College lacrosse: 2017 NCAA tournament first round by the numbers
Sixteen teams, eight games, 178 goals, one weekend. The first round of the 2017 NCAA tournament is in the books, with eight teams moving on to the quarterfinals set for this weekend.
We looked back at the 32 quarters of lacrosse played in the first round for nine stats that tell the story of the opening weekend of the NCAA tournament:
0 — Number of reigning national champions still in the field. North Carolina — the 2016 champs — had a roller coaster of a regular season, going just 8-7, but racking up wins over Denver, Syracuse, and Notre Dame, the latter of which also won the Tar Heels the ACC championship. But its title defense came to an end in its first-round game against 8-seed Albany. The Great Danes jumped out to a 14-3 lead at halftime, and though UNC would mount an impressive 9-1 comeback attempt, it would ultimately fall short, with Albany winning 15-12.
5 – Average goal differential in the first round. Last year’s average margin of victory was 4.35 goals throughout the tournament, with an average score of 13.59-9.24. Through the first round, this year’s final tallies are slightly more distant at 13.63-8.63, though we still have seven games to play.
4 — Games decided by three or fewer goals. Ohio State survived Loyola Maryland in the lowest-scoring game of the first round, 7-4, UNC fell to Albany 15-12, and a goal with 2:09 left in regulation lifted Syracuse to an 11-10 win over Yale.
2 — Games decided by seven or more goals. Air Force struck first against Denver, but the Pioneers took a 6-3 halftime lead and ran with it all the way to a 17-10 final in what tied with Albany-UNC for the highest-scoring game of the first round. But the highest total belongs to Duke, which trailed 2-0 early against Johns Hopkins before outscoring the Blue Jays 13-3 over the final three quarters for a 19-6 win.
10 — Points scored by Duke’s Justin Guterding, the most of any single player. The junior attacker had four goals on eight shots to accompany six assists in the Blue Devils’ 19-6 shellacking of Johns Hopkins. The runner-up for the first round was Maryland’s Matt Rambo, who netted two goals and also piled on six assists as the Terps took down Bryant 13-10. In total, 60 different players scored double digit points in the first round, while 11 managed five or more. Of those 11, three were from Albany — Adam Osika, Bennett Drake and Connor Fields all had five — the most of any school. In addition, four players tied for the lead in goals (Notre Dame’s Brendan Gleason, North Carolina Chris Cloutier, Maryland’s Tim Rotanz, and Albany’s Bennett Drake all had five), but no players had more than Guterding and Rambo’s six assists. If things go well for Guterding and Duke, the junior will have three more games to try to break the all-time record of 25 points in a tournament, held by Eamon McEneaney and Tim Goldstein, both of Cornell.
11 — Players who recorded a point for Duke, the most for any team in the first round. It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the team with the most goals had the most stacked box score. Five of Duke’s players ended with three or more points, and 10 different players notched at least one goal in the game.
75 percent – Save percentage for Ohio State’s Tom Carey, who racked up 12 saves on 16 shots on goal in the Buckeyes’ 7-4 win over Loyola Maryland. Of the 20 goalies who faced more than two shots in the first round, the average save percentage was just 42 percent. Syracuse’s Evan Molloy came in second place in the category, stopping 15 of Yale’s 25 shots on goal (60 percent). And even though his team would be upset 12-8 by Towson, Penn State’s Colby Kneese had a tournament-high 16 saves on 28 shots (57.1 percent). Kneese still had a long way to go to break the tournament record of 30 saves in a game, held by Maryland’s Steve Kavovit.
66 seconds – Time it took for Johns Hopkins to score the first goal against Duke, the shortest time between the opening faceoff and a score in the first round. Senior John Crawley netted his 20th of the season with 13:54 left in the first quarter, and the Blue Jays would go up 2-0 just two minutes later, but Duke closed out the quarter on a 6-1 run, finished the half on a 12-3 run, and won the game by a whopping 13 goals.
7 — Games left to decide the national champion.