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February 27, 2010

Postscript from Maryland at Georgetown

The graduation of Dan Groot, Jeremy Sieverts and Jeff Reynolds had many observers questioning the strength of the No. 7 Terps considering that midfield line combined for 50 goals and 24 assists last season.

And while the jury is still out on the current midfield lines, this year’s unit is faring much better than anticipated.

A week after all three midfield lines produced a combined seven goals against Bellarmine, midfielders contributed 10 goals and one assist in Saturday’s 15-13 comeback win against No. 9 Georgetown.

Senior Will Yeatman, an attackman who started in the midfield, led the way with three goals, sophomore Jake Bernhardt registered two goals and one assist, and senior Adam Sear posted two goals.

Junior Scott LaRue, sophomore Drew Snider and freshman John Haus each scored a goal, and Bernhardt is feeling optimistic that the midfield unit can provide support to the potent attack.

"Everyone has been doubting us in the midfield," he said. "Today, we inverted a lot against Georgetown, but the midfielders stepped up big time. ... I felt like us as a midfield, we had to take a little bit on our shoulders and step up."

Other notes:

*The Hoyas (0-1) opened the season with a new goalie as sophomore C.T. Fisher took the starting chores from senior Jack Davis, last year’s starter. Fisher made nine saves, which was one more than what Maryland senior Brian Phipps finished with, but Fisher was saddled with the loss after surrendering eight goals in the second half. Many of the Terps attacked Fisher with low shots.

"We saw that we could shoot low on him, and that showed throughout the course of the game," Yeatman said. Georgetown coach Dave Urick sounded pleased with Fisher’s debut. "I’m sure that if he looks back at it, there are going to be maybe a couple that he thought he should’ve gotten, but didn’t," Urick said. "But I thought he did fine."

*At the end of the third quarter and towards the end of the game, the Terps players surrounded one person and jostled, yelled, and celebrated their accomplishment, which was the program’s first comeback from a four-goal deficit since March 25, 2006 when they rallied to defeat North Carolina, 9-6. That person? Maryland coach Dave Cottle. "I think we just smacked each other around," he said with a smile. "It was one of those mosh-pit things that we did."

*Yeatman has started in the midfield in both of Maryland’s contests this season, and while the 6-foot-6, 250-pound senior isn’t asked to play defense unless he has to, he said he is open to staying in the midfield. "I told Coach Cottle at the beginning of the season, ‘Wherever you need me,’" he said. "Sometimes we might be light on midfielder or anywhere [else] on the field, but wherever anyone needs me, that’s where I’ll be."

*For the second year in a row, Hoyas defenseman Barney Ehrmann pretty much quieted his assignment. After shutting out Yeatman last season, Ehrmann, the preseason Big East Defensive Player of the Year, limited Terps junior attackman Grant Catalino to one goal and two assists. Ehrmann, a Baltimore native and Gilman graduate who played despite being questionable because of a sore right ankle, said his 6-foot-6, 220-pound frame comes in handy. "My size helps a lot. Those are really big guys, and they do a great job of using their bodies to get to the goal," Ehrmann said of Yeatman and Catalino (6-4, 225). "So my size helps a lot, and just watching film and studying it and knowing their offense so that I can anticipate what they’re trying to do."

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

Maryland at Georgetown: Halftime thoughts

No. 7 Maryland and No. 9 Georgetown have played an entertaining first half at Mult-Sport Field in Washington, D.C., but the Hoyas appear to be the faster team as they enjoy a 10-7 lead.

On at least four goals, Georgetown’s players have either dodged their way past falling Terps defenders or rolled off picks in the slot for easy scores. Another goal occurred when two Maryland players failed to pick up a loose ball in the defensive zone, allowing junior attackman Ryan Schuler to pounce on it and score with 1.7 seconds left in the first quarter to give the Hoyas a 5-2 advantage.

All this is surprising considering that this is Georgetown’s season opener. The Terps, who beat Bellarmine, 12-7, a week ago, just look either slow or out of sync.

Other notes:

*Aside from junior attackman Ryan Young, who has posted four assists, the rest of the Maryland attack unit has been quiet. Junior Travis Reed and sophomore Joe Cummings have each scored once, and junior Grant Catalino recorded an assist, but senior Will Yeatman has zero points. Yeatman, who was shut out by defenseman Eric Bicknese in last year’s 13-10 loss to the Hoyas, is having similar troubles against senior defenseman Chris Nixon.

*The good news is that the Terps are getting some production from their midfield. Senior Adam Sear has scored twice, and sophomores Jake Bernhardt and Drew Snider and junior Scott LaRue have each posted a goal. Those contributions could further inject some confidence into some inexperienced lines.

*Maryland is winning the groundball battle, scooping up 27 to Georgetown’s 18, but are getting outshot, 21-12. That tells me that the Terps are not maximizing their offensive opportunities while not playing tighter defense. Maryland must improve on those two areas in the second half.

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:24 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Halftime thoughts, Maryland
        

Bucknell at Towson: Three things to watch

The Tigers finally get to play a meaningful game, but the first opponent on the schedule is a No. 17 Bucknell team that nearly upset then-No. 1 Duke two weeks ago and routed Ohio State last Saturday. These three developments could have an impact on the outcome of Saturday’s game at Johnny Unitas Stadium at 1 p.m.

1) Towson must press the attack. A young attack unit that graduated Bill McCutcheon, last year’s leading scorer, took another blow with sophomore Matt Lamon sitting out due to an emergency appendectomy. Sean Maguire scored nine goals last season, and Stephen Norris has been impressive in the fall and winter. Both sophomores will join returning starter Tim Stratton on the attack, but the absence of Lamon could have an impact. "That hurts us," coach Tony Seaman said. "That really puts a damper on the attack because he’s coming back with Stratton with the experience."

2) Beware the Bison’s bite. Bucknell has a pair of standouts on offense in senior attackman Austin Winter (a team-high six points on two goals and four assists) and sophomore midfielder Charlie Streep (3, 1), but five other players have posted multiple points thus far. Fortunately, the Tigers return a solid defense in senior defenseman Joe Wascavage, sophomore defenseman Marc Ingerman (a member of the Colonial Athletic Association All-Rookie team last year), senior long-stick midfielder Cameron Zook and junior short-stick defensive midfielder Peter Mezzanotte. That unit will be anchored by returning goalie Rob Wheeler. "This is the first time in four years that I will have a goalie who started last year," Seaman said. "That’s huge."

3) Figure out the face-offs. The Bison spend a lot of time on offense because junior face-off specialist Jake Clarke is one of the best in Division I. Clarke, who broke school records for face-off wins and groundballs last year, has won 22-of-35 face-offs for a .629 percentage in two games. Towson will start freshman Matt Thomas and could use sophomore Andrew Pollos and freshman Ryan DeSmit, but will miss sophomore Ian Mills, who blew out his knee in the fall. "This will be a great test for Matt and for us," Seaman said. "I know that Ohio State told me that they thought they lost the game to Bucknell because of the face-offs. So this kid definitely has a big influence on the game."

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

Maryland at Georgetown: Three things to watch

The No. 7 Terps opened the season with a 12-7 victory over Bellarmine. Meanwhile, the No. 9 Hoyas will play in their first game. Here are a few factors that could play a role in the outcome of Saturday’s contest at Georgetown’s Multi-Sport Field in Washington, D.C. at 2 p.m.

1) Will Ehrmann play? The Hoyas pulled off a 13-10 upset of Maryland last February courtesy of a solid defensive effort by long-stick midfielder Barney Ehrmann on attackman Will Yeatman (zero points) and defenseman Eric Bicknese on attackman Grant Catalino (two goals). With Ehrmann questionable due to a soft-tissue injury, Georgetown could still employ Bicknese and defenseman Chris Nixon, but that leaves one or two of the Terps’ talented attackmen with a favorable match-up. As far as Maryland coach Dave Cottle is concerned, Ehrmann will play. "We’re preparing full-steam ahead as if Barney is playing," Cottle said. "What they do defensively is up to them. We’re preparing our guys for what we can do."

2) Focus on the midfields. The Hoyas return a pair of talented starting midfielders in seniors Scott Kocis (21 goals and eight assists) and Andrew Brancaccio (22, 3). Brancaccio suffered a concussion in a scrimmage against Virginia a week ago, but he is expected to play. The Terps’ troubles in the midfield have been well-documented, but all three midfield lines produced a combined seven goals against Bellarmine. Cottle is cautiously optimistic. "We need some guys who can score against big-boy defenses and can run by guys," he said. "We’ve got some younger players that are doing that right now. If our middies can run by and make shots, that’s really going to open it up for the attack."

3) Start quickly or start quietly. As previously mentioned, Maryland already has a game under its collective belt, while Georgetown is opening the season. The Hoyas did partake in scrimmages against Virginia and Albany, but coach Dave Urick said the tempo in those scrimmages can’t compare to the pace of regular-season games. "That certainly helps, but it’s not the same," he said. "There’s no doubt that when you’re in your game uniforms and you’re putting the score on the scoreboard and people are in the stands, it’s a lot different – particularly when you’re playing some younger players, which I think we will this year.

Posted by Edward Lee at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland, Three things to watch
        

February 26, 2010

Additional information for Stevenson games at Towson

Because the Stevenson women's lacrosse game against Ursinus at 4:30 p.m. and the men's contests against Kean at 7 p.m. have been moved to Towson's Johnny Unitas Stadium this Saturday, here is some important information for fans who plan to attend.

Admission is free, but there will be no concessions. Additionally, fans who intend to arrive early should be aware that the Tigers men's team will play host to No. 17 Bucknell at 1 p.m.

Spectators should park in either lots 13 or 14 on the north side of the stadium off Olser Drive. Seating will be limited to sections 101 to 107 on the north side of the stadium, and spectators will be asked to enter through Gate C. Inform the parking attendants that you are visiting to watch the Stevenson games, and the parking fee will be waived.

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:24 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Stevenson, Towson
        

Postscript from North Carolina at Navy

In the aftermath of No. 11 Navy's 11-4 loss to No. 3 North Carolina Thursday night, Midshipmen coach Richie Meade made it very clear that errors, not the absence of senior attackman Tim Paul, were at the crux of what is plaguing the team.

In back-to-back losses to the Tar Heels and No. 10 Loyola, Navy has committed 24 turnovers each. We won't likely know how many of those turnovers were on the offensive end until the Midshipmen coaches review the game film, but players who usually handle the ball on the offense end committed 17 turnovers, according to the box score of Thursday night's loss.

The Midshipmen turned the ball over 18 times in the offensive zone against the Greyhounds. That kind of generosity is not going to result in wins or cheery comments from Meade.

"Here’s what I told the guys," Meade said in response to the first question posed to him after the game. "We made too many mistakes to win a game like that. We let them get too far ahead. I thought in the beginning of the game, we were playing fine. We had a couple chances to score, they had a couple chances to score. I think the two goals at the end of the quarter kind of gave them momentum. … We’re making too many mistakes to win a game like that. That, in combination with having a couple chances early to get on the board and kind of make it tight, we got way behind. ... As crazy as it sounds, we have to make a lot fewer mistakes than we’re making. We have a situation where we’re coming down the field and we have a young defensive middie trying to dodge through three guys for no reason. That’s a turnover. They come down and score. All that stuff leads us to playing more defense than we need to play against a team of that ability offensively. You play that much defense, they’re going to crack you and that’s what happened."

Both Meade and senior attackman Brendan Connors declined to use the young season as an excuse for the team's lapses. Connors was especially critical of himself for throwing an errant pass that sailed out of bounds in the first quarter.

"You’ve just got to be real hard on yourself," he said. "Throwing a pass away in a game is just not really acceptable at this level if you expect to win. Could the weather have been a factor? Anything could have been a factor. But when it comes down to it, you practice five days a week, and you’re supposed to be able to throw and catch the ball."

Other notes:

*Tar Heels junior attackman Billy Bitter isn't scoring at quite the same clip as he was last season, but he's still a dangerous player. Bitter, who posted team highs in goals (46) and assists (25) last spring, currently leads the offense in assists with nine and ranks second in points with 12. Bitter has an innate ability to shake off the initial defender, thus forcing another defenseman to slide. And when he does, Bitter can thread the ball to the open man for a high-percentage shot. "I thought Billy Bitter played well," Meade said. "He created a lot of opportunities. But I don’t think we played well defensively. We’d slide to him, [and] we wouldn’t cover up. He’d make some really quick moves, and they were very good at finding the open guy. They got it in close. They didn’t get much from outside.

*Perhaps it's a bit too early to crown Chris Madalon, but the 6-foot-3, 195-pound goalkeeper has surrendered just 18 goals in four games for North Carolina. Madalon, a junior, made 13 saves against the Midshipmen, which almost matches his save total for the entire season (14). Tar Heels coach Joe Breschi praised his trio of defensemen in senior Michael Jarvis, junior Ryan Flanagan and sophomore Charlie McComas for following the defensive game plan to perfection. "What we wanted to do was kind of force them to make plays on the run, not slide much, and make them shoot outside shots," he said. "That’s where ‘Mads’ is hot, when he can see the ball from outside. He takes up a lot of the cage, and he did a great job."

*Breschi sympathized with Navy's loss of Paul, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in last Saturday's 8-7 overtime setback to No. 10 Loyola. In fact, Breschi compared losing Paul to losing his own star player. "I liken it to us losing Billy Bitter, your top offensive threat," Breschi said. "That’s a tough thing to recover from. They played hard, and they always do. Coach Meade and his staff always have them ready to play, and it was a hard-fought battle. But when you lose your best player whom everybody else looks up to to lead your team, it’s a devastating loss. But I know they’ll be fine and they’ll be back and they’ll keep working hard."

*The contest certainly gained the attention of several notable coaches interested in watching the teams play. Maryland coach Dave Cottle, Towson coach Tony Seaman and Bucknell coach Frank Fedorjaka were in the pressbox above Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Maryland will play both Navy and North Carolina in the regular season, while Towson and Bucknell have Navy on their respective schedules.

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

Maryland's Catalino was surprisingly lightly recruited

Today’s edition included a feature on the physical makeover Maryland junior attackman Grant Catalino has undertaken to become more of a force for the Terps.

Another topic that he discussed (but I could not get into the article due to space limitations) was how lightly recruited he was when he played for Webster Schroeder High School in upstate New York.

Catalino, who has scored 95 points on 56 goals and 39 assists in three seasons, said only Maryland, Duke and Georgetown actively sought him. Syracuse and Cornell, two Division I programs closest to him, did not recruit him, but Catalino said he doesn’t use the snub as a vengeance tactic.

"I’ve always been someone to work pretty hard, and I’m not out there to prove anybody wrong," he said. "But it definitely drove me to play the best that I could at the next level. Out of high school, everybody knew the big names out of Maryland and Long Island, but where I’m from – upstate – we don’t really get that much hype just because there aren’t that many kids in our area that go D-1 until a few years ago. So I’m not out there to prove anybody wrong, but I’m out there to show everybody else that I can help our team out."

Catalino said the lack of attention from other schools did not anger him.

"At the time, it didn’t bother me at all because I really didn’t know what to think," he said. "Looking back on it, it doesn’t really bother me because the place I ended up at, I don’t think there could’ve been a better fit for me – athletically and academically."

Catalino’s decision to commit to the Terps was somewhat surprising considering that his older brother Mike is a fifth-year attackman for the Blue Devils.

"I think the biggest reason that I did not go down there was because I thought that the academics here would be better than at Duke," Grant Catalino said. "Plus, I wanted to stay a little closer to home, and Duke was a little far for me. But everything else – like the ability to play with my brother – would have been awesome."

Catalino said contrary to popular belief, his brother did not place any pressure on him to attend Duke.

"He’s always left those decisions up to me," Catalino said. "We talked about it briefly at the time that it happened, and he basically said, ‘Make the decision that is best for you. If that ends up being Duke, then you’ll have the best four years of your life.’ But he didn’t put any pressure on me by any means, and he left the decision totally up to me."

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Maryland
        

February 25, 2010

North Carolina at Navy: Halftime thoughts

Without senior attackman Tim Paul, No. 11 Navy has struggled to gain some semblance of consistency or confidence on the offensive end.

Trailing No. 3 North Carolina, 6-1, at halftime, the Midshipmen (1-1) have failed to put the kind of pressure they should apply to a first-year starting goalkeeper like Tar Heels junior Chris Madalon.

Navy, which had committed 18 offensive turnovers in last Saturday's 8-7 overtime loss to No. 10 Loyola, has at least half of that in the first half tonight. As a team, the Midshipmen have coughed up the ball 13 times. (By comparison, they surrendered the ball 24 times to the Greyhounds.) That's a big reason why they have taken just 12 shots compared to North Carolina's 19.

Senior attackman Evan Sullivan's extra-man goal with 16 seconds left in the second quarter finally snapped a Tar Heels 6-0 run. But without Paul, Navy doesn't seem to have the player who can quarterback the offense and get it established.

Other notes: 

*Tar Heels junior attackman Billy Bitter isn't scoring at quite the same clip as he was last season, but he's still a dangerous player. He's so good at moving without the ball that the Midshipmen can't afford to forget about him and maybe pressure the ball carrier. And when Bitter has the ball, he's so quick. He basically shook off junior defenseman Michael Hirsch behind the net and found senior attackman Gavin Petracca for an open-net score on North Carolina's fifth goal of the half.

*Entering the game, Tar Heels junior face-off specialist Michael Burns had won 19-of-31 (.613) face-offs. But like Loyola's John Schiavone, Burns has been neutralized by the Midshipmen duo of senior Robby Battle and sophomore Logan West. Battle and West have combined to win 6-of-8 face-offs thus far, and they'll probably have to repeat that performance if Navy harbors any hope of mounting a comeback.

*Each of North Carolina's six goals has been assisted. The Tar Heels are doing a sensational job of beating the first defender, waiting for the slide and then finding the open man for a high-percentage shot. The Midshipmen have to tighten the defense and avoid getting beat, especially in the slot area.

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:58 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Halftime thoughts, Navy
        

Coach clarifies UMBC's goalie situation

UMBC coach Don Zimmerman called to clarify his previous comments about the team's goalie situation.

Rather than saying that freshman Adam Cohen would start for the remainder of the season, Zimmerman said he was abandoning rotating the goalkeepers for their respective halves. That's what happened in the No. 19 Retrievers' 11-10 triple-overtime loss to No. 18 Delaware last Saturday as senior Kevin Kohri started the first half and Cohen finished the rest of the game.

Zimmerman reiterated that Cohen will start on Saturday against Rutgers, but Kohri and sophomores Brian McCullough and Matt Holman are very much in the mix for possibly starting in future contests.

"We're not going to do halves," Zimmerman said. "We're going to go with a one-goalie system for each game, and right now, Adam Cohen is our starter."

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:30 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: UMBC
        

Towson to open season without returning starter

Towson's season opener this Saturday against No. 17 Bucknell just got a bit more challenging as the Tigers will be forced to play without starting attackman Matt Lamon.

Lamon, a sophomore who grew up in Annapolis and graduated from St. Mary's, started 10 of 17 games last season, registering four goals and eight assists. Lamon was expected to team with another returning starter in junior Tim Stratton, but Lamon underwent an emergency appendectomy last Saturday.

"That hurts us," Towson coach Tony Seaman conceded Thursday morning. "That really puts a damper on the attack because he’s coming back with Stratton with the experience. And Stratton got a concussion in the scrimmage against Princeton [last Saturday], and he didn’t play in the second half. I think Stratton will be back. So it’ll be [sophomore] Stephen Norris and [sophomore Sean] Maguire and a freshman, Matt Hughes, and Stratton."

Norris has been a pleasant surprise, showing off significant improvement in the fall and winter. Norris has been so impressive that he would have started with Stratton and Lamon if Lamon hadn’t been injured, Seaman said.

"He catches the ball really well on the crease and can finish it," Seaman said. "He’s an old-style crease guy. We haven’t had one of those in a while. I think he’s going to be real good there. But this will be his first real game."

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:45 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Towson
        

Navy's Paul played despite spate of injuries

I got a chance to talk to Navy senior attackman Tim Paul, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in Saturday's 8-7 overtime loss to No. 10 Loyola. Paul, a Parkton native and Loyola graduate, will miss the remainder of the season.

There will be more in Friday's edition about Paul's involvement with the No. 11 Midshipmen, but one thing that struck me was Paul's confirmation of coach Richie Meade's revelation that Paul has played the last two seasons despite a variety of injuries.

Paul has been plagued by a chronic shoulder problem, and he severely sprained his left ankle that forced him to miss two games. And in addition to the torn knee ligament, Paul has been dealing with a twisted sacrum in his lower back that made it difficult for him to rotate his hips and fire a shot.

"It’s really affected my play," said Paul, who has required two injections into his spine to play through the pain and is scheduled to undergo a bone scan to further define the injury. "I haven’t been the same shooter. I still consider myself a good shooter, but at the same time, I’ve lost a considerable amount of velocity, and it was pretty painful to go out to practice on numerous occasions. But it’s college athletics, and everyone’s playing hurt, everyone’s playing through injuries."

Paul had been Navy's top returning scorer from a year ago, registering 18 goals and 14 assists. His presence, along with that of fellow attackman Brendan Connors (21 goals and 10 assists) and Andy Warner (13, 14) and midfielders Patrick Moran (20, 3), Joe Lennon (14, 9) and Nikk Davis (3, 5), had given Midshipmen supporters plenty of optimism for the upcoming season.

Paul is expected to be replaced by sophomore Ryan O'Leary, who was given a vote of confidence by Paul.

"Ryan’s a very dynamic player," Paul said. "I guess the word that would best describe him is slippery. He’s very agile, very fast. He can change direction on a dime, a very talented shooter, not afraid to stick his nose in there and take a hit, or take the extra step and score. Ryan has a bright future. If he takes advantage of this opportunity, Ryan could really have his career take off the way mine did during my freshman year."

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

Q&A with Matt Ward

Matt Ward, an ESPN analyst and the 2006 Tewaaraton Trophy winner who helped Virginia capture two national championships, was kind enough to contribute to a feature on Maryland junior attackman Grant Catalino that is scheduled to run Friday. Ward also shared his thoughts on the young lacrosse season.

Question: Which player has the inside track to win the Tewaaraton Trophy this year?

Matt Ward: "I would say [Duke senior attackman Ned] Crotty. Ultimately, I think it’s his. I think Duke probably has the most skilled team, and usually that award at the end of the year goes to a team that’s competing at the end, and Crotty is very, very skilled. Him and [North Carolina junior attackman Billy] Bitter, if you pick either one, you’re going to be happy with who you have. … I would say that Crotty would be the favorite at this point, but Bitter I would say is a close second."

Q: What has been the biggest surprise thus far?

MW: "The biggest surprise I would say is Duke’s struggles early on. They had a tough game against Bucknell. Some people were struck by that score, but I’ll tell you that Bucknell is a good team. And then you saw Duke get handled by Notre Dame. Notre Dame really appeared to take control of that game, control the tempo, and outshot Duke. I wouldn’t have predicted that. I think that Duke is struggling to find themselves, but once they get going and with the players and talent that they have, they’re going to get back on track."

Q: Can Syracuse win three consecutive national titles?

MW: "I think they had a lot of questions coming into the year. For me, in the preseason, I had them somewhere around being the fifth-best team in the country. They do have a great defense, they have a goalie who has won two national championships in two years, but I don’t know if they have that true creator. They lost a lot of depth in the midfield with [Dan] Hardy, [Pat] Perritt and [Matt] Abbott. They lost Kenny Nims at attack, and now they don’t have that true person who can really get his own shot. They don’t have that person yet. They need someone to step in and really start creating and making plays for players like [junior attackman Stephen] Keogh and [senior attackman Cody] Jamieson. If they can find players to get them the ball in appropriate places, they’ll be good because we know they’re going to play good defense. They’re not going to give up a lot of goals. So I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility. Would I make them the favorite? I don’t think so, but Syracuse has a tendency of proving people wrong and showing how good those kids really are and how good that coaching staff really is."

Q: Which teams have the best shot at making the Final Four?

MW: "I honestly really liked the four ACC teams, but that probably won’t happen because they’re going to play each other during the year and beat each other up and the seeding won’t allow that. My predictions would be Duke, Virginia, North Carolina, and I think that fourth spot is going to come down to either Hopkins or Syracuse."

Q: Which game in the next couple weeks is intriguing to you?

MW: "Maryland-Duke, I’d like to see that because I think Maryland has the skill to make a run at a national championship. I just don’t think they’ve accomplished everything they’ve wanted to in the past. If they do well against Duke early on and get some confidence, with their defense and the attack they have and goalie, they can make a run. So I’m interested in seeing that Maryland-Duke game."

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Q&A
        

North Carolina at Navy: Three things to watch

The No. 11 Midshipmen added injury to insult when they learned after Saturday’s 8-7 overtime loss to No. 10 Loyola that senior attackman Tim Paul (torn anterior cruciate ligament) would be lost for the season. Here are a few factors that could play a role in the outcome of Thursday night’s home contest against No. 3 North Carolina.

1) Watch the turnover count. The most glaring number from Saturday’s loss was Navy’s inability to protect the ball. The team committed 24 turnovers to the Greyhounds’ 14, and coach Richie Meade calculated that the offense turned the ball over an astonishing 18 times. The Tar Heels are coughing up the ball 17.3 times per game, but also forcing opponents into an average of 27.3 turnovers per contest. "Obviously, we’re disappointed in our performance Saturday not from the standpoint of how we played offense, but that we couldn’t throw and catch," Meade said. "That’s a big component to it. You don’t go into something thinking you’re going to have that many turnovers, but we did.

2) Attack the net. Without Paul, the onus to lead the attack now falls on senior attackman Brendan Connors and junior attackman Andy Warner. And senior midfielders Patrick Moran and Joe Lennon will be asked to assume more responsibilities. On the flipside, the Midshipmen have to contain a North Carolina offense that average 11 goals per game. Junior attackman Billy Bitter, one of a few preseason favorites to win the Tewaaraton Trophy, has recorded three goals and six assists, but he is complemented by sophomore attackman Thomas Wood (7, 5) and senior midfielder Sean DeLaney (6, 0). "Billy’s been more of a distributor this year so far," Meade noted. "So we’ve got our hands full. But I think we’ve got enough people and we’re athletic enough to hang in there. Our biggest focus is we have to play well. We can’t worry about North Carolina."

3) As Johnny Cash might say, "Get rhythm." Playing two games in five days might not help physically, but Thursday night’s game is perhaps the best remedy for Navy to forget Saturday’s loss. "Our one goal is to win the next game," Meade said. "Always, when you play and you’re not successful, you’ve got to ask yourself, ‘What did you learn from the game?’ So we learned some things from the Loyola game that we’ve got to apply in our next opportunity. This is the early season, and it’s a disappointing loss. But you’ve got to shake it off and move forward, and that’s what we’re going to attempt to do here."

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Navy, Three things to watch
        

February 24, 2010

Towson gets the lead out on Saturday

While the seasons for many Division I programs have already begun (in fact, North Carolina will play its fourth game against Navy on Thursday), Towson will open its season against No. 17 Bucknell on Saturday.

The Bison have already played twice, opening the season with a 12-11 overtime loss to then-No. 1 Duke and routing Ohio State, 11-5, this past Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Tigers wrapped up the preseason with a scrimmage against Princeton on Saturday. Could that be an advantage for Towson since the coaches and players can review game film of Bucknell, which cannot do the same for the Tigers?

"Yeah, but you call people and find out things," said coach Tony Seaman, who attended a media event in which four Baltimore-area Division I coaches previewed their teams and answered fans' queries during a question-and-answer session at the ESPNZone in the Inner Harbor. "I imagine they’ve been living over at Princeton this week. You can look at it both ways."

Seaman’s biggest concern is the early part of Saturday’s contest. While the Bison players will be ready to run, the Towson players will still try to get accustomed to the pace of the game.

"The first quarter, that’s where the biggest disadvantage is for us because it’s a different pace and the level of the game is so much different than a scrimmage no matter what you tell the kids or whom you scrimmage," Seaman said. "One of the reasons why I always like to have Princeton as my last scrimmage is because our kids look at it as a game and play it like a game, and it’s almost up to that level. But still, it’s different. If we can survive the first quarter Saturday and not give them too big of a lead, I think that puts us right where we want to be."

Other Towson notes:

*With an offense that graduated midfielders Justin Schneider and Randall Cooper (a combined 24 goals and 28 assists), the play of senior Christian Pastirik has been a pleasant surprise. Pastirik, a transfer from Cornell, had three assists in the final tune-up against Princeton, and Seaman said Pastirik, an Annapolis native and St. Mary’s graduate, will move from attack to midfield to further maximize his contributions. "He could be an assistant coach for me," Seaman said. "I’m very amazed by his knowledge of the game and what he sees on the field and what he understands and what he gives to our team. He’s got a good stick, great eyes, a great field sense, can shoot it when he gets his hands free. He’s just a great complement for what we have and I’m thrilled to have him."

*The starting attack figures to include junior Tim Stratton (16 goals and eight assists) and sophomores Matt Lamon (4, 8) and Sean Maguire (9, 1). Because that unit is so young, Seaman said the offense will likely rely on senior Will Harrington (23, 3) and Pastirik to set the rhythm. "You get an advantage of going against a short stick, and that usually gets done from the midfield position," Seaman said. "That’s what we have to do well. So Harrington and CP become really, really important for us."

*A spirited goalie competition between senior Rob Wheeler (Friends) and junior Travis Love (Winters Mill) made things tough for the Tigers coaching staff, but Wheeler, who registered an 8.97 goals-against average and a .557 save percentage last year, will start against Bucknell, Seaman confirmed. Seaman said Love improved dramatically in the offseason. "He’s made my job a lot tougher, which is good," Seaman said. "But Rob’s played well. I think [Love] has pushed him, and he’s had three terrific scrimmages."

Posted by Edward Lee at 5:00 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Towson
        

Johns Hopkins' defense featuring youthful look

In addition to seniors Matt Drenan and Sam DeVore, Johns Hopkins is entrusting its defense to a pair of freshmen and a sophomore.

Freshman Tucker Durkin has started alongside Drenan and DeVore for the No. 5 Blue Jays’ first two games, and sophomore Andrew Blasko and freshman Chris Lightner (Calvert Hall) have contributed heavily at that end of the field. No one would confuse No. 18 Delaware and Manhattan, Johns Hopkins’ first two opponents, with Syracuse and Virginia, but coach Dave Pietramala likes what he has seen thus far.

"They’ve done a good job, and they have a lot of work to do," said Pietramala, who attended a media event in which four Baltimore-area Division I coaches previewed their teams and answered fans' queries during a question-and-answer session at the ESPNZone in the Inner Harbor. "Ours is a philosophy that is kind of complicated at times and takes a lot of communication and thinking on the fly and jumping in and out of different defenses. For a young guy, it’s tough enough to play attackman or middie in college. So I think the older guys have done a good job of helping them along. I’ve seen Matt Drenan with Tucker Durkin a lot. I’ve seen Chris Lightner with Sam DeVore and the older guys a lot. So what I like is the older guys are taking on the responsibility of helping these guys grow and develop."

Pietramala, however, isn’t prepared to say that the defensive makeover is complete. After all, this is a unit that surrendered 10 goals or more to nine of 15 opponents last spring, and that group included first-team All-American Michael Evans.

"Look, we’re a work in progress at that end of the field," he said. "We still have a lot of work to do there, and as we said in the beginning of the year, we have something to prove to no one but ourselves. And we don’t think we’ve done that quite yet."

Other Johns Hopkins notes:

*Senior attackman Chris Boland, who led the team in scoring last season with 28 goals and 18 assists, was dressed for Tuesday’s 15-7 win against Delaware, but did not play. Pietramala said there is no timetable for his return. " That’s something that we’ve decided as a staff and worked out with Chris," Pietramala said. "When he steps on the field, that will be the first time. He’s been dressed for every scrimmage and every game. He just not has stepped onto the field to play, and that’s something we’ve discussed with Chris, and that’s the way we’d like to leave it."

*Eight freshmen have played in each of the Blue Jays’ two contests. Besides the aforementioned Durkin and Lightner, attackman Zach Palmer has scored three goals, midfielder John Ranagan has scored once, and attackmen John Kaestner and Matt Palasek and midfielders Chase Winter and Lee Coppersmith have gotten into the mix. It’s nowhere near 2002 when the team started five freshmen – Kyle Harrison (midfield), Peter LeSueur and Kyle Barrie (attack), Chris Watson (defense), and Benson Erwin (short-stick defensive midfield), but it’s a re-affirmation of the recruiting job the Johns Hopkins coaching staff did. "It’s exciting because the best thing about these guys is they’re going to continue to grow and they’re going to continue to improve, and the best part about a freshman is that he becomes a sophomore," Pietramala said. "But nonetheless, you live with some growing pains."

Posted by Edward Lee at 4:25 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins
        

Loyola's Toomey defends goalie Hagelin

Both goalies from Saturday’s overtime thriller between No. 10 Loyola and No. 11 Navy earned weekly honors from their respective conferences, but the Greyhounds’ Jake Hagelin’s award was somewhat noteworthy.

Hagelin, a Havre de Grace native and Boys’ Latin graduate, made just three saves in Loyola’s 8-7 victory. Although those stops occurred in the waning minutes of regulation and overtime, Hagelin was overshadowed by Midshipmen sophomore R.J. Wickham, who registered 19 saves.

Nonetheless, at a media event in which four Baltimore-area Division I coaches previewed their teams and answered fans' queries during a question-and-answer session at the ESPNZone in the Inner Harbor, Greyhounds coach Charley Toomey reiterated his previous stance that Hagelin is the undisputed starter.

"The one thing I would point to is he’s the co-Defensive Player of the Week in the [Eastern College Athletic Conference], and it wasn’t because he registered 18, 19 saves, which he’s done before for us," Toomey said. "He directed a defense that allowed another team to put just 10 shots on the cage. What Jake does is, he’s a terrific leader, he’s very poised. So anytime we’re clearing the ball, he’s making the right decisions, and he’s getting the guys to their spots. So we really relied on his leadership and not so much his saving ability. The one thing that I gave our defense a hard time about is, we’ve got to give him a chance to make saves. The first couple saves a goalie needs to make shouldn’t be five yards and in. When we had a breakdown, Navy capitalized, and that’s going to be our challenge this week, to let our goalie get going and allow him to be the stopper that we know he is."

If the need arises, Toomey has the luxury of inserting senior Alex Peaty, who started as a freshman. But Toomey said that option was not considered.

"I know the way our team responds to him. I’m looking at him when he’s at the top of the crease and he’s biting a middie’s head off to get down the backside. He’s a leader, and the guys respond to him and they want to play awful hard for him. When the ball’s in his stick, I feel pretty confident that we’re going to clear the ball. Those are the little intangibles that you’ve got to be looking at. When he starts dipping his head and begins thinking about the last shot and not the next shot, then maybe you’re looking at him and wondering, ‘Is it time?’ But in no way, shape or form did I see that glazed look in the young man’s eyes. He wanted the next one."

Other Loyola notes:

*Saturday’s road game at ECAC rival Quinnipiac is the first of three contests in eight days for the Greyhounds. After returning from Connecticut on Sunday, the team is scheduled to fly to Louisville, Kentucky for a Wednesday tilt against another league opponent in Bellarmine before returning home for a Saturday game against a No. 4 Notre Dam squad that just knocked Duke from the No. 1 ranking. "I’ve told them that it’s going to be the most challenging week of our season, and not just because of who we’re playing, but because of the two league games and the travel," Toomey said. "You just saw it with Denver going from Syracuse down to Jacksonville [and losing both games], and we’re going to have to respond. … We’re going to ask our guys to prepare for an opponent on a short week. You can’t mess around with your league games. You’ve got to take care of your league games, and you’ve got to make hay into gray outside of your league. Certainly, next weekend is an opportunity, but for us, it’s the next game up and right now, it’s Quinnipiac."

 

*Junior midfielder Chris Basler, who sat out Saturday’s season opener, is still dealing with a nagging separated shoulder. Toomey equated Basler’s status to that of junior attackman Matt Langan, who separated his shoulder prior to the game against Navy, but Langan recovered enough to play against the Midshipmen. "It’s one of those things where it kind of went out and came back in, and it’s a day-to-day situation. Chris is sort of in the same situation," Toomey said. "So as soon as he’s ready to go, we’re going to certainly re-insert him into the top six. I think we’ll see him back by Bellarmine, if not Quinnipiac."

*Senior John Schiavone finished last season ranked fourth in Division I with a .589 face-off percentage, but he went just 7-of-19 (.368) against Navy. While crediting senior Robby Battle (9-of-15) with tying up Schiavone and getting the ball to his teammates on the wings, Toomey said Loyola needs to do the same for Schiavone. "We need to protect John on the wings," Toomey said. "Last year, we had P.T. Ricci, who led our team with 91 groundballs. A lot of those were at the face-off X, and so that’s a challenge that we’ve presented to our team. We’re looking for a few good men coming off of those wings who are going to help us in that area."

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:50 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola
        

UMBC's Cohen named starter for rest of season

In No. 19 UMBC's season opener against No. 18 Delaware Saturday, the Retrievers started senior Kevin Kohri in the net with freshman Adam Cohen playing after halftime in an eventual 11-10 triple overtime loss.

After the game, UMBC coach Don Zimmerman said the team would continue to rotate its goalies for an indefinite period of time.

That time has ended. At a media event in which four Baltimore-area Division I coaches previewed their teams and answered fans' queries during a question-and-answer session at the ESPNZone in the Inner Harbor, Zimmerman announced that Cohen would start for the remainder of the season.

"We’re going to go with Adam Cohen," Zimmerman said. "He’s going to be our starting goalkeeper. I talked to both goalkeepers yesterday, and I just feel that Adam gives us a little bit more outside-the-pipes than Kevin. Kevin’s always been a good stopper for us. His clearing game would probably be considered his weaker point. Adam, I think, has been steady in the goal, but outside the goal, he’s very proficient. And I just sensed that when Adam jumped into the goal for the second half, they [the defense] just felt a little extra spark. It’s a tough situation. Kevin Kohri’s a great kid, and he’s been a terrific team player for us. He’s always been there when we needed him, and that’s why he got the start against Delaware. He did a good job, made some big saves and let just a couple in. But we’ve got to go with what we feel is best for the team, and we feel this is the move we need to make."

Cohen, an Arnold native and Severn graduate, made zero saves and surrendered five goals -- although the eventual game-winning goal by Blue Hens attackman Curtis Dickson wasn't Cohen's fault as it deflected off a UMBC defender's stick and trickled into the net. Meanwhile, Kohri, a Sykesville native and Century graduate, made five stops.

Zimmerman said he would no qualms about inserting Kohri if Cohen struggles.

"As I told Kevin, he [Cohen] is a freshman, things can happen, and you have to stay ready," Zimmerman said. "And he’s proven himself as a more-than-capable backup goalkeeper. So I know now that yeah, we’re going with a freshman, but we’ve got a capable kid ready to fulfill a role that he’s fulfilled for three years."

Other UMBC notes:

*Senior short-stick defensive midfielder Jordan Pierce did not suffer a broken arm as initially feared and could suit up for Saturday's game at Rutgers. Pierce suffered a deep bone bruise on the wrist/forearm area when a Delaware player tried to stick-check the ball away from the Glen Burnie native and Mount St. Joseph graduate, but Pierce practiced with the team Tuesday. "He’s a tough kid who has played with numerous injuries," Zimmerman said. "He’s a kid who can play through pain."

*Sophomore face-off specialist Justin Radebaugh will likely miss Saturday's game due to the lingering effects from a concussion he suffered during practice last week. Without Radebaugh, the Retrievers will lean on junior J.D. Harkey, who won 9-of-23 face-offs against Blue Hens senior Tommy Lee, who ranked third in Division I last spring in face-off percentage. "You don’t mess with concussions," Zimmerman said. "But it is what it is, and J.D. is a very hard worker. He’s very dedicated, and he wants to get in there and do a good job for the team. As a result, he’s getting better. So right now, he’s our starting face-off man."

*After Dickson scored his sixth goal with 1:52 left in the fourth quarter, UMBC switched its defensive assignments, matching senior defenseman Bobby Atwell up against Dickson. Dickson scored just one more time, and Atwell, a Dunkirk native and Southern graduate, wasn't even on him. Zimmerman said any lingering concerns about Atwell's health after undergoing surgery last year to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee are gone. "Bobby’s 100 percent ready to go," he said. "In fact, we should’ve put Bobby on Dickson earlier. Bobby in the Navy scrimmage [earlier in the month] re-injured his knee. No tear or anything, just a deep bruise, and so we decided to really nurse him back and have him ready for the first game, and that’s why he didn’t start. But Bobby Atwell is our best defenseman, and I’ve always believed that you put your best on their best. So I think we’ve gotten through that now. Bobby’s ready to go. He’s eager to go, and he wants this team to be successful, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make this team successful. … So I think Bobby is ready to go, and he’ll start for us and cover who we feel is the other team’s best attackman."

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:30 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: UMBC
        

Snow forces Stevenson to move home openers to Towson

The storms that dumped massive amounts of snow on the Baltimore metropolitan area have forced Stevenson to move Saturday's home openers for its men's and women's lacrosse teams from Caves Athletic Complex to neighboring Towson's Johnny Unitas Stadium.

The Mustangs women's squad will play against Ursinus at 4:30 p.m., and the men will play host to Kean at 7 p.m. Both games will come on the heels of the Tigers men's game against No. 17 Bucknell at 1 p.m.

Admission to both Stevenson contests is free, but concessions will be unavailable.

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:46 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Stevenson, Towson
        

Maryland's Reed healthy and ready to play

Last year, Travis Reed found himself immersed in the old cliche of a "sophomore slump." But the Cockeysville native and Boys' Latin graduate contends that his regression was more injury-related than production-induced.

Reed, a junior attackman for No. 7 Maryland, underwent surgery on his left knee prior to his sophomore season. His attempt to return eventually earned him shin splints in his right leg.

"I didn’t really come back until the winter, so I was getting back into shape," he recalled. "And because of the injury, I was favoring my other leg, and I got shin splints in that leg. So it was a combination of a bunch of different things. ... It definitely kept me from doing some things that I would have liked to do."

A year later, Reed said his knee is healthy and giving him the mobility he needs. "Everything’s good," he said. "I feel great. I’m real excited to finally be healthy. So I should be good."

A healthy and productive Reed could be a boost for a Terps offense already headlined by an attack unit that includes juniors Grant Catalino and Ryan Young, senior Will Yeatman and sophomore Joe Cummings.

Reed recorded 16 goals and seven assists last spring after compiling 20 goals and 11 assists as a freshman. Reed said he anticipates posting numbers similar to his first year at the collegiate level.

"I think I’m right there," he said. "I think this is the year when I’m ready to come back out and show everybody what I’ve got."

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland
        

Georgetown's Ehrmann questionable for Saturday vs. Maryland

No. 9 Georgetown’s outlook to end a two-year absence from the NCAA Tournament got a little cloudier with the news that senior long-stick midfielder Barney Ehrmann is dealing with a back injury.

Ehrmann, a Baltimore native and Gilman graduate who led the Hoyas with 61 groundballs and caused 22 turnovers last season, is suffering from what coach Dave Urick described as a "soft tissue" injury that prevented him from participating in a scrimmage with Virginia two weeks ago.

Urick compared Ehrmann’s situation to that of former defenseman Reyn Garnett, who was bothered by a bulging disc in his back. Because of the injury, Garnett would practice on a limited basis on Wednesdays and Thursdays, rest on Fridays, and play on weekends.

"That worked out for Reyn," Urick recalled. "It wasn’t ideal for us preparation-wise, and it wasn’t ideal for him competitively, but it got him through the year. That could very well be the case with Barney. That remains to be seen. It’s still a little early to tell. It’s not the same injury, so it will be handled differently."

Ehrmann’s absence could be significant because the 6-foot-6, 230-pound defender – when teamed with senior defensemen Eric Bicknese and Chris Nixon and sophomore Dan Hostetler (River Hill) – makes Georgetown one of the toughest defenses in the country.

Ehrmann played a huge role in last year’s 13-10 victory over Maryland – which happens to be the Hoyas’ opponent this Saturday – as he shut out then-junior attackman Will Yeatman for the first time in 18 games.

Asked how Ehrmann’s potential absence would affect what Georgetown could do defensively against the Terps, Urick said, "We’re going to have to take a good, hard, long look at how we match up. We haven’t really decided on that yet. We’re still trying to gather information to prepare for them. Athletically, there are guys down there that can hopefully step up."

Posted by Edward Lee at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland
        

February 23, 2010

Navy's Wickham cited by Patriot League

Sophomore R.J. Wickham's 19-save performance in No. 11 Navy's 8-7 overtime loss to No. 10 Loyola earned him Patriot League honors as Goalkeeper of the Week, the league announced Tuesday afternoon.

Wickham's effort on Saturday was the best performance by a goalie since Seth DiNola made 21 saves in a 5-4 loss to Penn State on April 12, 2003. Wickham becomes the fourth Midshipmen goalkeeper to be acknowledged by the Patriot League, joining Colin Finnegan, Tommy Phelan and Matt Coughlin.

Wickham, who has turned away 31 shots and surrendered just 13 goals in two contests, has registered a 6.30 goals-against average and a .705 save percentage.

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:45 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Navy
        

Salisbury's Cannone wins weekly award

Salisbury attackman Matt Cannone was honored as the Capital Athletic Conference Player of the Week, the league announced Tuesday.

Cannone, a sophomore who led the Sea Gulls with 53 goals last spring, has scored a team-high eight goals and is tied with sophomore midfielder Sam Bradman with 10 points each. Cannone registered four goals and one assist in each of No. 4 Salisbury's wins against Greensboro and No. 18 Lynchburg. 

Posted by Edward Lee at 4:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Salisbury
        

Stevenson offering lacrosse course to the public

Drawing on the excitement surrounding the men's lacrosse team that is ranked No. 2  by Inside Lacrosse in Division III, Stevenson University is offering a lacrosse course to anyone interested.

LAX 101 is a one-hour, non-credit course that promises to teach the rules of the game and the techniques used by players to students, faculty, alumni and the general public. Those who attend will be treated to a preview of the upcoming 2010 season, stick and ball demonstrations by the players, and even a chance to try some moves themselves.

The course will be taught by "professors" Paul Cantabene, the head coach of the men's team, and Kathy Railey, the head coach of the women's team.

The course will take place on Thursday between 12 and 1 p.m. at the bubble formerly owned by the Ravens at the school's Owings Mills campus. For more information, call 410-352-4483. If you plan to attend, call that number and reserve a spot (or two) so that the university can prepare enough food and refreshments.

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:45 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Stevenson
        

Loyola's MacDonnell, Hagelin honored by ECAC

Loyola senior attackman Cooper MacDonnell and junior goalkeeper Jake Hagelin -- both of whom played a pivotal role in the team's 8-7 overtime win against No. 11 Navy on Saturday -- were named the Offensive and co-Defensive Players of the Week by the Eastern College Athletic Conference on Monday.

MacDonnell notched career highs in goals (six) and points (seven) and scored the game-winning goal with nine seconds left in overtime to propel the No. 10 Greyhounds to their first season-opening victory since 2004. MacDonnell was selected by the league as the Preseason Player of the Year.

Hagelin made just three saves, but two came in the waning minutes of regulation and one occurred when he stopped Midshipmen sophomore attackman Ryan O'Leary with about a minute left in overtime. Hagelin, a Havre de Grace native and Boys' Latin graduate, collected the groundball and began a clear that led to MacDonnell's heroics.

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

Pietramala discusses his relationship with NFL's Belichick

In September, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, the architect of the franchise's three Super Bowl championships, spoke glowingly of his friendship with Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala.

Last week, Pietramala returned the favor, calling his relationship with Belichick "great personally and professionally."

Belichick has been a guest of Pietramala's at several Blue Jays games, and Pietramala stood on the Patriots sideline during that team's 33-14 loss to the Ravens in the AFC Wildcard round in January.

Asked about which NFL team he roots for, Pietramala chuckled.

"I'm probably better served not to answer that question," he said. "Obviously, I make my home here in Baltimore, and I have met Coach [John] Harbaugh [of the Ravens] and gotten to know him a little bit, and I have great respect for him. I actually got to meet him and know him through Coach Belichick, and I know the respect that Coach Belichick has for him, and we have the same. You want to see your hometown team do well. I'm a season ticket holder with the Ravens. But I am very, very close with Coach Belichick, and I certainly want to see him do well all the time. Probably some people weren't real happy with me when the Ravens played the Patriots and I was on the Patriots sideline with a Patriots hat on. That's a close friend, and my friendships are critical to me. so I always want to see the Ravens do well, and I'm a big fan of Coach Harbaugh's and I have great respect for him and their franchise. But that day, I was on the Patriots sideline."

Pietramala acknowledged bearing the brunt of a considerable amount of grief from his players who are Ravens fans, but he said he has some comrades, too.

"I get it all the time," Pietramala said. "But [senior attackman] Steven Boyle is a Patriots guy, and [senior midfielder] Nate Matthews and [sophomore defenseman] Scott Matthews' dad is the team doctor for the Ravens. So we've got connections in both places. I value and take to my heart where I live now. I have very strong and fond feelings for where we make our home here in Baltimore. I love it here. It's where my wife is from and it's where my kids are going to grow up. But on that one day, that's my very close friend who has been very, very good to me. So hopefully, people can understand that."

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Johns Hopkins
        

February 22, 2010

Loyola women flying high after upsetting Virginia

Emily Gibson's cell phone burned up with text messages from Loyola alumni Saturday evening after her Greyhounds upset No. 10 Virginia, 15-11, in Charlottesville.

"After the game we found out that we hadn’t beaten Virginia since 1999. It was such an amazing feeling beating a Top 10 team like that. I know I had so many alumni, even going back to the 90s, texting me, congratulating me -- congratulating the whole team. It was such an amazing win for all of our alumni, all of our team and all of our school."

The Greyhounds, who trail the series 21-8, last defeated the Cavaliers on April 28, 1999. Virginia is arguably the highest profile team Loyola has beaten in the coaching tenure of Jen Adams, who took over the program last season and went 11-6 after four losing seasons.

Late last season, the Greyhounds upset Georgetown, which was ranked No. 6 at the time. Even though Virginia is lower ranked this year, it stands as one of the all-time great women's college lacrosse programs with three national championships and six other appearances in the title game, most recently in 2007. Sunday's win boosted the Greyhounds from No. 14 to No. 10 in this week's Inside Lacrosse media poll.

Last spring, the Greyhounds followed that win over Georgetown with a heartbreaking 13-12 loss to Louisville. But could this win over Virginia be a springboard to a bigger and better season in 2010? 

 

For Gibson, a senior midfielder from North Harford, and her teammates, that's the plan.

"Can we keep that up? For sure," said Gibson. "We've definitely found a spark from last year to this year and I hope we can build on it."

The Greyhounds (1-1) reminded themselves of the bitter taste of losing in their season opener, falling 9-8 to Penn State after leading 5-3 at halftime.

At Virginia, Gibson had a career-high five goals and six points while teammates Grace Gavin (St. Paul's), Cara Filipelli and Cass Cursaro scored three goals each. Goalie Kerry Stoothoff also had a career high with 15 saves.

"After the game, we were so pumped on the bus the whole way back, dancing and singing," Gibson said. "It was definitely a great win. We got off the bus, getting back from Virginia and Jen was like, 'Great win. Now let's move on to the next one. We have to focus on the next one,' so our theme for the past couple days is 'On to the Next One.' It's a song by Jay-Z we were all listening to."

The next one is UMBC at the Retrievers' stadium Tuesday at 7 p.m. The Greyhounds have won 25 of 30 meetings with the Retrievers, so they want to make sure UMBC doesn't turn the tables on them they way they did to Virginia. The Retrievers have opened 2-0 under new coach Kelly Berger.

 

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 7:05 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola
        

Navy's Paul tears ACL, likely gone for season

No. 6 Navy's 8-7 overtime loss to No. 13 Loyola Saturday afternoon was doubly painful as the Midshipmen (1-1) will likely have to finish the remainder of the season without senior attackman Tim Paul.

Paul, the team's leading scorer last year with 32 points on 18 goals and 14 assists, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, Navy coach Richie Meade confirmed Monday afternoon. Paul suffered the injury with about two minutes left in regulation and did not return. The Parkton native and Loyola graduate underwent a magnetic resonance imaging exam Saturday evening, and the bad news was delivered Sunday.

"He’s got a torn ACL," Meade said. "Some guys play with that, but we just don’t have enough information yet. That’s usually four months [of rehabilitation] after the operation and a full year before you’re back. So I don’t think Timmy’s going to play for us this year."

This is the second serious injury in as many seasons for Paul, who sprained his left ankle last spring and missed four starts. Meade said that Paul has dealt with back and shoulder injuries over the past two years.

Paul, who scored one goal against the Greyhounds, had posted two goals and two assists this season. His absence would seem to put more pressure on senior Brendan Connors (one goal and two assists) and junior Andy Warner (5, 1) to lead the attack.

"That remains to be seen," Meade said of Paul's loss to the offense. "Obviously, when Timmy’s playing 100 percent, he’s an All American-caliber player. We have a couple younger guys. [Sophomore] Ryan O’Leary came in and played for Timmy. He was a highly recruited kid. He just hasn’t had an opportunity yet. We also have [senior] Kyle Kapron who had a great fall and [sophomore] Taylor Reynolds who has played quite a bit and is a smart player. We’re going to have to see. ... We played scrimmages in the fall and early spring without Timmy playing. So we have a plan on extra-man. We’ve just got to put another guy in there and play."

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:56 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Navy
        

Notre Dame's upset of No. 1 Duke not a statement

No. 8 Notre Dame fired the first salvo of the young lacrosse season by knocking off No. 1 Duke, 11-7, on Saturday. Perhaps that result wasn't a total surprise as the Blue Devils (1-1) needed overtime to escape No. 18 Bucknell on Feb. 13, and the Fighting Irish had gone 15-0 in the regular season last spring before falling to Maryland in the NCAA Tournament first round.

Still, it's a pretty significant outcome this early in the season. But for Notre Dame (1-0), the victory doesn't send a message.

"We’re not going to go crazy over this," coach Kevin Corrigan said Sunday. "We’re certainly thrilled to beat Duke. That’s a very good team and a very well-coached team and a team that we have a lot of respect for. And you’re always thrilled when you start the year against a good team and get a ‘W.’ So for all those reasons, it’s a good win for us. But it’s not something beyond that."

The odds seemed to be stacked against Notre Dame before the game even started. Prior to the near-loss to the Bison, the Blue Devils had beaten Team USA in an exhibition. Duke owned a 5-1 advantage in the series between the two teams. And the contest was set in Durham, N.C.

But the Fighting Irish scored the game's first two goals and never trailed Saturday. The Blue Devils eventually trimmed the deficit down to one with three goals in 30 seconds in the second quarter, but failed to tie the score.

"I think that did help because anytime you’re on the road and playing from behind, it’s an even tougher chore," Corrigan said of maintaining the lead. "They made a couple runs, and while it never got to even, it certainly got pretty close, and we were certainly feeling the heat from them. But I would say that it definitely helped us to kind of stay poised and stay relaxed, the fact that we were never down." 

Junior midfielder Zach Brenneman led all scorers with four points on three goals and one assist, and senior attackmen Neal Hicks and Colin Igoe each contributed two goals and one assist, but Corrigan heaped praise on his defense.

Senior goalkeeper Scott Rodgers made 15 saves, senior Kevin Ridgway limited Duke senior attackman and Tewaaraton Trophy favorite Ned Crotty to just two assists, and senior Mike Creighton and sophomore Kevin Randall played well in their starts. Creighton finished with four groundballs and two caused turnovers, and Randall filled in for senior Sam Barnes, a returning All American who is out with a hamstring injury.

"It starts with Scotty Rodgers. Scotty’s terrific in the cage. In my mind, he’s the best guy out there, and he made some big saves," said Corrigan, who also cited the play of short-stick defensive midfielders David Earl, Kelly McKenna and Quinn Cully. "I think we also did a great job of playing off-ball defense. I think as well as you have to play on-the-ball with those guys, it’s your ability to play off-ball that really has a lot to do with your success because their offensive guys are so good off the ball -- [junior attackman Zach] Howell and [senior attackman Max] Quinzani and Crotty with the ball in his stick, finding those guys moving without the ball. I thought our ability to play off-the-ball was significant as well."

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

Loyola goalies makes three huge saves

Loyola got away with goalie Jake Hagelin having just three saves in the Greyhounds' 8-7 overtime win against Navy Saturday. Those three saves were huge for Loyola. Two came in the closing minutes of regulation and the other came on a point blank shot in overtime.

But Hagelin, a junior out of Boys Latin, has to play much better if the Greyhounds are to do any damage in the playoffs. If Hagelin struggles, I think Loyola coach Charley Toomey won't hesitate to bring in former starter Alex Peaty. 

-- Mike Preston

Posted by Ron Fritz at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)
        

February 21, 2010

C'mon Petro, you don't have to be like Bill

We're all aware of Johns Hopkins head coach Dave Pietramala's friendship with New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, but that doesn't mean Pietramala has to start acting like him.

When recently asked by a reporter about an injured player, Pietramala said he didn't talk about injuries. Come on, man. This is college lacrosse, not the NFL. Millions of people bet on NFL games. In some states, people have never even heard of lacrosse.

One of the best things about covering lacrosse compared to the NFL is the cooperation between the coaches and the media. The coaches want to be helpful and spread the game.

Hopefully, Pietramala was just having a bad day. Injuries are injuries. Because lacrosse is still so small, so regionalized, there are no secrets. Everybody knows every one else's business, so there really is no strategic value to concealing injuries. And certainly there is no betting money to be earned.

-- Mike Preston 

 

 

Posted by Ron Fritz at 5:26 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Postscript from Delaware at UMBC

Don Zimmerman knew the day would come when he would no longer be able to lean on goalie Jeremy Blevins, the Calvert Hall graduate who started all four years in the net for the Retrievers. That's part of the reason why four goalkeepers dot the roster this spring.

And so the UMBC coach decided to give senior Kevin Kohri his first career start Saturday against No. 20 Delaware. But at halftime, freshman Adam Cohen took over as the No. 17 Retrievers fell, 11-10, in triple overtime.

Afterwards, Zimmerman acknowledged that rotating goalies was somewhat unusual for him.

"I think the last time I talked to you, I said I would never do that," he said. "But it’s a pretty interesting situation. Number one, we lost a week outside because of the snow, and your goalies really don’t have a chance to go out and prove themselves. So we just kept watching and seeing what was going on, and I think it came down to this: we have confidence in all of our goalkeepers. And we felt like Kevin Kohri, for three years, has been a backup but probably one of the consummate team players, supporting all the guys out on the field from the bench. I just believed that he deserved that shot, and I think Kevin did a good job. They came at us hard, he made some good saves and let a couple in, but I think he did a good job. But I also think it was good for the freshman to watch and see what was going on, see the speed and see what kind of team Delaware was, and not have the pressure on him. Will we continue to do that? I don’t know. But I just thought that for this situation, we made the right choice. It was something that we thought about, thought about, thought about, and discussed. We made the decision yesterday. Looking back, I think it was the right decision."

Kohri, a Century graduate, made several sparkling saves in the first quarter and finished with five stops. Cohen, a Severn product, didn't have to make a save. So does that mean that Kohri has earned the right to play all four quarters when UMBC visits Rutgers next Saturday?

"No predictions," Zimmerman said. "I’m not predicting the future right now."

Other notes:

*Senior Kyle Wimer enjoyed a career performance when he recorded a personal-best six points on three goals and three assists. Wimer, who returned as the team's leading scorer with 42 points on 24 points and 18 assists, thrived despite moving from his traditional midfield spot to play attack. "It’s a new experience, and we’ll take it one week at a time, and see where it leads us," said Wimer, who became the 27th player in program history to exceed 100 career points. "It’s different. It’s nice, but it’s different."

*As much as Wimer will be expected to lead the offense, the Retrievers may have found a budding star in Bobby Stockton. The junior midfielder compiled three goals and one assist -- which is just one goal and one assist shy of his totals from last season. All three goals occurred in the fourth quarter when UMBC climbed out of a three-goal deficit, and his final tally with 36 seconds left in the fourth quarter pushed the contest into overtime. "This is really his first year of playing a lot, and I thought early on, he made some mistakes and made some turnovers, but he stuck with it," Zimmerman said. "And then in the fourth quarter, he came on strong and that’s what our team did.

*It might seem alarming that Blue Hens senior Tommy Lee won 62.5 percent (15 of 24) of his face-offs, but that's better than the 70.4 percent (19 of 27) Lee enjoyed last year against the Retrievers. Junior J.D. Harkey (9 of 23) and freshman Neill Lewnes (0 of 2) struggled at times, but Lee did rank third in the Division I last spring in face-off percentage. Throw in the fact that sophomore Justin Radebaugh suffered a concussion during practice and did not suit up, and Zimmerman wasn't ready to give up on his face-off unit. "J.D. Harkey steps up, and I thought he did a heck of a job against their guy," Zimmerman said. "Their guy is pretty good."

*So after outlasting UMBC through 60 minutes of regulation and almost 12 minutes of overtime, what is Delaware's reward? A road game against a No. 5 Johns Hopkins team that has an extra day of rest and gets to play at Homewood Field. Still, the Blue Hens aren't intimidated by the challenge. "If you can’t get excited about playing Hopkins, then you shouldn’t be strapping it on," coach Bob Shillinglaw said. "No, I think we’ll be fine. The good thing is, we didn’t come out of it where we got one guy who might need one or two more days due to injury. We came out pretty healthy."

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Postscript, UMBC
        

February 20, 2010

Johns Hopkins' Boland's status unclear

The No. 5 Blue Jays opened the season with their eighth victory in 10 years under coach Dave Pietramala, but they did so without the services of senior attackman Chris Boland.

Boland did not play in Friday night's 14-3 win against Manhattan because he violated an unspecified team rule, according to Pietramala. 

"Chris did not play the other day because he broke a team policy and procedure," he said. "We handled it, and that’s that. ... It’s something that we handled internally, and that’s where those things stay."

Asked if there was a timetable for Boland's return, Pietramala said, "No. That’s something between Chris and our coaching staff, and it’s an internal thing."

Boland, a Jessup native who was a three-time Sun All-Metro selection and three-time All-American at Boys' Latin, was declared academically ineligible in 2008. But he rebounded last season by posting a team-high 46 points on 28 goals and 18 assists.

Without Boland, senior Tom Duerr started with senior Steven Boyle and junior Kyle Wharton on Friday, and sophomore Tom Palasek played significantly. Pietramala said Boland's absence would not affect the Blue Jays offense.

"Obviously, any time you don’t have a guy like that, you certainly miss him. I think any coach would be crazy to say that you don’t," Pietramala said. "But instead of having a five-man rotation there, it was more of a four-man rotation."

Posted by Edward Lee at 4:14 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins
        

MacDonnell comes up big in Loyola's win over Navy

Senior attackman Cooper MacDonnell scored six goals, including the game-winner with nine seconds left in the five-minute sudden death overtime period, to lift No. 13 Loyola to an 8-7 win over No. 6 Navy in Annapolis.


MacDonnell, from Darien, Conn, scored from the left of the goal after initially beating Navy defensive midfielder Michael Hirsch, then overcoming a late slide by sophomore midfielder Nikk Davis.

-- Mike Preston

Posted by Steve Gould at 3:05 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Delaware at UMBC: Halftime thoughts

The first half has been a tale of differing offenses for the No. 17 Retrievers and the No. 20 Blue Hens, who lead 6-4.

For the first quarter and a good portion of the second, UMBC (0-0) ran its offense through senior midfielder Kyle Wimer, who responded with two goals and one assist. Aside from Wimer, however, the offense has struggled to find a rhythm. Senior midfielder Maxx Davis (Friends) has carried the ball and tried to use his speed to find his teammates, but no one is getting open. Senior attackman Jamie Kimbles and Matt Latham (Liberty) each have a goal, but the Retrievers are going to need more production from their attack.

Similarly, Delaware (1-0) has keyed its offense on senior attackman Curtis Dickson, whose five goals already match the five goals he scored in last year's 14-9 loss to UMBC. Dickson has beaten senior defenseman Matt Kresse often. Fellow attackmen Pat Lombard and Grant Kaleikau each have an assist.

*In his first start of the season, senior Kevin Kohri has been sensational for the Retrievers. He guided a Dickson blast to the side and then took a shot off the mask from junior midfielder Kevin Kaminski. If not for Kohri (five saves), UMBC might have been in a deeper hole than it currently is in.

*Face-offs continue to be a sore spot for the No. 17 Retrievers, who have won just three of 12 attempts. Junior J.D. Harkey and freshman Neill Lewnes (St. Mary's) have tried to beat, tie up, and wrestle Tommy Lee, but the Blue Hens senior who ranked third in Division I in face-off percentage (.598) has been sensational.

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Halftime thoughts, UMBC
        

Kohri gets start for UMBC

The four-player competition for the Retrievers starting goalkeeper position has ended with senior Kevin Kohri getting the nod for Saturday's season opener against No. 20 Delaware.

Kohri, a Century graduate, beat out sophomores Brian McCullough and Matt Holman (Gilman) and freshman Adam Cohen (Severn) for the right to succeed Jeremy Blevins, who started all four years for UMBC in the net.

The No. 17 Retrievers' starting lineup features somewhat of a surprise as senior midfielder Kyle Wimer begins at the attack. He will team up with seniors Chris Jones and Matt Latham (Liberty). The midfield includes juniors Jamie Kimbles and Bobby Stockton and sophomore Rob Grimm, while the defense is manned by seniors Matt Kresse, Lance Ophof and Brian Schneider.

The Blue Hens will start seniors Curtis Dickson and Pat Lombard and sophomore Grant Kaleikau on attack, senior Tommy Lee, junior Kevin Kaminski and sophomore Taylor Burns (Severn) in the midfield, and juniors Pat Dowling, Tim Langmaid and Matt Stefurak on defense. Junior Noah Fossner will start in the goal. 

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:46 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: UMBC
        

Delaware at UMBC: Three things to watch

The Retrievers opened 2009 with a 14-9 victory over the Blue Hens, but Delaware had won 10 of the previous 13 meetings. Here are a few developments that could determine the outcome of Saturday's game at UMBC Stadium at 1 p.m.

1) Get off to a good start. The Retrievers' lone Achilles heel last season was inconsistent play from their face-off specialists, who won just 41.7 percent (159 of 381) of the time. On the flip side, Blue Hens senior Tommy Lee finished third in Division I with a .598 percentage. Sophomore Justin Radebaugh, who won 46.3 percent of his face-offs, will likely get the start, but junior J.D. Harkey and freshmen Joe Impallaria and Neill Lewnes could get their cracks at Lee. "We have a bunch of guys we can throw at him," Zimmerman said. "It may be face-off by committee. We have a lot of respect for him. He does a great job. So not only are we going to get a good performance out of our face-off men, but also out of our wing play."

2) Can UMBC be efficient? With possessions off face-offs likely becoming a premium, the onus is on the Retrievers to take care of the ball and convert chances on offense. Delaware junior goalie Noah Fossner ranked 18th in the country with a .566 save percentage last season, but only 30th in goals-against average (9.37). "We can’t be careless with the ball, Zimmerman said. "We have to be patient on offense and make good decisions and capitalize when we have the opportunities. It doesn’t matter if we’re coming from the midfield or the attack. Offense is offense, and we just need to be able to capitalize on the opportunities that we get."

3) UMBC needs to repeat last year's defensive effort. In the 14-9 win, Blue Hens senior attackman Curtis Dickson scored five times, but four other players were limited to a single goal. Perhaps even more telling, senior midfielder Martin Cahill could manage just a single assist. Dickson is a stud and will get his goals, but if the Retrievers can handcuff his teammates, they could emerge with their fourth season-opening victory in five years. "I don’t know if it’s any scheme or anything," Zimmerman said of last February's showing. "I just think we got a solid performance out of our defense, and we’ll have to do the same. And we’ll have to get a solid performance out of whoever steps into the goal for us."

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

Washington preview

After taking a look at the Division I schools in Maryland, let’s take a spin with the Division III teams. Today’s entry is the seventh and last of a week-long series taking a look at each of the seven Division III programs in this state according to alphabetical order. Today’s subject is Washington.

Overview: After opening the 2009 campaign with eight victories in the first nine games, the Shoremen limped to the finish line, winning just once in the last seven contests. Back-to-back, one-goal losses to Salisbury in the annual War on the Shore and Gettysbury in the Centennial Conference Tournament semifinals were especially grating because Washington were so close to winning with eight or nine freshman playing pivotal roles. "My team's not happy with the way last year ended," coach J.B. Clarke said. "... It's a lot easier to motivate these guys because I don't have to."

Reason for optimism: Graduating four-starter Jimmy Kielek (23 goals and a team-high 28 assists last season) from the attack will hurt, but senior and Broadneck graduate Brendan O'Leary (21, 10) and junior and Boys' Latin product Josh Perlow (team-high 25 goals and five assists) are back. Clarke is especially high on freshman Matt Lewis (Glenelg Country), who is expected to join O'Leary and Perlow as starters. "Big, strong, athletic, tough, almost like a hockey player-type of attackman," Clarke said. "He's drastically different from Jimmy in that he's more of a bull-dodger type, while Jimmy was more of a perimeter player. I'm really excited about Matt Lewis." 

Reason for pessimism: For the past three years, Washington had the luxury of leaning on goalkeeper Gordon Cohen, who posted a 7.20 goals-against average and a .631 save percentage en route to being named the Division III Goalie of the Year. Cohen is gone, and it's up to sophomore Peter Stewart (St. Mary's) and freshman Matt Miller (Calvert Hall) to fill the void. Stewart is a left-hander who is quick with his hands and feet, while Miller -- at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds -- is a righty who fills the net. "We've got a heck of a battle going on," Clarke said. "It's going to be a tough decision. You might see both of them throughout the year."

Keep an eye on: A defense that allowed just 7.22 goals per game will miss a pair of starting defensemen in Pat Healy (team-high 17 caused turnovers and 31 groundballs) and Eric Shea (28 groundballs) and Cohen. Senior and Bel Air graduate Bobby Baur will start again, and sophomores Bryan Botti (Hereford) and Jack Vermeil (the grandson of former NFL coach and Hall of Famer Dick Vermeil) are among the candidates to join Baur and solidify this unit. "Physically, athletically, I have all the confidence in the world," Clarke said of the defense. "Right now, communication is our biggest issue. Gordie Cohen started in the goal for us, and he's a loudmouth. So not only do you lose the communication among the defensemen who have been out there a lot, but you also lose that communication [from the goalie]. So right now, it's an open-your-mouths situation."

What he said: On not getting much preseason attention, Clarke said, "Sometimes, it's good to be the team that's not known. I'm really excited about this group, and I'm not just saying that. I'd tell you if I thought we stunk. We go out there every day in practice, and I don't know who to put the long pole on in the midfield, and I don't know who to put our best defenseman on in the attack. I think we're going to have a lot of guys with a bunch of goals as opposed to two or three guys with all of our goals." 

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Review & preview, Washington
        

February 19, 2010

Adams to assist sister with Australia's U-19 team

If you read the previous blog about Krystin Porcella being named the head coach for the United States U-19 women’s national team, you read her speculation that Jen Adams might be coaching Australia’s Under-19 team. That is true. She will assist her sister Trish Adams, the team’s head coach.

With Trish living in Australia, where she runs STX Australia, and Jen living here, where she coaches Loyola and is also involved with STX, the sisters relish the chance to work together.

"She got the job first and then she called to see if I would be interested," Jen said. "The opportunity to work with her and coach Australia is pretty incredible."

This could be bad news for the United States, because the last time the Adams sisters teamed up at the Under-19 world championships, Australia won the gold medal. That was in 1995 at Haverford College in Pennsylvania. Since that 5-4 win over the U.S., America has won all three world championships – each time over Australia in the final.

If little girls with lacrosse sticks in America want to grow up to be Jen Adams, little girls in Australia certainly must feel the same way.

The sport’s unmatched international superstar was a three-time national player of the year at Maryland and has been a star on Australia’s national team since before she took the field as a Terrapin in 1998. She was still putting up big number in the summer of 2009, scoring more points than anyone else at the World Cup in Prague.

Jen, however, may owe a bit of that to her big sister who came to Maryland first. Trish played just one season with the Terps, but Jen arrived the next season and the rest is a lacrosse history jammed with four NCAA championships and droves of little girls with Jen Adams pigtails lining up for autographs.

Despite her American tour, which has lasted 13 years, Jen remains devoted to Australia lacrosse.

"To get the chance to get to know this generation of young lacrosse players up-and-coming through Australia was really important to me and to see lacrosse at that younger youth level and watch it develop through to the next phase. People are like, 'it’s a huge recruiting tool,' but it’s less about the recruiting for me and more about the opportunity to work and help our sport grow in Australia."

Jen said Australian lacrosse isn’t growing quite as fast as the game in the United States, mostly because of the myriad of opportunities for girls here to play all year round and to play at a high level at a young age. Still, she said, there is a lot to draw from as has been obvious in the number of Australian women who have starred at American colleges and in the success of Australia's international program.

"It’s a slow process. I think we’ve got some good talent and athleticism. I’m excited to get in there and see what I can help bring to the table. They’re doing a great job in Australia. It’s exciting. It’s fun for me to stand on the sideline with my sister. We’ve enjoyed careers playing together and they are some of my favorite memories of lacrosse, so to be able to stand on the sideline together and be able to coach a team that we were on – we won the first gold medal in U-19 – for us, it’s kind of like, let’s team up again and see what we can do at this level as coaches."

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

John Carroll's Porcella takes over U.S. U-19 women's team

After serving as an assistant coach at the 2007 women’s under-19 world championship, Krystin Porcella wanted to stay involved in international lacrosse. So when the United States head coaching position came open, she applied.

Earlier this week, US Lacrosse named Porcella, the head coach at John Carroll, as head coach for the team that will compete in the Federation of International Lacrosse Women's U-19 World Championship Aug. 3-13, 2011 in Germany. She succeeds Bryn Mawr coach Wendy Kridel, who retired after the U. S. team won the gold medal in Ontario, Canada three years ago.

"In 2007, it was such a special experience," Porcella said. "There’s nothing like representing your country, wearing the USA colors, having 'USA Lacrosse' written on your jersey. I really enjoyed that experience. When Wendy said she was stepping down, I talked to her a little bit about it. I definitely wanted to continue with it, and she said, ‘Why don’t you apply for the head coaching position?’ I said, ‘Yeah I’d love to. I’d love to follow in her footsteps.’"

Kridel set the bar pretty high for her successors.

She guided the U.S. team to three straight World Cup titles after they lost the inaugural U-19 world title to Australia, 5-4, in 1995 in Pennsylvania. Since then, the US team has won titles in Australia, at Towson University and in Ontario.

That's a lot to live up to for Porcella, a former John Carroll and Loyola player who was the All-Metro Coach of the Year in 2008 after leading the Patriots to their second straight Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland A Conference title. 

"I definitely feel some pressure," Porcella said with a laugh. "The first part of the pressure comes from choosing the assistant coaches. You want to pick the best people who have the chemistry together. We’re in that process right now. And then choosing the right players. When people put out the all-stars and everyone criticizes and that kind of stuff, you kind of have to not worry about what other people think and do what you think is best. There’s lots of different pressures along the way. We’ve won the last three years and you’d love to be the coach who continues that on and is celebrated the way Wendy was celebrated."

With lacrosse growing around the world, other programs may be catching up to the U.S. and Australia, which have dominated the U-19 tournament. Sixteen teams participated in the Federation of International Lacrosse Women’s World Cup in 2009 -- up from 10 in 2005.

"The pressure is going to be on," Porcella said. "A lot of the Australian kids are coming to the United States to play, and a lot of the Canadians, and they are two of the other strong countries that are playing. And I believe Jen Adams might be coaching the Australia Under-19 team. So all the countries are getting better and all the teams are getting better and the coaches are getting better across the world. Things change. Four years is a long time from what we experienced last time. The United States wants to win and we should win. We’ve proven that in the past, but the pressure’s always on."

(For the is-she-or-isn't-she on Jen Adams, stay tuned ...)

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 2:23 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Washington addresses hazing incident

Aside from graduating seven starters, the Shoremen faced a different kind of adversity before the season even began.

Several players were involved in a hazing incident reportedly occurring on Jan. 13. No details regarding the identities of the players or the specifics of the incident have been divulged, but athletic director Bryan Matthews confirmed the incident when he released a written statement to faculty and staff members on Jan. 20, saying in part, "Following an incident that occurred off campus last week, we are conducting an investigation of alleged misconduct by a group of Washington College students. In this, as in all matters, the safety and well being of our students is our paramount concern."

Coach J.B. Clarke declined to discuss details, but he said he has used the incident as a teaching tool with his players.

"The NCAA reports that 80 percent of college student-athletes are hazed. For any coach at any level in any athletic department to assume that it’s not happening to their kids is playing with failure," he said. "We’re educators, and we are educating our young men. Even more than we have in the past, we’re finding new ways to educate them. Simply showing them videos and having speakers come in and whatnot that we do here at Washington College and certainly within my program isn’t always enough. We have to find new ways to educate these guys. My team is closer than it’s probably ever been having gone through this incident. The good news is, what everyone’s reading is not what happened. It’s not a we’re-going-to-lose-our-season thing. We’re going to be disciplined, and we’re going to come out of this stronger than we were a month ago. We already are."

Clarke said as punishment, the team's first scrimmage was canceled and the players involved have been suspended for varied periods of time. Inside Lacrosse reported that the entire team would participate in educational programs and community service.

The Shoremen went 9-7 last season and missed the NCAA Tournament for the third time in the last five years. Clarke said the cancellation and suspensions haven't impacted the team's preseason preparations.

"The weather’s affected us a lot more," he said. "The good news is, we have young guys, and they were going to have to be out there anyway. More guys are getting reps than maybe they would have in the first week of practice if none of this had happened." 

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:00 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Washington
        

Loyola at Navy: Three things to watch

These two teams meet in a regular-season contest for the first time since April 3, 1943. The Midshipmen own a 3-1 advantage in the series. Here are a few game developments that could determine the outcome of Saturday's game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium at noon.

1) Rust could be an issue. The recent spate of snowstorms has driven the Greyhounds indoors, which is better than nothing but no substitute for playing outside on a lacrosse field. Loyola got in a scrimmage against UMBC on Sunday, but Saturday is the team's season opener. Meanwhile, Navy turned in a 16-5 rout of VMI. Although the Greyhounds are a considerably tougher matchup than the Keydets, coach Charley Toomey acknowledges that Loyola may need as much as a full quarter to get its legs and get accustomed to the speed and rhythm of the game. "We’ve talked about handling that first punch that Navy’s going to throw, and then we’ve got to respond," he said.

2) Which midfield will produce? Both the Greyhounds and the Midshipmen feature explosive attack units capable of scoring goals and running the offense. But the key may be the play of the respective midfields. Navy's first line of seniors Patrick Moran and Joe Lennon and sophomore Nikk Davis combined for six goals and two assists, but even more significant were contributions from junior Brian Striffler (one goal and two assists) and senior Basil Daratsos (1, 1) assist. Meanwhile, Loyola is leaning on the junior trio of Eric Lusby, Chris Basler and Stephen Murray to complement its attack of seniors Cooper MacDonnell and Collin Finnerty and junior Matt Langan. 

3) Schiavone could be the Greyhounds' ace in the hole. Loyola's offense could get plenty of chances thanks to senior John Schiavone, the face-off specialist who ranked fourth in Division I last season with a .589 win percentage (149 of 253). Under the direction of volunteer assistant coach Steve Vaikness who has groomed Dan Kallaugher (ranked No. 3 in in 2007) and Tim McDermott (No. 9 in 2008), Schiavone is a skilled tactician who rarely gets beat. That could spell bad news for the Midshipmen, whose quartet of senior Robby Battle (4-of-8), senior Frankie Coppola (1-of-6), sophomore Logan West (1-of-5) and freshman Will Fields (0-of-4) combined to win just 6-of-23 (26.1 percent) face-offs against VMI. "Obviously last week, we didn’t light the world on fire," Navy coach Richie Meade said. "… The face-off game is a big concern for us."

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

Stevenson preview

After taking a look at the Division I schools in Maryland, let’s take a spin with the Division III teams. Today’s entry is the sixth of a week-long series taking a look at each of the seven Division III programs in this state according to alphabetical order. Tomorrow’s subject will be Washington, but today is Stevenson’s turn.

Overview: The 2009 season was a banner year for the Mustangs, who collected a school-record 17 wins, ended Salisbury's 105-game winning streak against Capital Athletic Conference opponents, and fell just one victory short of reaching the NCAA Tournament championship game. The cupboard is full, which is why many lacrosse observers are penciling in Stevenson for the finale. Coach Paul Cantabene isn't quite as willing to go that far, but he is hopeful that the team will make the strides it needs to make to improve on last year's finish.

Reason for optimism: Much of the talk about the Mustangs begins with their vaunted attack unit, which returns all three starters who led the team in scoring last year. Senior Steve Kazimer, who registered 33 goals and 36 assists, is the preseason Player of the Year. Junior and Winters Mill graduate Jimmy Dailey led the offense in assists (37) and added 29 goals, while senior Richie Ford (Towson) scored a team-high 42 goals and chipped in 13 assists. "It’s a huge luxury having them all come back together," Cantabene said. "Those guys know the system, they know the offense, and they know what to do. They’ve been under the pressure and been in tight games. They know what I want, and they know how to react. So that makes it a whole lot easier.

Reason for pessimism: It's difficult to find a weak link, but one reason why Stevenson's offense was so potent was due to the play of face-off specialist Greg Furshman, who won 110 of 173 face-offs for a .636 percentage. Furshman, who also compiled 23 goals and five assists), consistently funneled the ball to the offense, thereby ramping up the pressure on opposing defenses. Junior Ray Witte, who won 35 of 64 face-offs (.547) last spring, is the designated successor. "We think he’s going to have to play great for us this year, and he’s been doing a very good job," Cantabene said. "We’re only going to be as good as he is. If we have to play a lot of defense, we’re going to have a lot of tight games. But if he has a great year, I think the sky’s the limit for us."

Keep an eye on: A defense that surrendered a measly 6.89 goals per game last season graduated just one starter in Mike Simon. Juniors Evan Douglass (56 groundballs) and Ian Hart (28 caused turnovers) will patrol the area in front of senior goalie and Dulaney graduate Geoff Hebert (7.04 goals-against average and .594 save percentage. Senior Christian Clark (Mount St. Joseph) and junior Eric Schell, a transfer from Air Force, are competing for the third starter's position, and senior Mike Gustowarow is a three-year starter at the long-stick midfielder spot. "If they play well and Geoff is strong in the net, then I think we’ll have a great year," Cantabene said. "But if they’re a little suspect and they don’t close out possessions, then I think we’re going to have a lot more tougher games. So I think the defense is an area that’s really going to surprise a lot of people by how well they play. They’ve been doing a great job in practice, and they’re getting better because they get to go against those three attackmen every day."

What he said: On last year's accomplishments, Cantabene said, "There’s two things we want them to remember. We want them to remember how much it hurt to lose to Salisbury in the CAC championship game and how much it hurt to lose that game to Gettysburg in the semifinals. We definitely want them to remember them because we thought those were games we could’ve won, but we didn’t play particularly well. It hurt us, and we want the guys to remember that. We haven’t won anything yet, and we’re still building a program, and we have to improve. We’ve got find a way to win those games and not be satisfied with where we are."

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Review & preview, Stevenson
        

February 18, 2010

UMBC waiting on goalie decision

Just two days away from opening the season at home against No. 20 Delaware, the No. 17 Retrievers are still reviewing the play of four players trying to become the starting goalkeeper.

Senior Kevin Kohri (Century), sophomores Brian McCullough and Matt Holman (Gilman) and freshman Adam Cohen (Severn) are competing for the right to succeed four-year starter Jeremy Blevins (Calvert Hall), and the team is willing to wait until Saturday before making a decision.

"It’s going to be an 11th-hour situation," coach Don Zimmerman said Thursday afternoon. "What really hurt us was the fact that we were indoors for a week. We just want to give these kids every opportunity to compete and show the coaches what they can do."

Zimmerman declined to handicap the competition, saying, "It’s definitely close. All four are still battling it out."

Posted by Edward Lee at 4:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: UMBC
        

Fast starts are key for UMBC, Loyola on Saturday

Both UMBC and Loyola open their 2010 Division I lacrosse seasons Saturday, and the key for both local teams will be the first quarter. Loyola is at Navy and UMBC hosts Delaware, and both Navy and Delaware dominated in their season openers nearly a week ago.


Delaware beat up on Saint Joseph’s, 15-5, and Navy beat VMI, 16-5. Both UMBC and Loyola have to play well in the first quarter because they aren’t used to playing at game speed yet. Teams can practice as much as possible, but until they play in a game, they’re still at practice speed. Loyola coach Charley Toomey has already warned his team because that’s how Loyola jumped on Towson in the Tigers season opener a year ago.


It will be interesting seasons for both UMBC and Loyola. The Greyhounds should have a strong team and make the playoffs this season. The Retrievers are rebuilding with 17 freshmen on the roster. UMBC should struggle early, but hit its stride late in the season.

An earlier version of this entry incorrectly identified Delaware's first opponent. Delaware defeated Saint Joseph's. The Baltimore Sun regrets the error.

Posted by Mike Preston at 3:02 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: UMBC
        

Mount St. Mary's names its captains

The Mountaineers announced Thursday morning that senior defensemen Matt Nealis and Russell Moncure and junior goalkeeper T.C. DiBartolo will serve as team captains for the upcoming lacrosse season.

Nealis, a first-team Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference selection last season, scored twice while tying for the team lead with 14 caused turnovers. Moncure started all 15 games last spring, scooping up 25 groundballs and forcing 12 turnovers.

DiBartolo, an Archbishop Spalding graduate, ranks second in school history with a 9.44 goals-against average and sixth with 337 saves. He made 171 saves with a 7.81 goals-against average last year, earning first-team MAAC honors.

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's
        

St. Mary's preview

After taking a look at the Division I schools in Maryland, let’s take a spin with the Division III teams. Today’s entry is the fifth of a week-long series taking a look at each of the seven Division III programs in this state according to alphabetical order. Tomorrow’s subject will be Stevenson, but today is St. Mary’s turn.

Overview: The Seahawks finished with the same 5-2 record in the Capital Athletic Conference as Salisbury, but they compiled a 3-5 record outside the league. Long considered the Sea Gulls' biggest obstacle in the conference, St. Mary's has been leapfrogged by Stevenson, which has grabbed the local and national headlines. Coach Chris Hasbrouck is eager to get the program back into contention and a player in determining the NCAA Tournament field.

Reason for optimism: The Sea Gulls graduated just five players from last year's squad and only two of those players were starters. That means that a large majority of the players have had game experience, and Hasbrouck is hopeful that the players can convert that experience into more plays and potential wins. "We've been young for a while, and those kids are a year older," he said. "It's a great group. Seven of our top 10 scorers are back. So we hope we'll be able to lean on that earlier in the year."

Reason for pessmism: The defense fared well at times, but generally didn't live up to its end of the bargain. The unit surrendered an average of 9.1 goals per game last season, and one of the starters who graduated was A.J. Armstrong. Sophomore and Archbishop Spalding graduate Sean Hatley is back and will be joined by junior Mike Ott (Broadneck) as the two starters. The third spot is up for grabs between junior Andrew Klontz and sophomore Eric Heisner. Hasbrouck is hoping for some stability on that end of the field. "That was the one spot where we had been going through some changes," he said.

Keep an eye on: As potent as the starting attack of juniors Dennis Rosson (a Severn graduate who led the team with 28 goals and 19 assists) and Chris Becraft (23, 12) and sophomore and Boys' Latin graduate Michael Mules (4, 0) is, the midfield could be just as dangerous. Senior Ryan Alexander posted 21 goals and 11 assists last season, while juniors Chris Morihlatko (Broadneck, 10, 4) and Bobby Cooke (Mount Hebron, 8, 4) complement the rest of the offense. Throw in junior and St. Paul's graduate Chris Lacy, and Hasbrouck is hopeful that the midfield can produce. "We have a lot of experience returning in the middle of the field," he said. "We're hoping to use a little bit more of our depth this year."

What he said: Much like last season, this year's team has few seniors (only three). Hasbrouck is leaning on the underclassmen to lead the way. "The juniors have been starting since they were freshmen," he said. "It's that junior class playing up to its potential that's going to determine how well we do. We've had two great back-to-back recruiting classes and the sophomores and freshmen give us great depth. But right now, it's going to be what the junior class can do. If they play up to their potential, I think that's going to go a long way in determining what we do this year." 

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Review & preview, St. Mary's
        

February 17, 2010

Gvozden to start in net for Johns Hopkins

The preseason had been somewhat of a departure for goalkeeper Michael Gvozden, who had started the previous two seasons but found himself in a spirited competition with sophomores Steven Burke and Guy Van Syckle and freshman Pierce Bassett.

On Wednesday, coach Dave Pietramala announced that the senior from Severna Park would start Friday's season opener against Manhattan.

"Michael Gvozden, we’ve been pleased with his improvement over last season," Pietramala said. "What happens is, it’s not necessarily because Michael isn’t performing well. It’s a couple of other guys who are performing very well. So right now, it’s a situation where we feel like Michael, as the senior, has logged a lot of miles here and understands our defensive schemes by far and is our best leader. So I would expect that you’ll probably see Michael Gvozden on Friday."

Last season was a disappointing one for Gvozden, who -- after posting a 8.10 goals-against average and a .598 save percentage as a sophomore -- registered a 10.19 goals-against average and a .503 save percentage. If he should falter early, the Blue Jays have some talented candidates waiting in the wings.

Burke was an Under Armour All American as a senior at the Bullis School in Potomac, Md., Van Syckle was the Washington, D.C. Player of the Year as a senior at St. Albans in Washington, and Bassett was a two-time Arizona Defensive Player of the Year.

But Pietramala made it clear that he will give Gvozden time and room to perform and avoid setting pre-game standards that he must meet.

"You don’t send someone into a game with an ultimatum because I think you’ve then created an adverse situation there," Pietramala said. "Like any situation, you want to let your kids know that you have confidence in their abilities and their ability to get the job done, and we have that in Michael. … That being said, I think at every level, a player knows that if he is not performing or under-performing and a change is necessary, then a coach makes that change. I don’t think that’s any different from Johns Hopkins to any of the other schools out there."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:00 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Johns Hopkins
        

UMBC shares top honors with Stony Brook in America East

UMBC and Stony Brook were selected as co-favorites to capture the America East Conference championship, the league announced Tuesday.

The Retrievers, who are ranked No. 17 by The Sun, have won three of the last conference tournaments and garnered three first-place votes and 22 points. The No. 12 Seawolves, who shared the regular-season crown with UMBC last spring, finished with two first-place votes and 22 points.

No. 19 Albany was voted third with 19 points.

The Retrievers also announced that the team has named senior defenseman Matt Kresse and senior short-stick defensive midfielder Jordan Pierce (Mount St. Joseph) as captains for the upcoming 2009 campaign.

Kresse, a two-year starter, and Pierce, a first-team America East selection last season, join a captains group that already includes senior long-stick midfielders Mike Camardo and Sam Eitel (Mount St. Joseph), senior midfielder Kyle Wimer and senior defenseman Bobby Atwell (Southern-AA).

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: UMBC
        

Salisbury preview

After taking a look at the Division I schools in Maryland, let’s take a spin with the Division III teams. Today’s entry is the fourth of a week-long series taking a look at each of the seven Division III programs in this state according to alphabetical order. Tomorrow’s subject will be St. Mary's, but today is Salisbury’s turn.

Overview: By many accounts, a 16-4 record, a 15th consecutive Capital Athletic Conference Tournament championship and a quarterfinal appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament would be deemed a success. But for the Sea Gulls, last season was equal parts sweet and equal parts sour. The four losses were the most incurred since 2002 when that team went 13-5, and Salisbury's 12-8 loss to Stevenson on April 4 ended the program's 105-game winning streak against CAC opponents. But as pointed out by the school's sports information office, the Sea Gulls bounced back from the 13-5 record with a 20-1 campaign and the first of three straight national titles. "It's a good omen if you repeat it," coach Jim Berkman said.

Reason for optimism: Traditionally known for boasting explosive offenses, Salisbury returns its entire starting attack of seniors Mike Winter (48 goals and six assists) and Jake DeLillo (35, 17) and sophomore Matt Cannone (53, 14). That trio accounted for 173 points, which was 34.3 percent of the team's points. "They're all two steps better than they were last year," Berkman said. "Jake and Matt are much better dodgers and their off-hands are a lot better. Mike's a great leader on the inside to really keep people where they need to be. And then we added a great fourth piece of the puzzle in the Colorado Player of the Year in Eric Law, who is in the mix. So we feel that we have four very talented attackmen who can score and move the ball." 

Reason for pessimism: Salisbury has a potent midfield in senior Mike Von Kamecke (27, 17), junior Shawn Zordani (10, 9) and sophomore Sam Bradman (17, 24). But after that trio, Berkman said the team is juggling personnel along the next two lines. Senior and Westminster graduate Ryan Finch, sophomore Tim Lum, juniors Logan Keyser and Kyle Piper and freshman Alex Nieves are some candidates to fill the second line. "That's our biggest concern right now, is 'Where do we go when the first line is not in there?' and 'Who is going to be able to get us the most production?'" Berkman said. "We've got some good speed and some good shooters, but they just need to get into a rhythm."

Keep an eye on: Graduating a three-time National Midfielder of the Year is usually cause for concern, but the Sea Gulls firmly believe that Bradman has the tools to carry the mantle set forth by Kylor Berkman. Bradman, who played in all 20 games alongside Berkman, will be asked to do some of the same things that his predecessor did. "Sam Bradman has the same kind of pedigree that Kylor had." Jim Berkman said. "They both were Division I players coming out of high school. I thought both of them -- Kylor as a freshman and Sam last year -- could've done more than they did, and now [Sam] knows it's his time and he can take more risks and attack the goal a lot more. I would say that Sam is at the same place -- and maybe he's a little faster -- than Kylor was as a sophomore."

What he said: On failing to reach the NCAA Tournament semifinal for the first time since 2002, Berkman said, "It's already provided good motivation. When we did our weight testing in the offseason, this is the strongest team we've ever had. That's a good sign of a lot of effort in that department. We feel very happy about how our preparation has gone in the offseason and the improvement in our players and their work ethic. I think that was definitely motivation for them to work harder and give us a better opportunity this year."

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Review & preview, Salisbury
        

February 16, 2010

Correcting the record

In previous postings and articles, I had pointed out that the current Syracuse team had a chance to join the Orange teams of 1988-90 and Princeton squads of 1996-98 as the only schools to capture three consecutive national championships.

Not so. As pointed out by Johns Hopkins sports information director Ernie Larossa, the Blue Jays won three straight between 1978 and 1980. My apologies to Johns Hopkins and their supporters for leaving them off that esteemed list.

Posted by Edward Lee at 4:31 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins
        

McDaniel preview

After taking a look at the Division I schools in Maryland, let’s take a spin with the Division III teams. Today’s entry is the third of a week-long series taking a look at each of the seven Division III programs in this state according to alphabetical order. Tomorrow’s subject will be Salisbury, but today is McDaniel’s turn.

Overview: In three years under coach Matt Hatton's tenure, the Green Terror has compiled a 23-22 record with one appearance in the Centennial Conference Tournament. Qualifying for that tournament is the objective this year and beyond. The graduation of seven starters would seem to post a huge roadblock, but Hatton is confident and hopeful that the team has enough firepower to fill the void left behind.

Reason for optimism: It never hurts when last year's leading scorer returns as a preseason All-American candidate as senior attackman and McDonogh graduate Gibbs Preston (team highs with 34 goals and 32 assists) is doing. Preston will be flanked by sophomore and Boys' Latin graduate D.J. Rickels (23, 6). The third spot was occupied by junior Deane Mellor (11, 7), but he underwent surgery on his ankle during the offseason and hasn't practiced in the fall or winter. Sophomore J.S. Duke and freshman Zach Woods (Boys' Latin) are in line for the third starter's position. "The attack is probably our strength on offense," Hatton said. "We're going to have to have those guys step up." 

Reason for pessimism: The graduation of Mike Hatton (32, 11) and Bill Warner (17, 23) gutted the midfield. Junior and Severna Park graduate Jed Barnes (4, 7) is the lone returning starter, and he will likely be joined by redshirt sophomore Nick DiBernardo (Calvert Hall) and freshman Skippy Clary (Catonsville). But can all three fill the stats sheet the way Hatton and Warner did? "We don't have one guy who's going to come in and score 40 points from the midfield," Matt Hatton said. "It's going to be by the numbers. ... It's not going to be quite as individualistic as it was last year. We're going to hopefully have the scoring spread out and let different guys do different things for us."

Keep an eye on: The competition to succeed goalkeeper Kenny McHugh has boiled down to senior K.R. Schultz and sophomore Brad Motley. Motley, a Fallston product, is fundamentally sounder in the net, while Schultz is the excitable leader. "We're just letting them battle to see who's going to rise to the top," Hatton said. "I feel pretty comfortable in that position. It's just a matter of one of those two guys taking the job by the reins, and that's going to play itself out."

What he said: On improving on last year's finish -- a 9-8 loss to Haverford in the Centennial Conference Tournament semifinals -- Hatton said, "We'd like to figure out a way to get into the NCAA Tournament. Our conference is certainly a challenging conference, and you need to put yourself in a situation where you're playing on Sunday in our conference tournament. So first and foremost, we need to figure out a way to get into the top four like we did this past year." 

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: McDaniel, Review & preview
        

February 15, 2010

Snow forces St. Mary's to move season opener

Last week's deluge has caused the Seahawks to move Sunday's season opener against Roanoke to Roanoke. That means that St. Mary's will open the campaign with three consecutive road games.

There's still six to eight inches of snow on the Bermuda grass field that the team plays on, and with temperatures barely hovering above freezing, melting will likely take a while.

"We just have to kind of wait until Mother Nature takes its course," coach Chris Hasbrouck said, noting that the Seahawks' first home game won't take place until March 10 against Wooster. "I'm hoping that the snow melts by then. I've been telling the guys, 'You worry about the things you can control.' There's nothing we can do."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:30 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: St. Mary's
        

Hood preview

After taking a look at the Division I schools in Maryland, let’s take a spin with the Division III teams. Today’s entry is the second of a week-long series taking a look at each of the seven Division III programs in this state according to alphabetical order. Tomorrow’s subject will be McDaniel, but today is Hood’s turn.

Overview: Last season included a watershed moment for the Blazers, who snapped a 47-game losing streak with a 12-7 win against Gwynedd-Mercy on Feb. 24. Although the team proceeded to end the campaign with a nine-game skid, the goal is to use that victory as a springboard towards bigger and better things. "We want to keep the program going," coach Curt Foxx said. "It was good to get that monkey off our back, and as a team, the guys have come along. … That’s the biggest thing, getting the guys to believe in themselves. Once you get them to believe in themselves, you can do anything."

Reason for optimism: Hood did not graduate a single starter, returning all 10 for this season. Junior attackman Kris Miner, who led the team in goals (19) and assists (8), is back, as is sophomore midfielder Troy Hubbard, who registered 19 goals and five assists. All three starting defensemen – senior Jeff Tarleton, junior James Larrimore and sophomore Jon Butterfield – are a year older and well-versed in the schemes. "That’s great, but we also have a lot of competition," Foxx said. "We brought in a strong freshman class, and it’s competitive at every position."

Reason for pessimism: Although junior goalkeeper Nicholas O’Brien is back, the Woodlawn graduate’s numbers last year (17.93 goals-against average and .431 save percentage) were alarming. Freshman John Martin is pushing O’Brien for the right to start. "It’s been pretty competitive," Foxx said. "He is a freshman, but he’s been doing a great job of bringing the defense together. And he’s stopping the outside shots, which is what you need from your goalie."

Keep an eye on: Miner and Hubbard are the Blazers’ most dangerous offensive players, but Foxx said players like junior attackman Nick Spicer (9, 6), senior attackman Sofiane Lazar (13, 1) and junior midfielder Domonique Shorter (11, 2) have improved. "Kris and Troy are good players, but it’s more of a team concept," Foxx said. "We don’t have one or two go-to guys. We try to spread it out."

What he said: Since the program’s inception in 2005, it has made small strides. The team has 46 players compared to only 26 at the beginning of 2009, and only five of those players are seniors. The school installed a full field and locker rooms for the players for the first time. "It’s a big step forward," Foxx said. "I feel like we’re on the right track."

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Hood, Review & preview
        

February 14, 2010

Goucher preview

After taking a look at the Division I schools in Maryland, let's take a spin with the Division III teams. Today’s entry is the first of a week-long series taking a look at each of the seven Division III programs in this state according to alphabetical order. Tomorrow's subject will be Hood, but today is Goucher's turn.

Overview: The Gophers have won at least 10 games in each of the last two seasons, reaching the Landmark Conference tournament both times. But each time, the team has fallen short of coming away with its first conference title. The Gophers fell to Drew, 8-5, in the conference tournament final in 2008 and got upset by Scranton, 10-9, in a tournament semifinal last season. "Our goal is to win the Landmark championship," coach Kyle Hannan said. "We've been in a position to win that tournament, and we haven't done it. We need to be one goal better than we have been in the last two years." Capturing the tournament championship this spring would yield even greater benefits: this is the first year the winner of the conference tournament earns an automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament.

Reason for optimism: Despite graduating a pair of starters in Alex Walters (53 groundballs) and Andy Nielsen (45 groundballs), the defense could be the foundation for this team. Junior Justin Dunn (39 groundballs) is back, and senior David Jadin is a solid long-stick midfielder. Senior Ben Veldman and freshmen R.J. Lucas and Paul Taylor each have a shot at starting. "That's a pretty good group of long-stick defenders," Hannan said. "I think our defense is playing extremely well, which is nice because that can help you early in the season." 

Reason for pessimism: Austin Main's graduation left a big hole in the net. Senior Chris Stricklin played a decent number of minutes last spring, but he is getting pushed by a pair of freshmen in Connor Mishaw and J.J. Sagl. Stricklin probably has the inside track towards starting, but Mishaw and Sagl could step in if Stricklin struggles. "I've said it all along in the preseason that our best position is in the goal because all three of those guys play well," Hannan said. "So it'll be interesting to see who steps up."

Keep an eye on: Replacing two starting midfielders in Brian Hoge (29 goals and eight assists) and Alex Boucher (13, 3) is an arduous task. But Hannan is high on senior Jake Fratella (11, 3) and freshman John Curry teaming up with starter Matt Lynch (16, 12). "We did lose Brian Hoge and Alex Boucher, and those were two very good players," Hannan said. "But I think the guys stepping in for them have a little different playing style, but could be very productive. I really don't feel like we're going to drop off a whole bunch there."

What he said: On graduating six starters, Hannan said. "I feel like the guys that are replacing them have as many game minutes as the starters that left. So we feel fortunate where we don't feel like the cupboard is bare. On paper, it looks like we're devastated, but in reality, I feel like we're in a pretty good place right now." 

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Goucher, Review & preview
        

February 13, 2010

Three locals nominated for national award

Michael Kimmel of Johns Hopkins, Brian Phipps of Maryland and Kyle Wimer of UMBC are among 20 candidates nominated for the 2010 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.

"The lacrosse candidates represent a diverse cross-section of universities and a wide array of academic courses of study," said Tom Lamb, Lowe's senior vice president of marketing. "But the common denominator is a passion for their sport and for finishing their careers as students and athletes at the top."

An acronym for Celebrating Loyolaty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award honors student-athletes who have made notable accomplishments in four areas of excellence – classroom, character, community and competition.

The 20 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of classroom, character, community and competition.

The previous three winners of the award include Cornell goalie Matt McMonagle in 2007, Syracuse attackman Mike Leveille in 2008 and Cornell midfielder Max Seibald in 2009.

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland, UMBC
        

February 12, 2010

Mea culpa to UMBC

Today's lacrosse preview contained an outdated capsule on UMBC, using information from the 2009 preview. I wish to extend my apologies to Retrievers coach Don Zimmerman, the rest of the coaching staff, the players and their fans for not including updated information. (Thanks to B. Kevin Gibbons-O'Neill, assistant athletic director in charge of fundraising and development, for notifying me of the egregious mistake.) Here is the updated capsule:

UMBC

America East Conference

(12-4, NCAA first round)

Coach: Don Zimmerman

17th season, 125-98; 24th season overall, 198-114

TOP RETURNING SCORER

KYLE WIMER, senior M (24, 18)

ALSO BACK

Matt Latham, senior A (27, 5)

Chris Jones, senior A (21, 10)

Matt Kresse, senior D

Bobby Atwell, senior D

KEY ADDITIONS

Scott Jones, freshman A

Matt Gregoire, freshman A

Scott Hopmann, freshman M

THE BALTIMORE SUN’S TAKE

A year removed from finishing sixth in the nation in scoring, the Retrievers must replace the 84 goals and 39 assists lost when midfielders Peet Poillon and Alex Hopmann and attackman Ryan Smith graduated. Wimer will look to lead the offense and will get help from Latham and Jones. The defense welcomes back Atwell, who tore an anterior cruciate ligament in his knee before the season began. The goalie position comes down to senior Kevin Kohri, sophomores Brian McCullough and Matt Holman and freshman Adam Cohen. 

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:30 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: UMBC
        

February 11, 2010

Johns Hopkins preview

Today’s entry is the last of a week-long series taking a look at each of the seven Division I programs in this state according to their order of finish from last season. The Sun’s lacrosse preview is slated to be published on Friday, Feb. 12. Today is Johns Hopkins’ turn.

Overview: The Blue Jays went 10-5 last season and reached the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals for the 19th consecutive time. But the superlatives masked some troubling trends, including the team going on a six-game, season-ending winning streak to earn the No. 8 seed and unusually spotty play by the usually stout defense. Johns Hopkins has the talent, recruits and coaches to resolve any issues, but will that be enough in a crowded field of legitimate contenders?

Reason for optimism: One of the bright spots last spring was the emergence of a potent attack. Powered by seniors Chris Boland (28 goals and 18 assists and a Boys’ Latin graduate) and Steven Boyle (21, 17) and junior Kyle Wharton (34, 11), the attack carried the team through some rough moments. Coach Dave Pietramala is leaning on the unit to do the same this season. "It’s a very experienced group," he said. "We feel like that’s a group that’s going to have to lead us on the offensive end. … It’s uncommon to us. Certainly, having these guys last year, you’ve got to hope you can lean on that group."

Reason for pessimism: The Blue Jays surrendered 10 goals or more in nine games last spring, and the blame can’t be entirely pinned on the defense. But the unit struggled with communication and at times looked confused against opposing offenses that sought to ramp up the tempo. Seniors Matt Drenan and Sam DeVore, two returning starters, are expected to fill those roles again, but Pietramala said he is not opposed to shaking things up and inserting guys sophomores Gavin Crisafulli and Andrew Cote, senior Greg Harrington and freshman Tucker Durkin. "We’ve made it clear that everything is effort- and performance-based," he said. "… We want to see performance in the guys that are going to get the job done – whether it’s a senior, a freshman, a sophomore, a walk-on. It’s created a much more competitive environment defensively. I don’t think we had that last year. I felt like everybody thought, ‘Well, this is the group and these are the guys that are going to play.’ Now, it’s, ‘I’ve got to earn my keep every day, and I’ve got to perform every day in practice.’"

Keep an eye on: Senior goalkeeper Michael Gvozden (Severna Park) is a two-year starter who powered the team to a national title game appearance in 2008, but like his defensive teammates, Gvozden is under scrutiny as well. Gvozden’s experience may give him the inside track to being the starter, but that may not be enough, according to Pietramala. "He’s certainly been more consistent through the early spring thus far," Pietramala said of Gvozden. "We have two sophomores in Steven Burke and Guy Van Syckle who both have performed well. And then we have a freshman who’s had a great spring so far in Pierce Bassett. So we’re going to play all four goalies through the scrimmages and come away with the guy who’s the most consistent. Based on the way our defense played last year, we’re not unwilling to look at what the right mix and what the right group is."

What he said: On re-tooling the defense, Pietramala said, "It’s very clear to the guys who have returned how we performed defensively last year. We have not hid from that. We have embraced the fact that we under-performed and that we under-achieved. We’ve embraced it from the head coach onto the players, and we’ve changed a few things. We’ve gone back to doing the things that we traditionally have believed are very important to producing a sound defensive unit. At this time of the year, we usually find that the defense is a little bit behind because it takes time to coordinate the slides and the different defense. But nonetheless, you’re going to have a couple news faces there, I can tell you that."

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

February 10, 2010

Maryland preview

Today's entry is the sixth of a week-long series taking a look at each of the seven Division I programs in this state according to their order of finish from last season. Tune in Thursday for a preview of Johns Hopkins, and The Sun’s lacrosse preview is slated to be published on Friday, Feb. 12. Today is Maryland’s turn.

Overview: The Terps entered the 2009 season with lofty expectations and the addition of former Notre Dame attackman Will Yeatman only heightened the fervor. Maryland captured the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season crown, but lost to North Carolina in the ACC Tournament and fell to eventual national champion Syracuse the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. Perhaps not unsurprisingly, expectations are slightly lower, which might suit the young Terps just fine.

Reason for optimism: A solid defense that returns two starters in junior Max and Brett Schmidt (not related) and senior goalie Brian Phipps, a Severn graduate, gets a huge shot in the arm from junior long-stick midfielder Brian Farrell (Boys’ Latin), who played just three games last season before suffering rib and lung injuries. Farrell is a physical, quick defender who is a catalyst in the transition game. "I think his return is a boost to the defense, but more importantly, it’s a boost to the offense," coach Dave Cottle said. "I think he’s going to score double-digit goals this year. … He helps us in transition, he’s very poised with the ball, and he’s a great passer. I think he’ll help us tremendously."

Reason for pessimism: After a first midfield line of Dan Groot, Jeremy Sieverts and Jeff Reynolds, the Terps struggled to get further production from their second and third lines. Groot, Sieverts and Reynolds are gone, which doesn’t bode well for the offense, but Cottle said senior Adam Sear, junior and former Towson transfer Eric Boyle and sophomore Jake Bernhardt have played well together. Juniors Grant Catalino and Ryan Young could move from the attack, and redshirt freshman Owen Blye could contribute. "I think we are going to be a lot deeper," Cottle said. "The question is, do we have an All-American middie? That’s the challenge. If we can develop an All-American middie or two with our attack and the Schmidts [defense], we’re pretty good at the other positions."

Keep an eye on: Everyone is more than familiar with Maryland’s Big Four of Catalino, Young, Yeatman and junior Travis Reed (Boys’ Latin), but Cottle has been impressed with the play of sophomore Joe Cummings (Loyola). Cummings’ speed and stick skills should mesh well with the other attackmen. "The best player in our practices in the fall was Joe Cummings," Cottle said. "I thought he was just outstanding. … He’s a guy we’ve got to get on the field a little more."

What he said: On dealing with lower expectations and a lower preseason ranking, Cottle said, "It’s obvious we’re picking things up quicker. We’re smarter, and we’re a team that is much further along than we were at this time last year. That’s because of our experience."

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

Q&A with Mark Dixon

Mark Dixon, a former midfielder at Johns Hopkins and a current lacrosse anaylst with ESPN, candidly shared his thoughts on the upcoming lacrosse season. Here is a transcript of our conversation.

Question: Which team deserves the preseason No. 1 ranking?

Mark Dixon: "I personally voted for Duke, and the reason I voted for Duke is just because of what they return. First of all, they’ve got Ned Crotty, who I think is the frontrunner for Player of the Year right now. He’s a part of Team USA. I really like their defense with Parker McKee and Mike Manley and C.J. Costabile. I think the goal is a little bit of a question mark now with Sean Brady being ruled academically ineligible. Syracuse is the defending two-time champion, and they deserve consideration rightly so to be No. 1. However, they lose so much not only on offense, but in leadership in guys like Matt Abbott, Dan Hardy and Pat Perritt. But I think the biggest loss for them is on the attack end with Kenny Nims. He was the quarterback. He was the ball carrier. He was the one that got the ball to Stephen Keough. He was the one that would generate offense and get it to Cody Jamieson. Who’s going to be the quarterback of Syracuse’s offense? That’s a big question mark. And defensively, Sid Smith has been the linchpin the last couple years, and he’s graduated. Now they get [John] Lade back and they’ve got Matt Tierney and [John] Galloway’s in his third year, but the biggest reason Syracuse has won the last two national championships is because of that defense and when you’re missing your leader, things can get shaky. Just ask Johns Hopkins."

Q: Why isn't Duke a unanimous choice at No. 1?

MD: "If you look at their past experience, have they struggled on Final Four weekend the past couple of years? Yeah. That’s the monkey on the back of the Duke players. Can they perform and pull it through on the big stage? But if Syracuse were to play Duke right now, I think Duke would win."

Q: What do you make of Syracuse’s chances of a three-peat?

MD: "I’m a big believer in that you’re the champion until proven otherwise. But I think this year, with what Syracuse lost, it’s going to be a tough road to hoe. They’ve got some great juniors in Joel White, John Galloway, Jovan Miller, Josh Amidon, but I think when you look at the lay of the land … Virginia’s just loaded with midfielders. They’ve got defensive problems of their own, and they lose [Danny] Glading and [Garrett] Billings, but [Steele] Stanwick played a lot last year, and he can fill the role that Danny Glading had. You look at Carolina and think, ‘Are they for real?’ Billy Bitter is great, but they took a big loss with Sean Burke. Defensively, they’re going to be better because they’ve got a year under [head coach Joe] Breschi’s system and they’ve got some great athletes. Hopkins is going to be loaded offensively, but can they solve things defensively and in the goal? Then you’ve got teams like Maryland with a lot to prove. Georgetown has a lot to prove, and they’ve got some great kids coming back. So I really think this year is wide open when you consider the teams that were in last year's Final Four. The teams are getting closer and closer to one another. So I think Syracuse has a good chance. They’re the champions until proven otherwise. They’ve got a lot of holes to fill, but I think, if anything, John Desko has shown that he can adjust to any style that his team needs to play and he can coach his behind off and he’s going to have those guys ready, no matter what."

Q: Is this the year Georgetown snaps its two-year drought from making the NCAA Tournament?

MD: "It’s funny because we talked about Georgetown for years and whether they could break the ceiling of getting past the quarterfinals and getting to the Final Four. Instead of staying status quo, they took a step back and they haven’t made the tournament. I think Georgetown has a lot to prove. The kids that are seniors now, [Scott] Kocis and [Andrew] Brancaccio, I believe they were the No. 1 recruiting class a couple years ago by Inside Lacrosse, and they just haven’t really panned out. They’ve got talent. Barney Ehrmann, the long-stick midfielder, is excellent, the kid [Chris] Nixon is a great defenseman. I think the question about Georgetown is they’ve always had the talent, but do they have the hunger and determination? That’s a question they need to answer. I think on paper, they’ve got great talent, but it just hasn’t come together."

Q: Is Hoyas coach Dave Urick on the proverbial "hot seat"?

MD: "I think ‘hot seat’ in lacrosse is a relative term because lacrosse is not basketball or football. It doesn’t generate the money that other sports do. and whenever you say ‘hot seat,’ I think it’s a term that doesn’t have as much impact as college football or basketball. But if you talk to Georgetown alums, they’re not real happy with the way things have gone. If you look at Dave Urick, he’s taken that program from nothing to one of the elite programs in the country. You know as well as I do that in sports, it’s what have you done for me lately. So I guess in that regard, yeah, Urick might be a little bit on the hot seat."

Q: Which Maryland school has the best shot at playing on Memorial Day weekend?

MD: "It’s still Hopkins. They return their entire attack in [Chris] Boland, [Kyle] Wharton and [Steven] Boyle. [Michael] Kimmel at the midfield is just sensational. Good face-off guy with Matt Dolente, so they’re going to get possessions. Tommy Duerr is back on the attack, which is nice. They’ve got this freshman named [Zach] Palmer, who is supposed to be really good. They’ve just got so much talent everywhere on the field. They just need to adjust the defense, and they need consistent goaltending."

Q: Which team is your dark-horse candidate to reach the Final Four?

MD: "I think Brown is excellent. [Coach] Lars Tiffany has done a terrific job. They’ve got a huge task in replacing Jordan Burke, their goaltender, but they’ve got Peter Fallon back on defense, [Andrew] Feinberg and [Thomas] Muldoon on attack, [Reade] Seligmann is a good midfielder. I think Brown is a team you’ve got to keep your eye out for. … I know they’re top 10, but whenever you think of Hofstra, you’re like, ‘OK, they’ll be in the first round and then they’ll be out.’ They were a team a couple years ago that would just constantly invert. And now, they’ll attack from anywhere on the field because they’ve got better players and they’ve got deeper personnel."

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Q&A
        

February 9, 2010

Navy preview

Today's entry is the fifth of a week-long series taking a look at each of the seven Division I programs in this state according to their order of finish from last season. Tune in Wednesday for a preview of Maryland, and The Sun’s lacrosse preview is slated to be published on Friday, Feb. 12. Today is Navy’s turn.

Overview: By most accounts, the Midshipmen had a pretty successful 2009, capturing their fifth Patriot League championship in six years and advancing to their sixth NCAA Tournament. But Navy lost twice to Patriot League rivals for the first time in school history and suffered a 14-5 loss to Duke in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. "We did not come back in August feeling great about everything that happened last year," coach Richie Meade said. "So we have a lot to prove. That’s kind of the way we’ve approached the season."

Reason for optimism: A program with a rich tradition in organizing suffocating defenses, the Midshipmen return their entire first attack and midfield lines from last season. Attackmen Tim Paul (18 goals, 14 assists), Brendan Connors (21, 10) and Andy Warner (13, 14) finished 1-2-3 in points, and midfielders Patrick Moran (20, 3) Joe Lennon (14, 9) and the trio of Nikk Davis (3, 5), Brian Striffler (7, 4) and Basil Daratsos (4, 3) are another year wiser. "We have some experience offensively, which I think is really going to help us," Meade said. "We’ve got some size in the midfield and some experience at attack. It should lead to some continuity and some success."

Reason for pessimism: Navy graduated its starting short-stick defensive midfielders (more on them later) and starting defenseman Andy Tormey, who led the team in groundballs (44) and caused turnovers (32) last season. Tormey was the emotional and physical anchor of a unit that surrendered just 7.6 goals a game last spring. Meade is leaning on junior Michael Hirsch (ACL surgery last April), sophomore Matt Vernam and senior long-stick midfielder Jaren Woeppel (the Patriot League’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year) to lead the way. "Losing Andy and the guys we lost was a little bit of a hit," Meade said. "But I think that the guys we are replacing them with potentially are more athletic. It’s just a matter of getting them all on the same page."

Keep an eye on: As mentioned above, the Midshipmen bid farewell to Geoff Leone and Bobby Lennon, a pair of short-stick defensive midfielders who played all four years. Leone and Lennon not only shadowed opposing midfielders, but they also had the ability to start the transition game, carrying the ball from the defensive end to the offensive zone with little problems. Seniors Joe McAuliffe, Anthony Arena and Stephen Driscoll, junior Marty Gallagher and freshmen Bucky Smith and Jordan Seivold are expected to fill the void. "I think the guys we have just have to get used to playing," Meade said. "Bobby and Geoff were out there on every opportunity when they weren’t tired. The other guys have to be comfortable playing those minutes and have to be comfortable in the clearing game. We’re kind of working through that."

What he said: On the potential of this Navy squad, Meade said, "When I look at the team, I’m always asking, ‘What’s the margin of excellence?’ In other words, what’s the distance in between where we are right now and the potential of our team. And I think that distance is pretty big right now. We’ve got a lot of room to grow. I think the potential of our team is promising, but it’s a matter of making those strides in practice – and not during the season – and winning. Winning always helps that."

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

Q&A with Paul Carcaterra

Paul Carcaterra, who earned All-American honors as a midfielder at Syracuse and who covered lacrosse for CBS College Sports, generously offered his opinions on the upcoming lacrosse season. Here is a transcript of his responses.

Q: Which team should begin the season at No. 1?

Paul Carcaterra: "After watching Duke beat Team USA, which is supposed to be the best team in the world, it’s kind of hard not to like the talent at Duke. … Duke’s been a tremendous team in college lacrosse for the last five or six years. They’ve struggled to get over the hump and capture a national championship. With that said, I think they certainly have the talent to win a national championship. But I think the Syracuse team is interesting because although they lost five midfielders from a year ago, I think they’re replacing those guys with great talent, and I don’t look at the midfield as being as great of an X-factor going into 2010 as is finding a quarterback to replace Kenny Nims. If you look at their last two national championships, they had arguably two of the best quarterbacks in the country in Mike Leveille in 2008 and Kenny Nims in 2009. I think that’s the biggest question mark for Syracuse."

Q: Which team is a dark-horse candidate to make the Final Four?

PC: "Hofstra is a team that can really sneak up on you. I plan on seeing them upset some top teams. They’ve got some great goal scorers in Jay Card and Jamie Lincoln, two Canadian kids who can fill up the back of the net as good as any. And they’ve got athletic middies. I think Coach [Seth] Tierney is starting to keep some of the top talent on Long Island at home. The knock on Hofstra in the past was that they would never be able to keep the top kids on Long Island at home. But he’s starting to do that. It’s pretty remarkable. … They play a good brand of lacrosse from a spectator standpoint. They like to get up and down a little bit, and it’s exciting to watch, but they’re also well-coached. That's a team that can sneak up on people."

Q: Which team might be ranked too high in the preseason polls?

PC: "I think two teams have midfield questions. I think North Carolina is a team that will certainly make a splash in 2010, but their second midfield is a little thin and one of their best middies in Sean Burke is out for the season. They’ve got three great middies in Jimmy Dunster, Cryder DiPietro and Sean Delaney, but their second midfield is a little thin. That’s a team where a lot hinges on the development of their second midfield. And Maryland, they don’t have proven scorers at all in the midfield. They have a lot of question marks from an offensive standpoint. They always have great D-middies, guys that can make plays between the restraining lines, guys like Bryn Holmes. But the goal-scoring from the offensive midfield is yet to be determined. At the end of the day, the game is won at the midfield, and they need to grow as a unit to play at that top level."

Q: Which player is your favorite to win the Tewaaraton Trophy?

PC: "Going into the season, everybody is saying Ned Crotty from Duke. He’s the only college player in the country to make Team USA. He’s a tremendous offensive player and an All American at midfield in 2008 and then a first-team All American and Attackman of the year in 2009. So that says a lot about his overall game and his ability to adapt offensively. … Cody Jamieson [of Syracuse] is incredible. I don’t think people realize how good he really is. He came on late last year and was kind of out of shape because he wasn’t playing in the regular season and didn’t get the reps and training that the regular players were getting. In the Canadian box league [Major Series Lacrosse] which they play in the summertime and is the best of the best in terms of box lacrosse players, he won the Rookie of the Year, the MVP and the scoring title this past summer. That’s with guys like John Grant and everyone that plays the indoor game. His finishing ability is incredible. He’s really going to put on a show this year."

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Q&A
        

February 8, 2010

Loyola preview

Today’s entry is the fourth of a week-long series taking a look at each of the seven Division I programs in this state according to their order of finish from last season. Tune in Tuesday for a preview of Navy, and The Sun’s lacrosse preview is slated to be published on Friday, Feb. 12. Today is Loyola’s turn.

Overview: The Greyhounds missed out on a third consecutive NCAA Tournament bid by the thinnest of margins, and the objective this fall and spring has been to take their future from the hands of the selection committee and into their own. To that end, Loyola is taking aim at winning the Eastern College Athletic Conference regular-season title, which would secure the team the league’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament and home-field advantage in next year’s season-ending ECAC Tournament.

Reason for optimism: Despite graduating two defensive starters and perhaps one of the best long-stick midfielders in recent memory (more on P.T. Ricci later), the defense is still solid. Senior Steve Layne registered 48 groundballs and 24 caused turnovers last season, junior Steve Dircks was poised to start last spring until he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, and senior Kyle Cottrell got some valuable experience last year. Junior Nick Disimile, sophomore Dylan Grimm and freshman Reid Acton will also contribute. "We’re going to be as good as our defense is," coach Charley Toomey said. "… We feel like we’ve got the strength of our team down low with our poles. They’re going to be able to match up pretty doggone well with attackmen from around the country."

Reason for pessimism: The offense returns two starting attackmen in seniors Cooper MacDonnell (30 goals and eight assists) and Collin Finnerty (24, 13), but will sorely miss Shane Koppens, who quarterbacked the unit before graduating. Junior Matt Langan should start, and a pair of Calvert Hall graduates in junior D.J. Comer and freshman Patrick Fanshaw could see significant playing time, but Toomey is hoping that someone fills Koppens’ role. "The confidence to carry the ball, that’s going to paramount for us," he said. "The ball is going to be in somebody’s stick other than Shane’s, and we’re going to need him to make plays. There’s no doubt that we’re going to rely on our attack to be decision-makers."

Keep an eye on: Toomey got a pleasant surprise from the team’s scrimmage against Drexel on Thursday as he watched the first midfield score four of the team’s seven goals. The junior trio of Eric Lusby, Chris Basler and Stephen Murray are working well together and being aggressive with the ball. But Toomey is somewhat cautious about heaping too much praise on the unit. "Honestly, I want to see them do it again," he said. "I want to see them do it in a real game. We were very excited to break down the tape and see them have some production for us. We didn’t get the production from our attack that we normally get, but we were very happy in the midfield. I would love to say that unit is flying under the radar, but I think I’m going to have to see it a few times to believe it so that it’s not an apparition."

What he said: Asked how he intends to replace Ricci, who led the team in groundballs (91) and caused turnovers (51) last season, Toomey said, "You don’t, quite honestly. What we’re trying to do is look at his numbers overall, and at the end of the game, P.T. Ricci had maybe five takeaways and eight groundballs. What we’re trying to do is put two poles and maybe three poles in a situation where we can get to those numbers. I don’t think any one guy is going to be able to do what P.T. Ricci did for us. I think with maybe the combination of three guys, we might be able to reach the numbers that we’re hopeful of. … We’re challenging our poles to be really good between-the-lines guys and pick up tough groundballs and create offensive opportunities out of it."

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

Q&A with Quint Kessenich

Quint Kessenich, a former All-American goalkeeper at Johns Hopkins and a current lacrosse analyst with ESPN, was kind enough to share a few minutes and a few thoughts on the upcoming lacrosse season. Here is a transcript of his responses.

Question: Which team got your No. 1 vote in the preseason poll?

Quint Kessenich: "I gave Duke my No. 1 vote based on the amount of talent they returned in comparison to the amount of points that Syracuse University lost. Syracuse lost three really good offensive players in Kenny Nims, Dan Hardy and Pat Perritt and one of their best defenders in Sid Smith. But I do think that Syracuse returns the best defense in the nation. And I’ve got them either second or third depending on how they fare on March 7 against Virginia. So they’re not that far off."

Q: What can be gained from Duke's 9-8 victory over Team USA in an exhibition on Jan. 31?

QK: "Very little. Duke was playing without four of their best players. Team USA had not practiced at all. Different rules. Duke had the advantage of practicing. What it showed me was the overall athleticism of a Division I player now. A good Division I player can compete with an elite professional player, and I’m not sure that existed 10 or 20 years ago. A kid one year out of Landon was running past a USA Team defender, which is kind of uplifting, I think, for all of college lacrosse and even for high school kids. A great high school player, he’s not that far off. Long-term, Duke’s biggest issue will be their goaltending situation. Sean Brady was their heir apparent and who I believe was very talented. He violated a team rule, and he got suspended. So they have some very inexperienced goalies. And Coach [John] Danowski’s biggest issue is peaking at the right time. They’ve always peaked in the ACC Tournament and they’ve never played their best game on Memorial Day weekend."

Q: How did Bill Tierney's move from Princeton to Denver impact both of those schools?

QK: "It totally changes the culture of lacrosse in Denver and gives them an opportunity to recruit out West. It just ramps up their program and shows a commitment by that administration to compete on a national level. Given the early recruiting calendar nowadays, I’m not sure that Princeton will ever compete for a national title under the same recruiting calendar right now. Coaches are recruiting sophomores now and getting verbals from juniors and the Ivy League is behind on that count. All the scholarship teams are hoarding all the good talent and the Ivy League is left to pick up the scraps."

Q: Which of the Maryland programs has the best chance to play on Memorial Day weekend?

QK: "I'll give you a little something on each team. Towson has the most difficult schedule in the country. [Coach] Tony [Seaman] has a ridiculously hard schedule. Loyola should be about the same this year. Maryland will be improved. Their question mark is finding some scoring from the midfield. Their team speed last year was deficient, and they’ve addressed that issue. Hopkins has a great attack. Their defense at times last year let them down. I think Navy’s going to be much better. Navy returns the majority of their team. I have Navy in the top 10, I’ve got Hopkins in the top 10, I’ve got Maryland in the top 10. UMBC takes a little step backwards."

Q: Which team is flying under the radar?

QK: "I think there are a few teams that fit that label. Harvard returns Jeff Cohen and Dean Gibbons, and they beat Duke last year. They’re just changing the culture there with [coach] John Tillman doing a nice job. Hofstra has a lot of returnees, and they’ve got a transfer from Denver, Jamie Lincoln. Albany has a great attack, and Stony Brook has some athletic midfielders. They play a wide-open system, and they score a lot of goals. They’re fun to watch."

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Categories: Q&A
        

February 7, 2010

UMBC preview

Today's entry is the third of a week-long series taking a look at each of the seven Division I programs in this state. While the previous two previews of Mount St. Mary's and Towson were based on order of finish last season, we've had to change it up due to difficulties getting in touch with other coaches. So tune in Monday for a preview of a team to be determined, and The Sun's lacrosse preview is slated to be published on Friday, Feb. 12. Today is UMBC's turn.

Overview: The Retrievers advanced to their fourth straight NCAA Tournament and captured their third America East title in the last four years. Despite deficiencies at the face-off position, UMBC rode the talent of its first midfield line and nearly upended North Carolina in the first round. The team has re-loaded, but conference rivals Stony Brook and Albany have also improved and are poised to end the Retrievers’ dominance.

Reason for optimism: After leaning on the midfield to power the offense, it’s the attack unit that brings the most promise this season. Seniors Matt Latham, a Liberty graduate, registered 27 goals and five assists, and senior Chris Jones posted 21 goals and 10 assists as a starter. Junior Rob Grimm chipped in with 10 goals and 17 assists, and coach Don Zimmerman is encouraged by the progress of freshmen Scott Jones and Matt Gregoire (South River). "We’ve got good numbers," Zimmerman said. "We feel it’s a combination of guys with experience and younger guys who can come in, step in, learn and not be thrown into the fire."

Reason for pessimism: UMBC was spoiled by goalkeeper Jeremy Blevins, a four-year starter who set a school record with 46 career wins. Sophomores Brian McCullough and Matt Holman (Gilman) and freshman Adam Cohen (Severn) are competing, but it appears that senior Kevin Kohri (Century) has the inside track to start the season opener against Delaware on Feb. 20. "I want to give all of our goalkeepers an opportunity, especially our senior," Zimmerman said. "I’ve always believed that seniors deserve every opportunity to go out and prove themselves. In this case, I think it particularly holds true."

Keep an eye on: The face-off position suffered greatly from the graduation of Taylor Marino. Sophomore Justin Radebaugh (Boys' Latin), junior J.D. Harkey and senior Kyle Wimer contributed to a position that won just 41.7 percent of its face-offs. Harkey is back after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, and freshmen Joe Impallaria (Calvert Hall) and Neill Lewnes (St. Mary's) will contribute, but the onus lies with Radebaugh, who won 119 of 257 face-offs for a .463 percentage. "He’s more focused and playing with a better understanding of what his role will be," Zimmerman said. "He needs to continue to work hard and be in great shape and be ready to battle."

What he said: Losing Peet Poillon and Alex Hopmann and their combined 62 goals and 29 assists is no picnic, but it may be a blessing in disguise. The offense may have relied on Poillon, Hopmann and current senior Kyle Wimer (24, 18) too much, according to Zimmerman. "I think what we need to do is try to balance and come up with two midfield units versus throwing all of our eggs in that first midfield basket," he said. "That was a special midfield, no doubt about it. But down the stretch when it started to get warmer and when we were playing in the NCAAs, I think not having a solid second midfield hurt us. So what we’re trying to do is instead of having one dynamite unit, trying to balance it off and have two equal units."

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Categories: Review & preview, UMBC
        

Loyola player's father elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame

Washington Redskins guard Russ Grimm was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday. His son, Dylan, is a sophomore defenseman for Loyola.

In 11 seasons in Washington, Russ Grimm helped the Redskins win three Super Bowls and was a member of the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1980s. Dylan Grimm played in two games for the Greyhounds in his freshman campaign.

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola
        

February 6, 2010

Towson preview

Today's entry is the second of a week-long series taking a look at each of the seven Division I programs in this state according to their order of finish from last season. Tune in Sunday for a preview of Loyola, and The Sun's lacrosse preview is slated to be published on Friday, Feb. 12. Today is Towson's turn.

Overview: The Tigers fell to Villanova in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament final, missing out on the NCAA Tournament for the third time in the last four years. But Towson was coming off a 5-9 campaign in 2008, and the team mixed in a fair amount of freshman and sophomore talent with the experienced veterans. Things don’t get any easier with the addition of Massachusetts and Penn State to the conference, but the Tigers have the potential to make some waves.

Reason for optimism: Towson’s defense will likely pace the team until a still-developing offense finds its rhythm. Sophomore defenseman Marc Ingerman made the CAA All-Rookie squad last spring, and senior Joe Wascavage and sophomore Michael Landy figure to start at the other close defense positions. The goalie spot is hotly contested, but senior Rob Wheeler (8.97 goals-against average and a .557 save percentage) is expected to start for the second consecutive year. "It’s probably his job to lose," coach Tony Seaman said of Wheeler, a Friends graduate. "He’s got another year under him, and we expect him to play better."

Reason for pessimism: A face-off role that bid farewell to Mitchell Rosensweig (.559 percentage and a team-high 109 groundballs) was weakened by a season-ending knee injury to sophomore Ian Mills. Redshirt freshman Matt Thomas will likely start and sophomore Andrew Poulos and freshman Ryan DeSmit (Friends) will have to contribute to make up for Mills’ absence. "He’s gone for the spring," Seaman said of Mills. "That’s a big loss."

Keep an eye on: The attack graduated Bill McCutcheon, who led the team in goals (23) and assists (15) last spring, but Seaman firmly believes that junior Tim Stratton (16, 8) can emerge as that unit’s quarterback. Add sophomore starters Matt Lamon (4, 9) and Sean Maguire (9, 1) and a promising duo in sophomore Steven Norris and freshman Matt Hughes, and Seaman likes what he has. "I think Stratton can step up and develop into that role," the coach said. "Matt Lamon’s a pretty good feeder, and Maguire and Norris are finishers. I hope they can complement each other."

What he said: The Tigers’ schedule is rated as one of the toughest in the country as it is littered with seven NCAA Tournament qualifiers (Hofstra, Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Massachusetts, Navy, UMBC and Virginia) and three teams that finished second in their leagues (Loyola in the ECAC, Stony Brook in the America East and Bucknell in the Patriot League). Tongue firmly planted in cheek, Seaman berated himself for arranging a difficult schedule. "It’s a hell of a measuring stick," he said. "I want our schedule to be as challenging as it can get. You’ve got a big-time facility, you’re in a big-time area for lacrosse, and all of our games kind of make sense. … There’s just no Saturdays off."

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

Orange not feeling blue about its midfield

Syracuse’s bid for a third consecutive national championship hinges greatly on the development of its midfield. Replacing last year’s first line of Dan Hardy, Matt Abbott and Pat Perritt is an arduous task, but the Orange has several players-in-waiting.

Junior Josh Amidon has drawn comparisons to Abbott for his all-field skills, junior Jovan Miller used his speed as a short-stick defensive midfielder for the past two seasons, and junior Jeremy Thompson posted 62 goals and 54 assists in two years at Onondaga Community College.

"I feel good about the players we have in the midfield," coach John Desko said. "We’re going to be young and inexperienced there, but I think we’re going to be good. I just don’t know when. … I feel good about their athletic ability and talent."

On the flip side, Syracuse’s defense could be one of the stingiest in the country. Although Sid Smith graduated, junior John Lade (53 groundballs) is expected to slide into Smith’s role as the team’s top shutdown defenseman. Senior Matt Tierney is underrated, junior Joel White is perhaps the best long-stick midfielder in the nation, and junior John Galloway anchors the back end.

"I think a lot of people have associated Syracuse with his scoring, and that’s true," Desko said. "But to keep people from scoring against us, that’s something we take great pride in. … It’s always comforting knowing that you have that kind of returning experience on defense."

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
        

February 5, 2010

Tierney, Denver vibing with each other

A program in turmoil last season, Denver had dismissed three players (including two starters) in mid-season and head coach Jamie Munro resigned at year's end.

So the athletic department wooed away Princeton's Bill Tierney, a disciplinarian and the architect of six national championships with the Tigers. Eight months later, Tierney said the players have been receptive to his philosophies and coaching style.

"We're not trying to stifle individual talent," he said. "We're trying to make it a 'we' team. The guys are buying into the defensive philosophy, and offensively, we're asking guys not to be selfish."

Tierney is encouraged by the Pioneers' experience in six returning starters, an addition in Cornell transfer and senior defenseman Nick Gradinger and potential firepower in an attack of sophomores Mark Matthews and Alex Demopoulos and junior Todd Baxter.

About the only concern nagging Tierney is the seven cross-country flights the team will undertake this season. That's four more than Tierney has ever traveled with a lacrosse team in his 23-year career.

"These guys are used to it, but it can take a toll," Tierney said. "That's another thing that's going to new to me. ... It is what it is. Just have to handle it."

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

Mount St. Mary's preview

Today's entry kicks off a week-long series taking a look at each of the seven Division I programs in this state according to their order of finish from last season. Tune in Saturday for a preview of Towson, but today is Mount St. Mary's turn.

Overview: Two victories away from qualifying for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003, the Mountaineers return eight starters from last year's squad, and five of those starters are underclassmen. Seventeen freshman gained significant experience last season, and the entire team is hungry to win a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship and the league's automatic qualifier. 

Reason for optimism: Mount St. Mary's strength lies in its defense. Senior defenseman Matt Nealis, a first-team All-MAAC selection, teams up with fellow classmate Russell Moncure. Junior Andy Miller and sophomore Mark Burns are competing for the third starter's position and junior Justin Schmidt is slated to be the primary long-stick midfielder. And junior T.C. DiBartolo is one of the best goalies people outside of the MAAC have rarely seen. "Our core is our defense," coach Tom Gravante said. "We're expecting bigger things from them this year."

Reason for pessimism: Outside of sophomore attackman Christian Kellett and sophomore midfielder Cody Lehrer, no other offensive player reached double-digits in goals. Only twice did the Mountaineers score more than 10 goals in a game last season. The team will need more production from other sources to make an impact in the MAAC.

Keep an eye on: Gravante is high on a pair of twins in Brett and Bryant Schmidt, both of whom were recruited by Johns Hopkins, Navy and Towson, according to Gravante. Brett Schmidt is expected to join Kellett and Lehrer on the first attack line, while Bryant Schmidt is likely to start in the midfield. "These are two very good, talented, athletic young men," Gravante said. "They have really shaken up the team in terms of raising the bar. These two are very special."  

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's, Review & preview
        

North Carolina names starting goalie

On paper, North Carolina figured to tab either sophomore James Petracca -- who made six starts last season -- or freshman Steven Rastivo -- a highly-touted player who transferred from Penn State -- as the successor to graduated goalkeeper Grant Zimmerman.

In a bit of a surprise, the Tar Heels have named redshirt junior Chris Madalon as the starter in their season opener against Jacksonville on Saturday.

"I think the consistency that Madalon showed in the clearing game, making saves, his voice with the defense, it was terrific," coach Joe Breschi said as the team traveled to Florida late Thursday night. "It wasn't one of those things where we said, 'Oh yeah, he's the guy.' He earned it, and I think everybody was hoping and wishing for him to separate himself and he certainly did a nice job doing so. So he earned that position."

At 6 feet, 3 inches and 195 pounds, Madalon presents a different picture than Petracca (5-7, 175), Rastivo (5-8, 150) and even Zimmerman (5-8, 170). But Zimmerman was a four-year starter who anchored North Carolina. Can Madalon replicate his predecessor's success?

"I think the one thing Chris has is tremendous confidence in himself, and certainly his teammates have a lot of confidence in him as well," Breschi said. "So I don't see him putting too much pressure on himself. I see him as really embracing the challenges ahead and taking that leadership role defensively. Zim was a terrific leader and a four-year guy, and he's certainly going to be missed. But Madalon is 6-3, he's athletic. When he's outside the cage, he's a terrific clearer of the ball. He can really add an element to the riding game because he can cover more ground a little bit. So he has his strengths as well that kind of separate him from Zim in his own way. But the one thing he doesn't have is that experience. That's something he's going to have to gain."

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
        

February 3, 2010

Harvard's hopes pinned on finding starting goalie

Harvard boasts the return of its entire starting attack and two-thirds of its starting midfield, but the Crimson may only go as far as its goaltending takes it.

With the graduation of four-year starter Joe Pike, Harvard is left with a big question mark between the pipes. Senior Sam Michel, sophomore Christian Coates and freshman Harry Krieger are battling for the starting position.

"I'd say it's neck and neck right now," Crimson coach John Tillman said of the competition. Christian probably had the experience advantage, but he broke his hand in the fall and could only practice a couple weeks whereas the other guys got in the four full weeks. So it's probably too early to tell."

Whoever wins the starter's role, he will at least be comforted by the presence of senior defenseman Billy Geist (McDonogh). Sophomores Paul Pate and Dan DiMaria and freshman Jason Gonos (St. Mary's) -- all of whom are competing for playing time -- could have a hand in revamping a defensive unit that bid farewell to Max Gottschall and Sam Slaughter.

"We may not be as experienced, but we may be more athletic, and that's not such a bad thing," Tillman said. 

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:00 AM | | Comments (0)
        

Notre Dame trying to fill holes on attack

How do you make up for 54 goals and 23 assists that vanished when Ryan Hoff and Duncan Swezey graduated from your Notre Dame attack unit?

"That's a good question," Fighting Irish coach Kevin Corrigan said. "We're trying to figure that out every day."

Notre Dame, which averaged 11 goals per game while completing an undefeated regular season last spring, does return senior attackman Neal Hicks (25 goals and 18 assists), but not much else. Sophomores Nick Beattie and Sean Rogers and senior Colin Igoe are the leading candidates to join Hicks, but Beattie recorded six goals and three assists last season, Rogers played in just one game, and Igoe sat out the season due to injury.

Still, Corrigan realizes that there's no point in trying to mold this year's attack into the one from last season.

"We don't try to be last year's team with different personnel," he said. "We're going to do some things that we did in the past, but we're not going to try to replace Ryan Hoff on the crease. That wouldn't make sense. Instead, maybe we can take our crease guy and move him around and create other opportunities."

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:00 AM | | Comments (0)
        

February 2, 2010

Loyola, ECAC to begin conference tournament in 2011

For years, the Eastern College Athletic Conference awarded its NCAA Tournament automatic qualifier (AQ) to the regular-season champion. That will change.

The league announced earlier Tuesday that beginning in 2011, the ECAC season will end with a tournament pitting the top four teams to determine which school should get the AQ to the NCAA Tournament.

"We are delighted to have this opportunity to showcase our league, which contains some of the top teams in the country," commissioner Rudy Keeling said in a statement posted on the conference's website. "We're also pleased that we can avoid deciding our automatic bid recipient through a tiebreaker formula, as has sometimes been the case, and instead have the student-athletes have an opportunity to earn the NCAA bid on the field."

The semifinal round will take place on Friday, May 6, 2011. The two winning teams will then advance to the championship game on Sunday, May 8. The school that wins the 2010 ECAC championship will host the 2011 tournament. The site of the 2012 tournament will be determined through a bid process.

The move -- first reported by Inside Lacrosse -- is believed to leave only the newly-formed Big East conference as the only league without a season-ending tournament. The Big East is slated to install a tournament format for the 2012 campaign.

The change should delight Loyola, which had the same league record as Massachusetts last spring but lost the conference title -- and the AQ -- to the Minutemen due to a head-to-head tiebreaker. The Greyhounds then watched as the tournament selection committee bypassed them despite the team owning a 9-5 record and one-goal losses to tournament qualifiers like Syracuse and Johns Hopkins. 

Posted by Edward Lee at 4:06 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola
        

Georgetown freshman recovering faster than expected

As Georgetown began working in the fall to make amends for missing the NCAA Tournament in each of the previous two springs, coach Dave Urick was making plans that didn't include defenseman Tyler Knarr, whose surgically-repaired knee was supposed to keep him out his freshman year.

Someone forgot to tell Knarr that.

Knarr underwent surgery in September to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament for the second time in three years. Unlike the operation during his junior year at LaSalle High School in Pennsylvania which involved grafting the ACL with tissue from a cadaver, doctors at Georgetown University Hospital used live tissue from Knarr's patellar tendon, which is generally regarded as much stronger as that from cadavers.

"He's recovered remarkably quicker from this last one," Urick marveled. "We haven't decided if Tyler's going to play, but right now, he's chomping at the bit. But we may take a cautious approach."

Knarr may get some playing time behind anticipated starters Barney Ehrmann, Eric Bicknese and Chris Nixon, but his more significant contribution could occur at the face-off "X," where he has demonstrated a proficiency despite using a long pole.

Urick said he should have known that Knarr, who has been cleared by the team's medical staff to play, isn't content to sit idly by. He's added a course in Arabic this spring because "he wanted to," Urick said.

"He doesn't mind challenging himself," Urick said.

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

Hofstra's Ford out until end of March with broken foot

When Jamie Lincoln, a former attackman at Denver, decided to transfer to Hofstra, the Pride had fortified an attack unit already headlined by junior attackman Jay Card.

But the third member of that attack unit who is equally talented won't be on the field when the team opens the season on Feb. 27 at Princeton.

Sophomore Kevin Ford broke his foot for the second time in five months and underwent surgery last week, according to coach Seth Tierney. Ford, who registered 19 goals and nine assists in 14 games (nine starts) last season, was expected to be a major contributor this spring.

"We don't have much time to mourn the injury," Tierney said. "Kevin Ford's a very talented player. He's a goal scorer, a playmaker from behind the goal. ... Hopefully, he can come back by the end of March or the beginning of April."

Ford's absence paves the way for junior Stephen Bentz, who posted six goals and one assist in 14 contests last season.

"The one thing we're prepared to deal with a little bit more is injury in certain areas," Tierney said. "Stephen Bentz has worked very hard to step up. He knows he's playing with Card and Lincoln, and we've defined his role pretty clearly. He's done a great job getting to the goal, moving the ball, and controlling the offense. He wass a quarterback and a point guard in high school, so his lacrosse I.Q. is very high. So we don't miss too much of a step with Stephen Bentz out there." 

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:18 AM | | Comments (0)
        

Bucknell settles question in the net

With the graduation of a pair of starting goalkeepers in Nick Sciubba and Matt Antonelli, Bucknell basically handed the starting job to untested junior Sam Finnell, but also opened the competition to freshmen Josh Briskman and Kyle Feeney.

Finnell held off the challenge but not without a little hiccup.

"It was Sam's job to lose, and he lost it after a couple of weeks to Kyle Feeney," Bison coach Frank Fedorjaka said. "But after a couple of weeks, Sam overtook it and since that point, he's played terrific."

Finnell, a 6-foot-1, 187-pound goalie, played just 16 minutes last spring behind Sciubba and Antonelli. The lack of playing time can hurt but also help, according to Fedorjaka.

"The detriment is that he hasn't had to mentally prepare for a game for two-and-a-half years, and he hasn't been battle-tested," Fedorjaka conceded. "But the positive is, he's energetic and a good communicator, and there are no scouting reports on this guy. So it might take a couple games for people to see what he can do."

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:00 AM | | Comments (0)
        

February 1, 2010

Princeton to be without top defensive player until at least March

Princeton's bid to capture at least a share of the Ivy League championship for the 15th time in 19 years might be hampered by the knee injury to sophomore defenseman Chad Wiedmaier.

Coach Chris Bates said that Wiedmaier has been dealing with knee issues since the fall and after consulting with the training staff and doctors, elected to undergo surgery about a week before Christmas.

Wiedmaier, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound defender who earned second-team All-American and first-time Ivy League honors as a freshman, was expected to team with sophomore goalkeeper Tyler Fiorito and senior defenseman Jeremy Hirsch to anchor a unit that had graduated defenseman Chris Peyser and long-stick midfielder Charlie Kolkin.

"We won't see him until at least March and pushing into April," Bates said. "That's a little bit of a blow. What we thought was a position of strength now has two 60-minute positions open."

Junior Long Ellis and sophomore Jonathan Meyers are the prime candidates to start alongside Hirsch, but Bates said senior Peter Niehaus and sophomore Mike Flanagan could compete for playing time. Sophomore John Cunningham could succeed Kolkin as the long-stick midfielder.

The uncertainty on the defensive end mirrors questions about the team's ability to reload offensively after saying farewell to midfielders Mark Kovler and Rich Sgalardi and attackman Tommy Davis. The picture could become a bit clearer when the Tigers open the season on Feb. 27 with a home contest against Hofstra.

"It depends on how we can evolve as a unit," Bates said. "We'll find out the answers pretty quickly."

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
        
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Faceoff is The Baltimore Sun's blog devoted to college and high school lacrosse. Faceoff contributors include Sun reporters Edward Lee, Mike Preston and Katherine Dunn.
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