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."