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March 31, 2010

North Carolina could play Saturday without two offensive starters

There is a very real possibility that No. 3 North Carolina will visit No. 12 Johns Hopkins without its best attackman and midfielder.

Junior Billy Bitter, who leads the Tar Heels (9-0) in assists (16) and is tied for second in points (27), did not play in last Saturday’s 9-7 victory over No. 5 Maryland because of a leg injury suffered in a 12-11 win against No. 4 Princeton on March 16. Senior Sean DeLaney, who leads the team in goals (20) and is tied for second in points (27), injured his left shoulder in the third quarter of the game against the Terps and did not return.

Both Bitter and DeLaney – whom coach Joe Breschi termed as "day-to-day" – have yet to practice, and Breschi said both players need to practice before they could get cleared to play in a game.

If Bitter can’t play against the Blue Jays (4-4), freshman Marcus Holman, a Baltimore native and Gilman graduate, would start alongside senior Gavin Petracca and sophomore Thomas Wood. Replacing DeLaney, who has started alongside senior Jimmy Dunster and senior Cryder DiPietro, could be more difficult as no other player on the roster has scored more than three goals this season.

Breschi didn’t dispute the assertion that the absence of Bitter and DeLaney would affect the offense.

"If some guys can’t play – and specifically, your best attackman and your best middie – everybody’s got to play five to 10 percent better than they’ve been playing to make up for that loss," Breschi said. "We just put it as a challenge in front of our guys. … The younger guys on offense need to step up and make plays."

But Breschi emphasized that the team will be cautious with Bitter and DeLaney, opting to ensure long-term availability over immediate dividends.

"Hopefully, we get them back, but it’s not something that we want to rush," Breschi said. "We’re trying to look at the long-term implications for the team and for them. Their health is our No. 1 priority."

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:49 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins

Mount St. Mary's enjoying recent run

After opening the season with back-to-back losses, Mount St. Mary’s has won three consecutive games, marking the first time since 2005 that the program is enjoying a three-game winning streak.

The recent turn of success is surprising considering the Mountaineers’ losses to then-No. 3 Virginia and first-year Division I program Jacksonville – with the latter inciting some harsh criticism from coach Tom Gravante.

"They reacted as I hoped they would," Gravante said. "We put them under pressure to perform, earn back their spots, and bring more poise and maturity to practice. Some of that was asking them to play angry, and they responded, which I’m very happy and pleased about. I don’t think they were very focused up until that point. I think that Jacksonville game – unfortunately – demonstrated how they practiced, which was they were hot and cold. My comments weren’t pretty. … But that wasn’t what they were capable of doing. I stuck to my words, and I’m happy to say that they responded, and here we are."

Mount St. Mary’s has relied on an offense that has outscored previously unbeaten Robert Morris and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference foes Canisius and Wagner by a combined 44-24. It’s the first time since 2005 that the team has recorded 10 goals or more in three straight contests.

The Mountaineers have been especially prolific in the second quarter, outscoring their last three opponents, 15-5, in that frame. That’s a pleasant statistic, but Gravante would like to see that momentum shift to the first quarter.

"We’re having slow starts, and I’m trying to fight through that with them," he said. "… The second quarter is the quarter when they’re starting to get the machine rolling, but against better teams, we can’t afford that down time. We’ve got to start right from the first whistle. It’s kind of bittersweet. It’s great that your team can persevere through a 6-2 deficit against Robert Morris and get it going, but if you spot better teams goals, you’re not going to catch up. They’re not going to let you back in. We have to have a good start."

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:40 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's

Q&A with ESPN's Paul Carcaterra

Paul Carcaterra, a former All-American midfielder at Syracuse, has made the move to ESPN after working for CBS College Sports. This is the first of a two-part conversation in which Carcaterra shared his thoughts on Johns Hopkins’ troubles, Maryland’s legitimacy and Loyola’s potential.

Question: What is wrong with Johns Hopkins, which has lost three straight and four of its last five?

Paul Carcaterra: "I don’t know if I would necessarily say that something is wrong with them, but last week, watching them play Virginia, they had seven freshmen on the field at one time. That’s a good sign for the future, but in Division I lacrosse, success coincides with seasoned veterans and a core group of leaders. I think they have some nice seniors in [midfielder] Michael Kimmel and [attackman] Steven Boyle, but there seems to be a big drop between that senior class and that freshmen group. There’s not a ton of huge contributors in the sophomore and junior classes, and they’re asking a lot of the freshmen. I think in a few years, you’re not going to want to play Johns Hopkins, but speaking specifically about 2010, it’s going to take some time for those young guys to really catch up to the speed of Division I lacrosse and feel comfortable with what they’re doing. You’re seeing some glimpses of that. I think they have two incredible defenders in [long-stick midfielder Chris] Lightner and [defenseman Tucker] Durkin. Those kids are going to be complete studs. I think they’re catching up to that level a little bit quicker than some of the offensive guys."

Q: So it sounds like you’re saying it’s a case of growing pains.

PC: "It’s growing pains, yes. And I think for this year, they don’t have a ton of speed in the midfield. That was one thing I saw. But they have a couple young freshmen that I was impressed with. I think [Lee] Coppersmith has great speed, and [John] Ranagan can get up and down the field."

Q: What should the Blue Jays do with their goalkeeper situation?

PC: "They’re 4-4, and they’ve been in situations like this. They have one of the best coaching staffs in the country, and they’re going to tap everything they can out of this team. They’re going to get what they can get out of this team. From a goaltending standpoint, I think they just have to go in one direction. You can’t continue to play [senior Michael] Gvozden and then pull him, play Gvozden and pull him. at this point, you might want to ride your future a little bit and go with one of these young guys. But Gvozden is not the reason for them being 4-4. I don’t necessarily think he’s won any games for them, but I don’t think he’s been the reason they’ve lost either. At some point, a spark might be needed and going with one of these young kids, I don’t think you would lose a ton and you could also get in position for some experience in the future."

Q: Maryland just suffered its first loss of the season. Are the Terps a legitimate candidate for the Final Four?

PC: "Maryland’s a funny team. They definitely have the firepower with some of those attackmen. I just don’t see right now, them having that midfielder who can consistently break defenses down. Look at every top team out there. Virginia has the Brattons, Carolina has guys like [senior Jimmy] Dunster and [senior Sean] DeLaney, and Syracuse has [junior Jeremy] Thompson and [junior Josh] Amidon. Even Georgetown and Duke. Georgetown has [senior Andrew] Brancaccio and [senior Scott] Kocis, guys that you really fear at the midfield. I think they have a nice committee of midfielders at maryland, but I just don’t see them having top-echelon guys, guys that attract the long pole and force opponents to say, ‘We’ve got to game-plan for this guy.’ But maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe they’ll sneak up on teams that way. Teams can be successful winning by committee, but I feel that at some point in time, they’re going to have to have a guy or two at the midfield who can say, ‘This is my time, and I’m capable of breaking down a defense consistently and drawing attention.’ That not only generates success at the midfield, but it will also open up some time and room for those vaunted attackmen. Are they for real? I don’t know yet. They got Duke at a good time. Duke was coming off a loss [to Notre Dame], and they had played terrible against Bucknell. I didn’t think they were hitting on all cylinders. That was early in the season. the one big, big test was Carolina, and [junior attackman Billy] Bitter didn’t play and DeLaney played just one quarter. Those are their two big guns, and they still beat them without them. So I think some midfielders really need to step up. Are they a Final Four team? I kind of look at them as being on the cusp, not a surefire Final Four team."

Q: Considering that North Carolina was missing Bitter and DeLaney, was that a missed opportunity for Maryland?

PC: "Absolutely a missed opportunity, but in Maryland’s defense, they probably did so much preparation on the two big guns for Carolina that they probably didn’t account for guys like [freshman attackman] Marcus Holman, who scored four goals, and guys like [sophomore attackman] Thomas Wood. I think those guys snuck up on them because they probably went down to Chapel Hill and said, ‘Wait, what are we doing now because we spent so much time preparing for this and it’s not happening?’ It is a missed opportunity. They will look back and think, ‘We didn’t beat Carolina without Bitter and DeLaney.’"

Q: What team is flying under the radar?

PC: "On paper, Princeton is not flying under the radar. They’re in the top six in the polls, but if you look at that team, they add a different wrinkle with that offense that they run. It’s almost like a hybrid box-field lacrosse offense. I think that throws teams off a little bit. They don’t run a traditional offensive set, so I think defenses sometimes struggle with their looks. I think the team is certainly playing for Coach [Chris] Bates and embracing that new style. That’s a team that I think is certainly capable of making some noise. Another interesting team, I thought, was Hofstra. They beat up Hopkins and then they ended up losing to UMass. Another pretty good team is Loyola. I don’t look at them as a Final Four-caliber team, but I think they have some nice things going on."

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Q&A

March 30, 2010

Salisbury's Bradman claims another award

A day after being named the Capital Athletic Conference’s Player of the Week honors for lifting No. 2 Salisbury to a pair of victories last week, Sam Bradman was chosen as the Eastern College Athletic Conference Division III Metro/South Region Co-Offensive Player of the Week. It’s the second time this season that Bradman has earned the award.

The sophomore midfielder registered two goals and two assists in the Sea Gulls’ 24-5 thumping of Wesley on Wednesday. Three days later, Bradman posted four goals and one assist in the team’s 11-10 decision against then-No. 1 Gettysburg. He scored the game-winning goal with 15 seconds left in overtime.

Bradman currently leads the team in goals (33) and points (48). He has scored at least two goals in every game this season.

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:17 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Salisbury

Loyola seeking more from Langan

No. 7 Loyola’s 7-6 victory over Towson this past Saturday was punctuated by the return of senior attackman Cooper MacDonnell from a right shoulder injury and the play of linemate Collin Finnerty.

Finnerty scored a game-high three goals, and MacDonnell scored twice, but fellow starter Matt Langan had a quiet afternoon, finishing with just one assist. It was not the kind of outing expected from the junior attackman, who was named the Eastern College Athletic Conference’s Co-Offensive Player of the Week for scoring a career-high four goals and tying a personal-best six points in an 18-3 rout of Air Force.

"We challenged Matt Langan yesterday because he’s deferring a little bit more to Collin and to Cooper," coach Charley Toomey said. "That’s what we’re going to challenge him to be when he was out there with [freshman Patrick] Fanshaw, when he knew he had to create opportunities and let Pat finish. We’re going to get after Matt and say, ‘Hey, we want the same guy we had the last two weeks because we know you can dodge and we know you can handle the ball.’ What happens is with Cooper back in the mix, you probably have a few less touches because he commands the ball and so does Collin and so does Matt. Where Pat Fanshaw is more of a finisher and an off-ball guy, Matty had more opportunities. So we’re still finding our rhythm offensively. We still have about five more weeks to figure it out."

Saturday brings an opponent unfamiliar to the Greyhounds. ECAC newcomer Ohio State (5-4) hasn’t played against Loyola since 1998, but it’s a pattern the team has become accustomed to. After all, the Greyhounds has already met league foes Bellarmine for the first time in school history, Air Force for the first time since 1997 and Quinnipiac for the first time since 2004.

"That’s a challenge we’ve run into all year playing in this league," Toomey said. "Playing a Quinnipiac, playing a Bellarmine, playing an Air Force and now an Ohio State, you tend to watch as much film as you can because now you’re trying to get a feel for how they play. So it’s probably the same advantage and disadvantage that Coach [Nick] Myers is dealing with over there. We’re going to go and do what we think is right and then be ready to make some changes within the game."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:15 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola

Navy's Moran honored by Patriot League

Navy's Patrick Moran captured the first Patriot League award of his four-year career after the conference named him the Offensive Player of the Week Monday.

The senior midfielder scored three goals in the No. 20 Midshipmen's 10-9 overtime victory over Colgate this past Saturday. Moran, an Annapolis native and Severn graduate, scored the game-tying goal with just 22.3 seconds remaining in regulation.

Moran needed just 98 seconds in overtime to score the game-winner, which was his second overtime tally of the season. He scored the game-winner in Navy's 8-7 overtime win against Bucknell on March 6.

Finishing with his fifth hat trick of the season, Moran is believed to be the first Midshipman to score two overtime goals in a single season since 1982.

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:56 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Navy

Towson about to embark on new season

Off to a 1-5 start, Towson’s hopes of securing their first NCAA Tournament bid since 2007 essentially revolve around their play in the Colonial Athletic Association.

The Tigers open conference play against Delaware (5-4) on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Johnny Unitas Stadium, and they must finish among the top four teams in the league to qualify for the CAA Tournament and have a shot at capturing the automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament.

Coach Tony Seaman said after last week’s 7-6 loss to then-No. 11 Loyola, the team is treating Saturday as the start of a season within the regular season.

"I always think that the very toughest time to talk to your team is immediately after any game – win or lose – because you’re just so emotionally peaked at that time. You’ve got to be so careful with what you say," Seaman said. "But the thing we emphasized in the locker room after that game about how frustrated we all were was that now we’re 0-0 in the CAA. It’s a brand-new start, a first day in a new life. We’ve got to look at it that way Saturday, and it’s huge. We’ve got to practice and get ready for Delaware. … Everybody’s good, but everybody’s 0-0. So that’s good."

One issue the team is trying to address is a lack of punch on the offensive side of the field. The offense has scored just 54 goals, which averages to 9.0 per game. The unit has been getting outscored in the second and fourth quarters this season, posting nine and six fewer goals in those periods, respectively.

"We’ve just got to finish shots," Seaman said. "We’re not good enough offensively to miss opportunities. We get as many possessions as the other team, we get as many really, really good chances, but we don’t finish the ball, and we lose the game by a goal."

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

March 29, 2010

Salisbury's Bradman garners weekly award again

For the second time in three weeks, Sam Bradman earned the Capital Atheltic Conference's Player of the Week honors for lifting No. 2 Salisbury to a pair of victories last week.

The sophomore midfielder registered two goals and two assists in the Sea Gulls' 24-5 thumping of Wesley on Wednesday. Three days later, Bradman posted four goals and one assist in the team's 11-10 decision against then-No. 1 Gettysburg. He scored the game-winning goal with 15 seconds left in overtime.

Posted by Edward Lee at 5:50 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Salisbury

Stevenson, Salisbury top latest Division III rankings

As expected, Stevenson and Salisbury moved to the top of the USILA Division III poll Monday afternoon.

The Mustangs, who had been ranked No. 2, moved one spot to No. 1. Stevenson improved to 9-0 after thrashing then-No. 7 Roanoke, 18-9, on Saturday.

The Sea Gulls are No. 2 after being No. 3 a week ago. Salisbury edged then-No. 1 Gettysburg, 11-10, in overtime, improving to 10-0. The Bullets are ranked No. 3.

The moves mean that the Mustangs and Sea Gulls will meet in a showdown between Nos. 1 and 2 when Salisbury visits the Caves Athletic Complex in Owings Mills on Saturday at 2 p.m. The outcome will have ramifications on the Capital Athletic Conference Tournament and could impact seedings for the NCAA Tournament.

Last year, Stevenson won the regular-season meeting, 12-8, to snap the Sea Gulls' 105-game unbeaten streak against CAC opponents. Salisbury turned the tables in the CAC Tournament, routing the Mustangs, 13-5, for the tournament championship. But Stevenson had the last laugh with an 11-9 victory in a NCAA Tournament quarterfinal.

Posted by Edward Lee at 5:37 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Salisbury, Stevenson

UMBC's Wimer a candidate for Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award

UMBC senior midfielder Kyle Wimer is one of 10 finalists for the Lowe's Senior Class Award, a distinction that recognizes the complete student-athlete and encourages student-athletes to contribute to their communities.

Wimer joins a list that includes Gavin Buckley of St. John’s, Ken Clausen of Virginia, Pierce Derkac of Cornell, Jason Duboe of Harvard, Ridge Flick of Air Force, Andrew Maisano of Army, Thomas Muldoon of Brown, Max Quinzani of Duke and Scott Rodgers of Notre Dame.

Wimer leads the Retrievers in scoring with six goals and 16 points. He has at least one point in 25 consecutive games, which is tied for the sixth-longest streak in the nation. Wimer is tied for 20th in school history in scoring with 113 career points (58 goals, 55 assists).

Fans can vote on the award’s official Web site,, as well as through text messaging. Text LAX to 74567 to vote for the finalists. These votes will be
combined with votes from coaches and media to determine the recipient of the award, which will be announced late May at the NCAA Tournament in Baltimore.

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:57 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: UMBC

Navy's Doyle earns promotion

No. 20 Navy’s two-game winning streak has coincided with junior Kevin Doyle’s promotion to the first midfield line with senior Patrick Moran and sophomore Nikk Davis.

That may be coincidental, but Doyle, a Towson native and Gilman graduate who stands in at 6 foot, 3 inches and 191 pounds, has contributed one goal and one assist since starting with the unit. Senior Joe Lennon, the 6-3, 202-pound Westminster native and Loyola graduate, has moved to the second line with senior Basil Daratsos and junior Brian Striffler and posted one goal and two assists.

"We felt like getting Joe with [Brian] Striffler and in other different combinations might help us a little bit," Midshipmen coach Richie Meade said. "We actually started running Joe back with the first group in the fourth quarter against Colgate. Kevin’s a big physical kid, and he’s got the ability to dodge pretty hard. We just felt like moving Joe with some other guys might get him free a little bit more."

Senior short-stick defensive midfielder Joe McAuliffe is still sidelined suffering a Lisfranc sprain in his foot. Meade said there is no timetable for his return.

"His injury has been evaluated several times, and it’s definitely getting better," Meade said. "He’s going to be back at some point, but I don’t know when that’s going to be. The good news there is that we’ve got Jordan Seivold and Bucky Smith who are both freshmen and have played an awful lot. Jordy scored a goal the other day against Colgate, and Bucky is getting better. They’re big, strong, physical kids with great speed. So hopefully, they’re getting better and coming down the stretch, if we get Joe back at full strength, we’ll have some depth that was created out of necessity that may help us."

The Midshipmen have been cutting down on turnovers, which plagued the team earlier in the season. In the team’s five wins, Navy has committed 78 turnovers, which averages out to 15.6 per contest. In four losses, the team has committed 75 turnovers, which is 18.8 per game.

Meade, however, cautioned against reading too much into the numbers. He cited Duke’s 22 turnovers in the Blue Devils’ 14-5 rout of the Midshipmen in last year’s NCAA Tournament first-round showdown and Navy’s 26 turnovers in a 9-6 upset of then-No. 1 Maryland in 2004.

"Obviously, you don’t go out and say, ‘Hey, let’s have 26 turnovers.’ But sometimes, it’s the nature of the game," Meade said. "The thing that really bothers you is the unforced turnovers, and we’ve been trying to address that. But you really can’t harp on every little thing. You’ve got to let the kids play a little bit."

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

Salisbury makes move to top of the class

The latest USILA Division III poll has yet to be replaced, but Salisbury figures to be somewhere in the top two spots.

That’s because the No. 3 Sea Gulls nipped No. 1 Gettysburg, 11-10, in overtime this past Saturday. Sophomore midfielder Sam Bradman’s goal off a feed from junior midfielder Shawn Zordani with 15 seconds left in the extra period helped Salisbury improve to 10-0 and hand the Bullets their first loss of the season in 10 contests.

"I think it’s a significant win in regards to another quality win for the NCAA Tournament," coach Jim Berkman said Monday morning. "When we start to talk about power rankings and all of that other stuff for the Division III Tournament, that was a pretty significant win to making the tournament, hosting games, and all of that other kind of stuff that goes with it."

The key for the Sea Gulls was jumping out to leads of 5-0 and 6-1 before the first quarter even ended. That cushion helped the team especially as Gettysburg made a comeback and tied the score at 10 with 39 seconds left in regulation.

"We got some great opportunities in the first quarter and even in the second quarter when we didn’t capitalize on a couple," Berkman said. "We definitely got some advantageous offensive opportunities where we got some numbers that our kids capitalized on. We shot the ball pretty well in the beginning of the game. There was a little bit of chaos in the beginning of the game – which usually doesn’t happen when we play them – that allowed us to create some transition opportunities, and our kids jumped right on them."

Salisbury’s victory sets up a delicious showdown between the Sea Gulls and Capital Athletic Conference foe and No. 2 Stevenson (9-0) on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Caves Athletic Complex in Owings Mills. If Salisbury and the Mustangs can get past Mary Washington (4-5) and Hood (6-4), respectively, Saturday’s contest should feature a tilt between the top two teams in Division III.

Add the fact that Stevenson won two of last year’s three meetings – including a spot in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals – and there’s plenty of incentive for both teams.

"We don’t have to say anything about getting juiced up, and I don’t think [Mustangs] Coach [Paul] Cantabene is going to have to say anything about getting juiced up," Berkman said. "Everybody’s going to be fired up. Both teams are undefeated. It’s going to be No. 1 vs. No. 2. You can put the label on one and the other label on the other. It doesn’t matter to me. That’s what’s at stake. Both teams will be well-prepared, and both teams have some big-time players."

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:35 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Salisbury, Stevenson

Backup goalie shines for Stevenson

After No. 2 Stevenson’s 18-9 victory over No. 7 Roanoke Saturday, it was hard to tell which storyline was more surprising: that the Mustangs (9-0) won so easily or that they won without their starting goalkeeper.

Senior Geoff Hebert, who has started the team’s first seven games, broke his pinkie finger while turning away the last shot of Stevenson’s 12-9 win against then-No. 18 Lynchburg on March 20. So senior Andrew Harrington has started the last two contests, including the rout of the Maroons (8-2).

"I was nervous because it was the first real big game that I had played here," said Harrington, who made a career-high eight saves. "But it wasn’t overwhelming. … I was just back in the game, and I felt like I could play."

Harrington surrendered six goals in the first half, but buckled down in the third and fourth quarters, which is when he registered six stops.

Hebert, a Lutherville native and Dulaney graduate, underwent surgery on the broken finger, and coach Paul Cantabene said Hebert is "50-50" to return this season.

"It’s been healing, but it depends week-by-week," Cantabene said. "We’re not sure how – game by game – that looks. But we’re confident in Andrew, who did a great job. If we have Geoff, we have him. If we don’t, Andrew’s a great backup."

Many lacrosse analysts tabbed the Mustangs – with a healthy and effective Hebert – to reach the national championship game. While a few might jump off the bandwagon now, Harrington said he intends to do his best to help the team reach that plateau.

"I expect to be in the national championship game," Harrington said. "Our team can definitely make it, and I’m willing to do whatever it takes. Every day, I’m going to have to get better and better, and from then on, we’ll see what happens. I don’t know if Geoff will be back. Hopefully so."

Other notes:

*After Roanoke scored the game’s first goal just 49 seconds into the first quarter, Stevenson scored seven unanswered goals to cruise to victory. But Cantabene pointed out that the Maroons cut the deficit to three at halftime. "I don’t think it was as easy as the score would indicate," he said. "I think we just did a good job on the defensive end, and were able to ride them well and get three or four goals off rides. We were able to put away our shots. Once we got things rolling, we were up, 7-1. They made a great comeback in the second quarter, getting it back to 9-6 at halftime. We were lucky to get out on them and put them in a hole early."

*Roanoke had entered the game boasting Division III’s most potent offense, but the Maroons scored 11 fewer goals than their season average. Fourteen of Roanoke’s 23 turnovers were caused by Stevenson, and Cantabene credited, among others, junior defensemen Evan Douglass and Ian Hart and junior short-stick defensive midfielder Jake Stocksdale with executing the game plan. "We knew what they were going to do offensively, running their 2-2-2 sets," Cantabene said. "We just thought that if we took sway their strong hands and slid early to them and were able to recover, then we’d limit the number of great opportunities that they would get. We really wanted to take away the transition game. So we were getting in the hole the whole game and not giving them transition. I thought our middies did a great job of getting in the hole and taking away any easy opportunities that they could get."

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

March 28, 2010

Terps need someone to carry the load

If the Terps are to make a serious run in the NCAA Tournament, they need to find another attackman or midfielder who can carry the ball.

The three best teams in college lacrosse --Syracuse, North Carolina and Virginia -- like to play pressure defense and extend out because they have great athletes. Maryland, though, has only one ballhandler on its offense in attackman Ryan Young.

Against North Carolina Saturday, the Tar Heels pushed Maryland out so far the Terps were never able to settle into their 6-on-6 offense. Maryland  has some good shooters in attackman Travis Reed and Grant Catalino, but they weren't serious threats because they can't carry and create space.

Maryland has to do a better job of beating the other team's short pole midfielders, and forcing slides. We'll find out what the Terps have come up with because they play Virginia Saturday night.

-- Mike Preston

Posted by Ron Fritz at 6:12 PM | | Comments (3)

Postscript from Johns Hopkins at Virginia

Among the myriad of concerns swirling around No. 8 Johns Hopkins, the team has an additional worry: who will start in the cage when No. 3 North Carolina visits Homewood Field in Baltimore Saturday afternoon?

Trying to end a three-game skid against an undefeated Tar Heels squad (9-0) could be even more arduous as the Blue Jays debate whether to start senior Michael Gvozden, sophomore Steven Burke or freshman Pierce Bassett in the net.

After Saturday’s 15-6 setback to No. 1 Virginia, Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala had not made up his mind.

"I need some time to think about that," he said. "Out here on the field probably isn’t the time. My job is to make the best decision for this team, and I’ll do that."

For the second time in three games, Gvozden was pulled. In a 14-6 loss to No. 6 Hofstra on March 13, Burke replaced Gvozden after the latter surrendered three goals just eight minutes into the first quarter. On Saturday, Bassett filled in for Gvozden with 3:41 left in the third quarter after he allowed 10 goals.

As in the contest against the Pride, Pietramala said he benched Gvozden against the Cavaliers because the team looked lethargic and because Gvozden wasn’t clearing the ball according to the game plan.

"We felt like we needed a little bit of a spark," Pietramala said. "We felt like the other kid’s been playing very well. You saw today, some of his ability. He’s a pretty good goalie. We had asked [Gvozden] to clear the ball a specific way, and we didn’t feel like we were making great decisions clearing the ball. So we made that decision to make the change. Michael was very supportive of Pierce. He was the first one to see him every time he came off the field. So we made that change."

Bassett made four saves, while Gvozden finished with five. Afterwards, Bassett said he could have played better, but declined to say whether he had shown that he should be the starter against North Carolina.

"I don’t know," Bassett said. "We’ll have to see what happens."

Other notes:

*For the second consecutive game, sophomore attackman Tom Palasek provided instant offense when he entered the game off the bench. After scoring two goals in a span of 4 minutes, 54 seconds in the fourth quarter of the team’s 10-7 loss to No. 2 Syracuse on March 20, Palasek scored twice in 39 seconds to kick-start a 3-0 run in the second quarter. Palasek has no qualms about initiating, and his speed allows him to take advantage of match-ups against short-stick defenders. Asked whether he had done enough to start Saturday, Palasek said, "I hope so. I’m here to do whatever my coaches tell me to do. But I hope so. Maybe I’ll get a chance next week. Maybe or maybe not, but either way, it’s not really up to me. It’s not a matter of who’s starting. It’s a matter of getting out there and doing something." Pietramala wouldn’t say whether Palasek or freshman Zach Palmer would start in place of the injured Chris Boland (torn right anterior cruciate ligament). "We’ve got to do the best thing for our offense, to put him in the best match-ups," Pietramala said.

*Since Chris Boland was lost for the season on March 9, Johns Hopkins has scored a total of 19 goals in three games. The offense has converted just one of its last eight extra-man situations. Pietramala tried to remain optimistic. "Is it one thing? No," he said. "To say it’s one thing would be a huge mistake on my part. It’s playing too much defense, it’s a turnover, it’s a missed opportunity, it’s pressing when you don’t have the ball, it’s a missed groundball, it’s a shot where you shouldn’t shoot. … So it’s not one thing. It’s a host of things, and it’s not an offensive thing or a defensive thing. It’s a team thing that we’ve got to straighten out. We’ve got to make some personnel changes and get back to work and remain positive with a lot of these young guys and get ready for the No. 3 team in the country." Pietramala pointed out that the shooters strayed from the game plan, which called for them to shoot low on Virginia junior goalkeeper Adam Ghitelman (10 saves). "We shot the ball today upstairs all day long," Pietramala said. "We weren’t supposed to shoot the ball up top on him."

*The Cavaliers now enter the Atlantic Coast Conference part of its schedule – beginning with Saturday night’s road game at No. 5 Maryland (6-1). North Carolina follows and then Duke at home. "We’re about to enter the meat-grinder part of our schedule," Virginia coach Dom Starsia said. "So by the time we’re done with this, I’ve used the expression ‘sickeningly familiar with each other’ in about four to five weeks from now, but it is what it is, and we’ve got to get ready to play, and we’ve got another tough game in College Park next week."

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Postscript

March 27, 2010

Tar Heels tame Terps, 9-7

Attackman Marcus Holman scored with 2 minutes and 31 seconds left in the game to push North Carolina's game lead to three goals, and the Tar Heels were able to hang on as No. 3 North Carolina defeated No. 5 Maryland, 9-7, today in a key Atlantic Coast Conference game. Both teams were 1-0 entering the game.
This was the first win for the Tar Heels over Maryland here in Chapel Hill since 1996. Grant Catalino scored for Maryland with 17 second remaining.
Posted by Mike Preston at 4:25 PM | | Comments (0)

Johns Hopkins at Virginia: Halftime thoughts

No. 8 Johns Hopkins trails No. 1 Virginia, 7-4, at halftime, here at Klockner Stadium in Charlottesville, Va., and the Blue Jays had kept pace with the Cavaliers until midway through the second quarter.

Johns Hopkins (4-3) got off to a terrible start as the team lost the first two face-offs, wasted two possessions (including an extra-man opportunity) with turnovers, and failed to clear once. Meanwhile, Virginia (8-0) scored three goals in a span of 5 minutes, 29 seconds.

Senior midfielder Michael Kimmel finally got the Blue Jays on the board with a goal with 11.9 seconds left in the first quarter.

After the Cavaliers scored the first goal of the second period, Johns Hopkins scored three straight with the first two coming from the stick of sophomore attackman Tom Palasek in a 39-second span. Freshman midfielder John Ranagan capped the run with a goal with 8:29 left in the quarter.

But after winning the ensuing face-off, senior face-off specialist Michael Powers missed a centering pass from Palasek, and Virginia scored three times to take a three-goal advantage into the break.

Other notes:

*Kimmel’s goal was his first goal and point since he scored 36 seconds into the third quarter of a 14-6 loss to No. 6 Hofstra on March 13. That broke a drought of 104 minutes, 12.1 seconds.

*The Blue Jays have stuck senior defenseman Matt Drenan and freshman long-stick midfielder on junior midfielder Shamel and Rhamel Bratton with mixed results. Rhamel Bratton has scored twice, while Shamel Bratton has recorded one goal and one assist.

*The Cavaliers are winning the battle in shots (21-15), turnovers (4-9) and clears (6-of-7 vs. 3-of-6). Johns Hopkins has won 8-of-13 face-offs.

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:13 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Halftime thoughts, Johns Hopkins

March 26, 2010

Towson at Loyola: Three things to watch

While No. 5 Maryland and No. 8 Johns Hopkins take to the road for contests at No. 3 North Carolina and No. 1 Virginia, respectively, a game of interest closer to home pits Towson (1-4) against No. 11 Loyola (4-2) at the Ridley Athletic Complex on Saturday at 1 p.m. Here are a few factors that could play a role in Saturday’s final score.

1. One key to a Towson win

The Tigers played admirably in a 15-10 loss to Virginia this past Sunday, but shot themselves in the foot on face-offs. The Cavaliers won the first seven face-offs en route to winning 10-of-17 on the day. Prior to the showing against Virginia, Towson had won 50 percent of its face-offs. The unit must produce numbers close to that to have a shot at upsetting the Greyhounds, according to Tigers coach Tony Seaman. "We have to do a better job of facing off," he said. "You can’t give teams like that the ball back. They’re just too talented. And we’re facing another team that has talent in a different way. They’re just so well-coached." Loyola, by the way, is ranked 10 in the country with a .574 face-off percentage.

2. One key to a Loyola win

Fresh off of an 18-3 pasting of Air Force, the Greyhounds might be feeling good about themselves. They rank fifth in the nation in defense (7.0 goals per game) and ninth in man-down defense (75 percent) and now meet a Towson team that is struggling thus far. But coach Charley Toomey pointed out that all four of the Tigers’ losses have come from Top 20 opponents (Virginia, Maryland, No. 15 Stony Brook and No. 17 Bucknell). That’s why Toomey is emphasizing the risk in overlooking Towson. "What I’m preaching is, you’ve got a wounded animal coming into Loyola this weekend, and they are going to fight and claw and compete," he said. "I think you’ll see a Loyola team ready to do the same."

3. One key matchup

The Tigers haven’t exactly torched the scoreboard, but senior midfielders Christian Pastirik (11 goals and 7 assists) and Will Harrington (11, 1) have been playing well recently. They – along with junior attackman Tim Stratton (6, 7) – will need to continue scoring against what is becoming a stingy Loyola defense. Senior defenseman Steve Layne and junior defenseman Steve Dircks make it difficult for opposing offenses to attack junior goalkeeper Jake Hagelin, who ranks fourth in the country with a 7.02 goals-against average.
Posted by Edward Lee at 10:40 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola, Three things to watch, Towson

Maryland at North Carolina: Three things to watch

Friday’s edition of The Sun highlighted No. 8 Johns Hopkins’ road contest at No. 1 Virginia and what the Blue Jays can do to return with a victory. There’s another tantalizing showdown between No. 5 Maryland (6-0) and No. 3 North Carolina (8-0). Here are a few developments that could factor into Saturday’s outcome.

1. One key to a Maryland win

The Terps’ biggest defensive assignment – and that applies to every defense tangling with the Tar Heels – involves limiting junior attackman Billy Bitter. The Tewaaraton Trophy candidate isn’t scoring at quite the pace he did last season (46 goals in 18 games versus 11 goals in eight contests this season), but Bitter leads the offense in assists (16) and points (27). "We have to share responsibility, I think that’s the first thing," Maryland coach Dave Cottle said of Bitter, who will likely begin the game with junior defenseman Max Schmidt shadowing him. "We’re going to have to make some saves when he does get by us. But we have to share responsibility as a team. We have to be physical with him. We have to be clean, but we have to be physical with him. When the ball’s at his feet, he’s got to know that there are some Maryland guys there." Defenses that have paid too much attention to Bitter have been burned by his attackmates in sophomore Thomas Wood (17 goals and 7 assists) and senior Gavin Petracca (12, 10).

2. One key to a North Carolina win

The Tar Heels are explosive, but not very deep. After their top four first attackmen and first midfield, the rest of the team has accounted for 13 goals and eight assists. Meanwhile, the Terps run three midfields, can send five guys to take face-offs, and rotate five short-stick defensive midfielders. That kind of depth has caught the attention of North Carolina coach Joe Breschi. "They’re very deep across the board with running nine offensive middies, five defensive middies, three or four face-off guys, four close defensemen and three poles," Breschi said. "I think it’s just their overwhelming depth, and they play with terrific energy and excitement and enthusiasm, and I think that’s going to be a big challenge for us. We’re not as deep as they are, but I feel like we’ve got to be able to match their enthusiasm and excitement on Saturday."

3. One key matchup

Maryland junior attackman Grant Catalino leads the team in goals (14), assists (15) and points (29), which is why he was added to the Tewaaraton Trophy watch list earlier this week. He doesn’t need much space or time to shoot, and he’s adept at getting his teammates involved. The 6-foot-4 Catalino will likely tangle with junior defenseman Ryan Flanagan, who is two inches taller but rangy and quick enough to mark opposing attackmen. How Flanagan handles Catalino could go a long way towards determining the winner.
Posted by Edward Lee at 9:20 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland, Three things to watch

Stevenson in midst of difficult stretch

When No. 2 Stevenson welcomes No. 7 Roanoke to the Caves Athletics Complex in Owings Mills on Saturday at 1 p.m., the Mustangs (8-0) will be playing against their fourth ranked opponent in their last six games.

And that’s not coincidental, according to Stevenson coach Paul Cantabene.

"We like to play the best teams possible," he said. "You’ve got to play a great schedule NCAA-wise, and for us to play that type of schedule really gets us ready to play the Roanokes and the Salisburys of the world, and we like that. We don’t like to play a lot of teams where you win by a ton. We want to play the top teams because we think that’s fun to do and it really gets us ready for NCAA play."

The Mustangs’ undefeated start was almost derailed last Saturday when they found themselves trailing No. 18 Lynchburg, 5-0, with 8:02 left in the second quarter and lagging, 7-5, after the third period. But Stevenson embarked on a 5-0 run over a 5:31 span to an eventual 12-9 victory.

Cantabene said he thought that adversity could pay dividends for the players.

"I think we needed a close game like that," he said. "We were winning all of our games by seven or eight goals, but I think we needed a close game to get us in the frame of mind to play the tough teams in the country and to recognize how every possession matters, how every groundball matters. I think it showed a lot of character from our guys. They’re really learning how to manage the game, stay in the game, stay focused, and know that just because you’re down by a little bit doesn’t mean that you can’t come back. I think we have enough firepower to know that we can make a run anytime and get back into the game."

The contest against Roanoke (8-1) is a non-conference tilt, but the outcome could have an impact on seeding for the NCAA Tournament. And the Mustangs have a heavily-anticipated showdown with No. 3 and Capital Athletic Conference rival Salisbury on April 3.

"I think both teams would say that it’s an important game because if Roanoke loses, now they have two losses and they would have to look at winning their conference tournament," Cantabene said. "And if we lose, it puts a little more strain on us because we have Salisbury coming up next week. So I think for both teams, it’s a very important game, and our guys know that."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:00 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Stevenson

As usual, No. 1 ranking at stake when Salisbury and Gettysburg clash

When Salisbury and Gettysburg get together, a No. 1 ranking is usually involved. It will be no different when the Sea Gulls pay the Bullets a visit on Saturday at 1 p.m.

In the last 10 meetings between these teams, one of the teams has been ranked atop Division III. But for the first time in that span, Salisbury is not the No. 1 team – which is just fine with Sea Gulls coach Jim Berkman.

"It’s a great game because you’re playing a team that is one of the top teams in the country, and you’ve got to play well for 60 minutes," he said. "That’s what athletes want to do. They want to compete, and they want to play against the best. This game has become a big rivalry game. … It’s a fun game to play in, and I know our guys are looking forward to it as are their guys. It’ll be a real test to see where we stand and where we need to go from there."

Both teams enter with identical 9-0 records and similar weapons. Salisbury ranks sixth in the country in scoring, while Gettysburg is 12th. The Bullets are tied for 11th in man-up offense, while the Sea Gulls are 19th.

Gettysburg reached last year’s NCAA Tournament final before losing to SUNY Cortland, but avenged that setback by toppling the Red Dragons from the No. 1 ranking earlier in the season. Despite graduating five All Americans including the Division III Player of the Year in long-stick midfielder Tommy Kehoe, Bullets coach Hank Janczyk is one of the most respected in his profession at keeping his team near the top of the standings.

"It’s a program that’s been around a long time with Coach Janczyk," Berkman said. "The faces change and the names change, but they do a lot of similar things. They’re very talented at every position, and they always have a lot of depth. They’re a pretty disciplined team, they work for really goods shots, and they play good team defense."

Five of the last seven meetings between the teams have been decided by three goals or less as both sides are quite familiar with each other’s strengths and weaknesses. That’s why Berkman said he doesn’t expect too many surprises on Saturday.

"There’s no secret to what Coach Janczyk does, and there’s no secret to what Coach Berkman does," he said. "We’ve played each other a number of times, and we do a lot of the same things and we have our system the way they have theirs. It’s a matter of usually a certain goalie making a few more saves and a couple of players making some plays."

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:30 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Salisbury

Maryland midfielder and Australian native has best of both worlds

Friday’s edition of The Sun included a notebook item on Maryland senior midfielder Adam Sear. The native of Perth, Australia will be competing for Team Australia at the 2010 World Championships in Manchester, England, and he called the opportunity to play "a dream."

"It’s an honor," Sear said. "It’s the highest pinnacle that we have in Australia. You grow up and see on the Internet all this stuff about the college game, but our peak is the Australian team. My father [Rod] was lucky enough to be the general manager of the last one, and he’s the executive director of this one, and he’s already got his green jacket with the emblem on it, and he definitely lets me know about it. But I was lucky enough to get chosen, and like I said, it’s a dream come true. I can’t wait to wear the green and gold."

Sear was discovered by Bob Shriver when the Boys’ Latin coach was touring with a team in Australia.

"He asked me, ‘Would you be interested?’ I said, ‘Yes, yes,’" Sear recalled. "It was surprisingly easy. It was something that I wanted to do. I didn’t think about anything that was going to go bad. I was just so excited about the opportunity to come over here – especially to Maryland, a school with such a rich tradition, and it’s always up there in the Top 10. … It’s an amazing thing to be here, and I consider myself to be extremely lucky to be able to get over here. It was tough to say goodbye to the parents. There were a few tears when you leave, but my parents knew what I wanted to do and I was lucky enough to have two parents who told me, ‘Go do what you want to do.’"

Sear said he hasn’t been back to Australia since August 2009. While he misses his family and friends, there’s one thing that Maryland just can’t duplicate.

"The beach," Sear said. "I grew up a street away from the beach, but I never considered it a lucky thing to be able to wake up at 8 o’clock in the morning, walk across the road, and take a dip – until I came here and realized that we’re 2½ hours away from a beach. I grew up around the water, so it was definitely a tough thing to give up."

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

March 25, 2010

Johns Hopkins' Palasek to remain as fourth attackman

One of the few bright spots from No. 8 Johns Hopkins’ 10-7 loss to No. 2 Syracuse last Saturday was the play of sophomore attackman Tom Palasek, who scored two goals in a span of 4 minutes, 54 seconds in the fourth quarter and added an assist.

But for now, it doesn’t sound like Palasek will be replacing either fifth-year senior Tom Duerr or junior Kyle Wharton in the starting lineup.

"There’s been that consideration since the beginning of the year," coach Dave Pietramala said. "We just felt at the time that Tommy Duerr, a fifth-year senior and a captain, had earned that right. We were very excited to see Tom Palasek step up at critical moments in the game when we really needed a spark and give us that spark. The decision you have to make is, do you want to start him and guarantee him a pole? Or do you want to keep doing what you’ve been doing and at least occasionally – if a team doesn’t get a pole to him – take advantage of that opportunity that we’ve created by running him through the box?"

ESPN analyst Matt Ward, the 2006 Tewaaraton Trophy winner who helped Virginia capture two national titles, said Palasek is a tough match-up for opposing defenses.

"He’s quick, and I think he brings another dodger to the table," Ward said. "He’s someone that you can’t really game-plan for. When you look at Johns Hopkins’ attack, [senior Steven] Boyle can take it to the cage, but Wharton’s a guy you can scheme. You can take him out of a game because he’s not much of a threat with the ball in his stick. He shoots the ball better than anybody, but he has to get open to get those shots, and the only people getting him the ball are [senior midfielder Michael] Kimmel and Boyle. They need someone else who can create, and it looked like Palasek was the answer. They need to get someone like him who is confident in carrying the ball to get other players involved."

Pietramala said Palasek will continue to see extended playing time as the team’s fourth attackman and first off the bench.

"We did it last year when he was a freshman in an effort to get him some playing time," Pietramala said. "So it’s not something that we’ve done that is new."

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

Former Greyhound pulling for Towson

P.T. Ricci will be in an unusual position Saturday when Towson (1-4) visits No. 11 Loyola (4-2) at Ridley Athletic Complex. Ricci, who wrapped up a four-year career for the Greyhounds as a long-stick midfielder with a senior season that included a nation-leading 51 caused turnovers and a team-best 91 groundballs, is now a volunteer assistant coach for the Tigers.

"I’m pretty excited, especially about going to the new field," Ricci said. "I don’t think it has fully hit me yet, but once I step out onto the field on Saturday and hear the first whistle blow, it’ll probably be a little weird for me, but I definitely want our team to go out there and win. I’m a competitor and I don’t like to lose. This is a big game for Towson."

Ricci did acknowledge that it will feel strange to stand on the opponents’ sideline at Loyola.

"It’ll definitely be weird looking over and seeing that Loyola uniform that I was in just a few months ago, and I’m in the black and gold of Towson," he said. "I’ve talked to a bunch of people from Loyola, and I know I’m probably going to be hassled a lot throughout the game, but it’ll be fun, I think."

Greyhounds coach Charley Toomey sounded pleased that he won’t have to see Ricci, who earned honorable mention All-American honors and the Eastern College Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year award last spring, on the field.

"In his heart, I know he’s a Greyhound, but he’s in for Towson," Toomey said. "I know he’s going to want to get Towson in position to win that game, but he’s just another coach when it comes to Saturday. He’ll be an alum at 3 o’clock, and I look forward to shaking his hand."

Making the move from player to coach hasn’t been easy for Ricci, who played for the Washington Bayhawks with Tigers associate head coach and defensive coordinator Shawn Nadelen. What had been instinctive then has to now be articulated by Ricci, who is working with the team’s long-stick midfielders and short-stick defensive midfielders.

"I’d say the biggest transition so far is figuring out how to word the things that I already know how to do," he said. "[Greyhounds] Coach [Matt] Dwan was really good with me, and he could explain everything really well. When I was on the field, I could just react. I wouldn’t necessarily know how to explain it properly, but the biggest thing for me now is being able to channel what I know into words that the players will understand."

Towson coach Tony Seaman said the program is "very, very lucky" to have Ricci on its staff.

"He’s really starting to become a very important part of our staff," Seaman said. "His input is excellent. I think he’s finding out how frustrating it is to be on the sideline and not be able to do anything about what’s going on in the field other than to give instructions and suggestions. … For great players, that’s the most frustrating part in the first five or six years of getting to the sideline."

Ricci said he has already received grief from current Loyola players like senior attackman Cooper MacDonnell and senior defenseman Steve Layne and former players like Shane Koppens and Mike Atkinson. Even Ricci’s parents are taking sides.

"My parents are coming down, too, and they told me they’re rooting for Loyola," he said. "They told me they’re coming down in their green and gray."

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

March 24, 2010

Calvert Hall grad producing for Loyola

With the status of senior attackman Cooper MacDonnell still unclear, Loyola has been leaning on freshman Patrick Fanshaw.

The Glyndon native and Calvert Hall graduate scored a career-high five goals in the No. 11 Greyhounds’ 18-3 rout of Air Force last Saturday. The five goals were the most by a freshman since Chris Georgalas scored five goals against Delaware on April 22, 1995.

In three starts, Fanshaw has scored nine goals and added one assist, and coach Charley Toomey said Fanshaw has lived up to the coaching staff’s expectations.

"Pat was a kid that could flat-out finish the ball," Toomey said. "We don’t expect him to dodge and create as much as we’ve asked Cooper to do, but he’s brought a different dynamic to our team. Somebody else can get him the ball and just like he did at Calvert Hall, he’s a terrific finisher. I’d like to believe that over the last couple weeks, he’s become more confident and the speed of the Division I game has slowed down for him. He’s doing what we expected him to do and to rack up goals when he’s close to the net."

Fanshaw could be a starter for a while as MacDonnell continues to rehab the right shoulder he injured in the second game of the season. MacDonnell has sat out three of the last four games and is questionable for Saturday’s home contest against Towson.

"We thought he was going to play last week," Toomey said. "Again, it was a decision right before the Air Force game where he said he couldn’t go. He’s out there and going through some drills, and again, it’s going to be a game-time decision."

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:30 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola

Goucher misses school record of six consecutive wins by one

After a 0-2 start, Goucher had reeled off five straight victories, which was one short of a school record. Tuesday night, the Gophers had a chance to tie the mark, but surrendered a 13-12 decision to Eastern Connecticut State.

Still, the run did wonders for team morale, according to coach Kyle Hannan.

"I don’t think they’re really wrapped up thinking that we’re a great team right now, but it’s always nice to win lacrosse games," he said. "I think what they’re really sensing – and something that I’m really stressing to them – is to look at the big picture and look how we’re growing as a team, and I think that’s what they feel the best about. Every day, we get out there and they’re working on different things and they’re working on becoming more experience and becoming better. I know that’s a little bit of a cliché, but I really believe with this team that you can see a difference."

The Gophers opened the season with back-to-back losses to Washington College (7-6) and No. 1 Gettysburg (16-6). While no one likes to lose, Hannan said he thought the team absorbed some valuable lessons from the setbacks.

"I feel like we played pretty well against Washington College," Hannan said. "We let a lead go and ended up playing a one-goal game. Just a couple days later, we had to go to Gettysburg, and they’re the No. 1 team in the country. They scored early on us and once we settled down, it was really a good game in the second and third quarters. So coming out of those two losses, we felt like, ‘Hey, we want to win lacrosse games.’ But at the same time, we felt like it was a pretty good experience to kind of get in those game situations. And then we were able to get it together. … As young as we are, every day we’re together, we’re getting a little bit better. And once we won the first game and the young guys got confident, that kind of led to the second game. From day to day, you can see an improvement, especially offensively. We have a long way to go, but at the same time, I feel like we’re on the right track."

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

Q&A with ESPN's Matt Ward

ESPN analyst and 2006 Tewaaraton Trophy winner Matt Ward generously shared a few minutes to talk about Saturday's game between No. 8 Johns Hopkins and No. 1 Virginia. Ward, a former attackman for the Cavaliers, also took the time out to offer his thoughts on the first six weeks of the lacrosse season.

Question: What’s been the most surprising development thus far?

Matt Ward: "I think it’s Duke struggling. I believe that when I talked to you last time, I said my Final Four included three ACC teams, and I left Maryland out. Looks like at this point, I should’ve left Duke out. But I’m not down on them completely. They’re a team that gets better each week, and once they start playing with confidence, they have the players. I think the other surprise is Johns Hopkins. I think they came in expecting more out of their players, and right now, I think they’re on the outside looking in for the NCAA Tournament. They’re going to need to win one of these games against a top-four program – whether it’s Virginia or UNC or Maryland. They need one of these wins because a lot of the wins they have from earlier in the season that were initially strong wins have kind of fallen flat now. Delaware just lost to Villanova and UMBC is really struggling. They’re going to have to win one of these games to have one quality win in their season."

Q: Is there a player or team that has exceeded your preseason expectations?

MW: "I think it’s Syracuse. Coming in, they had a lot of questions. They lost an unbelievable amount of talent in their quarterback, but it just shows how Syracuse reloads, they don’t rebuild. They’ve had players stepping up, and it’s fun to watch them play. They don’t necessarily get a lot of goals from dodgers. They get their goals when they make a couple crisp passes, and they have shooters who can put the ball past any goalie from any part of the field. They’re really fun to watch. And then I really like what UNC has done. They’re a team that started to get it last year in terms of confidence. They’ve always had the athletes, but they really started to believe in the system last year. They won their first ACC game last year against Maryland in the ACC Tournament, and that seems to have carried over to this year. They have, in my opinion, the best player in college lacrosse in Billy Bitter, but the other players there have been playing with confidence. To see them take down Duke pretty easily and beat a tough Princeton team just speaks to the confidence level that they’re playing at right now."

Q: Which coach is on the hot seat right now?

MW: "If I had to pick one, I would think it has to be Glenn Thiel at Penn State. If I was an up-and-coming coach, that is a program I would want to coach. Philadelphia is a few hours away, and you’re in one of the biggest hotbeds in the game. So there’s no reason you should be losing a lot of those kids to other schools. Penn State is everything you look for in a school – a good academic institution, the social atmosphere is unbelievable. If you have a recruit that you want to go there, take him to a Penn State-Michigan football game at night or a Penn State-Ohio State game at night, and tell him that he couldn’t find another experience like that. I think that’s a program that is really a sleeping giant. Once they get a new coach, that’s a program that could get turned around really quickly."

Q: Has Maryland’s 6-0 start solidified a new contract for coach Dave Cottle?

MW: "I’ve never believed all of that talk about Dave Cottle being on the hot seat because I have a lot of respect for him and his background as a coach. He’s one of the true mental coaches in the game. He’s very schematic in that he knows how to pick apart teams. He knows how to game-plan for certain match-ups, and I think he’s starting 6-0 with a team that is young. They really don’t graduate a whole lot this year, and I think Maryland Terrapins fans are in for a couple more good years. They have great players on that team. They run three midfields, they’re man-up team is No. 1 in the country and is always near the top, and I think that’s an indication of how smart Dave Cottle is as a coach. For people to think that he’s on the hot seat, I would disagree with them. I think he’s done a great job recruiting some of the best players in the country. He’s has a few years – I think it’s three years in a row now – where the team hasn’t made the Final Four, but they’ve had to tough draws. They lost to the national champion in the quarterfinals last year. And I look for them to be a serious contender this year."

Q: Is it fair to say that North Carolina junior attackman Billy Bitter is your leading candidate to win the Tewaaraton Trophy?

MW: "It’s always tough to tell who’s going to win that because it comes down to how your team plays at the end of the year and there’s a lot of lacrosse left. But he is right now, in my opinion, the most dangerous player on the lacrosse field. He’s got the rare ability to change direction on a dime, but what’s so great about Billy’s ability to change his direction is that he doesn’t have to turn his back. He does everything in front of his face, which gives even more of an advantage to gain a step on a defenseman. His point production may be down, but his leadership level is even up higher because he’s never forcing the issue. He’s always playing smart and playing within the system. When you play against UNC, you have to say, ‘We need to game-plan for Billy Bitter.’ And yet he’s able to get his teammates to play at the highest level. He is, right now, the best player in the country. Ned Crotty is always a great player and Max Quinzani is doing well, but Duke’s not doing as well, so I put them down a little bit. I also think you have to look at Rhamel Bratton at UVA. He’s having a great year. Shamel, in the beginning of the year, was the leading candidate for UVA, but he has been hampered by a hamstring. His brother has stepped up and then some. He’s played great. If you watched him against Syracuse, he had Joel White on him and he’s one of the best long-stick middies in the country, and Rhamel ran right by him a few times and stuck goals. Teams have to think about him."

Q: Of the four remaining undefeated teams in Division I – No. 1 Virginia (8-0), No. 3 North Carolina (8-0), No. 5 Maryland (6-0) and No. 14 Lafayette (6-0) – which one will be the last to lose?

MW: "I’m going with Lafayette. They’re playing right now at a level that no one in the Patriot League can match. And then you have the ACC teams about to play each other week in and week out, and I think they’re going to start picking each other off. It’s just too competitive. So I wouldn’t be surprised if Lafayette ran the table."

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

March 23, 2010

Maryland's Catalino added to Tewaaraton Trophy Watch List

Maryland junior attackman Grant Catalino heads a group of six players added to the Tewaaraton Trophy Watch List.

Catalino leads the No. 5 Terps (6-0) in goals (14), assists (15) and points (29). He is joined by junior attackman Stefan Bauer of Lafayette, junior attackman Jamie Lincoln of Hofstra, sophomore goalkeeper Mark Manos of Drexel, senior attackman Max Quinzani of Duke and junior midfielder Jeremy Thompson of Syracuse.

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:18 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland

These Terps among Cottle's best ever

It's a question I'm often asked: Are the Terps for real?
Yep, they are legitimate. I've watched them play twice in person, and they keep getting better every week. The Terps, especially on the offensive end, seem to have found their niche and know their roles. They pass extremely well, especially to the back or weak side.
Attackman Travis Reed is a good finisher on the left side, while Grant Catalino is a great shooter on the right and a good passer in extra-man situation. Ryan Young can make things happen at X.
Maryland is building a strong flow of midfielders paced by Jake Bernhardt, Michael Shakespeare, Bryn Holmes and John Haus. Overall, Maryland is playing with a lot of poise and confidence. This might be coach Dave Cottle's best team ever at Maryland.
Posted by Mike Preston at 10:01 AM | | Comments (0)

Gilman grad in line to start for Virginia vs. Johns Hopkins

As No. 1 Virginia prepares to play host to No. 8 Johns Hopkins at Klockner Stadium in Charlottesville, Va., this Saturday at noon, the 8-0 Cavaliers are hoping to take the field with one of their starting defensmen,

Senior Ryan Nizolek suffered a chest contusion in a 12-4 win against Cornell on March 13, and Nizolek sat out victories over Vermont and Towson. Virginia coach Dom Starsia said he is hopeful that Nizolek will return against the Blue Jays (4-3).

"If all things go according to plan, we’ll get him back to practice this week and have him available for the weekend," Starsia said.

Nizolek’s absence has been filled by freshman Harry Prevas, a Towson native and Gilman graduate who has collected three groundballs and caused one turnover in his last two starts.

"Harry’s filled in and played every minute of the last two games and played admirably," Starsia said. "For a young guy, he’s done a nice job for us. He’s played a lot. Even when he wasn’t starting, he still got out there and has played some meaningful minutes for us."

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

March 22, 2010

Stevenson's Kazimer honored by conference

Stevenson senior attackman Steve Kazimer was selected as the Capital Athletic Conference Player of the Week after compiling 13 points in two victories over nationally-ranked teams.

In the No. 2 Mustangs' 16-11 win against No. 15 Stevens last Wednesday, Kazimer registered three goals and three assists. Three days later, he posted three goals and four assists in a 12-9 victory over No. 18 Lynchburg.

Kazimer leads Stevenson in assists (20) and points (38).

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:35 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Stevenson

Loyola's Langan, Fanshaw cited by conference

Loyola attackmen Matt Langan and Patrick Fanshaw were named the Eastern College Athletic Conference’s Co-Offensive Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week respectively for their efforts in Saturday’s 18-3 victory over Air Force.

Langan, who claimed a similar honor on March 1, set a personal best with four goals and added two assists, which matched a career high of six points. Langan’s previous record for three goals occurred in wins against Rutgers in 2008 and Quinnipiac on Feb. 27.

Fanshaw, a Glyndon native and Calvert Hall graduate, led all scorers with five goals against the Falcons, posting a hat trick in the first half and chipping in a goal in each of the last two quarters. The goals were a career-high and were the most by a Greyhounds freshman since Chris Georgalas scored five goals against Delaware on April 22, 1995.

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:42 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola

Towson's Pastirik earns weekly award

Towson senior midfielder Christian Pastirik was named the Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week after he registered six goals and two assists in two contests last week.

Pastirik, an Annapolis native and St. Mary's graduate who transferred from Cornell, scored three goals in the Tigers' 10-9 victory over No. 17 Navy last Tuesday. Pastirik's final tally with six seconds left propelled Towson to its first victory after opening the season with three consecutive losses.

Pastirik added three goals and two assists in the team's 15-10 loss to No. 1 Virginia on Sunday. He leads the Tigers in goals (11), assists (7) and points (18).

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:26 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Towson

March 21, 2010

Virginia at Towson: Three things to watch

The day after the top seed in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament was bounced, top-ranked Virginia (7-0) pays a visit to Towson (1-3) on Sunday at noon at Johnny Unitas Stadium. Here are a few factors that could determine the outcome.

1. One key to a Virginia win: The Cavaliers boast one of the best pressure defenses in the nation, asking their players to attack opposing ball handlers and force turnovers. Seniors Ken Clausen and Ryan Nizolek are huge and adept at getting their sticks in the passing lanes. Senior long-stick midfielder Bray Malphrus can gobble up groundballs. They will make it difficult for the Tigers to set up their offense for 6-on-6 situations. So it will be interesting to see how Towson will try to protect the ball and maintain possession.

2. One key to a Towson win: The Tigers have a dilemma on their hands. With Virginia boasting prolific scorers in sophomore attackmen Steele Stanwick and Chris Bocklet and midfielders Shamel and Rhamel Bratton and Brian Carroll, the question becomes which player will be left with a short-stick defensive midfielder. Then again, senior Peter Mezzanotte isn’t exactly a pushover, and he should relish this kiind of challenge. Still, containing that Cavaliers offense will be a puzzle that few opponents have been able to piece together.

3. One key match-up: Towson coach Tony Seaman has been thrilled with the development of freshman defenseman Ben Strauss, who has personally surrendered a combined zero goals and one assist to Maryland junior attackman Ryan Young and Navy junior attackman Andy Warner. Strauss will have his hands full if he gets assigned to Stanwick, a slick player who doesn’t need much time or space to test an oppposing goalkeeper.

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

Postscript from Syracuse at Johns Hopkins

Michael Gvozden has had performances like the 14-save effort he posted in No. 8 Johns Hopkins’ 10-7 loss to No. 2 Syracuse on Saturday night at Homewood Field in Baltimore.

But it was still nice to see the senior goalkeeper pull through after being benched for sophomore Steven Burke in last Saturday’s 14-6 loss to No. 6 Hofstra.

"I think the only person I needed to answer to was myself," Gvozden said after the loss to the reigning national champion Orange. "I think for the first time in nearly two years, I played really inspired tonight and I think I found my niche again. That’s something I’ve got to build on."

Gvozden, a Severna Park native and graduate, who surrendered three goals in eight minutes to the Pride before being pulled by coach Dave Pietramala, had to compete with Burke and freshman Pierce Bassett for the right to start Saturday night. It wasn’t the kind of psychologically relaxing week you'd want prior to one of the biggest games on the Blue Jays’ schedule.

"It was pretty mentally tough and rightfully so," Gvozden said. "I don’t think my play was anything to write home about earlier in the season."

Pietramala, who has leaned on Gvozden for the past three seasons, was pleased with Gvozden’s display.

"I expect to see more of that as we move forward," Pietramala said. "That’s been the expectation all the time. That’s why we wound up where we were going into this game. I give Michael a lot of credit. He answered the bell. I hope that he sees the confidence that we still have in him and the loyalty we have shown to him, and I hope he’ll continue to play that way because it’s going to be important for us as we move forward that he do just that."

Other notes:

*On the opposite end of the spectrum, Pietramala was visibly perturbed by the team’s 6-of-20 showing in face-offs. Senior Michael Powers, who entered the game winning 55.4 percent (41 of 74) of his face-offs, won just 33.3 percent (4 of 12). Junior Matt Dolente, who had won 50.8 percent (32 of 63), was even worse at 25 percent (2 of 8). What bothered Pietramala even more was that – by his estimation – Johns Hopkins committed "no less" than five procedural violations, while Syracuse committed no more than three. Estimated that JH committed no less than five procedural violations on face-offs and that the Orange had no more than three similar violations. "We have to be more disciplined than that because you’ve got to give yourself at least a chance to compete for a loose ball," he said. "You’ve got to make your opponent earn it. We’re at a point right now where we’re not making them earn it. … Six of 20 is an unacceptable percentage at this level. So we will address that first thing on Monday."

*Blue Jays senior midfielder Michael Kimmel did not register a single point Saturday night, snapping a streak of 28 consecutive games with either a goal or an assist – which had been the fourth-longest active streak in the nation and longest by a midfielder. Kimmel was hounded by Syracuse junior long-stick midfielder Joel White, who caught some flak earlier in the season for allowing Virginia junior midfielder Rhamel Bratton to score four goals in the Cavaliers’ 11-10 win on March 7. "He’s been catching a little heat from his match-up against Virginia," junior goalkeeper John Galloway said of his teammate. "That’s a credit to Joel. He is, I think, the best long-stick midfielder in the country."

*Speaking of White, he scored his first goal of the season when he collected a loose ball off of a face-off, carried it into the offensive zone, and took a shot from the left wing when no Blue Jays defender tried to cut him off. The goal gave the Orange a 10-7 lead with 2:38 left in regulation, but had White waited a little longer, he might never have gotten a shot off because Syracuse coach John Desko wanted to call a timeout. "I couldn’t get to the official quick enough," Desko said. "I thought he was going to pull it out, and then I saw him wind up and I was really thinking about calling a timeout. We had talked to them in the huddle – more with the offense – and said, ‘We don’t need any more points. There’s enough time here that we want them to chase us.’ We had two timeouts left, and if we got in trouble, we’d take a timeout. So I think at that point, it was more important time for us to take time off the clock than it was to get another goal. But after it went in, it was certainly comforting that we had a three-goal lead at that point instead of the two-goal lead."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:10 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Postscript

March 20, 2010

Syracuse at Johns Hopkins: Halftime thoughts

No. 8 Johns Hopkins trails No. 2 Syracuse, 5-1, at halftime Saturday night, and someone needs to find out if the offense got a wake-up call for the game.

The Blue Jays have been outshot, 19-9, and only three of those attempts landed on net. Orange junior goalkeeper John Galloway wasn’t forced to make his first save until there was 3:44 left in the second quarter.

A microcosm of the Blue Jays’ struggles: junior attackman Kyle Wharton intercepted a clearing pass late in the second period and had only Galloway to beat. But Wharton missed the net completely and possession reverted back to Syracuse. And Wharton and senior midfielder Michael Kimmel have rung the posts with shots.


Johns Hopkins was especially lethargic in the first quarter, taking only three shots to the Orange’s 10 and getting none on Galloway. And the Blue Jays had two 30-second extra-man opportunities, but couldn’t take advantage.

On the heels of just a six-goal display against No. 6 Hofstra a week ago, Johns Hopkins needs to figure things out on offense – and fast.

Other notes:

*Michael Gvozden got the start tonight, and the senior goalkeeper has rewarded coach Dave Pietramala’s decision thus far. Gvozden made five saves in the first quarter, including stops of senior attackman Chris Daniello and junior midfielder Josh Amidon in the high slot. Gvozden appears to be seeing the ball well and has put the memory of last week’s three-goals-in-eight-minutes debacle in the past.

*As well as Gvozden has played, the Blue Jays defense still has some leaks to fill. Two of Syracuse’s goals have come from the interior of the Johns Hopkins defense, and two more have occurred when Orange players have been left alone on wings. That kind of effort is not going to cut it with an offense this dangerous.

*Syracuse is winning the face-off battle easily, taking 6-of-8 attempts in the first half. The Orange has also been more opportunistic in man-up situations, scoring twice while shutting out the Blue Jays three times.

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:08 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Halftime thoughts, Johns Hopkins

Johns Hopkins' waiting game

For all of the hoopla surrounding Saturday night’s tilt between No. 2 Syracuse and No. 8 Johns Hopkins at Homewood Field in Baltimore, that excitement can sometimes be too much to bear.

Senior midfielder Michael Kimmel acknowledged that bypassing Saturday afternoons to play that night can be taxing on one’s reservoir of patience.

"As a player, it’s tough to sit around all day and wait," he said. "You get anxious. But playing a night game against Syracuse on Saturday is pretty special. So while you have to wait around for a while, it’ll be pretty cool to play under the lights at Homewood Field."

Even coaches get a little antsy.

"I hate playing at night," Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala said. "I just want to get the games over. To sit around and wait all day, that’s not good for me. So no, I don’t enjoy that at all. Now, I enjoy the environment that it brings to the game. I enjoy the fact that it brings a large crowd to the Hopkins campus and that it’s enjoyable, and that it provides an electric feeling for our guys and for our team. I enjoy the fact that it brings a really positive experience to our lacrosse players and to our fans and to our alumni. And I think it’s a great recruiting tool to be on TV, on primetime on a Saturday night at 8 o’clock. It’s pretty spectacular. But from a personal standpoint, no, I don’t enjoy it at all. I don’t enjoy sitting in here and staring at the walls. Too much time is not good for me. I’d rather get up in the morning, get here, get into my routine, and play."

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

Syracuse at Johns Hopkins: Three things to watch

Two teams that have combined to capture 20 of 39 all-time NCAA championships and made 34 appearances in the tournament final clash Saturday night at 8 p.m. when No. 2 Syracuse (3-1) visits No. 8 Johns Hopkins (4-2). Here are a few developments I will be interested in following from the press box at Homewood Field in Baltimore.

1. One key to a Syracuse win: The Orange love to stretch their legs and run their opponents into the ground. Having one of the best clearing goalkeepers in junior John Galloway gives the transition game a huge boost, and midfielders Jovan Miller, Josh Amidon and Joel White are faster than a good majority of players in Division I right now. The Blue Jays will try to slow down the game, running their offense in settled situations, making several passes before taking a shot, and maintaining long possessions. In a contest that could be determined by tempo, Syracuse would do itself a huge favor by pushing the ball from defense to offense and forcing Johns Hopkins to match the pace.

The Orange love to stretch their legs and run their opponents into the ground. Having one of the best clearing goalkeepers in junior John Galloway gives the transition game a huge boost, and midfielders Jovan Miller, Josh Amidon and Joel White are faster than a good majority of players in Division I right now. The Blue Jays will try to slow down the game, running their offense in settled situations, making several passes before taking a shot, and maintaining long possessions. In a contest that could be determined by tempo, Syracuse would do itself a huge favor by pushing the ball from defense to offense and forcing Johns Hopkins to match the pace.

2. One key to a Johns Hopkins win: A troublesome issue has raised its head again. A point of emphasis from last season, the Blue Jays defense has been exposed over the last three games, surrendering 11 goals to Princeton, 10 to UMBC and 14 to Hofstra. The last game against the Pride was eye opening in that Hofstra scored seven times from either in close or in transition. The Orange has a pair of the best inside finishers in attackmen Stephen Keogh and Cody Jamieson. Johns Hopkins must tighten its interior defense and force Syracuse to beat senior goalie Michael Gvozden from the outside.

A troublesome issue has raised its head again. A point of emphasis from last season, the Blue Jays defense has been exposed over the last three games, surrendering 11 goals to Princeton, 10 to UMBC and 14 to Hofstra. The last game against the Pride was eye opening in that Hofstra scored seven times from either in close or in transition. The Orange has a pair of the best inside finishers in attackmen Stephen Keogh and Cody Jamieson. Johns Hopkins must tighten its interior defense and force Syracuse to beat senior goalie Michael Gvozden from the outside.

3. One key match-up: Blue Jays senior midfielder Michael Kimmel told Inside Lacrosse that his toughest match-up involved White, a sophomore long-stick midfielder. The duo will likely renew their rivalry Saturday night. White is athletic and rangy, and with a 72-inch stick in his hands, he is a tough assignment for any offensive player. Kimmel though may be just as fast as White, and he’s adept at scoring and finding his teammates for scoring opportunities.

Blue Jays senior midfielder Michael Kimmel told Inside Lacrosse that his toughest match-up involved White, a sophomore long-stick midfielder. The duo will likely renew their rivalry Saturday night. White is athletic and rangy, and with a 72-inch stick in his hands, he is a tough assignment for any offensive player. Kimmel though may be just as fast as White, and he’s adept at scoring and finding his teammates for scoring opportunities.
Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Three things to watch

March 19, 2010

UMBC's Camardo comfortable away from the spotlight

Friday’s edition of The Sun included a brief notebook item on UMBC senior long-stick midfielder Michael Camardo, who leads Division I with 3.4 caused turnovers per game and is on pace to shatter the team record of 32 that he set last spring.

The 6-foot, 190-pound Camardo was actually an offensive midfielder at Guilderland High School, but had also dabbled with the long pole. Midway through his freshman year with the Retrievers, Dan Carmack was injured, and Camardo slid in as the team’s starting long-stick midfielder for the next three seasons.

"It’s definitely not a position you pick if you’re going for the glory," Camardo said. "But it’s an important position because you have to guard their best midfielder. So I don’t think it’s overlooked or ignored."

UMBC coach Don Zimmerman said he has been impressed with Camardo’s knack for pouncing on the right opportunity to attack an opponent’s ball handler.

"He’s a pretty disciplined checker," Zimmerman said. "He doesn’t pull a lot of unnecessary checks. He is just patient and waits for the right opportunity at the right time and is effective in that regard. We don’t ask our defensemen to throw a lot of checks, and he certainly follows that principle. I’ve always believed that one timely check is far better than numerous ill-advised checks. So he’s a disciplined player, and I think that also adds to his effectiveness of being able to wait for the right opportunity and throw a good check."

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

Loyola's MacDonnell questionable vs. Air Force

Loyola senior attackman Cooper MacDonnell is still plagued by an injured right shoulder and is listed as day-to-day as the No. 11 Greyhounds prepare for a visit from Eastern College Athletic Conference opponent Air Force on Saturday.

MacDonnell suffered the injury in the team’s ECAC opener against Quinnipiac on Feb. 27 and sat out back-to-back contests against Bellarmine and then-No. 4 Notre Dame.

He started in Loyola’s 8-5 loss to No. 9 Duke last Saturday and scored a goal, but looked a little rusty.

"It was the first time that he actually had a stick in his hand and was able to go full speed," coach Charley Toomey said. "I think what you found is that when a guy doesn’t practice for two weeks, his timing is going to be off. He went 1-of-11 shooting the ball, and I don’t think he played at the level that he’s accustomed to playing. But we’re working on getting that timing back, and we’re hopeful that he’s going to go again this week. We’ve really had to limit what he can do at practice just because of the nature of his injury. So he’ll be day-to-day."

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

Johns Hopkins' Boyle accustomed to pressure

Friday’s edition of The Sun included a profile of Johns Hopkins senior attackman Steven Boyle, who leads the team in goals (19), assists (10) and points (29).

The first player from New Hampshire to play for the Blue Jays, Boyle said he joined the program for the 2007 season with an open mind.

"When I came in, I didn’t really know what to expect, coming into Division I lacrosse from New Hampshire," he said. "Now I realize what it’s like to play at Johns Hopkins and the tradition that comes with it and how different the game is. You really have to be on top of everything right from the get-go."

Even though his older brother Brian played lacrosse at Penn State, Boyle’s commitment to Johns Hopkins was huge news in his home state. But Boyle said he didn’t feel the weight of the state on his shoulders.

"I don’t think I felt a ton of pressure coming in," he said. "I think I placed more pressure on myself because I wanted to come in and make a contribution and try to make an impact on the team."

Boyle found himself in an enviable position, joining an offense that boasted midfielders Paul Rabil and Stephen Peyser and attackmen Kevin Huntley and Jake Byrne.

"Those years were great," Boyle recalled. "… Playing with guys like them, they really help you along the way. I played attack with Jake and Kevin, and Jake would tell me certain stuff like what to expect and what’s coming. Jake was great, and Paul and Steve were just tremendous athletes who opened up so much for us down below because they were dodging up top."

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

March 18, 2010

UMBC going back to original goalie

Earlier Friday, Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala acknowledged that he had yet to make a decision regarding the No. 8 Blue Jays' starting goalkeeper against No. 2 Syracuse Saturday night.

There is no such uncertainty with UMBC as coach Don Zimmerman announced that senior Kevin Kohri will start Saturday at noon against No. 5 Maryland at UMBC Stadium.

"We’re going back to our senior," Zimmerman said. "Just feel like all of our goalies are in the same place. They all have their strengths, and they all have their weaknesses. But we just feel like Kevin has proven himself in the past to be a good stopper. And he’s our senior, and he’s paid his dues."

Kohri started the season opener against then-unranked Delaware, but only played the first half. Kohri, a Sykesville native and Century graduate, made five saves and surrendered six goals  before getting replaced by freshman Adam Cohen.

Cohen then started the next two games before he was replaced by sophomore Brian McCullough, who started the last two contests.

McCullough started last Saturday against then-No. 5 Princeton, allowing five goals and making one save in 15 minutes. Kohri finished the rest of the game, permitting five goals and stopping six shots in 45 minutes.

Zimmerman acknowledged that Kohri deserved more playing time.

"Quite honestly, I didn’t give him enough opportunity in the beginning of the year," he said. "He only played the first half against Delaware and then he didn’t see any more action until the last three quarters of the Princeton game. I just felt like he came in and did a good job. So we’re going to go with our senior."

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:51 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: UMBC

Loyola welcomes back five freshmen from three-game suspension

Five Loyola freshmen have returned to the team after serving a three-game suspension for violating an undisclosed team rule.

Coach Charley Toomey confirmed the move without identifying the players or their transgression.

"They’re back on the team," he said. "They’ve received their sanctions and they’ve had a three-game suspension. They’ll be suited up. Whether or not any of them will play, I don’t know, but they’ll be in uniform on Saturday [against Air Force]."

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:47 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola

Johns Hopkins facing question mark at goalie

Two days prior to Johns Hopkins’ annual showdown with Syracuse, the Blue Jays have a dilemma to solve: who to start at goalkeeper Saturday night at 8 p.m. at Homewood Field.

Senior Michael Gvozden has started all six games thus far, ranking ninth in Division I in goals-against average (7.71) and 16th in save percentage (.558). But he was pulled after surrendering three goals in the first 8 minutes, 5 seconds of the first quarter against No. 6 Hofstra last Saturday night. Sophomore Steven Burke finished up in an eventual 14-6 loss.

Coach Dave Pietramala said he has not made up his mind on who will start against the 11-time, reigning national champion Orange.

"They’ve all been told that there’s an opportunity right now – including Michael," Pietramala said. "They’ve all been told that we want to see how everybody performs in practice, we want to see some consistency, we want to see goalies reacting to the ball, we want to see how the defense reacts to them, we want to evaluate how they handle communicating and those sorts of things. Quite honestly, I’ve seen Michael do those things, so I know what he can do there. The issue is I have not seen a lot of the other guys do that. So now, I’ve taken the time to watch more closely what Steven Burke is doing and what [freshman] Pierce Bassett is doing. But the decision has not been made. I actually will be speaking with all three of them today, and I won’t make that decision and I won’t share it with them until I cam 100 percent certain and comfortable that I am doing what is best for my team."

Pietramala said there are four reasons for removing a goalie: poor performance in a game, sloppy play over a span of several games, slow response time to shots or a desire to shake up the team.

"For us, it was the latter two reasons," Pietramala said. "I didn’t like the way he was reacting to the ball – and I’m not saying the goals were his fault because quite honestly, they weren’t. But you look at your goalie and say, ‘Well, he’s not even moving there,’ or ‘He didn’t step well,’ or ‘He’s not getting his stick down there. He’s not reacting to the shots well.’ And we needed a spark. We’ve had some difficulty playing up there, so I just felt like that was the time. So rather than wait and let it get away from us, we felt like we tried to give us a spark right then and there."

Pietramala said Burke was decent in his first extensive showing of the season.

"I think Steven played OK. I don’t think he played great, I don’t think he played poorly. I really don’t think we gave him much of a chance. I felt like we probably asked too much of him at that point in time. It was a very difficult circumstance to go in – on very little warm-up, on a pouring evening with 50 miles-per-hour winds, and probably the biggest detriment was how the team in front of him was playing. So I don’t fault Steven at all."

In other Johns Hopkins news, Pietrama confirmed that senior attackman Chris Boland will miss the remainder of the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the second quarter of a 16-10 victory over UMBC on March 9.

Pietramala acknowledged that losing Boland, last year’s leading scorer who returned from a three-game suspension to score four goals in two games this season, hurts.

"But we should still be able to run our offense," Pietramala said. "Quite honestly, we’ve done it for three games prior. So if there is a silver lining – that Chris did not play for the first three games – that is it. We’ve prepared that way, and we’ve played that way, so it’s not like we haven’t been in that situation."

Pietramala said Boland is considering applying for a medical redshirt, and he still has an extra year of eligibility after sitting out 2008 campaign. Boland is disappointed about the injury, but he is still a valuable member of the team.

"Chris is a competitor," Pietramala said. "He loves Johns Hopkins and he loves his teammates. The fact that he’s not out there, he’s probably heartbroken. That being said, Chris has been a great influence on this team over the last week or so in terms of helping the younger guys, in terms of being positive. Last night, they had a shoot-around, just to throw the ball underneath the lights. Nothing formal, nothing required. And Chris was there. So that tells you something. … He can really be a positive influence on this team without being on the field."

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:44 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins

Towson's Strauss emerges as bright spot

A 1-3 start notwithstanding, one of Towson’s bright spots thus far has been the emergence of freshman defenseman Ben Strauss.

The 6-foot, 175-pound Strauss has started in the Tigers’ past two games and played solidly. In last Saturday’s 12-8 loss to No. 5 Maryland, Strauss shut out junior attackman Ryan Young. Young did finish with two goals, but the first occurred against a short-stick defensive midfielder and the second came when the defense tried to double-team the Terps offense in the final minutes of regulation.

In Tuesday night’s 10-9 victory over No. 17 Navy, Strauss allowed junior attackman Andy Warner to record just one assist and zero goals.

After that game, Strauss said his mental approach for each opponent remained unchanged.

"It’s my match-up," he said. "I don’t look at their names or what they did. I just go out there and play lacrosse."

Coach Tony Seaman has been effusive in his praise of Strauss, who downplayed his performances.

"It feels pretty good, but I feel like any one of my teammates could do the exact same thing," he said. "We’re all just as good. I don’t know what [the coaches] were thinking when they did it. They might have seen a little something extra, but everyone here is just as good. … I’m just happy to be a part of it."

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

Former McDonogh player dodges serious injury

Bucknell’s Patriot League opener against Navy on March 6 went into overtime, Unfortunately, Tim Brandau wasn’t on the field with his Bison teammates in the extra period.

As regulation ended, Brandau, a senior attackman who hails from Owings Mills and graduated from McDonogh, tried to make a play for a loose ball, but a Midshipmen defender barreled into Brandau’s right knee. The knee buckled, and Brandau writhed in pain before being helped off the field.

Brandau said Wednesday afternoon that he sprained the medial collateral ligament in the knee and did not tear the anterior cruciate ligament as initially feared.

"I actually got kind of lucky," he said. "The injury is not as serious as it looked on camera. … Nothing torn, not the ACL, nothing like that. The only thing that’s really keeping me off the field right now is that on the same play, I had a pretty bad high ankle sprain. So I’m just recovering from that before I can start playing again."

Brandau said he is scheduled to meet an orthopedic specialist later this week. While there’s no timetable for his return, Brandau is hopeful that he can begin practicing in a couple weeks.

At the time of his injury, Brandau had led Bucknell in goals (11) and points (15). He has sat out the last two contests, but still ranks second in goals and third in points.

Being a spectator does not agree with Brandau.

"It’s been really hard for the last week-and-a-half, to not be involved in practice and to just have to sit on the sideline and watch," he said. "I’m a really competitive person and watching my team without me has been really tough. It does make it even more frustrating because I did get off to a pretty good start this year. It’s tough being a senior and sitting back and watching your guys play."

Brandau said if doctors don’t clear him until mid- or late April, he would consider sitting out the remainder of the season and applying for a medical redshirt.

"It’s something that I’ve talked a little bit about with my coach and my family, to see if I can get the process started on that if I get bad news this week," he said. "But I’ve tried not to think of it too much until we actually have to cross that bridge because that’s the worst-case scenario, that I can’t play for the rest of the season and that I have to wait to try to get another year. It’s a process that I would like to avoid, but if worse comes to worse, then I would definitely be interested in applying for it."

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

March 17, 2010

Mount St. Mary's reverses course, nets first win of season

Hours before Towson picked itself out of the ranks of the winless with a 10-9 decision against No. 17 Navy Tuesday night, Mount St. Mary’s also secured its first victory of the season by shocking previously unbeaten Robert Morris, 19-13.

The Mountaineers had opened the season back-to-back losses to then-No. 3 Virginia (15-7) and Jacksonville (14-7). So Tuesday afternoon’s outcome was enormously pleasing to coach Tom Gravante.

"Outside of the fact that it’s the first time the program beat a ranked team, it’s an opportunity for the kids to get a taste of winning and learn how to win," Gravante said Wednesday morning. "It was a little bit of a see-saw battle."

Mount St. Mary’s actually trailed, 6-2, just 106 seconds into the second quarter, forcing Gravante to burn the team’s second and final time-out of the half.

"It wasn’t that Robert Morris was playing that much better than us," he said. "They were just making plays, and that’s what we have to do. We knew we were capable of playing better lacrosse, and they hadn’t done that. Then they re-organized themselves and peeled off eight straight. People were complimenting me on that timeout and asking me, ‘What did you tell them?’ Sometimes you don’t need to tell them what they need to do. You’ve got to tell them what they haven’t done. In our case, we hadn’t started playing yet, and they knew it. I was just very pleased that they fought back."

Gravante acknowledged catching a good amount of heat for his comments after the loss to Jacksonville, a program spending its first season on the Division I level. Gravante blistered his players for their attitude and promised to make changes in the lineup.

Among the starters, sophomore midfielder Kyle Yates played in place of sophomore attackman Christian Kellett, but Gravante said he expected a different team based on the tenor of last week’s practices.

"I think some of them thought that they were better than they were, and we needed to make sure that they checked that attitude at the gate before they stepped onto the practice field because we’re going to do things differently now," he said. "Practice was at a higher pace, it was more emotional. Kids were keeping kids accountable for their mistakes."

The victory over Robert Morris was the school’s first against a ranked opponent as the Colonels were ranked 19th in the latest USILA poll. Previously, the Mountaineers had gone 0-39 against ranked opponents.

Additionally, the 19 goals scored are the most in a game by Mount St. Mary’s since a 21-5 rout of Siena on April 22, 2001. The Mountaineers’ seven-goal second and fourth quarters are the most goals in a quarter since posting eight in the first quarter of a 18-5 thumping of Robert Morris on March 23, 2005.

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:30 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's

Postscript from Navy at Towson

The relief etched on the faces of Towson players told the whole story.

Tuesday night’s 10-9 victory over No. 17 Navy at Johnny Unitas Stadium helped the Tigers avoid the program’s first 0-4 start – and stoked a competitive fire that has shown no signs of flaming out.

Moments after the win, junior goalkeeper Travis Love was licking his chops over Sunday’s tilt with No. 1 Virginia.

"It’s scary," Love said of the showdown with the undefeated Cavaliers, "but on any day, I feel like anything can happen. CP [senior Christian Pastirik, who scored three goals including the game-winner with 6 seconds left against the Midshipmen] was huge for us. It just takes that one guy and everyone else can ride their coattails. Our team has guys that can step up like that. I’m looking forward to Virginia. I want them. I want that second win."

Love might be getting a little ahead of himself, but the point is that Towson is not out of the playoff picture just yet. Yes, there are some challenging match-ups with Virginia and No. 11 Loyola in the next two weeks, but the Tigers can still makes waves in the Colonial Athletic Association.

"It’s a win – any way we can," coach Tony Seaman said. "We hung in there. … Our big theme was let’s play 60 minutes. We had been playing 50, 48, 49, and tonight, we finished it up with six seconds left. So thank God. We did everything we could to give me a heart attack tonight. … It was unbelievable."

Other notes:

*Towson’s win is the school’s first against an intra-state rival since edging Loyola, 9-8, in the 2007 season opener. That’s a span of 12 straight losses to opponents like Maryland (four losses), Johns Hopkins and UMBC (three each) and Loyola (twice).


*Love played well in his first career start, registering 14 saves. Love was his own harshest critic, chastising himself for allowing a few low shots to sneak by him. "I’ve got to stay bigger," he said. "That’s something I can work on. But really, I was just a little kid in a candy shop. Just excited to get my first start and get the team the first win."

*After converting just 8-of-16 clears in Saturday’s 12-8 loss to then-No. 6 Maryland, Towson went 14-of-15 on clears Tuesday night. "We’ve been working on that all week, needless to say," Seaman said. "It’s a hell of a lot easier to clear when there’s not seven or eight inches of mud and water coming up over your boots like there was Saturday down at Maryland and you’re not playing against 14 6-foot-7 guys with 72-inch sticks in their hands. So it’s a little bit easier. But I thought we did a really good job of clearing the ball tonight."


*One troubling trend is the Tigers’ inability to take advantage of extra-man opportunities. After going 1-of-5 Tuesday night, the man-up unit has converted just 1-of-13 chances in the last two games. But Seaman didn’t sound concerned. "I thought we had some good shots, and that’s when their goalie made some really good saves tonight," he said. "At least we got shots. We didn’t get shots against Maryland. We’ll keep working on that and hopefully, it gets better."

*Junior attackman Tim Stratton had one of the more entertaining goals of the season with 9:58 left in the second quarter. Stratton and senior midfielder Brock Armour engaged in a ball fake behind the net. As Midshipmen sophomore goalkeeper R.J. Wickham followed Armour to the left wing, Stratton – who had the ball – curled around the right post and dumped the ball into the open net. "Maybe we can do that hidden-ball trick more often," Seaman joked.

*Although Navy surrendered double-digit goals for the second straight contest, coach Richie Meade thought the defense had tightened things up from Friday’s 15-8 setback to Patriot League foe Lafayette. "I thought we played better defense tonight," he said. "This is one of the best teams that we’ve played, to tell you the truth. I feel like if we had played this way last Friday, we probably would have had a different result. I thought Towson played well."

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

March 16, 2010

Navy at Towson: Halftime thoughts

On a night when Towson is seeking its first victory, the host Tigers lead No. 17 Navy, 6-5, at halftime.

Junior attackman Tim Stratton already has a hat trick in the first half, and the third goal involved a little trickery as he and senior midfielder Brock Armour engaged in a ball fake behind the net. As Midshipmen sophomore goalkeeper R.J. Wickham followed Armour to the left wing, Stratton -- who had the ball -- curled around the right post and dumped the ball into the open net.

Senior midfielder Christian Pastirik has a pretty goal of his own when he accepted a pass from freshman attackman Matt Hughes, and as he was running out of real estate while running to the right side of the crease, whipped a shot behind his head into the top left corner of the cage.

Towson, which hasn't trailed in the first half, broke a 3-3 tie with three consecutive goals. But Navy answered with two goals, including a tally from senior defenseman Jake Brosnan with 17 seconds left in the second quarter.

Other notes:

*The Midshipmen have been powered by senior attackman Brendan Connors, who has registered two goals and one assist. Sophomore attackman Ryan O'Leary has added a goal and an assist.

*Tigers junior goalie Travis Love has continued his strong play in his first career start. He's made seven saves, including three from point-blank range.

*One statistic that will likely give Navy coach Richie Meade a headache is that the Midshipmen have committed six turnovers to Towson's one.

*Tigers senior midfielder Will Harrington scored the game's first goal, but has been relatively quieted by senior long-stick midfielder Zack Schroeder. Schroeder is playing for senior Jaren Woeppel, the Patriot League preseason Defensive Player of the Year who has been bothered by a sore hamstring.

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:52 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Halftime thoughts, Navy, Towson

Navy at Towson: Three things to watch

Two teams hungry for wins meet Tuesday night at 7 p.m. when No. 17 Navy (3-3) meets Towson (0-3) at Johnny Unitas Stadium. Here are a few developments that could determine the outcome.

1. One key to a Navy win: The Midshipmen haven’t scored 10 goals since the season-opening victory over VMI, but that has nothing to do with the absence of senior attackman Tim Paul (torn right anterior cruciate ligament). Navy’s offense has played well at times, but an inability to finish shots has frustrated the offensive players and put even more pressure on an injury-ravaged defensive unit. Junior attackman Andy Warner appears to have inherited Paul’s role as the quarterback, but the Midshipmen could use greater contributions from sophomore attackman Ryan O’Leary and senior attackman Kyle Kapron. The offense gets a shot at Tigers junior goalie Travis Love, who will be making his first career start.

2. One key to a Towson win: The Tigers need balance from their offense and defense, but making the transition from defense to offense has been a challenge. The team has just a 62.7 percent success rate on clears this season. Towson cleared just eight of 16 attempts in Saturday’s 12-8 loss to then-No. 6 Maryland, and while the rain and wind didn’t make things any easier, coach Tony Seaman cited the struggles in the clearing game as a factor in the setback. The Tigers can do themselves a huge favor by giving their offense multiple possessions and Love by keeping the heat off him.

3. One key match-up: Navy may be forced to play without senior long-stick midfielder and Patriot League preseason Defensive Player of the Year Jaren Woeppel (hamstring). Senior Zack Schroeder is a capable replacement, but he is dealing with a back injury that will likely require surgery after the season. That match-up could play into the hands of Towson senior midfielder Will Harrington, who is tied with senior Christian Pastirik for the team lead the team in scoring with 10 points on nine goals and one assist.

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

Q&A with ESPN's Quint Kessenich

ESPN analyst Quint Kessenich, a former All-American goalkeeper at Johns Hopkins, offered his perspective for an article advancing Saturday night’s showdown between No. 2 Syracuse and No. 8 Johns Hopkins at Homewood Field. He also shared his thoughts on the season thus far.

Question: What player or team has exceeded your preseason expectations?

Quint Kessenich: "There’s three really surprising unbeatens right now. Robert Morris, which is an independent, was 9-7 last year, and they’ve gotten off to a great start. They’re scoring a lot of goals, averaging about 16 goals a game. I think Lafayette is a huge surprise with their coach Terry Mangan. All of a sudden, they’re a favorite in the Patriot League. I felt the Patriot League would be a little down this year, but I still thought Bucknell might be the team to beat there, but Lafayette beat Navy last weekend, and that’s a huge win for that Lafayette program. It’s the best start in program history. And Yale is off to a good start in the Ivy League. They’re undefeated also, which is a surprise on the positive side."

Q: What player or team has underwhelmed you?

QK: "Albany is off to a horrendous start. Towson’s schedule is just brutal. It goes from hard to impossible. But on any given Saturday, we’re seeing crazy results, and if you win your one-goal games, that’s a big deal."

Q: Can you envision a scenario similar to the NCAA basketball tournament where the mid-major conferences are battling with the power conferences for at-large bids?

QK: "The ACC is 17-1 out of conference. You have three undefeateds in that league [in Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland]. They’re going to start knocking each other off. A good conference this year appears to be the CAA [Colonial Athletic Association] with Hofstra and Drexel making the playoffs. I don’t think the America East can get more than one bid, and then it’s the usual suspects."

Q: What team from a mid-major conference will surprise people?

QK: "I’ve got Hofstra ranked sixth in the nation. They’re as good as anybody offensively. Drexel beat Notre Dame last week, and Stony Brook is another team from a small conference that has the offense to play. They lost to Virginia earlier, but they’re in that tier somewhere between [Nos.] 6 and 12, and they’re just a couple games away from finding themselves at championship weekend. But Hofstra’s got a shot. I said it in the preview show that Hofstra could go 12-1. If you look at their schedule, they’ll be favored in the remainder of their games, and they’ve got a shot to reel off a lot of wins in a row."

Q: Is it fair to say that Virginia and Syracuse are in the top tier and everyone else is fighting for No. 3?

QK: "Not at all. I really think that North Carolina, if they played Syracuse today, would probably be right there with them. Carolina’s defense is the best I’ve seen this year, and they’ve got the best offensive player in the country in Billy Bitter. So North Carolina’s got to be in that mix right now, and I’ve seen all those teams play personally. I really struggled to put Syracuse at No. 2 this week and Carolina at 3. That’s one I gave a lot of thought to. Carolina’s extremely good this year. They’re a very talented team."

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

March 15, 2010

Salisbury's Bradman earns weekly award

Salisbury sophomore midfielder Sam Bradman was named the Capital Athletic Conference Player of the Week for his performances in the Sea Gulls' pair of victories over nationally-ranked opponents.

In a 12-11 win against reigning national champion SUNY-Cortland last Wednesday, Bradman registered six points on four goals and two assists, including feeding junior midfielder Shawn Zordani for the game-winner. In a 16-5 victory over Ohio Wesleyan last saturday, Bradman set a personal record with seven points on four goals and three assists.

Through six games, Bradman has posted 33 points, which is just eight shy of his point total from last season.

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:20 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Salisbury

Towson makes change in the net

Mired in a 0-3 start, Towson will make a change at goalkeeper, sending junior Travis Love for his first career start against No. 12 Navy (3-3) at Johnny Unitas Stadium Tuesday night.

Love, a Westminster native and Winters Mill graduate, has surrendered nine goals in second halves against No. 13 Stony Brook and No. 6 Maryland and made 12 saves for a .571 save percentage. Tigers coach Tony Seaman confirmed the move Monday morning.

"I just think that we’re 0-3 and we’re going the other way, and maybe it’s time to see if a change helps us," Seaman said. "And I think this is something that he’s worked at and deserves because of his play in two halves and at practice."

Love replaces senior Rob Wheeler, a Baltimore native and Friends graduate who has registered a 15.00 goals-against average and a .362 save percentage in three starts this season. Seaman said the pair bring different styles to the net.

"Rob’s game is based more on being technically sound, and I think Travis has the ability to make some unbelievable saves at times," Seaman said. "They’re both different personalities, too."

Other notes:

*Despite an upcoming schedule that includes contests against No. 12 Navy, No. 1 Virginia and No. 10 Loyola before opening play in the Colonial Athletic Association, Seaman said the players remain optimistic. "We had a great practice last night," he said. "Very energetic. I think everybody has found out that Bucknell is one of the favorites in the Patriot League and is a good team. Maybe the surprise team on our schedule is Stony Brook, but I think people right now are realizing that they’re pretty good. They racked up a pretty good Delaware team the other day, and they gave Virginia all they could handle for three quarters. And Maryland’s certainly one of the top four. They’re undefeated and they’ve won some tough games against some good games. I think our guys felt good about coming back against them and not quitting and playing hard."

*Sophomore attackman Matt Lamon did not register a point in Saturday’s 12-8 loss to the Terps, but just returning to the field was an accomplishment for the Annapolis native and St. Mary’s graduate, who missed the first two games after undergoing an emergency appendectomy on Feb. 20. "It was a tough game for him, and those conditions don’t help at all," Seaman said of the rain and wind that pelted Byrd Stadium. "That takes away your quickness, and he’s a quick kid and he’s sloshing around in mud and has got a 235-pound guy smacking the crap out of him. That’s not good for anybody’s wound. But he did well. I was happy with him. And I think he’ll be much better as the weeks go on." Lamon is expected to play against the Midshipmen Tuesday night.

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:35 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Towson

Navy playing without two defensive starters

No. 12 Navy’s 15-8 setback to Patriot League rival Lafayette Friday night was compounded by the absence of two defensive starters.

Senior long-stick midfielder Jaren Woeppel, the Patriot League’s preseason Defensive Player of the Year, sat out with a hamstring injury and is listed as day-to-day. The prognosis is even more dire for senior short-stick defensive midfielder Joe McAuliffe, who could miss as many as the team’s next six games after suffering a Lisfranc sprain in his foot.

"Joe’s going to be out for a month," coach Richie Meade said. "He’s got a Lisfranc sprain. Could have been a lot more serious if it was a break. It would have been a season-ending injury. But he’s working through that. Jaren’s situation is kind of day-to-day. We thought he might be able to play on Friday night, but he’s got a little tweak of a hamstring, and we didn’t want to risk him on Friday night – partly because we didn’t think he could be effective and part of it was we were playing on AstroTurf, which we never play on and is a hard surface. I just didn’t think it was in our best interest to do that."

McAuliffe’s absence could mean more playing time for a pair of freshmen in Jordan Seivold and Bucky Smith, both of whom played in Friday night’s loss. Senior Zack Schroeder will replace Woeppel, but he played against Lafayette despite dealing with what Meade called an acute back injury that may require surgery after the season.

Coupled with the season-ending loss of senior attackman Tim Paul (torn right anterior cruciate ligament) and freshman midfielder Jay Mann (collarbone), the Midshipmen have been bitten by the injury bug. But Meade pointed out that injuries aren’t limited to Annapolis.

"That’s all stuff you’ve got to kind of work through," he said. "Injuries are a little disruptive, but it’s not an excuse. I don’t think injuries may be a part of this, but the other part of this is we’ve got to execute better at both ends of the field. Offensively, we played well enough to score 14 or 15 goals, and we didn’t do it."

Other notes:

*The loss to Lafayette was unsettling in that the Leopards now hold the head-to-head tiebreaker in the race for the top seed in the Patriot League Tournament. The Midshipmen had put themselves in the driver’s seat with last Saturday’s 8-7 overtime win against No. 17 Bucknell, but now need the Bison to upend Lafayette when they meet this Saturday. "We’ve got a long way to go in the season, but that certainly was a big game Friday night, and we just didn’t perform," Meade said. "People need to be critical of us because we didn’t play well, and we need to be critical of ourselves to make those corrections in practice and be more determined to play better. But we’ve still got the whole season in front of us."

*Navy, which has built a reputation for designing stingy defenses, was blistered by the Leopards. Three Lafayette players scored at least three goals, and the 15 goals allowed were the most a Patriot League opponent had scored on the Midshipmen. In addition, the seven-goal loss was the largest margin of defeat in a Patriot League contest. "We’re giving up some easy goals, and we just can’t afford to do that," Meade said. "The hallmark of our defense is, we play a system and we make it very hard for you to score in 6-on-6 situations. Lafayette didn’t get a lot of transition. They scored on us on extra man, they got some second chances, and when you’re playing that much defense, they’re going to get second chances."

*Navy won’t have to wait long for a shot at redemption as it travels to Towson for a Tuesday night showdown with the host Tigers. After a 0-3 start, Towson is mulling a switch at goalie between senior Rob Wheeler and junior Travis Love – a move that Meade said the Midshipmen can’t preoccupy themselves with. "I think both of them are pretty good, but I don’t think that really matters to us," he said. "I think the biggest thing about this game from our standpoint is the Naval Academy. We had [senior midfielder] Pat Moran go 1-for-9 shooting, and we had some other inside-10-yard shots that we didn’t convert on. … We didn’t hit our shots. So all this stuff about whoever the goalie is for Towson, I don’t think that matters as much as how Navy plays."

*With the Tigers falling, 12-8, to No. 6 Maryland on Saturday, the Midshipmen get one more day to prepare for Towson. After returning late Friday night from Lafayette, Navy gave the players Saturday off before returning to work Sunday. "It’s an extra day of rest more than anything else," Meade said. "I think it’s good that we’re playing Tuesday night. We did not practice yesterday. We got back very late Friday night, so we gave our guys the day off. We did some preparation work as a staff yesterday. I think we’re organized and prepared."

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

March 13, 2010

Postscript from Towson at Maryland

For all of the good vibes resulting from No. 6 Maryland’s 12-8 victory over intra-state rival Towson at Byrd Stadium in College Park on Saturday, Terps coach Dave Cottle had one concern on his mind.

The first midfield line of seniors Will Yeatman and Adam Sear and sophomore Jake Bernhardt did not record a single point and combined for 0-for-5 shooting. Bernhardt did win 5 of 9 face-offs and collected three ground balls, but Cottle said changes could be coming.

"We’ve got a dilemma with our first," he said. "We’ve got to figure this thing out: who’s the third guy on the first? That’s something we’ve got to fix in the next couple of days. We’ve got to find some guys that can run by some guys. Jake Bernhardt didn’t play as well as he’s played. He did a good job facing off, but he missed a bunch of shots, and I think it affected his game."

That eventually led to Cottle musing about some uncharacteristic displays of emotion from some players. A few players grew frustrated or pouted when plays didn’t go according to plan, and Cottle made a point to address the matter with the team in the locker room after the game.

"We’ve got to man up a little bit," he said. "The message I gave our guys after the game was that I didn’t like our body language from a couple guys when things didn’t go our way. That’s something we have to work on. You can’t let your opponent know that you feel like you should have either had that one or should have made a shot. You’ve got to keep battling, and that’s something we’re going to work on."

Other notes:

* Normally, the fact that junior attackman and leading scorer Grant Catalino did not score a goal or take a shot and finished with just one assist would be enough to cause headaches for Cottle. But the offensive support from other sources was enough to relieve him of any undue pain. "Grant Catalino has more fouls [four] than points," Cottle said. "But that’s a good sign, that we can score 12 goals and Grant [does] not have a goal."

* A good portion of the credit for Catalino’s quiet afternoon goes to Towson sophomore defenseman Michael Landy, who shadowed Catalino. Freshman defenseman Ben Strauss also performed admirably, allowing just two goals to junior attackman Ryan Young. "Their attack is bigger than any defense in the country," Tigers coach Tony Seaman said. "I thought we did a great job on Catalino today. I think he maybe had one assist. He had no goals, and I don’t know if he had a shot. There aren’t many games where he doesn’t get a shot, so we did a good job on him. And I thought our freshman kid Strauss did a great job on [Young]. We just brought him up, and we’re proud of that."

*Towson converted just 50 percent (8-for-16) of its clears Saturday and is now clearing at a 62.7 percent success rate on the season. "I thought they swarmed the ball really well, and it’s one of those kinds of days where you can’t use your quickness anymore – although that’s been a problem of ours so far," Seaman said. "I think we figured some things out at halftime and we did a lot better job in the second half. I think we’ve got that accomplished now, and we’ll be able to handle that better, but you’ve got to give Maryland credit. They hustled their rear ends off."

* Sophomore attackman Matt Lamon made his first start of the season for the Tigers after missing the first two games due to surgery for an emergency appendectomy. Lamon (St. Mary’s) almost scored, but his bullet off the left wing rang off the right post. He should’ve gotten an assist when he sent a skip pass to freshman attackman Matt Hughes alone on the right wing, but Hughes’ shot was blocked by the helmet of senior short-stick defensive midfielder Bryn Holmes. "It was pretty good to have Matty back," Seaman said. "I think he got popped a couple times, and that hurts his stomach right now. But he almost had a terrific goal when he came around and hit the top pipe. But that’s going to help us get better."

* The Terps get Sunday to rest and recover before tangling with Pennsylvania on Monday at 3 p.m. The coaches will meet at noon, and the players are scheduled to arrive at 2 p.m. to study film and participate in a light practice. That’s a quick turnaround, but Cottle pointed out that the Quakers are coming off an even tougher stretch. "They played Saturday in Denver, Sunday in Denver, Wednesday against St. Joe’s, Villanova today, and then they come back Monday and they play Princeton," Cottle said. "Hopefully, they’ve got something on their minds, too."

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:50 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland, Postscript, Towson

Towson's Love could start against Navy

Towson junior goalkeeper Travis Love’s patience may be rewarded – with his first career start against No. 12 Navy on Tuesday night at Johnny Unitas Stadium.

Love, a Westminster native and Winters Mill graduate, was spectacular in the second half of the Tigers’ 12-8 loss to No. 6 Maryland Saturday, finishing with seven saves – including five from point-blank range.

Love, who replaced senior Rob Wheeler (Friends) at halftime, may have earned himself Tuesday night’s start, according to coach Tony Seaman whose team is off to a 0-3 start.

"That will be a strong topic of discussion among the coaches," Seaman said. "I think he certainly proved himself very well against Stony Brook in the second half and today in the second half. So that’s certainly something we have to talk about."

Love opened the second half by stoning Terps sophomore midfielder Jake Bernhardt on a 2-on-1 break and then denying sophomore midfielder Drew Snider’s put-back attempt. He then sticked away sophomore attackman Joe Cummings’ blast from the slot – and all of this within the first five minutes.

"I was seeing the ball pretty well," Love said. "They were trying to get me low. I don’t know if that was from scouting, but they all pointed at me when I walked out – like they knew something to do against me. They were going 5-hole a lot and I was just seeing it. It was a nice start. As a goalie, that first save is huge for you – mentally and everything. So it was big for me to get the first save to kick-start the rest of the second half."

Love was unaware of Seaman’s comment after the game and reacted with a shrug when asked whether he deserved to start.

"It’s the coach’s decision," Love said. "I’m just going to do my part and play my hardest."

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:30 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Navy, Towson

Towson at Maryland: Halftime thoughts

On the strength of a five-goal second quarter, No. 6 Maryland enjoys an 8-3 advantage over visiting Towson at Byrd Stadium Saturday.

Both teams have had to endure a steady rain and wind that has been torrential at times, but the Terps (3-0) appear to be handling it better. The Maryland players appear quicker to the ball, more solid in their footing, and more adept at causing turnovers and protecting the ball.

For the half, the Terps have taken more shots (25-6), collected more groundballs (20-13) and forced more turnovers (9-4) than the Tigers (0-2).

Maryland has also gotten goals from seven different players. Only sophomore attackman Joe Cummings (Loyola) has scored twice -- both on extra-man opportunities. Junior attackman Travis Reed (Boys' Latin) has recorded two assists.

Other notes:

*Senior Christian Pastirik leads Towson with one goal and one assist. A converted attackman who starts in the midfield and transferred from Cornell, Pastirik (St. Mary's) is as comfortable initiating from the midfield as he is behind the net. In fact, his lone goal occurred at the "X" as Pastirik went right, cut back to his left, curled around the left post, and deposited a shot into the top half of the net.

*Terps junior long-stick midfielder Brian Farrell is currently leading the competition with senior midfielder Will Harrington. Farrell has just as many goals (one) as Harrington, and Farrell has played solid defense.

*Sophomore attackman Matt Lamon is making his first appearance for the Tigers after missing the first two games due to surgery for an emergency appendectomy. Lamon (St. Mary's) almost scored, but his bullet off the left wing rang off the right post. He should've gotten an assist when he sent a skip pass to freshman attackman Matt Hughes alone on the right wing, but Hughes' shot was blocked by the helmet of senior short-stick defensive midfielder Bryn Holmes.

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:01 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Halftime thoughts, Maryland, Towson

Towson at Maryland: Three things to watch

When Towson visits Byrd Stadium in College Park for an unusual 11 a.m. tilt with No. 6 Maryland on Saturday, you can expect a lot of adrenaline and intensity between the lines. Here are a few things I will be interested in seeing.

1. One key to a Towson win: The Tigers are still trying to find some chemistry on offense, which is a work in progress until sophomore attackman Matt Lamon returns from an emergency appendectomy. But the defense has not fared well in losses to No. 17 Bucknell and No. 13 Stony Brook, surrendering 27 goals and 74 shots. The close defense unit of seniors Joe Wascavage and David Edens and sophomore Marc Ingerman and senior long-stick midfielder Cameron Zook has got to funnel opposing shooters to low-percentage angles and give senior goalkeeper Rob Wheeler a chance. The defense will have its hands full with a Terps offense that features junior attackmen Grant Catalino (eight goals and seven assists) and Ryan Young (2, 7).

2. One key to a Maryland win: The Terps have been getting the kind of production from their first midfield line that coach Dave Cottle had been hoping for. But the most surprising aspect of the season thus far has been the number of contributions from the second and third lines. The second unit of sophomores Drew Snider (3, 0) and Michael Shakespeare (1, 0) and freshman John Haus (2, 1) and the third line of juniors Warren Hansen (1, 0) and Eric Boyle (0, 0) and freshman Owen Blye (0, 0) have given the first unit some valuable minutes to catch their breath and the attack some much-needed support. They need to keep that up on Saturday.

3. One key match-up: Senior midfielder Will Harrington leads Towson in scoring with seven points on six goals and one assist and is the best initiator from the midfield. He will likely draw the attention of junior long-stick midfielder Brian Farrell, who leads Maryland in groundballs (15) and caused turnovers (9). Which former Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association standout (Harrington played for Friends, Farrell for Boys’ Latin) will get the upper hand?

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

March 12, 2010

Status of Loyola's MacDonnell still uncertain

Cooper MacDonnell is extremely questionable for No. 10 Loyola’s home opener against No. 8 Duke at Ridley Athletic Complex on Saturday at 3 p.m.

The senior attackman, who has missed the Greyhounds’ past two games because of a right shoulder injury he suffered in an 11-5 win against Quinnipiac on Feb. 27, returned to practice for the first time on Friday – albeit on a limited basis, according to coach Charley Toomey.

"He was trying to catch and throw a little bit," Toomey said. "No contact. We’re going to make the decision tomorrow. I think he’s going to try and play, but we haven’t made a decision."

Without MacDonnell, who has recorded eight goals and one assist in two games, Loyola has leaned on senior attackman Collin Finnerty, who has scored eight goals in MacDonnel’s absence, and junior midfielder Eric Lusby, who has scored six goals over that same span.

If MacDonnell cannot play, freshman Patrick Fanshaw will make his third consecutive start. Fanshaw scored three goals in a 14-8 victory over Bellarmine, but was shut out in an 11-10 loss to No. 4 Notre Dame.

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:13 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola

More on Maryland coach Dave Cottle

An article in Friday’s edition of The Sun noted the uncertain futures of Towson coach Tony Seaman and Maryland coach Dave Cottle – both of whom will meet at Byrd Stadium on Saturday at 11 a.m. when Seaman’s Tigers (0-2) attempt to upset Cottle’s No. 5 Terps (3-0).

Although Maryland is enjoying its best start since 2006 and routinely boasts top-10 recruiting classes almost on a yearly basis, Cottle has been criticized for not bringing a NCAA title to College Park since Bud Beardmore did in 1975.

Cottle said he doesn’t pay any attention to the doubters.

"As you say, I don’t really deal with that," he said. "I thought going into it last year, we were starting six sophomores at the time. All three defensive positions were first-time starters, and I think we got a little bit ahead of ourselves. And with that, I think we had some gut-wrenching losses. That seven-overtime loss to Virginia was a gut-wrencher. Having a lead against Hopkins in the third [quarter] was a tough loss. But to the credit of our kids, we kept playing. We went to Notre Dame and became the only road team to win a game in the playoffs [in the first round] and beat a team that was undefeated. And unfortunately, we lost to the eventual national champion who would up going on a pretty good run themselves. So I wouldn’t say you get tired of it. You can’t pay attention to it. I think we’ve done some good things. … I think we’re poised to be a pretty good lacrosse team."

Cottle’s impressive background would seem to give him a forum to initiate a discussion about a new long-term deal, but he said he hasn’t approached the administration just yet.

"If that was something that was really important to me, I would have went in there and asked for it," he said. "It hasn’t been important to me. Like I said, I’m just trying to concentrate on how we can help the kids and help our team and program and try to get better. That’s all I’ve focused on."

ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins midfielder Mark Dixon said the Terps may need to get to the Final Four for Cottle to be retained.

"Dave Cottle, he’s taken heat since Day One that he’s been at College Park," Dixon said. "You’ll recall that when he was hired [in 2001], the players threatened to boycott, and I always thought from Day One that he was the right coach for Maryland at that time. I thought he was the right hire. I think Coach Cottle has been the victim of having some outstanding recruiting classes, but they haven’t won a national championship and for a sport to have the kind of importance that lacrosse does at the University of Maryland, that’s disappointing for alumni. … I think Maryland’s got to at least get to the national semifinals this year – if not the national championship game. And we all know that [athletic director] Debbie Yow is very aggressive, and she wants to win in every sport. She’s just not into football and basketball. She wants every one of Maryland’s sports to be the best."

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Maryland

More on Towson coach Tony Seaman

An article in Friday’s edition of The Sun noted the uncertain futures of Towson coach Tony Seaman and Maryland coach Dave Cottle – both of whom will meet at Byrd Stadium on Saturday at 11 a.m. when Seaman’s Tigers (0-2) attempt to upset Cottle’s No. 5 Terps (3-0).

Seaman’s status figures to be shaky as the team is still looking for its first win and is in the midst of a schedule that has been ranked as the toughest in Division I. Seaman, whose skills have been questioned recently, said he understands the scrutiny.

"I think that’s the way it is," he said. "When things go well, you get the compliments, and when things aren’t going your way, it turns the way. It’s still about the players who play the game. I think we do a great job of getting them ready to play the game. You can’t worry about that other stuff. That other stuff’s going to be there, good or bad."

Despite the team’s 0-2 start, Seaman pointed out that last year’s squad overcame a 1-4 start to advance to the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament championship final where Towson fell to Villanova by one goal.

"I think we’re going to do the same thing we did last year, which is we’re going to improve as the year goes on," he said. "We’ll see if that holds true or not."

ESPN analyst Mark Dixon, a former midfielder at Johns Hopkins, said the Tigers need to reach the NCAA Tournament – via either the CAA championship and the accompanying automatic qualifier or an at-large bid – to solidify Seaman’s future.

"I think Tony’s done what he’s had to do," Dixon said. "He’s gotten away from that fun-and-gun style, the high-risk/high-reward and gone to more of a defensive-oriented philosophy, and I think a lot of that has to do with Shawn Nadelen, the defensive coordinator, and it started with Stan Ross before Shawn. But I think also, he hasn’t had the horses offensively to push the pace. I don’t think Tony’s really had that great of a team over the last couple of years. I think he did a pretty good job last year, and that’s when he’s at his best. Tony is at his best in the underdog role, and they’re certainly underdogs this year."

While acknowledging that an appearance in the NCAA Tournament would be a positive for Seaman, Towson athletic director Mike Hermann said he is keeping an open mind.

"I don’t think you can ever judge a season by pre-set criteria," he said. "I think you have to sit down at the end of the year and analyze what happened and where you’ve been and where you’re going and then decide if you have the right coaching staff in place. That’s the process."

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

March 11, 2010

Available tickets for Syracuse-Johns Hopkins primetime tilt dwindling

The first primetime game between No. 2 Syracuse and No. 7 Johns Hopkins -- two programs with a combined 20 NCAA championships -- is driving up ticket sales.

Less than 200 reserved-section seats are available for the Saturday, March 20 contest at Homewood Field at 8 p.m., and school officials are encouraging fans to purchase their tickets before they run out.

Tickets can be bought at the Johns Hopkins Department of Athletics between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or by calling 410-516-7490. All tickets ordered over the phone will be left at Will Call on gameday.

Gates and ticket booths will open 90 minutes prior to face-off, and fans are encouraged to arrive early.

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:30 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins

UMBC's McCullough to make second straight start

Much like his predecessor, Brian McCullough will get another chance to cement his status as UMBC’s starting goalie.

The sophomore, who started in the No. 19 Retrievers’ 16-10 loss to No. 7 Johns Hopkins Tuesday night, will start in the net Saturday when UMBC (1-3) travels to New Jersey to tangle with No. 5 Princeton, coach Don Zimmerman confirmed Thursday morning.

"We’re going to go with Brian McCullough again," Zimmerman said. "I think he gave us a good solid game, and we want to give him another opportunity."

McCullough, who finished with eight saves in his first career start, gets the unenviable task of trying to stop a Tigers squad that has scored 28 goals in wins against then-No. 8 Hofstra and then-No. 5 Johns Hopkins.

Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala compared Princeton’s offense to a box lacrosse-style hybrid that emphasizes two-man games and off-ball movement. That strategy would seem to be a lot for a goaltender, who played just 3 minutes, 44 seconds as a backup to Jeremy Blevins last season, but Zimmerman said McCullough is ready.

"That’s a goalkeeper’s job," Zimmerman said. "The goalkeeper’s job is to step between the pipes, stop the ball, help quarterback the defense, and be a goalkeeper. Brian’s a sophomore, he’s been around. He played at Garden City, a very good program on Long Island. So it’s not a lot to throw at him."

One bit of good news involves the possible return of sophomore face-off specialist Justin Radebaugh. The Lutherville native and Boys’ Latin graduate has not played this season because of a concussion.

"He’s been cleared by the doctor, and he was practicing for us last night," Zimmerman said. "It’s good to have him back."

But Zimmerman said that Radebaugh, who won 119 of 257 face-offs (.463) last year, will back up junior J.D. Harkey, who has won 41-of-82 face-offs (.500) thus far.

"Right now, J.D. Harkey is our No. 1 face-off man, and he’s earned that," Zimmerman said. "He’s played well. So we’ll go with him and if need be, we’ll make adjustments."

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:15 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: UMBC

No "statement" from Salisbury's win against 2009 champion Cortland

After a NCAA-record 351 career wins and eight national championships, many of the victories don’t stand out to Salisbury coach Jim Berkman.

That’s why he wasn’t about to declare the No. 4 Sea Gulls’ 12-11 triumph over reigning national titlist and No. 5 SUNY-Cortland Wednesday as a turning point for a program that didn’t reach the NCAA Tournament final last May for the first time since 2002.

"I don’t think it’s a ‘statement’ win," Berkman said Thursday morning. "They’re a good team, and we’re a good team. We happened to have one more goal than they did yesterday. But I definitely think it shows that Salisbury is a pretty good team."

Perhaps the biggest benefit from the contest was the exposure it gave to Salisbury’s younger players. Freshman defenseman Brett Baer has started two of the team’s five games, and second midfield line of junior Kyle Piper, sophomore Tim Lum and freshman Alex Nieves got a chance to taste the intensity of a significant contest.

"Any time you beat a top-5 team – not matter what point of the season – it’s good for your confidence," Berkman said. "We’re playing some younger guys right now that never played in those games. … They’ve never really played in big, big games, and to be able to play with that level of talent and in that environment, that’s a great experience. For that, it definitely helps you down the road."

Other notes:

*Sophomore midfielder Sam Bradman paced the Sea Gulls with four goals and two assists, including a helper on junior midfielder Shawn Zordani’s eventual game-winning goal with 3:13 left in regulation. Bradman, who leads the team in points (26), has already scored two more goals than the 17 he recorded last season. "Sam had a great game yesterday," Berkman said. "He’s been very consistent through our first five games. He had some outstanding goals yesterday and a couple great feeds, including a big feed on the game-winning goal. Outstanding player. We think he’s one of the best players in the country."

*A factor in Salisbury’s win was improved play in the second half. In that frame, the Sea Gulls collected 23 groundballs to Cortland’s 15 and took 10 more shots, which led to Salisbury outscoring the Red Dragons, 5-3. "The second half, I kind of challenged them on the groundball thing because we had gotten beat pretty bad on groundballs in the first half," Berkman said. "We played a little bit harder in the third quarter and got a couple critical groundballs and a few more possessions. We still didn’t win the face-off battle [the Sea Gulls lost 17-of-26 face-offs], but we made it a little bit more even. And then we got a few loose balls in the midfield that led to some goals."

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:12 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Salisbury

Towson looking to put together four quarters

While working on a feature to advance Saturday’s intra-state tilt between Towson and No. 6 Maryland at Byrd Stadium in College Park at 11 a.m., I had a chance to talk Tigers junior attackman Tim Stratton about the team’s 0-2 start.

Both losses to No. 17 Bucknell and No. 13 Stony Brook entailed three quarters of solid play by Towson marred by one poor period. The Bison scored six goals in the fourth quarter to climb out of a two-goal deficit and win, 13-9. Against the Seawolves last Saturday, the second quarter was the backbreaker as Stony Brook scored six times to take a 9-4 advantage into halftime.

"The thing is, those games should have been wins for us," said Stratton, who has recorded five points on two goals and three assists thus far. "That first game, we pretty much had beaten Bucknell through the first three quarters and then in the fourth quarter, we just got worked. Against Stony Brook, it was the second quarter that killed us. Our problem is we just can’t put together a full game, and we all know that. We know that we can be a pretty good team this year. Everyone’s keeping their heads up, but we also know that we’ve got to get focused and put together a full game in order to win."

Asked if he’s frustrated, Stratton said, "It’s been very frustrating, and I’m sure everyone is frustrated. Instead of being 0-2, we could be looking at being 2-0 if we could put a full game together. It’s not a matter of not putting enough effort out there. It’s about staying focused for a full game, sticking to the game plan, clearing the ball, possessing the ball. We’ve got to be all over the field."


So now the Tigers are in the unenviable position of trying to knock off an undefeated Terps squad (3-0) that is flying high after beating ranked opponents in No. 8 Duke and No. 9 Georgetown.

Stratton didn’t dispute the notion that the team might take a nothing-to-lose approach.

"I wouldn’t say we’re panicking at all," he said. "They’re a great team this year, and they’ve got a lot of big names. But we’re dying for a win, and this is a chance for us as a team to make a statement. After starting 0-2, this is a perfect setup for us to make a name for ourselves and turn things around."

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

March 10, 2010

Another challenge to Navy's supremacy in Patriot League

Navy, winner of five of the last six Patriot League regular-season titles and five of the last six Patriot League Tournament crowns, is accustomed to being challenged for league supremacy. But the face of the next contender is new.

Lafayette, which plays host to the No. 12 Midshipmen (3-2 overall and 2-0 in the league) is 4-0, but has yet to play a conference opponent. The Leopards have outscored their opponents – which includes Fairfield, Binghamton and Pennsylvania – by a combined score of 56-32.

Count Navy coach Richie Meade as a Lafayette fan.

"I love them," he said without a hint of sarcasm. "If we were not playing Lafayette on Friday night, I’d be rooting for Lafayette. [Coach] Terry Mangan is a guy who has paid his dues in coaching. He’s been at UMBC, he’s been at Penn, he’s been at Hobart, he’s been at UMass. He went to that program several years ago, stuck his nose to the grindstone, and just started recruiting and recruiting. He’s got some outstanding kids that really enjoy playing the style they’re playing. It’s going to be a big game for Lafayette, but it’s also going to be a big game for us. Tommy Perini is as good a shooter and lacrosse player as we’re going to play against this year. He’s very dangerous, and I think what they have done at Lafayette is, Terry has changed the culture there. I’m sure they expect to win, and they’re going to be very tough for us to play at their place."

The Leopards boast five players with at least 10 points each, and a pair of junior attackmen in Perini and Stefan Bauer each lead the way with 19 points each. Perini has a team-high 16 goals, while Bauer has posted a team-best 13 assists. Senior goalkeeper Vinny DePasquale anchors a defense that has surrendered just four goals in the first quarter and only six goals during man-down situations.

But whereas Lafayette is enjoying its first 4-0 start since at least 1979, the Midshipmen have dealt with upstarts before, and that seasoning could be a factor Friday night.

"Our seniors have been in big games," Meade said, adding that the senior class is 32-15 and has won two Patriot League regular-season and tournament championships. "They’ve been on the field against Hopkins, Maryland, Army and a lot of other schools. Hopefully, that experience is going to be beneficial to us. But I think the Lafayette kids are in a different situation than they’ve been in. They’re probably going to be the favorites here. We at the Naval Academy respect that for the work that they’ve put in. We’re going to have to bring everything we’ve got and we know that."

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

Postscript from UMBC at Johns Hopkins

No. 7 Johns Hopkins got a combined nine goals and eight assists from attackmen Steven Boyle and Kyle Wharton and midfielder Michael Kimmel in a 16-10 shellacking of No. 19 UMBC Tuesday night at Homewood Field.

But nearly as significant were the contributions the Blue Jays got from their other midfielders.

Freshman Zach Palmer contributed three goals and two assists, and senior Max Chautin and freshman John Ranagan each scored once. The seven points from midfielders without the last name of Kimmel tie a season-high set in the season-opening 14-3 victory over Manhattan.

Coach Dave Pietramala said the offense needs that kind of production from its midfielders.

"It’s not going to be one guy that does it," Pietramala said. "It needs to be all of them that get one. And tonight, we got three from Palmer and one from Ranagan and one from Chautin. That’s a big deal to alleviate the pressure on Michael."

Kimmel usually plays offense, defense and as a wing on face-offs. Tuesday night, the team removed Kimmel from face-off duty, inserting sophomore midfielder Marshall Burkhart in his place.

While Palmer (seven goals and two assists) and Chautin (three goals) play on the first line with Kimmel, senior midfielder Nate Matthews is tied for fifth on the team in goals with four, and Ranagan is tied for seventh with three goals.

Pietramala said playing young guys has its benefits and concerns.

"To a point, maybe it hurts you a little bit as you’re helping those guys develop, but in the long run, it’s got to help you," he said. "When we’re playing in the bigger games – and they’re coming now – the guys have to have experience. Look at the Princeton game with four minutes to go, and who was out on the field? It’s [freshman John] Greeley, Ranagan and Nate Matthews. Two guys who weren’t here and one that didn’t play a ton last year. It’s important that we do our job as coaches and get those guys the experience. We can’t expect them to do the job if they don’t have the experience."

Other notes:

*The Retrievers have started three goalies in four games. Senior Kevin Kohri started the season opener against Delaware, freshman Adam Cohen started the next two against Rutgers and North Carolina, and sophomore Brian McCullough started Tuesday night against Johns Hopkins. Coach Don Zimmerman said he is still searching for a goalie he can announce as the starter for the remainder of the season. "You’d like to settle in on one goalkeeper, but we’ve got a bunch of young guys," he said. "Kevin Kohri is a senior, but Kevin didn’t have any real game experience coming in. So as far as game experience is concerned, he was a pretty inexperienced guy as well. But they all support one another, which is what I’m proud of. Kevin could be moping and Adam Cohen could be moping and [freshman] Matt Holman could be moping, but they’re not. They support one another, and that’s what it’s all about."

*McCullough finished with eight saves, including several from point-blank range. Still, McCullough wasn’t entirely satisfied with his performance. "It was all right," he said. "I saw the ball pretty well. I just thought I could stop a few more." Zimmerman wasn’t quite ready to pronounce McCullough as the starter against No. 5 Princeton on Saturday. "I want to see what Brian does [today] out at practice," Zimmerman said. "We’re telling all of our guys that everyone has an opportunity to step out on the field for us and play, and that gets them excited and hungry to practice well, and we’re just going to keep doing it. Who knows? It may change all year, but we’re just going to keep trying."

*Part of the Blue Jays’ game plan actually entailed UMBC’s first midfield of senior Kyle Wimer and juniors Bobby Stockton and Jamie Kimbles. Pietramala said the coaches noticed that the first line tries to race off the field when the offense loses possession to conserve their energy. So Johns Hopkins kicked up its transition game in an effort to prevent the first line from being subbed for. "What we did see in the Carolina game was, we noticed that they were on the field so much offensively, but we rarely saw them on defense," Pietramala said. "We didn’t get to practice it very much because of the short turnaround, but we did talk about trying to push the ball up the field."

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Postscript, UMBC

March 9, 2010

UMBC vs. Johns Hopkins: Halftime thoughts

No. 7 Johns Hopkins leads No. 19 UMBC, 8-6, at halftime at Homewood Field, and the advantage could have been much bigger for the host Blue Jays if they hadn’t been flagged for four penalties in the first quarter.

Senior attackman Steven Boyle, senior long-stick midfielder Greg Harrington, snioe short-stick defensive midfielder Dave Spaulding and senior defenseman Matt Drenan each committed slashing penalties, and the Retrievers converted on three of those four extra-man opportunities.

A few of the penalties seemed iffy, and Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala gave the officials quite an earful for much of the period, but the Blue Jays just need to turn down the volume on the aggression button and stay disciplined.

Other notes:

*After registering just one goal and one assist in what was a quiet performance by his standards this season, Boyle has exploded in the first half, scoring three times and adding an assist. UMBC has alternated between marking Boyle with senior defensemen Bobby Atwell and Brian Schneider, but Boyle has pretty much had his way thus far. How successful the Retrievers can contain Boyle could determine the final outcome.

*Sophomore goalkeeper Brian McCullough has fared decently in his first career start. After playing just 3 minutes, 44 seconds as a backup to Jeremy Blevins last spring, McCullough surrendered four goals before making his first save with just a few seconds left in the first quarter. Since then, he’s made a couple of good stops and kept UMBC in the game. He has five saves in the half.

*Kyle Wimer is the Retrievers’ primary playmaker, but goals have been a rare commodity for the senior attackman. After scoring three in a season-opening, triple-overtime loss to unranked Delaware on Feb. 20 (with the last occurring with 7:06 left in the fourth quarter), Wimer went scoreless in games against Rutgers and No. 4 North Carolina. He finally ended the streak with 48 seconds left in the first quarter, snapping a drought of 152 minutes, 11 seconds.

*UMBC ended the half on a bad note, collecting 30-second penalties for going offsides (senior attackman Matt Latham) and pushing (senior defenseman Lance Ophof). Johns Hopkins will begin the second half with a two-man advantage and possession.

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:11 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Halftime thoughts, Johns Hopkins, UMBC

Navy's Wickham, Woeppel cited by Patriot League

Navy senior long-stick midfielder Jaren Woeppel and sophomore goalkeeper R.J. Wickham were named the defensive player and goalie of the week by the Patriot League Tuesday.

Wickham made 27 saves and surrendered just 10 goals in the No. 12 Midshipmen's victories over Lehigh and No. 17 Bucknell last week. Eighteen of those saves came against the Bison in an 8-7 overtime win, and the 18 saves are the second-most of his career after stopping 19 shots in an 8-7 overtime loss to No. 10 Loyola on Feb. 20. Wickham currently ranks second in Division I in save percentage (.679) and sixth in goals-against average (6.69).

Woeppel, the league's preseasion Defensive Player of the Year, surrendered just one goal and zero assists to the pair of opponents he faced last week. Woeppel shut out Lehigh senior attackman Brian Bienemann, caused a season- and team-high three turnovers, and scooped up a season-best four groundballs. Woeppel allowed Bucknell sophomore midfielder Charlie Streep, last season's Patriot League Rookie of the Year, just one goal.

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:33 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Navy

UMBC at Johns Hopkins: Three things to watch

We’re going to alter the content of this series a little bit – just in time for No. 19 UMBC’s visit to Homewood Field to take on No. 7 Johns Hopkins on Tuesday night. Here are a few things I will be watching.

1. One key to an UMBC win: The Retrievers fell to 1-2 after dropping a 12-7 decision to No. 3 North Carolina last Saturday. UMBC’s top two defenders had so-so days with senior Bobby Atwell surrendering two goals and one assist to junior attackman Billy Bitter and senior Matt Kresse shutting out senior attackman Gavin Petracca in terms of goals but giving up three assists. Atwell could be assigned to Blue Jays senior attackman Steven Boyle (14 goals and five assists), while Kresse could draw senior attackman Chris Boland (two goals in his first game back from a three-game suspension). If Atwell and Kresse can cut down on Boyle’s and Boland’s contributions, the Retrievers’ outlook improves immensely.

2. One key to a Johns Hopkins win: The Blue Jays absorbed their first loss of the season, falling, 11-10, in overtime to then-No. 8 Princeton at the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium. For all of the attention paid to the returning attack, senior midfielder Michael Kimmel is a critical cog in the offense. After recording six goals and five assists in his first three games, Kimmel was limited by Tigers sophomore long-stick midfielder Jonathan Meyers to only two assists until Kimmel scored the game-tying goal with 14 seconds left in regulation. Kimmel gets another tough match-up in UMBC senior long-stick midfielder Mike Camardo, who leads the defense with six caused turnovers.

3. One key match-up: After winning just 41.7 percent of their face-offs last season, the Retrievers are five percentage points better, and much of the improvement traces back to junior J.D. Harkey, who is 28-of-56 thus far. Johns Hopkins has thrived under a two-man rotation of senior Michael Powers and junior Matt Dolente, who have combined to win 56.3 percent. But they struggled against Tigers freshman Jeff Froccaro, who won 10-of-17.

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

Q&A with ESPN's Mark Dixon

ESPN analyst Mark Dixon has covered several games this season, including No. 7 Maryland’s 15-13 victory over No. 9 Georgetown and No. 3 North Carolina’s 12-7 win against No. 19 UMBC. On Monday, he shared his thoughts on the first month of the lacrosse season.

Question: Which team has exceeded your expectations?

Mark Dixon: "The one team that has really jumped out to me is Maryland. It’s not so much that they beat Georgetown and they beat Duke, but it’s the way they’re playing right now. They’re playing a lot of guys, and I’m particularly impressed with the midfield. You lose three seniors, and [sophomore] Jake Bernhardt and [senior] Adam Sear have played well and [freshman] John Haus has been terrific. They’ve got guys stepping into the midfield, but I think more importantly, there’s the level of excitement that they have. Maryland has always been intense, but the excitement and passion that they’re playing with, I haven’t seen that in recent years. Against Georgetown when they were making that comeback [from a four-goal deficit], the sideline was going absolutely nuts. They were animated, they were excited, and Coach [Dave] Cottle was right in the middle of it all. He’s high-fiving, chest-bumping, leading the cheers, pumping his fist. They’re just a really excited bunch right now, so Maryland is a team that has exceeded my expectations. I also think Princeton has exceeded my expectations. When you look at the new coach [Chris Bates] who came from a very defensive-minded program at Drexel, you think, ‘OK, I think Princeton’s going to have some trouble scoring goals or at least emulating the success that they had a year ago.’ But they put up 17 against a very good Hofstra team and 11 against Johns Hopkins. So I think Princeton offensively has surprised me. Defensively, they’re surprising me, too, with the amount of goals that they’re giving up, but when you lose a guy like [sophomore defenseman] Chad Wiedmaier [who is recovering from knee surgery], I think you can expect the defense to take a little bit of a step back. But I would say that Maryland and Princeton are the two teams that have surprised me thus far."

Q: Which team has fallen short of your expectations?

MD: "Well, it’s got to be Duke, which was my preseason No. 1. The loss to Notre Dame, I actually picked them to lose that game in the Inside Lacrosse Pick ‘Em. I just thought it was a dangerous game, and the way Duke was playing in an overtime win against Bucknell, that really told me that these guys were ripe for the picking. Notre Dame is a very, very good team with a lot of good defensive players. But what’s been disappointing about Duke is the midfield production. When you look at guys like [senior] Steve Schoeffel, [sophomore] Justin Turri, [sophomore] Rob Rotanz, [senior] Will McKee, I thought there would be more production out of the midfield, and there hasn’t been. Look at North Carolina and [junior attackman] Billy Bitter. He’s not doing it all by himself this year. He can’t because [opponents] are keying on him too much. The guys who are taking pressure off of Bitter are midfielders like [senior] Sean DeLaney, [senior] Cryder DiPietro and [sophomore] Jimmy Dunster. Those are dangerous dodgers who are scoring and producing. So Duke has two losses. They had two losses at this time last year. But it’s really the midfield that is not getting the job done for the Blue Devils."

Q: Is there a player who has separated himself from the rest of the crowd in the race for the Tewaaraton Trophy?

MD: "Absolutely not. It’s way too early. I think Billy Bitter has played well. I think he’s got five goals and 11 assists on the season. [Duke senior attackman] Ned Crotty was the preseason favorite, and he’s struggled a little bit. He’s got decent numbers, and he’s playing well, but Duke isn’t winning. I think those were the two frontrunners early on. [Virginia junior midfielder] Shamel Bratton, his brother [Rhamel] is playing better than him right now. Four goals [Sunday] against Syracuse, and he’s doing a terrific job. Shamel’s been injured a little bit. [Senior midfielder] Michael Kimmel has played really well for Hopkins, and [senior goalkeeper] Scott Rodgers of Notre Dame has been terrific. Those were my top five in the preseason. But there are two guys playing at incredibly high levels, and that’s [senior attackman Curtis Dickson from Delaware and [junior long-stick midfielder] Brian Farrell from Maryland. He makes Maryland a different team, and with what he’s been able to do against Georgetown when he had 10 groundballs and six caused turnovers and what he did against Duke this past Saturday, Brian Farrell has really stood out to me. Now I’m not saying that he’ll win the Tewaaraton. He’s a long-stick midfielder, and typically, those positions, it just doesn’t happen. But Farrell is a guy who has really stood out and played excellent. If I had to pick a Tewaaraton right now, probably Scott Rodgers would be the guy. He has just played at such a high level. He’s a guy who was a preseason Tewaaraton candidate, and I think he’s lived up to expectations."

Q: How much significance is there to be gleaned from No. 2 Virginia’s 11-10 win against then-No. 1 Syracuse on Sunday?

MD: "I don’t really think it bears much. It’s too early. Virginia beat Syracuse last year up at the [Carrier] Dome, and Syracuse went on to win the national championship. You have two great lacrosse teams separated by a goal. They could probably play the same game in May, and Virginia could lose that game. They’re very close. I do think that Virginia is the better team right now. I voted them No. 2 in the preseason, and I voted them No. 1 after Duke lost. But I don’t think you can say that, hands down, Virginia and Syracuse are the two best teams in the country. I think North Carolina’s been real impressive early on, and they’ve met the expectations. I thought they were maybe a little bit ahead of themselves with people giving them props, but I think [junior] Chris Madalon, their goalie, is excellent, and I think their defense – although they foul a little bit too much – is huge and athletic. And I think Notre Dame is playing at a very high level. They’ve got a terrific defense, and in a year when teams are scoring 10, 12, 14 goals a game, Notre Dame is that kind of team that can keep you in single digits."

Q: Which team outside of the Top 10 has the most staying power?

MD: "This is a year when teams are winning with a lot of offense. So with that in mind, I think Stony Brook is a very dangerous team. They’ve got [junior Jordan] McBride at the attack and [junior] Kevin Crowley at the midfield. They’ve got a pretty good goalie in [senior] Charlie Paar, who was actually enrolled at Towson a couple of years ago. I guess it didn’t work out for him, and he ended up at Nassau Community College and he won the [junior college] Defensive Player of the Year award [in 2008], and now he’s in the goal for Stony Brook. They lost to Virginia, 13-8, but Stony Brook is a team that I think is really dangerous. And although they lost to Hofstra, I really like Brown. I’m really taken by what they have at the attack and a good middie in [senior] Reade Seligmann. I knew they were going to be OK in the goal with Matt Chriss from Gilman, and I think he had something like 13 or 14 saves against Hofstra. So I still have a lot of faith in Brown. But Stony Brook is the team that I think is really dangerous right now."

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Q&A

March 8, 2010

Loyola's Finnerty nabs conference award

Loyola senior attackman Collin Finnerty's eight-goal performance in two games last week earned him co-Offensive Player of the Week honors, the Eastern College Athletic Conference announced Monday.

Finnerty, who shares the award with Ohio State senior attackman Mario Ventiquattro, becomes the third Greyhounds player to be recognized by the league. Senior attackman Cooper MacDonnell won the honor two weeks ago, and junior attackman Matt Langan won last week.

Finnerty scored a career-high five goals in No. 10 Loyola's 14-8 win against Bellarmine last Wednesday and added three goals in an 11-9 loss to No. 4 Notre Dame at the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium last Saturday.

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

Hood achieves another first in school history

Last season, Hood, a Division III school, snapped a 47-game losing streak and captured the team’s first win since the program’s inception in 2005. This year, the Blazers are raising the bar.

After dropping the first two games, Hood has reeled off three consecutive wins, which is another first in school history. The optimism is growing, according to coach Curt Foxx.

"It really helps the program," Foxx said. "I think it helps the young guys get some confidence. … I told them we have the ability to be in every game this year. In years past, we had been blown out horribly, but through recruiting, developing some of these guys and the hard work they put in, we have the ability to be in every game. So we’ve tried to get them focusing on the fundamentals because when you win a game by one or two goals ort lose a game by one or two goals, then you can look at every possession and every mistake and really work on being a better team."

In back-to-back losses to Christopher Newport (14-8) and Gwynedd-Mercy (7-5), the Blazers committed more turnovers (32 to 27), collected fewer groundballs (58 to 74), won fewer face-offs (11 of 40), and finished with just a few more shots (71 to 66).

By comparison, in victories over Shenandoah (12-6), Penn State-Abington (20-0) and Washington & Jefferson (13-12 in overtime), Hood committed fewer turnovers (89 to 100), grabbed more groundballs (171 to 104), and won more face-offs (44 of 72). The offense took outshot its opponents, 126-72, and sophomore attackman Corey Roberts (Fallston) and junior attackman Domonique Shorter (Lansdowne) have registered eight goals and three assists and seven goals and two assists, respectively, during the Blazers’ run.

"There’s a team unity, and they’re really working hard," Foxx said, also citing the play of freshman goalkeeper William Lane and freshman defenseman Doug Brisbane. "If you look at our statistics, we like to spread the ball around. We don’t like to have one guy be the hero. We like everybody to score."

The rest of the season figures to get more challenging as Hood must still face Capital Athletic Conference foes Stevenson and Salisbury. Foxx said the team is staying positive, but realistic.

"We’re not going to sit there and say we’re going to get to double-digit wins or anything like that," he said. "We take it one game at a time. We’re just focused on what’s next. We forget about what happened. We make a mistake or a play, we just focus on what’s next."

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Hood

Virginia's Starsia on win against Syracuse: "We don't want to be the kings of March"

No. 2 Virginia’s 11-10 victory over No. 1 and reigning national champion Syracuse on Sunday should cement the Cavaliers as the undisputed top-ranked team in the country this week. But for Virginia coach Dom Starsia, that’s about all the win guarantees.

"We don’t want to be the kings of March, we want to be the kings of May," Starsia said Monday. "But these are the kind of games that test you a little bit, and we certainly have still got things we need to work on. But they also hearten you a little bit. … As your team continues to grow, these are the kind of experiences that make it meaningful for everybody."

Starsia’s got a point. The Cavaliers have yet to open Atlantic Coast Conference play against No. 3 North Carolina (5-0), No. 6 Duke (2-2) and No. 7 Maryland (3-0), and they have non-conference contests against No. 5 Johns Hopkins (3-1) and No. 15 Cornell (3-0).

That schedule plays right into Starsia’s philosophy of undertaking everyone and overlooking no one.

"We always try to preach this ‘no big games’ thing," he said. "And it’s almost become a little bit of a joke within the program that I’m always saying that. But the point is, we need to be able to turn around and play the next game. You don’t sell your soul for one knowing that you’ve got to play another. There are certain games on the schedule that are going to get your attention more than others – I’d be the first to admit that – and this is clearly one of them."

Other notes:

*Junior midfielder and Tewaaraton Trophy candidate Shamel Bratton did not play because of a hamstring injury, but his twin brother Rhamel took up the slack, scoring four times. Rhamel Bratton was slowed last year by a back injury, but Starsia said the midfielder has become more consistent since September. "With his brother not playing, I didn’t know where our offense was going to come from. Rhamel stepped into that void," Starsia said. "Before the game, if you had asked me to describe his play, I would’ve said, ‘Consistent.’ After the game, I would’ve said, ‘Geez, that was pretty close to spectacular.’ When you’re dodging [Syracuse’s] Joel White, one of the best long sticks in the game to score four goals and create offense your team, that’s what the big boys do, and yesterday, Rhamel played the way he’s capable of. His charge now is to sustain that kind of performance."

*One cause for concern was the manner in which the Cavaliers fell into a 5-2 hole against Syracuse, which scored all five times on extra-man opportunities. Virginia wiped out that deficit with seven unanswered goals, but the Cavaliers have to rein in their aggression, which could haunt them later. "We need to continue to cut down on the mistakes," Starsia said. "Syracuse is a team that makes you pay for your mistakes. Their first five goals were scored [on] extra man, and we just dug ourselves a hole. Next time, we might not be nearly as likely to dig out of that again. So I thought we settled down and played the rest of the game. As is going to happen early in the season, I thought we made a lot of mistakes, but I thought we also played hard and competed the whole time."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:52 PM | | Comments (0)

March 7, 2010

Western New England at Stevenson: Three things to watch

No. 2 Stevenson welcomes the first of five ranked opponents when No. 16 Western New England visits the Caves Athletic Complex on Sunday at 1 p.m. Here are three keys to a Mustangs victory.

1. Forget about the record. The Golden Bears are 0-1 after getting routed by reigning Division III national champion Cortland, 12-2, on Feb. 27. It was the season opener for Western New England, and the team is still getting acclimated to life without three All Americans in attackmen Scott Kukis and Brody Savoie and defenseman Jared Pabis. Stevenson coach Paul Cantabene said he is preparing his team for a very different-looking opponent. "I think they’re going to make a lot of changes this week and kind of attack things a little differently," he said. "I think they’ll be much better when we see them this week."

2. Get continued support from the defense and face-offs. The Mustangs (3-0) have outscored their opponents by a combined 42 goals, but they have thrived courtesy of solid play from senior goalkeeper Geoff Hebert and junior face-off specialist Ray Witte. Hebert boasts a 5.70 goals-against average and a .706 save percentage, and is "just playing really solid and making a lot of saves," Cantabene said. "He’s doing a great job of leading the defense." Witte is winning slightly more than 55 percent of his face-offs (36-of-65), but Cantabene has faith in him. We think Ray Witte has done a great job on face-offs," Cantabene said. "Although his numbers may not show it, I think he’s done a great job getting us the ball when we need it."

3. Get out fast. The Golden Bears has played just one game, hasn’t played in eight days, and is coming off of a long trip from Springfield, Mass. Meanwhile, Stevenson has played three games and gets to relax in the comforts of home. The Mustangs should take advantage of the discrepancy. "I think it helps us a little bit that we have played three games," Cantabene said in agreement. "We’re kind of into the flow of what games are like and what the officials are calling."

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

March 6, 2010

Terps' Cottle talks it up vs. Duke

Men's lacrosse coaches cry, complain and whine more than any coaches in other sports.

When Maryland played Duke on Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium, Terps coach Dave Cottle may have set an all-time record.

At one point late in the game, Cottle was so busy yelling at the officials that he didn't even make it to the huddles to discuss strategies with his team.

Bill Tierney and Tony Seaman were high on my list, but Cottle has now taken over the No. 1 position.

Posted by Mike Preston at 3:17 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Maryland

Hopkins' Boland returns from suspension

Johns Hopkins senior attackman Chris Boland was suspended for the first three games, but you expected him to play Saturday against Princeton.


Boland, a Boys' Latin graduate, missed games against Delaware, Siena and Manhattan because he violated team rules. But I wonder if Boland would have been suspended if the Blue Jays were playing a Virginia or Princeton in the first three games of the season. Interesting, huh?


Boland was on the field in the first quarter against Princeton on Saturday.

Posted by Mike Preston at 3:13 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins

Princeton vs. Johns Hopkins: Halftime thoughts

At halftime in the second game of the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium, No. 8 Princeton leads No. 5 Johns Hopkins, 7-4, and some of the uncharacteristic mistakes that plagued the Blue Jays seem to be biting them again in this game.

On three of their goals, the Tigers found a teammate alone near the left post for easy goals. Whether that's a breakdown in communication or assignments, the Johns Hopkins defense is giving Princeton players quality shots.

And senior goalkeeper Michael Gvozden -- splendid through the first three games -- has surrendered a pair of goals from at least 12 yards. The shots were hard and fast, but Gvozden had time and room to see the ball pass him.

The seven goals are the most in the first half the Blue Jays have allowed this season.

Other notes:

*Chris Boland made his first appearance in a Johns Hopkins game this year, and it didn't take him long to make an impact. The senior attackman, who had been suspended for the team's first three games for violating an unspecified team rule, entered the game after a Blue Jays timeout with 9:58 left in the first quarter, and he scored back-to-back goals in a span of 3 minutes, 43 seconds. At halftime, Boland leads his team in goals with two and has played like he's the team's best option on offense.

*All the consternation about the Tigers defense can settle down now. After giving up 14 goals in a three-goal win against then-No. 8 Hofstra last Saturday, Princeton has surrendered just four goals on 14 shots -- and zero goals in the second quarter. Sophomore goalie Tyler Fiorito has played well, including stoning Johns Hopkins junior attackman Kyle Wharton when he was alone on the crease.

*Here are some stats: Princeton leads in shots (18-14) and saves (5-4). The Blue Jays lead in groundballs (12-10), face-offs (7-6) and turnovers (4-6). Both teams are perfect on clears. (The Tigers are 7-of-7, while Johns Hopkins is 4-of-4.)

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:32 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Halftime thoughts, Johns Hopkins

UMBC, Towson and Navy also involved in significant games

While much of the lacrosse world will be focused on the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic tripleheader at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday, there are at least three other significant games involving local teams this weekend. Here’s a brief breakdown of those contests in chronological order:

*No. 3 North Carolina (4-0) at No. 19 UMBC (1-1) at noon at UMBC Stadium. This is a re-match of last year’s NCAA Tournament first-round game in which the Tar Heels bounced the Retrievers from the postseason with a 15-13 victory. If any team is familiar with North Carolina junior attackman Billy Bitter, it’s UMBC, which was burned by Bitter when he scored eight goals on nine shots last May. Bitter, one of a few preseason favorites to win the Tewaaraton Trophy, ranks second on the team in points and has scored just three goals, but he leads the offense with nine assists. "He’s dangerous any which way you look at it," coach Don Zimmerman said. "One of the reasons he’s distributing the ball is because teams know that they have to slide to him. He’s a good, smart player, and he can find the open man. To North Carolina’s credit, the guys that he’s feeding the ball to are sticking the ball in the goal. Not only is he finding the man, but they’re finishing the shots. He’s certainly as good as there is out there." Don’t be surprised if the Retrievers assign senior Bobby Atwell, their best defenseman, to mark Bitter.

*Towson (0-1) at No. 13 Stony Brook (1-1) at 1 p.m. at LaValle Stadium. A rough start that began with a 13-9 loss to No. 17 Bucknell could get even more challenging with a visit to the Seawolves, who finished second in the America East last season. Stony Brook opened the year with a 21-goal outburst against Siena, but could only muster eight against No. 2 Virginia. Still, Tigers coach Tony Seaman is well aware of what an offense that boasts junior midfielder Kevin Crowley (six goals and five assists) and junior attackman Jordan McBride (8, 2). "We know they’re good," Seaman said. "They’ve got everybody back from last year, and they were pretty successful last year as runner-up in the America East, which is a very good league. And they were picked to be either first or second in that league, depending on who you listened to. So they’re a real good team. Offensively, they’ve got some people who can really score goals." Nine different players scored last Saturday for Towson, but sophomore attackman Matt Lamon is questionable to play due to an emergency appendectomy on Feb. 20.

*No. 17 Bucknell (2-1) at No. 12 Navy (2-2) at 3 p.m. at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Four of the last six contests between these Patriot League rivals have been decided by one goal. The Bison nearly knocked off then-No. 1 Duke before falling in overtime on Feb. 13 and boast a dangerous offense powered by attackmen Tim Brandau (11 goals and two assists), Austin Winter (2, 7) and Mike Danylyshyn (6, 1). "They are, in my view, a better version of last year’s team," Midshipmen coach Richie Meade said of Bucknell, which lost to Navy by one goal in last year’s Patriot League Tournament final. "They’ve got quite a few guys coming back on the offensive end of the field. … They’re very comfortable offensively. In the midfield, they have [Charlie] Streep who everybody knows about, but they have a bunch of other guys who have developed since last year. They’re well-coached, they know what they want to do. I’ve been impressed with their skills and their ability to share the ball offensively." The Bison returned just one starting defenseman and are rotating junior Sam Finnell and freshman Kyle Feeney in the cage, which could be an area that the Midshipmen attack.

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

One uneducated analysis of Tewaaraton Trophy watch list

The Tewaaraton Trophy watch list was released yesterday, and 17 of the names belong to players who currently play for Maryland-based programs or hail from the Baltimore metropolitan area.

Johns Hopkins leads the way locally with three nominees in senior attackman Steven Boyle, senior defenseman Matt Drenan and senior midfielder Michael Kimmel.

Maryland and Navy have two each. The Terps are represented by junior long-stick midfielder Brian Farrell and junior attackman Tim Paul, while the Midshipmen include senior attackman Tim Paul and sophomore defenseman Matt Vernam.

Loyola has a nominee in senior attackman Collin Finnerty, while UMBC has senior attackman Kyle Wimer.

In addition, Stevenson is represented by senior attackman Steve Kazimer and junior attackman Jimmy Dailey.

Players with ties to the Baltimore area include Virginia senior midfielder Brian Carroll (Towson/Gilman), Georgetown senior defenseman Barney Ehrmann (Baltimore/Gilman), junior attackman Andrew Feinberg (Owings Mills/McDonogh), Princeton sophomore goalkeeper Tyler Fiorito (Phoenix/McDonogh), Notre Dame senior midfielder Grant Krebs (Annapolis/St. Mary's) and Virginia sophomore attackman Steele Stanwick (Baltimore/Loyola).

But in my opinion, the list left off a few worthy names. Locally, what about Johns Hopkins senior defenseman Sam DeVore, Loyola senior attackman Cooper MacDonnell, Maryland junior attackman Grant Catalino, Mount St. Mary's junior goalie T.C. DiBartolo and Navy senior long-stick midfielder Jaren Woeppel?

And nationally, Bucknell senior attackman Tim Brandau, Notre Dame junior midfielder Zach Brenneman, Brown junior defenseman Peter Fallon, Hofstra junior attackman Jamie Lincoln, Duke senior attackman Max Quinzani and Stony Brook junior face-off specialist Adam Rand deserve some recognition.

A few other notes on the watch list:

*There are 30 seniors, 27 juniors and seven sophomores, but no freshmen.

*Attackmen dominate, leading the way with 28 representatives. There are 16 defensemen, 12 midfielders and eight goalkeepers.

Posted by Edward Lee at 6:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Navy, Stevenson, UMBC

March 5, 2010

Maryland's Phipps rebounds from knee surgery at superhuman rate

When Brian Phipps tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during Maryland’s NCAA Tournament quarterfinal game against Syracuse last May, the initial fear was that Phipps would miss a significant part of the 2010 campaign and possibly the entire season. In fact, the general rule of thumb is that it takes many athletes the better part of a year before they can return to their field of play.

But when the Terps opened the season, there was the senior manning the net. For Phipps, sitting out his senior year was never an option.

"I’ve been through it before," the Arnold native and Severn graduate said. "So I knew that it would be a long process, but that I would be OK. I kept telling myself that it was good timing that it happened in the last game of the year, so that I would have the whole offseason to get ready. It was unfortunate, but the timing worked out well so that I could be back for my senior season."

Phipps underwent surgery in the second week of June, was cleared by mid-December, and joined his teammates for the first day of practice in the third week of January.

Admitting that he had to improve his conditioning, Phipps still practiced and got some words of advice from coach Dave Cottle.

"On the second or third day of practice, I remember there was a groundball, and I went out of the crease to go get it and didn’t even think about my knee," Phipps said. "Coach said, ‘Just stay in the crease for a little bit. Don’t push it.’ But out there, I’m just 100 percent."

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

Princeton's Fiorito on Tierney's departure: "It was definitely a shock"

There were a plethora of reasons why goalkeeper Tyler Fiorito committed to Princeton, and one of them was the presence of head coach Bill Tierney. In June, however, Tierney left the Tigers for the same position at Denver.

The sophomore from Phoenix, Md., and a graduate of McDonogh acknowledged that Tierney’s news shocked the players.

"For our sophomore class, we were recruited by Coach Tierney and we thought we could bring Princeton back to what it had been," Fiorito said. "We hadn’t won a [national] championship since 2001, so we thought we could bring it back to the NCAA Final Four and a championship. But it was definitely a shock to all of us. But the great thing was, it kind of brought us closer as a team. It was now our team, not Coach Tierney’s team. For the seniors who are now here, they stepped up, and they were great about sending e-mails to all the guys. We had no one considering transferring, which was awesome. … The biggest thing was moving on and putting a new face on the program. Coach [Chris] Bates came in, and it’s been a great transition. The program has new life, and everyone’s excited this year to show that we’re starting a new program here without Coach Tierney. It’s Coach Bates’ era right now, and it’s about our team stepping up."

Fiorito said transferring to Denver or moving to another program was never an option for him.

"I never really considered going to Denver," he said. "When you look at Princeton and what it has to offer, there are thousands of kids that wish to be in my position. So we take pride in who we are as people, we take pride in who we are as a team. When Coach Tierney left, people thought we got abandoned, but we’re going in a new direction. I have a big opportunity to leave my stamp on the program as does every player in this program right now. We have a chance to leave a legacy at Princeton with bringing Princeton back to the NCAA Final Four and the championship."

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

Notre Dame's Rodgers thriving in role he was groomed to play

Unlike Princeton’s Tyler Fiorito and Maryland’s Brian Phipps, Notre Dame senior goalkeeper Scott Rodgers has been playing that position since he took up lacrosse in the third grade.

"My dad kind of figured out that I wouldn’t be a great field player at the time because I was a little chubby kid back in the day," Rodgers recalled. "He just stuck me in the cage, and from there, it just kind of worked out."

It certainly has for Rodgers and the Fightin Irish, who are 17-1 since Rodgers became the starter at the beginning of the 2009 season. With Rodgers, Notre Dame has yet to surrender 10 goals to an opponent in a single game.

While taking great pains to spread credit around to his defense, Rodgers said the streak has some significance with him and his teammates.

"It’s one of those things that you keep in the back of your mind," he said. "It’s a good feeling when you haven’t given up double digits in goals, especially with all of the scoring going on around the country."

Rodgers’ name has been included in the conversation for the Tewaaraton Trophy, but Rodgers points out that a goalkeeper has never won the award in its nine-year history.

"It’s a great honor to be considered among that group of guys, but the reality is, a goalie has never won it," he said. "As far as being the best goalie in the country, I’m striving to be there. I don’t think I’m there yet."

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

March 4, 2010

Maryland's Yeatman named ACC Player of the Week

Senior Will Yeatman, who scored three goals in a critical 7-0 run that propelled No. 7 Maryland to a 15-13 victory over No. 9 Georgetown last Saturday, has been honored as the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Week, the league announced Thursday.

Yeatman, an attackman who has started at midfield in the Terps' two games this season, is tied for the team lead in goals with four on just seven shots.

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:04 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland

Loyola waiting on MacDonnell

No. 10 Loyola’s bid to knock off No. 4 Notre Dame in the finale of the Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday could hinge on the availability of Cooper MacDonnell.

The senior attackman is nursing a sore right shoulder that he injured in the Greyhounds’ 11-5 victory over Quinnipiac last Saturday. MacDonnell did not travel with the team, which beat Bellarmine, 14-8, on Wednesday, and he is considered questionable for Saturday’s contest.

"We were hopeful that he might be able to take the field against Bellarmine, but he was unable to do that," coach Charley Toomey said. "… He is absolutely day-to-day. We’ll see. He’s rehabbing and icing, and again, it’s day-to-day."

Toomey said he is not concerned that MacDonnell’s injury is of the season-ending variety, saying that the "worst-case scenario" is that MacDonnell – who is tied with senior attackman Collin Finnerty for the team lead in points with nine – could miss the next two weeks.

If MacDonnell cannot play Saturday, freshman Patrick Fanshaw will likely start in his place. Fanshaw, a Glyndon native and Calvert Hall graduate, scored three goals in his first career start on Wednesday.

Toomey said he hopes that the offense will get off to a better start than it did on Wednesday when the unit scored just three goals in the first half against Bellarmine.

"We missed him in the first half," Toomey said of MacDonnell. "It took us a little while to get going, but it happened so early in the Quinnipiac game that we actually have now played a game and three-quarters without him under our belts. Pat has come in and done a terrific job. I think this is where your leadership in [junior attackman] Matt Langan and [senior attackman] Collin Finnerty steps up to help the freshman, and that’s what they’ve been doing."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:45 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola

Towson working on endings

The emphasis in practice this week can be boiled down to one word for Towson: finish.

The Tigers’ 13-9 loss to No. 17 Bucknell last Saturday was an exercise in frustration as Towson (0-1) took a 9-7 lead into the fourth quarter. The way the team dropped the game reminded coach Tony Seaman of a double-overtime setback to Johns Hopkins and one-goal losses to Hofstra and Villanova – the latter occurring in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament final.

"I think the fourth quarter becomes more and more important to us," Seaman said, noting that the offense whiffed on three 10-yard shots to begin the fourth quarter and three more as the Bison protected a 10-9 edge with about three minutes left in regulation. "… We don’t get blown out. We’re always in it. But in the fourth quarter, we’ve got to learn to finish, and we’ve got to learn to overcome that and beat some teams in the fourth quarter. We’ve got to learn to finish those games and become a winner instead of a close loser."

The Tigers got goals from nine different players, and one of them was freshman Matt Hughes, who contributed one goal and one assist against Bucknell. Seaman said Hughes got the nod to start for sophomore Matt Lamon and over sophomore Sean Maguire because Maguire and sophomore Stephen Norris share similar styles.

"Matt gives us the ability to dodge, and he’s so quick and fast, that he’s just a different kind of player," Seaman said. "He’s even more similar to what Matt Lamon was and what we had Matt Lamon doing."

Lamon, the sophomore attackman, is still recovering from an emergency appendectomy on Feb. 20. He is questionable for Saturday’s road game against No. 13 Stony Brook.

"Hopefully, we get Matt back on the field," Seaman said. "That’s a day-by-day process. So we’ll see what happens. … If he’s ready to play, we’ll put him on the field."

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

March 3, 2010

Navy rebounds, snaps two-game losing streak

Navy snapped a two-game losing skid by taking care of Lehigh, 8-3, Tuesday night, and the reasons behind the victory are pretty elementary.

After committing 24 turnovers each in back-to-back losses to No. 10 Loyola and No. 3 North Carolina, the No. 12 Midshipmen coughed up the ball just 14 times against the Mountain Hawks.

"It’s not rocket science," coach Richie Meade said. "If you’re up around 20, 23 turnovers, you’re going to struggle. It doesn’t matter who you are. We’ve looked at everything that we’ve done in terms of all the games, and offensively, our lack of being impressive is well-documented. But when we’ve played offense, we’ve played OK. It’s about being in the position to be able to play offense."

Navy’s improved protection of the ball led to more and extended opportunities on offense. After the attack finished with zero goals and assists against the Tar Heels, seniors Brendan Connors and Kyle Kapron, junior Andy Warner and sophomore Ryan O’Leary combined for five goals and four assists against Lehigh.

Meade acknowledged that the unit is still developing a chemistry without senior Tim Paul, who is out for the remainder of the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee against Loyola.

"I think it’s tough," Meade said. "We’ve always played a lot of guys, but I think they’re starting to get a feeling for how the third guy fits in now. … Some of these other guys are not as experienced. They’re starting to learn to play together."

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:05 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Navy

Towson faces string of tough games

Towson is only a game into its 2010 season, but the Tigers face another big game Saturday when they travel to Stony Brook. The Tigers could have gained themselves some breathing room with a win against Bucknell in the season opener, but Towson lost, 13-9, in a game in which they led for nearly 50 minutes.
 After Stony Brook Saturday, the Tigers are on the road again the following week against Maryland before hosting Navy and Virginia. Then Towson is on the road at Loyola.
 Last year, the Tigers had to get on a roll to save the job of head coach Tony Seaman. They might be in the same situation again this season.
Posted by Mike Preston at 1:08 PM | | Comments (0)

Gravante on Mount St. Mary's: "Maybe they think think they're better than they are"

Mount St. Mary’s is on spring break, but it’s no vacation for the Mountaineers.

After a listless performance in a 14-7 loss to a Jacksonville program in its first year of Division I lacrosse on Tuesday night, Mount St. Mary’s coach Tom Gravante expressed disappointment in his players and their 0-2 start.

"Maybe they think they’re better than they are, which appears to be the message that they’re sending with their body language and their effort," Gravante said Wednesday morning. "So we’re going to have to break them down in practice and build them back up because they’re not playing good lacrosse."

The Mountaineers’ struggles are surprising considering that the team was coming off a year in which it finished second in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and made the tournament championship game for the league’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament despite playing with 17 freshmen. Gravante vowed to bench starters and call up reserves to find the right mix of players.

"I’m going to have to make some changes in personnel," Gravante said. "Kids are going to have to take a seat and fight their way back into the lineup if they’re not playing good lacrosse. Offensively, our attack is just not playing to help lead this team. You’ve got to have great middies, but the offense starts with your attack. They’re the guys who are supposed to create and keep the team solid offensively, and they’re just not doing it. We’ve got a good one in Cody Lehrer who can shoot the lights off the cage, but there’s nothing else out there with him. So we have to make some adjustments in both practice and with personnel."

Lehrer, a sophomore from Baltimore who played at Dulaney, leads the team in scoring with eight points on seven goals and one assist, but is getting little assistance. Fellow starting attackmen Christian Kellett and Brett Schmidt combined for just two assists in the loss to the Dolphins, who outscored the Mountaineers, 9-3, after sophomore midfielder Bryant Schmidt scored to bring Mount St. Mary’s to a 5-4 deficit with 9:12 left in the third quarter.

Gravante took issue with his defense not protecting junior goalkeeper T.C. DiBartolo, but he reserved his harshest criticism for the lack of offense.

"We’re not giving the defense any support by not maintaining possession and organization on offense," he said. "So yeah, there’s plenty of ball left, but we’ve got to correct our problems quickly and get on track or else it will be a tough season for all. … It’s real disappointing when you’ve got one of the best goalies in the country and the best thing they can do for him is give him seven goals."

With Mount St. Mary’s not scheduled to play until March 16 against Robert Morris, Gravante said he will use the break as an opportunity to review his players and his coaching staff.

"Some kids have had their chances, and they’ve done nothing but play poorly," he said. "So they had their chance, and now they’re going to sit. I’m going to go with other kids. They’re going to get hand-slapped and have to play themselves back into a starting job by the 16th. But for now, there’s going to be changes come Friday both in personnel and within my staff on a few things, and we’re going to see if they respond. We’ll go with those who can versus those who can’t. Players make plays. If you’re faced with adversity from the coaching staff, you have to respond or lose your job. … So I’m going to use this time to get more organized, get kids more hungry and more angry and to play with more passion."

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

March 2, 2010

Pietramala: Hopkins almost fell into "trap game"

Many fans are anticipating No. 5 Johns Hopkins’ upcoming contest against No. 8 Princeton at the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday. But the Blue Jays’ narrow 8-7 win against Siena on Sunday is still on coach Dave Pietramala’s mind.

Specifically, Pietramala said the team almost played its way into the loss column by overlooking the Saints from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

"I don’t think our team had quite the right approach to the game," he said Tuesday morning. "We’re a product of our preparation and being excited and enthusiastic. I just didn’t sense that in pre-game and in the locker room. Now, that doesn’t mean that the guys weren’t excited to play, but I just think the guys allowed themselves to be distracted by two convincing wins and the game that Siena had against Stony Brook where they gave up 21 goals. … I just don’t think we played with the necessary energy and effort, and I don’t think we showed the maturity level that we needed to show to put the two wins behind us and put Princeton at M&T Bank behind us. Simply put, we didn’t play well. They played well, and we did not. We turned the ball over. That was probably the most consistent thing we did, turn it over. If you watched us in the first two games, we’ve got some young guys who turned it over here, but that wasn’t a consistent thing, and in the first two games, we played extremely hard. And yet, we go into this one, and it’s one of those trap games. They think they’re getting you at the right time, and you as a coach know that if we don’t show up and play well, anything can happen. And it almost did."

One area of concern has been the team’s inability to protect the ball. Johns Hopkins has turned the ball over 60 times, which is the most in a three-game span since the school recorded turnovers in 2003.

Pietramala said that he is almost willing to deal with turnovers from the large number of freshmen who have been playing, but that wasn’t the case when the Blue Jays coughed up 29 turnovers against Siena.

"This past Sunday, it was unacceptable," he said. "It kind of went beyond the growth process, and to be honest with you, it wasn’t just the young guys. It was everyone. Everyone took their turn. [Senior goalkeeper] Michael Gvozden took his turn one time, throwing the ball out of bounds. [Senior midfielder] Michael Kimmel took his turn, [senior midfielder] Max Chautin took his turn, [senior attackman] Steven Boyle took his turn. … Hopefully, it was a very, very valuable learning experience."

Johns Hopkins will meet Princeton on Saturday, but senior attackman Chris Boland’s status remains unchanged.

"Chris has his timetable from us, and when he’s out there, he’s out there," Pietramala said of the suspension of Boland, who has sat out the first three games. "We’ve always felt like anything that goes on with our team, we try to take care of it very privately, and it’s not meant to be disrespectful to the media or the fans. We just think it’s an in-house thing, and our kids and our program deserve that privacy. We’ve handled, and Chris knows when he’ll be back, and when that time comes, you’ll see him out on the field."

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:45 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins

Q&A with ESPN's Quint Kessenich

While helping me with a feature advancing Saturday's Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic, ESPN analyst Quint Kessenich, an All-American goalkeeper who helped Johns Hopkins capture the 1987 national championship, shared his thoughts on the first month of the 2010 campaign.

Question: Who are your favorites to win the Tewaaraton Trophy?

Quint Kessenich: "Ned Crotty of Duke, the preseason favorite, I would have to say that he is not rising because I’m not sure with all of the preseason hype how he could rise. Duke’s loss may have hurt him a little. Michael Kimmel’s gotten off to a great start for Hopkins. Cooper MacDonnell of Loyola is a senior who has exceeded expectations. But the Tewaaraton is really a team trophy. Shamel Bratton [of Virginia] is off to a slow start. He’s only shooting 2-of-14 right now. The season may be a month old, but for a lot of teams – Brown hasn’t played yet, Cornell only has one game – it’s still in the infancy stage."

Q: Which teams do you like to make the Final Four?

QK: "We’ll get to see all of these teams in Baltimore, and then on Sunday, I’m going down to Virginia and Syracuse. Next week, I get to see Carolina-Duke and then Georgetown-Syracuse. So by March 13, I will have seen basically the entire top 10 minus a Cornell and some of the fringe teams. I think I’ll be pretty comfortable then, but having not seen them, I hate to make a prediction. Having not seen Syracuse, I can’t tell you. I know what they are on paper, but I just don’t feel comfortable making a prediction."

Q: In your latest rankings for Inside Lacrosse, you ranked Virginia at No. 1 and Syracuse at No. 2, and you've been getting a lot of criticism for that. Can you explain your reasoning behind the rankings?

QK: "Because a lot of people in central New York log on and read it when I got it that way. No, I just think that Virginia is going to be Syracuse on Sunday. They’re at home, and they beat them last year in the [Carrier] Dome, and Virginia returns a better lineup on paper than Syracuse does. Syracuse lost all sorts of All Americans last year, a great senior class in Matt Abbott, Dan Hardy, Kenny Nims, Sid Smith. Those were four top-notch pro players. I know Syracuse still returns a lot, but I just think that Virginia would have to rate a slight favorite at home on march 7, and that’s why they get my nod for a first-place vote. The tough spots in my poll are the [Nos.] 4-5 area. Hopkins has the name, and they’re winning, but they were as unimpressive against Siena as it gets. So I really struggle with where they should be. Teams like Georgetown and Delaware have a lot of talent, but they’ve got to win some games."

Q: What has been the biggest surprise of the season thus far?

QK: "The biggest surprise has been how these mid-level teams have been playing. There are no free Saturdays. Every team now is very well-coached, has pretty good talent, and if you’re not ready to play and focused, you could be in trouble. … You get these teams who are way outside the top 20 who can now jump up and be competitive. There are no free Saturdays, and I like that. Does that mean that one of those teams could win a national championship? Obviously not, but you see the growth of the high school game really impacting those lower programs to where they have really good players."

Q: Is it fair to say that Sunday's game between Syracuse and Virginia is the most anticipated match-up of the season?

QK: "As long as I have been covering lacrosse, that has always been the best game in the month of March. It usually sets up the rest of the season. It’s usually a high-scoring game, great action, both coaches – being this early in the season – don’t over-control the game, and so it’s a fun game for the fans to watch. … That’s always a barometer. How many times has the winner of that game then been the No. 1 team in the nation?

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Q&A

March 1, 2010

Loyola's Langan cited by ECAC

Thanks to a three-goal, three-assist effort on Saturday, Loyola junior attackman Matt Langan earned the Eastern College Athletic Conference's co-Offensive Player of the Week award.

Langan, who shared the honor with Denver sophomore attackman Alex Demopoulos, set a personal record with his six-point outing in the 11-5 victory over Quinnipiac. The three goals tied a personal best set two years ago against Rutgers, and the three assists were a career high.

Langan leads the No. 10 Greyhounds (2-0) with five assists this season.

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:48 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola

UMBC's Cohen plays well, earns second straight start

The No. 19 Retrievers got their first win of the season, edging Rutgers, 6-5, on Sunday. It was also notable that goalkeeper Adam Cohen earned his first career victory.

The freshman made six saves, including one in the final minute of the game. The Arnold native and Severn graduate impressed coach Don Zimmerman.

"I thought Adam did well," Zimmerman said. "He made some nice saves, and I thought he cleared well – although he gave up one on a bad clearing pass. But that’s going to happen. For a freshman to get in there and get a win, I thought that was real important for him and for the team."

Zimmerman has already decided that Cohen will start Saturday when No. 3 North Carolina (4-0) visits UMBC Stadium.

"We’re going to come back with Adam Cohen," Zimmerman said. "He started in the goal for us and got the win. I thought he did a good job. As I clarified, we’re into a one-goalie system, and right now, Adam Cohen’s our starter."

Other notes:

*In just two games, Bobby Stockton has already reached a season high in goals with six and is two shy to matching his total in his career. The junior midfielder has scored three goals in each contest and has become a nice complement to senior Kyle Wimer, who leads the team in points with eight. "Bobby’s doing a good job with the ball," Zimmerman said of Stockton, who also has recorded an assist. "He’s certainly proved to be a pretty dangerous threat. He still has to work on being a complete middie for us and making good decisions. He goes to the goal, and he’s effective at that, but he’s also got to understand that if he doesn’t have a great opportunity, make the simple play. But we’re pleased. He’s a kid who’s real passionate about the game and wants to do well and works hard, and it’s starting to pay off."

*It’s early, but the Retrievers may have found their face-off specialist in J.D. Harkey. The junior won 10-of-13 face-offs (.769) against Rutgers and is currently 19-of-36 (.528) for the season. Harkey is thriving as sophomore Justin Radebaugh continues to recover from concussion-related symptoms. "J.D.’s coming off of an ACL [that he tore on March 3], and he’s a hard-working kid," Zimmerman said. "He certainly worked hard during the offseason to get that knee back and ready to go. I think that’s kind of carried over into his approach for facing off for us. With Justin Radebaugh out, J.D. had an opportunity to step up and be our guy, and he’s really done a great job. Yesterday, he just really came through. He won 10-of-13 and won the first six, and that just allowed us to get off to a good start. I’m just real pleased with his effort and his performance."

*Sunday’s contest was actually postponed a day as Rutgers was pelted by a snowstorm on Friday, making travel conditions on Friday for UMBC difficult. But the delay didn’t bother the Retrievers, Zimmerman said. "It’s all part of it," he said. "You’ve got to be able to adapt and adjust. We were set to go up on Friday and play Saturday, but we got the call that the storm was coming in and the Rutgers people felt it would have been better to delay the game by a day. We just had to adjust a little bit."

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:08 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: UMBC
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Faceoff is The Baltimore Sun's blog devoted to college and high school lacrosse. Faceoff contributors include Sun reporters Edward Lee, Mike Preston and Katherine Dunn.

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