Women’s lacrosse NCAA tournament 2016: Breaking down the field

first_img Related Stories Syracuse women’s lacrosse won’t host 1st weekend of NCAA tournament due to lack of available hotel roomsSyracuse women’s lacrosse earns No. 4 seed in NCAA tournament and will face Boston College or Stony Brook on SundayTaylor Cummings, Maryland send Syracuse to 10-8 loss in NCAA tournament semifinalsNo. 1 Maryland still has Syracuse’s number, this time in 14-9 win Published on May 10, 2016 at 3:30 am With the women’s lacrosse NCAA tournament bracket released on Sunday night, The Daily Orange’s women’s lacrosse beat writers broke down what to watch for heading into the tournament. Syracuse (17-5, 5-2 Atlantic Coast) earned a No. 4 seed and will face the winner of Boston College and Stony Brook on Sunday. Here’s how our beat writers broke down the field.Most exciting first-round matchup: Northwestern vs. LouisvilleBoth these teams finished the season ranked in the top 13. Northwestern actually started the season ranked within the top five, but suffered some tough early season losses, including an embarrassing 17-4 loss to Maryland at the end of March. But the Wildcats improved in the Big Ten tournament, making it to the title game and competing with Maryland, losing by only three. Meanwhile, Louisville followed a five-game winning streak with a four-game losing streak coming into the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats sport a top-20 offense in goals scored and the Cardinals have a top-20 defense. The difference in the game could be Kaylin Morissette, who ranks second in the country with 8.8 draw controls per game. — Tomer LangerSleeper pick: Towson (15-3, 5-1 Colonial Athletic)AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Tigers have the fifth best defense in the country, giving up just 6.6 goals per game. Earlier in the season they won games against then-No. 19 Loyola and then-No. 19 Johns Hopkins, allowing only five and four goals in each game. In a game against No. 16 Penn, the Tigers lost a 7-4 game. If Towson wins its first round matchup with Old Dominion (and if Penn beats Wagner) then the two teams could meet up again in the second round. The problem for Towson is scoring, but if the defense clamps down and and the offense gets just enough, the Tigers could make a run. — Tomer LangerHigh seed most likely to lose early on: No. 6 seed Notre Dame (13-6, 4-3 Atlantic Coast)The Fighting Irish is the only team in the tournament that has a bye and previous losses to both teams it could face. UND fell to Louisville, 10-9, in double-overtime in early March, but pounded teams by a total score of 76-27 over its next four games. At the time, Notre Dame was riding high and ranked No. 2, but then suffered a 12-11 setback at home to Syracuse. A tailspin ensued, UND lost four of its last seven games, including a 17-12 whooping at Northwestern, its other potential matchup. The Fighting Irish led for five minutes until the Wildcats ripped off nine of the next ten goals. UND should be on high alert for its next opponent, no matter which team it may be. — Sam FortierCourtesy of the ACCMatchup you’d most like to see: No. 4 seed Syracuse vs. No. 1 seed Maryland in Final FourThink about all that’s stake in this hypothetical national semifinal. It has two of the sport’s best players, coaches and programs. Can Syracuse, for the first time in four years, overcome Maryland’s dominance? Does Cathy Reese have another trick in the bag to beat Gary Gait? Will Taylor Cummings frustrate her foil, Kayla Treanor, one last time? Can Treanor breakthrough and rewrite her legacy? Will Syracuse’s senior class — ranked No. 1 when it arrived on campus — make good on promise? When two of lacrosse’s most historic programs matchup, especially ones with this much recent history against one another, it takes on an importance transcendent even if it’s just the semifinal. — Sam FortierLogan Reidsma | Senior Staff PhotographerTournament MVP: Taylor Cummings, MarylandBarring a next-level tournament performance from Syracuse’s Treanor, two-time Tewaaraton Award winner Taylor Cummings should be widely considered the best player in the field. Maryland’s versatile, two-way midfielder hasn’t disappointed in her senior campaign, notching 124 draw controls, 67 points, 57 ground balls and 43 caused turnovers while ranking fourth in Division I with 6.5 draw controls per game. A front-runner to repeat with her third straight Tewaaraton Award, Cummings has been her best against the top teams in the tournament. With six goals, eight ground balls, 10 draw controls and six caused turnovers in wins over Syracuse, North Carolina and Florida — all which ranked in the top four at the time — Cummings has given the undefeated Terrapins a great chance at a third-straight title. — Liam SullivanTeam to beat: No. 1 seed Maryland (19-0, 5-0 Big Ten)Undefeated No. 1 Maryland  has taken home the last two titles and looks primed to once more. A tough out-of-conference schedule featuring a 14-9 win over then-No. 3 Syracuse, an 8-7 win over then-No.4 North Carolina and an impressive 14-4 victory against then-No. 2 Florida has prepared the Terrapins for tournament play. There are no guarantees, especially in the NCAA tournament, but Maryland is certainly the favorite and the closest to a sure thing the field of 26 has to offer. — Liam Sullivan Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img