The Syracuse Orange (13-3) will be entering the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 seed for the ninth time in school history and will face Northeast Conference (NEC) Champion Bryant Bulldogs (8-10) on May 12th at the Carrier Dome in first round action of the NCAA Championship.
The Orange are coming off a very strong 2013 season which saw them defeat Villanova (7-8) by a score of 13-9 to capture the Big East Conference (BEC) Championship on May 5th and an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. Syracuse also beat Notre Dame (10-4) 9-3 in the BEC Semi Finals in a dominating performance.
Syracuse will be relying on their top three offensive threats to dominate the Bulldogs this Sunday. Senior midfield JoJo Marasco scored 18 goals and 35 assists for 53 points in 2013. Sophomore attack Kevin Rice recorded 45 points (19G, 26A) and junior attack Derek Maltz had a team high 28 goals and 35 points.
The Orange lacrosse program will be making their 33rd appearance in the NCAA playoffs since 1971. They have a 62-21 record in the NCAA Tournament. Their 62 wins are second behind Johns Hopkins (67).
Meanwhile, the Bryant Bulldogs captured the NEC Championship after routing Robert Morris (8-7) by a score of 14-7 in the NEC Finals and also beat Sacred Heart (3-11) 11-9 in Semi Final action. The Bulldogs received an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament and is the first program in school history to enter a Division One NCAA postseason tournament. The NEC division received an automatic bid into the NCAA for the first time in NCAA Tournament history.
Bryant had a difficult start to the season, losing their first seven games, however they turned it around and went 5-1 in NEC division play to earn a No 1 seed entering the NEC Tournament.
Three players that will be expected to lead the way for the Bulldogs will be team scoring leader; junior midfield Colin Dunster (31G, 14A) 45 points, Sophomore attack Shane Morrell (27G, 18A) 45 points and senior attack Peter McMahon (19G, 24A) 43 points.
If the Bulldogs believe they have a chance against the Orange, they will need to gain an early lead just as they did against Robert Morris going up 4-0 into the second quarter of the NEC Finals.
The winner of this matchup will face Yale or Penn State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.