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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
        

Comments

Q, 2 questions (I hope you remember me from our days against the Iroquois National way back when ("Cappy" from the 'Wick and the old Mohawk days)....1) The body check needs to be incorporated back in the game. I completely understand illegal body checks but it seems like we're calling it a little too tight at the D1 level...change the rules as to not handcuff the officials and players (trust me that I am close to the cuncussion situation and turned to a Riddell helmet personally...but the checking calls have seemed to swing the wrong way)...thought I picked up some questioning on this in recent broadcast of Cornell/Princeton game; 2) We're providing some great local talent but want to know you're opinion that it is Soph's that need to be the ones committing? That to me would negate the natural progression and loading HS Varsity teams with frosh and sophs to get them visibility but takes away maturity potential of JRs and SRs. I know the answer but would like your take for parents on this post.

Cappy.

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About Faceoff
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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