Let's review: WE WILL NOT BE PLAYING BRYANT AND MIKE PRESSLER WILL HAVE TO BUY A TICKET TO GET INTO THE DOME THIS YEAR. (Totally unrelated, if you haven't seen the 60 minutes on Pressler that came out a few weeks ago, it's definitely worth a watch. Lot of respect for him.)
So who is Marist? It's actually kind of a tough question to answer due the lack of available tape up on the interweb, but let's give it a shot...
Where is Marist? Downstate.
What conference do they play in? The MAAC.
Have we ever played Marist? No.
Has this team ever made the Tourney? Yes, Marist made it in 2005 and got smoked by the Hop.
Do they have a fan bus coming to the Dome? Yes. Ugghh.
And this may be my new favorite song (just kidding I hate it)...oh and here are some highlights:
The leading scorer for the Red Foxes is Joseph Radin. He has a crazy 51 goals and 17 assists in 2015, bringing him to 148 career points. Sophomore J.D. Recor is the leading assist man on Marist with 40. Recor also has 28 goals on the year and has the best shooting percentage on the team. The final attackman is Colin Joka, a senior out of Conshohocken, PA. Joka is the second leading scorer on the team with 40 goals.
The Orange will be going against one of the best man-up offenses on Sunday. Marist is third in the nation scoring on .545 of its EMOs. Additionally, the Red Foxes score 12.13 goals per game, thirteenth in the country and put up over 19 points a game (meaning they get a lot of assists and they pass the ball around quite a lot). That being said, with one of the highest scoring margins in division I, this team hasn't exactly been playing ACC caliber opponents. Expect to see a lot of quick passes and probably some patient offense; the crease defender should be ready as I think you will see a lot of passing attempts through the middle of the box.
All three of the starting midfielders have earned first team All-MAAC honors. The first midfield line for the Red Foxes is comprised of three seniors. Michael Beagley and Drew Nesmith are a solid scoring duo on that first line. Beagley has 26 goals and 16 assists while Nesmith has picked up 27 goals and 10 assists. One interesting note about Nesmith is he has 115 shots on the year and just a .235 shooting percentage and a .487 shots on goal percentage; that is not good...at all. As for Beagley, he has a pretty fast shot and has snatched 61 groundballs but given up 36 turnovers. All-MAAC long-stick midfielder, Patrick Eaker also plays on that starting line. The three-time MAAC LSM of the Year has had 45 groundballs this year along with 16 caused turnovers. Eaker also has 11 penalty minutes this season and scored his only goal of the year this week against Bryant.
At the faceoff X, Marist has gone with primarily one guy, Dominic Montemurro, the MAAC Faceoff Specialist of the Year. The junior has put together a .543 faceoff winning percentage with 208 wins on the year. Against Bryant's Kevin Massa, the fourth best faceoff player in the nation, Montemurro took 7 of 20. In comparison, Massa went 14-23 against Chris Daddio last year in the NCAAT.
Beyond the fact that we have a new look at the faceoff x, I don't think this will be another Bryant/Army scenario because of the young, inexperienced Marist defense. The only defenseman with any sort of significant experience coming into this season is Karl Kreshpane. The senior started all 14 games last season and grabbed 15 groundballs and eight caused turnovers this year. Next up is sophomore Frankie Brier. The Smithtown, NY native started just three games last year and somehow made second team All-MAAC. He may be the most talented close defender in the group and has 17 groundballs and nine caused turnovers. Freshman Brett Osman rounds out the group with 22 groundballs and 10 caused turnovers.
Dave Scarcello has dominated this season. The senior is a three-year starter and has a 7.79 goals against average and a .587 save percentage. From what I've seen of Scarcello the Orange may find some success going off-stick side high. In addition I didn't particularly like his positioning on the arc as the ball rotated around the box; look for opportunities on the run.
The Syracuse Orange will take on the Marist Red Foxes in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The game will take place on Sunday at 7:30 pm, and can be seen on ESPNU and heard on WTKW 99.5 FM. Of course you can also follow me @Orangelax for updates throughout the game.