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February 27, 2009

Maryland's Brian Farrell out this weekend

Terps coach Dave Cottle confirmed this morning an earlier report that junior defenseman Brian Farrell will not play in No. 8 Maryland's game against No. 14 Duke in the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium tomorrow after a chest injury worsened yesterday.

Cottle said that Farrell, whose status was first reported by Insidelacrosse.com, was admitted to the University of Maryland Medical Center and had two liters of fluid drained from his lungs. Farrell, who stayed at the hospital last night, is expected to remain there until Saturday at the earliest.

Farrell, who suffered what Cottle called a "sternum/rib injury" in the Terps' 15-4 win against Air Force Feb. 14, played in Saturday's 13-10 loss to Georgetown, but his condition began to worsen on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"When we were running sprints, he couldn't do them," Cottle said. "He couldn't catch his breath, and that's when we knew something was wrong."

Cottle declined to speculate as to when Farrell might return to the team, saying, "That's more of a doctor's call than mine. I don't think it's a season-ending injury, but depending on where the tube went into his chest to drain him, an infection could be a question mark. So that will depend on how quickly he comes back and how soon everything heals."

The 6-foot-5, 240-pound Farrell has started all three games this season and has registered three points on two goals and an assist. He is tied for second on the team in caused turnovers (four) and tied for third in groundballs (nine).

Cottle said 6-4, 190-pound junior Dan Halayko will likely replace Farrell in the starting lineup against the Blue Devils tomorrow.

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:53 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Maryland
        

February 26, 2009

Duke vs. Maryland: Three things to watch

The No. 14 Blue Devils and No. 8 Terps open the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule with Saturday’s contest at the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium. Here are some game developments that interest me:

1) Both teams want to hang onto the ball and keep it away from the opposing offense, and one way of accomplishing that is winning face-offs. Blue Devils senior Sam Payton has not picked up where he left off last season when he ranked seventh in the country with a .593 percentage. He is 20 of 39, but he won 14 of 19 in Duke’s 15-7 win March 1. On the flip side, Maryland junior Bryn Holmes has been great, claiming 35 of 43 face-offs. But he went just 9 of 19 last year. "He’s dynamite," Blue Devils coach John Danowski said of Holmes. "Those numbers are startling. Sam is gaining experience. He missed a couple weeks of preseason, so he’s getting himself in shape. He’s the guy now who’s taking a lot of draws for us."

2) I’ll have more in tomorrow’s paper on the match-up problems the Terps’ Will Yeatman and Grant Catalino pose on opposing defenses. But as imposing as the 6-foot-6, 260-pound Yeatman and 6-5, 220-pound Catalino are, Duke is no slouch defensively. Senior Ryan McFadyen is 6-6 and 245 pounds, sophomore Tommy Montelli is 6-4 and 215 pounds, junior Parker McKee is 6-2 and 215 pounds, and sophomore Mike Manley is 6-1 and 200 pounds. So Manley barely paused when asked about tackling Yeatman and Catalino. "It doesn’t change anything," he said. "We know our personnel, we know what we’re doing on the defensive end, and we know what we need to do. It doesn’t change anything for us just because they have a 6-foot-5 guy or a 6-foot-6 guy. That doesn’t intimidate us one bit."

3) Both teams are coming off disappointing setbacks: Maryland to Georgetown and Duke to Harvard. And both teams could use a victory before embarking through the meat of their schedules. But if you’re looking for depressed attitudes, you’re looking in the wrong place. "Sometimes it’s good for a team to have some adversity thrown at them early in the season, get a taste of what real life is like," Yeatman said. "So I think although it’s unfortunate that we didn’t come out with the ‘W’, it could help us out in the long run." Said Manley: "Is this a sign of the end of Duke? Not at all. It’s an upset, but we’ll go back to the drawing board and figure things out."

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:37 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland, Three things to watch
        

Princeton vs. Johns Hopkins: Three things to watch

When the No. 4 Blue Jays and No. 19 Tigers meet Saturday at noon in the first game of the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium, Johns Hopkins will try to win for the seventh time in the last eight meetings between these programs. Here are a few factors to look for:

1) Princeton walloped Canisius, 14-6, in the season opener for both teams Saturday, but the Tigers launched 60 shots. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but senior midfielder Mark Kovler shot just 1 of 13, and junior midfielder Scott MacKenzie went 1 of 8. Coach Bill Tierney pointed out that Princeton must be much more efficient against the Blue Jays’ stingy defense. "I learned that we can’t hit the broad side of a barn without a snow shovel with our shots," Tierney joked before turning serious. "I think the kids executed pretty well, but we didn’t shoot very well. The Canisius goalie played very well, but in a game, to miss 46 times, that’s usually our average number of shots. So we learned that we’ve got guys willing to let it fly. Now the idea is to try to get a few more on goal."

2) Blessed with two talented goalkeepers in junior Nikhil Ashra and freshman Tyler Fiorito, the Tigers are going with a two-man rotation for the first time in Tierney’s career. Fiorito, a Phoenix native and McDonogh graduate, started against Canisius, and Ashra replaced Fiorito to begin the second half. Tierney won’t tip his hand as to who will get the start Saturday or if one goalie will play the entire game, but Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said the challenge is preparing for two players who don’t show up in a lot of game film. "Obviously, it worked well for Princeton this past Saturday. I thought both of their goalies played well," Pietramala said. "I think they’re both very different, and that’s probably the greatest challenge presented, that maybe just when you start to get a bead on a goalie, the next thing you know there’s a new guy in there."

3) Go ahead and count Tierney among the coaches who are breathing a sigh of relief that they don’t have to game-plan for Paul Rabil, Kevin Huntley and Stephen Peyser. But Tierney was cognizant that the Blue Jays got goals from six different players in the team’s 11-3 season-opening victory over Siena. "You’re absolutely right in thinking that they’ve got guys who are very talented and have done a lot of good things already," Tierney said. "So it is going to be spread out, which means you can’t just say, ‘If we stop Rabil or if we stop Peyser, we’re going to get a shot at winning.’ Now you’ve got eight or nine guys that can all score. It becomes a little more difficult in that you really don’t know who’s going to have the big day or who they’re going to go to in crunch time."

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Three things to watch
        

February 25, 2009

Navy's Leone, Salisbury's Berkman honored

Navy senior Geoff Leone was recognized by the Patriot League as the Defensive Player of the Week late yesterday. The short-stick defensive midfielder quarterbacks a man-down unit that has shut out Midshipmen opponents on all six extra-man opportunities this season. Last year's unit surrendered just nine goals in 35 man-down situations.

Salisbury senior Kylor Berkman was named Capital Athletic Conference Player of the Week. The two-time National Midfielder of the Year and reigning Division III Player of the Year recorded four goals and three assists in the No. 1 Sea Gulls' 18-6 rout of No. 6 Lynchburg. Berkman leads Salisbury in goals (eight), assists (eight) and points (16).

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:56 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Navy, Salisbury
        

February 24, 2009

Poillon gets America East honor

UMBC senior midfielder Peet Poillon was named the America East Conference Player of the Week for registering career highs in goals (four), assists (three) and points (seven) in the No. 5 Retrievers' 17-10 victory over Rutgers on Saturday.

Poillon, who transferred from Ohio State in July, leads the team in points (10) and assists (five). The first midfield unit of Poillon, junior Kyle Wimer (eight goals and one assist for nine points) and senior Alex Hopmann (four and one for five points) rank 1-2-3 in points for UMBC, which is attempting to open the season with three consecutive wins for the first time since 2001.  

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:33 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: UMBC
        

Face-Off Classic update

Just got off the phone with Andy Bilello, director of business development for Inside Lacrosse, which is staging this Saturday's Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium. Bilello said as of last Saturday, "well over 10,000 tickets" had been sold.

While that number may not exceed ticket sales at this point in the previous two years, Bilello said he is encouraged by the sales considering the economic climate.

"Given that people are being a lot more careful with things that they commit to, we feel good," he said. "For a lacrosse game in February, we think that speaks well. People that pay attention to this sport view this as a tradition, something that starts the year for them. We expect ticket sales to accelerate this week. Hopefully, if the weather cooperates, maybe more people will make the choice late to come out on gameday."

The first game pits No. 4 Johns Hopkins (1-0) against No. 19 Princeton (1-0) at noon, and No. 8 Maryland (2-1) and No. 14 Duke (2-1) will square off at approximately 2:30 p.m. While Johns Hopkins and Princeton are in the first year of a two-year commitment to the Face-Off Classic, Maryland and Duke have yet to make plans for 2010.

"We probably will pick those conversations up in earnest with them in May or June as the lacrosse season winds down and talk to them about what their interest is and what we can do in 2010," Bilello said. 

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:26 AM | | Comments (1)
        

February 23, 2009

Finnerty honored

I'm a few hours late, but just found an e-mail announcing that Loyola's Collin Finnerty has been named the Eastern College Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week.

The junior attackman from Garden City, N.Y., recorded his second straight four-goal, one-assist performance in the No. 16 Greyhounds' 11-8 victory over No. 20 Towson on Saturday. Finnerty leads the ECAC with 10 points on eight goals and two assists.

"Collin has really been playing with a lot of confidence lately, and that's showing in his performance," Loyola coach Charley Toomey told the team's Web site. "When he gets his hands set to shoot, he is certainly very tough to defend."

Former Gilman star and current Georgetown junior defenseman Barney Ehrmann shared Defensive Player of the Week honors with Fairfield freshman goalkeeper Charlie Cipriano. Ehrmann helped the No. 17 Hoyas upend No. 3 Maryland, 13-10, on Saturday by surrendering zero goals and zero points to Terps junior attackman Will Yeatman.

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:33 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Loyola
        

Harvard tallies first major upset of the season

Sure, Georgetown's 13-10 victory over No. 3 Maryland on Saturday was big, but the Hoyas were ranked No. 17 and not exactly unknown. And Fairfield knocking off a Delaware squad that had sleeper potential was eye-opening as well.

But Harvard's 9-6 win against No. 8 Duke yesterday was huge because 1) The Crimson was unranked; 2) yesterday's contest was Harvard's season opener, while the Blue Devils had beaten two ranked, Patriot League teams in No. 13 Colgate and No. 19 Bucknell; 3) Duke had won 21 straight at Koskinen Stadium and had been 30-1 all-time in February.

But Harvard freshman attackman Jeff Cohen recorded a hat trick and an assist in his first game, junior attackman Travis Burr scored twice and senior Max Motschwiller added a goal and two assists. The Crimson won 10-of-17 faceoffs and senior goalkeeper Joe Pike made nine saves.

"Today's win was about being prepared and executing our game plan," coach John Tillman told the team's Web site. "A bunch of guys stepped for us on offense, and we made the best of our opportunities."

The Blue Devils were outshot, 45-29, and the six goals were the fewest since May 1, 2005, when Maryland limited Duke to five goals.

"I give Harvard a lot of credit, they were very well prepared and I thought they played great," Blue Devils coach John Danowski told his team's Web site. "I’m disappointed with our inability to clear the ball in the first half. Offensively I thought we were very timid in the first half and the second half I thought we picked it up and played better, but obviously not well enough."

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:47 AM | | Comments (2)
        

February 22, 2009

Postscript from Georgetown's upset of Maryland

Prior to the No. 17 Hoyas' 13-10 victory over the No. 3 Terps yesterday, few people had any idea of what Georgetown sophomore attackman Ryan Schuler could do. What he demonstrated was impressive.

In his first career start, Schuler recorded a career-high three goals, added an assist and played a huge role in the Hoyas beginning the season on the right foot. Schuler had just three assists in 10 games last season, but when Brendan Cannon and Andrew Baird graduated, Schuler proved to coach Dave Urick that he deserved to join junior Craig Dowd and redshirt sophomore Ricky Mirabito as starters.

"We knew he was a player of the future here," Urick said. "The window of opportunity for him as an attackman wasn’t going to open up [last season]. So we felt it was important to get him some game experience, and it wasn’t a huge amount of playing time, but he played a role as a short-stick D-middie and as a regular midfielder. But he’s much more of a natural attackman."

With Maryland assigning its long-pole defensemen to Dowd, Mirabito, junior midfielder Andrew Brancaccio and senior midfielder Dan D'Agnes, Schuler took advantage of his short-stick defender, often evading his defender long enough to either take a shot or pass the ball to teammates who found better scoring opportunities.

Schuler, who tends to shy away from media attention, bolted for the team bus after the game, but Dowd praised his teammate for shedding his anonymity. "He’s not unknown to us," Dowd said. "This is his breakout game. They threw a short stick at him, thinking they’d be able to handle him, and he took advantage of that all game."

Other notes:

*Georgetown junior defenseman Barney Ehrmann limited celebrated junior transfer Will Yeatman to zero goals, zero assists and just five shots, only one of which was on net. Ehrmann's performance was even more astonishing considering that he battled a flu-like virus that sidelined him until Friday. "He didn’t practice until Friday, and what he did Friday was pretty minimal," Urick said. "I think he did fine." Said Ehrmann: "I knew all week I was going to try and play, give it my best. Adrenaline kind of takes over and once you get out there, you don’t really feel sick until afterwards."

*Terps coach Dave Cottle wasn't as alarmed about the play of goalkeepers Jason Carter and Brian Phipps as he was about the team's inability to clear the ball out of the defensive half of the field. After clearing the ball 92.3 percent of the time (39-of-42) in the first two games, Maryland cleared just 62.5 percent (10-of-16) against the Hoyas. The Terps went just 1-of-4 in the third quarter, which partially fueled Georgetown's 6-0 run that broke the game open. "We had six turnovers in the third quarter offensively," Cottle said. "We kept putting pressure on ourselves defensively, and we had three broken clears with two of those broken clears [with] wide-open guys, and they, in turn, scored two goals off of the broken clears. I just say give them credit. They had the ball, they wore us down a little bit, and they outplayed us in the fourth quarter."

*The Hoyas are just 2-7 all-time against Maryland, but they have won two of the last three meetings – both times in College Park. … Sophomore attackman Grant Catalino’s 16-game point streak is the longest among the Terps. … Maryland junior Bryn Holmes (McDonogh) won 12 of 16 face-offs and is 35-of-43 this season.

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:12 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Maryland, Postscript
        

February 20, 2009

Tewaaraton Trophy list released

The 2009 Tewaaraton Trophy watch list was released yesterday, and there are a number of representatives from schools in Maryland among the 60 early candidates. Maryland leads the way with four candidates for the award, which is given annually to the best player in the country. Here they are:

Johns Hopkins: Senior defenseman Matt Drenan, senior D Michael Evans (South River)

Loyola: Senior attackman Shane Koppens, senior D P.T. Ricci

Maryland: Sophomore A Grant Catalino, junior D Brian Farrell (Boys' Latin), senior midfielder Dan Groot, junior A Will Yeatman

Navy: Junior A Tim Paul (Loyola), senior D Andy Tormey

UMBC: Senior goalkeeper Jeremy Blevins (Calvert Hall)

Other notes:

*Salisbury senior M Kylor Berkman is one of only three Division III representatives on the list. Berkman, the reigning Division III Player of the Year, is joined by a pair of Endicott players in senior A Nick Cosco and junior G Eric Hagarty.

*Three Division I schools have players on the list who played high school lacrosse in the Baltimore metropolitan area. North Carolina is represented by senior M Ben Hunt (Severna Park), senior face-off specialist Shane Walterhoefer (Boys' Latin) and senior G Grant Zimmerman (Gilman), Georgetown by junior D Barney Ehrmann (Gilman), and Notre Dame by senior A Ryan Hoff (Dulaney).   

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:37 AM | | Comments (0)
        

Georgetown at Maryland: Three things to watch

Georgetown at Maryland: Three things to watch

When No. 17 Georgetown visits No. 3 Maryland tomorrow at 1 p.m., the biggest storyline will entail how the Hoyas intend to defend the behemoth duo of 6-foot-6, 260-pound junior Will Yeatman and 6-5, 240-pound sophomore Grant Catalino. Some other game factors to keep an eye on:

1) Georgetown graduated its first- and third-leading scorers from last season’s squad, but the team does return junior attackman Craig Dowd (14 goals and 23 assists to rank No. 2 last year), junior midfielder Andrew Brancaccio (18, 2, No. 4) and junior attackman Ricky Mirabito (15, 5, No. 5). Will the Terps blunt the Hoyas’ offense by assigning close defensemen Max Schmidt and Brian Farrell to Dowd and Brancaccio? "That’s a good question," Georgetown coach Dave Urick said. "Our attack is an entirely different look with Brendan Cannon and Andy Baird no longer there. It’ll be interesting to see how teams match up. I’m not sure who they feel is going to be more of a threat to them. Certainly, Brancaccio is someone that everyone is well aware of. It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that they bump two poles up and try to defend one of our attackman with a short stick. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that throughout the season."

2) The Hoyas also lost goalkeeper Miles Kass, paving the way for redshirt sophomore Jack Davis to begin his first year as a starter. Urick has praised Davis for his ability to limit rebounds and get the ball upfield to start fastbreaks. The dilemma for Maryland is that there’s very little film of Davis for its offensive players to study. "We don’t know enough about him," Terps coach Dave Cottle said. "The good news is we won’t yell at them for not shooting at the right spot because we have no idea where the right spot is. So the kids are just going to play, shoot hard, and try to score. Maybe in the long run, that’s a good thing for us."

3) Maryland has played two games thus far, while Georgetown wrapped up its preseason scrimmage schedule just last week. While Urick said he’s not concerned about rust, he acknowledged that tomorrow’s contest will be much different than the scrimmages his younger players have experienced. "The atmosphere is going to be an adjustment," Urick said. "We’ve had two preseason scrimmages, and there isn’t a lot of hype around those. There are no TV cameras there. There isn’t a lot of the intangibles that are going to be around this game. So how we react to that is going to be awfully important."

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:42 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland, Three things to watch
        

February 19, 2009

ESPN's Mark Dixon chimes in

I met and talked to ESPN and WMAR-TV lacrosse analyst Mark Dixon yesterday. Aside from helping me with my article on Maryland's duo of behemoth attackmen Will Yeatman and Grant Catalino (slated for Saturday publication), Dixon offered his thoughts on Syracuse's chances of repeating as national champions.

Dixon said the No. 2 Orange has one of the best midfields in the country with, among others, seniors Matt Abbott, Dan Hardy and Pat Perritt and sophomore Joel White. He also thought that goalkeeper John Galloway should be much improved in his sophomore year.

While expressing concern about finding a replacement for faceoff extraordinaire Danny Brennan, Dixon said the Orange will miss 2008 Tewaaraton Trophy winner Mike Leveille, who led the team in goals (49), assists (34) and points (83) last season.

"They’ve got to find a replacement for Brennan and really the big one is Leveille," Dixon said. "He was their leader, really their heart and soul. If they can find somebody to take on Leveille’s role – not only scoring but as a leader – I think they’ve got a great chance to repeat."

When I asked Dixon to give me two teams that are flying under the radar now, he mentioned a program from the Ivy League and one from the Eastern College Athletic Conference.

"I think Brown is a team that can do some damage," he said. "They’ve got some good attackmen, and they have who I think is the best goalie in the country in Jordan Burke. ... And I think you have to look at Georgetown. Big disappointment last year, and people are down on the Hoyas. Year in and year out, top-3 or -5 recruiting classes, but they haven’t really turned the corner. Is this the year they could put it together? Georgetown could be a team that could surprise some people."

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (0)
        

February 18, 2009

Hodge podge from Baltimore coaches

I attended a question-and-answer session involving Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala, Loyola coach Charley Toomey, Towson coach Tony Seaman and UMBC coach Don Zimmerman at the ESPN Zone in Baltimore earlier today. There were some interesting tidbits from all four coaches.

Johns Hopkins

Normally, news that junior attackman Steven Boyle hadn’t scored a goal would be reason to panic for Blue Jays fans. But Boyle’s performance occurred in a scrimmage against Cornell on Saturday, and his teammates picked up the slack. Nine different players scored goals against the Big Red, and Pietramala said this year’s offensive production could come from a number of sources.

"No longer are you going to look at us and say, ‘Well, we’ve got to stop those two or three guys,’" he said. "This is very much going to have to be a team-oriented group, both offensively and defensively. We’re going to share the ball more, which we did. Fifty percent of our goals were assisted, 50 were unassisted. That’s nice balance. Balanced isn’t something we’ve been. So it was nice to have different people involved. I would hope and assume that we’ll continue to do that. It would be nice to have a guy with two or three, but when you have the scoring production spread out to a couple different places, I think that’s a positive thing."

Loyola

The Greyhounds are the reigning Eastern College Athletic Conference champions, but you wouldn’t know it by studying the polls. Various publications have Loyola trailing conference foe Georgetown in the rankings. This, despite the fact that the Greyhounds return eight starters from last year’s squad, while the Hoyas lost four starters in attackmen Brendan Cannon and Andrew Baird, defenseman Jerry Lambe and goalkeeper Miles Kass. But Toomey didn’t take umbrage with the slight.

"I do think that we all feel like the conference championship still goes through Georgetown right now," he said. "I do feel though that our guys are very confident taking the field. They know what to expect when they play a Georgetown team."

Towson

The Tigers are relying on youth. When Towson -- which consists of just six seniors -- meets Loyola on Saturday, freshmen Sean Maguire, Matt Lamon and Stephen Norris will see playing time as the third and fourth attackmen, and freshmen John Kenyon and Michael Landy will see significant time on defense.

"They’re going to be a big part of taking this program somewhere in the next four years," Seaman said. "Saturday afternoon will be interesting to see how that affects them, but in their first couple of scrimmages, it was just lacrosse. That’s what I like about them."

UMBC

After scoring a team-high 29 goals and 43 points overall last season, Ryan Smith was limited to just one assist in the Retrievers’ 14-9 win against Delaware. But the senior attackman is still recovering from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, and Zimmerman said he doesn’t plan on pushing Smith.

"We spoke yesterday, and he’s still the quarterback of our team," Zimmerman said. "I said to Ryan after the game, ‘Look, this was a big game for you. Forget about points or anything like that. You’ve got a game under your belt.’ And we played on the old type of Astroturf up in Delaware, and to me, that’s as challenging a surface for a kid coming off of an ACL [injury] as any out there. So I told Ryan that I thought he did a very good job, and he’ll continue to progress as the season goes on."

Posted by Edward Lee at 4:56 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Towson midfielders focusing on their future

The lives of Randall Cooper and Mitchell Rosensweig have centered on lacrosse. Now the Towson senior midfielders are preparing for life after lacrosse.

Cooper and Rosensweig are putting the finishing touches on successful academic careers.

Cooper, 23, is a biology major who has earned only three B's en route to compiling a 3.849 cumulative grade point average. The surprising thing is that Cooper, who wants to specialize in orthopedic medicine with a focus on youth-aged athletes, admits he wasn't much of a student at Friends, where he recorded a 2.9 GPA.

Cooper said his transformation began in the latter half of his senior year in high school when he tagged along with a family friend who was a general surgeon as part of a work study program.

"After spending about a month and a half with him, I decided that medicine was what I wanted to go into," Cooper said. "After that, I knew I’d have to put in the time and effort if I wanted to go to med school. That kind of turned it around for me."

Cooper isn’t a slouch on the lacrosse field either. He has posted 31 goals and 25 assists in the past two seasons, and his 25 points ranked third among the Tigers last year.

Rosensweig, 21, is a business administration major with a 3.644 cumulative GPA who wants to pursue a degree in sports law with an eye on becoming a sports agent. The Pikesville graduate credited his mother Fran, an educator in the Baltimore County public school system, and his father Jeffrey with instilling a strong work ethic.

"They were always on my back since middle school, making sure I did well," said Rosensweig, who returns as the nation’s fourth most successful faceoff specialist, winning 58.4 percent of them last season.

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:10 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Towson
        

February 17, 2009

Hagelin's still the one at Loyola

If there was any doubt about whom should be the starting goalkeeper for No. 16 Loyola, Jake Hagelin put those questions to rest with his performance Saturday.

The sophomore made 15 saves in the Greyhounds' season-opening 10-9 loss to No. 14 Notre Dame. Hagelin was especially tough in the second quarter when he faced 12 shots, turned away five, and helped Loyola claw its way back to a 6-6 tie at halftime.

Coach Charley Toomey knew he faced a tough decision when senior Alex Peaty returned to the team in the fall. Peaty had been the starting goalie in 2007, recording a .547 save percentage and a 10.00 goals-against average (GAA). But when Peaty took some time off last spring, Hagelin stepped in as a freshman and posted a .575 percentage and 8.10 GAA.

While insisting that he would not be opposed to getting Peaty some time in the net, Toomey said the job is Hagelin's to lose. "What I saw in that game was a kid making a lot of saves early on in that game and playing very consistently throughout the game," Toomey said. "I just had a hard time looking to [Peaty on] the sidelines and saying, ‘OK, it’s your turn.’ I feel like we’ve got two very good goaltenders, and I don’t want anybody looking over their shoulders this season. Right now, it’s Jake’s job, and Alex knows that he’s ready to step in at any time when he’s called on."

Another bright spot in the defeat was the emergence of junior midfielder John Schiavone, who replaced Tim McDermott as the team's faceoff specialist. McDermott ranked ninth in the country last season, winning 58.6 percent (109 of 186) of his faceoffs.

Schiavone appears to a worthy successor. He won 14 of 20 faceoffs (60 percent) against the Fighting Irish and might have shocked everyone, including Toomey.

"It’s kind of hard to look at somebody and say, ‘He’s going to go 14 of 20 at the X.’ We thought we could [win] 55 percent," Toomey said. "That’s our goal going into any game. This obviously was a special effort, and you’d obviously like to have that type of effort every weekend, but you can’t expect it."

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:58 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Loyola
        

UMBC's next diamond in the rough?

In 2007, UMBC fielded an offense that included an unknown freshman named Cayle Ratcliffe, who scored a team-high 42 goals. Last season, the Retrievers unleashed a junior transfer named Ryan Smith, who led the team with 29 goals. UMBC's latest find might be on the defensive end.

Junior Brian Schneider made his first start and his effort against junior attackman Curtis Dickson played a role in the No. 6 Retrievers' 14-9 victory over Delaware on Saturday.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Schneider kept the 6-2, 190-pound Dickson, who led the Blue Hens in goals (46) and points (62) last season, off the scoreboard until 17 seconds had elapsed in the second quarter. By that time, UMBC enjoyed a 6-1 advantage.

Dickson scored another goal in the third period and would finish with five, but the last three occurred in the final six minutes of the game when the contest was already out of reach.

Schneider's showing was somewhat surprising considering he hadn't played since 2006.

"Brian came back in the best condition that he’s been in," coach Don Zimmerman said. "I think he really showed a determination to come back ready to go, and it’s paying off for him. He’s earned a starting berth, and we assigned him to Curtis Dickson because we felt like his left hand and the way he plays was a good matchup for Dickson. So we’re pleased with Brian’s performance."

So could Schneider become the shutdown defenseman that the unit needs after senior Bobby Atwell was lost for the season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament? Zimmerman wasn't ready to make such a comparison.

"Bobby was our most aggressive, take-charge, bring-it-on guy, and I think Brian has more of a quiet confidence," the coach said. "He’s a real student of the game, listens and learns and really followed our game plan to perfection."

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:27 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: UMBC
        

February 15, 2009

Postscript from Ohio State at Navy

One of the factors in No. 10 Navy’s 8-6 win against No. 15 Ohio State yesterday was the Buckeyes’ inability to protect the ball. Ohio State committed 24 turnovers, and at the forefront of the Midshipmen’s attack was senior defenseman Andy Tormey.

Tormey led Navy with four caused turnovers, and all of those came against Buckeyes senior attackman Joel Dalgarno, an honorable mention All American last season.

Dalgarno recorded a hat trick and an assist, but he did commit five turnovers. Midshipmen coach Richie Meade said the coaches felt that the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Tormey would pose match-up problems for the 5-11, 175-pound Dalgarno.

"We said, ‘Get up on this guy’s left hand and force him underneath.’ I think Andy did that almost all of the time when he was on him," Meade said. "And then I think Andy was very physical with him – which we wanted – without fouling him. So today he played a great game against – from what I was reading – one of the best players in the country. So I thought Andy did a nice job with him. We were prepared to play two guys on Dalgarno, but as the game unfolded, we didn’t really need to do that."

Other notes:

*One note of concern for Navy has been the team’s propensity for surrendering goals with just seconds left in quarters. Ohio State junior attackman Mario Ventiquattro scored his first goal yesterday with three seconds left in the second quarter and his second tally with one second left in the third period. VMI junior attackman Jacob Weimer scored a goal with 39 seconds left in the second quarter of last Saturday’s 13-5 loss to the Midshipmen.

"That’s just mental focus," Navy senior goalie Matt Coughlin said. "That’s something we need to work on. We just can’t assume that with three seconds on the clock, the quarter’s over. Every second counts. That’s something we’ve got to work on. That’s kind of a weakness right now for us."

For his part, Buckeyes coach Nick Myers was pleased with the late scores, but he also pointed out that the Midshipmen scored the first two goals of the third quarter and won the opening face-off of the fourth. "We kept just trying to claw and stay in it," he said. "End of the quarter, going into the fourth quarter at the face-off ‘X,’ I think it ended 50-50, but it seemed like when we needed the big draw, they were coming up with it and answering our momentum."

*Speaking of Coughlin, he appeared shaky in the early stages of yesterday’s game, giving up some low goals that he would have stopped last season prior to aggravating a right hamstring injury that forced him to miss much of the latter half of last year.

But Coughlin also shined, stopping, among others, Ventiquattro and senior attackman Doug Ruhnke on point-blank attempts.

Asked whether he has returned to the form of last season, Coughlin said, "Hard to say. It was a long year last year. A little disappointing for me personally. But I feel like as a team, we had a good year. I try not to think about last year too much and focus on right now."

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:07 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Navy, Postscript
        

February 13, 2009

Ohio State at Navy: Three things to watch

Arguably the most significant local game of the weekend, a pair of 1-0 teams in No. 15 Ohio State and No. 10 Navy clash at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis tomorrow. I talked with both Midshipmen coach Richie Meade and Buckeyes coach Nick Myers and discerned three factors from my conversation with both men.

1) Faceoffs will be key. Navy won just nine of 21 faceoffs in last Saturday's 13-5 win against VMI. Ohio State was just slightly better with a 12-of-25 success rate in Saturday's 21-1 victory over Detroit Mercy. Meade wasn't quite ready to panic about the play of faceoff specialists Frankie Coppola and Logan West, who combined to go 2-of-11 because Mikelis Visgauss struggled in last season's opener against the Keydets before finishing 13th in the country with a .575 win percentage. But Meade is well aware that success at the "X" could go a long way to getting the Midshipmen the "W." "If you have the ball more than the other team, you’re probably going to win," Meade said. "That comes down to getting groundballs, winning faceoffs, and clearing the ball. That’s kind of the key for us."

2) Navy is eager to test Buckeyes junior goalie Brandon Freeman, who is beginning his first year as a full-time starter in the net. Freeman beat out Syracuse transfer Peter Coluccini, who started for the Orange in 2007. Myers said he has been impressed with Freeman's quick hands and outlet passes. Meade said Freeman might have an advantage. "He’s a little bit of an unknown, but he’s the starting goalie at Ohio State," Meade said. "I’d like nothing better than to score nine goals on him in the first two minutes, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. It doesn’t really matter who the goalie is. We’re not going to change what we do. ... Playing against a good goalie, you’ve got to take good shots. That’s our focus."

3) Ohio State wants to prove its mettle. Many preseason prognosticators jumped ship when the Buckeyes graduated a talented senior class that included midfielder Kevin Buchanan and goalie Stefan Schroder, bid farewell to head coach Joe Breschi, who left for North Carolina, and watched midfielder Peet Poillon transfer to UMBC. But if Ohio State is taking heed of those slights, Myers isn't letting on. "I think we’re just concerned with playing Buckeyes lacrosse," he said. " ... We try to preach the things that we feel are important to this team and us getting better every day. I think the rankings and stuff on the Internet, you’ve got to be careful when you listen to that too much. I think you’ve really got to focus on each other and working hard every day to improve."

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:28 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Navy, Three things to watch
        

Navy women open tonight

I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure I’m ready to get out in the cold and watch some lacrosse games just yet. The last few days have been great, but there’s a risk in starting the "spring" season this early, what with the potential for snow and all.

Give me a couple more weeks? No? Well, OK.

I guess there’s no surprise at which team is first up. The Naval Academy likes to be out in front and so does coach Cindy Timchal.

In 2006, when Timchal was still coaching at Maryland, the Terrapins were scheduled to open at home against Northwestern on Feb. 12. It snowed – a lot. Too much to get it all off the turf field in time, so the game was postponed to the next – frigid – day.

It doesn’t look like that will happen tonight when Navy opens against first-year Division I program Presbyterian College from Clinton, S.C., at 7:30 at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis.

The Midshipmen know a little something about how the Presbyterian players feel heading into their DI debut. A year ago, the Midshipmen were embarking on their first season in Division I. They did pretty well, finishing 13-4, and now they're ready to build on that.

Timchal, who has more wins than any other NCAA women's lacrosse coach, could get her 350th career win tonight, so she knows how to bring a program along. She wants to develop a program that can do battle with top teams such as Maryland and Virginia, but she doesn’t want to move too fast.

She has the same level of schedule as last season, and that enables her to make room for a couple of first-year programs the way others did for her last season. Detroit Mercy, also making its Division I debut this season comes to Annapolis on Feb. 22.

Here are the home openers for the other area Division I women’s teams:

UMBC at Howard, tomorrow

Maryland at Richmond, Sunday

Loyola at Stony Brook, Wednesday

Johns Hopkins at home against George Mason, Feb. 21

Mount St. Mary’s at home against Lehigh, Feb. 22

Towson at home against Mount St. Mary’s, Mar. 1

 

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 5:00 AM | | Comments (0)
        

February 10, 2009

Stanwick starting for Virginia

The list of attackmen who have started as freshmen for the Virginia men’s lacrosse team reads like a who’s who of prominent lacrosse players: Michael Watson, Conor Gill, Matt Ward and Ben Rubeor, just to name a few.

Steele Stanwick will get a chance to etch his name on that list as the Baltimore native and Loyola High product is slated to start when the No. 1 Cavaliers open the regular season against Drexel this Saturday.

"Those are definitely some big shoes to fill," said Stanwick, a two-time Baltimore Sun All-Metro selection and the 2007 Player of the Year. "Those are some of the greatest players who have ever played. It’s definitely a great honor. I’m just going to do my best to help the team out and do whatever the coaches tell me to do."

Stanwick, who registered career totals of 123 goals and 108 assists while leading the Dons to back-to-back Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association titles, said he was a little surprised when the Virginia coaching staff tabbed him to start with seniors Danny Glading and Garrett Billings.

"I really didn’t know what to expect," Stanwick said. "I did know that the left-handed side was open even though I’m not left-handed. I just kind of came in with an open mind. I thought I might play a little bit."

Watson (St. Paul’s), Gill (St. Paul’s), Ward and Rubeor (Loyola) all wrapped up their careers ranked in the school’s top eight in career points. Cavaliers coach Dom Starsia is quick to say that there are no similar expectations of Stanwick, but he likes what he has seen so far.

"If you want to be a real attackman, you have to turn the corner, and Steele Stanwick understands that," Starsia said. "He’s got good hands and good vision, but he’s also got a toughness that you might not discern just by talking to him."

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:01 PM | | Comments (2)
        

February 9, 2009

Navy unflustered

Don't get Navy coach Richie Meade wrong. He's plenty pleased that the No. 10 Midshipmen are 1-0 courtesy of a 13-5 victory over VMI on Saturday rather than being 0-1. But he took umbrage with a line of thought that Navy should have won by a greater margin and that the score should not have been tied at five at halftime.

"There’s a little bit of thing that we should come out and do everything right and beat VMI, 10 million to nothing," Meade said earlier today. "The problem is, nobody told VMI that. They got a couple of goals, they shot the ball in early, and they had us behind. … We had to face what we face. I’ll leave it up to everybody else to decide if we’re good or not good. [The critics] seem to be good at that. But I thought our guys did a pretty good job of responding to it."

Several factors contributed to the Midshipmen's dominating second half in which they outscored VMI 8-0. Navy forced the Keydets into nine turnovers in the third quarter, which the Midshipmen converted into a 14-2 advantage in shots and a 5-0 output in goals. Navy converted on all four of its extra-man opportunities, and a decision to replace a long-pole with a short-stick on face-offs helped the Midshipmen win six of nine face-offs. Finally, an attack that graduated the likes of Nick Mirabito and Greg Clement accounted for 10 goals and three assists.

"We think we can get a lot better," Meade said. "Our attack has a pretty good feel for each other. We moved the ball pretty well; we just didn’t finish. We’d be a pass short or a shot short. We’ve just got to keep working on that."

Navy's next chance is Saturday when No. 15 Ohio State visits Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium at noon.

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:09 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Navy
        

Terps on the defensive

With a lot of attention -- and perhaps rightly so -- centering on the addition of former Notre Dame standout Will Yeatman to an already potent attack, the Maryland men's lacrosse team is being pegged by many as a serious contender for its first NCAA championship since 1975.

But the Terps' path to Foxborough, Mass. -- site of this year's Final Four -- could be determined by the play of their defense. Sophomore Max Schmidt, the lone returning starter from last season, fills the void left behind by the graduation of Joe Cinosky as the unit's primary shutdown defenseman. Junior Brian Farrell moves down from the long-stick midfielder position to close defense, and seniors Mike Griswold and Anthony Costanzo, sophomore Ryder Bohlander and junior Dan Halayko are expected to battle for the third starter's role.

Replacing Cinosky, who was selected ninth overall by New Jersey in last year's Major Lacrosse League draft, will be key, according to Maryland coach Dave Cottle.

"He was great last year," Cottle said of Cinosky. "His senior year was clearly his best year. He played a lot of years, but he really covered his senior year and did a great job during the tournament. So I think from that position, losing him is going to be the hardest for us to replace. But we have some young guys, and it's their turn now. Joe Cinosky wasn't who he was in his senior year in maybe the other three years. Guys develop and guys improve, and we may have some of those guys on our roster right now."

The defense can at least lean on the goalkeeping duo of senior Jason Carter and junior Brian Phipps. Phipps had better numbers (including a 6-1 record, a 6.06 goals-against average and a .636 save percentage), but Carter's statistics (4-5, 8.46, .561) were influenced by overtime losses to Virginia and UMBC and tough losses to Johns Hopkins and Duke, and he played the entire game when the Terps upset then-No. 1 Virginia on ESPN2 on March 29.

Cottle said he does not intend to stray from his strategy of rotating both Phipps and Carter in the net. One player will start the game in net and how he plays will determine whether he is replaced in the second half.

"We've left the disclaimer in there where if somebody's on fire, we're not going to take him out," Cottle said. "These guys have been so unselfish. Both of them have come up to me and said, 'He's on fire. Let him stay.' That's never happened before."

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:06 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland
        

February 6, 2009

Salisbury enjoys first scrimmage

Salisbury answered a few of coach Jim Berkman's questions after the eight-time Division III defending national champion Sea Gulls played St. Joseph's in a scrimmage last Saturday.

Although no score was kept, Berkman noted that Salisbury "had a lot and they had a little." Berkman was particularly pleased to see how well a re-tooled attack unit played despite graduating Matt Hickman and Greg Titus, two of the team's top three scorers last season.

"I thought the attack played pretty solid overall," Berkman said of senior Stephen Krasco, juniors Jake DeLillo and Mike Winter and freshman Matt Canonne. "It'll be a little tougher this Saturday when we're down at Duke for that scrimmage and under a lot more pressure and against lot better defensemen. But they definitely answered the bell in the first scrimmage."

Berkman also enjoyed watching sophomore goalie Johnny Rodriguez. A graduate of Mount St. Joseph, Rodriguez impressed the Salisbury coaching staff with his athleticism and quick hands.

"I like his eagerness to learn," Berkman said. "I don't think he feels pressure. I think he feels extremely excited to have the opportunity, and I think that's one of the reasons why he came here. He knew we had an opening in the cage, and he was dying to play in a program that had a chance to be successful every year. I think he's really seizing the moment."  

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:28 AM | | Comments (1)
        

February 3, 2009

Big Red takes a hit

The Cornell men’s lacrosse team’s bid for a seventh consecutive Ivy League championship suffered a blow with the loss of three defensive starters.

Defensemen Nick Gradinger, a 6-foot-4, 235-pound senior, and Max Dorne, a 5-11, 185-pound junior, are out for the entire upcoming season with back injuries, coach Jeff Tambroni said earlier today. Goalie Jake Myers, who was granted a fifth year of eligibility, will be sidelined for at least six weeks after undergoing groin surgery.

"That’s just the nature of our sport," said Tambroni, whose Big Red squads have either won or shared the last six Ivy League titles. "You have to prepare for graduation and injuries. You just hope it doesn’t pile up all at once."

Senior defenseman Matt Moyer will be joined by junior Pierce Derkac, and junior Andrew MacDonald will likely man the starting third defenseman spot with senior John Decker and sophomores Max Feely and Chris Livadas contributing.

Senior Kyle Harer and sophomore Mat Martinez will compete for the starting role in the net. Tambroni said while he is not opposed to a rotation similar to what Maryland does with junior Brian Phipps and senior Jason Carter, he would prefer to go with one clear-cut starter when the Big Red opens the season at Binghamton on Feb. 21.

Tambroni said the coaching staff isn't panicked about the injuries, adding, "You're already planning ahead for when these guys graduate a year from now. Now, you just speed up the process. Some of these guys are going to have to step up and play right away."

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:29 PM | | Comments (0)
        
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Faceoff is The Baltimore Sun's blog devoted to college and high school lacrosse. Faceoff contributors include Sun reporters Edward Lee, Mike Preston and Katherine Dunn.
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