The Bryant Bulldogs (8-10) earned its first-ever automatic bid to the NCAA lacrosse tournament when it defeated Robert Morris, 14-7, in the Northeast Conference final Saturday afternoon.
In six, short years, Bryant head coach Mike Pressler has his team in the big show and will play the overall No. 1 seed Syracuse (13-3) on Sunday, May 12, at 7:30 p.m. on ESPNU.
The best word to describe the Bulldogs is balanced. The team is a solid mix of veteran and underclassmen talent that can get it done on both ends of the field.
Offense: Bryant has the top face off specialist in the country in Kevin Massa. The sophomore is 293-for-411 (71 percent).
Syracuse is 48th in the country at 46 percent.
Watching Bryant's highlight reel against Stony Brook, Albany, Harvard and Providence, it seems as though Massa gets extremely low to the ground and uses his strength to out-muscle the opposing team's player to pop it out to himself. The sophomore has 223 ground balls on the season.
The offense, in general, is lead by junior colin Dunster's 31 goals. He is tied in points (45) alongside his teammate, sophomore Shane Morrell.
While there is some uncertainty on my part in regards to what offensive sets the team runs, it's evident that the Bulldogs offense is mostly controlled by screens from the top and behind the cage. Ultimately, the team is looking for one-on-one opportunities or to dish it off to one of its teammates.
Defense: In regards to scoring defense, Bryant is in the Top 20 and ranked No. 17 in the country giving up roughly nine goals a game.
Syracuse, meanwhile, is No. 15 and allowing 8.88 goals per game.
Long stick midfielder, Mason Poli, has 14 goals and eight assists on the season. Again, watching the highlights , the senior is extremely athletic and not afraid to take it the length of the field to score. Poli has the ability to find the open cutter, too, in the offensive end.
Junior defender Matt Macgrotty also anchors this defense. He has 27 caused turnovers on the year and offers another option in transition.
Ground ball battle goes to senior defender Glenn Majoran. He leads the team with 60.
Head coach Mike Pressler: Pressler has been at the Bryant helm since 2006 and is regarded as one of the sharpest lacrosse minds in the game.
Before Duke head coach John Danowski, there was Pressler. He spent 16 years on Tobacco Road and compiled a 153-82 overall record and essentially had the Blue Devils up on the upswing.
Pressler also makes a name for himself on the recruiting trail.
Lacrosse Notebook: Scouting Bryant
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