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Sawyer, Pontrello combine for 11 goals as Loyola doubles up Duke

Posted on 09 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Sawyer, Pontrello Combine For 11 Goals As MLAX Downs No. 4 Duke

BALTIMORE – Matt Sawyer scored a career-high six goals, and Nikko Pontrello added five, as No. 5 Loyola University Maryland defeated fourth-ranked Duke University, 14-7, in front of 3,912 fans at Ridley Athletic Complex and a national television audience on CBS Sports Network Sunday night.

The Greyhounds (5-1 overall) trailed, 4-3, after the first quarter, but they scored 11 of the final 14 goals in the victory.

Sawyer scored three of his goals during a 5-0 Loyola run that started the second quarter, and his four in the first half matched half of his eight career goals entering the game. Pontrello scored in each quarter and had the first two of the third quarter.

Jordan Wolf’s goal with 2:50 left in the first quarter gave Duke (4-2) a 4-3 advantage that it would hold for the remainder of the period, but Sawyer face-dodged a defender and came free down the left alley to score his second of the game 56 ticks into the second quarter.

That goal sparked five unanswered goals that would stretch into a 7-1 Greyhounds run.

Pontrello backed down a defender on the left side of the crease and scored from close in to put Loyola in front, ultimately for good. Sawyer scored just under four minutes later, recording his second man-up goal of the night off a Justin Ward assist, and Brian Schultz was the recipient of a Ward cross-field pass at 8:14, and the senior ripped a hard shot inside the opposite post.

Ward’s assist on the Schultz goal was the 85th of his collegiate career, moving him into first-place in Loyola’s NCAA Division I history (since 1982) and passing the previous best by Jim Blanding. Ward fiished the game with five points on a goal and four assists.

Schultz’s goal at 8:14 made it a 7-4 Loyola advantage, and Sawyer tacked on another goal, unassisted after a long dodge to push the lead to four with 2:49 left in the first half.

Christian Walsh snapped Duke’s scoreless stretch at 16 minutes, 18 seconds, hitting a high-to-low shot from 12 yards out off a Dionne assist, bring the Blue Devils within three, 8-5, at halftime.

Loyola started the third quarter two men up after three penalties were called on a Duke player, and another was whistled on another. Pontrello tallied a goal for the Greyhounds on the extra-man opportunity at 13:14, his first of two-straight goals in the third quarter.

Duke got a goal back as Deemer Class scored on a Myles Jones assist with 4:14 left in the third quarter, but Loyola did not allow a Blue Devils goal for more than 11 minutes.

By that time, Sawyer, Pontrello and Ward had all scored in the fourth quarter, and Loyola was up 13-7 after Jones tallied one for the Blue Devils with 8:11 left.

Sawyer tacked on his sixth goal with 3:40 left in the game. It marked the second time this season that a Loyola player has scored six in a game (Pontrello at Holy Cross). It is also the second time a member of the Sawyer family has scored six against Duke at Ridley Athletic Complex. His older brother, three-time All-American Mike, tallied six goals and two assists in a 13-8 Loyola win on March 10, 2012.

Defensively, the Greyhounds held Duke’s two leading goal-scorers, Jordan Wolf (12 goals, 10 assists entering the game) and Dionne (12, 2) to one goal each.

Jack Runkel made nine saves on 16 shots on goal, while Loyola outshot the Blue Devils, 39-31.

Duke won 13-of-23 faceoffs in the game, but Loyola won the ground ball category, 35-34. Joe Fletcher led the Greyhounds with seven ground balls, while Pontrello, Runkel, Brian Sherlock, Graham Savio and Jason Crane each had three.

The Greyhounds move back into Patriot League play on Saturday, March 15, when they host the U.S. Military Academy at 1 p.m.

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Red hot Loyola welcomes Duke for Sunday night showdown

Posted on 08 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Loyola Greyhounds vs. Duke Blue Devils

Sunday, March 9, 2014  |  6:00 p.m.

Baltimore, Md. | Ridley Athletic Complex | CBS Sports Network

 

Quick Hits About The ’Hounds

Loyola University Maryland returns to Ridley Athletic Complex to host a nationally televised game on Sunday, March 9, at 6 p.m., against Duke University.

The game features the last two NCAA Champions (Loyola 2012, Duke 2013).

The Greyhounds are fourth nationally in goals per game, averaging 15.25, and they are also fourth in scoring margin with a +7.0 mark in their five games.

Nikko Pontrello moved up to fifth in the nation in goals per game (3.75) after scoring four last Saturday at Lehigh.

Loyola has won its first two Patriot League games – at Holy Cross and Lehigh – by a combined score of 30-11.

Three Loyola players – Nikko Pontrello (offensive), Pat Laconi (defensive), and Jack Runkel (goalkeeper) – swept the Patriot League weekly awards on Monday following the win at Lehigh.

Loyola had used a 67-39 advantage in ground balls the past two Saturdays in wins over Holy Cross and Lehigh. Its 23-groundball advantage was the largest the Greyhounds have posted in Charley Toomey’s nine years as head coach, eclipsing a margin of 20 in 2008 against St. John’s.

Last Time Out

The Greyhounds moved to 2-0 in the Patriot League with a 14-7 victory over then-No. 14 Lehigh in Bethlehem, Pa., on Saturday, March 1.

Kevin Ryan scored a career-high five goals, and Nikko Pontrello added four goals and an assist, in the win. Brian Schultz and Pat Laconi added one each.

Justin Ward posted his fifth multi-assist in as many games this season with four against the Mountain Hawks, while Jeff Chase recorded the first of his career with three.

After Loyola took a 3-1 lead in the first quarter, Lehigh scored two in a row to tie the game at 3-3 heading into the second quarter. Pontrelllo, however, scored three unanswered, and Schultz added one before the end of the half, and the Greyhounds were up 7-3 going into halftime.

Lehigh opened the second-half scoring with a goal at 11:39, but Laconi, Ryan (twice) and Matt Sawyer scored in the third quarter to put Loyola up 10-4 heading into the final 15 minutes.

Jack Runkel posted a season-high 13 saves in goal for the Greyhounds, and Graham Savio won 15-of-24 at the face-off ‘X’, picking up six ground balls.

 

 

Turn On The Television

Sunday’s game will be broadcast live, nationally on CBS Sports Network. Dave Ryan will call the play-by-play, and Evan Washburn will handle the analysis of the action.

The game is one of four that will feature the Greyhounds on the network. Home games against Bucknell University and Johns Hopkins University, as well as the Greyhounds contest at Georgetown University, will air on the channel.

 

In The Polls

Loyola moved up in the polls following its win last week over then-No. 14 Lehigh. The Greyhounds are now fifth in both the USILA Coaches’ Poll and Warrior/Inside Lacrosse media polls, and they are fourth in the Lacrosse Magazine rankings.

Duke enters the game ranked third in the in the Warrior/Inside Lacrosse and Lacrosse Magazine versions and fourth in the coaches’ poll.

 

Series History

Sunday will be the 27th meeting all-time between the Blue Devils and the Greyhounds, with Duke holding a 16-10 advantage in a series that dates back to 1946.

Including this year, the teams have played during the regular-season for 15-straight (since 2000). Twice during that span, 2008 and 2013, the teams have also met in NCAA Tournament action.

The Blue Devils won last year’s regular-season meeting, 9-8, outscoring Loyola 5-3 in the fourth quarter. Josh Offit’s goal with 12:26 left in regulation gave Duke its first lead since the second quarter, 6-5, but Sean O’Sullivan struck on an extra-man opportunity for Loyola, and the Greyhounds tied the game less than two minutes later. Offitt and Christian Walsh, however, scored back-to-back goals to put the Blue Devils in front for good.

The teams met again in the NCAA First Round, playing what would become to many the game of the year. Duke edged the Greyhounds, 12-11 in double-overtime. Case Mathias tied the game at 11-11 on a goal with 65 seconds left in regulation, and he scored the winner 2:20 into the second overtime.

Mathias led Duke with three goals, while Zach Herreweyers scored three for Loyola, and Justin Ward had five assists.

Duke had won five-straight over Loyola and eight of nine, before the Greyhounds defeated the Blue Devils, 13-8, on March 10, 2012, in Baltimore.

 

Games Of Runs

Loyola has used significant runs in all five of its games this season, and it has had four stretches of seven or more unanswered goals. In all the Greyhounds have nine runs of 3-0 or better. Here is a look at their four best scoring stretches:

Opponent Run Time Covered   Opponent Run Time Covered
at Holy Cross 14-0 38:58   Towson 10-0 16:38
at Virginia 9-0 14:18   Towson 7-0 18:37

 

 

Pontrello Putting Up Points

Nikko Pontrello had his fifth multi-goal game is as many contests to open the season on Saturday when he scored a pair four goals at Lehigh. The game came a week after he set a career-high with six goals at Holy Cross. The junior attacker scored twice in the opener against Virginia, and he then recorded three versus both Penn State and Towson. His final goal against the Nittany Lions came 19 seconds into overtime and lifted Loyola to a 12-11 win. In his career, Loyola is now 7-0 in games that he scored three or more goals.

Pontrello leads the Greyhounds with 19 goals and 24 points through four games. He has already eclipsed his goal total from last year when he finished his sophomore campaign with 16.

He leads the Patriot League and is fifth nationally in goals per game (3.8), while he is second and 11th in points per game (4.8).

 

Ryan Racks Up Goals

Kevin Ryan has tied his previous, or set new career-highs in each of the Greyhounds’ last three games, bringing his season total to 11. The senior midfielder posted a pair of goals against Towson to match his previous best, and he then set a new high with three at Holy Cross.

Ryan broke that mark with a five-goal game at Lehigh last Saturday, scoring four in the second half to help push the Greyhounds to a 14-7 win. Loyola is 4-0 all-time when Ryan scored two or more goals.

 

Ward Playing The Role

Justin Ward has continued to be the quarterback of the Greyhounds’ offense this year, passing out nine combined assists in the last two contests. He is fourth in the nation, and tops in the Patriot League, with 3.0 assists per game this year.

Ward is in his third year as a starter on attack for the Greyhound after earning USILA All-America Honorable Mention last year after finishing tops on the team in points (62) and assists (35) and second in goals (27). His 62 points ranked tied for fifth in school single-season Division I history, and his 35 assists check in at third on that list.

With four assists at Lehigh, Ward moved past into second place in Loyola’s Division I history with 82. He is two assists back of Jim Blanding for first place. Ward is also 17th in school Division I history in total points with 125.

 

Midfield Scoring

Entering the 2014 season, Loyola was looking to replace five of its top seven offensive midfielders from a year ago, a group that included All-American Davis Butts, as well as first middies Chris Layne and Sean O’Sullivan. As a group, the five contributed 47 goals, 29 assists and 76 points, right at 25 percent of the Greyhounds total in each.

This year, Loyola’s first and second midfield units have scored nearly 47 percent of the team’s goals, a total of 35. Kevin Ryan has scored eight goals in the last two games and is second on the team with 11 total. Tyler Albrecht is third on the squad with eight goals, while Brian Sherlock has six goals and four assists.

 

Stopping Shots

After opening the season with a .214 save percentage in the opener at Virginia, Jack Runkel has played to a .662 mark, saving 45 out of 68 shots on goal he’s faced. In the last three games against Towson, Holy Cross and Lehigh, Runkel made 33 saves and allowed just 12 goals (.733).

The senior goalkeeper, who earned 2012 NCAA Championships All-Tournament honors, has a goals against average of 7.62 this season and a cumulative saves percentage of .585 through five games.

In three years as a starter for the Greyhounds, Runkel has a 7.93 goals against average and .551 saves percentage. His record between the pipes is 31-6. He is tied with Penn State’s Austin Kaut for second in wins among active goalkeepers. Runkel and Kaut trail Maryland’s Niko Amato who has 39 victories. Both Kaut and Amato, however, are four-year starters, while Runkel did not start until early in his sophomore season.

 

Not Just Defensive Midfield

Short-stick defensive midfielder Pat Laconi was named the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week on March 3 after matching his career-high with two goals at Lehigh.

The senior, who is a team co-captain and Preseason All-American, also scored twice against Towson, and his four goals match his total from a year ago when he scored four times and assisted on six. Laconi also is second on the team with seven caused turnovers this season.

 

Schultz Stepping Up

In his first year as a starter on attack for the Greyhounds, senior Brian Schultz has parlayed his opportunity into a solid start to the season. Through five games, Schultz has scored nine goals, third most on the team, and six assisted, second behind team-leader Justin Ward.

Entering this season, Schultz had seen most of his playing time on extra-man opportunities for the Greyhounds. As a sophomore and junior, he posted a combined three goals and five assists.

 

Hot Hand

Steve Vaikness, Loyola’s volunteer assistant coach lauded by many in the media as the top faceoff teacher in the nation, has pulled the right strings in the first five games with a faceoff group of Blake Burkhart, Brendan Donovan and Graham Savio.

In the Virginia game, Savio came in to win 11-of-18 restarts, and Donovan then provided wins in 4-of-7 during a critical stretch at Penn State. Burkhart shined against Towson, winning 10-of-14 as Loyola jumped out to a big lead. It was Savio again at Holy Cross, as the freshman won 14-of-18 draws.

Savio then took all of the faceoffs at Lehigh, winning a career-high 15-of-24.

As a unit, Loyola is winning 53.8 percent of faceoffs, up from last year’s mark of 46.5.

 

Fletch, White And Blue

Senior defender Joe Fletcher was the long current collegiate player selected as part of one of 52 players who made up the United States Men’s National Team training roster this fall, and the day before Loyola’s season-opener, he found out he is one of 30 players who made the cut for the team that will compete at the 2014 World Cup in Denver.

Against Holy Cross, Fletcher set a career-high with eight ground balls, eclipsing his previous total of seven set on three different occasions. In a pair of games against Towson and the Crusaders, he had 11 ground balls and three caused turnovers. This season, the Preseason All-American is second on Loyola with 18 ground balls, and he leads the squad with 10 caused turnovers. His 55 career caused turnovers are third all-time at Loyola behind the 90 of P.T. Ricci and 88 of Scott Ratliff.

 

Tyler’s Time

As a freshman in 2013, Tyler Albrecht saw limited action for the Greyhounds, mostly coming off the wings on faceoffs and occasional offensive midfield shifts. His role has changed dramatically in his second season, and the Canadian midfielder is making the most of it.

Albrecht is a starter on Loyola’s first midfield with Matt Sawyer and Brian Sherlock, and he has three multi-goal games in five outings this year. Albrecht scored twice in the season-opener at Virginia, and he recorded hat tricks with three each against Penn State and Towson. He is third on the team with eight goals.

In addition to his offensive work, Albrecht has continued to be a two-way middie, playing on the wings for faceoffs and defensive shifts. He had five ground balls and two caused turnovers against Towson.

 

Tewaaraton Watch, Senior CLASS Award List Pair

Two of Loyola’s senior co-captains were named to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List when it was released last week. Joe Fletcher and Justin Ward were among the 50 players nationally to receive recognition.

They were also two of 20 players nationally to be named candidates for the Senior CLASS Award that seniors who have performed at a high level athletically and in the classroom and who have used their platforms as student-athletes to make positive impacts in the community.

 

Margin In Two

As Loyola outscored Towson and Holy Cross by a combined 28 goals, 36-8, it took a bit of time to find precedent for the last time the Greyhounds won back-to-back games by such a margin. The last time Loyola won two by 28 or more goals goes back to the Dave Cottle-coached 1996 team that beat Saint Joseph’s, 26-6, on April 10 and C.W. Post, 17-5, on April 13. That combined margin of victory was 32 goals, 43-11.

The last time Loyola scored a combined 36 goals in consecutive games was 2007 when it tallied 19 against Fairfield on April 21 and 17 versus Hobart a week later. The last time the Greyhounds yielded eight or fewer in back-to-back outings was 2001 when they beat Radford, 18-5, on April 11, and Butler, 12-3, on April 14.

 

Patriot League Honors

Loyola players have earned seven Patriot League weekly awards over the last two weeks. Nikko Pontrello (Offensive) and Jack Runkel (Goalkeeper) won their second awards in as many weeks on Monday, March 3, while Pat Laconi (Defensive, March 3), Joe Fletcher (Defensive, February 24) and Brian Sherlock (Rookie, February 24) also were honored.

Romar Dennis won the initial Rookie of the Week Award this year after scoring twice in the season-opener at Virginia.

 

Up Next

The Greyhounds step back into Patriot League play on Saturday, March 15, when they host the U.S. Military Academy at Ridley Athletic Complex in a 1 p.m. game.

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Maryland poised to become new #1 after statement win over Duke

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Maryland poised to become new #1 after statement win over Duke

Posted on 01 March 2014 by WNST Staff

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Senior Mike Chanenchuk tied his career high with five goals to pace the offense, while senior Niko Amato made 17 saves to anchor the defense in the No. 2 University of Maryland men’s lacrosse team’s 10-6 win over No. 1 Duke Saturday afternoon in front of 5,055 at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium.

Maryland (4-0, 2-0 ACC) scored seven straight goals and held the Blue Devils (4-1, 0-1 ACC) scoreless for 26:26 starting in the middle of the second quarter until the fourth quarter.

Duke started off the scoring at 10:41 when Jordan Wolf scored his first of two goals on the day.

The Terrapins responded on the ensuing faceoff. Junior Charlie Raffa pushed the draw and took a quick shot that was backed up by junior Jay Carlson. Carlson then found Chanenchuk on the left alley for the easy finish to tie things at 1-1.

Chanenchuk added his second of the day just over a minute later. Freshman Matt Rambo found Chanenchuk with a good pass and Chanenchuk finished with the top shelf shot to give the Terps a 2-1 lead with 9:16 to go in the first.

Duke tied things up to close out the first quarter with a Josh Dionne goal to make it a 2-2 game.

Maryland opened up the second period with an extra man goal after a pushing foul on Duke’s Brendan Fowler on the opening faceoff of the quarter. Freshman Connor Cannizzaro had his shot blocked, but Carlson picked up the loose ball and finished the rebound to give the Terps a 3-2 advantage.

The Blue Devils then went on a three goal run, making the score 5-3 with 7:38 remaining in the half. That would be their final lead of the day as the Maryland defense began their stretch of 26:26 without allowing a goal.

Freshman Colin Heacock scored his first career goal with 4:40 remaining in the first half on a step down shot off an assist from Chanenchuk to start the 7-0 scoring run for the Terps.

Just over a minute later Chanenchuk scored his third goal of the day after dodging down the right alley and finishing with a low shot to the left corner.

The Terps finished out the half when Rambo scored his lone goal of the day, an unassisted tally after coming off a big screen from Heacock behind the cage to make it 6-5.

Maryland added three unassisted goals in the third quarter to make it 9-5 heading into the final period. Chanenchuk had two goals in the period and Raffa added his third goal of the year.

Junior Joe LoCascio finished off the Maryland scoring with 14:17 remaining in the game to extend the lead to 10-5. LoCascio dodged down the right alley and finished inside the left pipe.

The Terrapin defense only allowed single Duke goal in the final 14:17. Maryland’s defense forced 10 turnovers on the day led by four from senior Michael Ehrhardt.

Amato’s 17 saves was a season-high and helped him improve to 39-15 in his career. The 17-save total was also his highest single-game total since stopping 24 shots last season in a 8-7 win over Yale on April 20.

Maryland won the ground ball battle scooping up 32 loose balls on the day. Raffa led the way with seven groundballs for the Terps, while Ehrhardt chipped in with six and Carlson had five.

Maryland returns to non-conference play next weekend, hitting the road to take on Stony Brook. Faceoff between the Terps and Seawolves is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 8 at LaValle Stadium.

Game Notes:
• With today’s 10-6 win Maryland is now 62-20 all-time vs. Duke and 29-6 all-time in College Park.
• With six points on five goals and an assist, senior Mike Chanenchuk now has 12 hat tricks, 31 multi-point and 23 multi-goal games for his career.
• With two points on a goals and an assist, junior Jay Carlson now has 16 multi-point games for his career.
• With two points on a goal and an assist, freshman Matt Rambo now has four multi-point games for his career.
• With 17 saves, senior Niko Amato now has 516 for his career, becoming just the third Maryland goalie in the program’s 89 seasons to reach the 500-save plateau.
• The Maryland defense held Duke without a goal for 26:26 from the 7:58 mark of the second quarter until 10:12 in the fourth quarter to register the team’s third 20-plus minute scoreless stretch of the season.

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Maryland, Duke set for #1 vs. #2 showdown Saturday

Posted on 28 February 2014 by WNST Staff

The No. 2 Maryland (3-0) men’s lacrosse team returns to the friendly confines of Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium for an ACC showdown with No. 1 Duke (4-0) on Saturday, March 1 at noon.

• Maryland is coming off of a dominating 16-8 victory in its 2014 ACC opener at then-No. 2 Syracuse on Feb. 22. Freshman Matt Rambo continues to lead the team with 12 points on nine goals and three assists on the season. Rambo has scored the game-winning goal in all three of the Terps’ victories so far in 2014. Senior Mike Chanenchuk leads the team with four assists and is second in points with 11. Junior Charlie Raffa has won 39-of-58 (.672) faceoffs this season with a team-best 24 groundballs. Senior Michael Ehrhardt has made a seamless transition to the long-stick midfield spot and has nine groundballs and a team-best six caused turnovers. Senior Niko Amato has started every game of his college career (53 straight) and boasts a 5.25 goals-against average this season with a .650 save percentage.

• Duke is the consensus No. 1 team in the country and comes into College Park off of a pair of victories last weekend – 9-6 over No. 18 Penn and 14-6 over Stony Brook. The Blue Devils are led by senior attackman Jordan Wolf, who has 19 points on 10 goals and nine assists this season. Defensively, the Blue Devils have been buoyed by the return of redshirt senior Casey Carroll, a 2007 first team All-American who served with the 3rd BN 75th Ranger Regiment of the U.S. Army from 2007-12. Sophomore Luke Aaron has started the last two games in net for Duke after relieving junior Kyle Turri in cage after the first quarter vs. Denver. Aaron has seen action in all four games this season and boasts a 5.73 goals-against average. Senior Brendan Fowler was a first team All-American in 2013 after setting an NCAA record for faceoff wins in a season with 339 victories. So far this season Fowler has won 57 of 89 faceoffs (.640) with 38 groundballs.

THE COUNT DOWN

10 … Since 2002 Maryland has won 104 of the 113 games in which the Terps have scored 10 or more goals for a .920 winning percentage.
9 … Maryland is 122-26 in games since 2002 when it allows nine goals or less, for an .824 winning percentage.
8 … This will be the eighth time since 2011 that Maryland and Duke have played each other.
7 … Mike Chanenchuk has seven goals vs. the Blue Devils in four career games vs. Duke.
6 … This will be the sixth time since 1978 that the Terps have played in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 game.
5 … Xander Ritz had five goals vs. the Blue Devils the last time these two programs with Duke ranked No. 1 and Maryland ranked No. 2 (8-7 overtime win for the Terps in 2006).
4 … Four different Terps have registered hat tricks so far in 2014.
3 … Maryland has had the same starting lineup in each of its first three games in 2014.
2 … Charlie Raffa had a career-best two goals in the 16-8 win at then-No. 2 Syracuse on Feb. 22.
1 … Only one current Terp - Niko Amato - has played in every game for Maryland vs. Duke since 2011.

COACHING MATCH-UP

• John Tillman is in his seventh season as a head coach, and fourth with the Terps, with a 58-34 career record for a 63.0 winning percentage. Tillman is 38-15 (.717) as Maryland’s head coach. He had a 20-19 record in three seasons as the head coach at Harvard.

• Duke’s John Danowski is in his 32nd season as a head coach and holds an all-time record of 334-168 (.665). He is in his sevent season at Duke and has a 115-29 (.799) record with the Blue Devils.

• Tillman has a 6-4 career record against Duke while coaching at Maryland and Harvard, all against Danowski. The two have met twice in the NCAA tournament with Tillman’s Terps winning, 9-5, in the 2011 NCAA semifinals in Baltimore and again, 16-10, in the semis in Foxborough, Mass., in 2012.


SERIES HISTORY VS. DUKE

• Maryland and Duke have played 81 times. The Terps hold a 61-20 edge (.753) in the series that dates back to 1940. Maryland’s 61 wins against the Blue Devils are the most against any opponent.

• Junior Mike Chanenchuk set his career high with six points on four goals and two assists to lead the No. 1 Terps to a 16-7 victory over No. 19 Duke at Koskinen Stadium on March 2, 2013. The nine-goal victory was the highest margin of victory over the Blue Devils since a 16-4 Maryland win in 1984. Kevin Cooper, Jake Bernhardt and Jay Carlson each had two goals in the win for the Terps, while Charlie Raffa won 11-of-17 faceoffs with eight groundballs.

• The rubber match took place once again in the semifinals of the NCAA tournament and once again it was the Terps advancing to the title game with a 16-10 win at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Maryland never trailed in the game after opening up an early 3-0 lead. The Terps held just a two-goal lead entering the fourth quarter, but Owen Blye scored twice in a 6-0 run that put the game out of reach. Kevin Cooper led all scorers with five points on a goal and four assists, while Blye finished with three goals. Curtis Holmes won 12-of-21 faceoffs with six groundballs to help the Terps control the pace of play, while Niko Amato was soldi in cage, stopping 10 Blue Devil shots.

• The two teams met in the ACC semifinals in Charlottesville, Va., and the Terps and Blue Devils played a highly physical contest that saw Duke advance with a 6-5 win. Joe Cummings and Mike Chanenchuk paced the Terps with two goals apiece, while Josh Dionne had three for the Blue Devils.

• In 2012′s first meeting the Terps raced out to a 4-0 lead halfway through the first quarter and coasted to a 10-7 victory over No. 8 Duke at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium. Drew Snider led the Maryland offense with a hat trick.Niko Amato was spectacular in cage, making nine of his 14 saves in the fourth quarter.

• The stakes were much higher in the 2011 rubber match as unseeded Maryland defeated No. 5 seed Duke, 9-4, in a tough, physical game in the semifinals of the NCAA tournament at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Grant Catalino led the offensive attack for the Terps with three goals, while Joe Cummings added two goals and an assist. The Terrapin defense was terrific in holding the Blue Devils to just four goals with Niko Amato making 13 saves to send the Terps to their first NCAA title-game appearance since 1998.

• The 2011 rematch took place again at Duke’s Koskinen Stadium, but this time the stakes were a bit higher – the ACC championship. This time it was the Terps coming away with an 11-9 victory to take its first conference crown since 2005. Ryan Young scored the first game-winning goal of his career when he jumped in the air to redirect aJohn Haus pass from behind the cage. Grant Catalino earned tournament MVP honors after scoring three goals vs. the Blue Devils in the title game.

• For the second time in two years the Terps and the Blue Devils needed overtime to decide things, but in 2011 in Durham it was Duke that pulled out a 9-8 victory on freshman Jordan Wolf’s game-winning goal 1:01 into the first OT. The Blue Devils held a 7-4 lead at the start of the fourth quarter, but four-straight goals by Landon Carr, Michael Shakespeare, Joe Cummings and John Haus, who finished with three goals in the game, gave Maryland a one-goal lead with 3:48 to go. Maryland appeared to have the game wrapped up in the final seconds when Carr forced a Blue Devil turnover, but a controversial holding call gave Duke another chance and Zach Howell scored with 0:03 left to send the game into overtime. Both goalies were sensational in the game with Maryland’s Niko Amato making 19 saves and Duke’s Dan Wigrizer stopped 17 shots.

• The 2010 meeting will go down as one of the most memorable in the series as the Terps pulled out an 11-10 overtime victory at the 2010 Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic in Baltimore. Grant Catalino was the star of the game for the Terps, netting a career-best five goals, including the game-winner. Duke scored the final three goals of regulation to send the game into OT and then controlled possession for all but eight seconds of overtime, but that’s all the Terps needed for Bryn Holmes to cause a turnover, Brian Farrell to scoop a groundball and Dean Hart to push the transition and find Catalino on the left wing for the game-winning shot. Senior goalie Brian Phipps made 15 saves in the win.

• Maryland won an 11-8 decision over the Blue Devils at the 2009 Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic in Baltimore. Jeff Reynolds was the key factor for the Terps in the victory. He scored a goal and had an assist, but he won three key face-offs that led directly to goals that spurred Maryland onto the win. Grant Catalino had six points on two goals and four assists, while Ryan Young had five points on a pair of scores and three helpers.

• In 2008 the Blue Devils defeated the Terps, 15-7, in Durham, N.C. Travis Reed totaled three goals for the Terps in the defeat.

• The 2007 meeting was the first road game for the Blue Devils since their 2006 season was cancelled. Duke responded with a 14-7 victory behind a six-goal, seven-point effort from Matt Danowski. Max Ritz led the Terps in the game with a three-point effort on two goals and an assist.

• The 2006 season saw the rivalry escalate even more as the teams entered the game ranked first and second in the nation. The game more than lived up to the hype as the two squads battled and needed overtime to decide the victor. In that overtime, Xander Ritz sent the Terps home with the 8-7 win after scoring his fifth goal of the game with 1:14 remaining in the first extra period.

• In 2005 the two teams played three times with the Blue Devils winning two of the three games. It was the second time in the series the two squads played three times in a season. In 1992 the two teams played in early March, again in the ACC Tournament and in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Maryland won all three games that season.

• In the 2005 NCAA Semifinals, Duke ended Maryland’s season with a 18-9 defeat at Lincoln Financial Field. Bill McGlone gave the Terps a 1-0 lead, but the Blue Devils responded with nine unanswered goals and took a 10-3 lead into halftime. Joe Walters scored three times in the third quarter, but Maryland could not close the deficit.

• In 2005′s ACC Final, Maryland turned in its finest defensive effort of the year. The Terps held Duke, the nation’s highest scoring offense, scoreless for more than 40 minutes en route to a 9-5 victory at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on May 1. ACC Tournament MVP Harry Alford made 15 saves on the afternoon, while freshman Will Dalton helped the Terps control the ball on face-offs, winning 7-of-10 draws. Offensively Maryland was led by All-American Joe Walters who scored his second straight hat trick vs. the Blue Devils, while adding an assist. Freshman attackman Max Ritz also chipped in a pair for goals in the victory.

• The 2005 regular season game saw Maryland dominate Duke at the Maryland Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex, but the Blue Devils found a way to get out of College Park with a 10-8 victory. All-American Joe Walters scored a hat trick for the Terps, but Duke outscored Maryland 6-3 in the second half to secure the win. Michael Phipps scored two goals and added an assist for his second career three-point game.

• The Terps dominated the series from 1955 through 1988, winning all 27 meetings.


MARYLAND VS. NO. 1-RANKED TEAMS

• Since 1978 (the first year rankings were recorded in the Terp media guide), Maryland has played a No. 1-ranked team on 26 occasions and has pulled off the upset eight times.

• The last time Maryland played a No. 1 team came just last season when the No. 2-ranked Terps played at No. 1 Loyola on Feb. 23, 2013. John Haus led the way for Maryland, scoring a career-best four goals along with adding an assist as the Terrapins knocked off the Greyhounds, 12-10, at the Ridley Athletic Complex. Jesse Bernhardt helped the Terps control the tempo of the game with a career-best 10 groundballs.

• The most recent occasion of Maryland knocking off a No. 1 team in the NCAA tournament came in the quarterfinals of the 2011 NCAA tournament in Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The unseeded Terps battled to a 5-5 tie with No. 1 Syracuse in regulation, but senior Grant Catalino propelled Maryland to the victory with a low-to-high shot from the right wing off a feed from senior Ryan Young. Redshirt freshman Niko Amato made nine saves, while sophomoreCurtis Holmes dominated the faceoff X, winning 11-of-14 draws with six groundballs.

• The No. 4 Terps controlled the game from the outset and pulled off a 13-7 win over No. 1 Virginia at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium on Saturday, March 29, 2008. Redshirt junior goalie Jason Carter had a career-day vs. the Wahoos, stopping 15 shots. Freshman attackman Travis Reed led the Terrapin offense with a career-best five points on three goals and two assists.

• Prior to the victory over Virginia, Maryland last upset the nation’s top-ranked team on March 4, 2006 when the No. 2-ranked Terps pulled out a thrilling 8-7 overtime victory at No. 1 Duke. Xander Ritz scored five goals vs. the Blue Devils, including the game-winner for the Terrapins.

• Before that 2006 win over Duke, the last time the Terps defeated the nation’s top team was on May 23, 1998 vs. Loyola in the NCAA Semifinals at Piscataway, N.J. Maryland’s Matt Hahn scored five goals to help the Terrapins to a dominating 19-8 win over the Greyhounds, who were coached by former Maryland head coach Dave Cottle.

• Prior to 2008, the last time the Terps upset the No.1 team at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium was a 13-11 win over Virginia on March 30, 1996.


TERPS AS NO. 2 VS. NO. 1

• Following its win at then-No. 2 Syracuse last Saturday, Maryland has vaulted into the No. 2 spot in the latest Inside Lacrosse media poll, which sets up a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown on Saturday when No. 1 Duke comes to College Park.

• Since rankings were first kept in the Maryland record book in 1978, Saturday’s game will be just the sixth time the Terps will play a No. 1 team as the No. 2 team.

• The most recent occurrence came just last season when No. 2 Maryland traveled to Baltimore to face No. 1 Loyola on Feb. 23, 2013. The Terps jumped out to a six-goal lead early in the third quarter before the Greyhounds climbed back into the game, but in the end Maryland emerged with a 12-10 victory.

• Before that was the epic overtime victory for the No. 2 Terps when they played No. 1 Duke in Durham on March 4, 2006. Senior midfielder/attackman Xander Ritz scored five goals, but it was the final one, which came with 2:46 left in the first overtime, that gave Maryland the 8-7 victory.

• You have to go back to 1987 for the time a No. 2 Maryland team played a No. 1 squad. That season saw the second-ranked Terrapins host No. 1 North Carolina on March 28 at Byrd Stadium and the Terps earned a 10-goal victory over the Tar Heels, 16-6.

• The No. 2 vs. No. 1 matchup happened twice in 1979 with No. 2 Maryland dropping both games to No. 1 Johns Hopkins.

• While this will be the sixth time the Terps have played a No. 1 team while holding the No. 2 ranking, Maryland has never played a No. 2-ranked team while it has held the No. 1 ranking.

GET TO 10 AND WIN

• One axiom of lacrosse is that if you score 10 goals or more your chances of winning are pretty good. Well, a look at the results since 2002 shows that when Maryland scores 10 or more goals there’s not just a pretty good chance the Terrapins will win; it’s an almost certainty. Since 2002 Maryland has won 104 of the 113 games in which the Terps have scored 10 or more goals for a .920 winning percentage.

• Maryland scored 10, but fell at North Carolina, 11-10, on March 24, 2012 and again came out on the losing end, despite scoring 11 in a 13-11 loss at Colgate on May 5, 2012. The Terps scored 11 vs. Johns Hopkins on April 16, 2011, but the Blue Jays won the game in overtime, 12-11. On April 3 of last season the Terps lost to No. 1 Virginia by a final of 11-10, giving Maryland its only loss when scoring 10 or more goals in 2010. In 2009 the Terps lost to Georgetown, 13-10 on Feb. 21 and lost again when scoring 10 in the ACC Semifinals in a 16-10 defeat at North Carolina. Prior to that, Maryland had not lost when scoring 10 or more goals since dropping an 11-10 decision to Virginia in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament in Durham, N.C. The Terrapins got to 10 goals in the 100th game against Johns Hopkins, but the Blue Jays took the game 14-10. Virginia is the only team to beat the Terps twice when allowing 10 or more goals. The Wahoos did it first in 2002 with another 11-10 decision.

HOLDING OPPONENTS TO SINGLE-DIGITS

• The Terps have been extremely impressive (winning 92.0 percent of its games since 2002) when it scores 10 or more goals, they have been nearly as impressive when holding opponents to less than 10 goals during that span.

• Since 2002 Maryland is 122-26 in games, for a .824 winning percentage, when it has held opponents under 10 goals. The Terps have played 197 total games since 2002. Maryland has held opponents to nine goals or less 75.1 percent of the time.


SHOOTING TELLS THE STORY

• The difference between winning and losing for Maryland this season is simple – when the Terps shoot well they win. As it turns out 30% is the magic number for the Terps historically and this season as well. Maryland is 3-0 on the year and shot 30% or better in two of its three victories and just barely missed that mark in the win at Syracuse.

W- Mount St. Mary’s: 16 goals, 44 shots = 36.4%
W- UMBC: 14 goals, 45 shots = 31.1%
W- at Syracuse: 16 goals, 55 shots = 29.1%

• Since 2005 the Terps are a remarkable 64-4 (.941) when shooting 30% or better in a game. The only four losses were: 13-10 to Georgetown in 2009 (the Terps shot 10 of 30 for 33.3% vs. the Hoyas), 11-10 to No. 1 Virginia on April 3, 2010 (10 of 33 for 30.3%), 12-11 in overtime on April 16, 2011 to No. 3 Johns Hopkins (11 of 28 for 39.3%) and 13-11 at Colgate on May 5, 2012 (11 of 31 for 35.5%).

• If 30% is the benchmark, then 40% shooting is in a class all to itself and Maryland has shot 40% or better in 15 games since the start of the 2008 season. Out of those 14 games, Maryland shot 50% or better in four of them.


FRESHMAN HAT TRICKS

• With four goals in his first college game, a 16-3 win over Mount St. Mary’s (Feb. 8), Matt Rambo became just the ninth Maryland men’s lacrosse freshman to record a hat trick since 1998. He followed that up with another hat trick in the 14-3 win over UMBC (Feb. 15) to become the first Terp to record back-to-back hat tricks in his first two collegiate games since Grant Catalino in 2008.

• Connor Cannizzaro scored his first hat trick with three goals in the Terps’ 16-8 win at Syracuse to become the 10th Terp freshman with a hat trick since 1998. This marks just the second time since 1998 that two freshman have recorded hat tricks in the same season.

• Game-by-game stats haven’t been saved since the 1998 season, so the following chart can only go back to then, but here’s a look at freshman hat tricks (consecutive games are underlined):

Andrew Combs (1 in 1998): 3-0=3 vs. Towson, Mar. 7
Mike LaMonica (1 in 1999): 3-0=3 vs. Penn State, Mar. 17
Mike Mollot (1 in 2000): 3-4=7 vs. Hofstra, May 14 (NCAA first round)
Dan LaMonica (3 in 2001): 3-1=4 vs. Duke, Mar. 4; 3-1=4 vs. Johns Hopkins, Apr. 14; 3-1=4 vs. Virginia, Apr. 20 (ACC semifinals)
Joe Walters (6 in 2003): 4-1=5 at Towson, Mar. 8; 4-2=6 vs. Bucknell, Mar. 114-0=4 vs. Butler, Mar. 25; 3-1=4 at Virginia, Mar. 29; 4-0=4 at Navy, Apr. 5; 3-1=4 vs. UMBC, Apr. 25
Grant Catalino (3 in 2008): 4-0=4 at Georgetown, Feb. 23; 3-1=4 at Mount St. Mary’s, Feb. 26; 4-3=7 vs. Yale, May 3
Travis Reed (4 in 2008): 4-1=5 at Mount St. Mary’s, Feb. 26; 3-0=3 at Duke, Mar. 1; 3-0=3 vs. Providence, Mar. 3; 3-2=5 vs. Virginia, Mar. 29
John Haus (1 in 2010): 3-0=3 vs. North Carolina, Apr. 23 (ACC semifinals)
Matt Rambo (2 in 2014): 4-2=6 vs. Mount St. Mary’s, Feb. 8; 3-0=3 vs. UMBC, Feb. 15
Connor Cannizzaro (1 in 2014): 3-1=4 at Syracuse, Feb. 22


TERPS’ 89TH SEASON OF LACROSSE

• The Terps boast an all-time record of 750-253-4 (.748), dating back to the first varsity team in 1924 (a team was not fielded in 1944 and 1945 due to World War II). Maryland has finished every one of its previous 88 seasons with a .500 or better record, including last season when the Terps went 12-6. The program reached the 700-win milestone with a 15-6 victory over Penn on April 14, 2009 at Ludwig Field and became just the fourth program with 750 wins with a 16-8 win at No. 2 Syracuse on Feb. 22, 2014.

• During the decade of the 2000s, Maryland went 111-49 for a .694 win percentage, making it the winningest decade in Terrapin lacrosse history. In the decade of the 1990s, Maryland posted a 95-47 record. The .669 winning percentage matched Maryland’s win percentage of the 1980s when the Terps went 83-41 and also compiled a .669 win percentage. So far, Maryland is 50-19 in the 2010′s for a .725 winning percentage.


THE 700 CLUB

• Maryland’s 15-6 victory over Penn on April 14, 2009 was the program’s 700th victory in 84 seasons of varsity men’s lacrosse. The Terps join Johns Hopkins, Syracuse, Navy, Army and Cornell as the only programs with 700 or more Division I wins.

• Two things that make Maryland’s accomplishment all the more impressive is that the Terps reached the 700-win plateau in just their 84th season. Only Syracuse reached win No. 700 in as few seasons, but it took the Orange 53 more games than Maryland. In fact, Maryland needed only 940 games to reach 700 wins and only Johns Hopkins needed fewer games (932) to hit the historic number, but the Blue Jays did so in their 105th season.

CONSECUTIVE 10-WIN SEASONS

• Maryland’s 18-6 win over the Colgate on May 4, 2013 extended the Terps’ streak of double-digit win seasons to 11, which is the longest active streak in NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse. (Special thanks to Patrick Stevens of the D1scource.com).

• There are only four programs with a current streak of at least five-straight 10-win seasons:

Maryland (11): 2013 (10-4), 2012 (12-6), 2011 (13-5), 2010 (12-4), 2009 (10-7), 2008 (10-6), 2007 (10-6), 2006 (12-5), 2005 (11-6), 2004 (13-3), 2003 (12-4)
Notre Dame (8): 2013 (11-4), 2012 (13-3), 2011 (11-3), 2010 (10-7), 2009 (15-1), 2008 (14-3), 2007 (11-4), 2006 (10-5)
Duke (7): 2013 (16-5), 2012 (15-5) 2011 (14-6), 2010 (16-4), 2009 (15-4), 2008 (18-2), 2007 ( 17-3)
North Carolina (5): 2013 (13-4), 2012 (11-6), 2011 (10-6), 2010 (13-3), 2009 (12-6)

• Cornell’s string of seven-straight 10+ win seasons came to an end in 2012 with a 9-4 final mark. Virginia’s streak of eight-consecutive seasons with 10+ wins ended in 2013 with a 7-8 record, while Siena saw its run of six 10-win seasons end with an 8-9 mark this season.


A FAMILY AFFAIR

• Many school’s refer to their sports programs as families, but the Maryland men’s lacrosse program is truly a family affair. Since 2001, the Terps have had 13 sets of brothers, including three on this season’s roster, don the red and black together for at least one season.

Harry & Thomas Alford: 2004-05-06-07
Jake & Jesse Bernhardt: 2010-11-12-13
Justin & Owen Blye: 2009-10-11
Brian & Kevin Cooper: 2011-12-13
Billy & Bobby Gribbin: 2012-13
Brendan & Ian Healy: 2003-04-05
Bryn & Curtis Holmes: 2010
Bryn & Travis Holmes: 2007
Dan & Mike LaMonica: 2001-02
Chris & Willy Passavia: 2001-02-03
Brian & Michael Phipps: 2007
Max & Xander Ritz: 2005-06
Mark & Michael White: 2008-09-10-11

• The 2014 season is the first since 2000 that the Terps have not had a brother combination on the roster.


MARYLAND IN SEASON OPENERS

• Maryland has an 85-3-1 (.961) lifetime record in season openers dating back to the 1924 season. The Terps have won their last 19 openers and 26 of the last 27, with the only loss coming to Duke in 1993, when they fell to Duke 9-5 on March 6.

• After losing their 1925 opener to Yale, 5-3, the Terps went on to win 40 consecutive season openers from 1926 through 1967. The streak was broken when Maryland tied Princeton, 6-6, in the 1968 opener. Following the deadlock, Maryland went on to win its next 14 openers, giving the Terps a 54-0-1 record over a 57-year span (Maryland did not field a team in 1944 and 1945 due to World War II.)

21 STRAIGHT IN SEASON OPENERS

• After beating Mount St. Mary’s to open the 2013 season the Terps have an 20-game winning streak in season openers. Five of those wins came against Villanova (1994-98) and the last nine over Denver, Mount St. Mary’s (three times), Air Force, Hobart, Duke, Georgetown (four times), Bellarmine (twice), Presbyterian, Detroit Mercy and Hartford. Over the 21-year stretch, Maryland outscored its foes 306-108 (an average score of 14.6-5.1) in those games.

• The Terps have not allowed more than seven goals to any opponent in a season opener over the last 21 years. Maryland has not allowed an opponent to score 10 or more goals in a season opener since Syracuse beat the Terps, 16-13 on March 9, 1983.

FOUR TAKEN IN MLL DRAFT

• Led by senior defender Michael Ehrhardt, four Maryland men’s lacrosse student-athletes were chosen in the 2014 Major League Lacrosse collegiate draft.

• Ehrhardt was chosen seventh overall by the Charlotte Hounds, becoming the eighth Maryland player to be taken in the first round, joining Lee Zink (2004, 5th), Chris Passavia (2004, 6th), Joe Walters (2006, 1st), Bill McGlone (2006, 5th), Ray Megill (2007, 9th), Joe Cinosky (2008, 9th) and Jesse Bernhardt (2013, 4th).

• Senior midfielder Mike Chanenchuk was the next Terrapin off the board, also joining the Hounds as the 11th overall selection.

• The third Terp to be selected was senior goalie Niko Amato, becoming the first Terp to join the Florida Launch, with the 29th overall selection.

• The final Terp to be drafted was senior short-stick defensive midfielder Brian Cooper, who earned the distinction of being 2014′s MLL equivalent of “Mr. Irrelevant” as the final selection of the draft, going with the 64th overall selection to the Chesapeake Bayhawks.


FIVE TERP ALUMS SELECTED FOR TEAM USA

• Five Maryland men’s lacrosse alumni were named to the 30-man roster for the U.S. National Team that will compete at the 2014 FIL World Championships from July 10-19 in Denver.

• Jesse Bernhardt (2013), Dan Burns (2011), Jeff Reynolds (2009), Drew Snider (2012) and Lee Zink (2004) made the team, which was selected from an original pool of 98 players through a seven-month selection process.

• Maryland’s five selections are tied for the most of any college program with Johns Hopkins, which also has five alums among the 30-man roster.


2014 TEAM CAPTAINS

• Four players have been named team captains for the 2014 season. The quartet, which was selected by a combination of team vote and coaches’ input, consists of seniors Tyler Adelsberger, Niko Amato, Mike Chanenchukand Michael Ehrhardt.


BIG TEN LACROSSE STARTS IN 2015

• The University of Maryland’s men’s lacrosse team will compete in the Big Ten Conference beginning with the 2015 season, following an announcement from the conference office on June 3, 2013 that the Big Ten has secured six men’s teams when Johns Hopkins was accepted as a sport affiliate member for men’s lacrosse only beginning with the 2014-15 academic year to give the Big Ten six men’s programs, joining Maryland, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Rutgers.

• The six programs that will comprise Big Ten men’s lacrosse boast 56 national championships, with schools that have competed for more than a century. Johns Hopkins has been an independent since 1883 and leads all schools with 44 national championships. Maryland has claimed 11 national titles, while Rutgers has also won a national championship. The Scarlet Knights launched men’s lacrosse in 1887, followed by programs starting in 1913 for Penn State, 1924 for Maryland and 1953 for Ohio State. Michigan instituted a men’s lacrosse program in 2012. Maryland, Ohio State and Penn State each qualified for the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship in 2013, with the Buckeyes advancing to the quarterfinals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Maryland visits Duke for final scheduled matchup between teams Saturday

Posted on 14 February 2014 by WNST Staff

Maryland (14-11, 6-6 ACC)

at #8 Duke (19-5, 8-3 ACC)

Maryland travels to Durham, N.C. for the final time in Atlantic Coast Conference regular season play Saturday as it faces No. 8 Duke at 6:00 p.m. on ESPN.

Watch: ESPN – Davie O’Brien (Play-by-Play), Doris Burke (Analyst)

Listen: Terrapin Sports Radio Network – Terrapin Sports Radio Network - Johnny Holliday (Play-by-Play), Chris Knoche (Analyst); Sirius/XM 91

Storylines

• The matchup marks the 177th all-time meeting between the conference rivals, with Duke holding a 113-63 advantage in the series. The Terps are currently riding a two-game win streak in the series for the first time since 2007, and are looking to win three straight for the first time since 2004-05. This is the first season Maryland will not host the Blue Devils since the inception of the ACC in 1953-54.

• Maryland took two-of-three games from the Blue Devils last season, including an 83-74 victory in the ACC Tournament semifinals. Then-sophomore Dez Wells shined in the effort, scoring 30 points on 9-of-13 shooting (10-of-10 from the free throw line).

• Sophomore Seth Allen is two games removed from a career day against Florida State on Feb. 8, when he posted a career-high 32 points on 7-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc. He followed the effort with a team-high 15-point display at No. 17 Virginia. Allen is averaging 18.5 points over his last four games.

• Junior Dez Wells averaged 17.3 points and seven rebounds in three games against Duke last year, and is averaging a team-high 16.4 points in road games this year. Junior Nick Faust is averaging 9.6 points in five career games against Duke.

• The Terps have been busy on the glass, ranking third in the conference in offensive rebounds (12.63/g) and second in total rebounds (903).

Virginia Edges Maryland, 61-53
Joe Harris scored 19 points and No. 17 Virginia stretched its winning streak to eight games by beating Maryland 61-53 on Monday night.
Seth Allen scored 15 points and Dez Wells had 12 for Maryland (14-11, 6-6), which had won three of four. Malcolm Brogdon added 14 points and Akil Mitchell had 13 for the Cavaliers.
After a block by Maryland, Justin Anderson soared at the other end to block a shot by Maryland’s Roddy Petersnear the rim and saved the ball. He started a fast break that moments later was capped by Harris’ 3-pointer from the right corner, arousing a crowd that had grown quiet by the tight ballgame.
It was 52-41 with just under 5 minutes to play when the Terps staged a rally, getting seven points from Nick Faustand a basket from Wells in a 9-2 run that brought them within 54-50.

Scouting Duke
Duke has won seven of its last eight games, with its lone loss in the span coming to No. 1 Syracuse. The Blue Devils were scheduled to play at North Carolina Wednesday, but the game was cancelled due to weather.
The Blue Devils are an incredible shooting team from behind the arc, leading the nation in 3-point field goal percentage (.420) and ranking fifth nationally in 3-pointers made (9.7). Duke is also fourth in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.64).
Duke is led by freshman sensation Jabari Parker, who currently leads the ACC in rebounds (8.5/g) and is second in scoring (19.2/g). Quinn Cook is a strong ball handler, ranking fourth nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.98).

A Look Back: Dec. 17, 1954
After a pair of meetings in College Park, Maryland and Duke met in Durham for the first time as ACC foes on Dec. 17, 1954. The Blue Devils overcame a loss to the Terps earlier in the season by winning, 68-61.
Bob Kessler and Bob O’Brien each scored 17 points for the Terps, while Ronnie Mayer had 20 points for Duke.
John Sandbower and Bob Everett made consecutive baskets to bring the Terrapins within five points, 63-58, with 1:30 to play, but Duke managed to hold off the streaking Terps to secure the victory.

Twice as Nice
Maryland defeated Duke twice in the same season last year for the first time since 2006-07, knocking off the Blue Devils at Comcast Center and then in the ACC Tournament semifinals. Dez Wells was tremendous in the conference tournament, pouring in 30 points — including a 10-for-10 effort from the free throw line — to down Duke.
Maryland is looking to win three straight in the series for the first time since a span from 2004-05.

Statistically Speaking

  • Sophomore Seth Allen is averaging 18.5 points over his last four games, including a 32-point performance against Florida State.
  • Junior Dez Wells leads the Terps with 16.4 points/g on 49 percent shooting in away contests.
  • The Terrapins rank third in the ACC with 12.4 rebounds per game on the offensive glass.
  • The Terps are 11-0 when holding opponents below 40 percent from the field. (see pg. 30 for all trends)

Maryland Rolls Past Florida State
Seth Allen scored 21 of his career-high 32 points in the decisive first half, and Maryland beat Florida State 83-71 Saturday to climb over .500 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Playing in his 12th game of the season after being sidelined with a fractured left foot, Allen went 11 for 15 from the floor and 7 for 10 beyond the arc in topping his previous career best of 21 points. The 6-foot-1 sophomore guard also had four rebounds and two assists.
Dez Wells scored 15 and Jake Layman added 12 for Maryland (14-10, 6-5), which avenged a 24-point defeat at Florida State last month. The victory enabled the Terrapins to gain sole possession of seventh place in the ACC, one game ahead of the skidding Seminoles (14-9, 5-6).
Maryland led by 17 at halftime and coasted to the finish.

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Holtby Stones Devils in Caps 3-0 Win

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Holtby Stones Devils in Caps 3-0 Win

Posted on 09 February 2014 by Ed Frankovic

The Washington Capitals played three games this week and allowed only three goals getting super net minding from Michal Neuvirth on Tuesday in a 1-0 loss to the Islanders and then Braden Holtby in a 4-2 victory on Thursday against Winnipeg and a shutout of the New Jersey Devils on Saturday in a 3-0 win.

In all three contests the goaltenders did their job and held the Capitals in the game. Unfortunately, Washington was only able to win two of those three contests.

Goaltending is not the major issue in Washington. Holtby, Neuvirth, and even Philip Grubauer have all played well for the Caps this season. If there is an issue on this team, it’s on inconsistent defensive zone play and up front, where scoring, outside of Alexander Ovechkin, has been tough to find.

But back to the goalies, and specifically, Holtby. The young netminder has been very good in his short career with Washington and #70 nearly carried his club to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2012. Last year, Braden had a tough game seven against the Rangers, but let’s be honest, the Capitals lost that series because they couldn’t put the biscuit in the basket, not due to the play of Holtby.

Fast forward to this season where Holtby came out of the gate playing well behind a very young and suspect defense. Then starting with a loss to Pittsburgh in late November, things kind of went off of the rails for the Saskatchewan native. There was talk of the coaching staff trying to change the way Holtby played with a focus on him not being so aggressive and his positioning being deeper in his cage. It was a big change for the goalie and he went into a tailspin. Suddenly longer range shots were getting by him and compounding the problem was a defense that gave up too many odd man rushes and often screened their goalie or deflected shots, making not playing the angles as much more of a liability.

But in some recent relief appearances and then the two games this week, #70 was back to his “original” self. After his third shutout of this season on Saturday, I asked Holtby what was going on and if the talk of changing his game was true.

“There’s been talk of it from the start of the year to try and change things. The last two games I’ve just played like what’s got me here. So Olie and I are really getting back to our basics and it’s working out,” said Holtby.

Clearly Holtby, in his response to me, was not comfortable with the different style. The coaches were trying to make adjustments, perhaps because the defense was so green, but they clearly weren’t working for a guy this team believes is their number one goalie long term. Basically, they traded away Semyon Varlamov, who just signed a five year $30M contract with Colorado and will be starting for Team Russia in next week’s Olympics, to give the cage to Holtby.

A coach’s job is to try and make a player perform at peak efficiency, but sometimes they can over think a situation. There aren’t many goalies that have the ability to play deep in their net and be successful like Henrik Lundqvist is able to do on a regular basis. In an interview on Sirius XM radio just this week, Calgary Flames Director of Amateur Scouting, Tod Button, stated what I just wrote about Lundqvist. Button basically said that Lundqvist is the exception to the rule when talking about what the Flames are doing with their young up and coming goalie, Joni Ortio. Button said that a lot of the European goalies play that “deeper in the net” style but in the NHL, the shooters are so good that they’ll eat you up, so you have to teach them to be more aggressive.

Holtby was always an aggressive goalie and the direction the Caps were going with him this year was to be less that way. It wasn’t working. But credit both Holtby and Olie Kolzig for working through this and getting #70 back to doing what is most comfortable for him. Based on the way Holtby played this week and has played in the past before the style changes, and given what Button stated (and it is a common thought around the league), letting Holtby be Holtby makes the most sense.

On Saturday, Holtby was the primary reason the Caps won. The Devils had 11 of the first 16 shots on goal and #70 made some big stops, including a two on one early on. I asked Braden what his toughest save of the night was and if it was that stop on the odd man rush. He said that was a good one but it wasn’t as difficult and you might think.

“Those look harder than they actually are if your d-man plays them right like they did and chooses to take away one, the shot or the pass. He chose the shot so I knew he was passing it, which makes it a lot easier on me,” stated Holtby on the sequence that led to a super left pad save.

Holtby did say that New Jersey did a good job of generating traffic and he did get some breaks. Patrick Elias had a golden chance in front in period two but somehow shot the puck wide.

“They put a lot of traffic in front, though, they are right on top of me all night, so a couple of lucky bounces and fighting through screens,” said Holtby describing the challenge he faced with the Devils on Saturday.

Holtby was certainly the number one star, but the other goalie, Cory Schneider, was good too. It took a shot from Julien Brouillette through traffic to beat a goalie many felt, including me, should be on Team USA next week. The goal was the young defensemen’s first in the NHL and it was all the Caps needed, although Martin Erat (1st goal of the year) and Troy Brouwer added empty net tallies.

This was a win the Capitals had to have heading into the Olympic break. They trail the 3rd place Philadelphia Flyers by three points with 23 games to go. The Capitals won their first Metropolitan Division game in their last eight tries to keep pace. The schedule gets extremely tough in March so the Capitals had to get at least six of the eight points on this recent four game homestand. They did that, primarily due to good goaltending from Holtby and Neuvirth.

The Caps will need both, and especially Holtby, who Coach Adam Oates said would be the starter coming out of the Olympic break, to be on their respective games.

It looks like Holtby is back in top form and you can credit that to the mutual decision to allow him to go back to the style that’s made him most successful in his career.

Notes: Alex Oveckhin had an assist and was +2 in 20:48 of ice time…John Carlson led Washington in ice time with 25:11…the Caps killed off all three New Jersey power plays but went 0 for 4 in their man advantage situations. Oates blamed that lack of PP success on poor reads, although the bad ice surface, due to an early basketball game, was a factor also, in my opinion.

 

 

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Ovechkin, Caps Rout Predators, 5-2

Posted on 07 December 2013 by Ed Frankovic

In hockey, if you play the right way, good things usually happen.

On Tuesday night, Washington played the right way for the first 30 minutes against Carolina but ended up losing, primarily on goaltending. On Saturday night, the Capitals once again came out the correct way, but this time they received the expected result, racing to an early 3-0 lead and cruising to a 5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators.

Troy Brouwer, Alex Ovechkin, Karl Alzner, Nate Schmidt, and Eric Fehr all tallied in a much needed win that pushes the Caps record to 15-12-2 (32 points), good for second place in the Metropolitan Division.

Going up and down the roster on Saturday night, every player contributed in this victory and Caps Coach Adam Oates has to be happy about that. His team did a nice job of getting pucks and bodies to the net and that allowed them to score more goals. Sure Nashville misses goalie Pekka Rinne, who is one of the league’s best, but Washington made it tough on backup Marek Mazanec with an increased net presence.

Defensemen Patrick Wey received his first NHL game tonight replacing Tyson Strachan, who was sent back to Hershey before hitting the 10 game limit that eventually would require #23 to clear waivers to go to Chocolatetown, and he acquitted himself well playing with Dmitry Orlov. Since #81 has gotten into the lineup the Capitals puck movement out of their own zone has been on the uptick (last three games). Every defensemen played well on Saturday. Schmidt notched his 1st NHL goal, Alzner scored his first ever tally at the Verizon Center, and Mike Green and John Carlson were dominant. #74 was +3 on the night. I’m not a big +/- stat guy, but that number was reflective of Carlson’s performance against Nashville. He is playing super and Preds GM David Poile, who doubles as Team USA GM, has to be pretty happy about having Carlson on the American Olympic team roster in Sochi in February.

Up front, Martin Erat (1 assist) had a productive night against his old team and he clicked as the center with Joel Ward and Jason Chimera. Both of those wingers, #’s  25 and 42, have continued to make whomever their 3rd line mate is look good this season. As I said above, up and down the lineup there were strong performances. Tom Wilson continues to impress and at some point, he will deserve more ice time. Washington has a surplus of forwards and they’ve now used 12 defensemen this season. That is number one in the NHL. The defense, after Green, Carlson, and Alzner, is extremely inexperienced. Schmidt is playing super but it’s a long season and then comes the playoffs. Once everyone is healthy up front, and Brooks Laich doesn’t appear to be close to that right now, a trade to get a more experienced and top 4 D seems necessary.

Right now, what matters is playing properly and getting wins. This was a victory against a Western Conference team and in regulation. Washington played well and deserved the two points, now they go to New York on Sunday night to take on the despised New York Rangers. A victory there would be big for this team. If they play the same way they did tonight and get pucks and bodies to the net, the Caps will finally be able to dent Henrik Lundqvist, assuming he’s in net for the Blueshirts.

Notes: Lundqvist took the loss for the Rags against the Devils tonight so it’s not clear if the $59.5M man will start against Washington on Sunday. One would imagine that Oates comes back with Holtby at Madison Square Garden. Braden is great in Saturday night games and once again he produced a victory. It must be the Hockey Night in Canada influence that gets #70 to raise the bar on Saturday tilts…the Caps were 1-4 on the power play and Ovechkin now has 136 career PP goals, one behind the Capitals all time leader, Peter Bondra. The Gr8 has 22 goals in 27 games, a staggering pace…Wilson beat up Rich Clune after the Predator tried to change the momentum of the game. #43 is tough and is already in the “Eats Rocks for Breakfast” club…Mikhail Grabovski and Nicklas Backstrom each had two assists…Washington won the faceoff battle, 34-30.

 

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UMBC begins season Friday night at Arizona State

Posted on 07 November 2013 by WNST Staff

The UMBC men’s basketball team makes its first-ever journey to Arizona State and opens the 2013-14 campaign in Tempe, Ariz. on Nov. 8. Tip-off time is set for 6:00 p.m. (MST). Paul Mittermeier has all the play-by-play action on Q1370/www.q1370.com starting with the pre-game show at 7:55 p.m. (EST). The game will be televised by the PAC-12 Networks with Jason Knapp and Ernie Kent on the call.  

RETRIEVER UPDATE: UMBC (8-23 a year ago) returns six letterwinners and three starters from a team that closed the gap dramatically against America East competition in Aki Thomas’ first year as head coach. UMBC upset third-seeded Hartford in the league championship quarterfinals. Six of seven newcomers are Maryland natives and a majority of expected to contribute in 2013-14. SR F Chase Plummer (11.8, 6.4) is the team’s leading returning scorer and rebounder, who surpassed the 1,000-point mark in three seasons.

SUN DEVIL UPDATE: The Sun Devils, under eighth-year head coach Herb Sendek, notched their fourth 20-win season (22-13) in his seven years in 2012-13. The Sun Devils have a roster that includes the 2012-13 Pac-12 co-Freshman of the Year (Jahii Carson, 18.5 ppg, 5.1 apg) and the top-single season shot blocker in Pac-12 annals (Jordan Bachynski, 120 rejections). No Pac-12 player made more three-pointers than Jon Gilling last year, as he pumped in 84, fourth-most by a Sun Devil in school history. The junior averaged 9.7 points per game last year in his sophomore season.

WHO’S UP NEXT: UMBC opens the home schedule on Monday, Nov. 11 when they host Eastern (Pa.) University at the RAC Arena. That contest is the back-end of a hoops doubleheader and will tip-off at 7:30 p.m.

THE BENCH BOSS: Aki Thomas enters his second year as head coach of the UMBC men’s basketball program, earning the title on the eve of the 2013 America East Tournament. Thomas served as acting head coach since Oct. 10, 2012 after five previous seasons as a Retrievers’ assistant coach.

Despite the loss of three post players due to injury, Coach Thomas led UMBC to more victories (8) since the 2008-09 campaign. The cohesive Retrievers knocked off third-seeded Hartford in the quarterfinals of the league championships, and led Vermont for much of the first 32 minutes of play before bowing in the semis. Thomas and his staff bolstered the hopes for the future by bringing in a strong, locally-based recruiting class for the 2013-14 campaign.

Thomas, age 34, was the 11th-youngest NCAA Division I head coach in the nation in 2012-13. He was a standout for Howard in 2000-01, when he averaged almost 12 points and eight rebounds per game en route to being named to the All-MEAC second team. Before Howard, Thomas played for three seasons at the University of Colorado. The Manhattan, N.Y. native was a two-time league rebounding champion in the Venezuelan LPB League (2003-04) and earned the same title during a stint in the Colombian Federation Cup League (2004).

At 34 years of age, Aki Thomas is currently the 11th-youngest Division I head coach in the country. At 33 years and nearly six months of age, Thomas was only five months younger when he coached his first official game (at Penn on Nov. 9) than UMBC’s first Division I coach, Jeff Bzedelik (now the head coach at Wake Forest) was when he coached his first game for the Retrievers at Northwestern in November of 1986.

AND THE REST: The 2013-14 coaching staff has an average age of just over 28 years. A pair of Coach Thomas’ staff members- fifth-year assistant coach John Zito (‘06) and third-year assist Jay Greene (‘09) are UMBC alums and played together on the 2005-06 Retriever squad.

A LOOK (WAY) BACK: The trip to Tempe to open the 2013-14 season is UMBC’s longest since competing at San Diego State/Long Beach State in the 2005-06 campaign.

The meeting with the Sun Devils will be just the second time that the Retrievers have faced a Pac-12 opponent. UMBC played a Jason Kidd-led Cal squad in Berkeley early in the 1993-94 campaign.

This will be the second time the UMBC basketball program has competed in Arizona. In their third year of NCAA Division I competition (1988-89), the Retrievers opened the campaign with a 61-47 victory at Northern Arizona.

47 YEARS: The Retrievers are competing in their 47th season of intercollegiate basketball, the 28th at the NCAA Division-I level (1986-87) and the 11th as members of the America East Conference. UMBC has won 494 and dropped 747 (.398) and are 301-478 (.386) since 1986-87. The Retrievers enter their 11th season in the America East Conference, after stints as an independent (1986-90), the East Coast Conference (1990-92), the Big South Conference (1992-98) and the Northeast Conference (1998-2003).

The America East Conference and SEFCU, the largest credit union in New York’s Capital Region, announced a presenting sponsorship agreement for the 2013 and 2014 America East Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships, which will be held at UAlbany’s SEFCU Arena March 7-9, 2014. This is the second time SEFCU has been the presenting sponsor for an America East Championship. The 2009 men’s basketball championship, which was also held at Albany, was presented by SEFCU.

HEART OF CHAMPIONS: UMBC has an 9-9 all-time America East Tournament record. The Retrievers went five consecutive years with at least one victory in post-season play before a quarterfinal defeat at the hands of Vermont in 2009-10. The Retrievers snapped a four-game losing streak with a quarterfinal victory over Hartford in 2012-13.

BATTLE-TESTED: Over the last six seasons, UMBC is 34-22 (.607) in games decided by five points or less. The Retrievers were 4-8 in games decided by eight points or less in 2012-13. UMBC led seven of those 11 contests with ten minutes remaining on the clock.

EXTRA, EXTRA, READ ALL ABOUT IT!: UMBC is 7-4 in extra time vs. America East opponents and 0-7 vs. non-conference opponents in since joining America East in 2003-04. The Retrievers have now lost eight consecutive extra session affairs (the most recent to American on Dec. 6) to non-conference foes since a win over Quinnipiac in the 2001-02 season. The overtime loss at UNH on Feb. 13 drops UMBC to 0-3 in OT this season.

LOCATION, LOCATION: Towson is the first program that UMBC has acheived 20 victories against, followed by Loyola (19) and Mount St. Mary’s (18). The Retrievers will play all three of those local squads this season. In addition, the Retrievers will face Coppin State, GW, American, UMES and play a home-and-home series versus Navy.

BUY!: With eight victories in 2012-13, UMBC collected its most wins since amassing 15 in the 2008-09 season.

QUICK HITS

* In 2012-13, UMBC allowed 71.5 points per contest, 5.6 points lower than the previous season.

* UMBC excelled from behind the arc, offensively and defensively in league play. The Retrievers finished third in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage (34.7) and made treys (7.2) per game and second in 3-point defense (28.9%).

* UMBC’s second-half field goal percentage of 78.9% was the second-best ever for a half (in quarterfinals vs. Hartford) in America East Championship history. The Retrievers also hold the best mark, hitting 18 of 21 (85.7%) vs. Stony Brook on in a 2005-06 first round game.

* UMBC was 21-of-39 (53.8%, 10.5 made per game) from behind the arc in the two America East games.

* UMBC’s opponents made only five fewer free throws (515) than the Retrievers attempted (520) last season. The Retrievers’ season 63.1% free throw percentage was just .5% better than a school-record low of 62.6% in 2003-04.

PLAYERS, PAST AND PRESENT

Seniors Ryan Cook and Brian Neller both competed their senior campaigns in fine fashion. Cook finished the 2012-13 season with 478 points, the ninth-most in school history. Neller, who set the UMBC single-season record for treys, completed his four-year run with 261 three-point field goals, second-most in school history.

Cook has signed a professional contract with OKK Sloboda Tuzla in the Bosnian Liga I in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He excelled at the June 2013 First Team All iBall Pro Combine, which was scouted by a group of former and current NBA and overseas players. He averaged 16.0 points per game during the combine, which ranked second amongst the 43 players that were invited. OKK Sloboda Tuzla was the runner-up in both the regular season and the championships of Liga I in 2012-13.

Senior Chase Plummer became the 17th player in school history to reach the 1,000 point plateau with 1,017 after three seasons. He is just the eighth Retriever to score 1,000 points in three or fewer seasons and is the leading active scorer in the America East Confernce.

Plummer corralled 199 rebounds, the sixth-best figure for a UMBC Division I junior and he has accumulated 524 career caroms, now 17th in school history.

Plummer also recorded 54 steals, the sixth-most in a single season in school history and his 150 career thefts are also sixth in UMBC’s basketball history. He placed second in the conference with 1.7 steals per outing.

Junior Joey Getz hit 31-of-54 field goal attempts (57.4%) in the months of February and March and led the team with a 50.4 field goal percentage for the campaign.

Senior Quentin Jones ranked tenth in America East in assists (2.7) per game during league play. The former walk-on earned a scholarship for his senior season and he has also earned the title of co-captain.

Senior Brett Roseboro suffered an on-court injury during an altercation in practice on Jan. 25 and did not dress for the final 12 games of the season. He was ranked in the top ten in America East in rebounding, field goal percentage and blocked shots until falling below the 75% mark in games played for 2012-13.

NEWBIES

The Retriever coaching staff brought in seven newcomers to complement the six returners for the 2013-14 squad. All six of the incoming freshmen have Maryland connections. The seven players who list a Maryland town as their hometown on the roster are the most for a Retriever men’s basketball team since having an all-time high of eight on the 1992-93 squad.

O CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN

UMBC Head Men’s Basketball Coach Aki Thomas has tabbed senior guard Quentin Jones and sophomore forward Malik Garner as Retriever co-captains for the 2013-14 season.

“Q is very mature beyond his years and is consistent on and off of the court,” said Thomas. ” He is a true leader by example and a good teammate.  As a coach, it is a luxury to have a player with these qualities at the point guard position.”

“Malik’s attention to detail, commitment, and character are his best attributes.  He works extremely hard in the classroom and on the court, making him a perfect fit for this role on our team,” said Thomas.

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Navy looks for 4-1 start Saturday at Duke

Posted on 11 October 2013 by WNST Staff

Game 5 Navy (3-1) at Duke (3-2, 0-2 ACC)
Date and Kickoff Oct. 12, 2013 at 12:30 pm ET
Location Durham, N.C. | Wallace Wade Stadium (33,941)
Television Raycom Sports -ACC Network
TV Talent Steve Martin (play-by-play), Dave Archer (analyst), Rachel Baribeau (sideline)


Setting the Stage

• Navy and Duke will meet for the 40th time on the gridiron when they square off on Saturday at Wallace Wade Stadium (33,941) in Durham. The game is scheduled to kick off at 12:30 pm.
• Saturday’s game will be televised by Raycom Sports / ACC Network with Steve Martin (play-by-play), Dave Archer (color) and Rachel Baribeau (analyst) on the call.
• You can find a list of affiliates carrying Saturday’s game by going to: http://raycomsports.com/theacc/matchCenters/view/321(.) The game will also be available on ESPN3, ESPN GamePlan and at www.theACC.com(.)

Looking To Go 4-1 For First Time Since 2006
• Navy is looking to start its season with a 4-1 record for the first time since 2006.
•    In 2006, the Mids defeated East Carolina (28-23), Massachusetts (21-20) and Stanford (37-9) to start the year 3-0 before falling to Tulsa, 24-23, in overtime.  The Mids bounced back from the Tulsa loss by beating Connecticut 41-17 and Air Force 24-17.  They went on to post a 9-4 record and played Boston College in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Injuries
•    Starting slot back Geoffrey Whiteside (ankle) is expected to return after missing the Western Kentucky and Air Force games.
•    Starting safety Wave Ryder (head) is probable after leaving the Air Force game in the first quarter.
•    Starting guard Thomas Stone (knee) is out after leaving the Western Kentucky game in the first quarter.
•    Starting tackle Graham Vickers (head) is out for the year.
•    Projected starting slot back Colin Osborne is out for the year with a torn ACL in his right knee. Osborne injured his knee early in the fall and had surgery on September 12.

Scouting Duke
•    The Blue Devils enter Saturday’s game with a 3-2 record having beaten North Carolina Central (45-0), Memphis (28-14) and Troy (38-31).  Their losses were against Georgia Tech (38-14) and Pitt (58-55).
• Duke features a balanced attack on offense and is ranked 46th in the country in rushing (193.0 yds/gm) and 47th in passing (258.6 yds/gm).  It is 43rd in total offense (451.6 yds/gm) and 36th in scoring offense (36.0 pts/gm).
•    Quarterback Brandon Connette has completed 75 of his 117 pass attempts for 1,022 yards with 11 touchdowns and six interceptions.  Connette’s favorite target is Biletnikoff Award finalist Jamison Crowder, who has caught 37 passes for 530 yards and two touchdowns.  Meanwhile, Jeal Duncan (47-247, 2 TDs) and Josh Snead (39-245) lead the Duke rushing attack.
•    Connette is ranked 23rd in the country in total touchdown passes and sixth in points responsible for per game (20.4).  Crowder is 16th in receiving yards, 16th in receptions per game (7.4) and 19th in receiving yards per game (106.0).
•    Duke’s defense ranks 76th against the run (167.6 yds/gm), 69th in pass defense (232.4 yds/gm), 64th in total defense (400.0 yds/gm) and 76th in scoring defense (28.2 pts/gm).
•    Jeremy Cash leads the Duke defense with 51 tackles and five tackles for a loss.  Kenny Anunike has 6.5 tackles for a loss. Cash is ranked 15th in the country in tackles, averaging 10.2 tackles per game.
•    The Blue Devils are ranked fourth nationally in net punting (42.76) and eighth in punt returns (17.0)
•    Crowder ranks fifth in the nation in punt returns, averaging 19.3 yards per return, and has returned a nation’s-best two punts for touchdowns.  Punter Will Monday ranks 15th in the country in punting, averaging 44.9 yards per punt.

Navy vs. The ACC
•    Navy has played the teams currently in the ACC fairly tough, posting a 128-130-8 (.496) record overall.
•    The Mids lead their respective series against Duke, Maryland, NC State, Virginia and Virginia Tech.

Reynolds, Defense Carry Navy To 28-10 Victory Over Air Force
•    ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Keenan Reynolds ran for 126 yards and three touchdowns, and Navy used a strong second half to beat Air Force, 28-10.
• A record crowd of 38,225 filled Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium for this pivotal matchup. The previous 16 winners of this game have gone on to win the Commander-In-Chief’s Trophy, awarded annually to the service academy with the best record in games involving Air Force, Navy and Army.
• Navy (3-1) has won the trophy eight of the last 10 years and now the Midshipmen are poised to do it again after outscoring Air Force 21-0 in the second half.
• Reynolds returned from a concussion to rush for a team-high 126 yards and throw for another 54 (6-for-10).
• The Falcons led at halftime and got a solid performance from a defense that had allowed an average of 48.75 points in its previous four games, but the offense was limited to a season low in points.
• After amassing 202 yards in offense in the first half, Air Force got only 111 over the final 30 minutes.
• Navy opened the second half with a 75-yard drive that ended with a 38-yard touchdown run by Demond Brown for a 14-10 lead.
• A series of punts followed until Air Force fullback Broam Hart was stuffed for no gain by Kwazel Bertrand on fourth-and-2 from the Navy 34 on the second play of the fourth quarter.
• Reynolds then directed a 66-yard march in which he twice converted third downs, once on a 17-yard run and the other with a 12-yard completion. On the 11th play of the drive, he ran in from the 2.
• Air Force’s next three possessions ended in turnovers. After the second one, an interception by Chris Johnson, Reynolds ran in from the 10 with 4:37 remaining.

The Red Zone    
• Navy has scored on 17 of its 19 possessions (.894) in the red zone this year, scoring 14 touchdowns, kicking three field goals, missing a field goal and taking a knee to end the game in Navy’s 51-7 victory over Delaware.
• The opposition has scored on nine of its 11 red zone opportunities (.818), scoring nine touchdowns, throwing an interception and missing a field goal.

Inside Linebackers Cleaning Up On Tackles
•    Navy senior inside linebackers DJ Sargenti and Cody Peterson have been all over the field for the Navy defense this season.
•    Sargenti, who had never even recorded a tackle prior to this year and wasn’t moved to inside linebacker (was a QB as a freshman and OLB as a sophomore and junior) until the start of fall practice, is currently ranked fifth in the nation in solo tackles per game (6.8 tackles per contest).
• Peterson, the Mids’ defensive captain, is ranked 12th nationally in solo tackles, averaging 6.5 per game.

Defense Stepping Up
•    The Navy defense is ranked 22nd in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 17.8 points per game.
• The Mids have held all four opponents well below their scoring average.

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Caps Start 2013-14 With High Expectations Once Again

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Caps Start 2013-14 With High Expectations Once Again

Posted on 29 September 2013 by Ed Frankovic

It is awfully difficult to win a championship in professional sports but heading into 2013-14 that is once again the goal of the Washington Capitals, who have yet to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup since their inception in 1974. The Caps, who have made the playoffs the last six years, have another quality team as they prepare to open their season against the defending champs, the Chicago Blackhawks, in the Windy City on Tuesday night at 8pm on NBCSN.

On Sunday, Caps General Manager George McPhee made several moves to help put some clarity to the opening night roster culminating with a trade of center Matheiu Perreault to the Anaheim Ducks for a 4th round pick and AHLer John Mitchell. In addition, several players were sent to Hershey, including defenesemen Tyson Strachan and Dmitry Orlov. For now, here is what the Caps roster looks like:

Goalies (2): Braden Holtby, Michal Neuvirth

Defensemen (7): Mike Green, Karl Alzner, John Carlson, John Erskine, Jack Hillen, Steve Oleksy, and Connor Carrick

Forwards (14): Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson, Mikhail Grabovski, Brooks Laich, Troy Brouwer, Martin Erat, Tom Wilson, Eric Fehr, Joel Ward, Jay Beagle, Jason Chimera, Aaron Volpatti, and Michael Latta

The move of Perreault was predicted here last week and makes sense from a hockey and salary cap standpoint. This Caps team needed to get bigger and more powerful up front and Wilson’s outstanding camp made keeping him up with the main club, rather than shipping him back to a weaker league (OHL), an easy decision. The 19 year old, who was the 16th overall pick in the 2012 NHL entry draft, brings a dimension that this Washington team needs more of in the post season: size and the ability to score the tough goals in close. Six months with Coach Adam Oates and some highly talented teammates is what is needed for Wilson to continue his development, the OHL is just not going to help him get any better.

As for the rest of the squad, the strengths appear to be in goal and up front. Braden Holtby has established himself as a number one goalie and has the chance to move into the elite category with a very strong season. As McPhee told the media last Tuesday, to win the Stanley Cup you have to have great goaltending. #70 is the guy being counted on to deliver that, but Neuvirth is a more than capable net minder and will be needed to play well so that Washington can qualify for the post season in a very competitive Metropolitan Division.

At forward, the Capitals have some serious depth on the wings but still aren’t sure who is going to be the third line center. Backstrom has the first line locked up with Grabovski manning the second unit. The club could go with Beagle as the 3rd line center and Latta pivoting the 4th to start the season, but that depends on the health of the others, primarily Laich, who has been battling a hip flexor issue. Right wing is just loaded up with Ovechkin, Brouwer, Fehr, Wilson, and Ward. Both Fehr and Erat were tried at center this preseason by Oates with some success, so the head coach has lots of options. Johansson could play 3rd line center at some point too. The Caps have not had as talented a crew of forwards to start the season in many years and with the players they have there is lots of room for flexibility.

On defense, the top three is awfully good with Green, Alzner, and Carlson. After that, it gets dicey. Erksine was super last spring in the regular season but is he really a top 4 d-man? #4 will have a chance to prove it starting this week. Oleksy came out of seemingly nowhere to take a 3rd pair spot in the spring and Hillen overcame an early season injury to play a lot of quality minutes last year. Carrick was the biggest surprise of training camp, has great offensive skills and his hockey IQ is high. Learning to play defense in the NHL is harder than any other position so Washington has to be careful to not put too much on the 19 year old, who has incredible potential. The organization still has high hopes for Orlov, but given his injury situation last season, starting him in Hershey made too much sense. The 2009 2nd round pick will play top pair minutes in the AHL and can hone his craft for what appears to be an inevitable jump back to the NHL at some point during the 82 game season.

Special teams will be an important component of Washington’s success. Last season the Caps were #1 in the NHL with the power play (26.8%). You can expect it to remain at least top 5 and Oates and assistant coach Blaine Forsythe will continually be tweaking things to counter opposition tactics. As for the penalty kill, Laich stated on Tuesday that is one of the areas this Capitals club will have to improve in if they want to do well in the regular season and playoffs. The PK has been one of the team’s weaknesses the last few years and it was 27th out of 30 in 2012-13 with a success rate of only 77.9%.

In summary, the expectations are high for this Capitals team. The playoffs are not a given, but if this club can stay relatively healthy, then they have the talent to compete for the division title. Every team in the Metropolitan Division has its issues. The Penguins are the pick of many but their goaltending and team defense certainly has its question marks. Will the Rangers respond positively to a new coach in Alain Vigneault? How will the Devils do with the departure of Ilya Kovalchuk? The Flyers added Vinny Lecavalier but will Ray Emery or Steve Mason step up and be a top goalie in a pressure packed Philly market? Are the Islanders ready to take the next step up the ladder or was their playoff run last spring a one time deal? Is Columbus going to play like the team that nearly qualified for the post season last spring or the cellar dweller crew that started 2013? Finally, will Cam Ward returning in net for Carolina propel them to a winning season? Nothing is set in stone heading into the season and in the salary cap era every team has holes and/or issues. What is important is that the Capitals get off to a good start since coming from behind in the standings is not going to be as achievable as it was in the Southeast Division.

 

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