W. Lax Visits Syracuse for Tournament Tune-Up

#2 Penn at #7 Syracuse
Sunday, May 6 - 1 p.m.

Game notes in PDF format
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Is the NCAA tournament starting a week early? It might seem so as a pair of conference champions and top-10 teams meet on the final day of the regular season. Penn, the Ivy League champions, will try to lock up an NCAA top-four seed with a win, while Syracuse, winners of the BIG EAST tournament, is looking to further improve its NCAA seed.

Tournament Preview?
Both Penn and Syracuse are possible seeded teams in the NCAA tournament, with the Quakers coming in ranked second and Syracuse seventh. Penn owns the nation’s fifth-best RPI and 10th-best strength of schedule, while Syracuse has the 13th-best RPI and 20th-best SOS.

Sowing Seeds
The Penn-Syracuse game is a critical one for both teams in terms of NCAA tournament seedings. Both sides are already in the tournament; Penn won the Ivy League’s automatic bid with a 7-0 League record while Syracuse won the BIG EAST tournament at home to get in. For the Quakers, a win could mean an NCAA top-four seed, which would essentially give them home-field advantage throughout the tournament since the semifinals and final are being held at Franklin Field. For the Orange, who are ranked seventh in the nation, a win would all but assure them of at least a first-round home game, if not a second-round game as well.

Selection Monday
The NCAA field of 16 will be unveiled on Monday, May 7 at 8 p.m. during a webcast on ncaasports.com.

Renna Named Tewaaraton Nominee
Last week, sophomore defender Hilary Renna was named one of 17 nominees for the Tewaaraton Award, the honor given to college lacrosse's best player. Renna is the first Tewaaraton nominee in program history and one of three Ivy players on the shortlist. The list will be winnowed down to five finalists, and the winner will be announced on May 30. A speedy defender, Renna has been charged with guarding some of the nation's most dangerous attackers as she held Yale's Lauren Taylor and Johns Hopkins' Mary Key, the two leading scorers in the nation, to just a goal each. Renna has twice been named the Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week this season.

Super Sunday
There are only three non-tournament games taking place on the final day of the regular season, and all involve nationally-prominent teams. In addition to Penn-Syracuse, Georgetown goes to Princeton and Dartmouth heads south to Duke. In tournament play, the ALC, Atlantic-10, America East and CAA will all hold their championship games Sunday.

The NCAA Field
Penn and Syracuse are two of three teams to have already earned automatic bids heading into the weekend. Holy Cross, the Patriot League champion, is the third. Several conferences will crown champions and hand out NCAA bids on Sunday, including the ALC, the Atlantic-10, the America East and the CAA.

A Season For the Record Books
At 13-1, Penn has won the most games in a season in program history despite still having at least two games left. The Quakers ran the table in the Ivy League, going 7-0 for the first-time ever.

Penn has won its last 10 in a row, the longest win streak in program history. The win at Brown broke a 25-year old record of nine games in a row set during Penn’s 1982 Ivy League championship campaign.

In the Rankings
For the second week in a row, Penn is ranked second in the nation in this week’s STX/IWLCA coaches’ poll. The ranking is the highest in the history of the poll dating back to 1988. The Quakers are also ranked third in the InsideLacrosse media poll. Penn began the season ranked 20th in the coaches’ and 18th in media poll.

Moving On Up
A trio of Quakers are marking their spots in the program’s record book. Chrissy Muller has 66 career assists and has tied Lisa Romig for second place all-time. Muller is also fourth with 139 career points and seventh in career goals with 77. Meanwhile, junior Rachel Manson is also moving up the goals list with her 76 career tallies, good for eighth.

Manson Nears the Century Mark
Rachel Manson, with 96 career points, is just four away from 100 for her career. She would be the 13th player in program history to reach the century mark. Interestingly, if she could manage to do it at Syracuse, it would be the second year in a row that a Penn player achieved the mark in the Carrier Dome - Chrissy Muller did it last year with a goal in the second half.

Defense Wins Championships
Penn’s defense has been a major component of its success this year. The Quakers backline, along with goalkeeper Sarah Waxman, have held opponents to just 6.21 goals per game, second-best in the country. Penn has allowed 10 or more goals only twice this year and has held its opponent to five or fewer a remarkable seven times in 14 games. Twice the Quaker D has worked shutouts in the first half (at Harvard, 10-0, and at Brown, 3-0).

Defending the Player of the Week
Just how good has the Penn defense been? It has been reflected in the Ivy League’s weekly awards as Penn players have picked up Ivy League Defensive Player of the Week honors five times this year out of nine weeks,includingthree of four until last week when the Quakers were idle. Hilary Renna and Sarah Waxman have each earned the honor twice, while Becca Edwards won it on April 16.

Waxman Among National Leaders
Goalie Sarah Waxman is second in the nation behind Northwestern’s Morgan Lathrop with a 6.03 goals-against average. Waxman is also fifth in the country in save percentage with a .547 mark.

Not Bad for a Rookie
When freshman Ali DeLuca scored three goals and an assist in her collegiate debut against Drexel back on Feb. 24, the future looked bright for the middie. DeLuca has not disappointed since, racking up 29 goals and seven assists and establishing herself as a top candidate for Ivy League rookie of the year and national rookie of the year honors. DeLuca is two goals away from tying the Penn freshman goals record of 31 set by all-time leading scorer Sherry Marcantonio in 1980 and her 36 points are third on the team behind Rachel Manson and Chrissy Muller’s 38 points each.

Noting Syracuse
Syracuse won its first-ever BIG EAST crown last weekend, ending Georgetown’s stranglehold on the conference with a 12-7 win over the Hoyas in the final ... Attackers Katie Rowan and Halley Quillinan each notched hat tricks for the Orange while goalie Amber Pardee-Hill had a huge 13-save performance ... Syracuse has one of the nation’s most high-powered offenses, averaging 15.72 goals per game while holding opponents to 9.25 gpg ... The Orange are more than happy to help each other, notching 100 assists this year, with Jill DePetris leading the team with 28 helpers and Rowan recording 23 ... Physical play is one of the team’s trademarks; the Orange have drawn 300 fouls (compared to Penn’s 231) this season.

Visiting the Dome
Penn is one of the few teams to have beaten the Orange in the Carrier Dome in recent years. Syracuse is 62-16 all-time in the Dome, including an impressive 23-5 mark over the last three seasons.

There’s No Place Like Home
The Quakers finished their regular season home slate with a perfect 7-0 record. Penn has not lost at Franklin Field since March 29, 2006, when it fell to then-No. 3 Johns Hopkins, 12-9, giving it an 11-game home win streak.

Next Time Out
Penn will learn its NCAA fate on Monday, but all signs point to a likely first-round home game on May 13. Due to graduation at Franklin Field, any first-round game at Penn would take place at Rhodes Field, the Quakers’ soccer stadium.

Download: wlax notes syracuse.pdf