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June 19, 2009

Pietramala staying in Baltimore until at least 2015

Johns Hopkins and coach Dave Pietramala agreed to a two-year extension that will keep Pietramala with the Blue Jays through the 2015 season, the school announced earlier this morning.

Pietramala recently wrapped his ninth season and became the second-winningest coach in the program's history as he has compiled a 106-30 (.779) record at Johns Hopkins. He has guided the Blue Jays to national championships in 2005 and 2007 and runner-up finishes in 2003 and 2008. The team has qualified for the NCAA tournament in each of Pietramala's nine seasons.

"We are fortunate to have the finest men's lacrosse coach in the nation leading our program," athletic director Tom Calder told the school's website. "Dave Pietramala's coaching resume speaks for itself, but the success our players have had in the classroom and their extensive involvement in community service initiatives is something that we also take great pride in. The manner in which Dave and his players represent Johns Hopkins is exemplary and we look forward to many more years with Dave leading our program."

"The dedication our administration has shown to the men's lacrosse program during my tenure is remarkable," Pietramala was quoted as saying. "Our coaches and players recognize the privilege it is to represent Johns Hopkins University and we take that privilege very seriously. It has been exciting to coach so many fine young men and we look forward to working with another outstanding group during the 2010 season. We look forward to building on the tradition of Johns Hopkins lacrosse under the leadership of our new President, Ron Daniels."

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:21 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Johns Hopkins
        

June 12, 2009

Review & preview: Three teams under the radar

Last June, I published my version of the 2009 preseason poll and added another entry of three teams that I thought had potential. So in keeping with that tradition, here are three teams that did not finish above .500 and missed the tournament this past season. But what they do have is intrigue in either the form of returning players, a new head coach or a campaign that just fell short of the tournament. In alphabetical order, the teams flying under the radar are:

Denver (2009 record: 7-8)

Outlook: The Pioneers limped to the finish line as sophomore attackman Jamie Lincoln, junior midfielder Ilija Gajic and senior midfielder Brad Richardson were dismissed in late March and head coach Jamie Munro resigned two months later. But the hiring of legendary coach Bill Tierney, the architect of six national championships at Princeton, could change the tide for the Pioneers. The offense returns five of its six top scorers from last season, including the top two in junior midfielder Charley Dickinson (14 goals and 22 assists) and freshman attackman Mark Matthews (24, 9). The defense boast two starting long poles in junior Dillon Roy (47 groundballs and 23 caused turnovers) and sophomore Jamie MacDonald (28 gb’s) and junior goalkeeper Peter Lowell (9.83 goals-against average and .520 save percentage).

Drexel (7-8)

Outlook: The Dragons said good-bye to four starters including defensemen Brendan Baker (34 gb’s) and Matt Munoz, but the offense will probably be the bright spot of this squad. The team returns its top five scorers in junior attackman Colin Ambler (21, 16), freshman attackman Kyle Bergman (18, 11), junior attackman Greg Casey (16, 10), freshman attackman Scott Perri (13, 9) and sophomore midfielder Kevin Stockel (16, 5). Freshman Brian Teuber is the only returning starter on close defense, but freshman goalie Mark Manos (8.36 gaa, .595 save) impressed many observers with his play after filling the void left behind by the graduation of Bruce Bickford.

Towson (7-10)

Outlook: The Tigers were just one win away from earning the automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament, but fell to Villanova in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament final. Replacing three of the team’s top four scorers in attackman Bill McCutcheon (23, 15) and midfielders Justin Schneider (12, 15) and Randall Cooper (12, 13) will be a difficult task. Junior midfielder Will Harrington (23, 3) exploded onto the scene, while sophomore attackman Tim Stratton (16, 8) will have to tutor freshmen Matt Lamon (4, 8) and Sean Maguire (9,1) until they gain their footing. The strength may be a defense that includes CAA Defensive Rookie of the Year in redshirt freshman Marc Ingerman, freshman long-stick midfielder Michael Landy and junior goalkeeper Rob Wheeler (8.97 gaa, .557 save). The unit also welcomes Under Armour All-American defenseman John Fennessy.

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Review & preview, Towson
        

June 11, 2009

Review & preview: Premature poll Part 4

Here is the final installment of a preseason and premature poll for the 2010 season, publishing the teams ranked from Nos. 5 to 1.

Unless there are confirmed reports about certain players planning to use fifth years of eligibility, this space will assume that seniors in 2009 will not be back next season. Unannounced fifth-year seniors and potential transfers will affect the rankings that come out next February, but here are the teams that I think will fall between Nos. 5 and 1.

5. Johns Hopkins (10-5; quarterfinal)

Losses: Three starters in midfielders Brian Christopher (30 goals and 11 assists) and Mark Bryan (12, 4) and defenseman Michael Evans and three reserves in long-stick midfielder Charlie Wiggins (31 groundballs), short-stick defensive midfielder Andrew Miller (27 gb’s) and attackman Josh Peck (9, 2).

Returners: Seven starters including the entire starting attack of junior Chris Boland (28, 18), sophomore Kyle Wharton (34, 11) and junior Steven Boyle (21, 17) and junior midfielder Michael Kimmel (20, 25).

Reason for pessimism: Despite the return of defensemen Matt Drenan (46 gb’s) and Sam DeVore (23 gb’s, 20 caused turnovers) and junior goalkeeper Michael Gvozden (10.19 goals-against average, .503 save percentage), the unit allowed 10.3 goals per game this season.

Reason for optimism: The Blue Jays welcome five Under Armour All Americans, but they will lean on the suddenly potent offense to carry them to victories.

4. Virginia (15-3; semifinal)

Losses: Four starters in attackmen Danny Glading (32, 31) and Garrett Billings (38, 21), midfielder Steve Giannone (17, 8) and defenseman Matt Kelly (38 gb’s, 28 ct’s) and two reserves in face-off specialist Chad Gaudet (105 gb’s, 54.8 percentage) and long-stick midfielder Mike Timms (60 gb’s, 31 ct’s).

Returners: Six starters in freshman attackman Steele Stanwick (36, 22, 45 gb’s), sophomore midfielder Shamel Bratton (31, 11), junior midfielder Brian Carroll (29, 10), sophomore goalie Adam Ghitelman (8.39 gaa, .538 save) and junior defensemen Ken Clausen (49 gb’s, 29 ct’s) and Ryan Nizolek (33 gb’s, 16 ct’s).

Reason for pessimism: Can Stanwick succeed Glading as the quarterback of an offense that ranked first in the nation with a 13.0-goals average this past spring?

Reason for optimism: The Cavaliers tied Georgetown with six Under Armour All Americans, one of whom is Gilman defenseman Harry Prevas.

3. Syracuse (16-2; NCAA champion)

Losses: Five starters including the entire first midfield line of Dan Hardy (25, 18), Pat Perritt (18, 14) and Matt Abbott (12, 11, 77 gb’s), attackman Kenny Nims (32, 42) and defenseman Sid Smith (39 gb’s).

Returners: Five starters in attackmen Stephen Keough (49, 6) and Chris Daniello (21, 3), defensemen John Lade (53 gb’s) and Matt Tierney (19 gb’s) and sophomore goalkeeper John Galloway (7.64 gaa, .567 save) and three reserves in attackmen Tim Desko (13, 4) and Cody Jamieson (9, 3) and midfielder Josh Amidon (14, 9).

Reason for pessimism: The Orange were spoiled by the presence of one of the most consistent and disciplined midfields in the country, and that hole will be hard to fill.

Reason for optimism: Despite the graduation of Smith, the defense should continue to be solid with the return of sophomore long-stick midfielder Joel White (5, 3, 63 gb’s) and short-stick defensive midfielders Jovan Miller and Kevin Drew.

2. North Carolina (12-6; quarterfinal)

Losses: Three starters in attackman Bart Wagner (38, 15), midfielder Ben Hunt (17, 12) and defenseman Jack Ryan and two reserves in face-off specialist Shane Walterhoefer (145 gb’s, 62.9 percentage) and goalie Grant Zimmerman (7.56 gaa, .561 save).

Returners: Seven starters including three of the team’s top four scorers in sophomore attackman Billy Bitter (46, 25, 61 gb’s), sophomore midfielder Sean Delaney (35, 8) and junior attackman Gavin Petracca (26, 17), defensemen Ryan Flanagan (67 gb’s, 36 ct’s) and Charlie McComas (41 gb’s) and freshman goalkeeper James Petracca (11.53 gaa, .494 save) and two reserves in junior midfielder Sean Burke (7, 18) and sophomore short-stick defensive midfielder Chris Hunt (54 gb’s).

Reason for pessimism: Petracca fared well for a rookie thrust into action after Zimmerman tore a ligament in his knee midway through the season, but will he give way to junior Chris Madalon, who red-shirted this past spring.

Reason for optimism: Bitter headlines the Tar Heels offense and could be the nation’s most potent offensive player by midseason.

1. Duke (15-4; semifinal)

Losses: Two starters in midfielder Brad Ross (21, 6) and defenseman Ryan McFadyen (24 gb’s).

Returners: Eight starters including the entire first attack line of senior Ned Crotty (23, 55), junior Max Quinzani (46, 11) and sophomore Zach Howell (29, 19), midfielders Justin Turri (17, 11) and Steve Schoeffel (17, 7), defensemen Parker McKee (93 gb’s) and Mike Manley (34 gb’s) and senior goalie Rob Schroeder (8.20 gaa, .505 save) four reserves in senior midfielder Mike Catalino (20, 3), junior attackman Will McKee (16, 6), freshman long-stick midfielder C.J. Costabile (7, 6, 72 gb’s, 53.8 face-off percentage) and senior face-off specialist Sam Payton (94 gb’s, 54.5 percentage).

Reason for pessimism: After back-to-back disappointing showings in the NCAA tournament semifinals, the Blue Devils’ most intimidating opponent may be more mental than physical.

Reason for optimism: Scoring shouldn’t be a problem with Crotty and Quinzani powering the unit.

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Review & preview
        

June 10, 2009

UMBC visiting the Far East

The Retrievers will take their game overseas as participants in the International Friendship Games as part of an 11-day tour to Tokyo and Nagoya, Japan. The players and coaches from this past season’s team will leave Baltimore on Thursday and join in commemorating the 20th anniversary of this event.

"We have a great relationship with the Japan Lacrosse Association [JLA]," coach Don Zimmerman told the school’s website. "This past fall, they sent a team over here and after the game, we had a tailgate for them. One of the principle ideas of the JLA is ‘Lacrosse Makes Friends.’ We understand that and give them the opportunity not only to play, but to socialize. As a result, they are always excited for UMBC to come over and participate in this event."

The Retrievers will compete against the Under-20 Toyko squad and the Japan National
squad on Saturday before facing the Under-22 Japan National Squad in Edogawa Stadium in an International Friendship Game on Sunday. The team will play against two collegiate teams on Tuesday before heading to Nagoya the following day.

The squad is scheduled to tour the Nagoya Castle and the Toyota Motor Corporation on Thursday, June 18 and will take part in a clinic the next day. UMBC will then compete in the second International Friendship game against the Nagoya Regional squad on Saturday, June 20 before returning to Baltimore on Sunday.

Fans can follow the team by logging onto www.umbcretrievers.com and going to "The Dawg Blog." Several players will be submitting entries during the trip.

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:38 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: UMBC
        

Review & preview: Premature 2010 poll Part 3

Here is the third installment of a preseason and premature poll for the 2010 season, publishing the teams ranked from Nos. 10 to 6. Thursday will be the last entry, featuring the teams ranked from Nos. 5 to 1.

Unless there are confirmed reports about certain players planning to use fifth years of eligibility, this space will assume that seniors in 2009 will not be back next season. Unannounced fifth-year seniors and potential transfers will affect the rankings that come out next February, but here are the teams that I think will fall between Nos. 10 and 6.

10. Georgetown (2009 record: 7-7; Tournament finish: no tournament)

Losses: Two starters in defenseman Stevie Bauer (44 groundballs and 34 caused turnovers) and midfielder Todd Cochran and four reserves in midfielders Jake Semperton (11 goals and four assists) and Dan D’Agnes (10, 3) and face-off specialists Dan Vinson (38 gb’s, 55.8 win percentage) and Michael Shotwell (36 gb’s, 54.0 win percentage).

Returners: Eight starters including the team’s top four scorers in junior attackman Craig Dowd (10, 22), junior attackman Ricky Mirabito (23, 6), junior midfielder Scott Kocis (21, 8) and junior midfielder Andrew Brancaccio (22, 3).

Reason for pessimism: Despite returning junior defensemen Barney Ehrmann (61 gb’s, 22 ct’s), Chris Nixon (38 gb’s, 24 ct’s) and Eric Bicknese and junior goalkeeper Jack Davis, this same unit surrendered nine or more goals in five losses.

Reason for optimism: The Hoyas tied Virginia for the most Under Armour All Americans with six in this year’s incoming class.

9. Notre Dame (15-1; first round)

Losses: Four starters in attackmen Duncan Swezey (22, 20) and Ryan Hoff (32, 3), midfielder Peter Christman (15, 18) and defenseman Regis McDermott (53 gb’s).

Returners: Six starters including junior attackman Neal Hicks (25, 18), junior midfielder Grant Krebs (29, 9) and sophomore midfielder Zach Brenneman (17, 7).

Reason for pessimism: It will be interesting to see how the Fighting Irish fare in the newly created Big East conference with the likes of Syracuse, Georgetown, Villanova and St. John’s.

Reason for optimism: If reports about goalie Scott Rodgers returning for a fifth year are true, Notre Dame will have the nation’s leader in goals-against average (6.14) and save percentage (.663).

8. Maryland (10-7; quarterfinal)

Losses: Three starters in midfielders Dan Groot (21, 14) and Jeremy Sieverts (17, 6) and defenseman Mike Griswold (25 gb’s) and two reserves in midfielder Jeff Reynolds (12, 4, 52 gb’s) and goalkeeper Jason Carter (7.95 gaa, .488 save).

Returners: Seven starters including attackmen Grant Catalino (25, 22), Ryan Young (19, 21) and Will Yeatman (13, 15), sophomore defensemen Max Schmidt (38 gb’s, 24 ct’s) and Brett Schmidt (33 gb’s, 23 ct’s) and junior goalie Brian Phipps (7.17 gaa, .593 save).

Reason for pessimism: Assuming Phipps can successfully return from surgery to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, that still doesn’t address the defense’s lack of speed.

Reason for optimism: Maybe moving junior Brian Farrell back to long-stick midfielder from close defense can revitalize an offense that sputtered during the season.

7. Princeton (13-3; quarterfinal)

Losses: Four starters including three of the team’s top four scorers in attackman Tommy Davis (27, 17) and midfielders Mark Kovler (34, 9) and Rich Sgalardi (18, 24) and two key defensive players in starting defenseman Chris Peyser and long-stick midfielder Charlie Kolkin.

Returners: Six starters in sophomore attackman Jack McBride (35, 7), junior attackman Scott MacKenzie (13, 16), sophomore midfielder Chris McBride (18, 6), freshman defenseman Chad Wiedmaier (29 gb’s, 24 ct’s), junior defenseman Jeremy Hirsch (25 gb’s) and freshman goalkeeper Tyler Fiorito (7.40 gaa, .587 save).

Reason for pessimism: The losses above will take a toll, but none might cut deeper than the departure of former head coach Bill Tierney, the architect of the Tigers’ six national championships.

Reason for optimism: If Fiorito can build on his solid freshman campaign, the defense might not miss Tierney after all.

6. Navy (11-5; first round)

Losses: Two starters in defenseman Andy Tormey (44 gb’s, 32 ct’s) and goalkeeper Tommy Phelan (8.58 gaa, .585 save) and five reserves in short-stick defensive midfielders Geoff Leone (3, 3, 31 gb’s, 18 ct’s) and Bobby Lennon (2, 4, 19 gb’s, 12 ct’s), attackman Bruce Nechanicky (13, 3), midfielder Matt Bitter (34 gb’s) and goalie Matt Coughlin (6.57 gaa, .487 save).

Returners: Eight starters including seven of the team’s top eight scorers in attackmen Tim Paul (18, 14), Brendan Connors (21, 10) and Andy Warner (13, 14) and midfielders Patrick Moran (20, 3), Joe Lennon (14, 9), Evan Sullivan (8, 3) and Brian Striffler (7, 4).

Reason for pessimism: As deep as the losses of Tormey, Leone and Lennon will be felt, the biggest question is whether sophomore R.J. Wickham (7.00 gaa, .500 save) will be able to succeed Phelan in the cage.

Reason for optimism: The Midshipmen welcome an incoming class that had been ranked eighth in the country by Inside Lacrosse in 2008 prior to spending last season at Naval Academy Preparatory School.

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland, Navy, Review & preview
        

June 9, 2009

Bill Tierney heads west

As first reported by Inside Lacrosse, longtime Princeton head coach Bill Tierney agreed on Monday to assume the same position at Denver after 22 years with the Tigers. It’s a surprising development considering that the 57-year-old Tierney was considered the face – and some would say raspy, passionate voice – of a Princeton program that captured six national championships under Tierney’s tutelege.

Tierney’s presence should pay immediate dividends for Denver, which endured a disappointing 7-8 campaign this past spring after two trips in three years to the NCAA tournament and witnessed the dismissal of three players and the resignation of head coach Jamie Munro.

Tierney’s background as a defensive whiz should improve a Pioneers unit that surrendered 10 or more goals in seven losses. His prowess at recruiting should make Denver a quality destination for blue-chip prospects. And with the Pioneers moving to a revamped Eastern College Athletic Conference, they suddenly become Loyola’s primary contender for the league title.

So what does this mean for the Tigers, who were 390-354-19 before Tierney and 238-86 under Tierney? Associate head coach David Metzbower, who just completed his 20th season at Princeton, becomes the leading candidate to succeed Tierney. But don’t be surprised if the Tigers make a run at Cornell coach Jeff Tambroni, who has guided the Big Red to at least a share of the last seven Ivy League titles, or one of the young up-and-coming Ivy League coaches like Harvard’s John Tillman or Brown’s Lars Tiffany.

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:57 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Review & preview: Premature 2010 poll Part 2

Yesterday, I released the first installment of a preseason and premature poll for the 2010 season, publishing the teams ranked from Nos. 15 to 11. Wednesday will feature Nos. 10 to 6 and Thursday, Nos. 5 to 1.

Unless there are confirmed reports about certain players planning to use fifth years of eligibility, this space will assume that seniors in 2009 will not be back next season. Unannounced fifth-year seniors and potential transfers will affect the rankings that come out next February, but here are the teams that I think will fall between Nos. 15 and 11.

15. Stony Brook (2009 record: 9-6; Tournament finish: no tournament)

Losses: One starter in defenseman Nick Maturro.

Returners: Nine starters including the team’s top five scorers in sophomore midfielder Kevin Crowley (28 goals and 23 assists, 57 groundballs), sophomore attackman Jordan McBride (42, 8), junior midfielder Tom Compitello (13, 25), freshman midfielder Robbie Campbell (21, 12) and freshman attackman Kyle Belton (18, 4).

Reason for pessimism: Despite losing just one starter on defense, this is a unit that surrendered 11.2 goals per game this past season.

Reason for optimism: A potent offense might get even more opportunities courtesy of the face-off prowess of sophomore Adam Rand, who led the nation with a 63.8 winning percentage.

14. Cornell (13-4; championship final)

Losses: Six starters including the entire midfield of Max Seibald (28, 10), John Glynn (23, 10, 57.5 face-off percentage) and Rocco Romero (17, 11), first-team All-American defenseman Matt Moyer (33 gb’s) and goalkeepers Jake Myers (8.20 goals-against average, .500 save percentage) and Kyle Harer (8.51 gaa, .529 save).

Returners: Four starters in attackmen Rob Pannell (25, 42) and Ryan Hurley (45, 10) and defensemen Max Feely (20 gb’s) and Michael Howe.

Reason for pessimism: Will the Big Red go with sophomore Mat Martinez or incoming Under Armour All American A.J. Fiore in the net?

Reason for optimism: As long as Cornell has Pannell, opposing defenses will have to pay a lot of attention to the soon-to-be sophomore.

13. Harvard (8-5; no tournament)

Losses: Six starters including defensemen Sam Slaughter (27 gb’s) and Max Gottschall (22 gb’s), goalie Joe Pike (6.73 gaa, .567 save) and midfielder Max Motschwiller (11, 5).

Returners: Four starters in freshman attackman Jeff Cohen (34, 7), sophomore attackman Dean Gibbons (21, 6), freshman attackman Kevin Vaughan (5, 7) and junior defenseman Billy Geist (20 gb’s).

Reason for pessimism: Junior Sam Michel and freshman Christian Coates have combined to play just 32 minutes, 56 seconds as backups to Pike.

Reason for optimism: The Crimson returns six of its top sevens scorers from this past season with Cohen, Gibbons, Vaughan, junior attackman Travis Burr (16, 3), junior midfielder Jason Duboe (11, 8) and junior attackman Jesse Fehr (6, 11).

12. Loyola (9-5; no tournament)

Losses: Four starters in defensemen Eddie Graham and Eric Kohl, attackman Shane Koppens (22, 19) and midfielder Jimmy Daly (10, 3) and key reserves in long-stick midfielder P.T. Ricci and midfielder Jake Willcox (12, 0).

Returners: Six starters including four of the team’s top five scorers in junior attackmen Cooper MacDonnell (30, 8) and Collin Finnerty (24, 13), sophomore attackman Matt Langan (9, 4) and freshman midfielder Mike Sawyer (9, 4).

Reason for pessimism: The defense will sorely miss the presence of Ricci, who led the country with 51 caused turnovers, collected 91 groundballs, and posted two goals and five assists.

Reason for optimism: The Greyhounds might be able to mask their holes on defense if junior John Schiavone, who ranked fourth in the nation with a 58.9 face-off percentage, continues his ways.

11. Hofstra (11-4; first round)

Losses: Four starters including midfielders Michael Colleluori (14, 22) and Anthony Muscarella (19, 9), attackman Tom Dooley (17, 5) and defenseman Jack Vivonetto.

Returners: Six starters including sophomore attackman Jay Card (35, 9), freshman attackman Kevin Ford (19, 9) and junior midfielder Dan Stein (6, 5).

Reason for pessimism: Colleluori, Muscarella and Dooley were three of the team’s top five scorers.

Reason for optimism: A defense that features junior defensemen Adam Swarsen (35 gb’s) and Christian Scuderi (33 gb’s) and freshman goalie Andrew Gvozden (8.38 gaa, .551 save) welcomes Under Armour All-American defenseman Cody Solaja.

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Loyola, Review & preview
        

June 8, 2009

Review & preview: Premature 2010 poll Part I

Here is one observer’s attempt to take a crack at a preseason and premature poll for the 2010 season. I will break up the top 20 into four installments with today’s entry looking at teams ranked from Nos. 20 to 16. Tuesday will feature Nos. 15 to 11, Wednesday Nos. 10 to 6 and Thursday Nos. 5 to 1.

Unless there are confirmed reports about certain players planning to use fifth years of eligibility, this space will assume that seniors in 2009 will not be back next season. Unannounced fifth-year seniors and potential transfers will affect the rankings that come out next February, but let’s take a spin.

20. Albany (2009 record: 7-7; Tournament finish: no tournament)

Losses: Three starters in attackman Corey Small (31 goals and five assists) and defensemen Chris Schongar (2, 0 and 49 groundballs) and Garrett Pedley (29 gb’s) and one key backup in midfielder John Alpizar (4, 8 and 30 gb’s).

Returners: Four of the team’s top five scorers in sophomore attackman Brian Caufield (24, 27), freshman attackman Joe Resetarits (34, 9), sophomore attackman Joe Pompo (13, 6) and junior attackman Dave Brock (11, 8).

Reason for pessimism: Losing Schongar and Pedley further depletes a defense that surrendered 11.6 goals per game this past season.

Reason for optimism: Another year of experience should do wonders for Caufield and Resetarits, both of whom will be asked to shoulder much of the offensive load.

19. Penn State (9-5; no tournament)

Losses: Four starters in attackman Rob Forster (26, 9), goalkeeper Drew Adams (7.96 goals-against average and .652 save percentage), defenseman John Stuckey and midfielder Matt Warner.

Returners: Six starters including freshman attackmen Jack Forster (22, 12) and Matthew Mackrides (15, 13) and defensemen Matt Bernier (34 gb’s) and Earl Ross (33 gb’s).

Reason for pessimism: Can Jack Forster recover from another season-ending knee injury? Who replaces Adams, an honorable mention All American this past season?

Reason for optimism: The Nittany Lions should get the ball often as face-off specialists Joe Britt and Charley Henneghan combined to win 53.7 percent of face-offs.

18. Bucknell (9-7; no tournament)

Losses: Four starters in defensemen Billy Haire (52 gb’s and 18 caused turnovers) and Tom Izard (22 gb’s), attackman Joe Mele (28, 5) and goalie Nick Sciubba (8.61 gaa and .557 save).

Returners: Five of the top six scorers – all of whom are starters – in junior attackman Austin Winter (17, 32), freshman midfielder Charlie Streep (25, 7), junior attackman Tim Brandau (20, 6), junior midfielder Perry Menzies (22, 3) and sophomore midfielder Mike Danylyshyn (16, 9).

Reason for pessimism: The Bison have a huge hole to fill in the cage as Sciubba and Matt Antonelli graduate.

Reason for optimism: The midfield of Streep, Menzies and Danylyshyn could be one of the country's more prolific.

17. Brown (12-4; first round)

Losses: Five starters including midfielders Brady Williams (18, 14) and Jack Walsh (11, 4), attackman Kyle Hollingsworth (22, 27), defenseman Ryan Cassil (29 gb’s) and goalkeeper Jordan Burke (8.01 gaa and .606 save).

Returners: Three of the team’s top four scorers in sophomore attackman Andrew Feinberg (42, 16), junior attackman Thomas Muldoon (36, 11) and junior midfielder Reade Seligmann (12, 21).

Reason for pessimism: Can either sophomore Matt Chriss or freshman Noah Beatty succeed Burke, a first-team All American?

Reason for optimism: Under Armour All-American Roger Ferguson could join a close defense that boasts two starters in sophomore Peter Fallon (59 gb’s) and junior Jake Westermann.

16. UMBC (12-4; first round)

Losses: Six starters in midfielders Peet Poillon (26, 21) and Alex Hopmann (36, 8), defensemen Kevin Goedeke and Steve Settembrino, attackman Ryan Smith (22, 10) and goalie Jeremy Blevins (8.00 gaa and .545 save).

Returners: Four of the top seven scorers in junior midfielder Kyle Wimer (24, 18), junior attackmen Matt Latham (27, 5) and Chris Jones (21, 10) and freshman attackman Rob Grimm (10, 17).

Reason for pessimism: Junior Kevin Kohri, who is the leading candidate to succeed Blevins, has played just 23 minutes, 57 seconds in his career.

Reason for optimism: Kohri should be encouraged by the return of senior defenseman Bobby Atwell, who sat out this past season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee.

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Review & preview, UMBC
        

June 4, 2009

Review & preview: Johns Hopkins

Here’s the final installment of a new series that checks in with the seven Division I programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Next week, we’ll unveil our take on next season’s top-20 poll. Today, we take a spin with Johns Hopkins.

REVIEW

The good: For all of the consternation emoted when the Blue Jays graduated standouts Paul Rabil, Stephen Peyser, Kevin Huntley and Michael Doneger, this year’s offense fared just fine. The unit averaged 11.3 goals, which is the most since the offense averaged 12.1 in 2004. … The starting attack of juniors Chris Boland (28 goals and 18 assists) and Steven Boyle (21, 17) and sophomore Kyle Wharton (34, 11) was a potent group as the trio finished in the top five in scoring for the team. The combined 129 points was 31 more than last season’s starting attack of Huntley, Boyle and Doneger compiled. … Rabil and Peyser headlined last year’s midfield, but senior Brian Christopher and junior Michael Kimmel more than covered their departure. Kimmel (20, 25) and Christopher (30, 11) combined for seven more points than the duo of Rabil (36, 14) and Peyser (19, 10). … Replacing Peyser on face-offs wasn’t going to be easy as he won 57.4 percent of his face-offs (139 of 242) and collected 113 groundballs. But sophomore Matt Dolente and junior Michael Powers held their own, winning 54.1 percent (185 of 342) and scooping up 107 groundballs.

The bad: Much like Maryland and UMBC, the Blue Jays really could have used more production from a second midfield line. Sophomores Tim Donovan and Mark Goodrich and junior Max Chautin combined for just eight goals and six assists. … The program’s long-standing tradition of defense suffered a blow this past season. The unit struggled to make quick slides and was often exposed by speedier offenses. The defense surrendered an average of 10.2 goals and permitted nine opponents to score 10 goals or more – both of which were the most by a Dave Pietramala-coached team. … Junior goalkeeper Michael Gvozden was at times inconsistent. After making the spectacular save, he was just as likely as to surrender what some might consider a soft goal. And as the goal totals climbed, Gvozden’s self-confidence suffered.

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: The good news for Johns Hopkins is that four of the top five scorers will return, including the entire starting attack. The bad news is that Kimmel is the only returning starter in the midfield. The question is whether Donovan, Goodrich or Chautin can rise to the occasion and fill in the holes created by the graduation of Christopher and Mark Bryan. Maybe one of the team’s incoming three Under Armour All American midfielders will earn a starting spot. (More on them later.) … A battered defense gets a little weaker as defenseman Michael Evans, long-stick midfielder Charlie Wiggins and short-stick defensive midfielder Andrew Miller graduate. Long-stick midfielders Orry Michael and Greg Harrington would appear to be the most immediate candidates to move down to close defense, but the Blue Jays must find a short-stick defensive midfielder to pair up with junior Dave Spaulding. … Gvozden would appear to be a lock for the starting goalie job, but talent-in-waiting and freshman Steven Burke is poised to play if asked.

Outlook for 2010: Complicated. The Blue Jays return a dangerous offense that gains another year to gel and raise its scoring average. But even that unit might not have enough firepower to overcome a defense that loses three starters. Maybe Under Armour All Americans Tucker Durkin and Chris Lightner can bolster the defense. The team also welcomes three more Under Armour All-American midfielders in John Greeley, John Ranagan and Chase Winter.

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:14 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Review & preview
        

June 3, 2009

Updates on Maryland's Brian Farrell and Brian Phipps

It sounds like junior Brian Farrell will return to his previous position as the Terps’ long-stick midfielder after dabbling with a close defenseman’s position this past spring.

Coach Dave Cottle didn’t go as far as to confirm that move, but his comments seem to suggest that sophomore Brett Schmidt, who moved from long-stick midfielder to close defenseman when Farrell was lost for the season after suffering rib and lung injuries just three games into the year, will remain in that position. Farrell will likely return to his old spot.

"I think Brian will be a guy that we use on faceoffs and play some down low, but he’ll also play some pole because he’s really dangerous going from defense to offense," Cottle said, adding that the school plans to help Farrell apply for a medical redshirt that will give him two more seasons of eligibility. "Not only is he a good defender, but he also will help us in transition."

Cottle also said that junior goalkeeper Brian Phipps is scheduled to undergo surgery to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on June 16. Although recovery usually takes about 12 months, Cottle said Phipps tore the ACL in his right knee in August of his senior year at Severn and was ready for season opener.

"We hope that he will be ready," Cottle said.

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland
        

Review & preview: Maryland

Here’s the penultimate installment of a new series that checks in with the seven Division I programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Today, we take a visit with Maryland.

REVIEW

The good: A Terps defense that appeared to be crippled with the season-ending rib and lung injuries to junior Brian Farrell after just three contests fared just fine. Sophomore Brett Schmidt made a smooth transition from long-stick midfielder to close defense, and junior Dan Halayko and sophomore Chris Ready performed admirably at long-stick midfielder for a unit that finished eighth in the country (7.7 goals per game). "I thought we played good team defense at the end of the year in terms of on a much more consistent basis," coach Dave Cottle said. "Having two first-year starters on defense in Brett Schmidt and Max Schmidt, I felt we got better." ... Towards the end of the season, Cottle played three midfields in an effort to cultivate more depth. Although those results were negligible, the shuttling of lines gained younger players some much-needed game experience. "At the end of the year, I think playing three midfields was something that we fell into, but our team picked up on it and liked it," Cottle said.

The bad: Maryland’s inability to find a second midfield line that could produce put a lot of pressure on the first line and the attack. When the first line was on the sidelines, opposing defenses concentrated on the attack by packing the middle of the offensive zone and daring the second line to beat them from the outside. That meant that the first midfield and attack had to shoulder much of the scoring burden. ... The defense’s lack of speed was exposed in the quarterfinal loss to Syracuse, and Cottle said the third starting defenseman spot vacated by the graduation of Mike Griswold will be filled by a player fleet of foot. "We’re probably going to look for a quicker kid to pick the ball off the ground and help us with clears," Cottle said.

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: The Terps must replace a midfield that bids farewell to Dan Groot (21 goals and 14 assists) and Jeff Reynolds (12, 4) -- both of whom were selected in the Major Lacrosse League draft -- and Jeremy Sieverts (17, 6). Freshman Jake Bernhardt got extensive time on the first line with Groot and Sieverts, and junior Adam Sear played well towards the end of the season. Junior Eric Boyle, a transfer from Towson, and freshman Owen Blye are expected to compete for starting time. "We have some pieces. We just have to put them in the right place," Cottle said. ... A number of candidates will vie for Griswold’s position, including junior long-stick midfielder Dan Halayko and freshman defenseman Grant Oliver. "I think it’s going to be up for grabs," Cottle said. "It’s a position that Mike grew into and did a good job with at the end of the year. There’s some things that Mike did better than anyone else we had in the program, such as communication and sliding and stuff like that. We’ll probably be looking for somebody who can get that ball off the ground and clear it. Whoever does that will be the leading candidate." ... Goalkeeper Jason Carter is gone, which means junior Brian Phipps will be the sole starter, assuming he successfully returns from surgery to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. "I think Brian will probably be the guy," Cottle said. "We probably won’t be looking to share time there unless there’s somebody just as good."

Outlook for 2010: Unclear. Maryland advanced to the quarterfinals despite not getting much depth from its midfield. What’s in store for a squad that will have unproven midfielders? The return of Farrell should rejuvenate a defense lacking in speed and struggled at times to clear the ball. The program welcomes three Under Armour All-Americans in midfielder Landon Carr, defenseman Jesse Bernhardt and goalie Niko Amato.

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Maryland, Review & preview
        

June 2, 2009

Navy and Loyola to meet in regular season for first time since 1943

In addition to scheduling a regular-season contest against Towson for the first time since April 12, 1997, the Midshipmen agreed to renew a series with Loyola. The two programs have not played against each other since a playoff game on May 15, 1993 and a regular-season contest on April 3, 1943.

The Greyhounds will replace Navy’s game against Ohio State in the middle of February, and Midshipmen coach Richie Meade joked that it only took him 10 years to figure out that a trip to Baltimore is more economically feasible and less physically taxing than visiting Columbus, Ohio.

"Loyola is right down the block," he said. "It made a lot of sense. I think we’re a good game for them, and they’re certainly a good game for us. I think the games will draw great crowds, and I think there will be a lot of local interest. They will be big games. We play in some big games, but we need to play in more big games. I think that helps you."

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:28 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola, Navy
        

Review & preview: Navy

Here’s the fifth installment of a new series that checks in with the seven Division I programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Today, we take a spin with Navy.

REVIEW

The good: Defense has been a fixture with the Midshipmen, and this season was no different. The unit finished seventh in the country in goals allowed per game (7.7) despite the loss of sophomore Michael Hirsch to a torn anterior cruciate ligament, and personnel changes, including in the net. The defense was even better in man-down situations, killing 85 percent of opponents’ extra-man opportunities. ... The starting attack of juniors Tim Paul and Brendan Connors and sophomore Andy Warner and junior midfielders Patrick Moran and Joe Lennon powered the offense as each player scored at least 13 goals. The promising thing is that 10 of the team’s top 12 point producers will be back next season. "The last couple years, we’ve been pretty young offensively," coach Richie Meade said. "I think on the offensive side of the field, we’re adding some guys that we think are going to be very good players. That’s going to give us depth."

The bad: As prolific as Navy’s starting attack and midfield were, those two lines were weighted down by the inability to find a productive second midfield line. "We didn’t feel like we got a lot out of the second midfield in terms of their offensive production," Meade said. "We need to get 15, 20 goals out of that group, and we got nine. I think we’re going to be in a position where we get more production out of that second group." ... Meade said he chuckles when he hears outsiders say that the Midshipmen like to slow down the pace of the game. He counters that the team pushes as hard as any other team in transition, but the big problem was that the players misfired on shots. "The weakness of our team this year was on the offensive end in terms of goal production, and a lot of that had to do with not shooting the ball real well," Meade said. "We didn’t finish our opportunities, and I think that hurt us in a lot of games.

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: The biggest voids are on defense, where Navy must fill the void created by the graduation of a pair of starters in defenseman Andy Tormey and goalkeeper Tommy Phelan. If sophomore Michael Hirsch can recover from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, he will likely join freshman Matt Vernam and sophomore Tom Mansfield. But junior Jaren Woeppel could make the move from long-stick midfielder to close defense. "That’s something we’ve considered," Meade said. "That may happen." ... Freshman R.J. Wickham made six starts this past season, registering a 7.00 goals-against average and a .500 save percentage. But Meade said sophomores Michael Haas and Alex Samaniego, junior Ward Odenwald and incoming 6-foot-7 freshman Nolan Hickey are expected to compete for the same position. "R.J. certainly has the inside scoop right now because he played well when he had the opportunity," he said. "But we’re going to take a hard look at these other guys, and I’m confident that position will be strong." ... Two guys who will be missed are short-stick defensive midfielders Geoff Leone and Bobby Lennon. Junior Joe McAuliffe and sophomore Marty Gallagher are slated to replace Leone and Lennon with juniors Stephen Driscoll and Anthony Arena and freshman Brian Brinkmann also getting into the mix.

Outlook for 2010: Encouraging. The offense is intact and should be productive enough to give the defense time to gel and find its footing. The key will be the development of Wickham, who must be the backbone of the defense and live up to the potential he displayed in high school. Patriot League rivals Colgate and Bucknell lost a lot of talent to graduation, and Meade is excited about an incoming freshman class that was ranked No. 8 by Insidelacrosse.com in 2008.

Posted by Edward Lee at 4:20 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Navy, Review & preview
        

June 1, 2009

UMBC's Atwell expected to return for 2010 season

While talking to Don Zimmerman for today’s Review & Preview, the Retrievers coach said senior defenseman Bobby Atwell’s torn anterior cruciate ligament is healing according to schedule.

Atwell’s doctors have prohibited him from playing any lacrosse, but he is rehabilitating.

"All indications are that his knee is going to be where it needs to be," Zimmerman said. "I know it was a tough year for Bobby, but I think that’s going to help him be even more ready to come back and resume his role on this team."

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:34 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: UMBC
        

Review & preview: UMBC

Here’s the fourth installment of a new series that checks in with the seven Division I programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Today, we take a visit with UMBC.

REVIEW

The good: The Retrievers’ first midfield of seniors Peet Poillon (26 goals and 21 assists) and Alex Hopmann (36, 8) and junior Kyle Wimer (24, 18) was one of the most prolific in the country. Throw in an attack of juniors Matt Latham (27, 5) and Chris Jones (21, 10), senior Ryan Smith (22, 10) and freshman Rob Grimm (10, 17), and you can understand why coach Don Zimmerman was pleased with an offense that ranked sixth in the nation. "I knew we had some talent," he said. "I just didn’t know how it would gel, and it turned out to gel pretty well." … Despite the loss of top shutdown defenseman Bobby Atwell to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in January, senior Kevin Goedeke evolved into the unit’s best defender, and senior Steve Settembrino worked his way into the starting lineup after playing during man-down situations last season. It also helped to have a four-year starter in senior goalie Jeremy Blevins. "Blevins was certainly a strength for us," Zimmerman said. "Losing Bobby Atwell hurt us, but I thought our defense adjusted well."

The bad: The first midfield was so good that it masked the deficiencies in depth at that position. Junior Maxx Davis (1, 1) regressed from last year’s totals (10, 13) and sophomores Jamie Kimbles and Bobby Stockton leveled off after promising first years. "I think one of our weaknesses was we could have used another solid midfield out there," Zimmerman said. … Face-offs stung UMBC as the unit won less than 42 percent. Junior J.D. Harkey was lost for the season after five games due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament, leaving freshman Justin Radebaugh to take the majority of face-offs and win 46.3 percent. "Face-offs early on hurt us, but I think we got better as the year went on," Zimmerman said.

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: The midfield takes the biggest hit with the departure of Poillon and Hopmann – both of whom were selected in the Major Lacrosse League draft. Zimmerman expects Davis, Kimbles and Stockton to battle for the right to start alongside Wimer. Junior Jordan Pierce and freshman Rich May could also contribute. … Junior Kevin Kohri is slated to succeed Blevins in the cage, but freshmen Brian McCullough and Matt Holman and incoming freshman Adam Cohen of Severn could push Kohri. "I would say Kohri right now has the lead just in the fact that he’s going to be a senior," Zimmerman said. "But we want it to be competitive, and we feel it will be competitive." … Atwell is expected to return and join juniors Matt Kresse and Brian Schneider on close defense. Juniors Lance Ophof and Tim Eagan and freshman Aaron Verardi and Tim Shaeffer could see some playing time.

Outlook for 2010: Cloudy. The Retrievers had one of their best teams since Zimmerman took over as head coach prior to the 1994 season, but they fell in the NCAA tournament first round as they did in 2008. Graduation sapped UMBC’s scoring punch, and if the team struggles to find consistency from more than just one midfield line, expect Wimer to be the focus of many opponents’ defensive attention. Atwell’s health is one thing that will be studied closely, and Kohri needs to prove that he can fill the void created by Blevins’ departure. But Zimmerman is a master strategist, and he is excited about an incoming recruiting class that includes a trio of St. Mary’s players in midfielders Scott Hopmann, Neill Lewnes and attackman Nick Doub and South River attackman Matthew Gregoire.

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Review & preview, UMBC
        
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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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