Syracuse plays Maryland in battle of elite defenses

Syracuse will play Maryland on Sunday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: If recent history is any telling tale, Syracuse’s game against Maryland this weekend will resemble Syracuse’s double overtime win against Johns Hopkins on March 19. In that game, the Orange survived a double-overtime thriller, and beat Johns Hopkins 5-4. Why will Sunday’s game likely be this way? Look no further than scoring defense. The Orange is No. 5 in the nation in goals against, allowing just 7.20 goals per game. Right after the Orange at No. 6 is Maryland, which gives up 7.29 goals per game. The Terps staunch defense is led by defenders Brett Schmidt (2010 third team All-America) and Max Schmidt (two-time All-American).

HOW MARYLAND GOT THERE: The Terrapins scored six straight goals in the second half as they defeated North Carolina 13-6. Drew Snider scored two of his team-leading four goals during that run. But the game will be remembered more for the “hidden-ball trick” goal in the second half. The Terps’ Grant Catalino and Brian Farrell pretended to exchange the ball on attack, leading the defense away from Farrell. That allowed Farrell to go across the field and pass to a wide open Drew Snider who rifled it past North Carolina goalie Steven Rastivo.

HOW SU GOT THERE: Defense. The Orange held Siena to just four goals in a 10-4 opening round win. All-American defenseman John Lade completely shut down the Saints’ Bryan Neufeld, holding the attackman scoreless for the first time in 52 games.

HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: Maryland holds an all-time 8-6 record against the Orange, but Syracuse has won four of six games in the NCAA tournament. The teams last faced each other in the preseason, with the Orange winning 11-9 on February 10.

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Wes Cheng

About Wes Cheng

Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.
Maryland eliminates Syracuse from tournament
Syracuse defense shuts down Siena
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