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March 30, 2009

UMBC's Latham, Towson's Wheeler collect awards

Matt Latham of UMBC and Rob Wheeler of Towson were honored by their respective conferences for their performances last week.

Latham, a junior attackman, was named the America East Player of the Week for his three-goal, one-assist effort in No. 7 UMBC's 14-8 win against Stony Brook on Saturday. The Eldersburg native and Liberty graduate has scored six times in the last two contests, and the Retrievers (6-2) are 6-0 when Latham records at least one point.

Wheeler, a junior goalkeeper, anchored Towson's victories over Bucknell and Drexel, surrendering just 11 goals and making 24 saves. His 14 saves against the Bison are a career high. The Tigers (4-4) have won their last three games.

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:47 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Towson, UMBC

Stevenson is new No. 1 in Division III

The Mustangs were named the No. 1 team in the latest edition of the USILA Division III Coaches poll, which was released earlier today. So the target that had been squarely on Salisbury, which dropped to No. 4, has been moved to Stevenson, formerly known as Villa Julie.

"It’s a different feeling than this program has ever had," said coach Paul Cantabene, who owns a 52-23 record in more than four seasons with the Mustangs. "We’ve always been kind of the hunter and never the hunted, but I think we’re old enough to handle that change. … There’s a lot of parity in lacrosse now and a lot of great teams. Everyone’s good, and we have to know that we have to come prepared to play every day now. You can’t take any days off."

Cantabene and his players have turned around a program that has enjoyed winning campaigns in each of its last three seasons. Stevenson (9-0 overall and 3-0 in the Capital Athletic Conference) has won nine consecutive regular-season games and will depart for a two-game road swing capped by a visit with the Sea Gulls in a contest that could determine home-field advantage in the season-ending CAC Tournament. The lacrosse team is the first in the school's 15-year athletic history to collect a No. 1 ranking.

"Despite today's ranking, we still have a lot more to accomplish," Cantabene told the school's Web site. "Our goal is to win a CAC championship, earn our first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance, and play for a national title."

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:01 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Stevenson

Salisbury not licking its wounds

If you're expecting the eight-time reigning national champion Sea Gulls, who fell from No. 1 to No. 4 in the latest Division III poll after Saturday's upset loss to Gettysburg, to feel a little blue, guess again. The team is eager to regain its status atop the poll, and that process begins Tuesday against Mary Washington.

"I think everybody in lacrosse cares that they’re No. 1," Salisbury coach Jim Berkman said earlier today. "I think if they say they’re not, they’re pulling wool over your eyes. It’s a lot of prestige for your program, and it gives the kids a sense of confidence and a sense of pride. I think anybody would be lying to you if they told you that they didn’t want to be No. 1."

The 11-10 setback to the No. 9 Bullets (6-3) snapped the 10-1 Sea Gulls' 55-game winning streak and 87-game regular-season winning run. Salisbury also suffered a loss at home for the first time since April 10, 2003 -- a span of 80 contests.

Despite taking 14 more shots and scooping up seven more groundballs than Gettysburg, Salisbury found itself in a hole when the Bullets broke a 8-8 tie at the end of the third quarter with the first two goals of the fourth period. Junior attackman Mike Winter scored a goal with 7:26 left to cut the deficit in half, but Gettysburg got a goal with 3:03 left to regain a two-goal cushion.

Junior midfielder Mike Von Kamecke converted an extra-man advantage with 43 seconds left, but the Sea Gulls' rally ended when the Bullets' goalkeeper corralled a loose ball and Gettysburg held onto the ball to run out the clock.

Berkman said the Bullets took advantage of some rarely seen errors by the Salisbury players.

"I don’t think we played bad, but we didn’t play our best," he said. "Our guys know they made some mistakes that were very apparent, and a good team makes you pay for your mistakes. The seven or eight blatant mistakes that we made, in a lot of other games, we got away with not giving up a goal. But they exposed us on those mistakes and took advantage of it, and that’s the difference in a one-goal game.

"But I was proud of our kids," he continued. "We were down two and we came flying back. We had a chance to tie the game on a fast break that we dropped the ball on with 25 seconds left in the game. So we never gave up, and hopefully we can build on that and take care of business on Tuesday and get ready for a battle [against No. 1 Stevenson] on Saturday."

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:05 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Salisbury

March 29, 2009

Maryland's loss to Virginia "inadvertent"?

Just finished watching the ESPN2 broadcast of the Terps’ 10-9 loss to the Cavaliers in seven overtimes, and no announcement was made (or maybe I didn't hear it over the roars of the crowd) in the press box above Klockner Stadium in Charlottesville, Va., that Grant Catalino’s goal in the first overtime period was negated by what is known in lacrosse circles as an "inadvertent whistle."

Let me set the scene. On the faceoff to open overtime, Maryland sophomore midfielder Dan Burns scooped up a loose ball and after racing into the box, passed the ball to Catalino, who was standing to Burns’ left. The sophomore attackman whipped the ball past Virginia sophomore goalkeeper Adam Ghitelman and inside the right post to give the No. 9 Terps a 10-9 victory and knock the No. 1 Cavaliers from the ranks of the undefeated.

Simple, right? Wrong.

Moments before Catalino unleashed his blast, one of three referees officiating the contest blew his whistle, thereby ceasing play and ruling Catalino’s score dead. After a conversation with the other officials and Maryland coach Dave Cottle, the Terps are not charged with a timeout and are given possession near the sidelines. And still no goal.

In a phone conversation earlier today, Terps coach Dave Cottle confirmed that the official mistakenly thought he heard someone from the Maryland bench request a timeout.

"The ref told me he messed up," Cottle said. "It’s a bad mistake, and he’s human, too. There are a lot of things that we can control out there, but we can’t control that. We just have to focus in on the things that we can control and try to get ready for Navy [on Friday]."

Cottle theorizes that the official, who was standing in front of the Virginia side of the field and at least 20 yards away from the Terps bench, heard someone call a timeout and assumed the request came from Maryland. Cottle asserts that if he – and he emphasized that he is the lone person to ask a referee for a timeout – had called a timeout, he would have asked the official who was trailing the play.

Cottle said he told the officiating crew that he reserves the right to file an official protest and that the team plans to send film of the incident to the body that governs the referees and the NCAA. But he also acknowledged that he has no expectations on a reversal.

"I don’t know if there’s ever been a game that has been changed – in any sport," Cottle said. "I don’t know what’s done. … We’re going to send the film and see where it goes. But we’ve already started on Navy. And quite honestly, the more you cry about it, the more you look like you’re a sore loser. So from our perspective, it was disappointing, it was something that shouldn’t have occurred, but at the same end, we have to move on."

Cottle said he was proud of his players for continuing to play and refraining from being frustrated by the official’s call. He also defended the referee in question.

"He made a mistake. That wasn’t larceny or anything like that," Cottle said. "That was a man-made mistake, and I think he feels sick about it. So from our standpoint, we feel as though we probably deserved a better fate, but there were some mistakes that we can change and improve on, and we’ve got to get ready for this Navy team."

Posted by Edward Lee at 5:11 PM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Maryland

Postscript from Maryland at Virginia

The No. 1 Cavaliers’ 10-9 win in a NCAA-record seven overtimes and Brian Carroll’s third career overtime game-winner took the headlines, but Saturday’s game may have also cemented Adam Ghitelman’s resume as one of the best young goalies in the game.

The sophomore finished the game with 23 saves, including seven beyond regulation. Two of his best stops included stick saves on a low-to-high riser by Terps junior attackman Will Yeatman from seven yards out in the fifth overtime period and a bouncer by sophomore attackman Ryan Young after he had curled around the right post.

"I would say it was as much of a coming-out party for Adam Ghitelman as anything else that’s happened here," Virginia coach Dom Starsia said. "He did single-handedly keep us in this game until we were in a position to get the win."

Carroll called Ghitelman’s play "amazing." "That was the best game I’ve seen him play," Carroll said. "Maryland could have won that game multiple times in overtime if it wasn’t for him. He came up with some saves."

Other notes:

* The loss marred one of Yeatman’s best performances since transferring to Maryland from Notre Dame in the offseason. He registered two goals and three assists, and at times forced the Cavaliers to shadow him with two defensemen. But Yeatman shrugged off any praise afterwards. "I wouldn’t say it’s a breakout game because we lost," he said. "They made more plays than us."

* Despite groin and hip injuries, Terps junior Bryn Holmes (McDonogh) won 13 of 21 faceoffs against Virginia senior Chad Gaudet, who had been tied for 12th in the country with a .581 percentage. "Bryn’s a warrior," Maryland coach Dave Cottle said. "You can see why we wanted to get him back. I thought he battled." ... Sophomore attackman Grant Catalino, the Terps’ leading scorer, was limited by senior defenseman Matt Kelly to zero goals on 10 shots and just one assist. ... Maryland had entered the contest as the second-most productive team in extra-man situations, converting 58.3 percent (14 of 24) of those opportunities. Saturday, the Terps went scoreless in five attempts, including three times in overtime.

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:00 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Maryland, Postscript

March 27, 2009

Maryland at Virginia: Three things to watch

Saturday’s game between these Atlantic Coast Conference rivals will be aired on ESPN2, and the last time that happened, the Terps stunned the Cavaliers in College Park. Here are a few things to consider if Maryland wants to repeat that result.

1) With faceoff specialist Bryn Holmes unlikely to play because of a groin/hip injury, the four remaining Terps players who have taken faceoffs have won just 39 of 92 attempts (.424). That doesn’t bode well against Virginia’s Chad Gaudet, who is tied for 12th in the country with a .581 (108 of 186) percentage. Maryland’s players have been practicing against undergraduate assistant Will Dalton, and coach Dave Cottle will likely alert the officials to what he thinks is Gaudet’s recipe for success. "Chad Gaudet is a fingers guy," Cottle said. "He grabs the stick. He does a good job of doing it and no one seems to have called it. It’s a different move. You’ll see the ball’s at his feet, and he’s very good at his feet. He waits for the guy to react and then he reacts. It’s a different style and we have to get used to it."

2) A lot of attention is paid to Virginia’s attack and rightly so. But don’t overlook a first midfield unit that is one of the most dangerous in the country. Junior Brian Carroll, sophomore Shamel Bratton and senior Steve Giannone have combined for 46 goals and 19 assists – a level of production that is matched only by UMBC’s trio of Kyle Wimer, Peet Poillon and Alex Hopmann (44 goals and 23 assists). Throw in the starting attack of Garrett Billings, Danny Glading and Steele Stanwick, and the question is, which player draws a short-stick defensive midfielder? Good question, said Cottle. "I think we’re going to have to have multiple plans on that," he said. "You used to be able to short [No.] 19 [Billings], but he is an outstanding player and passer. So that option is out. Then you look at Stanwick, and it looks like that option is out. You’re going to have to play good team defense when you play Virginia."

3) The Cavaliers are beating their opponents by an average of 7.3 goals a contest, and only four of those teams have reached double figures in goals. But both Syracuse and Johns Hopkins pressed Virginia into one-goal losses. Still, Cavaliers coach Dom Starsia isn’t concerned about giving up goals. "If you want to play quickly on offense and you want to be a team that attacks the goal, you’re going to give up more goals than might be popular," he said. "Whether it’s related to the quality of our opponents in the early part of the season or whatever else, I would say that we are playing better defensively. We’re getting better play in the goal, but I’ve also got experienced, athletic long sticks. And they’re stepping up and taking responsibility for what’s going on. We’re a team that might still give up 10 goals to Hopkins or Syracuse, but if we’re scoring 12 or 13, then we’re winning the game, and that’s most important."

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:18 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Maryland, Three things to watch

March 26, 2009

Navy at Georgetown: Three things to watch

Two teams that have not fully met preseason expectations, the No. 17 Midshipmen and unranked Hoyas, tangle Saturday. A few things to keep an eye on:

1) No one in Annapolis is using the P-word (aka "panic"), but there is a sense of urgency about winning Saturday’s contest. Navy is 6-3 with all three losses coming by just one goal. But the Midshipmen have two losses in the Patriot League and own a victory over just one top-20 opponent (No. 18 Ohio State). Still, coach Richie Meade and his players aren’t stressing. "One of the things I’ve told our guys is block out the noise," he said. "The only thing that’s important is what we’re saying to each other and what we do internally because that’s reality. Everything else is just a guess."

2) The strength of Georgetown’s team is an aggressive, stout defense that likes to hound opponents into causing turnovers. The Hoyas forced No. 11 Harvard into 18 turnovers and permitted just 28 shots in Georgetown’s 9-8 overtime upset on Wednesday. "That’s the game we have to expect," Meade said. "We may not be able to run our offense. They may pressure us to the point where we throw a pass away or we get a 20-second count on a clear. We’ve got to be able to deal with those situations and play well. The other side of it is anytime you pressure somebody, you’re going to take the risk that they can handle the pressure and create offensive opportunities. So groundballs become extremely important in a game like this."

3) Even after knocking off the Crimson, Georgetown is just 3-4. Of even more concern is that the Hoyas are 0-2 in the Eastern College Athletic Conference, which awards the league champion an automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament. But Meade isn’t buying into a woe-is-me scenario. "It’s still Georgetown, OK?" he said. "They’ve had some struggles, they’ve lost some games they certainly expected to win, but they held Syracuse to eight goals and they beat Maryland. So they’re still the team that people projected earlier in the year to go to the Final Four. We can’t rely on them playing poorly. We have to rely on us being able to play a very good game against a team that has the ability to physically overwhelm you."

Posted by Edward Lee at 4:13 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Navy, Three things to watch

Terps' Holmes might be out Saturday and beyond

It is becoming increasingly unlikely that face-off specialist Bryn Holmes will be available for No. 9 Maryland’s contest at No. 1 Virginia this Saturday.

Holmes, who has not played since the third quarter of a 9-7 victory over Towson on March 7 due to a groin injury, was hurt in practice this week.

"We’ll have to take a look at that," Terps coach Dave Cottle said of the possibility of shutting down Holmes for an extended period. "He wanted to come back [Tuesday] and he felt great. After practice yesterday, he had a little soreness in his hip. It wasn’t really his groin. The doctors are going to check it out and see what’s going on."

If Holmes – who is 52 of 86 on face-offs – can’t play, that would leave Maryland with four players with face-off experience this season. Jeff Reynolds, Dan Burns, Jake Bernhardt and Michael Shakespeare are a combined 39 of 92 (.424) in face-offs.

In other injury news, goalkeeper Brian Phipps (head) is expected to play, while defenseman Brett Schmidt (hamstring) is questionable. Defenseman Ryder Bohlander, who suffered a concussion in Saturday’s 8-7 win against No. 13 North Carolina, is no longer plagued by headaches, but he has not practiced this week.

Schmidt’s return would provide depth to a unit that is expected to miss Brian Farrell (ribs) and Bohlander.

"It’s a big relief because he can help athletically and he can play some pole and give us some depth there along with playing down low," Cottle said of Schmidt. "Especially against a team like Virginia, it’s a big improvement for us."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:30 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland

Syracuse at Loyola: Three things to watch

While the No. 19 Greyhounds’ goalie dilemma involving Jake Hagelin and Alex Peaty will be a significant story line Saturday, here are a few more factors that could help determine the final outcome.

1) Although Loyola has allowed a modest 8.4 goals per game, the unit has not faced an offensive juggernaut like the one the No. 2 Orange brings to town. Syracuse is averaging 14.1 goals per contest, which ranks second in the nation behind No. 1 Virginia’s unit (14.2). While mindful of the Orange’s offense, Greyhounds coach Charley Toomey pointed out that a good portion of Syracuse’s success is rooted in the team’s ability to score goals and maintain momentum by going on runs. The Orange has recorded a 3-0 run in each of its seven games this season and bursts of 6-0 in five contests. "One thing that Syracuse thrives on is three- and four-goal runs," Toomey said. "You don’t want to get into an up-and-down when you’re playing from behind."


2) Loyola’s biggest advantage is in face-offs, where junior John Schiavone ranks 11th in the country with a .586 face-off percentage. The Orange’s best face-off specialist, Jake Moulton, is out for the season with a hand injury, and none of his four back-ups is above .500. More faceoffs mean more possessions and – potentially – opportunities to score goals and keep the ball out of Syracuse’s hands. "We need to get out on the goalie quick," Greyhounds fifth-year senior attackman Shane Koppens said. "We’ve got to have the ball right away and get great looks at the cage. We’ve got to get eight- to 10-yard looks and get them into good spots on goal. I think we can attack their defense. Our offense, when it clicks, can be dangerous."

3) Loyola is widely considered the underdog in this match-up, but you won’t find any players admitting to that. They’re still smarting from Saturday’s loss to Massachusetts, and tensions boiled over on Tuesday during practice when a fight erupted among several offensive and defensive players. There’s an air of anticipation around Diane Geppi-Aikens Field for Saturday’s game, and the last time the Orange paid a visit to Loyola’s campus, Syracuse went home with a 11-10 loss. "It’s our home field, and we play great here," Koppens said of a Greyhounds program that is 12-6 at home under Toomey. "It’s going to be a great crowd, and it’s going to be a great day. We love putting on our white jerseys and getting after it."

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Loyola, Three things to watch

March 25, 2009

Loyola's goalie forecast: hazy and cloudy

This season, Loyola coach Charley Toomey has not budged from his assertion that sophomore Jake Hagelin has earned the right to start over senior Alex Peaty in the net.

Today, Toomey acknowledged that the line that separated Hagelin and Peaty may not be as clear as it was before, and the fourth-year coach is uncertain whom will start against No. 2 Syracuse on Saturday.

"We haven’t made that decision yet," Toomey said. "We’ve watched some film, and the one thing I would say about both of these guys is they’ve played against Syracuse, and they both have played in big situations. [Their teammates] will tell you that we have a tremendous amount of confidence in both of them. What we’ve got to do is we’ve got to figure over the next three days which goalie gives us the best opportunity not only in the type of shots that they’re going to see from Syracuse but also in managing the game."

The dilemma began during the then-No. 16 Greyhounds’ 8-6 loss to unranked Massachusetts last Saturday. Hagelin surrendered six goals and made just three saves in 42 minutes of play. Hagelin was replaced by Peaty, who allowed just two goals and registered five saves.

Toomey even went as far as to venture that he might emulate Maryland’s Dave Cottle and Princeton’s Bill Tierney and rotate his goalies.

"Quite honestly, we might see a platoon," Toomey said. "That’s something that I’m not against either. My challenge as a coach right now is, whoever we put in there, defensively, we’ve got to give him a chance to see the ball from 10 or 15 feet. That’s been our focus."

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:34 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Loyola

March 24, 2009

ESPN's Matt Ward chimes in

Talked to ESPN analyst Matt Ward late Monday evening, and among the other topics we discussed was No. 1 Virginia's potential to become just the 13th team in Division I history to have an undefeated season.

Ward, who was a member of the Cavaliers' 2006 national championship squad and won the Tewaaraton Trophy that season, bleeds orange and blue, but even he was slightly concerned about Virginia's second-half letdowns against Syracuse and Johns Hopkins.

"They squeaked out wins against Syracuse and Hopkins on their home fields, but they can't have lapses like they did in both games," Ward said. "When you're up 12-6 on Hopkins, that means put more gas on the pedal. The players need to realize that games are 60 minutes long and that Syracuse and Johns Hopkins are going to go on runs themselves, and you can't let that happen."

In the Cavaliers' 13-12 victory over the Orange on Feb. 27, Virginia owned a 13-8 advantage with 7:32 left in the fourth quarter, but was forced to hold off a Syracuse 4-0 run that simply ran out of gas. Last Saturday, the Cavaliers ran out to a 12-6 lead with 3:13 left in the second quarter, but the Blue Jays stormed back, eventually taking a 15-14 lead with seven seconds left in the third quarter.

Rather than continue to press the issue when they had substantial advantage, the Cavaliers let up on the accelerator, Ward said.

"When teams aren't capitalizing on that, then you're in trouble," he said. "I'd just like to see this Virginia team get more of a killer instinct to make sure that they're not putting themselves in a situation where they can lose a game. When you have a six-goal lead, make it a 12-goal lead. Keep playing hard, and I think Virginia has the skillset to do that."

I asked Ward to select the biggest surprise thus far, and he pointed to a Georgetown squad that is 2-4 overall and 0-2 in the Eastern College Athletic Conference.

"They've had some bad losses," Ward said the Hoyas, who have dropped decisions to No. 2 Syracuse, No. 12 Duke, Hobart and St. John's. "It's not necessarily a bad loss just because they lost to some teams you may not be familiar with, but because they've come out flat and not played well. Georgetown's had a bunch of big recruiting classes and they just need to get their heads together and start playing well. They might find themselves not playing in the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row, and that's a big issue for Georgetown." 

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:16 AM | | Comments (0)

March 23, 2009

UMBC's Alex Hopmann and Towson's Bill McCutcheon honored

UMBC's Alex Hopmann and Towson's Bill McCutcheon collected America East and Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week accolades, respectively.

Hopmann tied his career-high with four goals, including the game-winner, in the No. 8 Retrievers' 9-8 overtime victory over No. 18 Ohio State on Saturday. The senior midfielder and Annapolis graduate -- who shared the award with Stony Brook's Jordan McBride -- leads the team with 19 goals and is one score shy of tying his single-season best total of 20 goal set in 2007.

McCutcheon also racked up four goals, including the final two in the Tigers' 11-9 win against Robert Morris. The senior attackman leads the team in goals with 13 and points with 20 and is tied with senior midfielder Randall Cooper for a team-best seven assists.

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:52 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Towson, UMBC

Maryland's Dan Groot wins award

Courtesy of a three-goal, one-assists performance in the No. 9 Terps' 8-7 win against No. 14 North Carolina, Dan Groot was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Week.
All three of the senior midfielder's goals came unassisted, and his last proved to be the game-winner, a deflected shot that bounced off the stick of a Tar Heels defenseman and into the net with 7:47 left in the fourth quarter. Groot has scored six hat tricks in his career. He also collected three groundballs.
Posted by Edward Lee at 1:50 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland

March 22, 2009

Postscript from North Carolina at Maryland

Anthony Costanzo has not been one of the Terps’ primary defensemen, but none of his teammates were surprised when the senior was inserted after starter Ryder Bohlander suffered a concussion early in the first quarter of yesterday’s 8-7 win against the No. 14 Tar Heels.

"I wasn’t worried about him at all," fellow senior and goalkeeper Jason Carter said. "He knows the defense better than anybody out there. He’s the smartest kid on the field. That’s why he’s our man-down star, our man-down coach basically. So when he gets out on the field, you’re not really worried at all."

Costanzo deflected the compliment, insisting that his coaches and teammates had suggested extra study in the film room and on the field.

"I like to be well prepared and know the plays so that we can help each other out," he said. "Sometimes I’m a little bit quiet, so people have to try and get that out of me, but other people are talking to me and helping me talk more. Today was a tough day, and things were kind of going crazy, but we were well prepared and we knew everything that was going on. The other guys are smart, too."

At 6 feet 7 inches and 210 pounds, Costanzo can cover a lot of ground with a 6-foot-long stick, which is why he is a vital member of the team’s man-down unit. He may not be the fastest defenseman, but he was enough of a handful to shut out junior attackman Gavin Petracca, who – at 26 points – was (and still is) North Carolina’s third-leading scorer.

In fact, Costanzo – who recorded a team-high three forced turnovers – played well enough that Maryland coach Dave Cottle had Costanzo shadow midfielders Ben Hunt (four points on a goal and three assists) and Sean Delaney (three goals) toward the end of the game.

"He’s been sitting around, biding his time," senior midfielder Dan Groot said of Costanzo. "He always works hard, and it’s really great for him to go in there and play great like he did today. I’m really proud of him."

Other notes:

*Terps goalie Brian Phipps (head) was cleared to play, but Cottle elected to start Carter. Although Phipps is expected to be ready for Saturday’s game against No. 1 Virginia, the situation is slightly murkier with regard to junior faceoff specialist Bryn Holmes (groin) and defensemen Brett Schmidt (hamstring) and Bohlander. Maryland sorely missed Holmes at the faceoff X, where Tar Heels senior Shane Walterhoefer won 17 of 19 face-offs. The loss of Schmidt and Bohlander – and extended absence of Brian Farrell – sapped the team’s defensive unit. Redshirt sophomore Chris Ready picked up a long pole and junior Dean Hart alternated between a short and long stick for much of the game. The Terps could use a healthy squad against the Cavaliers.

*After going scoreless in two games against Towson and UMBC, Maryland’s midfield put up quite a showing. Groot led the way with four points on three goals and an assist, but senior Jeff Reynolds scored a goal to tie the game at seven and senior Jeremy Sieverts added an assist. Freshman Jake Bernhardt also scored a goal as the team’s attack unit outside of sophomore Grant Catalino accounted for just a single goal. "Coach said we had some advantages up top in the midfield," Groot said. "So we kind of wanted to get back to starting the dodge with the midfield and kind of drawing a slide and then banging it to the attack. That’s kind of how we got our first goal. … Starting up top kind of gets our offense flowing a little bit better."

*After Hunt found Delaney for his third goal of the game with 14 minutes left in the fourth quarter, North Carolina owned a 7-5 lead and seemingly, the momentum. But Reynolds rubbed off his defender on a pick to cut the lead to one. Then junior Will Yeatman backed down Flanagan and fired in a goal before the slide could get to him to tie the score. "We made a couple mental lapses and that’s all that it takes for a team like Maryland to capitalize on, and that’s what they did," Tar Heels coach Joe Breschi said. "… We’re going to keep working hard because we’ve got Hopkins next week, so there’s no let-up."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:00 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Maryland, Postscript

March 20, 2009

Mount St. Mary's Christian Kellett honored

Christian Kellett was cited by the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference as its Rookie of the Week on Monday. The freshman attackman recorded a career-high six points in the Mountaineers' 12-9 victory over Manhattan last Saturday.

Kellett, who posted three goals and three assists against the Jaspers, leads the team in scoring with eight points on four goals and four assists.

Posted by Edward Lee at 4:45 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's

Virginia at Johns Hopkins: Three things to watch

The Cavaliers’ three-game winning streak against the Blue Jays is the current longest against Johns Hopkins. But here’s a nugget from Blue Jays sports information director Ernie Larossa: Under coach Dave Pietramala, Johns Hopkins is 3-0 at home against top-ranked opponents.

1) After tangling with the country’s best offense in Syracuse (14.6 goals average) last Saturday, the Blue Jays face the nation’s second-most prolific offense in Virginia (14.0). All six of the Cavaliers’ starting attackmen and midfielders have scored at least 10 goals each. Senior attackman Garrett Billings leads Virginia in goals (22) and points (32) and classmate Danny Glading is the team’s top playmaker with 15 assists. ESPN analyst Jack Emmer said how Johns Hopkins shadows Billings and Glading could determine the rest of the team’s defensive presence. "It would really help him [coach Dave Pietramala] if he didn’t have to slide the team defensively to Glading and Billings," said Emmer, the former Army coach who ranks second in NCAA history with 326 career wins. "If he can defend those guys even-up, that’s going to be a big factor. If he has to slide and cover them, then those middies are going to be able to take advantage."

2) One way the Blue Jays could alleviate some of the pressure on their defense is winning the battle of possession and, more specifically, faceoffs. Cavaliers senior Chad Gaudet ranks 15th in the country with a .565 faceoff percentage, and he could jump-start the team’s attack. Johns Hopkins sophomore Matt Dolente won a career-high 15 faceoffs Saturday, but he is still dealing with a hand injury and key backup Michael Powers has been hampered by a right arm injury. "There’s no guarantees that either of them will or won’t play," Pietramala said. "It’s a day-by-day type of thing, and we’ll evaluate it on Friday and Saturday again."

3) Another tactic the Blue Jays might employ is being patient on offense and working the clock and the field for quality shots. It’s a method they used successfully in last year’s NCAA tournament semifinal when Johns Hopkins upset then-No. 1 Duke, 10-9. That puts the onus on Virginia to be focused on defense and efficient on offense, according to Cavaliers coach Dom Starsia. "Will Hopkins want to go up and down the field with us or will they want to slow the tempo down a little bit, maybe play out of an invert offense?" he asked rhetorically. "We expect that’s a decision they might make. So being able – for us – to be patient both offensively and defensively is certainly going to be a factor in the game."

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Three things to watch

March 19, 2009

North Carolina at Maryland: Three things to watch

The No. 9 Terps have won 13 of the last 14 meetings, and the No. 14 Tar Heels haven’t secured an ACC victory since April 10, 2004 – a span of 19 contests. But here are a few things to keep an eye on when the teams meet Saturday at Ludwig Field at 2 p.m.

1) If Maryland wants to limit a North Carolina offense ranked fourth in the country with 13.1 goals per game, the Terps must hold their own on faceoffs. Tar Heels fifth-year senior Shane Walterhoefer (Boys’ Latin) ranks second in the nation with a .646 faceoff percentage. Maryland could counter with junior Bryn Holmes, but the McDonogh graduate – who ranks sixth with a .605 percentage – is a game-time decision with a groin injury. "We’ll know more on Friday," Terps coach Dave Cottle said. "Walterhoefer is winning close to 65 percent. So we’ve got to find a way to either clear it or win face-offs or both in order to make things happen. That’s going to be critical. I think they’re going in feeling pretty good about the face-off game."

2) Maryland could use more productivity from a midfield that has not scored a goal in the team’s last two contests against Towson and UMBC. Seniors Dan Groot, Jeremy Sieverts and Jeff Reynolds can initiate at the top of the zone or go behind the net. Reynolds, in particular, has caught the attention of North Carolina coach Joe Breschi. "Reynolds is the emotional leader of that team," Breschi said. "I think he had two goals against Duke off the faceoff [actually one goal and one assist] that ignited them in transition. He’s extremely athletic, and I think we’ve got our hands full with them offensively."

3) The Tar Heels have stumbled recently, losing two of their last three after opening the season with six consecutive victories. In losses to Notre Dame and Duke, North Carolina clung to a 4-3 lead at halftime, but were outscored by a combined 6-0 in the third quarter and 15-7 in the second half. "I think from the offensive end, we’ve got to be more poised and have more composure than we had last weekend [against Duke]," Breschi said. "In a tight game, I don’t think we did a good enough job of being patient in the second half. We’ve got to learn to play better in the second half and third quarter specifically."

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:05 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland, Three things to watch

March 18, 2009

Salisbury gets lucky with Cannone

Winning has its privileges. Just ask Sea Gulls coach Jim Berkman.

Freshman attackman Matt Cannone leads the country among Division III players in goals with 30, and Berkman admitted that the eight-time national championship school scored a coup with attracting Cannone, who transferred from Delaware.

"Once you build a program, there are some things that do come to you, and you get kind of lucky once in a while," Berkman said. "He was the lefty that we needed. We lost Matt Hickman, a first-team All American at that left-handed attack spot, and he has really filled the void with maybe even some skills that we didn’t have last year. He’s a dodger and he can score and he’s a shooter. He’s a good player."

With an 8-0 start, Salisbury has won 53 consecutive games and has not lost a regular-season contest since 2003, a span of 85 games that is not lost on the players and coaches.

"We talk about it now and again," Berkman said. "I don’t think it’s a major point of emphasis, but we do talk about it when we need to drop a little energy. It helps to get them in focus and not only make them realize what they’ve accomplished, but also what’s at stake so that we get the effort that’s needed so that they don’t let it get away."

Other Division III notes:

*The school formerly known as Villa Julie set a new program record for most consecutive wins to begin the season. Stevenson’s 19-3 victory over Wooster yesterday improved the team to 7-0, besting the previous mark of six set in 2007. The Mustangs have won 10 consecutive regular-season contests and seven straight at home.

*Washington collected two weekly awards when the Centennial Conference tabbed Jimmy Kielek and Thom Cecere as the league’s Offense and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively. Kielek, a senior attackman and an Archbishop Curley graduate, totaled four goals and six assists in two games last week, including a hat trick and four assists in a 16-7 win against Muhlenberg on Saturday. Cecere, a junior defenseman and St. Mary’s graduate, posted seven groundballs and three caused turnovers last week, and he scored his first collegiate goal in a 11-7 victory over Hampden-Sydney on Wednesday.

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:18 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Salisbury, Stevenson, Washington

March 16, 2009

Loyola's Koppens, Sawyer earn awards

The Greyhounds collected two Eastern College Athletic Conference weekly awards when Shane Koppens was named Offensive Player of the Week and Mike Sawyer earned co-Rookie of the Week recognition.

Koppens, a fifth-year attackman, registered nine points on three goals and a career-high six assists in a 15-11 victory over Bryant on Tuesday. The showing was a first for a Loyola player since Gavin Prout posted nine points (six goals and three assists) in a 16-12 win against Hofstra on March 4, 2000. Koppens' six assists in a single game are a Division I-high this season. He also added two goals and two assists in a 10-7 victory over No. 19 St. John's on Saturday.

Sawyer started both games in the midfield and recorded three goals, one assist and five groundballs. He shares co-Rookie of the Week honors with Penn State's Jack Forster.

In addition, senior long-stick midfielder P.T. Ricci was named to the Conference Honor Roll. He collected one goal, two assists, 22 groundballs and 11 caused turnovers last week.

Posted by Edward Lee at 5:15 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola

Seaman, Towson try to remain positive

A 1-4 start has the potential to tear a team apart, but the Tigers are resolute that brighter days are ahead.

All four losses have come at the hands of opponents ranked in The Sun's top 20 (Virginia, Maryland, Denver and Loyola). Only seven of the 45 players on the roster are seniors and two freshmen have started four of five games on attack. So the program sort of expected growing pains, coach Tony Seaman says.

"We've tried to be matter-of-fact about where we were at the beginning of the year and where we needed to develop and what kind of experience we were hoping to get out of that," he said earlier today. "If you compete against a Maryland and you compete against a Virginia, then it doesn't surprise you a lot when other teams walk on the field against you athletically. We're playing good teams, and we've got good teams coming up."

Seaman acknowledged that one of challenges associated with his job is keeping optimism high and frustration low among the players.

"That's the other thing you're always worried about," he said. "Certainly, losing breeds [pessimism], but I felt coming out of the Maryland game [a 9-7 loss], we weren't at all. We felt we played pretty well and with a couple breaks, we had a chance to win that game. But we never had a chance to win that game Saturday [against Virginia] with the way we played."

Towson's upcoming contest against Robert Morris will be only the school's second game at the friendly confines of Johnny Unitas Stadium before the team embarks on its second three-game road trip of the season.

"We played a couple of really, really good teams," Seaman said. "Hopefully, we grow on that. Let's see how we do this week against Robert Morris and Bucknell [on March 24] and Drexel [on March 28]. It puts us back in our league, in our world so to speak. Let's see how we come out of it and if we've grown and if we're ready to compete against those people."

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:14 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Towson

March 15, 2009

Postscript from UMBC at Maryland

Justin Radebaugh knew what he was up against: taking on the country’s third-ranked faceoff specialist in a meaningful game against in-state rival Maryland in front of a pro-Terps crowd.

But Radebaugh wasn’t alone. The Boys’ Latin graduate relied on the advice of junior J.D. Harkey and with the support of his teammates on the wings, Radebaugh more than held his own, winning 10 of 20 faceoffs in the No. 9 Retrievers’ 9-7 victory over No. 4 Maryland yesterday.

With Harkey lost for the remainder of the season due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered during practice earlier in the week, Radebaugh took every faceoff. And although Terps junior Bryn Holmes -- he of the 65.6 win percentage prior to yesterday’s contest -- won seven of 12, Radebaugh edged out senior Jeff Reynolds, 4-3, and freshman Jake Bernhardt, 1-0.

"We would talk a lot between faceoffs about what I’m doing and what the other guy’s doing," Radebaugh said of his conversations with Harkey during the game. "Of course, you’re going to be nervous before the game, but I think that’s a good thing. The first thing you don’t want to do is jump. Once you settle in, you start timing the whistle and you get more comfortable as the game goes on."

Expect Radebaugh to take the brunt of the faceoffs in Saturday’s home game against Ohio State. The freshman has earned the faith of his teammates.

"He really stepped up today and did an amazing job," senior Alex Hopmann said. "Last week, we had a tough week on groundballs and face-offs, but this week, we went back to work. Justin Radebaugh, I can’t say enough about the kid. Stepped up as a freshman, first game at Maryland, and he pulls it out for us. He’s the star of the game."

Other notes:

* The Terps’ sophomore attack duo of Grant Catalino and Ryan Young combined for six goals and one assist, but UMBC surrendered just one goal to attackman Will Yeatman (in an extra-man situation) and limited the first midfield of Dan Groot, Jeremy Sieverts and Jeff Reynolds just two assists. "We knew we needed to pack it in tight and play as a unit," senior defenseman Kevin Goedeke said. "We did a good job of scouting them, and we knew what we were up against. We knew we had to take away their strengths and force them to the parts of the field that we wanted them to go, and then we slid to them at the right times."

* As significant as the rivalry is between the two programs, Retrievers coach Don Zimmerman insisted that the atmosphere at practice was not unlike the mood at previous practices against other opponents. "It’s funny because it wasn’t a big rah-rah type thing," he said. "Last week, we did the rah-rah thing [against Johns Hopkins and Princeton], and it didn’t really work for us. So today, we were a little more laidback, and I just told them, ‘Look, you’re going to have to go out there and play your game for 60 minutes and find a way to win a lacrosse game.’ And that’s what the kids did. This was a players’ win."

* Maryland coach Dave Cottle’s frustration yesterday may have stemmed from the offense’s lack of intensity. The Terps appeared lethargic until UMBC took a 9-4 lead in the fourth quarter, and many players seemed content to take shots either from long range or poor angles. Only 14 of Maryland’s 37 shots were on net. "This wasn’t a game about skill," Cottle said, dismissing a question about whether the Retrievers’ defensive schemes had taken the Terps out of their game. "This was a game about will, and we didn’t have the will that was necessary to win this game today. You could see it in pregame. We just weren’t there for whatever reason. We’ve got to fix it. We have to fix some things, and it’s more about heart and toughness than anything else."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:00 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Maryland, Postscript, UMBC

March 14, 2009

UMBC's Peet Poillon on leaving Ohio State

Today’s edition of The Baltimore Sun features a profile of UMBC senior midfielder Peet Poillon’s development from scorer to distributor. One thread that didn’t make the article was Poillon’s transfer from Ohio State last July.

Poillon, 21, declined to name the schools he was interested in, but one of the reasons he chose the Retrievers was because of  his familiarity with the greater Baltimore metropolitan area when he was a two-time NJCAA All-American at Howard Community College. Poillon also said that one of his post-career goals is coaching.

"I felt like Coach [Don] Zimmerman was the perfect guy to learn from," Poillon said. "He’s been around the sport for 25 to 30 years, and that’s more than three times as many years I’ve been playing."

Poillon acknowledged that he would not have considered transferring from Ohio State if Joe Breschi had remained as head coach instead of leaving for North Carolina. Still, the decision was a tough one for Poillon.

"It was hard to leave 45 guys and coaches who you really respect and like a lot," he said. "It was one of the more difficult decisions I ever made. But it was probably the right decision for my future. I don’t regret it or anything."

Next Saturday, Poillon will meet his former Buckeyes teammates when Ohio State visits UMBC for a 1 p.m. game. Poillon said he is still tight with sophomore midfielder Zach Boyt and junior midfielder Andrew Stimmel – both of whom, like Poillon, hail from the Pittsburgh area – but his feelings for the Buckeyes won’t affect his play.

"I’m friends with a lot of them, but I want to beat them," he said. "Whatever I can do to help the team win that game, I’m going to be happy about and proud of. At the same time, I respect everybody on that team and the coaching staff. I wish them the best, but not against us."

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

March 13, 2009

UMBC at Maryland: Three things to watch

The Terps have won 24 of 30 meetings in this series, but bragging rights belong to the Retrievers, who have won the past two games. Here are three factors that could play a role in tomorrow’s outcome.

1) UMBC coach Don Zimmerman won’t reveal his hand, but figure on a rotation of juniors J.D. Harkey, Lance Diamond and Jordan Pierce and freshman Justin Radebaugh taking reps on faceoffs. Junior Kyle Wimer is another option, but he’s so valuable on offense and defense, Zimmerman might not want to exhaust him by taking faceoffs. With much of the attention centered on the Retrievers winning just 32.8 percent of their faceoffs, Wimer argued that the faceoff guys don’t deserve all of the blame. "A lot of these are 50-50 balls, and we’re just not coming up with them right now," he said. "If we’re getting in there and it’s a 50-50 ball, we feel like we should be coming up with it. It just hasn’t been going our way." Maryland has its own issues with junior Bryn Holmes (42 of 64, 65.6 percent) not expected to play due to a groin injury. Senior Jeff Reynolds (17 of 28, 60.7 percent) and freshman Jake Bernhardt (five of eight, 62.5 percent) could see some time at the "X."

2) Which offense has its way? The Terps are tied with Colgate for seventh in the country, scoring 12.6 goals a game, and UMBC isn’t far behind at 12.0 goals per contest. The Retrievers’ first midfield line of Peet Poillon (eight goals and 13 assists), Wimer (12, five) and Alex Hopmann (13, one) is widely considered one of the best in the nation. But Maryland’s unit of Dan Groot (five, six), Jeremy Sieverts (seven, two) or Reynolds (five, three) is just as dangerous and can alleviate some of the defensive pressure on attackmen Grant Catalino (11, 10) and Will Yeatman (six, eight). One footnote: The Terps would be wise to avoid penalties as UMBC leads the country with a 66.7 conversion rate in extra-man situations.

3) The Retrievers have declined to cite tomorrow’s game as a make-or-break contest for the season. But they were clearly perturbed after the loss to Princeton, and Zimmerman said he could sense a different vibe among the players during practice earlier in the week. "The team was affected by those two losses, and I think they are in agreement that there are no moral victories," Zimmerman said. "And I’m glad they were affected by the losses. We had a chance to go out and win and we didn’t. We didn’t get it done. But you can’t dwell on the past, you can’t lick your wounds. You’ve just got to get in there and keep trying to improve. That’s the attitude of this team."

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:59 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Maryland, Three things to watch, UMBC

March 12, 2009

Loyola's new goalie is ...

Sophomore goalkeeper Jake Hagelin will start in the net when the No. 18 Greyhounds play host to No. 19 St. John's on Saturday.

That might not qualify as news considering that Hagelin had started all six games this season and that coach Charley Toomey stated earlier in the season that Hagelin earned the role over senior Alex Peaty. But that was before Hagelin made just one save and surrendered six goals in the first half of Tuesday's contest against Bryant.

Still, Toomey affirmed earlier this evening Hagelin would start over Peaty, who replaced Hagelin after halftime and registered two saves in Loyola's 15-11 victory on Tuesday.

"We're going to start Jake Hagelin. He's our guy," Toomey said. "I felt like in both goalies' cases, we didn't give either of them a chance to really be great goaltenders. All the shots they had to see were six yards and in. We have to give both of those guys a better opportunity to see shots."

When asked if the decision was difficult to make, Toomey said no.

"I feel -- as I've said many times -- that we do have two very good goalies," he said. "If things aren't going in a direction we'd like to see -- whether it's the defense letting us down or in the goal -- I feel we have another guy who can come in and give us a spark and be a stopper. Again, it wasn't something that Jake did as much as it was the defense. But I felt like you don't lose your job when it's out of your control like that. We just weren't able to give the kid a fair shot in goal."

Hagelin and the rest of the Greyhounds must play well against a Red Storm team that is 4-0 overall and beat Georgetown to get to 1-0 in the Eastern College Athletic Conference. One factor in Loyola's favor: the Greyhounds are 11-0 at home against ECAC opponents under Toomey.

"For us, I think it's a real shot in the arm to get this game at home, where traditionally we have been very tough," Toomey said. "We need to come home and defend the home turf, especially in-league. That's where our guys have excelled, and I'm going to count on them to do that this Saturday."

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:57 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Loyola

March 11, 2009

Navy's Richie Meade: Don't read my lips

Richie Meade didn’t mince words when describing the Midshipmen’s defensive effort last Saturday. Today, the Navy coach tried to dilute the harshness of his initial analysis.

After Navy’s 14-9 victory over Lafayette, Meade dissected the defensive performance, telling the school’s Web site, "This was probably the worst defensive game I’ve seen us play in the last four years. I have to give Lafayette credit because [coach] Terry Mangan has done an outstanding job of recruiting some good young talent. But for us to give up nine goals is unacceptable against any opponent. We need to get some things fixed. Offensively we are improving, but today we definitely took a step backwards on the defense."

Earlier today during the team’s bus ride back from last night’s 10-8 win against Lehigh, Meade explained his comments.

"I think I was probably a little bit too critical," he said. "It’s always different after you watch the film, but we’re making a few mistakes that are very correctable. They’re all just little things. We’re working through that. I thought we played better last night than we did against Lafayette. I think we kind of took advantage and made some very big plays, but it’s a continuing process. We’re no different than a lot of teams. We may be talking about it a little bit more publicly, but I think everybody’s in a situation right now where they’re trying to win games and get better, and we’re accomplishing both of those things right now."

The Midshipmen are tied with North Carolina as the seventh-stingiest defense in the country, surrendering just 6.71 goals per contest and limiting opponents to 24.4 shots per game. But Navy has allowed seven goals with less than 40 seconds remaining in a quarter, including five under three seconds on the clock.

For that reason, Meade is careful about giving statistics much weight.

"The thing that is sometimes misleading about statistics is what actually happens on the field," he said. "… Our concern is not how many goals we’re giving up, but the types of goals we’re giving up and where they’re being given up from. That’s something that maybe we look at a little bit differently than some other teams. Defensively, it may look good on paper that we’re giving up 6-point-whatever-it-is, but where those goals are coming from is something that we’re trying to correct. We’re just constantly trying to get better."

On another note, freshman goalkeeper R.J. Wickham was named the Patriot League Rookie of the Week. Becoming the first Midshipmen goalie to earn such accolades, Wickham is 3-1 and owns a 6.75 goals-against average and .534 save percentage.

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:29 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Navy

March 10, 2009

Mount St. Mary's seeking answers on offense

I'll broach the subject of Mount St. Mary's defense, which has not wilted against some heavy hitters in tomorrow's edition of The Baltimore Sun, but one topic that cropped up in my conversation with coach Tom Gravante was the sluggish start by the offense.

The Mountaineers have scored only 10 goals in their first three games, and a factor has to be the team's reliance on youth on offense. The first four attackmen are freshmen, and two of the three starting midfielders are also first-year players. Gravante is trying to toe the line between leaning on the freshmen and relieving some of that pressure.

"They’re making immature mistakes," he said. "... So we have to break things down to another level and take time to build them up to that level. We’re going to have to continue to be very patient and diligent. As a staff, we need to pick up the pace a little bit, lean on them a little bit more. They’re kids, and kids are resilient. They can take more than you expect."

Some might say that the offensive downturn is linked to Gravante's decision to give up the reins to newly hired offensive coordinator Cory Coffman, a 2007 graduate of Loyola College. But Gravante, who is focusing on coaching the goalkeepers and defensemen, said he has no intention of second-guessing Coffman.

"I knew I couldn’t be as effective as I wanted to be with this team if I didn’t get somebody here," Gravante said. "Thank God the light bulb went off, and I said [to Coffman], 'Take the offense. You’re going to be better down there.' And I really should sharpen my skills on [the defensive] side of the field. If you’ve learned how to beat the defense all of your life [Gravante was an attackman at Hobart], then you should understand how slides work. It was simple to make that transition."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:59 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's

March 8, 2009

Postscript from Hofstra at Johns Hopkins

Today's game at Homewood Field featured a couple of interesting matchups, such as Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala against former Blue Jays associate head coach and current Hofstra coach Seth Tierney and Johns Hopkins senior defenseman Michael Evans vs. Pride sophomore attackman Jay Card (more on this later).

But the biggest draw involved Blue Jays junior Michael Gvozden and Hofstra freshman Andrew Gvozden in what is believed to be the first time a pair of brothers have opposed each other as starting goalkeepers. Andrew Gvozden -- who, like his brother, graduated from Severna Park -- earned his first career start as junior Danny Orlando did not make the trip with the team due to personal reasons. Gvozden surrendered 12 goals, and he admitted that his nerves didn't settle down until sometime in the second half. But he also made 11 saves and impressed Tierney.

"Andrew Gvozden had to fight against a lot of things besides his first college start -- his first college start against Hopkins, his first college start away from home, not at James M. Shuart Stadium, and his first start against his brother," Tierney said. "That's a difficult thing to ask a young man to do, and I think he would like to have a couple of them back, but certainly he made a fair share of them, and I'm proud of him."

"It's good to be back in Baltimore, but it was tough," Andrew Gvozden said. "A little nervous coming out. I told myself I wasn't going to be, but you can't really say that when you know it’s your first start of your career, [against] Johns Hopkins, [against] your brother. It's a lot to take in."

Said Michael Gvozden: "I was so proud of him. I thought he did such a good job, especially there in the second half. I thought he made some SportsCenter Top 10-type saves."

Other notes:

* Johns Hopkins (3-1) was forced to use its third faceoff specialist after sophomore Matt Dolente did not suit up and junior Michael Powers left the game with his right arm in a sling late in the second quarter. Freshman Marshall Burkhart went five of 11 and added a goal and an assist. "None of them are season-ending injuries," Pietramala said, declining to elaborate on the injuries to Dolente and Powers. "They're all banged up. You deal with it, and I thought Marshall came in and in particular early, gave us a lift."

* What I wrote above goes to show what little I know about lacrosse. I had thought that Evans, the Blue Jays best defenseman, would mark Card, Hofstra's most potent attackman. But it was junior Sam DeVore who was given the assignment of shadowing Card, and DeVore responded by limiting him to just a single goal. "He's definitely a great player," DeVore said of Card. "He's a righty, and I just tried to sit on his right hand, stay low, and play him knowing that I had my guys getting my back. ... I tried to be a little physical with him on goal line. Tried not to make him too much of a dodger because he's pretty dangerous. So I just kind of sat back and let him come to me."

* Johns Hopkins' Kyle Wharton saw extensive playing time last season, but this is his first season as a starter and the sophomore attackman has blossomed. Wharton, who scored a career-high five goals today, leads the team in goals with 11 and is tied with junior midfielder Michael Kimmel (Loyola) for the team lead in points with 14 points. "I'm having fun out there with [fellow starting attackmen] Steven [Boyle], Chris Boland and Josh Peck," Wharton said. "We have some good chemistry going. But as far as being comfortable, I hope I'm comfortable out there."

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Postscript

March 7, 2009

Postscript from Princeton at UMBC

One of several areas of concern for UMBC, which has dropped two straight after opening the season with three consecutive victories, is a trend in which the team has fallen behind and had to dig itself out of a hole.

The No. 4 Retrievers' 14-11 loss to No. 8 Johns Hopkins was highlighted by a 3-1 deficit to start the contest, and after junior attackman Chris Jones opened the third quarter with a score to narrow the gap to two, the Blue Jays went on a 5-0 run that proved insurmountable.

In last night's 6-5 loss to No. 6 Princeton, UMBC owned a 2-1 edge at halftime, but the Tigers scored five unanswered goals and were able to withstand a furious fourth-quarter rally to secure the win. Even in a victory over Rutgers last month, the Retrievers trailed 3-0 before recording a 17-10 victory.

"We definitely need to come out a little stronger," UMBC senior goalkeeper Jeremy Blevins (Calvert Hall) said. "When we've got to dig back, especially against a great defense like [the Tigers] have, it's going to be tough to get those goals back. We just need to start doing the little things better."

Other notes:

* Princeton freshman Tyler Fiorito started and finished his second straight game. With Fiorito, the Tigers defense stymied a Retrievers offense that had averaged 13.8 goals a contest. Fiorito, who has posted a 6.40 goals-against average and a .610 save percentage, has sort of put the goalie rotation with junior Nikhil Ashra on hold. "He's ridiculous," Princeton coach Bill Tierney said of the McDonogh graduate. "The thing that highlights it the most is the kid [Ashra] sitting behind him on the bench. That kid is as good as anybody in the country. That's how good [Fiorito] is."

* The Tigers opened the season with a 3-0 record for the first time since 2001 when the program claimed the last of its six national championships. Fiorito said this year's squad is trying to re-capture that magic. "I think we've really tried to change things and get it back to the way Princeton was," he said. "We're working extra hard in the morning at 6:30, running and lifting. Guys want to turn things around and make it better."

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:28 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Postscript, UMBC

March 6, 2009

World Cup Q&A with Loyola women's asst. coach Dana Dobbie

Loyola women's assistant coach Dana Dobbie was all set to play for Canada at the 2005 World Cup in Annapolis when she found out she needed surgery on both ankles and would have to miss the competition. Since then, the former Terrapins All-American has geared her game toward this summer's 2009 Federation of International Lacrosse World Cup this June in Prague.

Dobbie, who hails from Guelph, Ontario, played last season with three current Terps who will play for three other nations – Caitlyn McFadden, United States; Laura Merrifield, England; and Sarah Mollison for defending champ Australia. Dobbie now coaches with two other World Cup players – Greyhounds head coach Jen Adams (Australia) and assistant Kylee White, who also plays for Canada.

I asked Dobbie, 24, about her disappointment about missing the 2005 championship and on her excitement to be playing this summer.

How difficult was it to watch it in '05?

I think the worst part is that it was such a long process to be named to the team and then once you’re finally named to the team, it’s like your biggest dream come true. Then, to get that news, it’s just heartbreaking. The worst was the girls were at training camp a couple weeks before and they called me and I’d just had surgery and was at home with a cast. I talked to every single one of them and they were all so excited and I’m like, "How am I in this situation?" It was tough, but it was also kind of fun to watch the whole thing and not just be wrapped up in part of it.

What are you looking forward to most about it?

I think our no days off when we have to play Australia, U.S., England and Japan straight in a row. Since we’re the fourth seed, we kind of have it a little bit tough, but I’m really looking forward to the competition. Once you graduate, this is kind of all you have left. There’s no pro league for us, so this is kind of the end of everything. Just to have a chance to play is the one thing I’m looking forward to most.

What’s it going to be like to see all of those former Maryland teammates on all these different sides?

I wish we were on the same team not against each other, but it’ll be awesome to share that experience with a lot of my best friends.

Does it give you any advantage playing against them, knowing a lot about their games?

It’s tough when you have Caitlyn McFadden, Laura Merrifield, Jen Adams, those girls. You can know everything you can about how they play, but you’ve still got to stop it. I don’t know if that’s more intimidating or if that should give you more confidence.

Have you played against Jen before?

No, I’ve only watched her play and then just played around in practice. I think that’s going to be the most interesting. We -- her, Kylee and I at work -- are always joking around and pulling each other’s legs and kind of talking smack to each other when we’re training, but I think it will be fine. Once I put Canada on and she puts Australia on, you’re no longer co-workers. You’re just going after it and at the end of the day, there’s so much respect between the both of us, it will be a lot of fun.

What does it say about Maryland to have so many alums playing for at least five different countries?

That’s probably one of the coolest things, being an alumna of Maryland and getting to play for the Terps. There’s so many people all over the place who have been able to represent the university like that. Those are the kinds of reasons why I wanted to go and be a part of it, knowing that a lot of players there went on to compete at the international level.

Do you have a different perspective on playing now that you are coaching?

Yeah. It’s a lot different. I think you become a lot more disciplined and a lot more patient because the stuff you see in practice and the stuff you see on the sidelines, you can really relate to. "So that’s what they were talking about when I was playing. I get it now." People told me all the time, "If you could go back after coaching for a year, you would be such a better player, you’d be able to see all those little things." I completely agree.

How do you train when you’re so far away?

It’s really tough. I know the U.S. team is one of the only teams that can get together a lot. Like Australia and us, we’ll train two weeks before the World Cup. We’ll do a training camp and then we’ll participate. When you’re trying to play in the biggest game of your lives and you don’t practice like you did every day in college, it’s a little bit more difficult and it takes a lot more self motivation. With Kylee and I, since we do work together, we’re able to do workouts together and lift and run together.

This is the biggest World Cup, up to 16 teams. Is lacrosse growing in Canada as well?

Yeah, it really is. The women’s side is really progressing. We have a lot more high school teams than we did before, more club teams. Nothing compared to what you would see on the East Coast, but definitely huge growth. We’re trying to get started at a younger age.



Posted by Katherine Dunn at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)

March 5, 2009

Terps women ready for No. 2 Virginia

Just six days after upsetting then-No. 3 Duke, the Maryland women take on another ACC heavy hitter -- No. 2 Virginia -- tomorrow night in Charlottesville. Both are undefeated.

The No. 3 Terps and the Cavaliers have perhaps the most storied rivalry in the college women's game with 47 meetings. Maryland holds a 30-17 lead, but the Cavaliers have won eight of the last nine, including a 10-9 decision in last season's ACC final.

Maryland coach Cathy Reese remembers Virginia being tough even when she was a high school player at Mount Hebron looking at colleges. As a Terp, she played against Virginia six times -- and won them all, including once for the NCAA title.

For years, coach Julie Myers' Cavaliers have had one of the most deliberate, patient attacks in Division I. They're willing to work the ball for as long as it takes to find just the right opening, so the Terps must be especially sharp on defense.

 "They're always a very disciplined team," said Reese. "They're very smart. They capitalize on opponents' mistakes and they're just very organized and disciplined.

"For us, obviously, we have to come out and play very disciplined on defense and know that they're being patient and waiting for us to make a mistake -- and for us to always be ready. They hold the ball well. They're very controlled and they find their openings."

In the 15-13 win over Duke in College Park on Saturday, the Terps came together well for a team with only four returning starters and seven underclassmen in the starting lineup. It was also a good time for midfielder Laura Merrifield to return from a shoulder injury. The sophomore from England scored a career-high five goals. Amanda Spinnenweber (Chesapeake-AA) and freshman Karri Ellen Johnson (Broadneck) scored three each.

The Cavaliers boast two Maryland natives who excel at their positions -- midfielder Brittany Kalkstein (Roland Park), who ranks among the nation's best on the draw, and goalie Laura Benner (Severn), who ranks ninth nationally with 7.5 a goals-against average.

No matter what happens tomorrow, there's a good chance the two will meet again -- in the ACC tournament or in the NCAA tournament.





Posted by Katherine Dunn at 2:39 PM | | Comments (0)

Navy's new man in the net

R.J. Wickham's appearances in No. 17 Navy's last two contests are not temporary. Coach Richie Meade confirmed today that the freshman goalkeeper will continue to start between the pipes.

Senior Matt Coughlin started the first three games of this season and the first nine contests of 2008. Senior Tommy Phelan (Loyola) started the final seven of last year, playing a huge role in the school's advance to the NCAA tournament quarterfinals.

But Meade elected to go with Wickham, making him the first freshman goalie to start since two-time Kelly Award winner Mickey Jarboe did it in 1997.

"R.J.'s a plebe here, but he was at [Naval Academy] Prep School for a year, so he's actually a red-shirted freshman," Meade said. "It was very, very difficult to make the decision to go with a different guy besides Matt Coughlin. I felt not just after the Carolina game, but with a couple of the other games, maybe we just needed to get a little bit more out of that position. It's never easy to do this. But at the end of the day, you do it at other positions."

Meade pointed out that Coughlin and Phelan could overtake Wickham for the starting role if the situation arises. But so far, Meade likes what he sees in the 5-foot-10, 176-pound Wickham.

"He's very quick," Meade said. "He's got very quick hands. He's on most shots. He sees them pretty well. He's good in the clearing game. ... That was an area of concern, to tell you the truth. But he's fast, and he's got speed. He's also kind of a fiery guy. All of those things are attributes that he's good at now and will continue to get better on."

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

Stevenson reels in a big one

Last season, Stevenson (formerly known as Villa Julie) dropped tough games against top-15 opponents, losing 13-12 to No. 1 Salisbury, 10-9 to No. 2 Gettysburg and 14-8 to No. 12 Lynchburg.

The Mustangs finally broke through the ceiling, walloping No. 2 Gettysburg, 16-6, yesterday. Sophomore attackman Jimmy Dailey led Stevenson with seven points on four goals and three assists, and junior attackman Richie Ford (Towson) added four goals and an assist as Stevenson knocked off its first top-5 opponent since a 10-9 victory over No. 3 Cortland State on Feb. 24, 2007.

Coach Paul Cantabene agreed that the outcome was significant to the team's psyche.

"It was pretty meaningful for our program because last year, we came so close, losing to them by a goal and Salisbury by a goal and a tough game against Lynchburg where we came up just a little short," he said. "So I think yesterday, the guys put it all together, and it gives us a great in-region win, so that hopefully in May, when the selection committee looks at it, we've got a good in-region win."

The Mustangs' upset was powered by 10 unanswered goals spanning the first three quarters that turned a 2-1 deficit into a nine-goal cushion.

"They were up 2-1 and kind of banging the ball around. We got a break to get it to 2-2, and I thought one of the bigger keys was we interrupted one of their clears and were able to score right off that, and then we got one right off the faceoff after that," Cantabene said. "We kind of really got it going then. That was kind of a key moment right there. I think we kind of told them that we're in this for the game and that we weren't going anywhere." 

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:59 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Stevenson

March 4, 2009

Postscript from Johns Hopkins at UMBC

Omitted from today’s article on No. 8 Johns Hopkins’ 14-11 victory over No. 4 UMBC last night because of deadline and space constraints was the impact junior attackman Chris Boland had on the Blue Jays' offense.

The Columbia native and Boys’ Latin graduate earned his first career start last night, and he validated coach Dave Pietramala’s decision by recording a career-best four points on two goals and two assists.

Boland, who filled in for senior and team tri-captain Josh Peck, had previously compiled just one goal and one assist in Johns Hopkins’ first two games.

"It was fun," Boland said of his start. "Josh was well-deserving of being out there. He’s a good leader and captain. I just tried to get into the groove of things and the flow of the game. It happened to work out a little bit."

Boland was declared academically ineligible before last season and was forced to sit out. But Boland has returned in good shape and given the Blue Jays another weapon on offense.

"Chris brings us a great field sense and a presence on the field," Pietramala said. "He sees the play happening before it does. He sees one pass ahead, and that’s a gift. It’s not something you teach. It’s an innate sense, and Chris really brings that to our offense. And when you have a shooter like [sophomore attackman] Kyle [Wharton] and a dodger like [junior attackman] Steven [Boyle], it’s a nice combination when you have three different guys that do three different things."

Other notes:

*The Retrievers won just seven of 26 faceoffs last night, but might have found a faceoff specialist in a guy who already does plenty for them. Junior midfielder Kyle Wimer, the team’s second-leading scorer with 15 points who also plays defense, won six of nine faceoffs. Compare that with the 1-for-17 outing of three teammates who also took faceoffs and you can see why coach Don Zimmerman vowed to have Wimer begin practicing faceoffs as soon as this afternoon’s session. "Kyle’s a scrapper. Technique’s one thing, but scrapping’s another thing," Zimmerman said. "And it was also our wing play. I thought our wing play improved. I thought [junior] J.D. Harkey was holding his own as far as making it a neutral groundball, but we just got out-ground-balled by their wings. That’s something we have to work on. I don’t know that I just want to point to the face-off guy and say, ‘That’s where the responsibility lies.’ Part of that is true, but we have to do a better job with our wings and get in there and scrap. I think that was the story of the game."

*Johns Hopkins sophomore faceoff specialist Matt Dolente won his first two faceoffs last night and even scored the team’s first goal off a faceoff win, but he did not return to the game. Without delving into specifics, Pietramala said the decision to replace Dolente with junior Michael Powers was precautionary. "Matt got banged up, but he’ll be fine," Pietramala said. "Not a season-ending injury or anything like that. It was something that was in the best interest of the student-athlete, to not play him at least for the rest of this game."

*I wasn’t able to stick around for UMBC’s news conference (big thanks to Inside Lacrosse’s Geoff Shannon for monitoring my tape recorder while I was trying to make my 10:20 p.m. deadline on a game that ended at 9:40), but it was pretty easy to sense the frustration building within senior midfielder Alex Hopmann and Zimmerman. Asked about what the Blue Jays did to limit a Retrievers offense that had been averaging 14.67 goals per game, Hopmann, an Annapolis native and graduate, answered: "The thing was, today we didn’t come out and play UMBC lacrosse. We came out and I don’t even know what lacrosse we played. It wasn’t us. We were undisciplined. We weren’t us. That’s the biggest thing. It’s not who we’re playing. I don’t care if we’re playing Hopkins or Vermont. We’ve got to play our ball, and that’s the reason why we lost this game." Zimmerman followed up with a little flare of his own, saying, "I think Alex hit the nail on the head. We were not a disciplined lacrosse team, and that’s unacceptable. If you don’t have discipline, then you can forget about everything else. I thought we lost our composure, and it almost got away from us. The silver lining is, instead of ending the game on a totally embarrassing note, our guys decided to play our game and made it a ballgame. But too little, too late."

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Postscript, UMBC

March 3, 2009

Loyola welcomes back Shane Koppens

Just in case people forgot how good Shane Koppens is, the senior attackman for No. 19 Loyola scored three goals in an 8-7 win against Eastern College Athletic Conference foe Penn State on Saturday. It was his first contest of the season after serving a two-game suspension as part of gaining a fifth year of eligibility.

Koppens' tally with 3:55 left in the fourth quarter capped the fifth hat trick of his career and proved to be the winning goal for the Greyhounds (2-1 overall and 1-0 in the ECAC), who are tied with St. John's for the conference lead.

"He didn't waste much time getting into the mix," Loyola coach Charley Toomey marveled. "He's a kid who -- as I've always said -- is going to have the ball go through his stick every time down [the field]. He's our offensive leader, he's our decision maker. I think he really cherishes that role and embraces it. He just makes people around him better."

Koppens' presence benefited junior attackman Cooper MacDonnell, who also scored three goals. Prior to Saturday, MacDonnell, who led the team in goals with 22 last season, had found the net just twice. But Toomey refused to buy into an early-season slump as an explanation for MacDonnell's slow start.

"I don't know that he was ever out of the groove other than he was taking on the [opposing] team's best defender," Toomey said. "Now with Shane Koppens coming back into the mix, you've got to make some decisions. I think it all goes hand-in-hand. Shane takes a lot of pressure off of Cooper as well as [junior attackman] Collin [Finnerty]. So now, you've really got make some decisions as to how you want to guard Loyola's attack."

As the reigning ECAC champions, the Greyhounds have a one-game lead on No. 20 Georgetown, which lost to St. John's last Saturday and had captured six titles prior to last season. Just don't tell Toomey that.

"It's such a long season, and there are so many games to be played that you just can't look up right now," he said. "You've got to continue to take care of your own business. In fact, I wouldn't even say Loyola's in first place. I would say St. John's is. They're 3-0 [overall], and we're 2-1. I think you've got to give St. John's a lot of credit for doing what they've done so far."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:44 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola

Johns Hopkins at UMBC: Three things to watch

The Blue Jays have owned this series, winning all six meetings, but the Retrievers are eager to break the trend. To do so, here are some things that I will keep an eye on tonight:

1) If the No. 4 Retrievers look awfully familiar to the Blue Jays, take a closer look at the midfield. UMBC (3-0) is powered by a first midfield line of seniors Peet Poillon and Alex Hopmann (Annapolis) and junior Kyle Wimer -- all three of whom rank 1-2-3 on the team in points. It's a formula that Johns Hopkins employed in the past: Adam Doneger, Kyle Harrison and Kevin Boland in 2003, Harrison, Boland and Matt Rewkowski in 2004, Harrison and Paul Rabil in 2005, and Paul Rabil and Stephen Peyser in 2007 and 2008. If the Blue Jays plan to shadow those three midfielders with long-pole defensemen, that leaves either senior attackman Ryan Smith (Fallston) or junior attackman Matt Latham (Liberty) facing off against a short-stick defensive midfielder.

2) Johns Hopkins has been a program that has long been celebrated for its tough defenses. The question for the No. 8 Blue Jays (1-1) is: Which defense shows up tonight? The one that shut out Siena over the final 45 minutes, 50 seconds in a season-opening win? Or the unit that surrendered nine of the game's first 10 goals in Saturday's loss to Princeton? Senior Michael Evans struggled with Tigers sophomore attackman Jack McBride, and juniors Matt Drenan and Sam DeVore and senior long-stick midfielder Charlie Wiggins drew unnecessary penalties. That unit has to play better to give junior goalkeeper Michael Gvozden a chance against a Retrievers offense that averages 14.7 goals per game.

3) UMBC's defense seems to have filled the void left when top close defenseman Bobby Atwell (Southern) was lost for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in January. Senior Steve Settembrino and juniors Matt Kresse and Brian Schneider have bent, but not broken against opponents like Delaware's Curtis Dickson and Colgate's Brandon Corp. They'll have to do much of the same against a Johns Hopkins offense that has gotten goals from seven different players.

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Three things to watch, UMBC

March 2, 2009

Washington's Gordon Cohen recognized

Washington College senior goalie Gordon Cohen was named the Centennial Conference Men's Lacrosse Defensive Player of the Week after anchoring the Shoremen's 2-0 start.

Cohen registered 14 saves in the team's season-opening, 11-6 win against Kean last Wednesday. He followed up that performance by making nine saves and surrendering just two goals in almost 41 minutes in a 20-6 victory over Virginia Wesleyan Saturday. Cohen has posted a .742 save percentage and a 4.78 goals-against average.

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:32 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Washington

Salisbury's Matt Cannone wins award

Freshman attackman Matt Cannone became the second Sea Gulls player in as many weeks to claim the Capital Athletic Conference Player of the Week award after he compiled 12 points in two games last week.

Cannone scored five goals in Salisbury's 18-5 victory over Wesley on Wednesday. Three days later, he recorded career highs in goals (six) and points (seven). Cannone ranks second among the Sea Gulls in goals (15) and points (18), trailing only reigning Division III National Player of the Year Kylor Berkman's 18 goals and 31 points.

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:37 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Salisbury

Hood's drought is over

After 47 consecutive losses, the Blazers corralled their first victory since the program's inception in 2005 with a 12-7 win against Gwynedd-Mercy last Tuesday.

Although Hood (1-2) couldn't extend the streak on Friday, dropping a 13-10 decision to Shenandoah. coach Curt Foxx said the team's confidence has been evident.

"These kids feel like they have been in every game this season," said Foxx, a first-year coach who succeeded Eric Dummann. "They feel like they've been competitive whereas last year when we only had about 17 players on the team, we were completely blown out in probably 12 of the games. The kids feel like, 'Hey, we're in it.' ... There's a big improvement even if it's not showing in the record."

Junior attackman Sofiane Lazar paced the Blazers' victory over Gwynedd-Mercy with three goals, and he ranks second on the team with six points on five goals and one assist. But seven of the the team's top-nine point producers are either sophomores or freshmen.

"They're feeling their way, and they're learning the game," Foxx said of his squad, which consists of 13 freshmen, 10 sophomores, three juniors and zero seniors. "We're just trying to be competitive and recruit and get better. In the last two years, we've had the same coaching staff and now we can actually sit down and bring kids in. ... That's part of the process, too."

Foxx said he has noticed a renewed sense of dedication among the players. "These kids get up at 6 a.m., and they're doing workouts in the gym," he said. "They're lifting, they're running, they're doing wall work, they're doing all kinds of drills on their own, and there's just great leadership from them. They're just a great group of student-athletes."

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:51 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Hood

March 1, 2009

Postscript from Duke vs. Maryland

Sophomore attackmen Grant Catalino and Ryan Young, senior midfielder Jeff Reynolds and junior attackman Will Yeatman played significant roles in No. 8 Maryland’s 11-8 victory over No. 14 Duke at the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium yesterday. Junior goalkeeper Brian Phipps deserves some credit, too.

Phipps, who splits time in the net with senior Jason Carter, became the first goalie to play an entire game as he registered 13 saves against the Blue Devils. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Phipps may not have the physical frame that the 6-1, 215-pound Carter possesses, but Phipps at times seems more flexible, has a quick stick and is very adept at passing the ball to his teammates to start the team’s transition offense.

While remaining committed to his rotation and confirming that Carter would start this Saturday against Towson, Terps coach Dave Cottle said Phipps’ play anchored a team eager to avenge last week’s upset loss to Georgetown. "I thought Brian helped us big-time early," Cottle said. "… Here’s a kid who thought it was his fault – and it wasn’t – that we didn’t win and then has enough confidence to come back and start off strong. I thought that was important for him, making saves early and then his confidence grew and grew and then we had ourselves a heck of a goalie."

Duke senior attackman Ned Crotty said he and his teammates didn’t test Phipps as they should have. "He’s a three-year starter at Maryland, so he’s a good goalie, a great goalie. But I think a lot of times, we helped boost his confidence," Crotty said. "We didn’t put all of our shots in the right spots. What did we have, 41 shots? A lot of those shots were good shots, but just not in the right spots. … Because of that, he got hot, got a lot of confidence, and that kind of made it hard on us."

Other notes:

*With junior defenseman Brian Farrell hospitalized Thursday with two cracked ribs and fluid in his lungs, sophomore Brett Schmidt was the most immediate beneficiary of Farrell’s absence and he played admirably against Crotty. Schmidt, who entered the season as the team’s top long-stick midfielder, was moved to close defense, and even though Crotty finished with two goals and three assists, Schmidt did enough to impress Cottle. "Our plan was to give him work when we played some really quick guys because we felt like we weren’t apt to cover really quick guys," Cottle said. "So we started about two weeks ago, trying to get Brett ready for that move eventually. On Thursday, we found out something was wrong [with Farrell], so Brett made the move, and I can’t tell you how hard he played, how tough he played, and how good a player he played [against]."

*With Schmidt moved to close defense, junior midfielder Dean Hart filled the long-stick midfielder role. Sophomore attackman Travis Reed played sparingly as he continues to deal with offseason knee surgery and shin splints.

*The Blue Devils are dealing with their first losing streak since the 2004 campaign, but Cottle said critics should pause before dismissing Duke for the remainder of the season. "I think you’re going to see this team get a lot better," he said. "I think they’re going to figure out who they are. I think they’re doing kind of what we’re doing, trying to figure out the best way for their team to play. But I’ll tell you one thing: they’ve got some big, aggressive kids on defense, I think their goalie [senior Rob Schroeder] is solid, and 22 [Crotty], 8 [junior attackman Max Quinzani], 10 [senior midfielder Brad Ross] and 20 [senior midfielder Steve Schoeffel] are outstanding players on offense. I think they’ll be better next week because of today."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:33 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Maryland, Postscript

Postscript from Princeton vs. Johns Hopkins

Few things pain Dave Pietramala more than undisciplined play, which is why the Johns Hopkins coach was visibly frustrated by his team’s performance in yesterday’s 14-8 loss to No. 19 Princeton at the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium.

After incurring just two 30-second penalties in the season opener against Siena, the No. 4 Blue Jays (1-1) were flagged 10 times for a total of nine minutes yesterday. The Tigers (2-0) converted on only 2-of-7 extra-man opportunities, but Johns Hopkins constantly put pressure on its defense and junior goalkeeper Michael Gvozden by playing undermanned.

Pietramala was especially incensed at a sequence with 55 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Junior midfielder Michael Kimmel’s 1-minute slashing penalty was compounded by another slashing call on redshirt junior defenseman Matt Drenan and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on junior defenseman Sam DeVore. Although Princeton junior attackman Scott MacKenzie was also whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct, Pietramala was less than pleased.

He nodded twice in agreement as Kimmel tried to explain that sequence, saying, "It wasn’t the classiest thing we could have done." Added Pietramala: "We didn’t handle that play in a classy fashion. Just that simple. That’s not what we do."

Other notes:

*Pietramala was equally frustrated by the defense’s inability to close off the Tigers’ shooting lanes. Princeton, which took 60 shots in the season opener against Canisius, launched 51 yesterday. "We just talked all week about trying not to let them plant their feet and shoot, and we didn’t do a real good job of that, did we?" Pietramala asked rhetorically.

*Gvozden was pulled with 11:30 left in the fourth quarter and the Blue Jays trailing, 14-6, and replaced by freshman Steven Burke. Pietramala insisted that the decision to pull Gvozden, who was later reinserted, should not be interpreted as criticism of the goalie’s effort. "No. I don’t think that we were playing great defense in front of him," Pietramala said. "I don’t think our defensive effort in general was up to snuff, and for me to sit here and blame Mike, that would be out of line. Again, I blame me. It’s my job to get this team ready to play, and when I watch that film, it doesn’t look like we were ready to play."

*Did anyone catch the shouting match between Pietramala and Tigers coach Bill Tierney along the sidelines late in the first quarter? Tierney seemed to take umbrage with senior long-stick midfielder Charlie Wiggins’ illegal body check with 4:17 left and let Wiggins know about it. Pietramala, in turn, jumped in to defend Wiggins, and both coaches engaged in an exchange of words and glares. Afterwards, both coaches appeared to have forgotten about the incident.

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:06 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Postscript
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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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