UVM face-off ace Burke key to Cat hopes for NCAA win
Sophomore Tommy Burke is one of the nation’s best in the face-off circle.
BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The UVM men’s lacrosse team continues its preparations for Sunday’s NCAA first round matchups with third overall seed Maryland. The Terrapins are the second highest scoring team in the country, and the key to slowing down any high powered offense is not letting them have the ball.
That’s a spot where Vermont may just have an advantage in sophomore face-off specialist Tommy Burke. Burke, a first team all-America East selection, ranks third in the country in face-off win percentage, at 72 percent, meaning, almost three out of every four times in a game that there is a restart after a goal, Burke is winning the draw and getting the Catamounts the ball.
Winning possession, and keeping the ball away from the Terps, will likely be key for the Cats to have a chance at victory on Sunday.
Only one Maryland player ranks in the top 40 nationally in face-off win percentage. Vermont coach Chris Feifs, while saying he had complete confidence in Burke, added that those numbers don’t tell the whole story.
“They (Maryland) have some of the top face-off recruits in the country.”, said Feifs. “They have a multiple headed monster there, so he’s going to have to really handle heavy, heavy pressure from multiple players who are very battle tested and probably more veteran than him.
But there’s not another guy I would pick to go against that monster than Tommy. He’s very, very steady, he’s unflappable when it comes to playing against great competition and he’s a guy that I know is capable of really jumpstarting our team.”
The UVM men’s lacrosse team faces the third overall seed, Maryland, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Sunday at 2:30pm in College Park, Md.
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