s quarterfinal with be the 15th time Syracuse has taken to the Byrd Stadium turf for an NCAA Tournament game. Syracuse is 9-5 in NCAA games at Byrd, including NCAA championship game victories there in 1989, 1993, 1995 and 2000. The facility was also the site of SU’s first-ever NCAA Tournament game, a 16-13 loss to Maryland in 1979.
LAMOLINARA KNOWS BYRD
Junior goalie Dominic Lamolinara (Arnold, Md.) is the only player on the Orange roster that has played a collegiate game at Maryland’s Byrd Stadium. Lamolinara, who spent the 2011 season with the Terps, played in two games at Byrd, including his college debut versus UMBC on March 18, 2011.
LAST TIME OUT: SU 12, BRYANT 7
The Orange overcame an early 4-0 deficit and defeated Northeast Conference champion Bryant (8-11) by the score of 12-7 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, May 12 at the Carrier Dome. Sophomore attackman Kevin Rice (Skaneateles, N.Y.) led the Orange with four points (two goals, two assists) and redshirt freshman Dylan Donahue (Camillus, N.Y.) scored a team-high three goals.
The visiting Bulldogs jumped out to a 4-0 lead less than seven minutes into the contest. However, the Orange defense weathered the storm and allowed just three goals over the last 52 minutes. It was a masterful defensive performance considering Syracuse lost 22 of the game’s 23 faceoffs to Northeast Conference Player of the Year Kevin Massa. The Orange was able to minimize the damage and get some of those possessions back thanks to 18 Bryant turnovers, including 11 that were forced by the defense.
DEFENSE DIALED IN
During a four-game stretch from April 6 to April 16 Syracuse allowed an average of 12 goals per game. In the five games since the Orange has cut that number nearly in half (6.2 goals per game). The biggest differences between the two stretches are the defense’s number of shots allowed per game (36.2 to 28.6) and the improved play of the man-down unit. Opponents went from converting on 58.3 percent of its man-up opportunities (7-12) to 20 percent (3-15).
BALANCE IS THE KEY
Nineteen different players have combined to score Syracuse’s 204 goals. Senior Luke Cometti (Syracuse, N.Y.) and junior Derek Maltz (Ashburn, Va.) lead the way with 28 goals. Six others have at least 10 goals, increasing the team’s number of double-digit goal scorers to eight. Previous Orange national championship teams have displayed similar balance. In 2004 Syracuse had eight players with at least 10 goals. The 2008 Orange had nine double-digit scorers and 2009 squad had eight.
Yale is one of the hottest teams in the country having won nine of its last 10 games, including ousting Penn State last weekend in the NCAA Tournament’s opening round. The Bulldogs average 10.44 goals per game and boast one of the nation’s stingiest defenses. Yale is seventh in the NCAA in scoring defense, allowing eight goals per contest. Yale also has one of the top faceoff men in the country in Dylan Levings who ranks eighth in the NCAA in winning percentage (.592) and sixth in ground balls per game (7.69).
The Yale starting attack of Brandon Mangan (36 goals), Conrad Oberbeck (34 goals) and Kirby Zdrill (30 goals) have combined for 100 of team’s 167 goals this season. Mangan also leads the club in assists (25) and points (61). Colin Flaherty is Yale’s most potent midfield threat. He has 17 goals and 10 assists for 27 points.
Defensively, the Bulldogs have only given up double-digit goals three times in 16 games. Goalie Eric Natale is eighth nationally in goals-against average (7.93). He has 145 saves and a .533 save percentage. Defensemen Peter Johnson and Michael McCormack are four-year starters. The duo has combined for 58 caused turnovers this season. Johnson leads the Bulldogs with 35 turnovers forced.
The Bulldogs are coached by Andy Shay who owns a 78-62 record in 10 seasons. He’s guided Yale to back-to-back Ivy League championships. Shay has ties to Central New York. He played scholastically at Cortland High School before becoming a four-starter on defense at Le Moyne College in Syracuse. Shay graduated from Le Moyne in 1994.
The Orange is 18-4 all-time against Yale, including a 1-0 mark in the NCAA playoffs. The Orange and Bulldogs last met in Boca Raton Fla. during the 2000 regular season with Syracuse emerging victorious, 16-8. Syracuse has won the last nine pairings overall. Yale’s last series win was an 11-9 triumph in 1963.
The winner of the Syracuse-Yale matchup will face the winner of Denver-North Carolina on Saturday, May 25 in the NCAA semifinals at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.