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College Sports: Trio of Local Teams in Men’s Lacrosse Tourney Field

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(Univ. of Del. Blue Hens.  File photo provided)

(Univ. of Del. Blue Hens. File photo provided)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The sixteen-team field for the 2011 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Tournament has been released, and local fans have plenty of options to root for.

The University of Delaware, the University of Pennsylvania, and Villanova all are preparing for first-round matchups this weekend, all three schools taking to the road to open things up.

The Blue Hens, champions of the CAA (above), got a tough draw in the first round, facing off against defending national champion Duke on Saturday.

“They’ve got a lot of talented players, very athletic team,” says Delaware head coach Bob Shillinglaw.  “Big, strong, fast — they’ve got all the ingredients.  They can finish their shots, so it’s going to be a major task for us.  But we’re looking forward to it and we feel confident that we can definitely give them a run for the money.”

Hear Matt Leon’s full interview with Bob Shillinglaw in this CBS Philly SportsPod…

This will be Delaware’s sixth NCAA Tournament appearance.  They bring an 11-6 record into the tournament; Duke is 12-5.

Penn brings an 8-5 mark to the tourney as they head to Notre Dame on Saturday.  The Quakers earned an at-large bid as they make their eleventh all-time appearance in the tournament.

Penn head coach Mike Murphy says the Fighting Irish present a lot of challenges.

“Very cohesive unit on defense, very sound fundamentally,” Murphy told KYW Newsradio.  “And the same thing on offense: kind of creative and kind of selfless at the offensive end, with two real lead guys in the midfield.  (Senior David) Earl and (senior Earl) Brenneman are physically imposing, fast, athletic, and can really shoot the ball.  So we need to try and slow them down a little bit, keep them from taking over the game.”

Hear Matt Leon’s full interview with Mike Murphy in this CBS Philly SportsPod…

The Quakers are making their first tournament appearance since 2006, and this will be their first meeting with Notre Dame since 2003.

The Villanova Wildcats will be making their second appearance in the tournament when they start things off on Sunday at the University of Denver.   The Wildcats also earned an at-large bid to the tourney — they were actually the final at-large team unveiled during the selection show, leading to a few “white knuckle” moments for head coach Mike Corrado.

“We thought we had a real good opportunity to get in, and then as it progressed and progressed and all of a sudden you are down to that last at-large bid, we were pretty nervous,” Corrado recalls.  “But I can tell you, when it was announced, a lot of kids were jumping up and down and very excited.”

Hear Matt Leon’s interview with Mike Corrado in this CBS Philly SportsPod…

Villanova brings an 11-4 record into Sunday’s game, and they will also become a little piece of history.  This game at Denver will be the first in NCAA Tournament in history played west of the Mississippi River.

Reported by Matt Leon, KYW Newsradio 1060

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