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April 30, 2009

ESPN's Mark Dixon talks tournament field

Besides talking about the possibility of Loyola and/or Maryland not making the 16-team field of the NCAA tournament, ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins midfielder Mark Dixon offered his take on which school deserves the No. 1 seed. (Hint: the program rhymes with Hera-deuce.)

"If Syracuse beats Colgate on Saturday, I think Syracuse goes to No. 1," Dixon said. "A lot of people are projecting Duke to be No. 1 because their RPI shot up from a seven to a two in the latest rankings and that’s powered by those two wins over Virginia. But I could see Duke going in at two. So I think right now, it’s between Syracuse and Duke. I don’t think you can give Virginia the [No.] 1 [seed] simply because of the losses to Duke."

Dixon laughed when he was asked to name his Final Four and pretended to hesitate. But he answered the call and answered the question.

"I think Virginia can make it with the offense that they have," Dixon said. "They’ve got to get things right on the defensive end. They are just porous right now off-ball, and they’ve been exposed by Duke. They were exposed by Hopkins actually. They lived dangerously there, and they lived dangerously against Carolina, but I do think Virginia still has the offensive firepower to get there. I would bet on Syracuse. I would bet on North Carolina. I think Carolina is starting to get it together, even with the loss to Duke. I like what I see out of Carolina. And I think Princeton can get it together. They’ve got that nice blend of youth and senior leadership. They have a stingy defense, and the offense is playing pretty well, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Princeton there. So I would say Princeton, Syracuse and Virginia with the dark horse being Carolina."

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:25 PM | | Comments (2)

Hofstra's loss is no gain for Loyola, Maryland

If anything, the No. 10 Pride’s shocking 9-7 loss Wednesday night to a Villanova squad that Hofstra had whipped, 10-3, just five days ago has narrowed the possibility of both the No. 13 Terps and the No. 18 Greyhounds making the 16-team NCAA tournament.

Despite the setback in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament semifinal, the Pride are 11-3, have a Rating Percentage Index of five, and boast quality wins against No. 5 Brown, No. 7 Princeton and No. 17 Massachusetts.

So in addition to either Towson or Villanova getting the automatic qualifier for winning the CAA tournament championship Saturday night, Hofstra is virtually assured of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. That means that either Maryland or Loyola will not get one of the remaining eight at-large cards.

The Terps and Greyhounds present interesting cases for an invitation. Loyola’s RPI of nine is superior to Maryland’s RPI of 14, and the Greyhounds (9-4) have no bad losses on their resume, dropping one-goal decisions to No. 1 Syracuse and No. 3 Notre Dame and two-goal contests to No. 2 Duke and Massachusetts.

The Terps (8-6) have lost four of their last six games, but they have two quality wins against Duke and No. 8 North Carolina. The Blue Devils have a RPI of two, while the Tar Heels have a RPI of eight.

"I think what we’ve learned about the NCAA tournament selection committee is that those big wins don’t weigh in as much, but I think they might this year because Loyola doesn’t have any of those big wins," ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins midfielder Mark Dixon said. "Hofstra losing, I think they’re in as an at-large. I think that definitely dealt a blow to Maryland’s chances, but also Loyola’s. So I think they’re both at risk."

The silver lining for the Greyhounds is that they still have two scenarios to earn a spot. If Massachusetts loses to Rutgers Saturday, the Eastern College Athletic Conference title and the league’s automatic qualifier would go to Loyola. Or if the Greyhounds upset No. 9 Johns Hopkins Saturday, that quality win might be enough to impress the selection committee.

"Loyola has a chance to get that big win and strengthen its RPI with a win over Hopkins," Dixon said. "Whereas Maryland is supposed to beat Yale [Saturday’s opponent], and if they do, they’re still in the running, but it’s not going to help them.

"If [the Greyhounds] beat Hopkins, they’re in as an at-large," he continued. "If they don’t, it’s going to be a very anxious Sunday for Loyola."

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:52 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola, Maryland

Postscript from Binghamton at UMBC

Senior attackman Ryan Smith’s game-winning goal 55 seconds into double overtime overshadowed a troubling performance by a Retrievers offense that had been ranked fifth in the nation in scoring prior to Wednesday night’s 9-8 squeaker against Binghamton in an America East tournament semifinal.

UMBC took 46 shots, landing just 22 on net. Bearcats senior goalkeeper Larry Kline made 13 saves, and Retrievers coach Don Zimmerman said he thought the players began to press and take some low-percentage shots.

"I think we forced the ball a lot on offense tonight," he said. "I think guys tried to do too much. ... The key was, guys stepped up not in a heroic fashion, but in a team fashion and played to their roles."

While UMBC fans might have been heartened to see the starting attack of juniors Chris Jones and Matt Latham and Smith combine for six goals and one assist, the starting midfield of seniors Peet Poillon and Alex Hopmann and junior Kyle Wimer fizzled.

A trio that had combined for 76 goals and 36 assists prior to the semifinal compiled just one goal and three assists.

"I think our midfield kind of got away from the game plan," Zimmerman said. "I call that the ‘50 midfield,’ and that 50 is on their lockers because you add the [jersey] numbers of nine for Hopmann, 20 for Wimer and 21 for Poillon, and that adds up to 50. And they didn’t play like the ‘50 midfield’ tonight. They played like No. 9, No. 20 and No. 21. So we’ve got to get back to being the ‘50 midfield.’"

Other notes:

*Binghamton tied the game at seven on what appeared to be a questionable play. After Retrievers senior goalie Jeremy Blevins made a save, he lost possession of the ball. As he was standing outside of the crease, he was pushed from behind by junior attackman Andy Cook, who corralled the loose ball and fired it into the open net with 2:31 left in the fourth quarter even as he appeared to be in the crease. "I went to my feet to get it and thought I got pushed from behind," said Blevins, whose appeal to an official fell on deaf ears. "By then, it was too little, too late."

*The Bearcats are 1-9 against UMBC, but they have played the Retrievers tough. In a 2006 America East tournament semifinal, UMBC won, 6-3. In a regular-season game the next season, the Retrievers needed double overtime before escaping with a 11-10 victory. And last year’s semifinal was another overtime duel with UMBC prevailing, 6-5. "They always come in here and play us tough in the playoffs," Smith said. "So we knew we were going to be in for a fight." Added Zimmerman: "They’re scrappy, and they play to the personality of their coach [former UMBC assistant coach Ed Stephenson]. They never quit."

*Kline not only made 13 saves, but he also scored Binghamton’s first goal. With 10:07 left in the first quarter, Kline was allowed to carry the ball across the midfield line and into the offensive zone. When no UMBC defender slid to Kline, he cranked an overhand shot from seven yards away past Blevins. "I knew there were some guys who were going to step up and have some great games for us," Stephenson said. "Larry was certainly the leader of that group. ... He had a goal and 13 saves. An unbelievable night against some strong shooters. He rose to the occasion tonight and gave us a chance to win."

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

April 29, 2009

Binghamton at UMBC: Three things to watch

The No. 11 Retrievers have won or shared the America East regular-season title in each of the past five years. If UMBC (10-3) hopes to reach its fourth consecutive tournament final, here are a few objectives the team should aim for.

1) The Retrievers’ first midfield of seniors Peet Poillon (25 goals and 17 assists) and Alex Hopmann (30, 4), and junior Kyle Wimer (21, 15) draws a lot of attention, and rightly so, as those three are the team’s top point producers. But the attack can complement the midfield and guys like senior Ryan Smith (17, 6), juniors Matt Latham (20, 5) and Chris Jones (15, 7), and freshman Rob Grimm (8, 16) make the offense a dual threat. "We want balanced scoring," coach Don Zimmerman said. "We like to attack the goal from out front and behind. When you have six guys playing offense, sharing the ball, and contributing in their own right, we can be tough to defend. And I think it’s more fun that way. I think it just gives us some momentum."

2) Since succeeding J.D. Harkey (torn anterior cruciate ligament) as the team’s primary faceoff specialist, freshman Justin Radebaugh has won at least 50 percent of his faceoffs in six of eight games, and UMBC went 5-1 in those contests. Radebaugh and senior Matt Curtin give the team options at the faceoff "X." "They’re challenging one another in practice and pushing one another and as a result, I’ve seen improvement in both Justin and Matt," Zimmerman said. "We think we have a nice 1-2 punch there, and that’s always key."

3) On paper, Binghamton seems like a sacrificial lamb. The Bearcats went 3-11 overall and 2-3 in the conference, and they averaged just 6.6 goals per game while surrendering 10.7. Binghamton’s top three scorers are underclassmen, and the team has lost seven straight on the road. But the Bearcats extended the Retrievers into overtime in last year’s tournament semifinal, and Zimmerman is wary of a surprise. "What you said about Binghamton is pretty much what you see with Hartford, and as you may know, a couple of weeks ago, we weren’t able to get it done against a similar Hartford team," Zimmerman said, referring to a 10-8 loss on April 18. "With youth, you sometimes lack experience, but teams can come in with a nothing-to-lose, everything-to-gain attitude, and those teams are dangerous, especially when they’re well-coached. So we expect a good, tough game."

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:31 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Three things to watch, UMBC

April 28, 2009

UMBC sweeps America East Conference honors

Coaches in the America East Conference voted Jeremy Blevins as the Player of the Year, and Don Zimmerman was named the Coach of the Year for the second straight year and for the third time in four seasons.

Blevins, who is the third Retriever to win Player of the Year honors (attackman Brendan Mundorf won in 2005 and 2006, and midfielder Terry Kimener was selected last year), is eighth in the nation with a 7.58 goals-against average and he leads all active goalies with 42 wins. Blevins, who is one of 21 players still vying for the Tewaaraton Trophy, is fourth on the school’s all-time saves list with 601.

Under Zimmerman, UMBC has captured or claimed a share of the America East regular-season crown in each of the last five seasons. The program’s 43 victories over the last four years ranks as the most in its history, exceeding the 42 wins between 1974-77. Zimmerman boasts a career record of 196-113 (.634) in 23 seasons, and he is 123-97 (.559) in his 16th year with the Retrievers.

Joining Blevins on the conference first team were midfielders Peet Poillon and Kyle Wimer, defenseman Kevin Goedeke (Fallston) and short-stick defensive midfielder Jordan Pierce (Mount St. Joseph).

Poillon, a transfer from Ohio State, leads the team in points with 42 on 25 goals and 17 assists, while Wimer ranks second with 36 points on 21 goals and 15 assists. Goedeke and Pierce have helped Blevins anchor a defense ranked ninth in the nation in surrendering just 7.8 goals per game.

Attackmen Ryan Smith (Fallston) and Matt Latham (Liberty), midfielder Alex Hopmann (Annapolis) and defenseman Matt Kresse were named to the second team.

Attackman Rob Grimm was selected to the All-Rookie team, while Goedeke and attackman Chris Jones earned All-Academic honors.

Posted by Edward Lee at 4:22 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: UMBC

Weekly awards for Loyola, UMBC, Salisbury

Two Loyola players earned weekly awards from the Eastern College Athletic Conference.

Loyola junior attackman Collin Finnerty shared Offensive Player of the Week honors with Penn State sophomore midfielder Chris Hogan. Finnerty matched a career high with four goals – all in the first quarter – in the No. 18 Greyhounds’ 16-7 win against Hobart.

Sophomore goalkeeper Jake Hagelin made eight saves and surrendered just five goals to the Statesmen. The reigning ECAC Rookie of the Year split the Defensive Player of the Week award with Georgetown senior defenseman Steve Bauer.

UMBC’s Ryan Smith was named by the America East as the league’s Player of the Week. The senior attackman posted seven points on four goals and three assists in the No. 11 Retrievers’ 18-5 victory over Vermont to help the school clinch a share of the regular-season championship for the fifth consecutive season.

In Division III news, Salisbury senior midfielder Kylor Berkman collected Capital Athletic Conference’s Player of the Week honors for registering four goals and one assist in the No. 5 Sea Gulls’ 12-11 victory over Washington. Berkman was recently named the conference’s Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:41 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola, Salisbury, UMBC

Maryland optimistic about postseason picture

The Terps are only 8-6, have lost four of their past six contests, and got bounced from the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament semifinals by a North Carolina team that had lost 12 consecutive tournament contests until last Friday’s 16-10 rout of Maryland.

But the Terps have wins against Duke and North Carolina, two schools ranked in the top 10 in RPI. That, according to coach Dave Cottle, should be enough to convince the selection committee to award Maryland one of the coveted nine at-large bids.

"I don’t think there will be any anxiety because you can only focus on the things that you can control, and you can’t control that," he said. "Historically, if you have two top 10 wins and a winning record, you typically get in. It doesn’t look like an extremely strong at-large field. ... There aren’t going to be many teams with a better strength of schedule than us."

Unlike Virginia and North Carolina, the Terps lined up a non-conference game against Yale this Saturday. It’s another opportunity to work out the kinks that have befuddled the players and coaches.

"We’re just not doing the little things that winning teams do, and that’s where we’re struggling," Cottle said. "It’s been a different thing and a different situation each time. It’s obviously not just a personnel issue. We’ve been decent clearing the ball, our extra-man has been pretty consistent, but we don’t play consistently on the offensive end of the field. Defensively, we’ve been more consistent, but in this last game, we weren’t as good as we’ve been. That’s been the struggle. It’s been a different thing every week."

But Cottle insisted that there’s no point in waiting around nervously for Selection Sunday. Maybe scheduling the game against Yale wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

"We’ve been so inconsistent, we just have to take care of the business at hand, which is practicing well and getting ready for Yale," he said. "The rest will take care of itself."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:02 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland

Paul Carcaterra on the No. 1 seed and the Final Four

Here is Part 2 of my conversation with former Syracuse All-America midfielder and current CBS College Sports analyst Paul Carcaterra. Carcaterra opined that if he were on the selection committee for the NCAA tournament, he would nominate reigning national champion and No. 1 Syracuse for the No. 1 seed -- but not without some hesitation.

"They certainly have the potential to win a national championship," Carcaterra said. "But I think they kind of backed into this No. 1 seed based on everything that’s kind of gone on with Brown beating Cornell and Virginia getting skunked by Duke. Talent-wise, they’re certainly in the discussion of being the top team in the country along with three or four other schools. Being the No. 1 seed, I don’t think they did anything over the last four to six weeks that just wowed people to put them in that spot, but I think they do deserve it based on everything that happened over the weekend."

Carcaterra wasn’t as high on Duke’s resume for the No. 1 seed.

"I don’t think their whole body of work constitutes a No. 1 seed," he said. "I think they match up really well against Virginia. ... But I think if you look at their entire body of work, they lost to Cornell at home, they lost to Maryland earlier in the season, and they lost to Harvard. I think they’ve played themselves into being a top-four seed by winning the ACC, which is the best conference in college lacrosse. But if you look at their entire body of work, I can’t see how you give them a No. 1. They’re certainly a hot team at the right time."

Carcaterra also offered his opinon on which teams will play at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on Memorial Day Weekend. Here are his thoughts on the four schools:

* "I’d probably say Syracuse. I really like the way they’re playing. I did their UMass game [a 10-3 result last Saturday] and what was pretty reassuring to me was the way they played defense and their goaltender. I thought [sophomore John] Galloway was great and the defense forced UMass into some poor-angled shooting."

* "You’ve got to love Duke. I’ve loved Duke even after that first Virginia upset. I did their game against Army, and I think they’re playing some punishing defense. a lot’s been said about their offense putting up big numbers and that can’t go unnoticed, but they’re playing some defense in Durham, too. You look at their four long poles in [senior Ryan] McFadyen, [sophomore Mike] Manley, [junior Parker] McKee and [freshman C.J.] Costabile, a long-stick middie who can face off and score goals. That’s the best unit in the country right now defensively."

* "I still like Cornell. I like Cornell because of their senior leadership. [John] Glynn and [Max] Seibald are four-year starters at the midfield who really cause havoc, and they’ve got this kid [Rob] Pannell who is giving them some balance on the attack end. He’s one of the best feeders in the country, and he’s only a freshman. Defenses now can’t just worry about the top of the field against Cornell’s offense. They have to deal with some of those kids behind [the net], and [junior Ryan] Hurley’s a great finisher, too. Their offense is one of the best in the country, I think. They’re not as deep in the midfield though. That can be a little bit of an issue."

* "Believe it or not, I think the fourth team is Johns Hopkins just because of the way Coach [Dave] Pietramala always makes adjustments from losses earlier in the year. Look at their schedule. They have seen everything. I do respect Notre Dame, and I think they have a great team, but look at their schedule. They’re undefeated and they’ve beaten one team in the top 10. Hopkins has played, what, six or seven teams in the top 10. A team like Hopkins is battle-tested, they’re always going to play great team defense, and I think they’re going to make adjustments. Don’t be surprised if the Blue Jays are playing on Memorial Day."

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

April 27, 2009

Navy punches ticket to NCAA tournament

The Midshipmen are embroiled in Exams Week, but they passed what might have been their toughest test by beating No. 15 Colgate (9-5) and No. 14 Bucknell (9-7) to capture the Patriot League tournament championship – the fifth one in the last six seasons.

No. 11 Navy (11-4) became the first school to qualify for the NCAA tournament, which means the Midshipmen won’t have to sweat out Selection Sunday in six days.

"We went through that last year, and that’s not something we were anxious to repeat," coach Richie Meade said. "The circumstances that led us to getting into last year’s tournament were pretty unique. I’m not sure that all those things would have happened again. I’m not sure we would have been selected, but I’m not a prognosticator. So I don’t try to attempt to figure out what’s going to happen or what should happen. I just deal with what’s happening. We were in a position to control our destiny, and our kids did a real good job of doing that."

The Midshipmen had plenty of players step up during the tournament. In Friday’s 9-8 triple-overtime win against the Red Raiders, junior midfielder Joe Lennon (Loyola) scored four times – including the game-tying and game-winning goals – junior faceoff specialist Robby Battle won 13 of 20 faceoffs, and freshman defenseman Matt Vernam limited Tewaaraton Trophy finalist Brandon Corp to a single goal.

In Sunday’s 9-8 victory over the Bison, junior attackman Brendan Connors scored three times and assisted on another goal, junior long-stick midfielders Zack Schroeder and Jaren Woeppel shut out Patriot League Freshman of the Year Charlie Streep, and senior defenseman Andy Tormey surrendered just one goal to attackman Joe Mele.

While lauding the play of the second short-stick defensive midfielder unit of junior Joe McAuliffe and sophomore Marty Gallagher and freshman attackman Ryan O’Leary, Meade singled out Woeppel, who was named to the All-Patriot League second team.

"Over the course of the two days, the guy that’s being overlooked is Jaren Woeppel, who got a billion groundballs on faceoffs," Meade said. "He covered Streep and just devoured him. The first night, none of the Colgate guys got any leverage on him at all. Jaren’s kind of been a guy who’s steady and no one notices him, and he’s done a great job, too."

While the Midshipmen don’t have to worry about getting into the tournament, Meade said the players and coaches will have plenty to analyze and work on if they intend to stay a while in the tournament.

"I feel like we can still get better as a team," he said. "And we’re going to have to in order to have some impact on this tournament."

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:58 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Navy

Paul Carcaterra's take on the NCAA tournament field

During halftime of the Syracuse-Massachusetts contest Saturday, former Syracuse All-America midfielder and current CBS college sports analyst Paul Carcaterra offered his take on the projected 16-team field for the NCAA tournament.

That field underwent some changes Monday after Navy beat Bucknell for the Patriot League tournament crown and automatic qualifier. During an extensive conversation that I have broken up into two posts, Carcaterra thinks Bucknell is out and a local school is the most immediate beneficiary.

"I think that opens the door for Maryland as that last at-large bid," Carcaterra said. "I don’t think there are too many of those other bubble teams. I don’t think you can say with a straight face that Georgetown has a shot because Loyola beat them head to head. There aren’t too many others that are on the fence."

While some conference championships won’t be decided until this weekend, Carcaterra’s projected field includes what he believes will be the automatic qualifiers in Brown (Ivy League), Hofstra (Colonial Athletic Association), Massachusetts (Eastern College Athletic Conference), Navy (Patriot League), Notre Dame (Great Western Lacrosse League), Siena (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) and UMBC (America East).

His at-large teams include Syracuse, Duke, Virginia, Cornell, Princeton, North Carolina, Johns Hopkins, Loyola and Maryland.

But this field will be recast if Hofstra and UMBC don’t win their respective conference tournaments this week, Carcaterra said.

"That’s going to throw a huge wrinkle into things because that would mean another team is taking their spot in the field as an automatic qualifier," he said. "We know Hofstra’s getting in as an at-large if they don’t get the automatic qualifier, and the same has got to be said for UMBC. The teams that got the last spots certainly want Hofstra and UMBC to take care of business."

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:54 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Navy, UMBC

The wait begins for Loyola

The winner of the Eastern College Athletic Conference's automatic qualifier for the NCAA Tournament won't be determined until after No. 18 Massachusetts plays Rutgers, but if you think the Greyhounds are sitting around and twiddling their thumbs, guess again.

No. 19 Loyola (6-1 in the ECAC) would win the automatic qualifier if the Minutemen (5-1) lose on Saturday, but the Greyhounds are gearing up for another installment in their rivalry with No. 8 Johns Hopkins on Saturday. And as far as coach Charley Toomey is concerned, that game is just as important as a conference tournament final.

"That is our conference championship," Toomey said. "It’s certainly a way to play your way into the tournament. Playing Johns Hopkins at the end of the year is a great opportunity for us. So we’ll let Rutgers play UMass and let the league play its way out. We know we’re sitting at 6-1 [in the ECAC], and it’s a great opportunity on Saturday to put a good number in front of our record for the committee to look at."

A catalyst in Loyola's four-game winning streak has been the play of junior attackman Collin Finnerty, who scored four goals in the first quarter of a 16-7 victory over Hobart on Saturday. Finnerty, who ranks second on the team in goals (23), assists (13) and points (36), has scored four goals in a game three times this season and nine goals in his last four contests.

But Finnerty isn't just a goal-scorer. He led the team in assists with four against Syracuse and three against St. John's.

"One thing that impressed us against Syracuse is that he’s just not a shooter," Toomey said. "He led our team in assists that day and the development for Collin has been that he’s just not a one-dimensional guy. If it presents himself that [junior attackman] Cooper [MacDonnell] is open on the corner, he can make that look or same thing down to [senior attackman] Shane [Koppens] on the other side. That’s where his development has been. He’s not just a catch-and-shoot guy. He’s a guy who can take it inside, carry it and now feed."

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:26 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola

April 26, 2009

Postscript from Salisbury at Washington

With a 15-3 record in the regular season, the No. 5 Sea Gulls will just have to sit and wait until the Division III bracket is released. Coach Jim Berkman thinks eight-time reigning national champion Salisbury will not get a seed higher than No. 4 in the South Region, which would mean a first-round bye and maybe one game at Sea Gull Stadium. But Berkman said his team should be prepared for life on the road.

"With the road that we have paved, we are going to have to win games on opponents’ fields," he said. "We might get one home playoff game. The journey to Stevenson, the journey to Washington College, we’re not going to get any harder avenues to play in. So that’s been good for this team, to experience that, so that when we go to the playoffs and they know it’s do or die and we’re going to play on someone else’s field, it’s not like it’s the first time."

With three losses, this Salisbury squad has accumulated more setbacks than the Sea Gulls had compiled since 2003. (That would be a total of two losses.) But if the sharks smell blood in the water, junior midfielder Mike Von Kamecke is not concerned.

"We’re defending our championship right now," he said. "Anyone can win it this year. It’s up for grabs, and that just makes it that much more interesting. Once you win that championship, you definitely want to go back and win it again."

Other notes:

*Although Salisbury has won 11 of the last 12 meetings with the Shoremen and the last nine, Saturday’s victory was anything but easy. The outcome was the sixth one-goal game in the "War on the Shore" series, and the last four have occurred in Chestertown. "Any time you come to Washington College, it’s going to be a close game," Sea Gulls senior midfielder Kylor Berkman said. "You’re not going to steamroll your archrivals. We knew that it was going to be a tough game and to come out with a win keeps us going in a positive direction."

*Two of the more unusual goals ever witnessed occurred Saturday. In the second quarter, Salisbury junior attackman Mike Winter caught a pass from junior attackman Jake DeLillo, and as his momentum took him across the slot from right to left, Winter swung his stick behind his ankles and slipped the ball past Shoremen senior goalkeeper Gordon Cohen (11 saves). With 2.3 seconds left in the third period, senior midfielder Matt Moreton appeared to heave a desperation shot from almost in front of the Sea Gulls bench that was a good five feet above the cage. But the ball found the upper right corner of the net. Afterwards, Jim Berkman said the ball deflected off a defenseman’s stick and into the cage.

*Washington senior Thayer Damm had a game to remember. The face-off specialist won 12 of 22 face-offs, but he was at his best in the pivotal third quarter when he won seven of eight face-offs and picked up six groundballs off those wins. The Shoremen had gone just four of 14 on face-offs in the first half. "I just went out there and did what I always try to do," said Damm, who finished with a game-high 13 groundballs. "I changed my move a tiny bit, and it worked a little better."

*Here’s a note from Salisbury’s sports information office. Saturday’s announced attendance of 2,511 is a record at Roy Kirby Jr. Stadium. The series record for attendance is 2,975, which occurred last season in at Sea Gull Stadium.

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Postscript, Salisbury, Washington

April 25, 2009

Towson's playoff picture updated

Towson has cemented the No. 2 seed and a semifinal game at home in the four-team Colonial Athletic Association tournament next week.

With No. 9 Hofstra routing Villanova, 10-3, Saturday night, the Tigers finished second in the league with a 4-2 conference mark. So on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., Towson will play host to Drexel, which earned the No. 3 seed by virtue of a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Wildcats. (The Dragons beat Villanova, 9-8, on April 11.)

The Tigers defeated Drexel, 7-4, on March 28 and if they win again Wednesday, they would meet the winner of the Hofstra-Villanova semifinal on Saturday. If it’s Hofstra, Towson would have to travel to New York. (Hofstra won, 11-10, on April 11.) If it’s the Wildcats, the Tigers would be the hosts. (Villanova won, 13-4, on April 8.)

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:45 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Towson

Mount St. Mary's playoff picture updated a third time

Unless I’m mistaken, the Mountaineers have clinched the No. 2 seed in the four-team Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament next week at Canisius.

Manhattan edged Marist, 10-9, Saturday night, meaning that the Jaspers, Providence and Mount St. Mary’s finished the regular season with identical 5-3 records in the conference. If – as I suspect – head-to-head outcomes are the first tiebreaker, then the Mountaineers leapfrog both Manhattan and the Friars with wins against both teams.

The Jaspers would get the No. 3 seed by virtue of a 5-4 victory over Providence and a semifinal contest against Mount St. Mary’s on Friday at 1:30 p.m. The Friars get the No. 4 seed and a 4:30 p.m. matchup against top-seeded Siena, which finished with a 8-0 league mark.

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:29 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's

Mount St. Mary's playoff picture updated

The Mountaineers' convincing 13-3 victory over Wagner cemented a berth in the four-team Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament next week at Canisius.

Freshman midfielder Jake Willertz (Mount St. Joseph) scored the first hat trick of his career, and Mount St. Mary's sprinted to a 5-1 lead after the first quarter to improve to 5-3 in the MAAC.

At this time, the Mountaineers would be the No. 2 seed by virtue of their 7-5 win against Providence two weeks ago, and they would remain the No. 2 seed (and avoid a semifinal matchup against undefeated conference leader Siena) if Manhattan beats Marist later tonight.

If Marist wins, Mount St. Mary's, Providence and Marist would have identical 5-3 league records. Since Marist has beaten the Mountaineers and the Friars have beaten Marist, the three teams would have to go to another tiebreaker.

Posted by Edward Lee at 5:58 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's

Salisbury at Washington: Three things to watch

It’s another installment in the annual "War on the Shore" series. The Sea Gulls have won 10 of the past 11 meetings, including the last eight. But Salisbury doesn’t look nearly as invulnerable as in previous seasons, and the Shoremen are eager to get their first victory in the series since May 4, 2002. Here are a few developments that could intrigue me as I watch from Roy Kirby Jr. Stadium in Chestertown.

1) There’s no glaring thread that weaves together the Sea Gulls’ three losses this season. Two of those were one-goal varieties, while No. 3 Stevenson pulled away in the second half of its 12-8 win. Salisbury, however, is winning easily when its first midfield line is being productive. Senior Kylor Berkman (35 goals and 39 assists), junior Mike Von Kamecke (22, 14) and freshman Sam Bradman (14, 18) are a dangerous group. But that trio was limited to two goals and two assists in the setback to Stevenson and two goals and three assists in the loss to St. Mary’s. Their play could extend Washington’s defense and open spots in the offensive zone.

2) Washington's offense has struggled at times this season, and the inability to score goals is most apparent in the team’s five losses. The Shoremen have scored just 26 goals in the setbacks to Dickinson, Franklin & Marshall, Gettysburg, Haverford and Washington & Lee, and the team was outshot in each contest except against Haverford. Gettysburg and St. Mary’s were efficient against the Sea Gulls, scoring at a 40 percent clip, but the Shoremen can’t hope to be efficient. They need to unleash a barrage of shots to test goalie Johnny Rodriguez and put the pressure on the Salisbury defense.

3) For both Salisbury and Washington, offense is based on possessions, and one root for possessions is faceoffs. Sea Gulls junior Ryan Finch and Shoremen senior Thayer Damm are ranked in the top 25 in Division III in win percentage. Finch actually played very well in the team’s three losses, winning 35 of 62 (56.5 percent) of his faceoffs and he finished below 50 percent only against St. Mary’s. Damm won 44 of 84 faceoffs in Washington’s five losses, but he went below 50 percent in setbacks to Franklin & Marshall, Haverford and Washington & Lee. The battle at the "X" should be an interesting microcosm of the overall contest.

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Salisbury, Three things to watch, Washington

April 24, 2009

Atlantic Coast Conference accolades

Maryland announced that three players had earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors at the league’s championship banquet Thursday night.

Senior Dan Groot leads all Terps midfielders with 29 points on 18 goals and 11 assists. Sophomore attackman Ryan Young ranks second on the team with 30 points on 17 goals and 13 assists. Sophomore defenseman Max Schmidt leads Maryland with 19 caused turnovers and ranks fourth with 29 groundballs.

Virginia attackman Steele Stanwick (Loyola) garnered Freshman of the Year honors. North Carolina senior faceoff specialist Shane Walterhoefer (Boys’ Latin) and Virginia junior midfielder Brian Carroll (Gilman) were also named to the All-ACC team.

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland

Capital Athletic Conference honorees announced

Sea Gulls senior midfielder Kylor Berkman was named Player of the Year in the Capital Athletic Conference, becoming the fourth player in league history to win the award in back-to-back seasons. Freshman attackman Matt Cannone was recognized as the conference’s Rookie of the Year.

With Berkman, the reigning Division III National Player of the Year and two-time National Midfielder of the Year, the four players to win the award in consecutive years are from Salisbury. Berkman, who leads the team in assists (39) and points (74), joins Jason Coffman (1995-96), Chris Turner (1999-2000) and Chase Caruso (2006-07). A Sea Gulls player has been selected the CAC Player of the Year every year since the school joined the league in 1995.

Cannone leads Salisbury in goals (49) and man-up scores (nine), and he has also posted 13 assists. Cannone joins Jarod Leiberman (1998), Andy Arnold (2001) and Jeff Bigas (2002) as the only Sea Gulls to collect conference rookie of the year honors.

In addition to Berkman and Cannone, senior defenseman Kevin Maynard, junior face-off specialist Ryan Finch (Westminster) and junior defensive midfielder Will Poletis (Loyola) were placed on the second team.

St. Mary’s coach Chris Hasbrouck earned Coach of the Year honors, Hasbrouck, who is the third Seahawks coach to win the award, guided the team to a 7-7 overall record and a 5-2 conference mark, which was good for second place in the league.

St. Mary’s also put junior midfielder Ryan Alexander (Pallotti), senior face-off specialist Marc DiPasquale (Boys’ Latin) and senior defensive midfielder Ryder Henry on the first team. Senior defenseman A.J. Armstrong (Broadneck), sophomore attackman Dennis Rosson (Severn) and sophomore goalkeeper Pat Simpson (Broadneck) made the second team.

Stevenson paced the conference with eight players on the first and second teams. Sophomore attackman Jimmy Dailey (Winters Mills), junior attackman Steve Kazimer, senior midfielder Nicola Bevacqua and senior defenseman Mike Simon (Fallston) earned first-team nods. Junior attackman Richie Ford (Towson), senior face-off specialist Greg Furshman (Towson), senior midfielder Brett Yoder (Hereford) and sophomore defenseman Evan Douglass made the second team.

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Salisbury, St. Mary's, Stevenson

No Tewaaraton love for Division III?

Part of today’s article on Kylor Berkman included the Salisbury senior midfielder's being left off the list of 21 finalists for the Tewaaraton Trophy, which is awarded to the country’s best player.

Since the award’s debut in 2001, a Division III player has never won the trophy, and Hank Janczyk thinks that trend will continue.

"In my personal opinion, I don’t think that will happen," said the Gettysburg coach, who is a member of the selection committee for the Tewaaraton. "I think it would be incredibly hard for a Division III person to win the award. But I do think that if there was ever a Division III player to open the eyes of people associated with the Tewaaraton, it’s certainly Kylor Berkman."

Cortland coach Steve Beville said he thinks a factor is the media attention devoted to Division I lacrosse. With games involving Division I programs taking place at venues like M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore and Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands, audiences and coaches are exposed more to Division I players.

"But there are certainly Division III kids worthy of a look, and unfortunately, they’re just not going to get the same kind of exposure from a media standpoint that a lot of the D-1 kids are getting," Beville said. "I’m not saying that’s right or wrong. Those Division I kids are on a bigger stage. But Berkman is a name they should definitely throw around with a lot of the big dogs on Division I, too."

Salisbury coach Jim Berkman, who is Kylor Berkman’s father, was matter of fact when he was asked if there were a bias inherent in the Tewaaraton.

"Absolutely. Everyone thinks that D-I is better, right?" he asked rhetorically. "That’s supposedly where they are. They’re the scholarship athletes and they’re the best. Just to be recognized in that group is a special honor."

For his part, Kylor Berkman is not playing the woe-is-me role.

"The individual accolades are great, but it means nothing if you don’t go out there and win," he said. "We’ve lost a couple of games, and I think everyone has kind of realized that it doesn’t really matter who is scoring the goals because if you’re not winning, it sucks. What we’ve been trying to focus on is getting back on the right track. Whoever scores, it doesn’t matter. The goal that we have is beating teams and winning the national championship."

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

April 23, 2009

Conference honors for Salisbury players

Sea Gulls senior midfielder Kylor Berkman was named Player of the Year in the Capital Athletic Conference, becoming the fourth player in league history to win the award in back-to-back seasons. Freshman attackman Matt Cannone was recognized as the conference’s Rookie of the Year.

With Berkman, the reigning Division III National Player of the Year and two-time National Midfielder of the Year, the four players to win the award in consecutive years are from Salisbury. Berkman, who leads the team in assists (39) and points (74), joins Jason Coffman (1995-96), Chris Turner (1999-2000) and Chase Caruso (2006-07). A Sea Gulls player has been selected the CAC Player of the Year every year since the school joined the league in 1995.

Cannone leads Salisbury in goals (49) and man-up tallies (nine), and he has 13 assists. Cannone joins Jarod Leiberman (1998), Andy Arnold (2001) and Jeff Bigas (2002) as the only Sea Gulls to collect conference Rookie of the Year honors.

In addition to Berkman and Cannone, senior defenseman Kevin Maynard, junior faceoff specialist Ryan Finch and junior midfielder Will Poletis were placed on the second team. This is Maynard’s second straight appearance on the second team.

Posted by Edward Lee at 4:43 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Salisbury

Awards rundown for Navy and Loyola

The Midshipmen put a Patriot League-high seven players on the All-Conference first and second teams earlier this week.

Senior defenseman Andy Tormey, senior defensive midfielder Geoff Leone and junior midfielder Patrick Moran (Severn) were named to the first team. Leone and Moran earned their second consecutive appearances on the first team, while Tormey made his debut.

Junior attackman Tim Paul (Loyola), junior midfielder Joe Lennon (Loyola), junior faceoff specialist Frankie Coppola and junior defenseman Jaren Woeppel were placed on the second team. Paul and Woeppel are two-time second-team honorees, while Lennon and Coppola are making their first appearance.

In other news, Loyola’s Shane Koppens and P.T. Ricci were selected as the Eastern College Athletic Conference Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week.

Koppens, a senior attackman and Tewaaraton Trophy finalist who shared his offensive award with Georgetown’s Scott Kocis, registered three goals and two assists in the Greyhounds’ 12-7 victory over Fairfield on Saturday. Koppens is tied for eighth on the school’s all-time points list with 144, and he is fifth on the all-time career assists list with 75.

Ricci, a senior long-stick midfielder who shared his honor with Penn State’s Jack Davis, caused a team-high four turnovers, scooped up six groundballs, and limited Brent Adams to just one goal in the win against the Stags. Ricci has collected 86 groundballs this season, tied with former Greyhound Wayne McPartland (1986) for fifth on the single-season list. Peter Haas, who corralled 106 in 1998, holds the record.

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:45 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola, Navy

Mount St. Mary's playoff picture updated

The Mountaineers are alive in the hunt for a berth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament after freshman Eric Ososki's game-winning goal with 1:59 left in overtime of Mount St. Mary's 8-7 victory over VMI Wednesday.

The Mountaineers improved to 4-8 overall, but more importantly, they are 4-3 in the MAAC. They are tied for third place in the conference with Manhattan and Marist, and Mount St. Mary's owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over Manhattan by virtue of a 12-9 win against the Jaspers on March 14.

On the flip side, Marist has the edge over the Mountaineers because the Red Foxes prevailed in their annual meeting, 7-4, on March 21. The silver lining for Mount St. Mary's is that Manhattan and Marist square off on Saturday in what essentially amounts to a playoff game to get into the conference tournament.

Ultimately, the Mountaineers control their destiny. If they beat Wagner at home on Saturday at 1 p.m., they're back in the MAAC Tournament for the first time since 2006.

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:26 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's

Postscript from Johns Hopkins at Towson

The Blue Jays got a taste of what could become familiar.

The Tigers disrupted Johns Hopkins’ offense by carrying the ball into their offensive end, holding onto the ball despite several stall warnings and waiting for the Blue Jays’ defensemen to either get frustrated or over-aggressive before going on the offensive.

Through the first three quarters, Towson had a 26-19 advantage in shots and a 9-6 lead on the scoreboard.

"It’s definitely frustrating as an offense," Johns Hopkins junior midfielder Michael Kimmel said. "Especially when you get down by three goals, you want to score three goals in one possession. That’s not possible, obviously. But it’s definitely frustrating as an offense when you see your defense out on the field a lot. And then we get the ball and throw it away and then more defense. We were trying to press out at the end there. But we were playing defense the entire game. They were doing a good job of keeping the ball away."

The key for the Tigers was their ability to be patient and score when the opportunities arose. Then when they got the lead, they were able to sit on it and milk the clock. That formula might not work for every team, and senior midfielder Brian Christopher wasn’t sure every opponent might employ a similar strategy.

"It depends on the kinds of teams you see," he said. "Teams like Virginia and Syracuse push the ball no matter what. It all depends on what they want to do."

Other notes:

*Kimmel looked like the best player on the field, and it wasn't just because he recorded a game-high five points on two goals and three assists. His speed when initiating play from the top of the box was at times too much for Towson’s defenders. He created a lot of room when he dodged and was able to find open teammates for high-percentage shots. Kimmel said he had the freedom to be aggressive as he noticed the Tigers’ short-stick defenders pushing out and extending on fellow midfielders Mark Bryan and Christopher. "I didn’t want to force any passes to BC and Mark and make a turnover," Kimmel said. "So I figured if they were going to press out, I’d run by them and make a play."

*Johns Hopkins junior Michael Gvozden made seven more saves than Tigers junior Rob Wheeler, but Wheeler made perhaps the most dramatic save in the first overtime. He made a brilliant kick save to turn back junior attackman Steven Boyle, who was alone on the doorstep. Said coach Tony Seaman of his goalie: "Wheeler made every save he could make." Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala also praised Wheeler, saying, "GIve that goalie credit. He played a heck of a game tonight."

*Johns Hopkins acknowledged that there may have been a letdown after Saturday’s 15-7 win against No. 8 Navy. "You want to say you come out with the same emotions and the same intensity every game," Christopher said. "But the truth of the matter is, you can’t. Saturday was such a good setting, a huge game, and then to turn it around for Wednesday night, it’s tough to get up. But we tried our best." Pietramala, who pointed out that Towson collected nine more groundballs, didn’t mince words. "We come in and our team felt a little too good about themselves after the Navy win and Homecoming and the big crowd," he said. "We’re not that good. Simply put, we’re not good enough to not show up and play hard for 60 full minutes, and you saw that tonight."

*As if squandering a three-goal lead in the fourth quarter for the second time in three games wasn’t bad enough, the Tigers probably lost a chance to campaign for a berth in the NCAA tournament with a win against Johns Hopkins. "Yeah," Seaman said in response to whether a victory would have locked up an at-large bid. "But we didn’t. So we can’t even look at that."

*Christopher’s game-winning goal with 1.2 seconds left in double overtime was the second time in his career he had scored in overtime. He did it in a 7-6 victory over Loyola on May 6, 2006. … The Blue Jays’ rally from a four-goal deficit was the program’s first such comeback since March 18, 2005 when Johns Hopkins trailed Syracuse, 7-1, in the second quarter before prevailing, 12-11, in overtime.

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Postscript, Towson

April 22, 2009

Johns Hopkins at Towson: Three things to watch

The Blue Jays have enjoyed a lopsided relationship with the Tigers, winning 33 of 36 meetings, and Towson hasn’t earned a victory in the series since 1996. Here are a few things I will be looking for from the press box at Johnny Unitas Stadium Wednesday night.

1) Johns Hopkins has long prided itself on the strength of its midfield and defense, but this current squad gets a good deal of horsepower from its attack. When the starting trio of Steven Boyle, Chris Boland and Kyle Wharton registers at least a combined four goals, the Blue Jays are 6-2. Although Boyle tends to draw opponents’ top defender, Tigers coach Tony Seaman said he has been impressed with Boyle’s linemates. "Wharton’s one of the best shooters in the game and has made himself into a hell of a player," Seaman said. "And then they have Boland who just sits there and waits for an opportunity and finishes everything he gets into his stick. They present all kinds of problems on the offensive end."

2) Conversely, Towson’s success has been built on as many as three midfield lines that get thrown into the mix frequently and comfortably. Three of the team’s top four scorers are midfielders, and Will Harrington has been a starter for just the last two contests. When the starting midfield of Randall Cooper, Justin Schneider and either Harrington or Brock Armour, Pat Britton or Harrington combines for at least two goals, the Tigers are 5-2 this season. The midfield should be a key element of Towson’s offense – and the Blue Jays’ defensive game plan.

3) Teams that have had success against Johns Hopkins have been able to go on extended runs and put the Blue Jays in significant deficits (see Princeton, Syracuse and Virginia). But getting distance on Johns Hopkins is easier said than done. Navy tried to break away from the Blue Jays Saturday, but Johns Hopkins was resilient and never let the Midshipmen out of sight. Towson has had mixed results with the lead in its last two games, squandering a three-goal lead in an eventual loss to then-No. 6 Hofstra and turning a one-goal edge into a 10-8 win against Delaware. "We’re not afraid to put it in the icebox if we have to or take some air out of the ball. A 1-0 lead against Hopkins would be one of our first leads against them," said Seaman with tongue firmly planted in cheek. "Maybe we would stall it for the rest of the game."

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Three things to watch, Towson

April 21, 2009

Cornell just keeps winning (Ivy League titles, that is)

I didn’t realize this (and shame on me), but Cornell has won every Ivy League championship -- or at least a share of the crown -- since 2003.

The No. 4 Big Red’s 10-7 win against then-No. 1 Princeton has basically put Cornell in control for another title. The Big Red is 5-0 in the Ivy League (9-2 overall), while both the No. 5 Tigers and No. 12 Brown have 3-1 league marks.

Coach Jeff Tambroni has been the architect behind Cornell’s success since taking the reins when Johns Hopkins hired away former coach Dave Pietramala after the 2000 season. Tambroni did his best to dismiss any notion of a magic formula in his recruiting strategy.

"We’ve tried to recruit a certain kind of kid up here, a special brand of kid, a unique kind of kid. Not better or worse than anybody else in the Ivy League, but I think you combine a lot of different things up here to have success that is measured in Ivy League championships," he said. "We’ve had some great fortune, we’ve had some great kids, we’ve lucked through with a lack of injuries some years. I think everything’s just kind of held its course. But I would say that the fundamental issues that we try to deal with each day with these guys is camaraderie and work ethic. If we can build on those in the offseason, build a great work ethic and get these guys to buy into what our program wants to do, we’re going to have success. We really try to put our team and program in front of any individual goals, and I think over the years, our guys have bought into that."

Cornell can clinch sole possession of the championship with a victory over the Bears on Saturday. But even if the Big Red loses, the team seems to be a lock for the NCAA tournament.

Cornell would love a return to the tournament after exiting in the first round at home to Notre Dame last season.

"I will say that has been a motivating factor through fall, winter and early spring," Tambroni said. "We traveled so far in 2007 and had a taste of what it was like to be one of the last four teams playing college lacrosse, and then in 2008, we just felt like we failed to realize the potential of our team based on a number of different factors. So I know this team is not looking ahead to that point right now, but I know it’s been a motivating factor throughout the course of the season. I think these guys have worked very hard for a chance to get back to that place again in the hopes that we’ll make more of opportunities if we have the opportunity to be back in the playoffs."

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:05 PM | | Comments (0)

Will Harrington finding groove at Towson

Will Harrington has found a home in Towson.

After transferring from Maryland to Hobart to the Tigers, the junior midfielder has settled into his role as a finisher. Harrington ranks second on the team in goals with 18 – 11 in his past four contests.

"I’m not that much faster than anyone," he said. "I use my body a lot when I dodge, so I guess I’m strong for my size, and I try to utilize that against smaller people. But most of the time, it’s just being in the right place at the right time with my teammates."

Harrington, a Baltimore native and Friends graduate, spent last season sitting out and playing on the scout team after transferring from the Statesmen. It was a difficult role, he acknowledged.

"It was tough just practicing last year," he said. "It was hard to always be up for practice every day. Now I’m coming to practice every day knowing that I’m working hard towards playing a key role in our next game. That’s important to me."

Harrington scored four goals in Towson’s 10-8 win against Delaware Saturday, including three in the second half. The four goals matched a career high he recorded against Sacred Heart on April 4, and he was named the Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week for his performance.

Tigers coach Tony Seaman said he likes what he sees from Harrington, who has started the past two games.

"He’s playing very well right now," Seaman said. "The thing I like about him is everyone’s throwing their best defenseman at him and he’s still coming through for us, shooting the ball well and handling the pressure. We’d like to see him keep that up. He’s certainly been one of the more positive factors for us in the last three or four weeks."

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

April 20, 2009

Salisbury on the bubble?

Sounds like an implausible situation for a program that has captured eight Division III national championships, including the last two titles. For those associated with the Sea Gulls, such a possibility was rendered moot after the team routed Stevenson and collected its 15th consecutive Capital Athletic Conference Tournament crown Sunday.

But Salisbury coach Jim Berkman admitted Monday morning that had the team lost to the Mustangs in the tournament final, the Sea Gulls -- who leaped from No. 10 to No. 5 in the USILA coaches poll -- may have been shut out of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1988.

"If we would have lost yesterday, we would have had four losses," Berkman said of his team’s 14-3 record. "I think it’s going to be hard for any team this year -- with only five at-large bids -- to get into the tournament with four losses."

Salisbury’s march to its 21st consecutive NCAA tournament entailed re-matches against the then-No. 1 Mustangs and St. Mary’s, both of which had tagged the Sea Gulls with back-to-back CAC losses for the first time in the program’s history. Salisbury, which had lost those two contests by a combined five goals, outscored Stevenson and the Seahawks, 31-10.

"I don’t think there’s ever been a shortage of confidence here," Berkman said. "I think during the week, there was a sense of urgency that we really needed to pay attention to detail and to play what we wanted to play going into the games. There was a real sense of urgency that our backs were against the wall, that we really needed to win this game because if we didn’t win this game, I don’t know if we would have been in the at-large pool consideration to make the tournament. So there was a real sense of urgency that we needed to get it done and play together and be unselfish to do the things that we needed to do to be successful."

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:31 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Salisbury

April 19, 2009

Postcript from Fairfield at Loyola

When queried earlier in the season about what appeared to be the team's inability to settle on either sophomore Jake Hagelin or senior Alex Peaty as the starting goalkeeper, Greyhounds coach Charley Toomey would -- without fail -- point out that the defense had to give either goalie a chance to succeed.

Toomey and Hagelin got that wish Saturday in No. 19 Loyola's 12-7 rout of the visiting Stags. Fairfield took just 29 shots (16 were on net) and was shut out for a span of 21 minutes, 29 seconds in the second half -- during which the Greyhounds turned a slim 7-5 lead into a 12-5 advantage.

Loyola was especially tough against the Stags' top three scorers of freshman midfielder Brent Adams, senior midfielder Chris Ajemian and freshman attackman John Snellman. Senior long-stick midfielder P.T. Ricci didn't surrender a point to Adams, who entered the contest as Fairfield's most productive player with 23 points on 13 goals and 10 assists, until he scored with 1:04 left in the fourth quarter.

Snellman, who led the team in goals with 14, scored just once and added an assist as junior Steve Layne didn't seem affected by giving up six inches and 30 pounds to the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Snellman. Ajemian scored twice, but one was on an extra-man opportunity.

While predicting that Adams would develop into a dangerous player, Ricci said the game plan entailed forcing the midfielder to get rid of the ball. "We shut him down in the first half and caused them to do a lot of inverts," said Ricci, who recorded a game-high four caused turnovers and six groundballs. "I think that really took away from what he could do because if I took him away on his first few dodges, they would go to someone else."

Other notes:

* Although Ricci and several teammates knew before the game about Georgetown's upset of No. 13 Massachusetts, guys like Shane Koppens and Collin Finnerty said they didn't know about the result until it was announced during a timeout in the first quarter. After running out to a 5-1 lead at the end of the first quarter, the Greyhounds were outscored 3-2 in the second period, and Toomey was understandably displeased. "We made an effort not to tell our guys," he said. "At one point in the game, I told them that this is going on right now and they need to re-focus."

* Loyola's strength has been its attack of Koppens, Finnerty and junior Cooper MacDonnell, but the Stags curiously did not try to force the ball out of their stick and make the midfielder initiate action. On a couple occasions, Koppens found himself in a one-on-one situation behind the net or Finnerty was able to catch a pass on the left wing and work his way into position for a high-percentage shot. "A big part of our game plan is to play as fast as we possibly can," said Koppens, who posted three goals and two assists. "It helps when everyone is moving at once because it gets everyone open. We got good looks off good passes. The goalie made some great saves, but we canned 12 of [our shots]. I'll take that any day."

* After thumping Fairfield, the Greyhounds are in the curious position of rooting for the Stags, who play Massachusetts on Tuesday. If Fairfield can beat the Minutemen, Loyola will play Hobart on Saturday at Diane Geppi-Aikens Field with first place in the Eastern College Athletic Conference and the automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament on the line. "It is funny," Koppens said. "One moment you're trying to beat up on a team, the next thing you're shaking their hands and wishing them good luck next week." Said Toomey succinctly: "We're Fairfield's biggest fans next week."

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola, Postscript

April 18, 2009

Fairfield at Loyola: Three things to watch

The No. 19 Greyhounds are just a half-game behind No. 13 Massachusetts in the race for the Eastern College Athletic Conference championship and automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament. Here are a few things Loyola must do against the Stags to stay in contention.

1) Score. A lot. Sounds simplistic, but Fairfield has some vulnerabilities defensively. The Stags are 0-4 when opponents have scored at least 10 goals, and the defense is surrendering almost five more shots in the losses than in the wins. Goalkeeper Charlie Cipriano has been one of the better freshmen you may not have heard of, but he was chased out of last Saturday’s 18-11 loss to Yale after making zero saves while surrendering six goals. Possession is a root of scoring, and Fairfield has lost more than 50 percent of its faceoffs in the four setbacks. That bodes well for Greyhounds junior John Schiavone, who is ranked 10th in the country with a .591 faceoff percentage. This is an opportunity for Loyola to test the Stags’ defensive resolve and take a lead that may prove to be insurmountable.

2) Keep an eye on No. 44. Fairfield’s top two scorers are midfielders Brent Adams (23 points on 13 goals and 10 assists) and Chris Ajemian (17 on 11 and 6), but John Snellman appears to be the linchpin. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound freshman attackman leads the team with 14 goals, but he has scored just four of those in the Stags’ losses. Steve Layne is the Greyhounds’ top shutdown defenseman, but Steve Dircks has the frame (6-1 and 195 pounds) to tangle with Snellman. Adams, a freshman, might see a lot of Loyola senior long-stick midfielder P.T. Ricci.

3) Use home-field advantage to your advantage. The Greyhounds have been practically unbeatable at home against ECAC opponents. Until the team’s 8-6 loss to Massachusetts on March 21, Loyola had been unbeaten at home in 11 ECAC contests under coach Charley Toomey. Conversely, Fairfield has never won in Baltimore in seven tries, and three of the team’s four losses have occurred on the road. "I just think we’ve got to come out and defend our turf," Toomey said. "I’m stressing this is about us. We need to come out of our locker room and defend our turf in-league, and that’s something we’ve been pretty doggone good at over the three years that we’ve been here."

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola, Three things to watch

April 17, 2009

Navy at Johns Hopkins: Three things to watch

A victory Saturday for either the No. 11 Midshipmen or the No. 10 Blue Jays could go a long way in polishing their resumes for a NCAA tournament bid. Here are a few developments that could determine the outcome.

1) Johns Hopkins boasts a 20-goal scorer in Kyle Wharton, but the team has gotten production from attackmen Chris Boland and Steven Boyle and midfielder Michael Kimmel and Brian Christopher – all of whom have scored at least 13 goals this season. So which player of the five gets the short stick? That’s the dilemma for Navy coach Richie Meade. "For four years, I would sit around and go, ‘Man, I wish they didn’t have [Kyle] Harrison,’ or ‘Man, I wish they didn’t have [Paul] Rabil,’" he said. "The more film you watch this season, they’re really sharing the ball very well and they can shoot it. If you make any defensive mistakes, they take advantage because they’re very smart. … This is the best offensive team we’re going to play against."

2) Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala said he expects Tim Paul, the Midshipmen’s leading scorer, to return for this game after missing last Saturday’s win against Army with a sprained left ankle. But one of his biggest concerns is containing Navy’s transition. In the last three games, short-stick defensive midfielders Geoff Leone and Bobby Lennon have combined for four goals, three assists, 11 groundballs and six caused turnovers, and long-stick midfielder Zack Schroeder has scored a goal and collected four groundballs and three forced turnovers. "They generate a lot of offense converting from defense to offense," Pietramala said. "They do a great job. They know they’ve got a really good defensive midfield that can create transition, and that’s one of the key focuses of this game."

3) The elephant in the room is the 35-game winning streak Johns Hopkins owns against the Midshipmen. But both Meade and Pietramala agreed that all the numbers can be thrown out the window when the teams take the field. "We haven’t beaten Johns Hopkins for a lot of reasons, and a lot of it is because they’re Johns Hopkins," Meade said. "… We’re going to have to do everything we possibly can and nothing that has happened before is going to help us play against Johns Hopkins. We’re going to have to play very, very well." Added Pietramala: "We have to go out and they have to go out, and you have to go out and earn a victory every year. … This is a new year. What happened last year doesn’t matter. What we can do is we can learn from the mistakes that we made last year and learn from the things that we were successful at doing last year, but that’s it."

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:16 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Navy, Three things to watch

April 16, 2009

Maryland's Brian Farrell to miss rest of season

The Terps announced today that junior defenseman Brian Farrell will sit out the remainder of the season and possibly apply for a medical redshirt.

"His injury hasn't progressed," coach Dave Cottle said. "We didn't want to try and play him hurt. This is in the best interest of the young man and his family and the program. So he's going to redshirt."

The 6-foot-5, 240-pound Farrell, a Towson native and Boys' Latin graduate, had started in Maryland's first three games, but suffered two cracked ribs in a victory over Air Force on Feb. 14. He played against Georgetown the following week, but did not return.

The absence of Farrell has not impacted Maryland terribly. The defense is tied for 13th in the country with Ohio State in surrendering an average of 7.9 goals per game. Sophomore Brett Schmidt has been filling in for Farrell, and he ranks second on the team in caused turnovers with 16.

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:42 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland

Mount St. Mary's playoff picture

With three games remaining against Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opponents, the Mountaineers are still in the race for a berth in the four-team MAAC tournament, which begins May 1.

There are still a lot of games to be played and anything can happen between now and the final weekend, but here’s what we know:

* With a 5-0 league record, Siena is the only undefeated team in the MAAC. A victory over Mount St. Mary’s on Saturday will lock up a spot in the tournament.

* Providence is 5-1 in the conference and owns a key tiebreaker over third-place Marist after beating the Red Foxes, 9-7, on Wednesday. A win against Manhattan next Wednesday will cement a berth in the tournament.

* Marist is 4-1 and has three league games left. The Red Foxes need two victories over St. Joseph’s, Siena and Manhattan.

* The Mountaineers and Manhattan have identical 3-2 conference marks, but Mount St. Mary’s owns the tiebreaker after beating the Jaspers, 12-9, on March 14. The Mountaineers will be the underdogs against Siena, but have remaining games against winless Wagner and VMI. Manhattan tangles with seventh-place Canisius before dealing with Providence and Marist. So it would seem that the schedule is on the side of Mount St. Mary’s.

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:50 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's

Towson's playoff picture

With a 5-7 overall record, the Tigers won’t get an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. But Towson still has a shot for the automatic qualifier that comes with winning the Colonial Athletic Association tournament, which begins April 29.

The CAA isn’t willing to speculate on which schools will earn a berth in the four-team tournament, but here’s what we know:

* With a 5-0 record in the conference, No. 6 Hofstra has locked up the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage for the tourney. Hofstra is undefeated at home (4-0) and owns a seven-game winning streak. (The Pride’s last setback was a 12-7 loss to No. 10 Johns Hopkins on March 7.)

* With a 3-2 league record, the Tigers are second. A win against Delaware Saturday cements the No. 2 seed, but I think Towson has already earned a spot in the tournament. Villanova and Delaware are tied for third with identical 2-2 conference marks, while Drexel, Robert Morris and Sacred Heart are all 1-3. Assuming that the first tiebreaker is head-to-head results, the Tigers would beat out Drexel, Robert Morris and Sacred Heart because Towson has defeated those three teams.

* Villanova and Delaware have two league contests remaining on their schedules. (The Wildcats host Robert Morris before traveling to Hofstra, while the Blue Hens welcome Towson before playing Drexel on the road.) If Villanova and Delaware win out, the Wildcats would get the No. 2 seed (courtesy of a 5-4 win against the Blue Hens on March 21), Delaware would be No. 3, and the Tigers would be No. 4. So if Towson wants to avoid a semifinal matchup with the Pride, the Tigers need a victory over the Blue Hens this Saturday.

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:32 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Towson

April 15, 2009

Tewaaraton Trophy finalists announced

The Tewaaraton Foundation, which awards the Tewaaraton Trophy to the country’s best lacrosse player, has announced the finalists, and only two with Baltimore-area connections are among the pool of 21.

UMBC’s Jeremy Blevins is one of four goalkeepers, joining Brown’s Jordan Burke, Massachusetts’ Doc Schneider and Notre Dame’s Scott Rodgers. Loyola’s Shane Koppens is one of 10 attackmen, joining Virginia’s Garrett Billings and Danny Glading, Bryant’s Zack Greer, Colgate’s Brandon Corp, Duke’s Ned Crotty, Hofstra’s Jay Card, North Carolina’s Billy Bitter, Princeton’s Jack McBride and Syracuse’s Kenny Nims.

The midfielders are Cornell’s John Glynn and Max Seibald, Syracuse’s Matt Abbott and Dan Hardy, Princeton’s Mark Kovler and Virginia’s Shamel Bratton. The only defenseman on the list is Virginia’s Mike Timms.

In other news, UMBC swept America East honors as Peet Poillon and Justin Radebaugh were named the league’s Player and Rookie of the Week, respectively. Poillon scored four goals in the No. 7 Retrievers’ 15-7 win against No. 17 Albany on Saturday. The four goals tied a career and season high, which the senior midfielder has notched three times this year. Radebaugh, a freshman faceoff specialist, recorded season highs with 16 faceoff wins (out of 24) and 10 groundballs. He also posted his first career point, an assist.

Navy’s Tommy Phelan earned Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week accolades for the second consecutive week after making 16 saves in the No. 11 Midshipmen’s 8-4 victory over Army. The senior produced his third straight game of at least 15 saves.

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:37 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Loyola, Navy, UMBC

Two cents from Paul Carcaterra of CBS College Sports

Talked on Tuesday to Paul Carcaterra, a former two-time All-America midfielder at Syracuse and a current lacrosse analyst for CBS College Sports, and when pressed to pick the teams most likely to make it to the Final Four on May 23, he mentioned only Virginia and Syracuse by name.

But Carcaterra was effusive in his praise of three schools that would not surprise him if they were to book flights to Foxborough, Mass.: Johns Hopkins, UMBC and Duke.

On Johns Hopkins: "They’ve seen everything, and they’ve played down to the wire with some of the best teams in the country. So I look at their four losses and if I’m a Hopkins fan, that doesn’t worry me too much because they have the quality wins to get into the tournament, and I think if they get into the tournament, they’re going to be an extremely dangerous team."

On UMBC: "I think UMBC is a deadly team. I think Coach Zimmerman is probably the most underrated coach in the country. … Nationally, how many people really talk about UMBC? They’re usually like, ‘Oh, they’re having a good year. You’ve got to watch them.’ I think UMBC is that team flying under the radar."

On Duke: "Duke is a team that’s pretty interesting. Here’s a team that lost all of those big guns and fifth-year seniors, and the younger guys are really starting to emerge. They have a nice balance of experience and youth. Ned Crotty is probably the best feeding attackman in the country right now, and you’re putting young guys around him like Justin Turri, who I think is a phenomenal young talent. I think teams kind of put them as an afterthought after the [Zack] Greer and [Matt] Danowski and [Nick] O’Hara and [Tony] McDevitt show ended. They’ve got some talent there."

One team that Carcaterra said is in danger of missing the tournament is Maryland. Carcaterra said the Terps have the firepower to end a three-game losing streak and right the ship, but he questioned the team’s reliance on an attack built on three sophomores and one junior.

"I think they’re young on the attack still," he said. "As talented as those guys are, they still haven’t been in the battle for three or four years. You look at the [Virginia] back line of Danny Glading and Garrett Billings and guys who have been four-year players, they’ve seen it all. I just think there are some chemistry issues there at Maryland. … They’re very attack-oriented. If they had a guy up top who was breaking down the defense consistently, I think their attack would have even more opportunities. They’re not one-dimensional offensively, but the fact that they’re leaning so heavily on their attack creates a few problems scoring offensively."

The Terps have regular-season contests against Binghamton, Penn and Yale remaining, but the key could be the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament on April 24.

"If they win that first-round game at the ACC tournament, they’re going to be in the NCAA tournament," Carcaterra said. "If they lose that first-round ACC game, I think their backs are against the wall, and they might have a tough time getting into the tournament."

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

April 14, 2009

UM's Yeatman has MRI on ankle; results encouraging

Junior attackman Will Yeatman underwent a magnetic resonance imaging exam on his sprained right ankle Monday, and the results were positive, according to Terps coach Dave Cottle.

"The MRI came back yesterday that it was just a sprained ankle and a bone bruise in the [right] knee," Cottle said just a few hours before Maryland plays host to Binghamton. "That was a little reassuring. But he won’t play today."

Cottle said Yeatman, who ranks second on the team in assists (13) and points (26), suffered the injury when he fell down the stairwell at his apartment complex last week. Yeatman did not play in the No. 15 Terps’ 10-9 loss to No. 10 Johns Hopkins at the Smartlink Day of Rivals at M&T Bank Stadium Saturday.

Asked if Yeatman could return for the ACC tournament on April 24, Cottle said, "I would say that would be a realistic goal."

Cottle also said that a decision on whether to redshirt junior defenseman Brian Farrell (Boys’ Latin) due to cracked ribs and a collapsed lung is expected soon.

Maryland’s three-game losing streak has saddled the team with a 6-5 record and dredged up speculation that the Terps will need to beat No. 9 North Carolina in a semifinal match at the ACC tournament to cement an invitation to the NCAA tournament. (Maryland has wins against two likely tournament participants in the Tar Heels and No. 8 Duke.)

"We have right now what looks to be two wins against the field," Cottle said. "I don’t think any team has not made the tournament with three wins against the field. So if we could get three wins against the field, that would increase our chances. ... We feel it’s important to win the rest of our games, and we’re going to start with today. I think there’s a lot of games left to be played. Hopefully, we can get on a little bit of a roll here. But obviously, the more games we win in the ACC tournament, the better it is for us."

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:59 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland

April 13, 2009

St. Mary's records one for history

To say that the Seahawks’ 11-10 victory over eight-time reigning Division III national champion Salisbury was big is a bit of an understatement.

St. Mary’s had not beaten the Sea Gulls since April 5, 1977. Prior to Friday’s outcome, Salisbury had won 37 consecutive meetings with its Capital Athletic Conference foe.

On a more real-time level, the win gave the Seahawks (7-5 overall and 5-2 in the conference) the No. 2 seed in the CAC Tournament and a first-round bye into Thursday’s semifinal matchup between the winner of No. 3 seed Salisbury (11-3, 5-2) and No. 6 seed Mary Washington (8-6, 2-5).

"Obviously, it’s a big win for the program," St. Mary’s coach Chris Hasbrouck said earlier on Monday. "The implications are we got a bye today, and that’s a huge thing. We can now really focus on getting an extra day’s rest. From that standpoint, it was a very, very big win."

The Seahawks were paced by a four-goal performance from sophomore attackman Dennis Rosson (Severn), a three-goal effort from junior midfielder Ryan Alexander (Pallotti) and a two-goal showing from sophomore midfielder Chris Becraft, who scored the game-winning tally with 0.2 seconds left in the game.

But Hasbrouck singled out sophomore goalkeeper and Broadneck graduate Pat Simpson’s 15 saves and senior face-off specialist and Boys’ Latin graduate Marc DiPasquale’s 13 of 24 wins, including 11 of 14 in the first half.

"I think one of the big differences was Pat Simpson in the goal," Hasbrouck said. "He’s been playing extremely well. … His play might have been one of the single biggest things. DiPasquale at the face-off ‘X’ was also huge. The possessions were gigantic. Salisbury couldn’t go on one of those patented 4- or 5-goal runs that they’re very well known for, and a lot of that had to do with Mark just battling at the ‘X’ and winning some huge face-offs. Those two things gave us the chance to win the game."

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:45 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: St. Mary's

April 12, 2009

Postscript from Army vs. Navy

Much of the post-game attention centered on senior goalkeeper Tommy Phelan, senior defenseman Andy Tormey and the rest of the No. 12 Midshipmen defense. But the end of Saturday’s press conference revealed that Navy had considered dressing junior attackman Tim Paul, the team’s leading scorer who sat out due to a sprained left ankle.

"He’s doing a lot better than I certainly thought he was going to do," coach Richie Meade said. "We thought about dressing him. He can walk around, but if we dressed him, he’d probably try to be Tim Paul and might get hurt again."

Despite missing the game against Army, Paul still leads the Midshipmen in assists (13) and points (30). At times, it appeared that the offense looked slightly out of sync trying to find its rhythm against the Black Knights, and the unit took just 25 shots.

Meade said Paul’s ankle is responding well to treatment, but he emphasized that he will not rush Paul back – even if that means playing without Paul against No. 11 Johns Hopkins, which owns a 35-game winning streak on Navy.

"I would love for Tommy to be 100 percent and be able to play, but he’s got to practice, and he’s got to be 100 percent," Meade said. "We’ve got enough guys that can play and fulfill that role. What I don’t want is I don’t want Timmy to feel llike he has to get back and play at 75 percent and have a setback. So we’re going to be very conservative with it and do the best we can."

Other notes:

*One of the reasons why Meade can afford to take his time with Paul is due to presence of emerging attackmen like Brendan Connors and Andy Warner. Connors, a junior, leads the team in goals with 18, and Warner, a sophomore has posted 11 goals and eight assists, which dwarf last year’s totals of two goals and two assists. Connors shone Saturday when he recorded a hat trick and two assists. "The focus in practice this week was moving the ball quick as soon as you draw the double [team], and that’s what we kind of did," he said. "We worked out of our schemes. We capitalized on some of their mistakes, but it was kind of like we played for us. We would play our offense, and that’s how we were kind of successful."

*Tormey continues to lock down his assignments. After shutting out Maryland’s Grant Catalino and Georgetown’s Ryan Shuler in consecutive games, Tormey contained Army sophomore attackman Jeremy Boltus, who tied his season low with just one point on a single assist. "He’s a great player," Boltus said in a magnanimous gesture. "He’s well known in the country. He was shutting me a little bit, trying to limit touches and limit my abilities. When our offense flowed today, we kind of got looks and everything. We got match-ups with short sticks, and that kind of worked. But I give all the credit in the world to him and Navy’s ‘D.’"

*Both sides got involved in some minor skirmishes toward the end of the contest. Warner hit Black Knights senior short-stick defensive midfielder Alex Rhoads in the head and sophomore goalie Tom Palesky jumped into the fray (for which he drew a two-minute unsportsmanlike conduct penalty), and Navy junior midfielder Patrick Moran and senior attackman Jason Peyer tangled after the buzzer sounded at midfield. But if you think Meade doesn’t have the utmost respect for Army, here’s part of his opening statement after the game. "We have a tremendous amount of respect for those young men and what they’re going to do and what they have done, their commitment to this country to go to West Point in a time of war," he said. "I think all of us as citizens of the United States of America, when we go and pray, we should thank God for West Point and the young men and women that attend West Point because they are a gift to this country."

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

April 10, 2009

Johns Hopkins vs. Maryland: Three things to watch

No need for a lengthy introduction for these two teams, who are meeting for the 105th time in this series.

Here are a few developments that could determine the outcome of the contest.

1) The No. 11 Blue Jays just might borrow a page from Navy’s playbook when the Midshipmen upset the Terps last Friday. Navy inverted its offense against Maryland, initiating play from behind the net with either attackman Bruce Nechanicky or midfielder Patrick Moran and using their speed to force the defensemen to slide and open holes in the defense. Johns Hopkins could employ attackman Steven Boyle or midfielders Michael Kimmel or Brian Christopher in the invert. If they can entice the Terps into sliding, look to Chris Boland and Kyle Wharton to finish plays.

2) The No. 15 Terps stalled on offense against the Midshipmen, but it’s rare to see that unit struggle for two straight games. Will Yeatman and Grant Catalino are bigger than Blue Jays defensemen Michael Evans and Sam DeVore, and Ryan Young’s speed presents a matchup problem for Matt Drenan or Charlie Wiggins. Maryland must get contributions from its first midfield unit of Dan Groot, Jeremy Sieverts and Joe Cummings. The trio has combined for just two goals in losses to No. 1 Virginia and Navy.

3) No one would mistake Johns Hopkins’ Matt Dolente and Michael Powers as "Lightning & Thunder," but the Blue Jays are at their best when the pair of faceoff specialists is healthy and available. Dolente is quick with his hands and feet, and Powers presents a nice change of pace with his power. They will have their collective hands full with Terps junior Bryn Holmes, who is ranked fifth in the country with a .610 faceoff percentage. Holmes is equal parts swiftness and strength, but he could use a little assistance from his wings, who were outhustled in the loss to the Midshipmen.

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:00 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Three things to watch

Army vs. Navy: Three things to watch

All the talking is almost over, and these two rivals can let their play speak for them Saturday in the first game of the doubleheader at the Smartlink Day of Rivals at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

Here are a few things I’ll be interested in observing.

1) The No. 12 Midshipmen likely won’t know until a few hours before the 11:30 a.m. start whether junior attackman Tim Paul, the team’s leading scorer, will be available. Paul’s absence would be a load off of the Black Knights’ minds, but don’t sleep on Navy’s offense. Senior attackman Bruce Nechanicky looked like a whirlwind, scoring all three of his goals in the second half of the Midshipmen’s 10-4 upset of then-No. 9 Maryland. Brendan Connors and Andy Warner are excellent finishers, and midfielder Patrick Moran can initiate up top. "If [Paul] doesn’t [play], they’ve got some very capable players," Army coach Joe Alberici said. "Bruce Nechanicky was extremely impressive in the Maryland game and Warner and Brendan Connors, most of those boys can play. We’ll have our hands full down there and we know that."

2) Navy’s defense seems reinvigorated by the return of senior goalkeeper Tommy Phelan. Aside from the fact that he has turned away a combined 31 shots in wins against Maryland and Georgetown, Phelan isn’t afraid to speak his mind with his defensive teammates, and his excitement in the net seems to be contagious. The Black Knights may not have the offensive firepower of the Terps, but attackmen Jason Peyer, Brooks Korvin and Jeremy Boltus are dangerous. Peyer has recorded four goals and two assists in his past three games against the Midshipmen, and Korvin has scored three goals over the same span. Specifically, Korvin has motivation to play well against Navy. "I don’t want to say that I have any resentment, but I kind of did think that I would get more looks from them," Korvin, an Odenton native and Arundel graduate, said of the Midshipmen’s efforts to recruit him. "I’m just happy to be where I was wanted."

3) Army has dropped three consecutive games, including a pair of double-overtime setbacks to No. 6 Hofstra and No. 14 Colgate. With a 1-3 record in the Patriot League, the Black Knights are a half-game behind Lafeyette and Lehigh in the race for fourth place and the final spot in the season-ending conference tournament. So it would seem that the Midshipmen should be able to pounce on Army and put the game away early. If you talk to Navy coach Richie Meade, however, don’t believe the hype. "This is one of the better teams I’ve seen them have in several years," he said. "They’ve lost a bunch of one-goal games. They’ve had an unfortunate season that could have been a lot different. I think they’re going to play well on Saturday, and we’re going to have to play as well as we’ve played all year for a chance to win."

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

April 9, 2009

Towson getting involved in cancer awareness

When No. 6 Hofstra visits the Tigers at Johnny Unitas Stadium on Saturday, the Colonial Athletic Association rivals will join forces against non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

The Pride has been a key campaigner for the HEADstrong Foundation, which was created by former player Nick Colleluori to help raise awareness and funds to battle the disease. Colleluori was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and passed away on Nov. 28, 2006.

Hofstra players have been wearing lime green HEADstrong shoelaces to honor Colleluori, and Towson will wear similar apparel during Saturday’s game.

The idea came from freshman midfielder Kevin Lalley, who is all too familiar with the disruptive nature non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma can have on a family. His sister Jen was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2005, and even though she is in her third year of remission, Kevin Lalley said watching her ordeal was a struggle.

"It was tough to watch her go through that," he said. "My sister is strong. She beat it."

Lalley – who chose the No. 27 jersey in honor of his sister and Collelouri, both of whom wore that number at Ohio State and Hofstra, respectively – asked Tigers coach Tony Seaman for permission to ask his teammates to buy and wear the shoelaces Saturday.

"They were all very supportive," Lalley said. "They all thought it was a great idea, and they backed me up 100 percent."

For more information, visit

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:08 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Towson

April 8, 2009

Navy's Andy Tormey, Tommy Phelan honored

Seniors Andy Tormey and Tommy Phelan were singled out by the Patriot League as the defensive player and goalkeeper of the week, respectively.

Tormey shut down his opponent for the second straight contest. After blanking Georgetown’s Ryan Shuler, he shut out Maryland’s Grant Catalino in the Midshipmen’s 10-4 upset of the then-No. 9 Terps. Tormey ended Catalino’s 22-game point-scoring streak, which was the nation’s 10th-longest active streak.

Phelan made 16 saves, which were the most by a Navy goalie since Seth DiNola stopped 21 shots against Penn State in 2003. In two starts against Maryland and Georgetown, Phelan has made 31 saves and owns a .721 save percentage.

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:27 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Navy

Pivotal weekend matchups

A lot of attention has been devoted to Saturday’s Smartlink Days of Rivals, which features Army against No. 12 Navy at 11:30 a.m. and No. 11 Johns Hopkins against No. 15 Maryland at about 2 p.m.

But there are some critical games involving other local teams Saturday.

* Since UMBC joined the America East conference in 2004, the Retrievers and Albany have split the league titles with UMBC winning in 2006 and 2008. The two schools will tangle Saturday, and with both teams undefeated (2-0) in conference play, the winner will likely sit in the driver’s seat to host the season-ending league tournament. The No. 7 Retrievers are just 1-2 when playing the Great Danes on their home turf, but UMBC boasts one of the most prolific midfields in Peet Poillon, Kyle Wimer and Alex Hopmann. No. 17 Albany is hopeful that senior attackman Corey Small will play for the first time since undergoing leg surgery last month.

* Despite Georgetown’s troubles this season, Loyola coach Charley Toomey has consistently held to his theory that the road to the Eastern College Athletic Conference title runs through the Hoyas. The No. 19 Greyhounds are the reigning league champions and with a 3-1 record in the ECAC, they are a half-game behind current leader Massachusetts (3-0 in the conference). But Loyola is 0-3 at Georgetown, which has won seven ECAC championships since the league was formed in 2000. The Hoyas, who upset then-No. 20 Fairfield last Saturday to improve to 1-2 in the conference, would love to play spoiler again. The Greyhounds could use another big outing from attackman Shane Koppens, who has posted six goals and four assists in his past two games against Georgetown.

* Since 2003, Towson has won three Colonial Athletic Association championships (2003-05) and Hofstra has captured two (2006 and 2008) with Delaware winning in 2007. Both teams currently sit atop the CAA standings with identical 3-0 league records. Since losing to Johns Hopkins, 12-7, on March 7, the Pride has run off five consecutive wins, including tagging No. 4 Princeton with its only loss of the season. Opponents are averaging less than seven goals per game against Hofstra. The Tigers have been on a run of their own, winning four of their past five contests. Attackman Bill McCutcheon has already surpassed last year’s total of 15 goals and six assists by recording 17 goals and 11 assists thus far. Towson is 12-5 against Hofstra when the Tigers are the hosts.

* Mount St. Mary’s has won two Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference crowns (2001 and 2003) and finished as a finalist three times (2002, 2005-06). But that pedigree won’t mean much to Providence, which won the league championship in 2004, 2006 and 2007. The Friars would appear to be marching to another title, courtesy of a 4-0 conference mark that is also shared by Marist. Prior to losing to Dartmouth on Tuesday, Providence had won five straight contests, and opponents averaged just six goals per game in the past six. The Mountaineers hold a slim 8-5 advantage over the Friars in the teams’ all-time series, but Providence has never won at Waldron Family Stadium in five contests. Freshman Cody Lehrer has scored three of Mount St. Mary’s five man-up goals.

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:47 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Loyola, Mount St. Mary's, Towson, UMBC

April 7, 2009

UMBC's Jeremy Blevins and Loyola's Mike Sawyer honored

Jeremy Blevins, a senior goalkeeper for No. 7 UMBC, was named the America East Player of the Week for his performance last week.

In the Retrievers' wins against Towson on Tuesday night and Binghamton on Saturday night, Blevins surrendered just four goals in each game. He made 11 saves against the Tigers and 10 saves against Binghamton. Blevins scooped up a career-best and UMBC season-high eight groundballs against Towson.

Mike Sawyer, a freshman midfielder for No. 19 Loyola, was selected as the Eastern College Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week for scoring a career-high four goals in the Greyhounds' 12-9 victory over Rutgers on Saturday.

With eight goals this season, Sawyer is tied with senior Jimmy Daly for most goals by a Loyola midfielder. Sawyer was named Rookie of the Week on March 16 after posting three goals and one assist in wins over Bryant and St. John's.

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:17 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola, UMBC

Day of Rivals update

Just talked with Andy Bilello, director of business development for Inside Lacrosse which is running the Smartlink Day of Rivals event at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore this Saturday.

As of today, the event pitting Army (5-6) against No. 12 Navy (8-3) at 11:30 a.m. and No. 11 Johns Hopkins (4-4) against No. 15 Maryland (6-4) at about 2 p.m. has sold more than 14,000 in advance ticket sales. Bilello said increased attendance could depend on the weather.

"I think normally these are two games that get 10,000 people or more on their own," Bilello said. "So to say we're going to get up to 20,000 sounds reasonable. But in the end, a lot will really depend on someone getting up Saturday morning and looking out the window."

Inside Lacrosse is hoping to ride the wave of momentum created at last Saturday's Big City Classic at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands in northern New Jersey. A regular-season record crowd of 22,308 for a lacrosse-only event descended on Giants Stadium to watch No. 1 Virginia edge No. 10 North Carolina, No. 4 Princeton upend No. 5 and reigning national champion Syracuse, and No. 6 Hofstra blast by Delaware.

"We knew going into the last week, we were doing pretty well and that [surpassing the previous record of 20,180 set at the 2007 Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium] was possible," Bilello said. "For that market, this was new, and it was different."

All six schools have committed to another installment of the Big City Classic next year, but it might take place at a different venue. Giants Stadium will be demolished after the upcoming 2009 football season as a new stadium for the New York Giants and Jets is being built next door. Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia could be a possibility, but Bilello said Inside Lacrosse wants to give management at the new stadium in the Meadowlands the right of first refusal.

"We have not approached anyone, we have not had any other conversations," Bilello said. "... We really want to give the new Meadowlands stadium staff a chance to give us some feedback on what they think they can commit to because I think that would be our first priority. If they can't give us that commitment in the early summer, then that's when we have to start exploring other possibilities."

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:42 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Navy

April 6, 2009

Navy's Tim Paul diagnosed with sprained ankle

The No. 15 Midshipmen dodged a bullet after x-rays and a magnetic resonance imaging exam revealed that junior attackman Tim Paul, the team's leading scorer, suffered a sprained left ankle in Friday night's 10-4 victory over No. 9 Maryland.

"It turned out not to be as serious as we originally had thought," Navy coach Richie Meade said earlier Monday. "He'll go through therapy, and he'll start practicing as soon as he comes through that. He could play Saturday [against Army] or it might not respond. We don't really know."

Asked if Paul was a game-time decision, Meade replied affirmatively before adding, "If he's ready, he's going to play."

Paul suffered the injury just 2 minutes, 51 seconds into the third quarter when he planted his left foot while trying to spin away from Terps sophomore defenseman Max Schmidt and quickly crumpled to the turf behind the net. Paul grabbed his left knee, which led those of us in the press box at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium to speculate that he had torn the anterior cruciate ligament.

But Paul had ice wrapped around his ankle and he reportedly took part in post-game handshakes with the Maryland players. Despite missing almost all of the second half, Paul still leads the Midshipmen in goals (17), assists (13) and points (30).

"It's not a pleasant thought to think you're going to lose your leading scorer for the rest of the year," Meade said. "We're happy that he's going to be able to play."

Meade also confirmed that sophomore defenseman Michael Hirsch had torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee during practice last Wednesday. Hirsch is expected to undergo surgery on the knee sometime this week.

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:57 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Navy

April 5, 2009

Stevenson nets significant victory over Salisbury

Many coaches try to dilute the significance of a win -- or loss -- sticking to the time-honored cliché of one game at a time. Thank goodness for us, coach Paul Cantabene, whose No. 1 Mustangs tagged eight-time reigning national Division III champion Salisbury its first loss in the Capital Athletic Conference in 106 games on Saturday night, is not one of those coaches.

"It’s a big victory," Cantabene said. "Any time you can go out there and recruit and say that you beat Salisbury, I think that gives you a leg up, and we’ll continue to hold the No. 1 ranking, which is great. It also gives us home-field advantage throughout the CAC tournament, which is huge, to play the championship game at home. That’s something that Salisbury, which has had such a great run and such a great program, has always been able to play at home. To get back to that game, they have to come to us, which is something that is a little bit different for them."

The Sea Gulls hadn’t lost since joining the conference in 1995, capturing 14 league titles. Unless Stevenson (11-0 overall and 5-0 in the CAC) loses its last two conference games to Marymount (5-6, 1-4) and Hood (1-11, 0-5), Salisbury (11-2, 5-1) will have to defend its league championship outside the friendly confines of Sea Gulls Stadium.

The Mustangs clung to a 6-5 lead at halftime, and after Salisbury junior midfielder Mike Von Kamecke scored 77 seconds into the third quarter to tie the game, Stevenson went on a 5-0 run to put the contest out of reach.

"I thought the big factor was we knew we could win the game," Cantabene said. "When you’ve played Salisbury over the years, your hope is to stay close. I think our kids knew that if they played well, they could win the game. I think the other factor was we played very patiently in the third quarter and really tired them out a little bit. They fouled us a lot because we had them on defense so much that they kind of got a little tired, and that’s when we made them pay for their little mistakes."

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:53 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Salisbury, Stevenson

Postscript from Albany at Johns Hopkins

Only half of the No. 12 Blue Jays’ goals were assisted, according to the official score sheet. But three other goals were products of passes that got the players credited with goals in scoring position, and that was one reason Johns Hopkins beat No. 17 Albany, 14-9, and snapped a three-game losing streak.

"Offensively, I thought we played unselfishly for the most part," coach Dave Pietramala said. "We moved the ball, and we got good shots. ... I think we generated shots, and I thought they were quality shots."

Three goals came from long distance and should have been stopped by Great Danes freshman goalkeeper John Carroll. But the other scores were the results of sharp, quick passes that caught the Albany defensemen out of position.

"A lot of motion and just movement," said junior attackman Chris Boland, whose five goals were one shy of tying a career high set in a 16-15 loss to No. 1 Virginia on March 21. "When we move the ball and we’re moving to the right spots, our offense clicks pretty well."

Other notes:

* A week after officials appeared to take a goal away from Maryland in a 10-9 seven-overtime loss to the Cavaliers, a similar snafu occurred yesterday. With about 5:45 left in the first quarter, a blast from junior midfielder Michael Kimmel (Loyola) from the left wing hit the net inside the left post, crossed to touch the net inside the right post, and caromed to the sidelines in front of the Great Danes bench. The play happened so quickly that the officiating crew didn’t blow the whistle and play continued. Pietramala wasn’t about to argue. "I don’t know," he said. "I’d have to watch it and see. I thought it went in, but I make mistakes as a coach, and they make mistakes as officials."

* Matt Dolente and Michael Powers combined to win 17 of 26 faceoffs for the Blue Jays. Dolente has been dealing with a hand injury, while Powers returned for the first time last week since injuring his right arm on March 7. While Pietramala was pleased with the duo’s effort, he was not happy that Johns Hopkins collected just 28 groundballs to Albany’s 32. "What I’m disappointed with is we didn’t win the groundball battle," he said. "I’m really disappointed in that, and I hope you’ll put that in the paper." (Does a blog count?)

* The Great Danes did not have Corey Small, but coach Scott Marr said the team had held out hope that the senior attackman could play against the Blue Jays. Marr said Small has an open cut in his leg since undergoing leg surgery last month, but there’s a chance that Small could return for next Saturday’s contest against America East rival UMBC. "We’re very optimistic at this point," Marr said. "He was questionable today, but we really didn’t want to push it because with an open wound infection-wise, we didn’t want to take a risk to making that worse."

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Postscript

April 4, 2009

Postscript from Maryland at Navy

At 5 feet 11 and 187 pounds and only a sophomore, Tom Mansfield isn’t as experienced as senior Andy Tormey nor as physically imposing as 6-2, 209-pound Matt Vernam.

But Mansfield is quick, and that was more than enough for the Midshipmen to insert him into the starting lineup after sophomore Michael Hirsch was lost for the rest of the season with a knee injury.

Mansfield shadowed Ryan Young, and although the Terps sophomore attackman scored twice, he also committed four turnovers.

"It wasn’t always pretty at times," Mansfield said of his performance. "But with guys like [goalie] Tommy Phelan and Andy and Matt, I don’t need to be a superstar out there. I just need to fit in within our defense and play my role."

Mansfield got burned early in Friday’s game, getting turned around by Young behind the net a couple times in the first quarter. But as the contest continued, Mansfield settled in and grew more comfortable with his assignment – which wasn’t made fully apparent until after Hirsch’s injury Wednesday.

"I think the thing that Navy lacrosse prides itself on is that everyone is always prepared," Mansfield said. "Even if they’re the third guy to go in, everyone’s reading that scouting report, and even if they don’t have a chance to go in, they’re going to be ready when the time comes. Coach kind of reinforced that in us when Mike went down, and we’ll always have guys step up."

Other notes:

*Half of the Midshipmen’s goals began behind Maryland’s cage. Playing the invert, Navy would initiate play from behind the net with the ball carrier either curling around the posts and taking the ball to the front or finding an open man on the crease or wings for a high-percentage shot. The Terps were either too slow with their slides or they found themselves exposed by unfavorable match-ups like when Midshipmen attackman Bruce Nechanicky beat midfielder Dan Groot for a goal in the fourth quarter. "We knew coming in that Maryland had been struggling a little bit with the invert, and so we thought we’d start to probe a little bit with that," coach Richie Meade said. "We started attacking from behind the goal a little bit more."

*Meade singled out the play of senior midfielder Matt Bitter, who did not post a goal or assist but led the team with six groundballs. Bitter, who plays the wing on face-offs, helped Navy win seven of 11 face-offs in the second half. "I thought in the second half, Matt Bitter was probably the biggest key in the game, coming in on the wings in face-offs," Meade said. "We were very, very concerned about their wing play in their face-off game. … Once we got a couple of goals ahead, all those face-offs in the third and fourth quarters were very critical, and Bitter was the guy who came in and stuck his nose in there and got the ball."

*Phelan wears a protective cast on his right thumb, but it’s entirely precautionary. "The one day I took this off in my sophomore year, I broke my thumb," he said. "So I figured I’d just wear it all the time." Rather than chafe at the idea of having two quality goalies in Matt Coughlin and R.J. Wickham behind him on the depth chart, Phelan said he feels fortunate. "In a way, you’re always looking back so that you never get relaxed in practice," he said. "You’re always concerned and playing every situation in practice like it’s a game situation. I think it makes game day that much easier."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland, Navy, Postscript

Albany at Johns Hopkins: Three things to watch

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. The Blue Jays are mired in another three-game losing streak, but as they have done in the past, they have usually rebounded with a strong finish. Here are a few areas Johns Hopkins needs to win to get, well, the win.

1) The Blue Jays’ biggest problem has been a tendency to surrender extended runs that put them in big holes. In a 14-11 loss to No. 2 Syracuse, Johns Hopkins allowed bursts of 6-0 and 5-1. In a 16-15 setback to No. 1 Virginia, the Blue Jays allowed a 5-5 tie to turn into a 12-6 deficit. And in a 10-9 loss in overtime to No. 11 North Carolina, a 5-0 run put Johns Hopkins in a 6-2 hole. Whether it’s the offense failing to find its rhythm or the defense being out of sync, the Blue Jays would do themselves a huge service by preventing Albany from getting on a run.

2) Possessions translate into shots, which means pressure on a defense, which can lead to goals. In each of the three losses, Johns Hopkins has been on the wrong end of shots and groundballs. The difference is markedly noticeable in the first half. In that period, the Blue Jays were out-shot by Syracuse, 29-9; Virginia, 22-14; and North Carolina, 25-9. In the category of groundballs, Johns Hopkins trailed the Orange, 17-7; the Cavaliers, 17-6; and the Tar Heels, 20-14. In those three setbacks, the Blue Jays are averaging just 10.7 shots and 9.0 groundballs in the first half compared to 25.3 and 18, respectively, for their opponents. Winning the possession battle could go a long way in determining Saturday’s outcome.

3) The Great Danes have beaten No. 13 Massachusetts and only lost to No. 5 Princeton and Denver, but they have missed the presence of senior attackman Corey Small. Small, who led Albany in goals last season with 34 and was second in points with 45, has missed the last three contests after undergoing surgery last month, and the Great Danes struggled to beat a winless Hartford squad, 9-8, on Wednesday. Albany’s troubles on attack would seem to be a perfect recipe for Johns Hopkins to stop the bleeding.

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

April 3, 2009

Maryland at Navy: Three things to watch

Both teams are playing on a short week on Friday, but the adrenaline will be flowing with an expected crowd approaching five figures. Here are some details I will be interested in observing from the press box at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

1) The Midshipmen's defense isn’t strikingly huge or fast, but the unit is one of the stingiest in the nation, surrendering an average of seven goals per game – which is tied for fourth-best in Division I. Senior Andy Tormey shut out Georgetown’s Ryan Shuler, freshman Matt Vernam limited Ricky Mirabito to just one goal, and short-stick defensive midfielders Geoff Leone and Bobby Lennon are considered two of the best at their position. "They have a tremendous system that they coach and the players understand," Terps coach Dave Cottle said. "We’ve got to do the things that make us successful. It just so happens that our opponent is Navy." But Navy coach Richie Meade said the objective is to keep the scoring to a minimum. "For us to win, it’s going to be 8-7, 9-7, 6-5," he said. "If it gets up to the 10s, 12s and 13s, they’ve got an awful lot of firepower, two very good goalies and a very good defense. I’m not sure that’s a game we’re going to win. But we’re going to look to run on them and they’re going to look to run on us, and a lot of it comes down to them handling the ball and us being able to slide at the right time and cover up the inside and get some turnovers, which we’ve been able to do."

2) Many people knew Tim Paul and Patrick Moran would power the Midshipmen's offense, but Brendan Connors has been a pleasant surprise. The junior attackman has already achieved career highs in goals (14), assists (six) and points (20) and turned in his first career hat trick against Georgetown last Saturday. But the Navy offense will meet a Maryland defense that likes to switch from zone defense to man-to-man and could start either Jason Carter or Brian Phipps in the net. "We need our attack to play well in order to compete against a team like Maryland," Meade said. "Our key is good shot selection and good shot placement."

3) Inside Lacrosse’s Christian Swezey pointed out teams that have been extended to multiple overtimes and lost don’t fare well the next week. In 2002, Navy lost to North Carolina in six overtimes and dropped the next game to Massachusetts. In 1988, Cornell lost to Massachusetts in five overtimes and was nipped by Yale in overtime the next week. But Cottle said he isn’t worried about a possible letdown. "Practice started at 2:30 on Monday, and the team was out 15 minutes early ready to start," he said. "They understand we’ve got a challenge in front of us. We’re playing a good team, a well-coached team. It’s going to be a battle, and they have done everything we’ve asked to focus in on Navy. They haven’t spent one minute on looking back at our last game."

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

April 2, 2009

Navy's Andy Tormey named as a finalist

Navy senior defenseman Andy Tormey is one of 10 Division I players selected as a finalist for the 2009 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.

Tormey joins a finalist pool that includes Notre Dame's Ryan Hoff (Dulaney) and North Carolina's Grant Zimmerman (Gilman), Syracuse's Matt Abbott, Brown's Jordan Burke, Hofstra's Michael Colleluori, Colgate's Brandon Corp, Ohio State's Joel Delgarno, Virginia's Danny Glading, and Cornell's Max Seibald.

"To be one of the finalists for such a prestigious award as the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award is a once in a lifetime opportunity," said Tormey, who will be commissioned as an Ensign in the Navy and will serve as a Surface Warfare Officer. "I am honored to be considered with these nine individuals, all of whom are more than deserving of this achievement. With the many prominent institutions being represented, I am proud to represent the United States Naval Academy."

The Lowe's Senior CLASS (Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School) Award recognizes student-athletes who use their standing in athletics to make a positive impact on their communities. Fan balloting, available at and ending May 7, will be combined with votes from coaches and media. Fans can also vote via text messaging.

To vote for Tormey, text LAX9 to 839863. To vote for Hoff, text LAX7 to 839863. To vote for Zimmerman, text LAX10 to 839863. 

The winner will be announced during the festivities of Final Four weekend between May 23-25 in Foxborough, Mass.

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:11 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Navy

Goalie dilemma solved for Loyola and Navy

Both Loyola and Navy are staying the course and going with the goalies who started in their respective cages last Saturday.

Senior Alex Peaty will start for the No. 19 Greyhounds in Saturday’s game against Rutgers. Even though he was tagged with the 14-13 loss to No. 2 Syracuse, Peaty made 10 saves, seven of which came in the second half and allowed Loyola to enjoy a four-goal lead early in the fourth quarter.

"Coming away from that second half against Syracuse, I thought that Alex made some very good saves that allowed us to stay in the game," Greyhounds coach Charley Toomey said. "That was the decision. He didn’t do anything in that game that would warrant going back to [sophomore] Jake [Hagelin]. We’re going to give him the start against Rutgers."

The No. 15 Midshipmen will give senior Tommy Phelan his second consecutive start after he made 15 saves in a 10-8 victory over Georgetown. Phelan, who will try to contain No. 9 Maryland’s offense, impressed Navy coach Richie Meade with his performance and exuberance.

"He just came in and gave us a lift and did a great job," Meade said. "He stopped the ball. I thought he was very vocal in terms of helping the guy on the ball and communication-wise. He played very well."

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:02 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Loyola, Navy
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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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