College Lacrosse

Previewing the men's lacrosse semifinal matchups

Saturday's Division I semifinals

(at M&T Bank Stadium)


No. 1 seed Duke (15-3)

Coach: John Danowski (eighth season at Duke, 126-32 record)


Leading scorer: Jordan Wolf (59 goals, 33 assists)

Goalie: Luke Aaron (9.82 goals-against average, .518 save percentage)

No. 5 seed Denver (16-2)

Coach: Bill Tierney (fifth season at Denver, 66-22 record)

Leading scorer: Wesley Berg (42 goals, 18 assists)

Goalie: Ryan LaPlante (8.38 goals-against average, .579 save percentage)

When Duke has the ball: The Blue Devils rank second in Division I in scoring, averaging 15.1 goals. The offense has struck a balance between an attack paced by Wolf (59 goals and 33 assists) and a midfield led by sophomore Deemer Class (33, 27). Junior Kyle Keenan (19, 9) will shift from the second midfield to replace senior attackman Josh Dionne (49, 7), who is out with a right knee injury, but Keenan is not the sniper that Dionne is.

When Denver has the ball: The Pioneers are nearly has prolific as Duke, scoring 13.2 goals per game. Five different players have at least 22 goals, and six have 31 points or more. Berg is the finisher, but sophomore Jack Bobzien, a Hartford transfer who has 39 goals and 21 assists, is the primary threat from behind the net. Denver likes to spin the ball around and pounce when an opponent blinks.


Matchup to watch: Tierney is a defensive guru, so it should be interesting to see the game plan he crafts against the Blue Devils. Assigning close defensemen to Wolf and sophomore attackman Case Matheis (23, 18) is a given, but will the Pioneers put two defensemen on Class and sophomore midfielder Myles Jones (33, 24)? What about senior midfielder Christian Walsh (20, 22)?

No. 6 seed Notre Dame (11-5)

Coach: Kevin Corrigan (26th season at Notre Dame, 252-119 record)

Leading scorer: Matt Kavanagh (35 goals, 30 assists)

Goalie: Conor Kelly (10.70 goals-against average, .480 save percentage)

No. 7 seed Maryland (13-3)


Coach: John Tillman (fourth season at Maryland, 48-18 record)

Leading scorer: Mike Chanenchuk (35 goals, 22 assists)

Goalie: Niko Amato (7.23 goals-against average, .566 save percentage)

When Notre Dame has the ball: With a defense surrendering an uncharacteristic 9.7 goals per game, the Fighting Irish have turned to an evolving offense averaging 12.1 goals. Kavanagh is the first player in program history to record 30 goals and 30 assists in a season, and he has been aided by junior attackman Conor Doyle (30, 15) and freshman midfielder Sergio Perkovic (23, 4). Junior short-stick defensive midfielder Jack Near has a career-high six-game point streak.

When Maryland has the ball: The Terps have scored 11.7 goals per game, relying on attackman-midfielder Chanenchuk to quarterback the unit. Five more players have scored at least 15 goals, including a pair of freshman attackmen in Matt Rambo (30, 6) and Connor Cannizzaro (25, 8). Junior attackman Jay Carlson (25, 5) gave the offense an inside presence against Bryant last week, but Maryland could opt to shift Chanenchuk back to attack.

Matchup to watch: Pay attention to the faceoff battle between Terps junior Charlie Raffa (67.8 percent on 183-of-270 and 108 ground balls) and Fighting Irish senior Liam O'Connor (59.9 percent on 193-of-322 and 117 ground balls). Raffa won 88.2 percent (15-of-17) of his draws against O'Connor in two previous meetings but is battling a nagging right knee injury.