Patriot League Men's Lacrosse NCAA Quarterfinals Preview

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG Sophomore Conor Murphy made 15 saves in his first career start last weekend in Colgate's 13-11 victory at No. 6 seed Massachusetts.
Sophomore Conor Murphy made 15 saves in his first career start last weekend in Colgate's 13-11 victory at No. 6 seed Massachusetts.

May 17, 2012

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. -- Fresh off its first victory in the NCAA Tournament, Colgate gets back to work Sunday as it heads to PPL Park in Chester, Pa., to take on No. 3 seed Duke in the NCAA Quarterfinals.

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The game will be televised nationally on ESPNU. Game time is set for 2:30 p.m. Eaman McAnaney will provide the play-by-play, while Quint Kessenich will be the analyst. Paul Calcaterra will report from the sidelines.

Colgate fired the first salvo of the NCAA Tournament when the Raiders upended No. 6 seed and undefeated Massachusetts, 13-11, Saturday at Garber Field in Amherst, Mass. Tewaaraton Award finalist Peter Baum was limited to two goals and three points, but the nation's second-leading offense was buoyed by several other strong performances.

Now the Raiders try to claim a second defeat over a seeded team when they travel to Chester to take on the Blue Devils. It will be the ninth all-time meeting between the programs, with Duke owning a 6-2 advantage. Sunday's matchup will be the first outside Durham, N.C.

Two storylines emerged during and after Colgate's win in Amherst Saturday. The first was the play of Colgate sophomore goalkeeper Conor Murphy, who earned the starting nod in place of senior Jared Madison, who had opened each of the previous 16 games. In his first career start, Murphy stopped 15 shots, including eight in the second half, to buoy a Raider defense that allowed just four goals over the game's final 35:31.

Colgate hung tough despite the Minutemen's tremendous defense on Baum. His scoring didn't come until after halftime, and his second goal of the contest came in the fourth quarter that provided the Raiders with a critical two-goal cushion. Baum was one of five Raiders to find the back of the net twice. In the biggest stage of his young career, Patriot League Rookie of the Year Ryan Walsh scored two times, including on the ensuing extra-man opportunity after he'd drawn a slashing penalty in the second quarter. Matt Baker, Brendon McCann and Chris Zielinski also scored twice apiece, with Zielinski's second of the game standing as the game-winner at the 7:12 mark of the fourth.

While Colgate advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals, Lehigh's dream season ended in the first round in a tough 10-9 loss Sunday at home to visiting Maryland. The seventh-seeded Mountain Hawks trailed 6-1 in the second quarter before rattling off seven straight goals across the second and third frames to move ahead 8-6. Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year Matt Poillon, a freshman, made a career-high 16 saves in the game, including six in the third quarter in which Lehigh outscored the Terps 4-0. But Maryland never allowed the Mountain Hawks to extend the lead beyond two goals, and scored four times in the fourth, including Joe Cummings' marker with six seconds left that was the difference in the Terps' win.

Lehigh ended its season with a school-record 14 victories, and expects to return six of its eight All-League student-athletes from this spring.

Patriot League Notebook

It's been a record-setting year for Colgate. The Raiders earned their first at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament after posting a school-record 13 victories during the regular season. Colgate went into Garber Field in Amherst, Mass., and ended the undefeated run of No. 1-ranked and sixth-seeded Massachusetts last weekend in the program's first NCAA Tournament win. The voyage in uncharted territory continues as the Raiders face No. 3 seed Duke in their first appearance in the NCAA Quarterfinals Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

Colgate improved to 6-0 away from Hamilton, N.Y., this season with last week's 13-11 victory at Massachusetts. The Raiders are the only Patriot League team not to suffer a loss in games either on the road or at neutral sites this spring. Lehigh, which fell last weekend to Maryland at home in the NCAA Tournament, combined for a 9-1 mark away from Bethlehem, Pa., this season.

Against UMass last weekend, junior attackman Peter Baum picked up two goals and three points, rather pedestrian numbers for the nation's leading scorer. Baum still leads the country in points (5.65) and goals (3.88) per game, but his teammates shined in picking up the offensive slack against the Minutemen. Four of Baum's teammates scored a pair of goals, while eight Raiders in all dented the twine. One of those four is freshman Ryan Walsh, the Patriot League Rookie of the Year, who scored his 35th and 36th goals of the season.

Colgate sophomore Conor Murphy collected 15 saves, which is impressive enough given that the keeper was playing in net against the top-ranked, sixth-seeded and undefeated UMass Minutemen. Add in the fact that Murphy was making his first career start, and his numbers are even more incredible. He tallied eight saves in the second half and was instrumental in the Colgate backbone that enabled the offense to outscore UMass 11-4 over the game's last 35:31.

After Colgate earned its first NCAA Tournament victory, Lehigh was trying to do the same a day later. Early on it didn't look good for the seventh-seeded Mountain Hawks, who fell behind 6-1 in the second quarter before staging a three-goal rally to enter halftime down 6-4. Lehigh eventually moved ahead 8-6 and 9-7, but the Terps scored the game's final three goals, including the last tally with six seconds remaining, to send them into the quarterfinal round.

Colgate junior attackman Peter Baum has been named one of five finalists for the Tewaaraton Award. The Tewaaraton Trophy is awarded annually to the top men and women's college lacrosse players in the country. For the second straight season a Patriot League student-athlete has been in the final five, as Army's Jeremy Boltus was a finalist a year ago. Initially 10 from the Patriot League were on the initial Tewaaraton Watch List, which was whittled down to Baum, Bucknell's Billy Eisenreich and Army's Garrett Thul on the eve of the Patriot League Tournament. The winner will be announced May 31 at the Smithsonian National Museum for the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

2012 has been a banner year for the Patriot League, with two teams setting school records for victories and qualifying for the NCAA Tournament. The seven League teams have combined for a 33-23 mark against teams from beyond the conference's borders, including .500-or-better showings against the America East (5-1), CAA (6-3), ECAC (3-2), MAAC (5-2), NEC (5-1) and independents (2-1). In addition, the League has combined for nine victories against top-20 teams and five against clubs in the NCAA postseason, including Colgate's triumph over No. 1-ranked UMass last weekend.

Records are made to be broken, but some were tied and others outright destroyed at the Patriot League Tournament three weeks ago. Lehigh scored a tournament-record 29 goals in the two games, while Colgate's Peter Baum and Jeff Ledwick tied the single-game tournament record with five goals. Baum also broke the single-game assist record with six, tied the two-game goal record at eight and obliterated the two-game points record with 18. A full list of tournament records tied or broken is at the end of this release.

The USILA/LaxWorld North-South All-Star game is slated for May 25 at Harvard, and two Patriot League head coaches are set to serve on the sidelines. Army's Joe Alberici will coach the North squad, while Lehigh's Kevin Cassese is slated to co-mentor the South team with Towson's Shawn Nadelen. Cassese was also a head coach in the contest in 2009, which started the current four-year run of at least one League coach appearing on the sidelines in the game. Former Colgate head coach Jim Nagle was involved in the 2010 contest, while former Lafayette coach Terry Mangan was on the sideline last year.

Patriot League NCAA Quarterfinal Preview

PPL Park; Chester, Pa. • Sunday, 2:30 p.m.
Series: Duke, 6-2 TV: ESPNU (Eaman McAnaney, Quint Kessenich, Paul Calcaterra)
Streak: Duke, Four Wins Last Meeting: Duke, 9-8 (2.20.2009)
Last Colgate Win: 19-0 (4.5.1960) NCAA Tournament Series: First Meeting
All-Time Series (all games in Durham, N.C.)
1956 - Colgate, 7-6
1957 - Duke, 5-3
1958 - Duke, 6-4
1960 - Colgate, 19-0
1995 - Duke, 19-5
1999 - Duke, 21-10
2008 - Duke, 15-7
2009 - Duke, 9-8

COLGATE Junior attackman Peter Baum continues to re-write the Patriot League record book everytime he scores or sets up a teammate ... The Tewaaraton Award finalist has recorded League and Colgate single-season records for goals (66) and points (96), and he's four points away from becoming the first player in Division I with 100 since John Grant of Delaware had 110 in 1999 ... Baum's 129 career goals already place him third on the League's all-time list, one behind second and eight shy of the record of 138 held by Bucknell's Justin Zackey (1991-94) ... Chris Zielinski was one of five Raiders to tally two goals in Saturday's 13-11 victory at UMass ... They were just his fifth and sixth goals of the year, and his second of the contest stood as the game-winner in the fourth quarter ... Colgate kept pace with UMass with several offensive runs, scoring three in a row to cut a 7-2 deficit to 7-5 and four straight to tie the game at 9-9 before tallying three of the game's last four to win by two ... Colgate outscored the Minutemen 11-4 over the game's final 35:31 ... Eight different players scored Saturday, as the Raiders finished with a 46-37 edge in shots ... Colgate remains second in the nation averaging 13.53 goals per game, while its man-up offense is now third at 49.2 percent ... The Raiders' 14 wins are a school record, besting the previous mark of 11 reached five times (1964, 2006-08, 2011) ... Colgate is one of seven Patriot League teams to earn an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament, and fifth since the League champion secured an automatic bid beginning in 2000 ... Duke is 15-1 all-time against Patriot League teams (since 1991) ... Both of Colgate's victories against the Blue Devils came before the Patriot League began play in 1991 ... Duke's only loss to a League team in the League era was a 13-7 defeat at Army May 8, 2004 ... Colgate is seeking its third straight victory against an ACC team, as it has defeated Maryland in both 2011 and 2012 ... The Blue Devils own three all-time wins over Patriot League teams in the NCAA Tournament, beating Hobart twice (13-1, 2000 First Round; 22-6, 2002 First Round) and Navy once (14-5, 2009 First Round) ... The Raiders are one of three unseeded teams to make the NCAA Quarterfinals, joining Denver and Maryland.

LOOKING FORWARD If Colgate pulls off another victory against a seeded team, the Raiders will advance to the national semifinals Saturday, May 26 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. ... The Colgate-Duke winner takes on the winner between No. 2 Johns Hopkins and Maryland, which takes place Saturday in Annapolis, Md. ... Should Colgate advance, it would become the second Patriot League team to advance to the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Semifinals and first since Navy in 2004 ... That year the Mids advanced all the way to the national championship, where they fell 14-13 to Syracuse.