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NCAA Division I tournament quarterfinal preview: Denver vs. Albany

Denver (13-3) vs. No. 2 seed Albany (15-2)

When: Saturday, 2:30 p.m.

Where: Hofstra University, Hempstead, N.Y.

Coaches: Bill Tierney, Denver; Scott Marr, Albany

Players to Watch: Trevor Baptiste, senior, faceoff specialist, Denver; Connor Fields, senior, attackman, Albany

Outlook: The Pioneers have not lost in three meetings with the Great Danes, including a 19-14 shootout in an NCAA tournament first-round game in 2013. The matchup to watch pits Baptiste, the NCAA’s all-time leader in faceoff wins (1,143), against sophomore TD Ierlan, who leads the nation this spring in faceoff percentage (.834), total ground balls (240) and ground balls per game (14.1). The attack duo of sophomore Ethan Walker and junior Austin French paces Denver’s offense with at least 60 points each. But Albany boasts a pair of 78-point scorers in Fields and freshman attackman Tehoka Nanticoke. The Great Danes want to run, but if Baptiste gains the edge, the Pioneers will control the tempo.

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