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April 30, 2010

Navy ready for Patriot League Tournament

No sooner had Navy vanquished some personal demons by snapping a 36-game losing streak to Johns Hopkins on Saturday, the players and coaches began studying for the Patriot League Tournament, which kicks off Friday.

"You don’t get much time [to celebrate], and that’s probably good," coach Richie Meade said. "Obviously, that was a great win for us, but it’s only one game in the season."

With a 6-7 record, the Midshipmen must defeat Lafayette in a tournament semifinal on Friday and then get past the winner of the No. 20 Army-Bucknell semifinal to make a seventh consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

That’s not unfamiliar territory for Navy, which has captured five of the last six Patriot League crowns, but Meade pointed out the strength of this year’s field.

"I’m not so sure that what has happened in the past is really going to affect this year’s team or this year’s tournament," he said. "Army’s riding a five-game winning streak, Bucknell has won two in a row. Bucknell was one of the teams picked to win it. I think they’re very talented. I think Army has had a good year, and they’re playing well. Lafayette beat our brains in [15-8 on March 12]. It wasn’t a fluke. They could have won by more than they won the night that we played them. They’re a very good offensive team and a good team overall. They’ve had the best year they’ve ever had in several years. So I think it’s going to be interesting."

Considering the Leopards’ convincing victory, did the Midshipmen crave another shot at Lafayette?

"We’re not gunning for Lafayette, but I think it was a game we would have liked to have back," Meade said. "We don’t have any excuses. They out-groundballed us, they outshot us, they outhustled us, they beat us all over the field. It was more disappointing – not that we lost, but the way that we lost – than any other game that we’ve played here that I can remember. So from that perspective, that game stands by itself. We’re going to get to play the same team. They’re a very good team. We have very great respect for them, and we had very great respect for them going into it. But I think it’s fortunate for us to play Lafayette, and it’s not because we want revenge or anything, but it’s because we understand how well we’re going to need to play to be able to beat them. I think that’s motivating for us. That’s the perspective I’m looking at."

The jury is still out on whether senior long-stick midfielder Jaren Woeppel will be able to play this weekend. Meade said Woeppel practiced on Monday and Tuesday, but on a limited basis.

"He didn’t get through all of practice," Meade said. "I still think he’s questionable for Friday night. We probably won’t decide until Friday, but he’s definitely better than he was last week. We’re hoping that he can play. I’m optimistic that he’s going to play, but we can’t say he’s going to play."

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

Hagelin finds home at Loyola

Friday’s edition of The Sun included an article on Loyola junior Jake Hagelin, who is just one of two Division I goalkeepers to rank in the top five in the country in both save percentage and goals-against average.

Hagelin’s journey to the Greyhounds was somewhat atypical. Despite boasting a 54-4 record as a starter for the Boys’ Latin junior-varsity squad as a freshman and the varsity team for his final three years, Hagelin was not heavily recruited by a Division I school.

"I was actually going to do a prep year," said Hagelin, who did not want to follow his older brother Adam to Towson. "I looked there, but I didn’t really want to go to Towson. I wanted to make a name for myself, I guess."

It just so happened that towards the end of the spring of 2007, Loyola was losing a goalie as Joe Marra transferred to Fairfield.

"It was a win-win situation for certainly Joe Marra and for Loyola University and for Jake," Greyhounds coach Charley Toomey said. "He came in and started as a freshman for us, and by his own admission, he probably had a little bit of a down year during his sophomore year, but this is the Jake we know."

Hagelin has had to hold off fifth-year senior Alex Peaty for starting goaltending duties, but Hagelin said their relationship is not adversarial.

"I’ve always wanted to be the full-time goalie, but if he went in, I was prepared to back him up," he said. "And he’s always prepared to play, too, if anything happens to me. We support each other, and I’d be willing to play his role if that happened."

Toomey, who praised Hagelin’s calm demeanor, said his goalie has a playful side. After every practice, Hagelin will spice up ball-collecting responsibilities by trying to roll a ball or two toward a coach and hit him in the foot or leg.

"He can be all the way over there picking balls up and you’ll be talking to another coach and you’ll just get hit with a ball in the leg," Toomey said. "Then you just look across the field and he’ll do one of these [Toomey mimics a fist pump]. That’s the kind of kid he is. He is a happy-go-lucky kid."

Hagelin did differ with his coach on one aspect of that yarn. He said he has never aimed at Toomey – at least not intentionally. "If I did, it was probably because of a dare," Hagelin said with a grin.

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

April 29, 2010

Stevenson, Salisbury, St. Mary's dominate all-conference teams

No. 1 Stevenson, No. 3 Salisbury and St. Mary's peppered the All-Capital Athletic Conference teams announced Wednesday by the league.

The Mustangs, who became the first program other than Salisbury to capture the tournament championship, put six players on the all-conference first team, including all three attackmen in seniors Steve Kazimer and Richie Ford (Towson) and junior Jimmy Dailey (Winters Mills). Junior defenseman Evan Douglass, junior midfielder Kyle Moffit and junior face-off specialist Ray Witte also made the first team.

The Sea Gulls were represnted by five first-team players, including sophomore midfielder Sam Bradman who was named the Player of the Year. Bradman, who is the only Division III player among the 26 semifinalists for the Tewaaraton Award, is the 16th straight Salisbury player to be named the conference's Player of the Year.

The Sea Gulls placed senior midfielder Mike Von Kamecke, junior defenseman Collin Tokosch (Broadneck), senior long-stick midfielder Connor Burgasser and junior goalkeeper Johnny Rodriguez (Mount St. Joseph) on the first team. Jim Berkman was selected as the Coach of the Year for the eighth time in his career.

St. Mary's senior defenseman Ryder Henry also made the first team.

The second team was headlined by Salisbury and St. Mary's, both of which placed three players on the squad.

The Sea Gulls were represented by sophomore attackman Matt Cannone, sophomore defenseman Andrew Sellers (Archbishop Curley) and senior face-off specialist Ryan Finch (Westminster). The Seahawks included junior attackman Dennis Rosson (Severn), senior midfielder Ryan Alexander (Pallotti) and junior defenseman Sean Hatley (Archbishop Spalding).

Stevenson put senior long-stick midfielder Mike Gustowarow and senior goalie Geoff Hebert (Dulaney) on the second team. A pair of York players and Fallston natives in senior attackman Ryan McNicholas and senior defenseman James Greenwood also joined the second team.

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Salisbury, St. Mary's, Stevenson
        

Postscript from Towson at Johns Hopkins

Moments after Johns Hopkins’ 13-6 rout of No. 19 Towson at Homewood Field on Wednesday night in what amounted to a must-win game for the Blue Jays, one fan could be heard screaming, "We’re alive!"

That’s true, but the players and coaches are well aware that there is no room for error or a mulligan at this late stage of the regular season. A loss to No. 6 Loyola in the season finale on May 8 would doom Johns Hopkins (6-7) to a losing record and automatically take the team out of consideration for making a 39th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

"You try not to think about it," senior attackman Steven Boyle said. "You’ve just got to come out and do the things you’ve always done. You’ve got to come out and practice hard and watch film and study the opponent."

For seniors like Boyle, midfielder Michael Kimmel and defensemen Sam DeVore and Matt Drenan, this season has been especially difficult because they don’t want their careers to be remembered for ending "The Streak."

"We won a national championship as freshmen [in 2007], but you’re always remembered for what you do as you go out the door," Kimmel said. "… If we don’t make the playoffs, it’s obviously a huge disappointment, and that hasn’t happened in the last 38 years here at Hopkins. It definitely weighs on us a lot, but it also definitely motivates us."

A victory over the Greyhounds won’t necessarily guarantee Johns Hopkins a spot in the NCAA Tournament, but the Blue Jays hope a resume that includes an RPI of 14 and a schedule that included contests against No. 1 Syracuse, No. 2 Virginia, No. 3 Maryland, No. 4 North Carolina, No. 6 Loyola and No. 7 Princeton will be enough.

"All [Wednesday night’s win] means is that we’ve got another chance to play for something other than pride," coach Dave Pietramala said. "We have a chance to play for something next Saturday. And I truly believe that we are playing for something. If we have the good fortune of winning it, I think we have every right to expect to be considered. Do I think we’ll get in? I have no idea, but we’d have two things which a lot of people don’t have, and that’s two top-10 RPI wins."

Other notes:

*For the first time in almost three weeks, Johns Hopkins collected more groundballs than its opponent, scooping up 28 loose balls to the Tigers’ 19. In the previous two contests, the Blue Jays lost that battle, 31-21, in a 10-9 loss to the Terps and, 35-21, in a 9-8 overtime setback to the Midshipmen. The players spent about an hour on Monday working on various drills centered on groundballs, and Pietramala was relieved to see their work play out against Towson. "If we didn’t win groundballs tonight, I might’ve jumped off a building because we’ve spent the last three weeks talking about groundballs, and it’s killed us in the last two games," he said. "I went into halftime and the first thing I said was, ‘Good job, keep it up, but we’re only winning by three groundballs.’ Then we pulled away in the second half."

*Johns Hopkins’ next game is 10 days away, which is the longest lay-off of the season for the players and coaches. It won’t be vacation, however, as players will participate in some form of practice on the weekend, and Pietramala and some of the coaches will travel to Denver to watch Loyola take on the No. 18 Pioneers at Invesco Field. before playing against Loyola. Asked if the long rest can be viewed as positive or negative, Pietramala said, "I can’t tell you until we play. If we play well, then it was great. If we play lousy, then you’re going to look at me and go, ‘Why the hell did you schedule it that way?’ But we have a lot of academic stuff right now. It’ll give us a chance to really take our time and look at Loyola, and we need to do that. It’ll be an important game plan. We’ll get to go scout them in person. I saw them against Georgetown with Coach [Bobby] Benson, and then we’ll see them again against Denver. That will be important and it will give us a chance to rest some bumps and bruises and take care of some academics. We’ll practice a little bit this weekend. We won’t take every day off. We can’t afford to. But we’ll be able to work on things that we need to work on instead of just worrying about Loyola."

*It’s no secret that Kyle Wharton owns one of the fastest shots in the game, but even the junior attackman was surprised that his second goal of the evening with 10:47 left in the fourth quarter ripped a portion of the net. Both Boyle and Kimmel said they had never seen anything like that, and Wharton said he had never done that. "Not on one of those big nets," he said. "Those are pretty thick. There must have been something wrong with it because there’s a little slice. They already said they’re billing me for it."

*Towson (6-6) did not show the poise or efficiency that it had built during its five-game winning streak. The first half was especially torturous as the offense committed turnovers on its first three possessions, senior midfielder Will Harrington doubled his season total in penalties, and fifth-year midfielder Christian Pastirik rushed two shots from long distance that Blue Jays freshman goalie Pierce Bassett easily gobbled up. "We tried to have three or four separate players try to do their own thing at the beginning of the game and took some ridiculous shots from way outside and did all the things we weren’t supposed to do," coach Tony Seaman said. "In the second half, we charactered up and figured out how we can play again and how we played the last five weeks. I thought we played pretty well in the second half. I’d like to forget the first half for the rest of my life."

*Life won’t get easier for the Tigers, who will travel to Long Island to take on a No. 16 Hofstra team that is mathematically eliminated from the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament, but is very much in the running for the NCAA Tournament. "They’re out of the [conference] tournament, but they’re still in the [NCAA] picture if they beat us," Seaman said. "So we get the No. 2 desperate team in the world. It causes you to play a little better sometimes when that happens."

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:05 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Postscript, Towson
        

Loyola's Dircks regaining form

Contrary to popular belief and even reports on this blog, Steve Dircks’ 2009 season was not lost because he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. The Loyola redshirt junior defenseman set the record straight by stating that he fractured his kneecap, which cost him all of last year.

That still makes his play this season remarkable.

Despite not regaining his starter’s status until the fourth game of the season, Dircks has collected 25 groundballs and caused seven turnovers for a unit that ranks first among Division I defenses in average goals allowed (7.2).

Greyhounds coach Charley Toomey said Dircks appears to be the same defenseman who was named to the All-Eastern College Athletic Conference second team two years ago, and Dircks didn’t vehemently disagree.

"I’d say that I’m a lot better than what I was," he said. "The injury to my knee probably helped me in helping me overcome adversity. It made me come back stronger. As a sophomore, I dislocated my elbow and I was out for a while, and then I got better from that injury. I got better in my communication and overall defensive awareness. I may have lost a little bit on-ball, but I’m getting that back."

Still, Dircks has regrets about being sidelined last season, most of which center on missing out on playing together with former attackman Shane Koppens for one last time.

"I remember two years ago after we lost to Duke, Coach said, ‘Shane Koppens is coming back.’ I was like, ‘Awesome. I get to play another year with Shane,’" Dircks recalled. "When that injury happened, Shane was the first one to call and say, "Sorry about it.’ It was very upsetting not to practice, not to be with the team."

At first, his surgically-repaired knee was slow to respond to treatment, and Dircks missed much of fall ball. Returning in time for the spring, he played sparingly in the season opener against Navy before working his way back into starting lineup against Notre Dame.

"At first, I didn’t feel confident at all because I had this constant thought in my head that something was going to happen to my knee," Dircks said. "But come game time, you’re just focusing on the game, not on yourself. I was just going to go 100 percent, and hopefully, all went well."

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

Q&A with ESPN analyst Paul Carcaterra

ESPN analyst Paul Carcaterra is a former All-American midfielder at Syracuse who will be covering No. 1 Syracuse at No. 11 Notre Dame on Saturday night for ESPNU. In the second of a two-part question-and-answer session, Carcaterra discussed the crowded field for the Ivy League Tournament, a team flying under the radar for an at-large bid, and his thoughts on the leading candidates for the Tewaaraton Award.

Question: Of the seven teams in the Ivy League, six have a shot at qualifying for the four-team conference tournament. Which team do you think will emerge as the league champion?

Paul Carcaterra: "It’s tough. You’d think a few weeks ago that it was Princeton, but they’ve shown that they’re vulnerable. Cornell has a crack at them before the tournament even starts. I think a lot has to rest on the outcome of that game. There really is a ton of parity in that conference with all of those teams beating one another. There’s really no one clear-cut favorite. I don’t think there’s one team that is much more talented than the rest, too. If you look at Princeton, they’ve had spurts where they’re really good, but you also have to question how much production they get consistently out of their midfield. I think Syracuse exposed them when they took [junior attackman Jack] McBride completely out of the game. A team that is interesting is Brown. Even in their losses, they’ve played teams really tough. They lost to Duke by a goal down in Durham. They have the Harvard win, they have the Cornell win. I like Brown. I think [coach] Lars Tiffany gets a ton out of those kids. The one team that I seem to think is slightly overrated is Cornell, and I say that because they lost to Dartmouth, they lost to Brown, they got blown out by Virginia, and they lost that heartbreaker to Syracuse. Who are their credible wins? Stony Brook and Army are their best two wins, I think. I just think that team has kind of stuck around as a top-10 team all along, and I’m starting to question how good they are. They’re just not a team that I think has played up to that ranking consistently. So to answer your question, it’s really hard. There are five teams and three or four of them can win the Ivy League legitimately."

Q: Who do you like to win the Patriot League Tournament and claim the first berth in the NCAA Tournament?

PC: "Army. They’re really battle-tested. If you look over the years, they’ve played a ton of one-goal games, and I think that’s helped them mature. This season, they’re starting to win a lot more of those one-goal games as opposed to last year when they lost five one-goal games. They had a tough early start to the season, and now they’re really clicking. I think they know how to win those tight games. A lot changes when you start winning those games. You get a sense of maturity and you understand the difference in those tight games."

Q: What team is flying under the radar and worthy of an at-large bid?

PC: "Villanova. If they beat Georgetown in the last week of the season, it’d be tough to say not to that team. If they beat Drexel, Notre Dame and Georgetown, how do you leave them out? I’m not saying this team is poised to make a run at the Final Four, but if they beat Georgetown, you have to think they’re in."

Q: Is there an individual who has separated himself as the leading candidate to win the Tewaaraton Award?

PC: "No, I don’t. I think a lot of people tend to think that [North Carolina junior attackman] Billy Bitter is the favorite. He’s as good of a dodging attackman I’ve seen since [former Syracuse attackman and two-time Tewaaraton Trophy winner] Mike Powell in 2004, but I think so much of that award hinges on a couple of things. One, when you play the attack position, your point total matters, and so does your team’s success. North Carolina is a little nicked up with [senior midfielder Sean] DeLaney out, and [Bitter’s] been kind of held in check the last couple games with Maryland shutting him out [in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament semifinals last Friday]. If they make a run and he’s fantastic in the playoffs, I think he will separate himself. But from start to finish, the most consistent star in my eyes has been [Syracuse junior goalkeeper] John Galloway. I think so not because I’m a Syracuse guy, but because if you look at what he’s done and his whole body of work, he’s been incredible. Even in the team’s one loss, that might have been his best game of the year. If you look at the entire body of work and what he does for his team, Galloway is certainly right in the mix. There is one kid who I think doesn’t get the recognition but should definitely be a finalist, and that’s [Stony Brook junior midfielder] Kevin Crowley. I think he leads the country in points, he gets long-pole attention every single game, he’s the guy on the scouting report to stop, but no one’s been able to do it. He’s a guy where people need to start looking past the marquee programs and really take a good look at what he’s done. You can’t dismiss his success this year. If he’s not a finalist, something’s wrong."

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

April 28, 2010

Towson at Johns Hopkins: Halftime thoughts

History appears to be safe as Johns Hopkins is basically putting a choke hold on No. 19 Towson’s attempt to keep the Blue Jays out of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 39 years.

Johns Hopkins is cruising right now, leading by a comfortable 8-0 at halftime here at Homewood Field in Baltimore.

A Tigers victory would have guaranteed the Blue Jays a sub-.500 finish, which would have automatically made them ineligible for consideration for the NCAA Tournament. But Towson (6-5) has appeared lifeless in the first half, committing turnovers on the first three offensive possessions and taking low-percentage shots that freshman goalkeeper Pierce Bassett (nine saves) has stopped easily.

The Tigers, who own a five-game winning streak, have also committed six penalties – four of which were the 1-minute variety – and are in the midst of their worst deficit of the season.

Meanwhile, Johns Hopkins (5-7) is flexing its muscles and quite easily as the offensive players have raced past Towson’s defenders for easy scores, four of which have come from in front of the cage.

Other notes:

*On Senior Night, the Blue Jays’ seniors are leading the way with midfielder Michael Kimmel posting three points on two goals and one assist and attackman Steven Boyle adding a goal and an assist. Sophomore attackman Tom Palasek has registered a goal and an assist.

*Even though the Tigers have been flagged six times, Johns Hopkins has converted just one extra-man opportunity. The Blue Jays have committed seven penalties – including being two-men down with 8:09 left in the second quarter – but Towson senior midfielder Will Harrington failed to catch a pass from junior attackman Tim Stratton, and the ball rolled out of bounds, giving possession to Johns Hopkins, which promptly killed the penalty.

*This is the Blue Jays’ largest lead at halftime since March 1, 2008 when they led Princeton, 10-1, during the Face-Off Classic. This is the first time the Tigers have gone scoreless in a half since March 14, 2009 when Virginia shut out Towson in the second half en route to an 11-2 victory.

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:20 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Halftime thoughts, Johns Hopkins, Towson
        

Towson at Johns Hopkins: Three things to watch

Wednesday night’s contest features two teams moving in opposing directions. No. 19 Towson (6-5) has won five straight games and is the top seed in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament. Johns Hopkins (5-7) has dropped six of its last seven contests and must win its final two games of the regular season to even warrant consideration for the NCAA Tournament. Homewood Field should be the site of some fireworks.

One key to a Towson win: The Tigers have won their last three contests by a total of three goals, which is a testament to the defense. During the team’s 1-5 start, opponents averaged 11.7 goals per game and four teams scored at least 10 goals. During the winning streak, the goals-per-game average has dipped to 7.8, and no opposing offense has reached 10 goals. Even with the season-ending knee injury to freshman Ben Strauss, sophomore Marc Ingerman and seniors Joe Wascavage and Cameron Zook have produced, and junior defensive midfielder Peter Mezzanotte leads the team with 21 caused turnovers. "We’re a team defense," coach Tony Seaman said. "That’s what we base everything on. We don’t have the stars or the first-team All Americans that everyone’s talking about or even the second-team All Americans. We’ve just got a bunch of guys that play really well together as a team, and we hope to God our goalie is up to making some saves against some difficult shots."

One key to a Johns Hopkins win: A program traditionally praised for its strong defense has been a little leaky this season. Opponents are averaging 9.5 goals against the Blue Jays. While that is better than last year’s unit that surrendered 10.3 goals per game, it’s still the second-worst average allowed by the defense under coach Dave Pietramala. Towson is averaging 9.2 goals, but boasts seven players with at least 10 points each. "The sum of the whole for them is greater than the parts, and I think that’s a credit to their coaching staff getting those kids to play well together," Pietramala said of the Tigers. "And that doesn’t mean that they’re not talented individually. They are. Not having big-name guys, I’ve learned that doesn’t matter. Names don’t matter. It’s performance, and thus far, they’ve proven that they can perform."

One key match-up: As mentioned above, Mezzanotte has been Towson’s defensive playmaker, causing 21 turnovers and collecting 35 groundballs, which is the second-highest total on the team behind freshman face-off specialist Matt Thomas’ 40 groundballs. Mezzanotte just might get a shot at marking Johns Hopkins senior midfielder Michael Kimmel (18 goals and 14 assists). Kimmel has compiled three goals and four assists in the last two meetings with the Tigers, which is why Seaman half-joked that his entire bench would slide to Kimmel. "He’s the kind of guy who can dominate a game," Seaman said. "He’s to them what [Paul] Rabil was to them and what [Kyle] Harrison was to them. I’m not saying he’s as good as those two guys, but he certainly is to them what those guys were to them."

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Three things to watch, Towson
        

Preston joins father in McDaniel history books

Gibbs Preston had a few objectives when he agreed to play for McDaniel, and one of them had to do with his father.

"One of my individual goals was to have more points than my dad," Preston said. "I didn’t even know if I could do it. I just thought it was a fun thing to think about."

Bruce Preston, an attackman who played for the Green Terror between 1972 and 1975, amassed 179 points on 112 goals and 67 assists, which – at the time – was the second most in school history.

His son, a senior attackman, has accumuIated 203 points on 100 goals and 103 assists, which ranks as the 11th most in the program’s history. Gibbs Preston is only the fifth player to reach the 100 mark in both goals and assists.

"It feels good," the Baltimore native and McDonogh graduate said. "I’m happy, but I can’t really think about it because we have [the Centennial Conference] playoffs on Friday. I’ll think more about that accomplishment when the season is over."

This spring, Preston ranks first on the team in assists (24) and second in both goals (22) and points (46). Sophomore attackman D.J. Rickels has been the primary beneficiary of Preston’s presence as he has registered 49 points on 39 goals and 10 assists.

McDaniel coach Matt Hatton called Preston "a driving force’" for the last four years.

"What Gibbs does for us is he distributes the ball better than anyone else we have," Hatton said. "So not only can he put the ball in the back of the net, but he also makes everybody else a little more dangerous. We have two attackmen that you have to decide who you’re going to put on who because if you put your second-best guy on Gibbs, that’s an opportunity we need to take advantage of and hopefully get some other players involved. He’s done a great job of that in four years."

Hatton said at times, he’s thought that Preston is more comfortable passing the ball than shooting it. Preston didn’t vehemently disagree.

"There’s situations where I know that if I’m carrying the ball and dodging and I know I can get a shot off but it’s going to be tougher than making one more pass, my teammate’s percentage of making the shot is something like 90 percent while mine is around 70 percent," he said. "So why not go for the guarantee rather than something that isn’t definite?"

The Green Terror will likely need to upend No. 2 Gettysburg on Friday and either the winner of No. 5 Dickinson and Haverford on Sunday to guarantee a spot in the NCAA Tournament and extend the season. Preston said the end of his collegiate career is beginning to dawn on him.

"I am starting to think that after this, it’s just the old-man leagues, club ball and stuff like that," he said. "I hope the younger guys keep the program going in a positive direction, and I’m almost sure that they will. But I’m going to miss it."

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

Q&A with ESPN's Paul Carcaterra

ESPN analyst Paul Carcaterra is a former All-American midfielder at Syracuse. In the first of a two-part question-and-answer session, Carcaterra discussed Virginia’s chances for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, Loyola’s resume for an at-large bid, and Johns Hopkins’ diminishing hopes for a tournament berth.

Question: Have the four Atlantic Coast Conference teams and Syracuse separated themselves from the rest of the pack?

Paul Carcaterra: "I think so, and not only from a talent standpoint, but also when you look at their credible wins. Even a team like Duke which has four losses, they beat No. 1 Virginia, they beat Brown which is kind of surging right now, and they beat Loyola which is a top-8 team in the country right now. It would be hard to discount Duke – even with four losses – to not be in that top five. And I think the other four teams’ resumes speak for themselves."

Q: After No. 2 Virginia defeated No. 3 Maryland in the ACC Tournament championship final on Sunday, Terps coach Dave Cottle said the Cavaliers deserved the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Agree or disagree?

PC: "I agree. Their one loss, they avenged. They play in the toughest conference in lacrosse, and I think the only other team you would potentially argue getting that No. 1 seed is Syracuse and they beat them head-to-head. So I can’t see how Virginia wouldn’t be a No. 1 seed, and they deserve that right."

Q: In the next breath, Cottle said his team should be the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Agree or disagree?

PC: "I would agree. When you look at what they’ve done over the course of the year, they lost to Virginia twice and they lost to North Carolina, but they dominated the Tar Heels last Friday [13-5 in the ACC Tournament semifinals]. So I think heading into the playoffs, they’ve established themselves as certainly a top-4 seed. Avenging that loss in kind of the same way that Virginia avenged that loss to Duke, I think it’s only logical for them to slip in as the No. 3 seed."

Q: Even if No. 6 Loyola was to lose to No. 18 Denver on Sunday and miss out on the Eastern College Athletic Conference regular-season championship and the automatice qualifier, is the Greyhounds’ resume strong enough to warrant an at-large invitation to the NCAA Tournament?

PC: "Yes, and the reason why I feel that way is, if you look at the other teams who are kind of in a similar mix to Loyola, I think they’ve established themselves as strong playoff contenders regardless of Sunday’s outcome. How could you justify putting Georgetown, which doesn’t get an AQ and is obviously hoping for an at-large, over the Greyhounds when Loyola dominated them within the last two weeks? I just don’t see how Loyola gets left home for the playoffs. It’s a bigger game, I think, for Denver. Denver needs this win more than the Greyhounds. Now, I don’t think Loyola’s coaches or players want to put it up to the committee to see who is an at-large. I think they’re going to go out there and try to take care of business, but I think they’re in pretty good shape. This may sound crazy, but their win over Towson looks better and better because Towson’s won five in a row and is one of the hottest teams in the country."

Q: If Johns Hopkins finishes with a 7-7 record, does that team deserve to be in the NCAA Tournament?

PC: "I think it’s more than just them winning their final two games. I think some things have to happen. I think Loyola has to beat Denver and then Hopkins has to beat Loyola. And I think Towson has to beat Hofstra Saturday and win their conference tournament because that would then make those Hopkins’ wins much more credible. If Loyola goes out and loses to Denver and Towson loses to Hofstra and doesn’t win their tournament, what good are those two wins? Obviously, Hopkins must win the last two games, but Loyola must beat Denver and Towson has to beat Hofstra and win the conference tournament so that Hopkins has something to hang their hat on. They can say, ‘Towson was a great win. Look, they beat Hofstra and then won their tournament.’"

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

April 27, 2010

Five Navy players earn spots on All-Patriot League team

Five Navy players were named to the All-Patriot League team on Tuesday, including sophomore R.J. Wickham who was recognized as the Goalkeeper of the Year.

Wickham, who became the first Navy player to earn four Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week honors in a single season, ranks second among Division I goalies with a .615 save percentage and ninth with a 8.35 goals-against average.

Wickham, one of 26 semifinalists and one of four goalies nominated for the Tewaaraton Award, has made 174 saves this season, which is the 13th most in school history. He is just two saves away from breaking into the top 10 and 26 stops from becoming only the fourth player to record 200 saves in a season.

Joining Wickham on the first team are senior midfielder Patrick Moran and junior defenseman Michael Hirsch.

Moran, an Annapolis native and Severn graduate, leads the Midshipmen in goals (24) and points (32) and is one of only five players in school history to garner three first-team honors. His six hat tricks this season are the most since Ian Dingman racked up seven in 2007, and Moran is believed to be the first player in the program's history to score two game-wining goals in overtime in a single season.

Hirsch has recovered from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee to anchor a defense that ranks ninth in the country, surrendering an average of 8.5 goals per game this season. He leads Navy in caused turnovers with 16 and has scooped up 25 groundballs.

Junior attackman Andy Warner and senior midfielder Joe Lennon were named to the second team. Warner leads the Midshipmen in assists (14) and ranks second in points (31) and has registered at least one point in 12 of 13 games this season.

Lennon, a Westminster native and Loyola graduate, ranks fourth on the team in goals (15), assists (7) and points (22). He has recorded a point in all 13 contests this season and has posted a point in his last 16 games. 

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

No time for celebration for Towson

Towson’s 10-9 victory over Penn State last Saturday capped a long journey where the Tigers overcame a 1-5 start with five consecutive wins to capture the Colonial Athletic Association regular-season championship and the top seed in the league tournament next week.

But as coach Tony Seaman pointed out, there’s no time to rest or celebrate with upcoming contests against local rival Johns Hopkins on Wednesday night and CAA opponent Hofstra on Saturday night.

"It feels very good," Seaman said of the CAA crown. "It’s just that maybe the two biggest games of the year are this week – certainly as far as NCAA implications are concerned. If we could find a way to win both of these games, then I don’t think we would have to go into the CAA Tournament as stressed out as we probably will be."

Towson’s five-game streak has been highlighted by one-goal victories in each of the last three contests. Seaman said that’s a testament to a strong league.

He pointed out that three of No. 16 Hofstra’s losses are to CAA foes, that No. 9 Massachusetts upended No. 10 and Big East power Georgetown last Saturday, and that a 2-10 Penn State knocked off Hofstra and has lost to Towson and Massachusetts by a combined three goals.

Seaman said the team’s perseverance in the one-goal decisions can be traced to its 1-5 start.

"There is where we got a huge benefit from going 1-5 at the beginning of the season – how important it is to stay focused and make good decisions and be there at the end," he said. "It’s gratifying that every time the weight has been placed on our defense, they have stepped up and come through."

Other notes:

*Seaman confirmed that freshman defenseman Ben Strauss will misss the remainder of the season with what doctors diagnosed as a severe bone bruise in his knee. "The two bones are rubbing together, and they’re still inflamed," Seaman said. "He has trouble walking, much less running. The only thing that repairs that is time." Strauss, who started five games this season and plans to apply for a medical redshirt, will not require surgery and should be ready to participate in fall ball, according to Seaman.

*Seaman, who guided Johns Hopkins to eight straight NCAA Tournament appearances when he was the head coach between 1991 and 1998, could end the Blue Jays’ bid for their 39th consecutive tournament appearance if the Tigers win on Wednesday night. A loss would guarantee a below-.500 finish for Johns Hopkins and leave that team ineligible for postseason consideration. For his part, Seaman dismissed the notion of any personal wager in Wednesday night’s game. "The wonderful part about getting old is you forget things," he said with a laugh. "My wife reminds me all the time how much I forget. That was 12 years ago. So it’s hard for me to realize when I coached there."

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:30 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Towson
        

Good news, bad news for McDaniel

The good news for McDaniel is that the team has earned its second straight appearance in the Centennial Conference Tournament, which kicks off Friday.

The bad news is that the Green Terror, which is the No. 4 seed, gets the unenviable task of trying to upend Gettysburg, the top seed in the tournament and the second-ranked team in Division III.

"It’s nice to be able to go back to the conference tournament," McDaniel coach Matt Hatton said. "… We’re looking forward to the opportunity to get at Gettysburg. They laid a pretty good one on us a couple weeks back [a 15-6 defeat on April 7]. We’re certainly happy and fortunate to be in the position that we’re in, but we would have liked to play a little better in the last couple games and avoid limping our way in. I didn’t think we played particularly well against Haverford or Dickinson. So we’ve got our work cut out for us this week in getting ready to play the team that everyone is chasing in the conference."

The Green Terror went 7-7 overall and 4-4 in the conference with losses to Haverford and Dickinson in the last two contests. That’s part of the reason why many think the Bullets (14-1), NCAA Tournament finalists a year ago, is the favorite to capture their 17th straight conference title and 14th league crown in 17 years.

Hatton said the players and coaches are well aware of that sentiment.

"We really have nothing to lose," he said. "I think everybody outside of our families and our program is probably thinking that Gettysburg is the favorite. I don’t mind being the underdog because sometimes when you get out there and pull the upset, then it’s all good. But we have to make sure that we take care of ourselves. We can’t worry about what Gettysburg is going to do any more than we already have. We’re going forward with the mentality that we need to work this week in preparation for a big one on Friday afternoon. … Everyone’s chasing Gettysburg, and they’re a good team. If you give them easy opportunities, that makes for a long afternoon. We feel like if we can limit some of those opportunities and if we can take advantage of some of the opportunities given on our offensive end, then we can make it a game and keep it close and see what we can do down the stretch."

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:45 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: McDaniel
        

Goucher's six-game winning streak ties school record

Goucher coach Kyle Hannan said he had no idea that his team had tied a school record with six consecutive wins until a reporter called him to comment on the streak.

Really?

"To be honest, until I got your message, I didn’t realize we had won six in a row," Hannan said. "That’s how wrapped up you get. But it is neat to do that."

The Gophers’ 17-6 rout of Moravian on Saturday capped six straight victories, which is the third time in the school’s 19-year history that the team has reeled off six consecutive triumphs.

"It’s always tough to win college lacrosse games," Hannan said. "But it’s not a surprise in the aspect that our guys are working really hard, and they’re taking pride at getting better. When your team’s doing that and buying into what’s going on, you’re in a position to win. We’ve beaten some pretty good teams, and we’ve had some pretty good performances."

Hannan said the team has been strengthened by its balance. The top three scorers – attackmen Kyle Boncaro (29 goals and 26 assists) and Rory Averett (41, 6) and midfielder Matt Lynch (30, 17) – are sophomores, while the defense is anchored by senior Ben Veldman and junior Justin Dunn and senior goalkeeper Chris Stricklin.

"I think we’re really balanced now between our younger guys – who were very young early in the season and are now contributing – and our older guys," Hannan said. "Now we’re so balanced that it’s really tough for a team to scout Goucher and say, ‘We’re going to pick on this guy.’ Or, ‘Their attack has been scoring all of their points, so let’s take them out because their midfielders can’t score.’ But now we’re balanced. We’re getting a lot of midfielders who are contributing, our attack is continuing to score, our defensive midfield is playing well as is our close defense and our goalie. So I think our balance is leading us to all of these victories."

The Gophers (11-3) sit in first place in the Landmark Conference with a 5-0 record and can clinch the top seed in the season-ending conference tournament for the second straight year by beating Drew (8-5 overall and 4-1 conference) on Saturday.

But Hannan said he won’t add any emphasis to the game.

"We have another conference opponent on Saturday, and we’re not reading any more into it than that because we want to make sure that we’re at our best and that we’re not putting added pressure on ourselves, to say that we’re in a must-win situation," he said. "Because we have won a lot of games and we’re 5-0 in the Landmark now, we’ve put ourselves in a position where we don’t feel it’s an all-or-nothing game. So we’re just going to go out there and play and hopefully, play the way we’ve been playing the last few weeks."

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

Salisbury is defiant, not depressed

Saturday’s 10-6 loss to Stevenson cost Salisbury its No. 1 ranking and a shot at its 16th consecutive Capital Athletic Conference Tournament championship.

But if you’re expecting the Sea Gulls players and coaches to be depressed, think again.

"We’ve lost one game now and we’ve played 18 games," a defiant Jim Berkman said. "We’ve played the best schedule in the country. Of the top four teams in the country, do any of the other three have three wins against the top four? No. I mean, we need to get a little credit in some of the articles that are being written here. We just didn’t go off the map here. We’ve lost one game and we’ve beaten three of the top four teams in the country over the course of the season here. Nobody else can say that. … You play that tough of a schedule, you might drop a game, and when you drop a game, it’s not the end of the world. I’d be sitting here and a lot more worried if we got outshot 40-20, which they do against a lot of teams and if we got crushed in face-offs, 25-5, which they’ve done to teams all year long. Then I’d be concerned. But we actually won the face-offs, 11-of-19. It was tied in shots [40-40]. We won groundballs [38-33]. We did all the things we had to do except we didn’t shoot worth a lick."

Shot efficiency was an issue for Salisbury. The first midfield of senior Mike Von Kamecke, junior Shawn Zordani and sophomore Sam Bradman combined for one goal on 18 shots and 10 turnovers. Add senior attackmen Jake DeLillo and Mike Winter, and those players went 3-for-31 with 13 turnovers.

"I don’t think we shot the ball very well," Berkman said. "We had a lot of shots that were a step too far, and we missed a couple balls in the fourth quarter when we were right on the doorstep. It wasn’t characteristic of us offensively to be making some of the plays that we made. Their goalie [senior Geoff Hebert] came up big. He had a couple of nice saves in the fourth quarter that were pretty big. He had two on Von Kamecke where he was about eight yards and had his hands free, and he saved both of them. So he played a great game, but if your top five scorers shoot 3-for-31, I don’t know that you’re going to beat anybody. It’s one thing if you’re getting outshot by 15 shots, and it’s another thing if you’re getting crushed at the face-offs, but the difference in the game was our shooting."

The Sea Gulls won’t play until May 8 in the War of the Shore series against Washington College, but that’s not as bad as it sounds. Sophomore defenseman Andrew Sellers, a Baltimore native and Archibishop Curley graduate whom Berkman called the team’s most athletic defenseman, has missed six consecutive games because of a knee injury. Senior midfielder/face-off specialist Ryan Finch, a Finksburg native and Westminster graduate, sat out three games before playing sparingly in the last two contests due to a pulled hamstring. And DeLillo has been playing on a severely sprained ankle.

"Right now, I think that’s good and bad," Berkman said of the two-week lay-off. "I think it’s good in that we have a couple guys hurt that we hope are going to be back. … We have three or four kids who were beat up pretty bad, and this rest is going to be good for them. But it’s tough not to play for a long time. But at least we’ve got one game before we play in the playoffs."

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Salisbury
        

Stevenson basking in No. 1 ranking and CAC title

Newly-minted No. 1 Stevenson has had a few days to digest the program’s first Capital Athletic Conference Tournament championship, which the Mustangs claimed on Saturday when they defeated No. 3 Salisbury, 10-6, and prevented the Sea Gulls from winning their 16th consecutive tournament crown.

"I think that’s a pretty good landmark for the program, and to knock off a school that had won it 15 straight years, that’s another huge accomplishment for us," Stevenson coach Paul Cantabene said. "They’re such a great program and they have such a great mystique about them and such a great tradition that it’s really tough to go in there and win that game. We’re feeling great about it, but we also know that we have more work to do, and we look forward to that."

Cantabene said one key was the defense’s handcuffing of a Salisbury offense that has averaged 17 goals prior to Saturday’s contest. The six goals scored by the Sea Gulls were the lowest since March 16, 2008 when they beat Denison, 6-3.

Cantabene said the defense got a boost from the play of senior goalkeeper Geoff Hebert (13 saves) and senior defenseman Evan Douglass, who caused seven turnovers, collected four groundballs, and limited Salisbury sophomore midfielder Sam Bradman to one goal on 1-of-9 shooting.

"With Evan, you don’t have to slide to him," Cantabene said of Douglass, who missed the final three quarters of the teams’ first meeting on April 3 when he suffered a bruised lung and bruised ribs after absorbing a shot. "He took Bradman right out of the game, and he only got one goal on account of a substitution type of play. And Geoff makes the shooters think. He takes up a lot of the cage, so having those two guys for that game was huge for us. The whole team felt very confident going into that game."

The Mustangs (16-1) have one more regular-season contest before learning their seeding in the NCAA Tournament, and Cantabene said he wants the team to treat the home finale against No. 14 Denison (9-2) on Saturday as a game of significance.

"We’re telling them it’s still a playoff game for us this Saturday," he said. "We have some unfinished business still. We want to get the top seed in the NCAA Tournament, and hopefully winning that game gives us another regional win. They need to win that game, I think, to get in and really solidify their place in the NCAA Tournament. For us, it’s just to keep getting better. It’s another playoff game for us, and we’re going to address it that way."

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

April 26, 2010

Navy's Wickham racks up fourth Patriot League award this season

R.J. Wickham was named the Patriot League's Goalkeeper of the Week, becoming the first Navy player to collect that honor four times in a single season.

Wickham made nine saves to help the Midshipmen edge No. 15 Johns Hopkins, 9-8, in overtime and end a 36-game losing streak to the Blue Jays. Wickham registered nine of his saves in the third and fourth quarters and the overtime period.

The sophomore ranks second among Division I goalies with a .615 save percentage and ninth with a 8.35 goals-against average. Wickham has made 174 saves this season, which is the 13th most in school history. He is just two saves away from breaking into the top 10 and 26 stops from becoming only the fourth player to record 200 saves in a season.

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:25 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Navy
        

Loyola's Schiavone recognized by league

Senior face-off specialist John Schiavone was named the Eastern College Athletic Conference's Defensive Player of the Week after winning 18-of-28 face-offs in No. 7 Loyola's 17-12 victory over Hobart on Saturday.

Schaivone out-dueled Statesmen junior Bobby Datillo, who had entered the contest ranked fifth among Division I face-off specialists with a .603 percentage. Schiavone, who collected a game-high 10 groundballs on Saturday, ranks seventh in the country with a .607 face-off percentage.

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:10 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola
        

NCAA releases first RPI list

The NCAA released its first Ratings Percentage Index -- aka RPI -- and four of the top five spots are occupied by teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Virginia (13-1), North Carolina (11-2), Maryland (9-3) and Duke (11-4) are Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 5 on the list. Only Syracuse (11-1) at No. 4 breaks up the monopoly.

Princeton (9-3), Loyola (9-2), Cornell (8-4), Stony Brook (9-3) and Towson (6-5) round out the top 10. Locally, Johns Hopkins (5-7) sits at No. 14, Mount St. Mary's (8-4) at No. 23,  Navy (6-7) at No. 24 and UMBC (4-7) at No. 34.

The RPI, a rating that accounts for record and strength of schedule in that stronger opponents yield higher RPIs, is one tool that the NCAA selection committee will evaluate prior to finalizing the field for the NCAA Tournament. The 16-team bracket will be unveiled on Sunday, May 9 at 9 p.m.

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:55 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Mount St. Mary's, Navy, Towson, UMBC
        

Patriot League Tournament schedule set

The schedule for the Patriot League Tournament has been set with a pair of semifinals kicking off on Friday from Army’s Michie Stadium in West Point, N.Y.

Army (8-5) finished the regular season with a perfect 6-0 record in conference play, earning the top seed for the second time in three years. The Black Knights will meet No. 4 seed Bucknell (8-5 overall and 3-3 in the league) in the first semifinal at 3 p.m.

The second semifinal – slated to begin at 5:45 pits No. 2 seed Navy (6-7, 4-2) against No. 3 seed Lafayette (8-4, 3-3). The Midshipmen have captured five of the last six tournament championships.

The championship final is scheduled for Sunday at 3 p.m.

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

Despite hiccup, Mount St. Mary's still in hunt

Mount St. Mary’s run through the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference hit a speed bump in Saturday’s 8-7 loss to Siena.

After freshman attackman Andrew Scalley gave the Mountaineers (8-4 overall and 5-1 in the MAAC) a 7-4 advantage with 9:29 left in the fourth quarter, the Saints (9-4, 6-0) scored four times in the final six minutes to move into first place in the conference.

Mount St. Mary’s coach Tom Gravante said he thought the team became overly cautious once it got that three-goal lead.

"The kids got a little bit stiff and tentative," Gravante said. "They didn’t have the killer instinct. … They played not to lose, and we’ve done that before. We did that against Sacred Heart when we were up 9-5 and we managed to hold them off defensively [and win, 9-8]. Against Manhattan, we were up 4-0 on them, and it looked like we could open up the game, but again, we didn’t manage the ball offensively, and we let them back in [before winning, 5-4]. We have to be tougher mentally."

The Mountaineers won’t have much time to brood as VMI (2-11, 0-6) will visit Emmittsburg on Wednesday. That may not be such a bad thing, Gravante said.

"There’s no time to think about feeling sorry for yourself," he said. "We told our kids, ‘Replay the mistakes in your head, and then let’s play them out physically on Monday and get ready for a big game on Wednesday.’ The kids handled it well, and that’s what a good team does. Are they angry and are they going to carry out their anger? I hope so. I hope it fuels the fire as we move towards Wednesday because we can’t underestimate this opponent."

Mount St. Mary’s must win one of its last two games – against VMI on Wednesday and Marist on Saturday – to secure a spot in the season-ending, four-team MAAC Tournament. The Mountaineers and the Red Foxes (8-4, 5-1) are jockeying for the No. 2 seed in the tournament.

"There is still a lot of lacrosse left, and we are a team hunting for bigger fish," Gravante said. "We lost that battle, but we realize the war is still going."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:20 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's
        

Terps women No. 1

Fresh off its second straight ACC championship, Maryland’s women’s lacrosse team ascended to the No. 1 spot in the Inside Lacrosse media poll this morning.

The top ranking is the first for the Terrapins since March 2003.

Maryland earned the No. 1 berth by defeating last week’s No. 1 North Carolina, 10-5, in the ACC Tournament championship Sunday at Ludwig Field. North Carolina had assumed the top spot by beating Northwestern the previous Sunday. Northwestern, the five-time defending NCAA champion, had held the top spot since May of 2008. Carolina’s 18-16 victory ended a 41-game Wildcats’ win streak.
At 16-1, Maryland lost only to North Carolina, now No. 3 behind the Wildcats, during the regular season.

Hearing of the top ranking, Terps coach Cathy Reese said ,"Yeah," but quickly put it in perspective for a team that's goal is to win the national championship.

“At this point in the year, it really doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t have anything to do with where we’re sitting in the NCAA Tournament," Reese said.

Still, she was pretty happy about it.

"It’s great for our team to have earned that ranking at this point, because it shows how had they’ve been working and the success that they’ve had through the games so far, but we do still have two regular-season games left and when the NCAA rankings come out, that obviously ends up determining what bracket we’ll be in. I really commend them on everything that they’ve done so far this season, but if you talk to them too, we’re just looking ahead at who’s next."

The Terps are aiming to win their first national championship since 2001, a title that capped a record seven-year run as NCAA champs. Reese played on the first four of those national championship teams.

"As an alumni not even speaking as coach," Reese said, "it’s so great to see Maryland lacrosse up at the top. We have so much pride and passion for Maryland athletics as a whole and especially the women’s lacrosse program that as an alumni, I’m completely proud of this group and what they’ve achieved at this point, but there’s a lot left to be accomplished."

The Terps will be back in action at home Saturday against Massachussets and they complete the regular season May 8 at home against Dartmouth.
Posted by Katherine Dunn at 11:34 AM | | Comments (0)
        

Loyola preparing for trip to Denver

Even before the start of Saturday’s game against Eastern College Athletic Conference rival Hobart, Loyola players and coaches were aware of No. 19 Denver’s 9-8 victory over Fairfield.

"We heard it on the announcements," coach Charley Toomey said. "And as I had mentioned to you before, that game up there really didn’t matter. Because even with a loss, it was going to come down to the head-to-head with Denver. We knew that we needed to win the game and go in with some momentum, but we knew that the ECAC championship was going to go through Invesco Field."

Indeed, the home of the Denver Broncos will be the site of the showdown between the No. 7 Greyhounds (9-2 overall and 6-0 in the ECAC) and the Pioneers (10-4, 5-0), and the winner on Sunday will have secured the conference’s regular-season championship and the automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament.

Loyola’s travel plans include flying out to Denver on Friday, practicing on Friday and Saturday, and playing on Sunday at 3 p.m. EST before returning to Baltimore as quickly as possible so that the players can get ready for finals week.

"It’s going to be a challenge," Toomey said. "Guys are finishing up their classes this week, lots of review sessions. But we need them to remain focused and be ready to go out and win a game."

In addition to the travel, the Greyhounds will have to get adjusted to the altitude change in Denver. Toomey has already spoken to several people about getting acclimated to playing 5,280 feet above sea level.

"I’ve heard from some people that it will take its toll on you in the first quarter until you break your lungs and start to become acclimated to the game," he said. "But I think going out early will give us an added edge. Hopefully, we’ll figure it out on the fly."

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:23 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola
        

Postscript from Maryland vs. Virginia

When the topic of top goalkeepers in Division I is brought up, names including those of Syracuse junior John Galloway, Princeton sophomore Tyler Fiorito and Notre Dame senior Scott Rodgers are usually mixed in the conversation.

Curiously, Adam Ghitelman’s is left out, and that’s somewhat surprising considering that the junior has anchored No. 2 Virginia’s defense for the last three seasons. But if Ghitelman is upset about being overlooked, he’s not letting on.

"I can’t say that," he said minutes after his 16-save performance propelled the Cavaliers to their sixth Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championship with a 10-6 dismantling of No. 5 Maryland in College Park on Sunday. "I think a lot of the goalie position is looked at based on save percentage and whatnot, and I think I bring a lot more to our team than just stopping the ball. But I’ve worked on that, and hopefully, my game is ready for the playoffs. Those guys are phenomenal. They deserve the credit that they get. If I’m overlooked, I don’t care. All I really care about are wins and losses and hopefully, getting the win in the final one."

Ghitelman’s numbers have, admittedly, not been impressive. He began his freshman year as the starter, but eventually gave way to Bud Petit, who carried the team to the NCAA Tournament semifinals. Last year, Ghitelman ranked 19th among Division I goalies in goals-against average (8.39) and 30th in save percentage (.538).

This spring, his numbers are up. Entering Sunday’s contest, he ranked seventh in goals-against average (7.91) and 25th in save percentage (.538).

Ghitelman has registered spectacular outings against some of the more explosive offenses in the country. Cornell managed just four goals, which is a season low, and the Terps’ output on Sunday is also a season low. Both North Carolina (in a 7-5 loss) and Stony Brook (in a 13-8 setback) tied their season worsts against Virginia.

"He’s got an incredible record, but he doesn’t get a lot of credit," Cavaliers coach Dom Starsia said of Ghitelman, who is 35-5 in his career. "He’s had his up-and-down moments a little bit, but he brings us a lot of poise in the goal, and he’s very good out of the goal. He does a lot of the other things for us. He’s always been a good leader for us back there on the defensive end. His ball-stopping has begun to become more consistent, and today was close to spectacular. I feel like that end of the field is in good hands with him down there."

Other notes:

*A final item on Ghitelman: the goalie said he has worked on covering the lower half of the cage after learning that opponents’ scouting reports recommended shooting low. That’s surprising considering that Ghitelman stand at 5 feet, 9 inches, but it’s a testament to how proficient he is with the stick to block the upper half of the net. "I’ve worked on my game a lot recently," he said. "[Assistant] coach [John] Walker’s been working with me on it." Maryland coach Dave Cottle said Ghitelman took away the low shots, forcing the Terps shooters to go high. "I thought he took away low a little bit because we had such success the first game," Cottle said. "So we had to shoot the ball to some different spots, and we missed the cage. But he made great saves."

*At least four of Virginia’s goals on Sunday came during transition or unsettled situations, and part of that had to do with the Terps’ offensive strategy. Without senior attackman/midfielder Will Yeatman to work behind the cage, the offense had to initiate from up top. Shots that are saved or turnovers that are committed lead to transition situations for the Cavaliers, Cottle said. "If you noticed in the first game, we attacked them from behind," he said. "But without our guy who was going to attack, we had to go out in front, and that was the downside. You take a shot, it’s a save, it’s a transition. That’s the classic case of bad offense lending itself to bad defense. But that’s probably why we didn’t do that the first time we played them."

*Speaking of Yeatman, he could not play due to an apparent concussion suffered towards the end of Maryland’s 13-5 victory over No. 3 North Carolina in the ACC Tournament semifinals on Friday night. Cottle said he had no regrets about sitting Yeatman out on Sunday. "Will Yeatman probably helps us a little bit in that game, but that was the right decision to do," Cottle said. "I think there’s a good chance" he’ll be ready for Saturday against Fairfield.

*There’s no question which team deserves the top seed when the NCAA Tournament bracket is announced on May 9, according to Cottle. "In my mind, they’re the best team in the country right now, and we’ll find out how it goes along," he said of Virginia. "But they should be the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament when you look at their resume." In the next breath, Cottle engaged in a little politicking for his own team, saying he thought the Terps had earned the No. 3 seed. "But we’ve got to take care of business," he said. "We’ve got to win every game left." Junior attackman Grant Catalino said the team is aware of the challenges it could potentially face in the NCAA Tournament. "These are the teams you’ve got to beat to be the best," he said. "When we get to the NCAA Tournament, I’m sure we’re going to see either one or two of these teams. We know what’s on the road ahead of us, and we’re looking forward to it, and we’ve got to get better on Monday and Tuesday."

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

April 25, 2010

Maryland vs. Virginia: Halftime thoughts

Virginia’s remedy for a slow start? A hot goalie.

Junior Adam Ghitelman has been superb in the first half and is a big reason why the No. 2 Cavaliers lead No. 5 Maryland, 5-4, at halftime of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament final here at Byrd Stadium in College Park.

Ghitelman has made eight saves in the half, and many of them have been of the spectacular variety. He’s turned away Terps junior attackman Grant Catalino three times, used his stick to block a behind-the-head offering from sophomore midfielder jake Bernhardt in the slot, and made back-to-back saves on junior attackmen Ryan Young and Travis Reed during one sequence.

Ghitelman has pretty much allowed Virginia to settle into the contest after Maryland opened with a 3-0 run over a span of 3 minutes, 18 seconds in the first quarter.

After sophomore midfielder Michael Shakespeare’s goal gave the Terps a 3-0 advantage with 7:34 left in the first period, the Cavaliers responded 45 seconds later with a tally from senior midfielder Brian Carroll (Gilman) , and they proceeded to reel off three more unanswered goals to assume a 4-3 lead with 2:02 left in the second quarter.

Twenty-two seconds later, Maryland knotted the score at four when junior long-stick midfielder Brian Farrell (Boys’ Latin) found Reed (Boys’ Latin) alone on the crease. But freshman long-stick midfielder Jesse Bernhardt threw a lazy pass on an attempted clear that was intercepted by junior midfielder Rhamel Bratton, and he found sophomore attackman Steele Stanwick (Loyola) alone at the left post to give Virginia the 5-4 lead with 13 seconds left.

Other notes:

*No player has scored more than one goal. Bratton leads all players with two points on one goal and one assist.

*Neither team has been flagged for a penalty. Depending on how you look at that, it’s either good or bad for these two teams, both of which are ranked in the top 20 nationally in man-up efficiency. (The Terps are ranked first with a 61.8 conversion rate, while the Cavaliers are 20th with a 40.5 percentage.)

*Maryland is leading in shots (18-16) and turnovers (6-8), but Virginia is winning in face-offs (6-of-11) and groundballs (19-15).

Posted by Edward Lee at 4:45 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Halftime thoughts, Maryland
        

Virginia vs. Maryland: Three things to watch

It’s been a while since a team other than Duke has won the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament, but it just so happens that Virginia captured the crown in 2006 and Maryland picked up the hardware the year before. So there’s quite a lot at stake when the No. 2 Cavaliers and the No. 5 Terps meet Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at Byrd Stadium in College Park in the tournament final.

One key to a Virginia win: The top-seeded Cavaliers (12-1) proved that they can rally from a four-goal deficit as they did on Friday, turning a 4-0 disadvantage into an eventual 16-12 victory over No. 6 Duke in a tournament semifinal. But Virginia has also proven that it can surrender a big lead as Maryland cut into deficits of 6-0, 7-1 and 8-2 before falling short, 11-10, on April 3. If the Cavaliers manage to build another significant advantage on Sunday, they’ll have to remain vigilant and avoid the kind of lackadaiscal effort that almost sank them in the first meeting between these two teams.

One key to a Maryland win: When the Terps (9-2) dropped a 9-7 decision to No. 3 North Carolina on March 27, one factor was the Tar Heels’ advantage on face-offs, where they won 11-of-19 draws. On Friday, Maryland turned the tables, winning 14-of-22 restarts. In the first meeting against Virginia, the Terps lost 15-of-24 face-offs. Maryland must do a better job on draws to give its offense a chance to test Cavaliers junior goalkeeper Adam Ghitelman and limit the number of touches Virginia’s own high-powered offense will get.

One key match-up: There is no doubt that Cavaliers junior midfielder Shamel Bratton is one of the most dynamic players in the country, a whirling dervish of a player who can make even the soundest of defensemen appear slow and foolish. But Bratton had problems against Terps junior defenseman Brett Schmidt, who surrendered a lonely assist to Bratton on April 3. (Bratton did score a goal, but it occurred during an unsettled situation.) Schmidt, who held North Carolina junior attackman and Tewaaraton Award candidate Billy Bitter scoreless for the first time since May 10, 2008, might be the linchpin in determining whether Virginia wins nine of the last 10 meetings.

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

Postscript from Johns Hopkins at Navy

I enjoy talking to Richie Meade, and one thing I like about the Navy coach is that underneath his gruff demeanor, it's obvious that he cares deeply about the young men that their parents have entrusted to him. Even still, I have to admit that I was a little surprised to see Meade well up with emotion after the Midshipmen’s 9-8 overtime victory over No. 15 Johns Hopkins at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis on Saturday.

I was aware that the outcome snapped Navy’s 36-game losing skid to the Blue Jays, but as an outsider, I had no idea the impact that slide had on the players, coaches and supporters who had endured each loss that seemed to compound the frustration and heartache.

When asked about walking off the field after previous losses to Johns Hopkins, Meade took a few moments during his response to compose himself and when he did talk, you could clearly hear the emotion in his voice. I’ve tried to add some of that emotion in the transcript below.

"When we’ve played Hopkins in the past, there have been a lot of times [pause and sigh] I’ve walked off this field and have to [pause] walk into the locker room and deal with my kids and knew that they played their hearts out and they didn’t win," Meade said. "We’re not talking about once in a while here. We’re talking about a cumulative time. I mean, I remember 1985 [when Johns Hopkins won, 24-10]. I remember that game, I remember other games, I remember games where we played great and we didn’t win. And the reason why we didn’t win was because we were playing Johns Hopkins. If we had played anybody else that day, we would’ve beat them. … That’s all I really care about, to be honest with you. I’m the same coach I was yesterday. This doesn’t mean anything to me personally except that we won this game and I’m happy about it. But to our players and the players that weren’t successful when they played their guts out and to have them have to deal with that time and time again, that’s really the thing that has bothered me the most. So I think it’s important for our alumni. There are a lot of guys in that locker room that were great players here, that kind of built what we have become here over the last seven or eight years. A lot of guys are in the locker room, and that means so much to me. That means so much to me that this game means so much to them. That’s what I’m thankful for."

Meade choked up again when commenting on the team’s rally from a 5-0 deficit after the first quarter.

"It’s been a tough year, but it’s been a year that I’ve enjoyed a lot because we really have had to look inside of ourselves," he said. "We’ve had to just keep fighting. The only thing [pause] I really hope I teach these guys is to keep fighting, to believe in themselves and to be good leaders. That’s it. That’s a trait I think this team has."

Other notes:

*Meade tends to downplay his leadership skills, especially with the media. Here’s what he had to say about what he told his players prior to Saturday’s contest. "I don’t have any catchy slogans," he said. "Before the game, I looked every one of them in the eye, and I said, ‘You’re midshipmen at the Naval Academy. You’re future leaders. People’s lives are going to be in your hands. You understand the mission, you understand what you’re required to do. I want you to get it done.’ That’s the way we approached it."

*The Midshipmen will play in the Patriot League Tournament on Friday as either the No. 2 or No. 3 seed. If Navy can capture its sixth Patriot League Tournament crown in seven years, the team will secure the automatic qualifier and make its seventh consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament. That’s why Meade emphasized not getting lost in the hoopla surrounding Saturday’s victory. "I also told them in the locker room that this does nothing if this is the highlight of our season," he said. "There’s a tournament next week that’s extremely important to us. So I think we have to enjoy this and then move on."

*When junior attackman Andy Warner scored his game-winning goal with 10 seconds left in overtime, it was actually a repeat of a previous play earlier in the extra period. But on that play, Warner was stuffed by Johns Hopkins freshman goalkeeper Pierce Bassett. Asked if he had an reservations about attempting the same play, Warner said, "No, I wanted to run it again. I thought it was a weakness we could take advantage of all day, and we did for the most part. We got two assists off it, and the second time, there was no anxiety. I just knew that I had to take another step and put it home."

*Warner will be remembered for his goal, but a senior long-stick midfielder Zack Schroeder was responsible for a critical play earlier in overtime. With about 2:29 left in the extra session, Schroeder stripped Blue Jays senior midfielder Michael Kimmel of the ball. Senior defenseman Gordon Lawson scooped up the groundball – his sixth of the game – and gave it to the offense to set up Warner’s heroics. "Well, he got me the first time. So I had to get him the second time," said Schroeder, who got the start in place of senior Jaren Woeppel, who missed his third straight game due to an injured right hamstring. "Gordo slid, and he rolled back. I thought, ‘I’m going to stay on the double.’ I just got a good piece of his stick when he went to pass it. Gordo picked up the groundball, got it up to [junior defensive midfielder] Marty [Gallagher], and that was it."

*A week after praising his team for setting what he called "the standard" in a 10-9 loss to No. 5 Maryland at the Smartlink Day of Rivals doubleheader at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala sharply criticized his team’s play on Saturday. Although the Blue Jays’ biggest gaffe was allowing Navy to rally from a 5-0 deficit after the first quarter, Pietramala was most disappointed by the team’s lackadaisical effort in the second quarter. "When things get tight, we don’t present a lot of poise and composure, and that’s got to start with our upperclassmen, and it’s got to be passed down," Pietramala said. "You’re not winning the game when you’re losing groundballs like we did. … You’re not winning if you’re not winning face-offs, and you’re not winning when you’re throwing the ball away like we did. We’ve cleared the ball well this year, but I’m not sure when we started throwing no-look passes and behind-the-back flips. I’m not sure when we started going over the head. I just thought we played with a complete and total lack of discipline today, and Navy took advantage of those acts. Give them credit, they earned a win. We’re both in the same place at the end of [regulation], but they made the plays they needed to make to win the game."

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Navy, Postscript
        

April 24, 2010

Johns Hopkins at Navy: Halftime thoughts

Navy leads No. 15 Johns Hopkins, 6-5, at halftime before an announced 10,128 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis Saturday, and if the Blue Jays end up losing this game, they will be kicking themselves for squandering the 5-0 advantage they had built in the first quarter.

Johns Hopkins (5-6) opened the game with five unanswered goals – including three in a span of 3 minutes, 22 seconds – and appeared to have its 37th consecutive win against the Midshipmen in hand.

But the Blue Jays got sloppy in the second quarter. Despite winning 4-of-7 face-offs, the team committed six turnovers in the period and maintained possession long enough to take just four shots.

It is believed that Johns Hopkins, which has lost five of its last six contests, must win the final three games of the regular season – against Navy, Towson on Wednesday night and No. 7 Loyola on May 8 – to grab one of 10 at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament.

One more setback, and Johns Hopkins’ streak of 38 straight tournament appearances would rest in the hands of the NCAA selection committee, which is the least reliable option.

Meanwhile, Navy (5-7) overcame a slow start and scored all six goals in the second quarter, mounting a furious comeback. The Midshipmen scored three in a 1:59 span, and the middle tally was the result of a fortuitous bounce. Senior midfielder Joe Lennon hit the right post with a shot, but the rebound appeared to carom off of junior midfielder Matt Dolente’s body or stick and trickled past freshman goalkeeper Pierce Bassett into the net.

In the second quarter, Navy took 15 shots, collected 12 groundballs, and committed just two turnovers.

Other notes:

*The Midshipmen have five different scorers, and junior attackman Andy Warner has recorded two assists. Johns Hopkins has gotten most of its scoring from the big three of seniors Steven Boyle and Michael Kimmel and junior Kyle Wharton. Kimmel and Wharton have each scored twice, while Boyle has posted two assists.

*Bassett has made seven saves thus far, appearing to outplay Navy sophomore goalie R.J. Wickham (two saves).

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:20 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Halftime thoughts, Johns Hopkins, Navy
        

Salisbury & Stevenson: Together again

When No. 1 Salisbury and No. 3 Stevenson meet on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the championship final of the Capital Athletic Conference Tournament at Sea Gulls Stadium in Salisbury, these teams will have faced each other five times in less than two full seasons.

Much of that has to do with occupying space in the same conference, but since both schools are in the South region, they could meet for a sixth time in the NCAA Tournament. In fact, Salisbury coach Jim Berkman is banking on that.

"The reality of the situation is that unless somebody stumbles, this is probably going to be the fifth of six times this year," he said. "I don’t see any way around it, that either in the quarterfinals or semifinals [of the NCAA Tournament] and if both teams keep playing to the level that they’ve played all year, they’re on a collision course to meet for a sixth time. The game probably wasn’t drawn up to be that way, the physical nature in terms of having to play a team three times in a season. But it is what it is, and I don’t see that going away in the future. I see two teams that are going to be here and be on the national scene. The reality of the situation is, we’re in the same conference, and we’re probably going to end up playing each other two or three times a year for probably a while."

Mustangs coach Paul Cantabene also sounded resigned to the fact of multiple meetings in a single year. But he also said the team looked forward to challenging a program as storied as the Sea Gulls’.

"They’re what we want to be," he said. "They’re the top program in Division III and we want to be there. We don’t think we’re too far behind. We have great respect for what they do, but we do meet a lot. I don’t think we’re meant to meet this many times in college lacrosse, but that’s what we have to do."

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

Mount St. Mary's prepared for huge game vs. Siena

Mount St. Mary’s is trying to toe the line between priority and pretension.

The Mountaineers play host to Siena Saturday at 1 p.m. at Waldron Family Stadium in Emmittsburg in what should be a critical game in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

Both teams enter the contest with identical 5-0 league marks and are in the hunt for the regular-season championship and the top seed in the conference tournament.

Mount St. Mary’s has already qualified for the tournament for the second consecutive season after missing the postseason in the previous two years. And while the Mountaineers are assured of falling no lower than the No. 3 seed in the tournament, coach Tom Gravante knows that the players are eager to capture the program’s first regular-season crown since 1999.

"That’s what we’ve been trying to preach in practice, to put their excitement on being focused on the task," he said. "But I hear what their goal is. They’re still very, very hungry. They know the history with this team [Siena, which has won the last four meetings in this series]. So I think this is more personal to them than jockeying for the playoffs. That’s a pressure that they don’t have to worry about anymore."

Both teams are coming off of overwhelming victories with the Saints routing previously undefeated Marist, 14-4, on Wednesday. Mount St. Mary’s thrashed St. Joseph’s, 18-8, on Wednesday night, but the Mountaineers needed a13-4 outburst in the second half to put away the Hawks.

Gravante said Mount St. Mary’s can’t afford to get off to a similar start with Siena.

"They know that they can’t do that against this team," he said. "They can’t make mistakes early on and expect to win the game because this team is better. They’re mature, seasoned, well-coached. So this team needs to stay focused, and my staff and I have continued to preach that in practice."

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's
        

Johns Hopkins at Navy: Three things to watch

Saturday’s annual showdown between No. 15 Johns Hopkins and Navy at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis at 12 p.m. will have even greater implications on the postseason picture as both teams are struggling to bolster their resume for the NCAA selection committee. Oh, and there’s the little matter of a 36-game winning streak that the Blue Jays own over the Midshipmen.

1. One key to a Johns Hopkins win: Minutes after the Blue Jays’ 10-9 loss to No. 5 Maryland in the second game of the Smartlink Day of Rivals doubleheader at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore last Saturday, coach Dave Pietramala said the team played with the type of passion and commitment that he had not seen all season. It wasn’t a perfect display, but Johns Hopkins got contributions from their seniors (five goals and two assists), freshmen (three goals and two assists) and second midfield (one goal and one assist). If the team harbors any hope of finishing out the remainder of the season with three straight victories and an invitation to the NCAA Tournament, the Blue Jays will need production from a variety of sources to alleviate some of the pressure placed on senior attackman Steven Boyle and senior midfielder Michael Kimmel.

2. One key to a Navy win: This is not your typical Midshipmen defense. A unit that has historically been one of the stingiest among Division I schools, the defense has surrendered an average of 8.5 goals per game. That’s not bad, but a closer inspection reveals that Navy is allowing 10.7 goals per game in its seven losses. Sophomore goalkeeper R.J. Wickham ranks second in the country in save percentage (.620) and 10th in goals-against average (8.42), but he’s been doing too much. Maybe the return of senior long-stick midfielder Jaren Woeppel from a hamstring injury that has sidelined him for the past two contests will help, but the defense must put up a solid performance to give the team a foundation to build upon.

3. One key match-up: Since combining for five goals and six assists in a 13-12 overtime setback to No. 9 Georgetown, the Midshipmen’s starting attack of senior Brendan Connors, junior Andy Warner and sophomore Ryan O’Leary has totaled one goal and three assists in the last two contests, both of which were losses. That unit must fuel Navy’s offense and open up the back end so that midfielders Patrick Moran, Joe Lennon and Nikk Davis can operate from the top of the box. The attack will be challenged by Johns Hopkins’ close defense of seniors Sam DeVore and Matt Drenan and freshman Tucker Durkin. Their range and stickwork could be a huge obstacle for the Midshipmen.

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

April 23, 2010

Four from Maryland make All-ACC team

Led by two-time selection Ryan Young, Maryland placed four players on the All-Atlantic Coast Conference team, which was the most among the four conference schools that play lacrosse.

Young, a junior attackman who earned All-ACC honors last year, leads the No. 5 Terps in assists (20) and ranks second in points (31). He is also fourth in groundballs (25).

Young is joined by three first-timers in junior attackman Grant Catalino, senior goalkeeper Brian Phipps and junior defenseman Brett Schmidt. 

Catalino leads Maryland in goals (20) and points (37) and ranks 17th among Division I players with an average of 3.7 points per game.

Phipps ranks 18th in the country in goals-against average (8.94) and 29th in save percentage (.527). Schmidt, the team's top defender, ranks second among the Terps in caused turnovers (14) and tied for fifth in groundballs (23).

No. 3 North Carolina and No. 6 Duke were represented by three players each, while No. 2 Virginia had just two players earn All-ACC honors. Loyola graduate and sophomore attackman Steele Stanwick was one of the Cavaliers' representatives.

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:15 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland
        

North Carolina vs. Maryland: Three things to watch

There likely won’t be too many surprises when No. 3 North Carolina and No. 5 Maryland meet Friday night in the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament at Byrd Stadium in College Park. A date in the championship final on Sunday with either No. 2 Virginia or No. 6 Duke awaits the victor.

1. One key to a North Carolina win: In the first meeting between these teams on March 27, the Tar Heels (11-1) proved to be the stronger team because of the defensive effort they put forth against the Terps. North Carolina displayed a variety of defensive fronts, including a hybrid version of basketball’s box-and-one scheme with senior Michael Jarvis shadowing Maryland junior attackman Grant Catalino and the remaining five defenders playing a slight zone. The Terps scored just seven goals, which still ranks as the offense’s lowest output of the season. With 6-foot-6, 237-pound junior Ryan Flanagan expected to mark senior attackman/midfielder Will Yeatman, 6-2, 185-pound sophomore Charlie McComas slated to follow junior attackman Ryan Young, and the 6-5, 210-pound Jarvis getting another crack at Catalino, the Tar Heels could use another sparkling performance from their defense.

2. One key to a Maryland win: The Terps (8-2) may not boast the size that North Carolina’s defensemen offer, but their unit is well-coordinated. Maryland, however, was exploited by a Tar Heels offense that – by coach Dave Cottle’s count – scored four easy goals, or what Cottle called "lay-ups." And North Carolina didn’t even have the services of junior attackman and Tewaaraton Trophy favorite Billy Bitter, who was dealing with a strained left calf. Well, Bitter is back for the re-match and sophomore attackman Thomas Wood, who posted two goals and two assists in the first meeting, could return from a fractured finger. Senior midfielder Sean DeLaney (left shoulder) is questionable, but Maryland must do a better job of monitoring the Tar Heels’ off-ball movement, especially when Bitter is creating and doding behind the cage. Expect the Terps to rotate juniors Brett and Max Schmidt (no relation), their top two close defensemen, on Bitter in an effort to keep a fresh body on him.

3. One key match-up: Maryland senior Bryn Holmes has been one of the best face-off specialists to have played for Cottle, having won 353 of 645 (54.7 percent) of draws. But he had a rare poor showing against Tar Heels junior Michael Burns. Holmes won just five of 14 face-offs in the first meeting, while Burns racked up 11 wins in 19 chances. If the Terps hope to play for their first ACC Tournament crown since 2005, they could use an improved performance from Holmes and his teammates on the wings.

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland, Three things to watch
        

Salisbury playing for 16th straight conference title

When No. 1 Salisbury takes the field at Sea Gull Stadium on Saturday, the team will be playing against No. 3 Stevenson for the school’s 16th consecutive Capital Athletic Conference Tournament championship.

In fact, the Sea Gulls have never lost a CAC title since joining the conference in 1995. That history is not lost on the players, according to coach Jim Berkman.

"I think anybody that plays for the Salisbury Sea Gulls knows the tradition of our team and the things that have transpired here," he said. "We talk about how it’s a special place to play and how the guys before have done an awful lot and now it’s up to them to uphold that tradition. They’re aware of where we’ve been and where we want to be."

While that legacy is something to marvel at, it can be a weighty reminder of the expectations placed upon a program, especially one that has captured eight NCAA championships.

"I don’t know if it’s a burden as much as it is hopefully a motivator," Berkman said. "We’ve got to work real hard and do all of the little things so tht we can be at the level of play that we need to be to keep this thing going. I think that’s been critical for this year’s team."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Salisbury, Stevenson
        

Towson living in the moment -- but not too much

No. 20 Towson is back to a .500 record and a ranking in The Sun’s Top 20 poll for the first time since the season began. While some coaches might try to stifle any lofty expectations, coach Tony Seaman said the players deserve a chance to soak up some adulation.

"I want them to enjoy every single moment of it because we were absolutely miserable when we were 1-3, 1-4 and 1-5," said Seaman, whose team has won four straight, including back-to-back contests against then-No. 8 Massachusetts and then-No. 8 Drexel. "That was as low as you can get. The locker room’s down, people are picking on people, you’re wondering and questioning everything you do. Losing’s horrible. I’ve said this for 30 years: I’ve never seen a losing team with great chemistry. … Winning is an amazing thing. So enjoy it because it’s like a roller coaster."

Seaman said he doesn’t worry about the players getting ahead of themselves because he owns the perfect equalizer in the team’s film room: copies of previous practices.

"So as soon as their heads get big, we just say, ‘Well, let’s sit down and watch this wonderful display of lacrosse that we just had for the last half-hour, and you guys figure out who you’re going to beat playing like this,’" Seaman half-joked.

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

Schmidt is the Terps' Top Chef?

Friday’s edition of The Sun included an article on junior defenseman Brett Schmidt, who leads No. 5 Maryland’s defense this season.

Schmidt, who likes to get into the hands and heads of his opponents, apparently is quite good with his hands when it comes to cooking. Schmidt, a self-described "health freak," said he tends to cook most of his meals at the house that he shares with fellow defensmen Max Schmidt (no relation) and Ryder Bohlander.

"Since I got to college, I’ve loved cooking for myself," Brett Schmidt said. "I just like eating healthy, so I can make whatever I want."

Schmidt said his favorite dish is chicken. Chicken alfredo, grilled chicken, chicken with a lemon marinade – you name it, Schmidt can probably make it. "I make a hundred different chicken dishes," he promised.

Does Schmidt make anything else? "I’ll mix it up, but chicken is my go-to," he said. "If I were to live off of one thing for the rest of my life, it would definitely be chicken."

Bohlander conceded that Schmidt is the house chef, but Bohlander also said that Schmidt is the messiest roommate.

"He’s a little ADD. So you’ve got to stay on top of him and make sure he does his stuff," Bohlander said. "Cleaning up, leaving his pans around. The dishwasher will be full, and it’s just him from one night. You’ve got to keep on top of him about that kind of stuff."

Schmidt disputed that claim. "I don’t know where all of my roommates get that from," he said. "I do most of my dishes. They’ll get on me if I leave one plate or one piece of silverware out. I guess that’s my reputation that I have around the house, but I don’t think I’m that bad."

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

Johns Hopkins and Navy: mirror images of each other?

When No. 15 Johns Hopkins and Navy meet at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis on Saturday, it would not be a surprise for players and coaches on both sides to react with a slight double-take.

Both teams enter the game with losing records, dwindling postseason hopes and a sense of desperation.

Both sides have also suffered significant injuries, especially those of the season-ending variety. The Blue Jays lost senior attackman Chris Boland, last year’s leading scorer, to a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee and has recently welcomed back junior long-stick midfielder Orry Michael and sophomore midfielder Marshall Burkhardt from a fractured patella and compartment syndrome, respectively.

Meanwhile, the Midshipmen were forced to bid farewell to senior attackman Tim Paul after he tore the ACL in his right knee in the team’s second game of the season. And senior long-stick midfielder Jaren Woeppel, the Patriot League’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year has missed four games because of a nagging right hamstring injury.

When asked about the eerie similarities between both teams, Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala chuckled.

"I could stand across the street from [Navy coach] Richie [Meade] and know exactly how he feels and vice versa," Pietramala said. "... It is eerily similar, and unfortunately, one of these teams is going to lose, and that's the nature of it. I have great respect for Coach Meade and how he runs his program. We know they're a good team. Unfortunately, the similiarities don't really matter right now. I know we probably both want to continue to improve, but in the end, the most important thing right now is winning."

Meade also noted the similarities, but with a different twist.

"It’s certainly not the way it’s been," he conceded. "That being said, I think it’s going to be the same. The intensity and the commitment from both teams is going to be high. … If you’re a Navy lacrosse player, one of the things you prepare for all year is the opportunity to play against Johns Hopkins. And I would think that if you’re a Johns Hopkins lacrosse player, I think they look forward to playing at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium against Navy. That’s not going to change. They’re a very good lacrosse team. They’re a young team, and they’ve had to deal with injuries and disappointment. Based on the way they came out and played against Maryland last week, they’ve handled that very well. … To me, it’s Johns Hopkins, and at Johns Hopkins, they coach lacrosse, and they coach lacrosse and play lacrosse with unbelievable passion and commitment to upholding their tradition, and so do we."

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Navy
        

April 22, 2010

Towson's Strauss a candidate for medical redshirt

Ben Strauss has not played in No. 20 Towson’s last four games, and there is some consideration to shutting down the freshman defenseman for the remainder of the season.

Strauss has not played since suffering a bruised knee during practice on April 5, and coach Tony Seaman said the medical staff is mystified as to why the knee is not responding to treatment.

"He’s still in a lot of pain," Seaman said. "He hasn’t been able to perform at 100 percent. We really got worried about it, so we got him a MRI [magnetic resonance imaging exam], and we’re waiting for the doctor’s report."

Seaman said that Strauss, who has started five games this season, would qualify for a medical redshirt if he and the school decide to apply for one.

"It’s a big option because [senior] Cameron Zook who was playing pole for us has moved back to close, and he’s done really nice job," Seaman said. "We’ve been happy with that. So there’s a good chance. We’ll have to see. Another injury could make us change our minds, but that’s sort of the 50-50 question in the back of our minds right now."

Strauss will likely miss Saturday’s home game against Penn State, which has limped to a 2-9 record. But the Nittany Lions upset then-No. 13 Hofstra, 11-10, in overtime last Saturday, and Penn Statehas knocked off a pair of traditionally strong opponents in Georgetown and Bucknell in each of the prior two seasons.

"You’ve got to be worried about a team that was down 7-2 to Hofstra and then came back and won," Seaman said. "They have that kind of potential. When you look over Penn State’s history over the years, in April and May, that seems to be an unbelievable upset time for them. … You can’t go by records. That’s so hard, and that’s proven every day. You just never know."

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Categories: Towson
        

Hebert makes difference in return for Stevenson

After sitting out eight games with a broken left pinkie finger, Geoff Hebert returned to the field, and the senior goalkeeper’s impact on No. 3 Stevenson was immediate.

The Mustangs sprinted past St. Mary’s in the semifinals of the Capital Athletic Conference Tournament on Wednesday, cruising to a 16-3 victory. Compare that 13-goal margin of victory with the 13-10 decision Stevenson claimed in a regular-season meeting with the Seahawks on April 13, and it’s clear that Hebert is a key cog for the Mustangs (15-1), who next face No. 1 Salisbury in the CAC final on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Salisbury.

"He’s such a leader of our defense," coach Paul Cantabene said. "He knows the defense so well, and he’s able to call out when to go and when not to go. That was the biggest thing he brought back to us. It was great to have him out there, and I think it really showed."

Hebert, who stopped 17 of St. Mary’s shots, wore a little extra padding around the finger for protection, but Cantabene said he had no reservations about about starting him.

"He was ready to play, and we were going to play him," Cantabene said. "I don’t think you lose your position by injury. Geoff was the starter beforehand and he was going to go back to being the starter. The other goalies knew that. [Sophomore] Ian [Bolland], [freshman] Pete [Wesselman] and [senior] Andrew [Harrington] did such a great job of getting us through this month without him. So we had no qualms about putting him in."

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Categories: Stevenson
        

Maryland's Cottle addresses ending to win vs. Johns Hopkins

There’s a lot to be happy about if you’re a Terp or a supporter. Maryland is ranked fifth in The Sun’s latest poll, owns an 8-2 record, and is routinely cited by experts as one of the favorites to advance to the Final Four at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Memorial Day weekend.

But coach Dave Cottle took a minute to address the team’s tactic of holding the ball and playing keep-away in the final minutes of Saturday’s 10-9 victory over No. 15 Johns Hopkins in the second game of the Smartlink Day of Rivals doubleheader at M&T Bank Stadium.

While refraining from second-guessing that strategy, Cottle said the coaching staff may have been too conservative in directing the players not to shoot the ball even when opportunities to score presented themselves.

"What we’ve got to do is, if there’s an open goal that presents itself, we’ve got to throw it in," Cottle said. "The kids were doing a good job of just trying to protect the ball, but we have to do a better job of managing that. I thought [junior attackman] Grant [Catalino] had a chance to throw it into the open goal, but he didn’t. And it’s really determined by your face-offs. If you’re winning face-offs, you can take a shot. If you’re losing every face-off, you’re probably better off holding the ball. But if they force you in a situation where you can score and it’s low risk, then we have to start taking that."

Cottle also broached the topic of stepping outside the box when called for stalling, which occurred twice. He said that crowd noise drowned out the officials’ voices.

"None of the kids heard the stalling warnings because the crowd was so loud," Cottle said. "And of course, it was two of our freshmen. … I asked them, and they said they didn’t see them [the officials] and they didn’t think they were demonstrative enough. And we weren’t stalling at the time. If you look, we got the ball in the box, threw it around one time, and then we got the stalling warning. I thought there were some quick stalling warnings."

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

Nothing 'definite' on return of Navy's Woeppel

When Navy plays host to No. 15 Johns Hopkins Saturday, one of the Midshipmen’s defensive priorities will involve containing Blue Jays senior midfielder Michael Kimmel, who has totaled five goals and three assists in four career meetings with Navy.

Kimmel would likely draw the attention of senior long-stick midfielder Jaren Woeppel, but Woeppel’s status is still up in the air due to an injured right hamstring.

Woeppel, who is believed to be the first long-stick midfielder to be voted as the Patriot League’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, missed the Midshipmen’s losses to No. 5 Maryland and Army and has sat out four contests this season.

Coach Richie Meade was non-committal about Woeppel’s availability for Saturday.

"He ran around [Tuesday]," Meade said. "Like I said last week, he’s very, very close, but I can’t get a definite answer, and I don’t think there is one. Our position has been that he’s not going to play until we feel like he’s close to 100 percent and he can be effective. My feeling is that he’s close, but it’s not something that you can get a definite time frame on. He’s working at it and he’s much better than he was. Whether or not he plays this weekend, if he’s 100 percent, he will play."

On a related note, Meade said the team has moved past an official’s controversial ruling waiving off a goal by sophomore midfielder Nikk Davis that appeared to tie the score against Army last Saturday with 37 seconds left in regulation.

Although Meade said he has heard – unofficially – that Davis’ goal – one in which the Cockeysville native and Dulaney graduate was pushed and launched into the air simulatenously before he fired the ball and crashed into the net – should have counted, the coach said did not want the ending to detract from the Black Knights’ victory.

"The referees are not trying to make a bad call," Meade said. "They’re trying to make the right call. And it doesn’t do us any good to talk about it because we still lost to Army. … I feel like it should never have come down to Nikk Davis having to go kamikaze to score a goal at the end of the game. We should have played better than that."

Junior attackman Andy Warner agreed with his coach, saying, "The day after the game, you probably think, ‘ Man, that goal should’ve counted. We should’ve been in overtime. Blah, blah, blah.’ But then, when you really start to think about it and you look back at the film, it should never have come to that point. Offensively, we didn’t play well. … It’s tough to put it on one play. Yes, we would have loved to have that goal to tie it and go into overtime, but we still had 35 seconds left on the man-up. We had every opportunity to tie that game and put it into overtime."

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Navy
        

April 21, 2010

CAC Tournament date for Stevenson, St. Mary's

Wednesday marks the semifinal round of the Capital Athletic Conference Tournament with top seed and Division III’s top-ranked team Salisbury playing host to No. 5 seed Mary Washington. It’s a rematch of an earlier contest that the Sea Gulls won, 15-7, on March 31.

The other semifinal pits No. 3 seed St. Mary’s visiting No. 2 seed Stevenson at 4 p.m. at Caves Athletic Complex in Owings Mills. The Mustangs (14-1 overall and 6-1 in the conference) defeated the Seahawks (9-5, 5-2), 13-10, on April 13, but the game was a lot tighter than the final score indicated, according to both coaches.

St. Mary’s outshot Stevenson, 24-11, in the second half and committed nine fewer turnovers over the same span. But the Seahawks converted just 3-of-11 extra-man opportunities, which included failing to score when three Mustangs were serving a one-minute penalty at the same time.

"The problem with man up is, one ill-advised shot and you’ve lost the opportunity," St. Mary’s coach Chris Hasbrouck said. "I think that’s what happened a couple times. I think the biggest thing was, they went three-men down for a minute, and we took two bad shots that missed the goal and had a third shot that rang the pipe. I don’t want to say that was a turning point, but it’s certainly something that we’ve talked about as a team. We had great looks, we just didn’t finish. One or two shots might’ve made things different."

Hasbrouck also pointed out that Stevenson sophomore goalkeeper Ian Bolland made 13 of his game-high 16 saves in the second half. Hasbrouck said the Seahawks must be choosier with their shot selection.

"I don’t think we finished particularly well against their goalie," he said. "He had 16 saves, and we’d like to finish a little bit better."

Mustangs coach Paul Cantabene had a few regrets with that contest as well, saying he thought his team didn’t play with the kind of urgency he had seen in previous games.

"I think the guys just thought that they were going to show up and win, and we kind of played that way," he recalled. "We didn’t shoot the ball very well, we had a lot of casual turnovers, we did a lot of things defensively that we don’t normally do. So I was disappointed by their approach, and I think it showed in the game. I thought we played lackluster most of the time, but I give the credit to St. Mary’s. They saw that in us, and they kind of took it to us for a little while. They had some chances to make it a closer game than the final score was. So we need to come out and play playoff lacrosse."

Stevenson will also have to shed a little rust as the team hasn’t played since last Thursday. Meanwhile, the Seahawks beat Wesley on Sunday to advance to this stage. Cantabene said the Mustangs’ first-round bye could be viewed as a blessing and a curse.

"I think it definitely favors us," Cantabene said. "Our guys were able to get healthy and get the soreness out and get some fresh legs. But it could also favor them in that they’ve played a game and they’re a little more game-ready. But they also have to get on that bus for 2½ hours and come to us. Hopefully, they hit some traffic."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: St. Mary's, Stevenson
        

No looking ahead for the Mount

Mount St. Mary’s, which is jockeying with Marist and Siena for first place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and top seed in the league tournament, has a highly-anticipated showdown with Siena on Saturday.

But the Mountaineers (7-3 overall and 4-0 in the conference) can’t overlook Wednesday night’s opponent, a St. Joseph’s team that is enjoying a two-game winning streak – both against MAAC opponents in VMI and Detroit Mercy.

"The staff and I are really focusing on one game at a time, but I know these young men would like to win the conference tournament," coach Tom Gravante said. "That’s the team goal, which is great. I’m very pleased that they have expectations, but winning comes one game at a time. So we’re going to keep them focused and stay the road and keep them humble and organized and get them ready for a good St. Joseph’s team."

While Mount St. Mary’s must deal with the Hawks, Siena (7-4, 4-0) plays host to Marist (7-3, 4-0) Wednesday afternoon. Then the Saints must travel to Emmittsburg to meet the Mountaineers at 1 p.m. at Waldron Family Stadium.

"So we have some advantages, and really, it’s a matter of how well these guys rebound from a Wednesday night game, practice Thursday and Friday, and get themselves poised to play a big game on Saturday," Gravante said. "It’s going to be a big game. There’s a few advantages in our favor. We’re home, it’s our senior day, we’re not traveling althought we’re still in the same hole [as Siena] in terms of playing a Wednesday game. … So if these kids can maintain themselves, it should be a good game."

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Categories: Mount St. Mary's
        

North Carolina close to returning to full strength

When No. 3 North Carolina and No. 5 Maryland tangle Friday night in the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament at Byrd Stadium in College Park, the Tar Heels could almost be back at full strength.

Sophomore attackman Thomas Wood and sophomore defenseman Charlie McComas are close to returning in time for Friday’s contest. Wood, who is tied for third on the team in goals (19) and ranks third in points (28), has missed the last three games due to a fractured finger. McComas, a Parkton native and Boys’ Latin graduate who is tied for third in groundballs (34) and caused turnovers (12), did not play in North Carolina’s 17-14 shootout with Robert Morris last Saturday due to an injured shoulder.

"We’re hoping that they all come back for Friday night," coach Joe Breschi said.

The news is less optimistic with regards to senior midfielder Sean DeLaney, who has not played since suffering a left shoulder injury in the third quarter of a 9-7 victory over the Terps on March 27. Despite missing three contests, DeLaney is still tied for the team lead in goals (20), but Breschi didn’t sound hopeful that DeLaney would suit up against Maryland.

"Sean, I’m not too sure," Breschi said. "He’s still a work in progress. But the other two, we’re hoping to get back at full-go."

If Wood does return, the Tar Heels will have to find playing time for a crowded attack unit that includes junior Billy Bitter (19 goals and 20 assists), senior Gavin Petracca (20, 15) and freshman Marcus Holman (17, 7).

Freshman Chris Hunt is expected to join sophomore Jimmy Dunster (11, 10) and senior Cryder DiPietro (10, 9) on the first midfield.

But Breschi seemed most enthused about having McComas back, especially since McComas will shadow Maryland junior attackman Ryan Young.

"There’s no question that we missed him [McComas] last weekend," Breschi said. "We struggled in general defensively last week. I think having Charlie back, he’s such a great groundball guy, he’s a seasoned veteran as a sophomore, and he just brings a different element. This will be the fourth time he plays Ryan Young, so it’s huge that he comes back and is healthy."

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

Q&A with ESPN's Matt Ward

Matt Ward is a former All-American attackman who helped Virginia capture NCAA championships in 2003 and 2006 and won the Tewaaraton Trophy in 2006 as the sport’s top player. In the first of a two-part interview, Ward, an analyst for ESPN, discusses – among other topics – two top-10 teams dealing with personal hexes, a disappointing program that almost made waves in last year’s NCAA Tournament and his pick to win the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament this weekend.

Question: How would you explain No. 6 Duke’s eight-game winning streak against No. 2 Virginia?

Matt Ward: "It’s tough to say. Some people would say that Duke is in Virginia’s head, but I just think that Duke outhustled them and has outhustled them when they’ve played. Look at the groundballs stats. Going into last week’s game, Virginia was the No. 1 team in the country and they got taken to the hopper in groundballs [Duke, 31-23]. That’s what’s going to win those close games against the best teams, and Duke has just done it better. I think they match up pretty well against Virginia. I think their midfielders – for whatever reason – like to dodge against Virginia’s short-stick d-middies whereas some other teams don’t. And when you have [seniors] Max Quinzani and Ned Crotty on attack, you can beat any team. And Duke’s a team that doesn’t put a whole lot of stock into how they’re playing early on in the season. They’re a team that likes to go at their own pace, and they continue to get better. Virginia plays them late in the season. If you look at Maryland and UNC, they play them early on when Duke’s not necessarily clicking on all cylinders. Then Duke kind of gets into the comfort zone of their schedule. They start winning, they start getting confidence, and then they go in and play Virginia while they’re pretty fresh. Virginia has played three straight ACC games. So it’s tough to keep up with that type of competition three weeks in a row, and then you have Duke, which is kind of going through the easier portion of their schedule every year into the Virginia game. That has to help them. They’re probably a little more fresh, but at the end of the day, they’re just playing better lacrosse against Virginia."

Q: On a related note, does No. 10 Cornell feel snakebitten after following up last year’s overtime loss to Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament final with another one-goal loss to the No. 1 Orange on a last-second goal in regulation?

MW: "It’s got to be frustrating. The last two games have been very close. But I think the difference is that in last year’s championship game, they outplayed Syracuse. I thought they were the better team and kind of handed the game away. This year, they did have the lead against Syracuse, but if you look at Cornell’s goalie, he [freshman A.J. Fiore] had 20 saves. It’s got to be frustrating for them to lose two games like that, but the fact that they’re such a young team this year and that they’re competing with the No. 1 team in the country, their coach [Jeff Tambroni] has got to be happy."

Q: What team outside of what many consider the elite group is deserving of one of the top eight seeds and a first-round home game in the NCAA Tournament?

MW: "Right now, I think it’s Loyola. They are in the top 10, so they’re getting respect nationally, but they’re a program that’s on the rise. Coach [Charley] Toomey has done a great job. He’s got a good core of players, a great attack. I really like the way they play. They’re kind of the perfect combination of players. You have [senior attackman Collin] Finnerty who is a great shooter and the two quick guys on attack [senior Cooper MacDonnell and junior Matt Langan] who like to take the ball to the cage and are good feeders. They complement each other so well, and right now, I like the way Loyola is playing. So if they can get past Johns Hopkins – which I think they have a very good shot at doing – they’re going to be a seed with a home game during the tournament."

Q: Which team among Brown, Hofstra and Massachusetts has been the bigger disappointment? 

MW: "I’m going to go with Brown. Hofstra’s still in the mix for the [Colonial Athletic Association] tournament, and UMass started well, but they’re young and you’re going to go through some growing pains there. But Brown came back with a team that took Hopkins into overtime in the first round [of last year’s NCAA Tournament]. They did graduate their goalie [All-American Jordan Burke], but brought back a great attack, and I really thought some of those guys would step up and help them win the big games. They’ve had tough-fought games this year, but they haven’t come out with wins in the end, and that’s got to be disappointing for them and coach Lars Tiffany."

Q: Which four teams will be playing in the Final Four on Memorial Day weekend?

MW: "Syracuse and three of the four ACC teams. Who that is, I don’t know. I think it will come down to who gets to play who. It’s going to come down to the [Nos.] 4 and 5 seeds. That’s why I think the ACC Tournament this weekend is huge. That’s going to determine who is going to play each other in the quarterfinal round as opposed to playing in the semifinals. I think Syracuse is a team that’s playing well, especially on the defensive side of the ball. They’re just a team that is so slick that they can compete with and beat anyone. But I really believe that these ACC teams can also beat anyone. So it’s going to be interesting to see how that kind of breaks down."

Q: So who do you like to win the ACC Tournament this weekend?

MW: "I think it’s Duke. I had them as the preseason No. 1, and they kind of faltered early on, but that didn’t really scare me away from them. I thought they’re a team that’s loaded with talent, they’re getting better, and Crotty and Quinzani are two of the best. They get to play Virginia [in the semifinal round], and if Virginia shows up the way they did on Saturday, I’ve got to give that nudge to Duke, and I think Maryland and North Carolina could really beat each other up in a physical battle. I think North Carolina’s kind of a little banged up anyway, so I think I see Duke playing Maryland in the championship game, and I like Duke to win that."

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Categories: Q&A
        

April 20, 2010

No scoreboard peeks for Loyola

No. 7 Loyola is scheduled to play against Hobart on Saturday at 1 p.m. Two hours before that game, however, No. 19 Denver, which is jockeying with the Greyhounds for first place in the Eastern College Athletic Conference and the league's automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament, will meet Fairfield in the opening game of the ESPNU Warrior Lacrosse Classic.

While refraining from instituting an outright ban on scoreboard or television watching, coach Charley Toomey said he hopes his players will focus on the Statesmen.

"We get to the locker room two hours before the game. So unless there’s a TV in there, probably not," Toomey said of watching the Pioneers play against the Stags. "But nowadays, these kids also have cell phones, and they find a way of knowing. I would imagine that since it’s an ECAC game, Hobart might get updates. But it really doesn’t matter. At this point, that game means nothing because it’s coming down to Loyola and Denver."

Toomey is right. Even if the Greyhounds (8-2 overall and 5-0 in the conference) beat Hobart and Denver (9-4, 4-0) falls to Fairfield (8-3, 4-1), the Pioneers could still capture the ECAC title and the automatic qualifier by beating Loyola on May 2 and Air Force on May 8 because they would own the head-to-head tibreaker over the Greyhounds.

That's why Toomey is emphasizing that the players concentrate on what they can control.

"We recognize that these next three weeks are critical not only towards your playoff run, but also towards having some momentum and having a first-round game at home as a possibility," he said. "That’s the challenge for us. We’re not looking at a scoreboard. We’d love to have the AQ, but right now, we’ve got to take care of one game at a time. And that’s why I’ve praised this team week in and week out, because of their preparation for the next opponent."

Loyola's record, which includes last Saturday's 11-6 defeat of No. 9 Georgetown, would seem to be impressive enough to get the team an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament even if Denver wins the ECAC.

But Toomey disagreed, saying, "At this point, I’d say no. You look at a team like Notre Dame, who’s got a few more wins on their resume. There are three games left on our schedule, and I just don’t think you can look up right now. After Saturday and if teams continue to beat each other up, maybe. Don’t get me wrong, I think we have a very strong case, but we’ve left it in the [selection] committee’s hands before, and I don’t think we want to leave it in the committee’s hands at this point. We want to take care of business on our own."

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Categories: Loyola
        

Hope blooms for UMBC

Smiles were at a premium, but over the last two weeks, there’s been a revived sense of optimism surrounding UMBC

After a 1-7 start, the Retrievers have won back-to-back games for the first time since capturing the America East Conference Tournament last May. Morale in Catonsville is climbing, according to coach Don Zimmerman.

"We didn’t win for six weeks," he said. "So that was six Mondays where our guys came in and to their credit, they hung in there and continued coming to practice ready to work, ready to improve. But we didn’t see any positive results from a won-loss standpoint. Now we’ve got two wins under our belt, and the guys remember what it was like to win. Obviously, they feel good about it, but they also understand that what gets us the win on weekends is what we do in practice during the week. Our practices last week were real good and real sharp, and I expect the same this week."

UMBC has beaten Binghamton, 12-6, and Albany, 12-7, and Zimmerman called the team’s performance against the Great Danes "the best" of the season. Senior attackman Matt Latham scored a career-high six goals, senior long-stick midfielder Michael Camardo caused six turnovers and collected five groundballs, and freshman Adam Cohen made nine saves.

"I think we came out strong, which has been the case in the last two games," Zimmerman said. "I think that has to do with focus and with energy. Guys are starting to play their best lacrosse together, and it’s that time of the year where you’re hoping your team is starting to hit on all cylinders, and it seems like we’re starting to get together. We have a long way to go, but we’re starting to play the way I feel this team can play."

The Retrievers are 2-1 in the America East, which is just one game behind conference leader Stony Brook (3-0). They own the head-to-head tiebreaker over Albany, which is also 2-1 in league play, and meet Vermont (2-1) on Saturday. If UMBC beats Vermont and Hartford on May 1, the team would cement the No. 2 seed and a tournament semifinal game at UMBC Stadium on May 5 – with a shot at capturing the tournament championship and the automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament.

"That’s got to be a motivating factor," Zimmerman said. "We were 1-7, but because we’re in the conference, we still have a chance to finish out the season against our conference opponents and if we’re fortunate enough to make it to the conference tournament, we’ll see how far we’ll go. That’s the beauty of the conference. No matter what your record was during the first half of the year, you realize that your conference can be your ticket to the postseason."

Other notes:

*Zimmerman confirmed that senior defenseman Bobby Atwell has left the team, but the coach declined to comment on the Dunkirk native and Southern graduate’s reasons for his departure. Atwell, who missed the 2009 season after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, registered 16 groundballs and eight caused turnovers in eight games, including six starts. But after being benched along with seniors Matt Kresse and Lance Ophof for the first quarter in an eventual 10-7 loss to Towson on April 7, Atwell did not play in the games against Binghamton and Albany.

*Sophomores Aaron Verardi and Tim Schaeffer have moved into the starting close defense unit with Kresse since the contest against Towson, and Zimmerman said the pair have played well. "We moved Matt Kresse into that third spot to give us some senior leadership in there, but we’ve got a bunch of guys who we feel can play," he said. "We’re playing some more guys and giving some guys a rest. I think it’s helped us."

*Since giving the starting goaltending duties to freshman Adam Cohen, the Retrievers have gone 2-1. The Arnold native and Severn graduate is beginning to find a rhythm with his defensive teammates, Zimmerman said. "We’ve decided to go with Adam Cohen and now it gives us some stability," he said. "I thought Adam’s had two good games, and I think our entire team is standing behind Adam now. I think it’s helping us in a positive way."

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

Q&A with ESPN's Matt Ward

Matt Ward is a former All-American attackman who helped Virginia capture NCAA championships in 2003 and 2006 and won the Tewaaraton Trophy in 2006 as the sport’s top player. In the first of a two-part interview, Ward, an analyst for ESPN, discusses – among other topics – No. 5 Maryland’s shelf life, No. 7 Loyola’s at-large resume and No. 20 Towson’s postseason chances.

Question: How would you assess Maryland’s position among the elite teams at this point in the season?

Matt Ward: "I think the ACC [Atlantic Coast Conference] is extremely strong, so I do think they’re justified in being among the top five. They did go 1-2 in the ACC, but so did Duke, which I also think is a very good team. Maryland’s a team that’s got a great attack. Their midfield is young and getting better. They have good long sticks who like to push it in transition, and the defense is solid, and the goalie can get hot and play real well. They’re a team that can beat anyone. We’ll see where they are against UNC here in the first round of ACC Tournament. Maryland’s a team that I think is going to present quite a match-up problem for these top teams in that quarterfinal round if they get there."

Q: If you’re coach Dave Cottle, what’s the one area that concerns you the most?

MW: "I think it’s the true lack of depth in people who take the ball to the goal themselves. You give the ball to [junior attackman] Ryan Young, and he can create offense, but he has a lot of shooters. He needs players like [senior attackman/midfielder] Will Yeatman to play like he did against Virginia every single game. He is a big, athletic kid, but he sometimes gets complacent and doesn’t turn the corner or push the action. It’s only against Virginia for some reason that he takes the ball to the goal. I don’t know if it’s because he’s comfortable with that match-up, but he’s such a big body. Maryland needs to get somebody other than Ryan Young to create offense with the ball in his stick and be a true dodger and a threat to score."

Q: What’s your evaluation of No. 7 Loyola?

MW: "You win championships with defense, and Loyola right now is a team that is ranked first in the country in goals-against (6.7). They have a very, very good goalie who gets hot and is solid, and that’s a key. If you have that position down, you can build confidence on the defensive end. They have D-guys who aren’t exactly the most athletic guys, but they play very much within a system, they play great together, and they’re fun to watch. And they’ve faced off well. Any team that can maintain possession by winning groundballs and keep other teams off the scoreboard is a team you’ve got to like, and I think it’ll be interesting to see what they do against Johns Hopkins. They’re going to get into the tournament no matter what, but Hopkins, in my opinion, is playing to get into the tournament, and it’ll be interesting to see what Loyola can do against a team that’s kind of out-and-about and on the ropes. If Loyola plays like they did against Georgetown and played like they have all season, they’re going to give Hopkins all they can handle and probably then some."

Q: Loyola is vying with Denver for the Eastern College Athletic Conference title, but the Greyhounds had two high-profile losses to non-conference opponents Duke and Notre Dame. How much does the victory over No. 9 Georgetown enhance Loyola’s resume for a possible at-large bid?

MW: "That’s a top-10 win, and I think it’s something that will definitely go into the selection process. They’ve played Duke and Notre Dame close (lost by a combined five goals). They didn’t win those games, but they’re a good team. They can play with anyone and compete. I think the ECAC may be a little down this year, but that’s a growing conference, and Loyola has kind of been the dominant team so far this year. Anytime you can go undefeated in your league, things look good."

Q: Could No. 15 Johns Hopkins make its 39th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament with a 7-7 record?

MW: "If Hopkins goes 7-7, it would be my guess that they get in. Do I think that’s justified? Probably not. Right now, they don’t really have a quality win. Their one quality win would be against Loyola. So I don’t know how you can justify Hopkins getting in when there are a lot of teams that have better wins. Hopkins plays the best of the best, and you’ve got to give them credit for that, but generally, you’ve got to win one of those games to justify your resume for the NCAA Tournament, and I don’t know that Hopkins has done that.

Q: So is it fair to say that the game against Loyola on May 8 is a must-win for Johns Hopkins?

MW: "In my opinion, absolutely. I don’t think Hopkins gets in if they lose that game. If they win out [vs. Navy, Towson and Loyola], then I can see them getting in – barely."

Q: Between No. 20 Towson, Mount St. Mary’s, Navy and UMBC, which team has the best chance to make the NCAA Tournament?

MW: "I think Towson. I think they’ve played very well. If Towson continues to win, they’re going to be the No. 1 seed in their [Colonial Athletic Association] tournament, and they’ve been playing much better lacrosse as of late. You always want to start playing your best lacrosse around this time, and they’re playing well. I also give Navy a pretty good chance. They’ve made their [Patriot League] tournament, and the competition in their league is probably not as strong as Towson’s conference. So that’s in their favor, but I think right now, Towson is a better team."

Q: How much did the strenuous non-conference schedule help or hurt Towson?

MW: "I think a lot. They didn’t come out on top, but they were competing against the best teams, and they were playing well. They played Virginia pretty close, they played Maryland pretty close, and those kids started to gel and get confidence. You know that if yoyu can play with the best teams, you’re going to have a leg up on the lesser competition that they face later on in the season. They’ve had a few good wins. So Towson has been impressive. They’re a team that’s getting better each week, and that’s all you can ask."

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Mount St. Mary's, Navy, Towson, UMBC
        

April 19, 2010

Mount St. Mary's DiBartolo cited by two leagues

T.C. DiBartolo of Mount St. Mary's was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and Northeast Conference Defensive Player of the Week.

The junior goalkeeper finished with 10 saves in the Mountaineers' 5-4 victory over MAAC opponent Manhattan Saturday. DiBartolo ranks eighth among Division I goalies with a .578 save percentage and 27th with a 9.79 goals-against average.

The Bowie native and Archbishop Spalding native boasts a 6.12 goals-against average and a .667 save percentage in four MAAC contests. DiBartolo was also recognized by the Northeast Conference, a league that Mount St. Mary's will join next season.

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:35 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's
        

St. Mary's Rosson grabs league honor

Dennis Rosson became only the second player not from Salisbury or Stevenson to claim the Capital Athletic Conference's Player of the Week award, the league announced Monday.

The St. Mary's junior attackman joined York junior attackman Josh Gamble as the only players outside of Salisbury and Stevenson to claim this distinction.

Rosson, a Severna Park native and Severn graduate, posted 12 points on nine goals and three assists in three games for the Seahawks. He registered five goals and one assist in the team's 13-10 loss to No. 3 Stevenson last Tuesday.

Rosson added two goals and one assist each in a 13-9 victory over Mary Washington and a 13-8 win against Wesley in the opening round of the conference tournament. He ranks third in the league in goals per game (2.8) and sixth in points per game (4.0).

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:20 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: St. Mary's
        

Loyola's Hagelin, MacDonnell earn league awards

Jake Hagelin and Cooper MacDonnell of Loyola claimed the Eastern College Athletic Conference's Defensive Player of the Week and co-Offensive Player of the week honors, the league announced Monday.

Hagelin, a junior goalkeeper for the No. 7 Greyhounds, stopped 14 shots in the team's 11-6 victory over No. 9 Georgetown Saturday. It was the fourth consecutive game that the Havre de Grace native and Boys' Latin graduate had registered at least 13 saves.

Hagelin leads all Division I goalies with a 6.70 goals-against average and ranks third with a .617 save percentage. This is the third time this season that Hagelin has been recognized by the ECAC.

MacDonnell recorded a game-high four points on three goals and one assist against the Hoyas. MacDonnell, who has scored 19 goals this season, ranks first in the conference in goals per game (2.71) and has scored a point in 25 straight contests.

 

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:15 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola
        

Waiting for Geoff

Stevenson, the No. 3 team in the most recent United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Division III poll, has been humming along nicely. That humming would likely be a lot louder if Geoff Hebert was in the lineup.

The senior goalkeeper has not played since breaking the pinkie finger on his left hand in the Mustangs' 12-9 victory over then-No. 18 Lynchburg on March 20. The Lutherville native and Dulaney graduate was perfect in seven starts, registering a 6.91 goals-against average and a .631 saves percentage.

Coach Paul Cantabene said the team is hopeful that Hebert can return in the near future.

"Geoff’s week by week," he said. "We’re not sure yet. He’s waiting to see the doctor in another day or two. We’re just waiting to hear what the doctor has to say, to make sure that it’s healing. We don’t want to go in there and then all of a sudden, it’s one shot, and he hurts it again. The health of the kid is the most important here."

Senior Andrew Harrington replaced Hebert, going 4-1 in five starts. But he surrendered 16 goals and made nine saves in a six-goal loss to then-No. 2 Salisbury on April 3 and was outplayed by Sea Gulls junior goalie Johnny Rodriguez (15 saves).

That's when the Stevenson coaches decided to make a change in the cage.

"We thought Andrew wasn’t being as consistent as we needed," Cantabene said. "We thought he really struggled in our Salisbury game. We thought he should’ve had a bunch of the balls that went in, and that was a big difference in the game considering that their goalie had 10 saves in the second half and we only had one. So we decided to make a change and give the other guys a chance to see how they do, and I thought they played pretty well."

After the loss to Salisbury, Harrington was replaced by freshman Pete Wesselman and then sophomore Ian Bolland, who has won the Mustangs' last two contests. Bolland's play has impressed Cantabene.

"Ian’s a short-memory guy," he said. "He makes one bad play, and it’s right out. He’s able to focus and get back in. He’s very athletic outside the cage, and he has a very good outlet pass. Ian also has the ability to make the big save, which I think Andrew at times lacked. So I think he’s done a great job being consistent, and he was a big reason why we beat St. Mary’s [on April 13]. He played really well."

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:40 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Stevenson
        

ACC Tournament schedule set

The bracket for the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament is set, and play opens this Friday at Byrd Stadium in College Park.

Top-seeded Virginia (11-1 overall and 2-1 in the league) will meet No. 4 seed Duke (11-3, 1-2) in the first semifinal at 5 p.m. The Blue Devils tagged the Cavaliers with their firest loss of the season on Saturday night. The 13-9 decision was Duke's eight straight win in the series.

Maryland, the No. 3 seed (8-2, 1-2), will tangle with No. 2 seed North Carolina (11-1, 2-1) in the second semifinal at 7:30 p.m. The Terps had won seven consecutive games in this series, but the Tar Heels have triumphed in the last two meetings, including a 9-7 victory on March 27.

The championship final will take place on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:10 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland
        

Mount St. Mary's offense takes a brief hiatus

First, the good news: Mount St. Mary's edged Manhattan, 5-4, on Saturday, thereby remaining tied with Marist and Siena for first place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The Mountaineers (7-3), the Red Foxes (7-3) and the Saints (7-4) are 4-0 in the league.

The defense was especially strong as the unit shut out Manhattan over the final 20 minutes, 13 seconds to preserve the victory. After being challenged by coach Tom Gravante to not allow a goal in a quarter, the defense blanked the the Jaspers in the first and fourth quarters.

"They’re consistent," Gravante said of the defense. "We have to do a better job of clearing the ball [13 of 18 on Saturday]. We had some clearing issues, and that’s the job of the defense. [Junior goalkeeper] T.C. [DiBartolo] was again outstanding [with 10 saves], and I’m very happy and appreciative of his work. But I told the kids that we owe it to him to start and finish a game and not throw him under the bus where he has to make doorstep saves. And he did. They had two or three of those kinds of shots. … I think we’re going to face teams down the line that have more poise to take a better shot. That’s why we have to do a better job outside of that cage, on defense, on offense to limit the amount of shots that he sees, especially those shots."

Now, the bad news: an offense that was tied for 18th among Division I schools in scoring with 11 goals per game scored a season-low five goals and didn't tickle the nets again after sophomore midfielder Bryant Schmidt converted a feed from freshman attackman Andrew Scalley with 11:36 left in the third quarter.

Sophomore attackman Cody Lehrer, the nation's leading scorer with a 3.9-goals-per-game average, did not record a single goal or assist as Manhattan concentrated on shadowing the Baltimore native and Dulaney graduate.

Gravante acknowledged the Jaspers' defensive effort, but he hinted that Lehrer played himself into the opponent's game plan.

"I don’t believe in players being shut off," Gravante said. "It’s just like in hoops. If they’re trying to face-guard a certain player who’s got the hot hand, the other four players know how to work around it. … We’ll do some things in practice to re-organize him and the offense."

With four more contests against conference foes -- including Siena on Saturday and Marist on May 1 -- on the regular-season schedule, Gravante said he wouldn't be surprised if those defenses borrowed from Manhattan's blueprint, which included a zone defense.

"You don’t want to assume anything, but I’m pretty certain that they’re going to try to work off that game plan somewhat," he said. "It’s going to be interesting, these next four games and how they play out for conference teams. But we have to be ready and we have to anticipate that’s what they’re going to do. If they don’t, we’ll play 6-on-6. That’s where you have to be effective as a coach, to anticipate it, roll with it, and have a backup plan or two."

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:55 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's
        

April 18, 2010

Postscript from Maryland vs. Johns Hopkins

No. 15 Johns Hopkins' 10-9 loss to No. 5 Maryland at the Smartlink Day of Rivals event at M&T Bank Stadium Saturday night begs the question: where does this leave the Blue Jays (5-6) in terms of making their 39th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament?

Johns Hopkins hasn’t absorbed six losses in the regular season since 1971 when that squad went 3-7. That was also the last time the school did not play in the NCAA Tournament.

With just three games left on the schedule before Selection Sunday on May 9, it would seem that the Blue Jays must win all three, which would entail beating Navy next Saturday, Towson on April 28 and No. 7 Loyola on May 8.

A defiant Dave Pietramala vowed that this team would aim at making the postseason.

"We’re going to make a run at this," the head coach said. "There are no ifs, ands or buts. We’re going to do everything we can to make a run at this. This isn’t over yet."

Senior midfielder Michael Kimmel echoed Pietramala’s feelings.

"Obviously, we’re not happy with the loss," the Towson native and Loyola graduate said. "But like Coach said, this thing’s not over yet. We’ve played the toughest schedule in the country and we obviously have to win out now, but we just have to learn from our mistakes. … Obviously, everyone’s down right now, but I’m a captain, and [attackman] Steve [Boyle] is a senior leader, and we’ve got to have our heads up and tell the guys that this thing isn’t over yet."

Other notes:

*Senior Will Yeatman returned to action for the first time since breaking his left thumb during practice on April 5. Yeatman practiced on Thursday, but was considered questionable for Saturday. He finished with one goal on one shot, one assist, one groundball and two turnovers. "Will is a great player," junior attackman Travis Reed said. "One thing Will does is, he causes a huge match-up problem. He makes their bigger, stronger defenseman have to guard him. … When Will gets in there, all the teams are so fast to slide to him that we get people moving off-ball all the time." Added coach Dave Cottle: "I think Will looked a little rusty at times. One goal that Trav gets is because Will is getting poled and Trav gets a shortie, and we run a big-little. His presence accounts sometimes for more than his statistics. The kid wanted to come back. He missed this game last year, and if you listen to him in the locker room, he’s glad he came back."

*Maryland freshman long-stick midfielder Jesse Bernhardt’s second goal of his young career in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s contest may have offset the three penalties he was assessed during the game. "Jesse went from the outhouse to the penthouse on that play," coach Dave Cottle said with a smile. "I think he picked up two or three fouls in the game, but Jesse scored the go-ahead goal against Georgetown, and the kid is fearless. He picks the ball off the ground and just keeps running."

*Johns Hopkins sports information director Ernie Larossa said 10 of the team’s 27 players were freshmen, and seven of those 10 freshmen played in the first nine minutes of the game.

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

Postscript from Georgetown at Loyola

As usual, Loyola’s attack performed splendidly. The midfield wasn’t too shabby either.

The No. 7 Greyhounds got a combined seven goals and two assists from their attack, but their midfield made contributions as well in the team’s 11-6 defeat of No. 9 Georgetown at Ridley Athletic Complex in Baltimore Saturday afternoon.

The first midfield of juniors Eric Lusby, Chris Basler and Stephen Murray combined for two goals and two assists, while the second unit of seniors Chris Hurst, Taylor Ebsary and freshman Davis Butts totaled two goals and two assists.

Each line outdid the Hoyas’ vaunted first midfield of seniors Andrew Brancaccio and Scott Kocis and junior Max Seligmann (a combined two goals and one assist0>

Lusby, who scored two goals during a critical 4-0 third quarter to snap a 4-4 tie at halftime, said the midfielders are well aware of their responsibilities.

"It just balances the offense a lot better," the Severna Park native and graduate said. "It takes the pressure off of the attack to do more. Sometimes the midfields aren’t producing, and the attack has to take the game over, and sometimes it doesn’t turn out for the best."

Clearly, Loyola’s success is tied to its attack, but the midfield has been nearly as important to the team’s 8-2 record thus far. In fact, the Greyhounds are 8-1 when both midfields combine for at least two goals and three points.

"I think you’re seeing a group that’s growing up," coach Charley Toomey said. "I think you’re a seeing a group that, from game to game, is becoming more confident. We’ve never put handcuffs on them, but I think they’ve kind of undone the handcuffs themselves. If they feel like they’ve got a step in that alley, they’re going to be aggressive, and they’re going to try to get to their look. We’ve always felt like we’ve got an attack that can break you down or get their hands free and shoot it. Now we feel like we can attack you from different areas of the field and certainly in the midfield. That takes a lot of pressure off of the attack if you’ve got to slide upfield to cover one of our middies."

Other notes:

*Speaking of Lusby, his 17 goals this season rank third on the team and are two more than he scored in his first two years combined. Lusby, who made the switch from attack to midfield last season, said he is growing more comfortable dodging from up top rather than from behind the cage. "I’ve just gotten a lot more confidence," he said. "I know that everyone tells me that I’ve got a hard shot and that I need to use it more often. I’ve just been looking for my opportunities and shooting it more.it’s been working out."

*Junior Jake Hagelin had entered Saturday’s contest ranked second among Division I goalkeepers in goals-against average (6.77) and fourth in save percentage (.608), and those numbers could improve after his 14-save performance against the Hoyas. The Havre de Grace native and Boys’ Latin graduate credited his defense of seniors Steve Layne and Kyle Cottrell (Glenelg) and junior Steve Dircks for pushing Georgetown’s offense to the outside "I was seeing outside shots, so I’ve got to thank them," Hagelin said. "When we clear the ball 24 out of 24 times, that really helps a lot, too. If we’re playing our defense and playing long reps, when we clear the ball, it gives us time to settle."

*Saturday’s victory would seem to further polish Loyola’s resume for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, but the team’s best avenue to the postseason is defeating Hobart and Denver to capture the Eastern College Athletic Conference title and the automatic qualifier. "It doesn’t hurt," Toomey said of the win against the Hoyas. "When you look at our schedule, this was the type of game you had to win. The Naval Academy and Towson who is starting to figure it out in-league, Georgetown plays in a tough league. I don’t know what their record is going to be at the end of the year, but right now, we’ve got head-to-head. If it comes down to a Loyola and a Georgetown, I think it’s obviously going to be a big win for us. But we’ve got to take care of the AQ, we’ve got to take care of the next game on our schedule. [Hoyas] coach [Dave] Urick and I were talking about it before the game, that you just can’t look up. Week to week, you just can’t look up. You’ve got to look at the ground and look at the game that’s in front of you. There are a lot of teams outside of Virginia, outside of a North Carolina and a Syracuse that have one or two losses on their resumes. So you’ve just got to take care of your own business and see where this thing falls."

*Senior goalkeeper Jack Davis did not suit up for the Hoyas and Urick was uncertain when Davis would return because of a herniated disc in his back that continues to bother him. "Jack didn’t practice at all this week," Urick said. "… We dressed him today just to see if his uniform still fit. But he was not going to play, and I’m not sure when he will play."

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

April 17, 2010

Maryland vs. Johns Hopkins: Halftime thoughts

Maryland’s start was a lot worse than its finish as the No. 5 Terps trail No. 15 Johns Hopkins, 4-3, at halftime in the second game of the Smartlink Day of Rivals doubleheader at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore Saturday night.

Maryland (7-2), which has dropped the last three meetings and 12 of the last 15, got off to a lethargic start, killing possessions with costly turnovers.

Meanwhile, the Blue Jays (5-5) took advantage by scoring three unanswered goals. The first two came from freshmen midfielders as John Greeley scored with 12:13 left in the first quarter and Greeley connected with John Ranagan with 6:53 left. Senior attackman Steven Boyle capped the run by converting a pass from senior midfielder Michael Kimmel with 4:54 left.

After both teams traded goals, junior attackman Ryan Young converted a feed from sophomore midfielder Jake Bernhardt, and senior midfielder Adam Sear scored on a two-man advantage as the Terps closed to within one before halftime.

If Maryland harbors any hope of ending its recent hex against Johns Hopkins, the team will need a hotter start in the third quarter. The good news is that the Blue Jays have surrendered 28 goals in the third period – the most of any quarter this season.

Other notes:

*If Johns Hopkins falters, the team will be kicking itself for failing to take advantage of its man-up opportunities. The offense has whiffed on six extra-man chances in the first half, which is not a good sign for a Blue Jays team that needs to convert those types of situations.

*Both teams are pretty even statistically. Johns Hopkins barely leads in shots (15-14), groundballs (15-12) and face-offs (5 of 9). The Terps are leading in saves (5-4), and both teams have committed six turnovers.

*Ranagan leads all scorers with three points on two goals and one assist. Young and junior attackman Grant Catalino pace Maryland with one goal and one assist each.

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Halftime thoughts, Johns Hopkins, Maryland
        

Georgetown at Loyola: Halftime thoughts

No. 7 Loyola and No. 9 Georgetown are tied at 4-4 at halftime, but the Greyhounds need to thank junior goalkeeper Jake Hagelin for keeping the team in the hunt.

Loyola (7-2) led, 3-1, after senior midfielder Chris Hurst converted a feed from senior midfielder Taylor Ebsary with 6:45 left in the first quarter, but the Hoyas (7-3) have maintained possession for a majority of the second quarter.

Georgetown took 16 of its 21 shots in the second period. Hagelin (five saves) absolutely stoned senior attackman Rickey Mirabito on the doorstep during a Hoyas’ extra-man advantage, and Hagelin made a diving stop on freshman attackman Travis Comeau after he intercepted a pass from Greyhounds senior face-off specialist John Schiavone.

The Hoyas have whiffed on four man-up situations, but Loyola has got to avoid giving those kinds of chances to Georgetown, which is ranked 13th in Division I in extra-man efficiency (14 of 33 for .424 percentage).

Other notes:

*Senior attackman Collin Finnerty, the Greyhounds’ leading scorer entering the contest, has scored twice to pace the offense. Senior attackman Cooper MacDonnell and Hurst are the other goal scorers for Loyola. Mirabito has sparked the Hoyas with two goals and on assist. Senior attackman Craig Dowd and junior midfielder Max Seligmann have scored for Georgetown.

*The Greyhounds are winning the battles in face-offs (7 of 10) and groundballs (23-13) and have committed one more turnover (7-6) than the Hoyas.

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:15 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Halftime thoughts, Loyola
        

Drexel at Towson: Three things to watch

Towson (4-5) has dominated this series, but Drexel enters Saturday night’s contest with the ranking (No. 8) and the record (9-2). First place in the Colonial Athletic Association and the driver’s seat for the top seed in the conference tournament are at stake when these teams meet at Johnny Unitas Stadium at 7:30 p.m.

1. One key to a Drexel win: The Dragons boast a potent attack in senior Colin Ambler (18 goals and 15 assists), junior Scott Perri (16, 17) and freshman Robert Church (26, 3). That unit has benefited from having a talented face-off specialist in senior Zak Fisher (65 of 114 for .570), but Tigers coach Tony Seaman thinks sophomore goalkeeper Mark Manos doesn’t get enough credit for kick-starting Drexel’s transition game. "They run really well because their goalie makes a ton of saves," Seaman said. "It’s kind of like playing basektball. If you get rebounds, you’re probably going to be a very good transition basketball team. If you get a goalie who can make saves cleanly – and this kid gets it out really well – that’s going to give them some offense, and he does that so many times in a game that it really helps them out a lot."

2. One key to a Towson win: Like the Dragons, the Tigers are also enjoying a three-game winning streak, which was difficult to envision after they had opened the season with five losses in six contests. Playing a schedule that is ranked as the toughest in the country by Laxpower.com, Towson has weathered hiccups to powerhouses like Virginia, Maryland and Loyola to bounce back against two CAA foes in then-No. 8 Massachusetts and Delaware and non-league opponent UMBC. Expect the team to rely on its run when it takes the field Saturday night. "They feel real good about themselves," Seaman said. "You start to build up some confidence and winning up there on the road is a big win and especially against a team that was ranked. And now we get another one that’s very, very similar to UMass except that maybe [Drexel’s] goalie is better. Not maybe. Definitely better.."

3. One key match-up: Speaking of that goalie, Manos ranks in the top five in Division I in both save percentage (.612 for third place) and goals-against average (7.69 for fifth). The reigning CAA Rookie of the Year stands tall (6-feet 2 and 270 pounds) and is difficult to sneak a shot past, but the Tigers fared well against Manos in his rookie year. They put 58.1 percent of their shots on net in a 7-4 victory in the regular season and peppered Manos with 21 of their 33 shots on goal in a 10-2 thrashing in the CAA Tournament. Towson must keep Manos on his toes and perhaps benefit from a fortunate bounce or two.

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

Georgetown at Loyola: Three things to watch

For the first time since 2004, No. 7 Loyola and No. 9 Georgetown will meet not as Eastern College Athletic Conference rivals, but as two typical opponents. But that doesn’t diminish what should be an entertaining game at Ridley Athletic Complex in Baltimore Saturday at noon.

1. One key to a Georgetown win: The Hoyas (7-3) have one of the more talented attack units in the nation and a wealth of rising freshmen. But the offense is fueled by the play of senior midfielders Scott Kocis and Andrew Brancaccio, two rather beefy (Kocis is 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, while Brancaccio is 6-5, 210) players who can initiate from the top of the offensive zone. This season, Georgetown’s fate has hinged on the play of Brancaccio, who has scored just two goals on 25 shots and added one assist in the team’s three losses. On the other hand, he has registered 15 goals on 47 shots in the Hoyas’ seven wins. How the Greyhounds mark Brancaccio could be a significant factor in the game.

2. One key to a Loyola win: The Greyhounds (7-2) have relied on their thoroughbreds, getting 10 or more goals from three players and 10 or more points from six players. They will need to get continued production from attackmen Collin Finnerty (18 goals and 7 assists), Matt Langan (9, 13) and Cooper MacDonnell (16, 3) and contributions from a host of midfielders led by junior Eric Lusby (15, 3). Loyola will take shots against Georgetown’s two-goalie rotation of senior Jack Davis and sophomore C.T. Fisher. Davis, who is dealing with a herniated disc in his back, is expected to start, but Fisher could step in at a moment’s notice. "We’ll prepare as if it will be Jack Davis [starting], but there’s also a good chance we’ll see C.T. Fisher," Greyhounds coach Charley Toomey said. "They’re both very talented goalies and if you let them get going, they can be very hot. The one good thing is, I don’t think there’s any chance one of them will come out and be a left-hander. So we’ll prepare for two right-handed goalies out there, but we know that they’re both very capable and talented goalies."

3. One key match-up: Hoyas junior face-off specialist Brian Tabb was recently named the Big East Defensive Player of the Week for winning 51.4 percent of face-offs and collecting 12 groundballs in back-to-back victories over No. 14 Notre Dame and Mount St. Mary’s. For the season, Tabb ranks 17th in Division I with a .567 success rate. Loyola isn't exactly a slouch in that department either as senior John Schiavone is tied for 11th in the nation with a 5.81 face-off percentage. Who wins more face-offs could give his respective offense an advantage in time of possession and potentially the final score.

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

April 16, 2010

Mount St. Mary's opponents seeing double

Twin sophomores Brett and Bryant Schmidt have been welcome additions to a Mount St. Mary’s team battling with Marist and Siena for first place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and top seed in the league tournament.

Brett Schmidt, an attackman, ranks second on the team in points (24) and third in goals (11), while Bryant Schmidt, a midfielder, ranks third in points (22). Both Schmidts lead the Mountaineers in assists (13).

The Schmidt twins drew the interest of Johns Hopkins, Navy and Towson when they were playing for St. Mary’s-Ryken, but Brett Schmidt said they were influenced by their older brother Justin, a junior long-stick midfielder at Mount St. Mary’s.

"My older brother Justin was already at Mount St. Mary’s, and he loved Mount St. Mary’s, the lacrosse there and coach [Tom] Gravante," Brett Schmidt said. "Me, my dad and Bryant sat down and talked about it, and we decided to go to Mount St. Mary’s. We love Coach Gravante. He’s a great coach, and we thought that was the best place for us. I’ve loved it. I’m glad I made this decision. It’s perfect."

Gravante returned the love, saying, "They’ve just elevated the offense. They’re tremendous athletes who could play in the top 20. There were some nice schools interested in them, and they chose to follow their big brother Justin, who is our starting long-stick midfielder and a junior here. And it’s just a true blessing to have all three boys here."

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

Where's the love for long-stick midfielders?

Despite the position’s importance, there is no designated spot on All-American teams for long-stick midfielders. They’re usually grouped with close defensemen even tough many people would agree that their responsibilities are somewhat different.

Here’s what each of the four long-stick midfielders participating in the Smartlink Day of Rivals doubleheader at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday had to say about the lack of recognition.

Navy senior Jaren Woeppel: "It doesn’t really bother me because I know it’s an important role. But it’s funny to explain to people who don’t really know much about lacrosse. They’ll ask, ‘Do you start? What position do you play?’ I’ll say, ‘I play long-stick midfield.’ They’ll say, ‘What is that?’ ‘I’m like, ‘It’s kind of a specialty position.’ They’ll say, ‘Kind of like a kicker or a punter?’ It’s kind of hard to explain it, but it doesn’t really get to me."

Maryland redshirt junior Brian Farrell: "It’s a position. There’s close defense, there’s short-stick d-middies, there’s long-stick d-middies. You get recruited for these positions. There’s not even a spot for us on any postseason awards. I think it should be it’s own position. I don’t think it should be considered defense or midfield. I think it should be a long-stick middie. You get recruited for that, and you can play that for four years, which a bunch of guys have done. I think there needs to be a change in that."

Army sophomore Tim Henderson: "You never get introduced with the starting lineup, but I don’t think, teamwise, that it’s overlooked. Everyone understands how important the long-stick middie is to the team. And it’s not really about getting announced before the game. It’s more of what you do during the game."

Johns Hopkins freshman Chris Lightner: "I’ve never been one to really worry about that kind of stuff. That’s not really that important. I’m out on the field and playing. Our job is just as important as anyone else’s. but it’s understandable that it gets overlooked because we don’t score like the offensive middies do, and we’re not on the field for every single play like the close defensemen are. So it’s understandable."

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Navy
        

Long-stick midfielders try their hands at scoring

Friday’s edition of The Sun included an article highlighting each of the long-stick midfielders playing for the four teams involved in Saturday’s Smartlink Day of Rivals doubleheader at M&T Bank Stadium.

A significant task associated with playing the long-stick midfielder position is helping the team move the ball from defense to offense. The dilemma for these players is what to do if the opposing defense doesn’t try to stop the ball carrier.

Ever since he scored two goals in his first game as a freshman in 2007, Maryland redshirt junior Brian Farrell has had the green light to shoot the ball if necessary.

"I was scared in the beginning because I never knew what the reaction was going to be from Coach [Dave] Cottle," recalled Farrell, who has scored 17 goals and assisted on 12 others in his career. "But the first game I ever played in, I scored two goals, and I was like, ‘OK, I don’t think he cares as long as I score.’ There’s been times when I’ve gotten yelled at for shooting. For example, last week [in an 11-9 victory over then-No. 20 Navy], I got yelled at for taking – I don’t think it was a bad shot – what they thought was a bad shot. Not the right time, I guess. … It’s part of the game. You need transition in order to win games."

Army sophomore Tim Henderson has registered two goals and two assists this season and three goals for his career. But he said he tries to be selective about his opportunities.

"I try to be smart about when to shoot and when not to shoot," he said. "I do think the long stick gives you a little more range from a little farther out, but you definitely try to be smart about passing or shooting it when the opportunity presents itself. I’ll take it if it’s there, but if not, I’ll pull it out and settle it down."

Johns Hopkins freshman Chris Lightner scored the first goal of his career in the No. 15 Blue Jays’ 19-7 rout of Albany last Saturday. Lightner said he understands the risk/reward scenario with coach Dave Pietramala studying his every move.

"If their defense is going to let you get close enough to shoot, as long as you bury the shot, Coach is completely OK with it," Lightner said. "If it was a good opportunity, he can’t really put you at fault. If you miss, I’m sure he’ll have a couple words for you, but if they give you the opportunity to shoot, you kind of have to take it."

Then there’s Navy senior Jaren Woeppel who has taken 10 shots in his career without hitting the twine. Woeppel hedged when asked if he had clearance to shoot.

"Well, in my mind, I feel like I do, but I don’t think Coach [Richie Meade] really likes that as much," he said. "He’s more of the mindset of, "Jaren, you can take the shot if you have to, but I really would like it if you hit the point man.’ But if I have it, I’m going to take it. But I’m not too much of an offensive-minded long-stick midfielder."

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

April 15, 2010

Loyola's attackmen helping Layne improve

Steve Layne has developed into No. 7 Loyola’s top defenseman, and the senior credited daily practices against an attack unit of seniors Cooper MacDonnell and Collin Finnerty and junior Matt Langan for his evolution.

“It helps out a lot,” Layne said. “I’ve been going against Cooper for four years now, and Cooper’s obviously a very good player. The good thing about our practices is that those three guys are all very good and all very different. If I’m playing a guy who’s dodging from the ‘X’ and he’s a real quick and shifty guy, then I’ll try to play Matt as much as I can in practice. If I’m playing against a pure scorer who dodges real hard to the cage, then I’ll go with Cooper. Or if it’s someone who’s a little bit more off ball and a good shooter, then I’ll go to Collin. So it’s real helpful becaiuse they’re all good but all different, too. You can get a different look from each of them.”

Layne, who leads the Greyhounds (7-2) in caused turnovers (10) and ranks third in groundballs (24), has shadowed the likes of Navy senior attackman Tim Paul, Notre Dame senior attackman Neal Hicks, Duke junior attackman Zach Howell and Towson junior Tim Stratton. Paul and Howell each scored a goal, while Stratton was shut out.

Layne will likely guard senior attackman Craig Dowd when No. 9 Georgetown visits Ridley Athletic Complex this Saturday and senior attackman Steven Boyle when No. 15 Johns Hopkins visits on May 8.

“I’ve played some good ones, but I’ve also got some tough ones coming up in the future,” Layne said. “I’m looking forward to it. They’re all good players.”
Posted by Edward Lee at 11:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola
        

Maryland's Farrell has a new appreciation for practice

Brian Farrell is no Allen Iverson.

No, this is not a comparison of Farrell’s cross-over dribble with that of the former Philadelphia 76er’s nor is it a commentary on Farrell’s pull-up jumper.

Rather, the Maryland redshirt junior long-stick midfielder is not like Iverson in that Farrell actually enjoys going to practice. It’s an appreciation gained when his 2009 season was cut short after three games by an unusual injury.

In the second game of the season against Air Force, Farrell absorbed a stick check to the right side of his chest. The pain was tremendous and did not subside during the team’s flight back from Florida.

He played against Georgetown, but during a practice prior to Duke, Farrell said he almost passed out trying to complete a sprinting drill. Further examination revealed that he was suffereing from a cracked rib that that pierced a muscle near his lung. The punctured muscle released two liters of blood internally. “It was a miserable experience,” Farrell recalled Tuesday. “Terrible in every single way that you can think of with being injured, being in the hospital, having to watch your teammates play and you can’t do a thing about it. But at the same time, it’s been a blessing in disguise. I get another year of  school, I’ve got two more years [of eligibility] left with a great nucleus of upperclassmen. As much as it killed me not being to help out the team, I’ve been able to get through the injury and get back to my level of play this year.”

Farrell has registered two goals and four assists this season, ranking first on the team in caused turnovers (15) and second in groundballs (31). Farrell said as much as he looks forward to games, he has actually begun to enjoy going to practice, which is usually considered an exercise in monotony by players in many sports.

“Sometimes when you’re in practice, you’re thinking, ‘Man, this sucks. I don’t want to be here at all. I hate lacrosse. I can’t wait for this to be over.’ But when you take a year off, you appreciate that sport so much because you’re not doing anything,” Farrell said. “You want to be out there, and you’re thinking, ‘I don’t care if I get yelled at 100 million times. I need to be out there and helping out the team as much as I can.’”
Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Maryland
        

Towson defense rising to the occasion

A good portion of credit for Towson’s three-game winning streak belongs to the defense, which has surrendered an average of 7.7 goals during the run.

The Tigers (4-5) have been especially stout in the second half and most notably in the fourth quarter. The defense shut out Colonial Athletic Association foe Delaware over the final 28 minutes, 1 second to win, 9-7.

UMBC didn’t score over the last 8:51, falling 10-7, and then-No. 8 and new CAA opponent Massachusetts was blanked over the final 9:34 in a 10-9 loss.

Tigers coach Tony Seaman said if the defense can limit opponents to single-digit goal totals, then the onus is on the offense to cement the victory.

“I think that’s kind of their goal,” Seaman said of the defense. “Our defense is communicating very well. … They’re coming together and they’ve got a common goal. They’ve just done a great job at that end of the field.”

Saturday brings another ranked CAA opponent in No. 8 Drexel (9-2), which, like Towson, sits atop the league with a 2-0 conference record. The Dragons should provide plenty of motivation, Seaman said.

“I think it’s more that it’s a ranked team, which is another chance to improve our RPI [Ratings Percentage Index] and a chance to get to .500,” Seaman said. “It’s a chance for us to see the top of the hole that we had dug so deeply in the beginning of the year and maybe get out of that hole a little bit. These kids are not dumb. They realize the whole situation. So they’re playing hard and they’re together on their goals.”
Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Towson
        

April 14, 2010

Tewaaraton list narrowed down to 26

The list of candidates in the running to win this year's Tewaaraton Trophy, which is given to college lacrosse's top player, has been narrowed down to 26 players.

No. 5 Maryland has two players on that list in junior attackman Grant Catalino and redshirt junior long-stick midfielder Brian Farrell. No. 7 Loyola is represented by junior goalkeeper Jake Hagelin, while Navy has a candidate in sophomore goalie R.J. Wickham.

Also, sophomore defenseman Sam Miller of Salisbury is listed, but I'm thinking that's a mistake. I think the foundation meant to nominate sophomore midfielder Sam Bradman.

No. 1 Virginia and No. 2 Syracuse lead all schools with four players each on the list. Senior midfielder Brian Carroll (Gilman), senior defenseman Ken Clausen, junior midfielder Shamel Bratton and sophomore attackman Steele Stanwick (Loyola) represent the Cavaliers, while senior attackman Cody Jamieson, junior goalkeeper John Galloway, junior midfielder Jeremy Thompson and sophomore long-stick midfielder Joel White lead the Orange.

No. 6 Duke has three candidates in senior attackmen Ned Crotty and Max Quinzani and senior defenseman Parker McKee. No. 3 North Carolina is the only other school with multiple representatives in junior attackman Billy Bitter and junior defenseman Ryan Flanagan.

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:50 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola, Maryland, Navy
        

Tough neighborhood for McDaniel

Quick: name the Division III program in Maryland that has the unenviable task of trying to upend two programs ranked in the top 5 in its own conference.

If you said St. Mary's or Hood, you'd be 66.6 percent correct. Although it's true that the Saints and Blazers have to deal with No. 1 Salisbury and No. 3 Stevenson in the Capital Athletic Conference, McDaniel has its own problems with No. 2 Gettysburg and No. 5 Dickinson in the Centennial Conference.

But don't shed any tears for the Green Terror, which is 3-2 in the conference -- good enough for third place and in position to qualify for the season-ending four-team league tournament. Coach Matt Hatton said McDaniel benefits from playing in a contentious conference. 

"It's a gift and a curse," he said. "I think it helps in recruiting because kids want to play the best, and if you come to play in the Centennial Conference, you're playing the best guys -- game in and game out. The other part of it is, it's tough to beat Gettysburg, and it's going to be tough to beat Dickinson as well. Everybody in our conference is very well-coached. ... I wouldn't change it for anything in the world. I like going out and competing against those teams."

McDaniel's only losses in the league have been to Washington College (9-8 on March 20) and Gettysburg (15-6 on April 7). The team still has upcoming contests against league foes Franklin & Marshall, Haverford and Dickinson.

Win out and the Green Terror can avoid a first-round match-up with Gettysburg in the Centennial Conference Tournament.

"The way we're looking at it right now is, we need to take care of the next three games, and if we do that, then we feel comfortable about putting ourselves in a position to make it to the conference tournament," Hatton said. "Then we'll see what we can do."

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

Good call: Officials quick to whistle stalling

College and high school officials are being liberal in interpreting the rules on stalling, and it's actually good for the game. More and more officials are giving less time (about 45 seconds) before enforcing the stalling rule, and it's being called more on the high school level than the college. I like it that way because it forces an uptempo game, and that's the way lacrosse was meant to be played.

We're already in the specialized era where the game is slowed down because teams have offensive midfielders and defensive midfielders. Teams that lack speed can also slow down the game with numerous passes. That's sound strategy, but not the kind of lacrosse I want to see.
 
I like cutting and I like ball movement. I like fastbreaks and transition. I like the basic concept of offensive lacrosse: Catch the ball, make a move, and if you can't beat your defender, pass it to someone else.
 
But to deliberately hold the ball and not go to the goal is boring, and hurts the game. In fact, if the officials wanted to enforce the stalling rule faster, I wouldn't mind.

Posted by Mike Preston at 7:25 AM | | Comments (5)
        

Maryland's Yeatman either "probable" or "game-time decision" for Saturday

When No. 5 Maryland takes the field at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Saturday evening against No. 15 Johns Hopkins in the second game of the Smartlink Day of Rivals doubleheader, it's unclear whether the Terps (7-2) will have senior Will Yeatman in the fold.

Yeatman, who sat out last Saturday's 11-9 victory over then-No. 20 Navy because of a broken left thumb, is scheduled to have the stitches in that thumb removed Thursday, and there's a chance that he could practice later that day and Friday, according to coach Dave Cottle.

"If he practices Thursday, I'm probably going to play him Saturday," Cottle said, adding, "I'd go [with] probable [as Yeatman's official designation]. If he's practicing, he's playing."

Seconds later, however, Cottle reminded two reporters that the biggest priority is Yeatman's health, and that will play a significant role in his availability against the Blue Jays (5-5).

"I don't want to put him back in with a chance to hurt himself, and I don't want to put him back in if he's not ready," Cottle said. "So we'll have to see how he practices on Thursday and Friday. I would say game-time decision."

Yeatman, who is still tied for second on the team with junior attackman Travis Reed for goals with 11, missed last year's meeting with Johns Hopkins due to a sprained ankle. At 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds, Yeatman, who has played mostly midfield until he scored four goals in Maryland's 11-10 loss to No. 1 Virginia on April 3, could be a match-up problem for the Blue Jays. 

Cottle also revealed that redshirt junior long-stick midfielder Brian Farrell has been playing despite a stress fracture in his foot. Farrell, who sat out after three games last year because of a cracked rib and internal bleeding, has not missed a start this season, but he looked out of sorts in back-to-back losses to No. 3 North Carolina and the Cavaliers.

"The Carolina game, he was limping all over the field," Cottle said. "The Virginia game, he limped. He was a little better this week [against Navy]. The reason why I can tell you all of this is because he's starting to get better. But he's played hurt for the last three weeks. He's starting to turn the corner. He's not limping, he's doing his conditioning in the pool and on the bike, and last week, he had a good week of practice. So he'll start to get better again."

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

April 13, 2010

Three from Mount St. Mary's earn weekly awards

Sophomore attackman Cody Lehrer and Brett Schmidt and junior goalkeeper T.C. DiBartolo claimed weekly honors on Tuesday.

Lehrer, a Baltimore native and Dulaney graduate, was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week after he scored eight goals in two games last week. He scored twice in an 11-6 loss to No. 9 Georgetown and six times in a 12-9 victory over MAAC rival Detroit Mercy.

Lehrer, who has scored five or more goals in a game four times this season, leads the Mountaineers (6-3) in goals with 35 and ranks first in Division I in goals per game with 3.9.

Schmidt was selected as the Co-Rookie of the Week after he registered seven points in the win against Detroit Mercy. Schmidt finished with six assists, which is the most by a Mount St. Mary's player since Roland Miller posted six assists in a 17-9 rout of Canisius on March 28, 1998. Schmidt ranks second on the team in points with 23 and is tied with twin brother Bryant for the team lead in assists with 13.

DiBartolo captured the Northeast Conference Defensive Player of the Week award for the second consecutive week after he made 33 saves last week. The Bowie native and Archbishop Spalding graduate made 20 saves against the Hoyas and 13 stops against Detroit Mercy, moving into fourth place on the school's all-time career saves list with 460.

The Mountaineers will be joining the Northeast Conference next season, along with Bryant, Quinnipiac, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart and Wagner. The league is handing out Player, Defensive Player and Rookie of the Week honors and postseason awards this season.

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:25 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's
        

Mount St. Mary's getting on the offensive

Blessed with one of the more underrated defenses  in recent years, Mount St. Mary’s is beginning to feature an offense that is similarly flying under the radar.

The Mountaineers are tied for 18th in Division I this season in scoring, averaging 11 goals per game. That’s the same amount produced by No. 3 North Carolina and that’s more than No. 20 Yale (22nd at 10.9) and No. 15 Johns Hopkins (23rd at 10.8).

Mount St. Mary’s (6-3) has scored 10 or more goals in five contests this season and has only scored fewer than seven goals in one game. That’s a far cry from last year when the offense broke the 10-goal ceiling just twice and scored six or fewer goals nine times, losing all nine games.

Coach Tom Gravante, an All-American attackman during his playing days at Hobart, said the players understood the task at hand after getting bounced by Manhattan by a score of 5-3 in the semifinals of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

"Their game wasn’t complete," he said. "There were holes in their game that they needed to work on to become better athletes and better players, and they did. Improving their off hand, improving their strength, coming back with a different move to the cage or a different shot, that’s been the biggest difference. They’re more mature. They responded."

The Mountaineers start as many as six sophomores in attackmen Cody Lehrer (35 goals and 3 assists), Brett Schmidt (11, 13) and Eric Ososki (10, 3) and midfielders Bryant Schmidt (9, 13), Jake Willertz (14, 3) and Mike Adkins (4, 4) and one freshman in attackman Andrew Scalley (10, 11). Aside from the Schmidt twins and Scalley, however, the remaining four players played last season, attaining invaluable experience.

Brett Schmidt said the players have developed a certain cohesion after dozens of practices and offseason workouts with each other.

"I think that now that we’re sophomores, we’re starting to gel a little bit more," he said. "It’s easy to play with these guys because they’re great athletes and great lacrosse players. They put up some good points."

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's
        

Navy's Woeppel healing in time for Saturday

Jaren Woeppel sat out Navy’s 11-9 loss to No. 5 Maryland this past Saturday due to a nagging hamstring injury, and while the senior long-stick midfielder was chomping to play, he ultimately agreed with coach Richie Meade’s decision.

“I guess I put up as much resistance as I could, but pretty much, what he says, goes. And I wasn’t going to argue it,” Woeppel said. “I think it was a wise choice. It’s my last year, and Coach didn’t want me to do anything where it wasn’t 100 percent and I still played on it and I hurt it even more.”

Woeppel, who is believed to be the first long-stick midfielder to earn the Patriot League’s preseason Defensive Player of the Year, re-aggravated a right hamstring injury that forced him to miss back-to-back losses to Lafayette and Towson.

“It feels pretty good,” he said. “Hopefully, by Tuesday or Wednesday, I’ll be back in full pads practicing.”
Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Navy
        

April 12, 2010

Salisbury's DeLillo picks up weekly honor

Jake DeLillo of Salisbury was recognized by the Capital Athletic Conference as its Player of the week.

The senior attackman scored four times in the No. 1 Sea Gulls' 18-5 rout of St. Mary's on Wednesday. DeLillo added one goal and three assists in the team's 29-2 thumping of Hood on Saturday.

DeLillo ranks third on Salisbury (14-0, 5-0 in the CAC) in goals (30) and points (46) and fourth in assists (16).

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

UMBC's Doub gets award

UMBC's Nick Doub was selected as the America East Rookie of the Week after his three-goal, one-assist performance in two games last week.

Promoted to the first midfield line, Doub scored the first goal of his career in a 10-7 loss to Towson on Wednesday night. Three nights later, the Annapolis native and St. Mary's graduate scored two goals and assisted on another in the Retrievers' 12-6 victory over Binghamton on Saturday night.

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:15 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: UMBC
        

Loyola's Hagelin wins league award

Jake Hagelin of Loyola claimed the Eastern College Athletic Conference's Defensive Player of the Week honor after the junior goalkeeper surrendered just four goals in the No. 7 Greyhounds' five-goal victory over Fairfield Saturday.

Hagelin made 13 saves as Loyola (7-2, 5-0 in the ECAC) tagged Fairfield (6-3) with its first conference loss (3-1). The Havre de Grace native and Boys' Latin graduate ranks second in Division I with a 6.78 goals-against average and fourth with a .603 save percentage. This is the second time this season that Hagelin has been cited by the league.

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:10 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola
        

Towson's Love gets some, uh, love

Towson junior goalkeeper Travis Love and freshman face-off specialist Matt Thomas were honored by the Colonial Athletic Association Monday, earning the league's co-Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week awards.

Love, a Westminster native and Winters Mill graduate, made 11 saves in the Tigers' 10-7 victory over UMBC on Wednesday. He followed up that performance with 10 stops in a 10-9 upset of No. 8 Massachusetts on Saturday. Love currently ranks eighth in Division I with a .583 save percentage and tied for 19th with a 9.06 goals-against average.

Thomas won 60 percent of his face-offs last week, going 9-of-14 against the Retrievers on Wednesday and 9-of-16 against the Minutemen on Saturday. For the season, Thomas has posted a 50.7 success rate (76 of 150) on face-offs, and he leads the team in groundballs with 40.

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:42 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Towson
        

Defense is taking the point for Loyola

Loyola (7-2) has climbed to No. 7 in The Sun’s poll and first in the Eastern College Athletic Conference with an unblemished 5-0 record courtesy of a stifling defense.

The Greyhounds currently rank second in Division I with a defense that has surrendered just 6.8 goals per game this season. Only No. 3 North Carolina, which has allowed and average of 6.4 goals in 11 contests, has been better.

Coach Charley Toomey credited the starting close defense of seniors Steve Layne and Kyle Cottrell and junior Steve Dircks, a rotation of junior Kevin Hinton, sophomore Kevin Moriarty and freshman Scott Ratliffe at long-stick midfielder and junior goalkeeper Jake Hagelin with anchoring Loyola on that side of the field.

“I just think they’re protecting the paint,” Toomey said. “I think they really understand about off-ball responsibilities, dropping down to help each other. They’re playing with a tenacity and physicality right now. They’re trying their best to win their match-ups and if something breaks down, they’re organized enough to make a quick slide. We’re forcing teams to make two or three extra passes to get a good shot.”

The defense is beginning to elbow aisde the team’s vaunted attack for some attention, but Toomey laughed at the notion that the defense felt overlooked in the preseason.

“We take great pride in the way we play defense, but nobody’s pointing fingers in the locker room,” he said. “We feel like if the defense can hold a team to eight [goals], then we should win because we know that our offense is capable of getting to nine or above. And it’s vice versa. If the offense can only get it to seven, then we need to have an extra special day to hold somebody to five. That’s kind of the way the guys have approached it.”

Toomey was quick to cut off a question about the Greyhounds assuming control of the conference. While the team is undefeated, Denver is also unbeaten at 3-0 in the league.

“I beg to differ,” Toomey said in response to Loyola being in the proverbial driver’s seat. “I think Denver – which has three ECAC wins and is also undefeated – is setting up very similarly to a UMass situation where unless Denver has two losses, the conference championship could be at Invesco Field on May 1.”

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:20 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola
        

April 11, 2010

Postscript from Navy at Maryland

Grant Catalino is the first guy to point out that No. 5 Maryland’s success is not based on one player. The numbers would seem to bear otherwise.

The Terps (7-2) are 6-0 in games in which Catalino registers three points or more as the junior attackman did when he scored three times in the team’s 11-9 victory over No. 20 Navy on Saturday.

On the flip side, Maryland is 1-2 when Catalino posts less than three points.

The same holds true over Catalino’s career. The Terps are now 18-4 when Catalino records at least three points, but just 9-10 when he can’t break that threshhold.

Catalino shrugged off talk of any offensive burden on his 6-foot-5, 225- pound frame, saying, “It’s different guys every week. This week is no different from that. Me and [junior attackman] Travis [Reed] ended up with three and four goals [respectively], but next week, it could be two more other guys. That’s the beauty of this team. We’ve got a lot of guys scoring.”

Still, there’s no denying that Catalino can spark the offense. He notched one goal and one assist in Maryland’s 9-7 loss to No. 3 North Carolina on March 27 and was shut out in the 11-10 setback to No. 1 Virginia on April 3.

“We need Grant to be a player,” coach Dave Cottle said. “He didn’t score a goal last week, and he hadn’t scored a goal against Navy in his career. So I challenged him. I called him some names this week. But he stepped up for us.”

Cottle’s memory might be blurry with so many games running together. Catalino did score once in 2008, but he was blanked last season. “I took it personally and prepared extra hard for this week because going into a game against a team you haven’t scored on in two years, I kind of wanted to make a statement,” Catalino said. “The ball kind of fell my way today. Luckily, we had a bunch of guys scoring, but it was good to finally get a goal against this Navy team.”

Other notes:

*Reed and Catalino scored several of their goals off situations where a teammate drew a slide and found either Reed or Catalino on the back side for shots. Cottle said back side opportunities are available against defenses that slide. “The sliding teams have been in trouble lately because of the cutting-the-fill guys and popping-the-crease guys,” he said. “If you slide, it causes all kinds of problems. The teams that don’t slide aren’t having that problem. Maryland’s having trouble, Navys having trouble, Hopkins is having trouble, and that’s what you get on it, the backside being open. So we’ve all got to change our rules or come up with new ones. That’s what we’ve been working on.”

*The absence of senior attackman Will Yeatman (broken left thumb) didn’t seem to impede the Terps offense too much. Reed started on the attack in place of Yeatman, and sophomores Joe Cummings and Jake Bernhardt and junior Dan Burns composed the first midfield. If Yeatman can’t return for next Saturday’s game against No. 15 Johns Hopkins, Reed said the unit will forge ahead. “I think we just keep playing the same offense,” he said. “If Will’s not going to be back, we’ll be a little bit more familiar without him with practice. Will’s obviously an incredible player. He scored four goals against the No. 1 team in the country. But all teams have injuries, and we’ve just got to try to do our best to play without him.”

*While Navy’s starting attack of senior Brendan Connors, junior Andy Warner and sophomore Ryan O’Leary combined for just zero goals and two assists, senior attackman Kyle Kapron registered a team-best four points on three goals and one assist. Entering Saturday’s contest, Kapron had posted just two goals and one assist in the team’s first 10 games. “I was having fun out there, beating my guy,” said Kapron, who had recorded four goals and three assists in his career prior to Saturday’s game. “They weren’t sliding too quickly, and that just led to plenty of opportunities.”

*The Midshipmen’s 5 wins in the first 11 games is the program’s worst since 2003, and they have lost six games for the second time in three years. Their hopes of attaining a seventh consecutive bid to the NCAA Tournament likely rest on capturing their sixth Patriot League Tournament championship – and the automatic qualifier that accompanies it – in the last seven years. “All of our goals are still in front of us for the year,” coach Richie Meade said defiantly. “That’s a trite saying now. I’m not happy we didn’t win, but we’ve just got to look to next week [against Army], which is a huge game for us, and then take the season after that. So that’s our approach.”

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Maryland, Navy, Postscript
        

April 10, 2010

Navy at Maryland: Halftime thoughts

No. 5 Maryland has a 4-3 edge on No. 20 Navy at halftime at Byrd Stadium in College Park, but it's the Midshipmen who should be in front.

Navy took a 3-1 lead just 4:05 into the second quarter after junior attackman Andy Warner found senior midfielder Joe Lennon alone at the left point for a goal. But the team has squandered offensive possessions since then, taking sharp-angled or ill-advised shots at the cage.

The Midshipmen had a golden opportunity to stop the bleeding when redshirt junior long-stick midfielder Brian Farrell was flagged for slashing. But Warner took a shot from a poor angle left of the cage that Terps senior goalkeeper Brian Phipps gobbled up, and Maryland killed off the remainder of Farrell's one-minute penalty. Phiipps made five of his seven saves in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, junior attackman Grant Catalino has put the Terps on his back, scoring all three of the team's goals in the second quarter to reassert the team's dominance thus far. Catalino, who had been shut out in Maryland's 11-10 loss to No. 1 Virginia last Saturday, scored his second and third goals in a span of 15 seconds. 

Other notes:

*Face-offs continue to plague the Midshipmen, who entered the contest winning 43.3 percent of their draws. They've won just 2 of 9 face-offs in the first half and don't seem to have an answer for Maryland's duo of senior Bryn Holmes and sophomore Jake Bernhardt.

*Lennon leads Navy with two goals, and senior midfielder Patrick Moran has chipped in one goal and one assist. Catalino is the Terps' only player with more than one point.

*Maryland is winning the battle of shots (19-13) and groundballs (20-11) and will begin the third quarter on an extra-man advantage after freshman short-stick defensive midfielder Jordan Seivold was assessed a 30-second penalty for holding with 11 seconds left in the second quarter.

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:26 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Halftime thoughts, Maryland, Navy
        

Navy, Maryland to play without key starter

Some news prior to No. 20 Navy's tilt with No. 5 Maryland at Byrd Stadium in College Park: The Terps (6-2) will play without starting attackman/midfielder Will Yeatman because of a broken thumb on his left hand.

Yeatman, a senior who ranks second on the team in goals (11) and fourth in points (13), broke the thumb during practice on Monday, according to a Maryland spokesman. He had seven screws and a plate inserted into the thumb, and the earliest he could return is for next Saturday's game against No. 15 Johns Hopkins at the Day of Rivals at M&T Bank Stadium.

The Midshipmen (5-5) will play without senior long-stick midfielder Jaren Woeppel, who is dealing with a hamstring injury. It's the same hamstring that kept him from playing against Lafayette and Towson earlier in the season. But the move is more precautionary than anything, according to a team spokesperson.

Also, senior Gordon Lawson will start on close defense, replacing sophomore Ian Crumley.

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:10 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland, Navy
        

Q&A with ESPN's Mark Dixon

ESPN analyst Mark Dixon, a former midfielder at Johns Hopkins, will provide commentary for Saturday’s game between No. 20 Navy and No. 5 Maryland and Sunday’s contest between No. 14 Notre Dame and No. 10 Georgetown. This is the last of a two-part interview with Dixon, who discussed whether Virginia or North Carolina will finish the regular season undefeated, which team has been the biggest surprise, and what player is his leading candidate to win the Tewaaraton Trophy.

 

Question: No. 1 Virginia and No. 3 North Carolina – the only remaining unbeaten teams in Division I – play against each other Saturday in the Konica Minolta Big City Classic at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. Which team remains unblemished and can that team run the table in the regular season?

Mark Dixon: “I think Virginia’s going to win the game, and I say that because I think last week [an 11-10 win against No. 5 Maryland] proved to be a wake-up call to them. They’ve got to play 60 minutes, they just can’t coast, and they’ve got to be aware that even if they get up by a few goals, teams are going to come back and really give their best effort. But I also like Virginia because North Carolina is so banged up right now. It’s uncertain whether or not [senior midfielder] Sean DeLaney will play. He may be out until the playoffs with that shoulder injury. [Sophomore attackman] Thomas Wood has a hand issue. He didn’t play against Hopkins, and it doesn’t look like he’ll play this week. And they’ve got young guys in the midfield who stepped up against Hopkins, but Virginia is a different animal both offensively and defensively. As far as running the table, I don’t know. This is a Virginia team that has struggled tremendously against Duke the last couple years, and the Blue Devils are on a seven-game winning streak. They play each other on the 17th, and then you’ve got the ACC [Atlantic Coast Conference] Tournament. I think the separation between those four schools is so razor-thin, that it’s going to be a wide-open tournament. This year, of the top five teams in the country, four of them are in the ACC – no questions asked. So I think Virginia beats North Carolina on Saturday, but will they run the table? I’m not so sure. I wouldn’t be surprised if they did, but I certainly wouldn’t be shocked if they didn’t.”

Q: Which team has surprised you thus far in terms of what they’ve accomplished?

MD: “If I’m looking at their recent performance – and they’ve burned me in the past – I look at Georgetown. They’ve got some fresh blood offensively. [Freshman attackman] Davey Emala has come in and scored six goals in two games. [Freshman midfielder] Zach Guy had three assists. I think they’ve relied so heavily on that midfield of [senior Andrew] Brancaccio and [senior Scott] Kocis that you haven’t seen other guys emerge. But now you’re seeing Zach Guy and [sophomore attackman] Zack Angel. The thing about georgeytown, though, is that they haven’t won that big one yet in 2010. They’ve lost to Maryland, they’ve lost to Syracuse, they’ve lost to Duke. They’ve got a big test this coming Sunday against Notre Dame, who’s struggling. But I like what [coach] Dave Urick is doing in giving some of the younger guys an opportunity to get out there and play. I also think that UMass is very dangerous. They’ve got a very good defender in [senior] Diogo Godoi, a good middie in [senior] Bobby Hayes, a nice attackman in [sophomore] Art Kell, and that’s a team that has beaten Hofstra and Brown. I thought earlier in the season, it was going to be between Hofstra and Drexel in the CAA [Colonial Athletic Association]. But now you’re looking at UMass.”

Q: Has No. 13 Hofstra or No. 14 Notre Dame been the biggest disappointment thus far?

MD: “Hofstra’s got the win over Hopkins, which doesn’t seem that big right now. But what I’m most surprised about is that Hofstra is 0-2 in the CAA. I think the biggest problem for the Pride has been goaltending. Rob Bellairs is a freshman who didn’t start at the beginning of the season. He replaced [sophomore] Andrew Gvozden, who struggled earlier in the season. Wen you look at that attack of [juniors] Jamie Lincoln and Jay Card, they’re terrific. They’re tremendous together, and they’ve developed some scorers. For the longest time, the joke on Hofstra was you called them ‘Hafstra’ because they had no ‘O.’ And now they’ve got the ‘O,’ but they’re struggling between the pipes. I think they really needed to get their defense in order. They’ve got a really good defender in [senior] Christian Scuderi, but I think their interior defense is a little lacking. The freshman [Robert] Church from Drexel had seven [goals] against them last week. For Notre Dame, that’s a team that you knew was going to win – or lose – 7-6, 8-7 games because their defense is strong, and they’ve got [senior goalkeeper] Scott Rodgers. Well, now Rodgers is out. He got hurt against Rutgers [a 10-8 loss for the Fighting Irish], and he didn’t play in the [9-8] loss to Villanova, but their [backup] goaltender [freshman John Kemp] has been doing pretty good. When I look at Notre Dame, they just have no one on attack that scares me. You’ve got the one kid, [senior Neal] Hicks, who’s a good scorer, but other than him, you really don’t have an attackman who can break the defense down, and that’s tough. You want to have at least two guys that you have to respect as dodgers. They’ve got some nice middies in [junior Zach] Brenneman and [senior Gran] Krebs and [junior] David Earl, but I think it’s been the attack that’s been lacking the punch for Notre Dame.”

Q: As of now, which four teams do you like to make it to the Final Four?

MD: “Carolina, Syracuse, Virginia and Maryland. Those are the four right now. They’ve got the talent, and they can put it together and make the run.”

Q: Who is your leading candidate to win the Tewaararton Trophy? 

MD: “I think right now, it’s probably [North Carolina junior attackman] Billy Bitter. My midseason player of the year was [junior goalkeeper] John Galloway from Syracuse. I think he’s just been absolutely terrific, but when you look at Bitter and what he menas to that team and the leadership he’s provided, he’s special. He missed a game due to [a strained calf] injury, he comes back with his leg heavily taped, and he scores four goals on Hopkins – three in the first quarter. He is a very special player – the quickness, the agility, incredibly soft hands, great vision. He makes everybody around him better. Galloway, I think, would be Tewaaraton 1A simply because he has just elevated his game. In the preseason, all of the talk was around [sophomore goalie] Tyler Fiorito of Princeton and Scott Rodgers of Notre Dame. I think Galloway has been the anchor of one of the two best defenses in the country besides Carolina. But that’s why I would shy away from Galloway at this point, because he does have such a great defense. But Bitter is a just a guy who makes everyone around him better, and he can beat you in so many different ways.

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Q&A
        

Navy at Maryland: Three things to watch

There’s much at stake when No. 20 Navy visits No. 5 Maryland at Byrd Stadium in College Park on Saturday at noon. The Midshipmen (5-5) could use a quality win to further enhance their resume for the NCAA Tournament, while the Terps (6-2) would like to beat their intra-state rivals for only the second time since 2003. Here are a few game developments that could factor into the outcome.

 

1. One key to a Navy win: The Midshipmen have been experiencing some issues on defense, which is somewhat of a departure for a program that has built a reputation as having one of the toughest defenses in the nation. Navy could help the defense by avoiding unnecessary penalties. After committing 41 penalties for a combined 26 minutes last season, the team has already been flagged 40 times for 36 minutes, 30 seconds. That plays into Maryland’s favor as the Terps rank second in Division I with a .607 success rate (17 of 28) on extra-man opportunities. “You can’t foul them,” Midshipmen coach Richie Meade said. Navy isn’t exactly a slouch in killing off penalties as the man-down unit has surrendered just 14 goals in 41 short-handed situations.

2. One key to a Maryland win: The Terps boast one of the more explosive offenses in the country, a unit averaging 11.3 goals per game thus far. But that production has been limited in back-to-back losses to No. 3 North Carolina and No. 1 Virginia because the face-off unit has struggled to win possession for the offense. Maryland won 8 of 19 face-offs in a 9-7 loss to the Tar Heels on March 27 and just 9 of 24 draws in an 11-10 loss to the Cavaliers last Saturday. For the season, the Terps have been successful on 46.6 percent (88 of 189). Perhaps the silver lining in Saturday’s match-up is that Navy is winning just 43.3 percent (91 of 210) of its face-offs. “It’s two below-average face-off teams going at it,” Maryland coach Dave Cottle said. “So you never know how that’s going to work out. I know there will be some groundballs out on the wings, and we have to do a better job on that. That’s an area where it doesn’t look like either is going to get away from each other. So you just hope that you get your share.”


 3. One key match-up: This may sound gratuitous, but Friday’s edition of The Sun highlighted the friendship between Midshipmen senior midfielder Patrick Moran and Terps senior goalkeeper Brian Phipps. Those two may play a role on Saturday. Moran leads Navy in goals (20) and points (27), and his ability to shoot from both sides of his body makes him a dangerous sniper from the outside. Phipps, who made a season-high 16 saves against Virginia, is a technically-sound netminder who has a stick to match the quickness of his feet.
Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland, Navy, Three things to watch
        

April 9, 2010

Johns Hopkins' Kimmel's troubles mirror team's slump

Johns Hopkins has leaned on the services of senior attackman Steven Boyle and senior midfielder Michael Kimmel to jump-start the offense, and opposing defenses have taken notice.

 

Opponents have paid special attention to Kimmel. After recording 10 goals and nine assists in the team’s first five games, the Towson native and Loyola graduate has scored just two goals and assisted on zero in the Blue Jays’ last four contests – all losses.

 

Coach Dave Pietramala said opposing defenses haven’t done anything special to shut off Kimmel. Rather, he thinks Kimmel is trying to do too much.

"I think you’re seeing a guy who’s pressing a little too much, and I think more than other teams defending him, I think Michael’s kind of having difficulty getting out of his own way,” Pietramala said. “He’s just trying so hard, and I think he feels like he has to make a play every time he has the ball. You want your seniors to want to absorb that burden and you want your seniors to want to make plays, but they also have to let the game come to them. I think what you’re seeing is Michael is just pressing so hard and feels like he has to carry the whole load himself when he doesn’t. He’s got [junior attackman] Kyle Wharton, he’s got [senior attackman] Steven Boyle, he’s got [sophomore attackman] Tommy Palasek. He does have young guys, but it’s that group of older guys that has to carry the load, not just one guy.”

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

Phipps holding up well for Maryland

Friday’s edition of The Sun included an article on the friendship between Navy senior midfielder Patrick Moran and Maryland senior goalkeeper Brian Phipps, who played on the same youth lacrosse and high school teams.

 

In his first season as the full-time starter since his freshman year, Phipps has played well for the No. 5 Terps (6-2), ranking 17th in Division I in goals-against average (8.93) and 25th in save percentage (.533).

 

While those numbers might not jump out at you, consider that Phipps is just 10 months removed from undergoing surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate liagment in his left knee. Phipps said there have been no lingering effects from the injury.

 

“It’s fine,” he said. “It’s nothing different. Everything feels good. The knee’s fine. Structurally, it’s 100 percent.”

 

Phipps has posted four games of 10 saves or more this season, and his performances against then-No. 6 Duke (15 saves in an 11-10 overtime win on March 6) and No. 1 Virginia (16 saves in an 11-10 loss last Saturday) are two of the top five of his career.

Phipps was especially good against the Cavaliers, making eight saves and keeping Maryland within arm’s reach of Virginia.

 

“I think he saw some big-time shots against Virginia, and he got peppered,” coach Dave Cottle said.” But I thought it was a case of where the senior kept fighting. His play was a real positive Saturday night. … I think he’s built to do this thing.”

 

Phipps had rotated with Jason Carter in the net for the previous two seasons, but with Carter having graduated after last season, Phipps has been the undisputed starter.

 

Phipps denied feeling exhausted or overwhelmed by the almost-daily demands of being the starter in practice and games.

 

“As an athlete and competitor, you go into every game thinking that you’re going to play and do your best and do whatever you can to help your team,” he said. “So hopefully, I’ve helped a lot and hopefully, we can keep on winning in the future.”

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

Moran filling void for Navy

Friday's edition of The Sun included an article on the friendship between Navy senior midfielder Patrick Moran and Maryland senior goalkeeper Brian Phipps, who played on the same youth lacrosse and high school teams.

Moran leads the No. 20 Midshipmen (5-5) in goals (20) and points (27) this season, and it’s a role that he’s had to assume since senior attackman Tim Paul tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the team’s 8-7 overtime loss to then-No. 10 Loyola on March 20.

"With him gone, I knew I had to take on a lot of the responsibility to keep the offensive guys motivated and keep us together," Moran said. "You can't replace a Tim Paul. He's a great guy and a great player, but I definitely felt like I needed to step up as a leader."

Moran's development as a leader on the field and in the locker room is significant in that he was lightly recruited out of Severn School in Severna Park. Only Navy and Air Force showed interest in Moran, which was just fine with him. Coach Richie Meade said the 6-foot-5, 228-pound Moran -- who may have the hardest shot on the team -- had the talent, but needed to refine his skills.

"Pat is one of those kids that has worked hard to earn what he has gotten," Meade said. "Whenever that's the case, you feel pretty good about it. He's kind of worked himself, taken the assets that he has, and he’s playing pretty well. He's really playing to his strengths, and he's shooting the ball pretty well. When you're 6-4 and 200-something pounds and you can shoot the ball with both hands, you can usually be a good lacrosse player."

Moran credits Meade and the rest of the coaching staff for helping him reach his potential.

"I just think that he really saw the potential in me, and I can thank him now for doing that because if it wasn’t for his constant motivation and his constant pushing, I definitely don't think I’d be the player that I am today," Moran said. "It's a tough transition coming from high school to college because it is such a different game. He really had to develop me into the kind of player he wanted me to be. Coming out of high school, I was only 170 pounds, but still 6-foot-3. I gained a lot of weight, gained a lot of muscle, and got up to almost 230. I had to learn to become more tougher, how to use my body and things like that, and I think that’s what he was talking about."
Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Navy
        

Q&A with ESPN's Mark Dixon

ESPN analyst Mark Dixon, a former midfielder at Johns Hopkins, will provide commentary for Saturday's game between No. 20 Navy and No. 5 Maryland and Sunday's contest between No. 14 Notre Dame and No. 10 Georgetown. This is the first of a two-part interview with Dixon, who discussed Maryland's inconsistent midfield, Loyola’s big game against Eastern College Athletic Conference rival Fairfield, and Johns Hopkins’ and Navy’s NCAA Tournament chances.

Question: If you're Maryland coach Dave Cottle, what are you most pleased with about your No. 5 Terps at this point in the season?

Mark Dixon: If I'm Dave Cottle, the thing I'm most pleased with is their energy and level of intensity. I think Maryland is a team that really gets after it. They get up and down the field, they fight and contest every groundball, they fall behind 6-0 to Virginia, the No. 1 team in the country and they fight back.

Q: If you're Cottle, what worries you the most?

MD: I think you have to be worried about the offensive execution, particularly in the midfield. [Junior attackman] Grant Catalino has been kind of quiet the last couple of weeks [one goal and one assist in two games], and you need somebody to step up and take that pressure off of him. Nobody really stepped up in the Carolina game. It seemed like Maryland was sort of waiting for someone to step up. I think [junior attackman] Ryan Young can be that guy. It just seems that sometimes they seem a little tentative to go, to really open it up the way that Virginia and North Carolina. And maybe that’s because he has so many young midfielders, which might be a consideration. But I think when you have a guy like Catalino and you need someone to step up, you can’t just put it on the attack. We saw [senior attackman Will] Yeatman step up against Virginia last weekend with four goals, but if I’m Dave Cottle, I'm probably concerned about my midfielders and there scoring contributions -- or lack thereof over the last couple of weeks.

Q: If No. 7 Loyola doesn't beat Fairfield this Saturday for first place in the ECAC, how worried should the team be about possibly getting left out of the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year?

MD: I think they have to be real worried. Last year, it came down to one conference game for Loyola and that was UMass. That was a two-goal loss to UMass, and that ended up costing them a trip to the NCAA Tournament because what the NCAA selection committee showed last year was, there’s really no such thing as good losses. I think that was some of the argument that [coach] Charley Toomey had with the selection process. Is it strength of schedule? Is it quality wins? Is it good losses? What is it? So I think that's probably a theme this week for Loyola in practice. They need to take care of the ECAC. Fairfield is undefeated in the ECAC, and Loyola is as well. Winner takes the inside track, so I think that’s very much in the minds of Loyola as they travel to Connecticut this weekend.

Q: Does Loyola have the same concerns in the midfield as Maryland does?

MD: Absolutely. When you look at Loyola, [junior Eric] Lusby is a good shooter, but is he a midfielder who can break a defense down? [Senior Taylor] Ebsary stepped up last week with four points, and that was nice to see for Loyola, but when you look at Loyola, it's [senior attackman Collin] Finnerty and [senior attackman Cooper] MacDonnell. Those are guys that defenses have to respect, but defenses can key on them because you're not really all that scared of the midfielders that can break you down. Does Loyola possess those kinds of players? Perhaps. That’s a team that plays suffocating defense. They try to confuse people with fake slides, and [junior goalkeeper Jake] Hagelin is playing terrific right now. But the concern is in the midfield. Even if it’s not goals, can they create enough? Can they take some pressure off of that attack to make that offense as potent as it can be.

Q: How would you gauge the NCAA tournament resumes for No. 15 Johns Hopkins and No. 20 Navy?

MD: I think with Navy, they’ve got to win the Patriot League, and they've done that in the past. Last year, they were the No. 3 seed [in the conference tournament] and they came away with two one-goal victories to go ahead and advance. I think that's what's going to have to happen this year, too. For Hopkins, I don't know if they've got to win out, but right now, they don't have that big win. UMBC continues to struggle, Delaware's been struggling. They need to beat Albany Saturday, and I think they need a big win against Maryland. They have to hope that Loyola continues to excel and then beat Loyola. But they can't afford to lose to Albany, Navy or Towson. They have to beat Maryland, and if that doesn’t happen, they have to hope that Loyola is still rolling, and then they have to knock off the Greyhounds. You don't want to look too far ahead, but I think the Maryland and Loyola games are the two biggest on their schedule in terms of quality wins.

Q: Did you agree with the Blue Jays' decision to start freshman goalkeeper Pierce Bassett over senior Michael Gvozden?

MD: I think Gvozden is a great kid and that he’s a very talented goalkeeper who's just had an uneven career. But at some point, you have to pull the trigger. This goes back to Jesse Schwartzman. If you remember Jesse's senior year [in 2007], there was a little bit of yo-yoing going on with Gvozden and Schwartzman. Jesse just turned it on in the middle of the season and ending up being the Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA Tournament. The goalie is the leader of your defense, and no matter if it’s a freshman or a senior, you have to have that anchor back there, and if your anchor continues to be pulled, at some point I do think you have to make a change.

Q: What do you make of Mount St. Mary's in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference?

MD: “I've watched them on tape and the biggest thing for me is their goaltender, [junior] T.C. DiBartolo. He’s terrific, and he was solid [Wednesday] night against Georgetown, making 20 saves. In the MAAC, goals are at a premium, and you’ve got four goaltenders who are terrific. You’ve got the kid from Manhattan [junior Jon Fiorillo] and a guy from VMI [senior Sean McCoy] who is really strong. But I think the two best are [senior] Brent Herbst from Siena and T.C. DiBartolo for Mount St. Mary's. In that conference, there are a lot of 8-7 and 7-6 games. Goals are at such a premium, and when you have that great netminder, that can really give you an advantage. I think DiBartolo is playing the best among the goaltenders. Mount St. Mary's is a good ballclub, and it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out in their conference.
Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Mount St. Mary's, Navy, Q&A
        

April 8, 2010

Johns Hopkins tabs freshman goalie for second straight start

Pierce Bassett, who got the start in goal in last Saturday’s 11-7 loss to No. 3 North Carolina, will start this Saturday against visiting Albany.

 

Bassett, who became only the fifth true freshman to start in the cage since 1972, finished with six saves, and coach Dave Pietramala confirmed that Bassett will remain the starter.

“I don’t think we can afford to keep going back and forth and keep these guys in limbo each week. I think that would be unfair to all of them,” Pietramala said. “Pierce did a solid job. I’m sure if you asked him, he’d probably say, ‘Gosh, I wish I had a couple of those back.’ … I thought he showed some poise and composure, and he did a good job. Can he play better? I absolutely think Pierce is capable of playing better. But was he the reason why we lost? No, absolutely not. I thought he did a solid job.”

Bassett replaced senior Michael Gvozden, who had been the team’s undisputed starter since he succeeded Jesse Schwartzman prior to the 2008 season. Pietramala said Gvozden, a Severna Park native and graduate, has been a model teammate.

“I’m sure he’s very disappointed, but it’s a decision that we’ve made and one that we think is in the best interest of the team,” Pietramala said. “Michael, while very disappointed and wishing that the situation was different, has been extremely supportive of not just Pierce, but of all the other goalies. He’s the first to greet Pierce when Pierce walks off the field, and as I told Michael, Pierce looks up to him. … He’s still a freshman, and he still looks up to the senior. So the support of that senior is critical, and Michael – in practices and in games – has done what you hope a good teammate would do.”

 

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:00 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Johns Hopkins
        

Johns Hopkins not worrying about past or future

A four-game losing streak can be fatal to a team’s hopes for an invitation to the NCAA Tournament. For No. 20 Johns Hopkins, it’s treated as a minor hiccup.

The Blue Jays (4-5) haven’t won since beating UMBC, 16-10, on March 9, dropping decisions to No. 13 Hofstra, No. 2 Syracuse, No. 1 Virginia and No. 3 North Carolina in consecutive weeks.

But Johns Hopkins lost five straight two years before reeling off five consecutive wins, qualifying for the tournament, and reaching the championship final. That’s why coach Dave Pietramala isn’t stressing over speculation that the program might not make its 39th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament this spring.

“There’s always concern when you’re not winning, when you hit a skid like this,” he said. “But we’ve always taken everything one game at a time, and there’s still a lot of lacrosse left for us. So you can’t hit the panic button. You’ve got to  just continue to work hard. Our focus is on the areas of concern, addressing the areas that will help us win.”

The Blue Jays get a chance to reverse their fortunes this Saturday when Albany visits Homewood Field at 2 p.m. The Great Danes opened the season with six consecutive losses and are 2-7 overall. Despite those numbers, however, Pietramala dismissed the notion that Albany is a team ripe for Johns Hopkins.

“In the end, I don’t think the remedy for our situation lies in the teams that we’re playing or the next team that we’re playing,” he said. “I think it lies within our team. Part of it is we need to play with a greater sense of urgency. I thought we took a step on Saturday in doing that. … Is Albany the cure for that? No, because we still have to make those plays, and we still have to make the appropriate decisions, pass or slide. Albany might feel like we’re the antidote for them. So we’re not looking at it like that.”
Posted by Edward Lee at 11:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Johns Hopkins
        

Postscript from UMBC at Towson

Towson may not finish the season with a 40-goal scorer or a 70-point player, but that may suit the Tigers just fine.

Towson (3-5) has three players with seven or more goals each and four with at least 10 points, which speaks to the shared responsibility the players feel on offense.

Wednesday night’s 10-7 victory over UMBC was a good example of that cooperative effort as seven different players scored goals. This season, the Tigers are 3-1 when six or more players score goals, but 0-4 when less than five players score in a game.

“We’re a team offense,” said junior attackman Tim Stratton, who registered his second hat trick of the season against the Retrievers. “We don’t really have any go-to guys. On any given night, someone can put up a couple points. Everyone can score, and we’re a team that scores when we run our offense, not when we’re just giving it to one guy and watching. We’re successful when we’re running plays and guys are getting touches on the ball.”

That’s not to suggest that the team couldn’t use an unstoppable finisher or a primary distributor. But for Towson’s needs, a scoring-by-committee approach fits the personnel.

“Earlier in the year, I said my biggest problem was who was going to play out on the field for us in the midfield and attack because we’ve got so many people that are equal,” coach Tony Seaman said. “That’s good in some regards, but it’s horrible in other regards when you would love to have somebody who just stands up and scores goals for you. But it backs up what I said. We’ve got very good depth.”

Other notes:

*Pat Britton recorded only his second multi-goal game of the season, scoring twice Wednesday night. The junior midfielder, who sat out last Saturday’s 9-7 win against Delaware due to a concussion, is known as having the hardest shot on the team, but his accuracy has been sub-par. He was 2-for-2 against UMBC, and Britton hopes he has found his rhythm. “It was huge for my confidence,” he said. “I hadn’t been hitting the cage too well lately. It felt good to go out there and take two shots and score two goals. In practice, I hadn’t been shooting too well, so I did a lot of work in practice – shooting after practice, before practice, just trying to get my shot back. And hopefully, it’s back for good now.”

*Freshman defenseman Ben Strauss did not play after suffering a bruised knee during Monday’s practice. Initially feared as being one of the season-ending variety, the injury was not deemed serious as there was no ligament damage, according to Seaman. “He’s walking pretty well tonight, and the doc’s pretty happy with that,” Seaman said of Strauss, who ranks second on the team with seven caused turnovers in five starts. “We’re hoping that he’s going to be ready for UMass [this Saturday].”

*UMBC went with a different goalkeeper again, electing to start freshman Adam Cohen. Cohen played well, making 12 saves including five in the first quarter. Afterwards, coach Don Zimmerman declined to delve too deeply into is reasoning for starting Cohen after senior Kevin Kohri played in last Saturday’s 14-11 loss to Stony Brook. “I’m going to put the best guy in the goal,” said Zimmerman, who also would not name the starter for Saturday’s contest against Binghamton. “So if Adam Cohen was in the goal, he was our best guy.”

*The Retrievers (1-7) are off to their worst start since the 1985 squad opened that season with nine consecutive losses, but Zimmerman said the team’s morale remains high. “We had our three best practices of the year coming into this game, and so, I’m proud of the guys,” he said. “We’re 1-7, but we were 1-6 going into this game and you would never have known that by the way our guys practiced. Our guys are keeping their heads up and trying hard. We’re just making mistakes that hurt us right now. Some of that’s youth, and some of that’s just, guys who should know better just aren’t reacting the way you would hope.” 
Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Postscript, Towson, UMBC
        

Q&A with CBS College Sports' Matt Danowski

Matt Danowski is a former four-time All-American attackman at Duke who won the 2007 Tewaaraton Trophy. The newest lacrosse analyst for CBS College Sports, Danowski shared his opinion on a variety of topics. Here is the last portion of a two-part interview.

 

Question: Who remains undefeated between No. 1 Virginia and No. 3 North Carolina after they play against each other in the Big City Classic this weekend?

Matt Danowski: “It’s hard to be sure on that because it depends on who’s healthy for UNC. If [senior Sean] DeLaney’s back, he’s a big, strong middie who can run with the Brattons [Shamel and Rhamel, a pair of juniors] and that first midfield. But I think Virginia just has the best midfield in the country in the Brattons and [senior] Brian Carroll, and I always go with the stronger midfield. [Attackmen] Steele Stanwick, Chris Bocklet and Matt White are crafty around the cage, and defensively, it seems like Virginia has been playing like it hasn’t been playing the last couple years. So I’d go with Virginia.”

Q: Which teams do you like to be in the Final Four at M&T Bank Stadium on Memorial Day weekend?

MD: “I like Virginia, UNC, Syracuse, and then that fourth team for me is kind of a wildcard depending on who gets the draw and what the field looks like. I think Duke is a team that can get to the Final Four as is Maryland. I think Duke is playing its best right now and only getting better.”

Q: What is Duke doing differently after losing three of its first five games?

MD: “I think coming into the preseason as the No. 1, you can feel pretty entitled, that you can just go out there and win because you have ‘Duke’ on your jersey. They got smacked around a little bit, and I think that was good for them. Those guys have been to a Final Four almost every year that they’ve been there. So it was good for them to get a couple losses early and realize that they’re not going to win just because ‘Duke’ is on their jerseys. I think they’ve re-dedicated themselves, and I think they’re playing better. If they can peak at the right time, I think they become a very dangerous team.”

Q: Which player has separated himself from the pack to win this year’s Tewaaraton Trophy?

MD: “That’s an interesting question considering that [North Carolina junior attackman] Billy Bitter has been hurt, and stats-wise, that might affect him a little bit. But there’s no arguing that he’s the most dynamic attackman in the game right now. The Tewaaraton has been an offensive award, but I think you have to look at a guy like [junior goalkeeper] John Galloway at Syracuse. He does more than just stopping the ball. He starts Syracuse’s transition and gets the ball out, and that makes him a candidate in my eyes. And then you have [Duke senior attackman] Ned Crotty who has the points, but he has the fifth-year stigma at Duke. So I think it’s kind of open. [Virginia junior] Shamel Bratton has proven to be one of best midfielders in the country, but he was hampered by a hamstring earlier in the year. But if I would say anybody, I would go with Bitter, Bratton, Galloway and Crotty.”

Q: You’re just two years removed from playing. How has the transition from the field to the broadcaster booth been?

MD: “I’d much rather be out there playing. I’d much rather be back in my Duke blue and running around out there with No. 40 on my back. But aside from coaching, this is probably the closest thing to [playing]. It’s been great so far, the people at CBS Sports have done an unbelievable job helping me along. I’m kind of learning as I go here. It’s been a lot of fun. I couldn’t believe how much dedication goes into being good at that. There’s a lot that goes into it, not just walking out there and watching a game. From the production crew to the stat people, it’s an unbelievable production and cool to be a part of.”

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

April 7, 2010

UMBC at Towson: Halftime thoughts

Towson is enjoying a 5-3 lead at halftime against visiting UMBC at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson courtesy of the team’s work on face-offs and extra-man chances. The Tigers -- who entered the contest winning just 45.3 percent of their face-offs -- won seven of 10 face-offs in the opening frame. That's part of the reason why the team has an overwhelming 23-14 advantage in shots. The offense scored off three of those face-off wins and almost got another, but an official ruled that junior attackman Tim Stratton had violated the crease when he beat Retrievers freshman goalkeeper Adam Cohen with 43 seconds left in the first quarter. Towson can also credit its man-up unit, which has converted on both of its first-half opportunities. Senior midfielders Christian Pastirik and Will Harrington have converted the extra-man chances for the Tigers, who had been successful just 27.8 percent (10 of 36) of the time prior to Wednesday night. *When Towson scored the game's first three goals in a span of 9 minutes, 33 seconds, it appeared that UMBC coach Don Zimmerman would regret his decision to start an entirely new defense. But sophomores Tim Shaeffer and Aaron Verardi and freshman Lucas Wood appeared to settle down. When the second quarter began, seniors Bobby Atwell and Matt Kresse rejoined Wood on defense. *Surprisingly, Cohen, an Arnold native and Severn graduate, has somewhat outshined his older counterpart, Travis Love. Cohen has made eight saves, including five in the first quarter. Love, the Towson junior, has made four stops. *Harrington and Stratton lead the Tigers with one goal and one assist each. Sophomore attackman Shane Ryznar has scored two goals for UMBC.
Posted by Edward Lee at 8:40 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Halftime thoughts, Towson, UMBC
        

UMBC making changes, too

Not to be outdone by Towson’s latest news, UMBC (1-6) is planning to start an entirely new defense and goalkeeper against the Tigers (2-5) Wednesday night at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson.

In are sophomores Tim Shaeffer and Aaron Verardi and freshman Lucas Wood. Of the three, only Verardi has played this season, scooping up one groundball and causing one turnover in six games.

Out are seniors Bobby Atwell, Matt Kresse and Lance Ophof. That trio has combined for 28 groundballs and 17 caused turnovers in 21 games, 19 of which were starts.

Also, the Retrievers are going back to freshman Adam Cohen in the net. Cohen, who started in two games and was the starter in the team’s lone win this season, has a better goals-against average (8.20) than senior Kevin Kohri (11.69), who has started three games including last Saturday’s 14-11 loss to then-No. 18 Stony Brook.

Posted by Edward Lee at 6:30 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Towson, UMBC
        

Towson to play Wednesday night without two starters

When Towson (2-5) takes the field at Johnny Unitas Stadium against UMBC (1-6) Wednesday night, the Tigers will play without two starters.

Junior midfielder Pat Britton and freshman defenseman Ben Strauss will sit out due to injuries. Britton, who has registered four goals and two assists in six starts, missed Towson’s 9-7 victory over Delaware last Saturday because of a concussion. Strauss, who ranks second on the team in caused turnovers (7) and has collected 13 groundballs in five starts, is out indefinitely with an undisclosed injury suffered during practice this week.

Senior Brock Armour (one goal and three assists) will take Britton’s place on the first midfield unit alongside seniors Christian Pastirik (15, 9) and Will Harrington (14, 2).

Senior Cameron Zook (10 groundballs) will move from his customary long-stick midfielder position to Strauss’ close defenseman role. Seniors Matt Vetter and David Edens will rotate at long-stick midfielder.

Posted by Edward Lee at 5:45 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Towson, UMBC
        

Good news, bad news for Navy

The roller-coaster ride for No. 20 Navy continues to reach both peaks and valleys.

First, the good news: After a six-game stretch during which the offense failed to score at least 10 goals, the Midshipmen (5-5) have reached that double-digit mark in their last three contests, winning twice in that span. The team has been efficient with its shots over that same span, putting 63.6 percent (68 of 107) of its shots on net.

“We’re playing better offensively,” coach Richie Meade said. “We’ve been playing better since the Towson game [a 10-9 loss on March 16]. I don’t think that our offense has been the thing that has affected us. It all works together, but we feel like we’re a better team than we were a month ago. Had we played the way we played against Georgetown [a 13-12 overtime loss last Friday] in all the games, maybe we would have lost one or two games. … Obviously, we were having some problems with turnovers early in the season, and we were giving up some easy goals. I think we’re still giving up some easy goals, but I think offensively, we’re playing a little more patiently, and guys are starting to get a better feel for playing together.”

 

Now, the bad news: defense has been problematic, which is somewhat surprising considering the reputation Navy has built as being one of the stingiest teams, historically. The team has surrendered 10 or more goals in four games, which is the most in the program’s 10-game start since 2002. The Midshipmen are 0-4 in games in which the opponent has scored at least 10 goals.

“The defensive side of it is a lack of communication and leaving guys uncovered,” Meade said. “A couple times, we had two guys covering one guy and another guy slips out and gets uncovered. Or we slid at the wrong time. We made some defensive mistakes. It’s all little things. It’s not one thing. It’s a bunch of little things happening to more than just one guy.”
Posted by Edward Lee at 3:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Navy
        

Loyola jockeying for ECAC crown and NCAA Tournament bid on Saturday

Saturday’s game against Fairfield is no ordinary contest for No. 7 Loyola.

Not only do the visiting Greyhounds clash with another Eastern College Athletic Conference rival, but they put their undefeated 4-0 record in the league against the Stags’ 3-0 mark.

Loyola coach Charley Toomey said he would not be shy about using both teams’ unbeaten records as a motivational tool.

“We’re going to talk about it all week, and we’ll have something hanging in their locker room,” Toomey said. “We’re going to get them excited about this lacrosse game. They need to hear it because this definitely gives the winner the leg up in the conference, and we need to make sure that it’s Loyola.”

A victory would go a long way towards further securing the team’s bid for the NCAA Tournament. The Greyhounds (6-2 overall) captured the 2008 conference title and shared last year’s crown with Massachusetts. But because the league does not have a season-ending tournament and the Minutemen owned the tiebreaker, Loyola had to hope to receive an at-large bid.

Instead, the Greyhounds were shut out of the field and missed what would have been their third consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

Like Loyola, Fairfield is also 6-2 overall, outscoring opponents 17-6 in the first quarter and 43-18 in the first half. Toomey said the Greyhounds must match the Stags’ fast starts.

“We’ve always talked about winning the first five minutes, and over the years, we’ve done a good job of coming out and playing with a lot of energy – whether it’s Fairfield or anyone,” he said. “That’s definitely going to be a talking point for us this week. We need to challenge our guys to always win the first five minutes, but in particular, this weekend.”

Another storyline centers on Fairfield senior goalkeeper Joe Marra, who ranks second in Division I in save percentage (.623) and fourth in goals-against average (7.33). Marra spent the 2006-07 year at Loyola, but transferred to the Stags.

“One thing that Joe Marra does a good job of is, he fills up the cage,” Toomey said. “He’s a big kid [6-foot-2, 220 pounds] that plays pretty athletic in there. So that’s a challenge. The closest we’ve come to seeing a Joe Marra was [Notre Dame’s 6-foot-4, 254-pound senior] Scott Rodgers, size-wise. I think the guys do know Joe and having had him in our locker room, I don’t know that it brings anything extra to what we need to do on Saturday. He’s a good goalie, but he’s just the next goalie up against Loyola.”

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

UMBC at Towson: Three things to watch

Just four days after opening play in their respective leagues, UMBC and Towson take a slight breather to add another installment to one of the longer series in their histories. I’ll be interested in seeing whether the Retrievers (1-6) or the Tigers (2-5) will exert its will at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson at 7:30 p.m. Here are a few developments that could factor into the outcome.

 

1. One key to a UMBC win: Considering the graduation of midfielders Peet Poillon and Alex Hopmann and attackman Ryan Smith – three players who combined for 84 goals and 39 assists – the Retrievers knew that finding consistent offense was going to be a challenge. Senior attackman Matt Latham and junior midfielder Bobby Stockton have scored 12 and 11 goals, respectively, and senior midfielder Kyle Wimer leads the team in assists with 12, but the unit is still looking for contributions from other sources. Even though UMBC dropped a three-goal decision to No. 16 Stony Brook this past Saturday, the offense scored a season-high 11 goals and tied a season-best with six assists. If the Retrievers can be as opportunistic against Towson, a favorable result might be close at hand.

2. One key to a Towson win: Like the Retrievers, the Tigers have searched high and low to mine consistent production from its offense. Senior midfielders Christian Pastirik and Will Harrington lead the way with 15 and 14 goals, respectively, but an attack unit composed of junior Tim Stratton, sophomores Matt Lamon and Stephen Norris and freshman Matt Hughes is still finding its footing. They meet a UMBC defense that – while it has had its fair share of struggles this season – is still composed of senior defensemen Bobby Atwell and Matt Kresse and senior long-stick midfielder Michael Camardo, who leads Division I in caused turnovers per game (3.6). “Defensively, they’ve got as good a team as any we’re going to go against all year, Towson coach Tony Seaman said. “Their long-stick middie is as good as anybody. He breaks up a lot of plays, gets the ball on the ground, and comes up with the ball all the time. Their close defensemen are excellent.”

3. One key match-up: For either offense to get into gear, possession will be key, and one area linked to that category is face-offs. Retrievers junior J.D. Harkey has won 61 of 123 face-offs (.496), while Tigers freshman Matt Thomas has succeeded on 58 of 120 draws (.483). Their battle at the face-off should be an intriguing “game within the game.” Both teams are winning less than 46 percent of face-offs (the Retrievers at .456, the Tigers at .456), so something’s got to give, right?

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Three things to watch, Towson, UMBC
        

Q&A with CBS College Sports' Matt Danowski

Matt Danowski is a former four-time All-American attackman at Duke who won the 2007 Tewaaraton Trophy. The newest lacrosse analyst for CBS College Sports, Danowski shared his opinion on a variety of topics. Here is the first of a two-part interview.

 

Question: What would you say are No. 5 Maryland’s chances of making the Final Four?

Matt Danowski: “I think they have a really strong chance to do that. Coming back against arguably the best team in the country [against No. 1 Virginia Saturday night] is a good sign. I think it’s a win without getting the win against that team. They’re very talented offensively with [senior attackman Will] Yeatman, [junior attackman Ryan] Young, [junior attackman Travis] Reed, [junior attackman Grant] Catalino, and some pretty good middies. Defensively, they’re always good. Now it’s just mentally getting over that hump.”

Q: What’s the one thing Maryland could improve to be a stronger candidate?

MD: “It’s hard to say. Each match-up brings a different mindset. But if anything, I think they should be more aggressive offensively. Sometimes, they kind of slow down the ball a bit. They have a ton of playmakers, but sometimes they’re not aggressive enough in going to the cage, going on the fly, and playing offense.”

Q: What’s your impression of No. 7 Loyola?

MD: “I haven’t had a chance to watch much of Loyola this year, but from what I know from watching them last year and from what I’ve read, they have a great shooter in [senior attackman] Cooper [MacDonnell] and a playmaker in [senior attackman] Collin Finnerty. With them, I think it comes down to whether they have enough horses in the midfield. When it comes down to the playoffs and the Final Four, your midfield can take you and lead you to that championship game.”

Q: In your opinion, what’s been plaguing No. 15 Johns Hopkins?

MD: “To me, it just seems like defensively – which I always think they’re unbelievable at – they’re just not on the same page. But to me, I never count Johns Hopkins out. Coach Petro [Dave Pietramala] has proven himself to be one of the best coaches in the game, and he can make adjustments with the best of them and figure out how to get that team above .500 and into the playoffs.”

Q: Johns Hopkins has scored just 26 goals in the last four games. Have opponents figured out how to contain the Blue Jays offense?

MD: “I don’t know if I would say that. I think they have some very capable freshmen in [midfielders John] Greeley and [John] Ranagan. I just think they need time to develop. [Senior] Michael Kimmel is one of the best middies in the country, [junior attackman] Kyle Wharton’s a great shooter, and [senior attackman] Steven Boyle is a dynamic dodger from behind the cage. So I think they have all the components there. They just have to get on the same page, and you never know what that can take. Maybe one day, it just clicks. But I think they have all the components to be a playoff team, and once you get into the playoffs, it’s only a couple of wins before you get to the Final Four.”

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

April 6, 2010

Maryland not fretting over disputed call

No. 5 Maryland has had a few days to digest Saturday night’s 11-10 loss to No. 1 Virginia, and the Terps (6-2) know there are a few areas they need to repair.

One result coach Dave Cottle broached was the furor over an official’s decision to waive off an apparent goal by junior attackman Ryan Young with 2 minutes, 11 seconds left in the fourth quarter. The goal would have tied the score at 10, but the official ruled that Young had been guilty of a crease violation.

The replays have been inconclusive as it appears that Young’s left foot may have touched the line before he swatted the ball into the net. Cottle’s lone argument is that the official, who was standing on the opposite side of the net at least 15 yards away, was too far away to make a conclusive decision.

“My only problem with it is that from where the ref was standing, it was a tough call, and when you make a call like that, you’ve got to make sure that you know what you see,” Cottle said. “I thought he was a little far away and that he couldn’t be sure. I don’t think anybody’s sure right now. But you know what? We haven’t spent a lot of time on that because we can’t fix that. We can fix what we did wrong to get down 6-0 [in the first quarter], we can fix our face-off game, we can fix executing a little better on the offensive end of the field. Whether it was a bad break or bad luck or whatever, we’ve just got to move on and fix the things we can control.”

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:29 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Maryland
        

North Carolina is legitimate championship contender

The reason North Carolina is so strong and will make a serious run for the championship is because the Tar Heels have the best defense in the country. They are long, lean and athletic and can extend so far that they take a lot of teams out of their normal offense.
 
Defensemen Charles McComas, Ryan Flanagan and Michael Jarvis are fast, quick and not afraid to take risk.
 
Long-pole middles Milton Lyles and Sean Jackson will put midfielders out and take them on shortly after they cross the midfield line. Carolina is allowing only 6.30 goals a game while scoring 11.60.
 
Maybe the most important factor working for the Tar Heels is that they are out on a mission to prove that they are back. Virginia has more talent than any team in college lacrosse, but the Tar Heels' desire to succeed is an equalizer.
Posted by Mike Preston at 11:30 AM | | Comments (0)
        

Clarifying question about MIAA championship scholarship

It's good news that PNC Bank is sponsoring the MIAA boys lacrosse championships at Towson University on May 18 and May 22. One thing that needs to be cleared up is that the bank is not contributing scholarship monies to the MVP's of each championship game in the three different conferences.
 
There has been speculation that each MVP would receive $3,000. In fact, the school of the Most Valuable Player will receive the money donated in the player's name, and it's only $1,000 a school.
 
About 10,000 spectators watch the tournament every year.
Posted by Mike Preston at 10:24 AM | | Comments (0)
        

Salisbury looking ahead, not back

The euphoria is gone. After toppling then-No. 1 Stevenson by a 16-10 score on Saturday, Salisbury had a chance to relish the victory before heading back to the office.

“It was a good day on Saturday, and I told them to enjoy the moment, but right now, we’re focusing on beating [Capital Athletic Conference rival] St. Mary’s on Wednesday,” coach Jim Berkman said. “That’s our next thing, considering how we’re playing for first place in the conference on Wednesday night.”

After beating reigning Division III national champion Cortland by a goal and edging then-No. 1 Gettysburg in overtime by the same margin, the Sea Gulls didn’t stress out about challenging the Mustangs, who had opened the season with 10 consecutive wins.

“I think it definitely helped us, to prepare us for that kind of environment,” Berkman said of the team’s last eight contests which included four ranked opponents. “We had played two other teams that were very similar in ability and where when you went into the game, it was a 50-50 game. I think when you’ve been in that arena and when you’ve been in an arena where it’s going down and you’ve still got to make good decision in the last two minutes of the game because it’s 12-11 or an overtime game, you can’t duplicate that experience in practice.”

Salisbury’s wave of good feelings was tempered by the season-ending injury to sophomore midfielder Tim Lum, who broke his leg midway through the first quarter on Saturday. Lum, who was seventh on the team in goals (6) and ninth in points (7), ran on the second midfield, and his presence will be missed, Berkman said.

“Tim is a big, athletic, physical kid,” Berkman said. “Tim Lum is 190 pounds and 6-foot-1, and he’s one of the fastest guys on our team. He was just coming into his own.”

Berkman said Lum will likely be replaced by junior Perry Craz with senior Ryan Finch getting some work, too.

“He’s next in line,” Berkman said of Craz. “He played in the game a little bit, and he’s played in almost every game we’ve had. He was injured a little bit, but hopefully, he’s recovered from that ankle sprain that he had. … Hopefully, Perry and some other middies will step up and make the most of their opportunities.”

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

Loyola gets contributions from unexpected source

Loyola’s rise to No. 7 in the latest Sun poll has been based on a potent attack and a stingy defense. But what put a smile on the face of coach Charley Toomey was the production from the team’s second midfield.

In Saturday’s 11-9 victory over Eastern College Athletic Conference foe Ohio State, the second midfield of senior Taylor Ebsary, senior Chris Hurst and freshman Davis Butts combined for three goals and three assists, outshining the first line of juniors Chris Basler, Eric Lusby and Stephen Murray (a combined one goal and one assist).

Ebsary recorded career highs in a single game with three assists and four points against the Buckeyes. He also collected two groundballs, caused one turnover, and limited Logan Schuss, Ohio State’s leading scorer, to just two assists. For his efforts, Ebsary was named the ECAC Co-Defensive Player of the Week.

Toomey said he is searching for those kinds of contributions from other players to alleviate some of the pressure on the attack.

“The thing that we were just so excited about was that midfield's production,” he said. “Taylor with three assists and Hurst had two goals, and we hadn't seen that from that midfield. We really challenged them to step up, and I thought they did that.”

If there was one cause for alarm, it was that offense didn’t score after Ebsary scored to give the Greyhounds an 11-4 lead with 3:40 left in the third quarter. While the offense sputtered, Ohio State went on a 5-0 run to make things interesting at the end.

Toomey partially blamed himself for telling the offense to avoid being too aggressive and making mistakes once the team had the overwhelming advantage.

“You want to be smart on the offensive end when you've got a nice lead,” he said. “You want to tell the guys to take good, smart shots, but in doing that, you stop going to the goal aggressively, and that's what we're trying to work on. We want to have good patience, but we also talked about maybe just not telling our kids to slow down. If we've got the ball in transition, we've got to continue to run hard, and we've got to put our kids in position to play offense because when we stop playing at full-speed, bad things happen. I don't know if that's as much on the kids as it's us coaches looking at things and discussing our philosophy.”

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

April 5, 2010

Towson's Seaman: Tough non-conference schedule "prepared" Tigers for league play

As much as the next coach, Tony Seaman abhors losing. Yet, he was well-aware of what he was doing when he arranged for the Tigers to open this season with games against the likes of No. 1 Virginia, No. 5 Maryland, No. 7 Loyola and No. 16 Stony Brook. 

"I thought it prepared us," Seaman said Monday after Towson opened its Colonial Athletic Conference schedule with a 9-7 victory over Delaware on Saturday. "We came in 1-5, handled our jobs, played well, and enjoyed the afternoon. it was a terrific feeling. You're always questioning yourself when you have that many losses. You think you might be good and you think you might be able to compete, but you're just so tired and frustrated with near-losses. So to actually win was wonderful. Now you have to maintain that. That's the difficult part." 
 
After spending last week lobbying his players to be more accurate with their shots, Seaman was pleased to see the offense put 21 of 36 shots (58.3 percent) on net. But he was especially delighted that the defense shut out a Blue Hens squad that had been averaging 11.7 goals per game over the final 28 minutes, 59 seconds of the second half.

Sophomore defenseman Marc Ingerman held senior attackman Curtis Dickson (36 goals in nine games) to two goals, freshman defenseman Ben Strauss limited sophomore attackman Grant Kaleikau to two assists, and senior defenseman Joe Wascavage allowed senior midfielder Martin Cahill (23 goals) to score just twice.

"I just think we played good individual defense, on-the-ball," Seaman said. "They're a team that relies on their individual parts to get it done for them. The Dickson kid's scored a lot of goals, the Cahill kid's scored a lot of goals. ... So that was a really good effort on our part throughout the day."

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:00 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Towson
        

Stevenson's Douglass avoids serious injury

No. 1 Stevenson's 16-10 loss to No. 2 Salisbury on Saturday was just one bit of bad news for the Mustangs that day.

Senior defenseman Evan Douglass had to leave the game with 7:26 left in the first quarter because a shot struck him in the stomach and caused him to bleed from the mouth.

Fortunately, the injury is not that serious as Douglass was diagnosed with bruised ribs and a bruised lung and could return in a couple weeks, Mustangs coach Paul Cantabene confirmed Monday.

"He's out of the hospital," Cantabene said. "He suffered bruised ribs and a bruised lung, so it looks like a week to two weeks. But he's all right. He's going to have to sit down for a while so that no other complications come about it. But he should be all right in a week or two."

Cantabene said the earliest Douglass could return is for the April 13th game against Capital Athletic Conference foe St. Mary's. But there is some consideration to holding him back until the CAC Tournament begins five days later.

"We've got to be very careful," Cantabene said. "If we bring him back too early, it could be a season-ending injury. ... We've got to think about health first because that was a scary scene."

Cantabene said freshman Kyle Finley will likely replace Douglass in the starting lineup and that sophomores Dan O'Donnell, Brooks DiFiore and Mathew Schenck could get some playing time.

"We think we can still play good defense," Cantabene said. "Our system is still what it is. That's why you recruit, to get good depth. I think Kyle will do a great job stepping in for Evan."

In other injury news, Geoff Hebert's broken left pinkie finger is healing nicely, and the senior goalkeeper could return in time for the CAC Tournament. Senior Andrew Harrington, who has won three of his four starts in place of Hebert, has registered a 8.29 goals-against average and a .469 save percentage.

"That all depends on what his doctors say and how the healing comes," Cantabene said of Hebert, who posted a 6.91 goals-against average and a .631 save percentage in seven starts. "We hope to have him back, but Andrew's done a fairly decent job in the cage for us so far, and we hope he continues to do so."

The loss to the Sea Gulls spoiled Stevenson's chances of matching last year's 14-0 start, but Cantabene said the first loss in 11 games isn't going to demoralize the team.

"It's just a little hiccup, we think," he said. "We're not going to throw out the baby with the bathwater. We're going to review what we do and what made us great for 10 weeks to get us to No. 1 in the country. Obviously, we're going to drop, but we still think we have a great team. We're going to have to make some changes, and if we get another chance to see Salisbury, I think it'll be another great game, and hopefully, we'll come out on top."

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Categories: Stevenson
        

April 4, 2010

Postscript from Virginia at Maryland

For the second time in as many years, Maryland may have an argument about getting robbed by an official.

By now, many people remember the seven-overtime thriller that the Terps and Virginia engaged in last April with the Cavaliers winning, 11-10. Nine seconds into the first overtime, Maryland appeared to be the victor after then-sophomore attackman Grant Catalino buried a shot behind then-sophomore goalkeeper Adam Ghitelman.

But an inadvertent whistle by an official negated the goal, the rest is history.

On Saturday night, the No. 5 Terps trailed No. 1 Virginia by as many as six goals in the third quarter. They appeared to mount a comeback that was capped when junior attackman Ryan Young slapped a rebound of a Catalino shot over Ghitelman’s prone body and into the empty net with 2:11 left in regulation.

But an official ruled that Young was in the crease prior to the shot, thereby wiping out the goal. Consequently, the Cavaliers carried the ball downfield and junior midfielder Shamel Bratton scored 20 seconds later to give Virginia an 11-9 lead. A video replay seemed to show that Young was standing outside the crease and that the goal should have counted.

Senior attackman Will Yeatman said he had a good view of the play, but bit his tongue when asked to explain what he saw.

"I won’t say," he said. "The ref made the call. Everyone saw the play on the replay. We’ll leave it at that."

Yeatman’s coach was not nearly as shy. After responding to the first question about the call with your standard "You’ll have to ask him that" reply, Dave Cottle opened up a little bit.

"We had a different view," said Cottle, who could be seen ripping into the official during and after the game. "We thought we saw something different. But again, that may not have been – at the time – the best we felt, but there are some things that we can fix on our own to where that maybe doesn’t become something inconsequential. That man’s got to live with that. He’s got to live with that. And I think he saw the replay, too."

Other notes:

*Speaking of Yeatman, some of his performances have occurred against the Cavaliers. After registering five points on two goals and three assists last season, he posted five points on four goals and one assist Saturday night. Yeatman said he owes his production to Virginia’s defensive philosophy. "They don’t slide often," he said. "A lot of teams slide. But I don’t know. Sometimes, games go one way, and sometimes, games go the other. Tonight, they called my number to go to the cage, and I was fortunate to take advantage of that match-up." Yeatman also said he would welcome a re-match – either in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament or the NCAA Tournament. "Hopefully, we can see them down the road," he said. "That’s all I can say. But we’ve got to worry about our game [against No. 20 Navy] next week."

*Maryland pledged not to get beaten by Virginia’s twin duo of Shamel and Rhamel Bratton, and for the most part, that strategy worked against the junior midfielders. Shamel Bratton registered a goal and an assist, but Rhamel Bratton got nothing as the pair was hawked by a combination of junior defenseman Brett Schmidt and long-stick midfielders Brian Farrell, Jesse Bernhardt and Dan Halyko. Of course, sophomore attackmen Steele Stanwick (Loyola) and Chris Bocklet combined for eight goals and one assist, but the Terps made sure that the Brattons were limited. "They put two or three long poles up top and put poles on Rhamel and Shamel," Virginia coach Dom Starsia said. "They have athletic defensemen, and they just did a really good job. Now, when you do that, you create space for our attackmen, and going into the season, the question was whether or not we were going to be able to capitalize on those kinds of opportunities, and tonight, it was kind of Steele and Bocklet. We need for all those different things to happen in order for us to be the team we want to be."

*The Terps tinkered with their midfield personnel, moving Yeatman to the attack, shifting sophomore Joe Cummings and junior Dan Burns to the first line with sophomore Jake Bernhardt, and dropping senior Adam Sear to the third line with junior Scott LaRue and freshman Landon Carr. The dividends were decent. Cummings scored twice, and Sear scored once, but Cottle said the moves were made to support the attack. "The way we played the game, it was going to be an attack-driven game," he said. "We decided to go at them from behind. No one’s tried it. Everyone’s tried to do it from up top, and the problem with doing it up top is, if you lose it, it’s a break the other way. So we knew what it was going to be like. … This was a game where if we were going to play well, we were going to have to score goals by our attack."

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:00 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Maryland, Postscript
        

April 3, 2010

Virginia at Maryland: Halftime thoughts

Coaches usually say that the first quarters are good indicators of the level of play their teams execute. There was hardly anything positive about No. 5 Maryland’s opening against Virginia.

The No. 1 Cavaliers scored the game’s first six goals and won the first seven face-offs en route to enjoying a 7-2 advantage at Byrd Stadium here in College Park.

Sophomore attackman Chris Bocklet, Virginia’s leader in goals with 26, scored the team’s first three, registering his sixth hat trick of the season in a span of 4 minutes, 41 seconds.

Bocklet’s third tally occurred during an extra-man opportunity created when Terps junior attackman Grant Catalino tried to incite Cavaliers senior defenseman Ken Clausen. Instead, Catalino was assessed a one-minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct with 10:03 left in the first quarter, and Bocklet scored 51 seconds later.

Maryland (6-1) had just five offensive possessions, with three ending in turnovers. The Terps, who also had a failed clear, avoided a total collapse in the period when senior attackman Will Yeatman converted a feed from junior attackman Ryan Young with six seconds left in the period.

In fact, Yeatman and senior goalkeeper Brian Phipps appear to be the only Maryland players playing with a sense of urgency. Yeatman, who posted two goals and three assists in last year’s seven-overtime thriller in Charlottesville, Va., has scored both of the Terps’ goals in the first half.

Phipps turned away at least five Cavaliers shots in the first quarter and finished with 13 in the first half. He has played superbly considering the sniper fire he has been under.

Other notes:

*In addition to Bocklet, sophomore attackman Steele Stanwick (Loyola) has scored twice for Virginia (9-0), and senior midfielder Brian Carroll (Gilman) junior midfielder John Haldy have each recorded one goal and one assist. Surprisingly, junior midfielders Shamel and Rhamel Bratton have just one assist between them.

*Here are some numbers to digest. The Cavaliers have collected 20 groundballs to Maryland's 7 and won eight face-offs to the Terps' three. As mentioned before, Phipps has made 13 saves, while Virginia junior goalie Adam Ghitelman has had to make just one.

*If Maryland cannot rally and pull out a win, the Terps will have lost eight of the last nine meetings with the Cavaliers. If the difference remains unchanged, this would be Virginia’s most lopsided win in this series since 2006 when the Cavaliers won, 11-5.

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:15 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Halftime thoughts, Maryland
        

Salisbury at Stevenson: Three things to watch

It doesn’t get any more thrilling than this: No. 2 Salisbury at No. 1 Stevenson at Caves Athletic Complex in Owings Mills on Saturday at 2 p.m. Here are a few developments that factor into the outcome.

1. One key to a Salisbury win: The Sea Gulls have avoided the injury bug, but the same cannot be said for the Mustangs, who will likely start senior Andrew Harrington in the net as senior Geoff Hebert recovers from a broken pinkie finger. Harrington is no slouch, anchoring a unit that surrendered just nine goals to then-No. 7 Roanoke – a team that had topped Division III in scoring. But Harrington has not played in this type of atmosphere with this type of fervor and intensity surrounding the game. Therefore, it’s incumbent for Salisbury to attack Harrington. That’s not to say that the nation’s fourth-most prolific offense, which averages 15.2 goals per game, should take shots every time it touches the ball, but the Sea Gulls should test Harrington early and often. And by the way, in the team’s only victory over Stevenson in the Capital Athletic Conference Tournament final, Salisbury outshot the Mustangs and placed 23 of 34 shots on net for a .676 percentage.

2. One key to a Stevenson win: The Sea Gulls thrive on chaotic, unsettled situations, and they also love to take advantage of man-up opportunities. The offense has converted 28 of 69 extra-man chances, ranking 15th in the country in that department. The Mustangs have held up will in man-down situations, surrendering just 10 goals in 51 opportunities – which is good enough for 39th in the nation. In a contest that figures to be charged, penalties could play a role and which team can either take advantage or nullify those chances could enhance their odds of emerging with the victory. In Stevenson’s wins in the regular season and the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals, Salisbury converted just 2-of-10 situations.

3. One key match-up: Sophomore midfielder Sam Bradman fuels the Sea Gulls offense, leading the team in goals (36), assists (15) and points (51). Blessed with speed and an accurate shot, Bradman is certainly living up to the standards set by Kylor Berkman, a three-time National Midfielder of the Year. Bradman could see a lot of Mustangs senior long-stick midfielder Mike Gustowarow, who ranks third on the team in caused turnovers (9) and fourth in groundballs (20). That match-up should draw a lot of interest on both sides of the field.

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Salisbury, Stevenson, Three things to watch
        

April 2, 2010

Virginia at Maryland: Three things to watch

Is another seven-overtime contest in store when No. 1 Virginia (9-0) visits No. 5 Maryland (6-1) at Byrd Stadium in College Park on Saturday at 8 p.m.? Here are a few factors that might play a role in the final score.

1. One key to a Virginia win: It’s no surprise that the Cavaliers rank second in scoring (14.4 goals per game), fifth in defense (7.3) and first in scoring margin (7.1). Some of the credit for those lofty rankings belongs to the team’s uncanny knack for collecting ground balls. Virginia ranks first in Division I with 40 ground balls per game and has won every ground ball statistic this season. More ground balls mean more opportunities on offense, fewer chances for opponents to attack the defense, and a combination of more caused turnovers and fewer giveaways. "That means they’re very athletic and compete for the ball," Terps coach Dave Cottle said. "... We typically have not been bad when the ball is on the ground, but Virginia has been dominant this year. So it’s a challenge for us. We’ve got to get after the ball. We can’t let them bully us like they’ve bullied some of the other teams when the ball is on the ground."

2. One key to a Maryland win: The Terps suffered the first loss of their season last Saturday, falling, 9-7, to No. 3 North Carolina. The Tar Heels’ large and rangy defense made life miserable for Maryland by refusing to slide and daring the offensive players to beat them on one-on-one matchups. Cottle said practices have entailed the Terps working on winning their individual matchups and forcing the defense to slide, which opens up shooting lanes for teammates. "When you play Carolina and you play Virginia and you play Syracuse, they play big boy defense," Cottle said. "Everybody has their man, and you’ve got to run by your man. So we have to change our practices so that we’re not sliding and the offense isn’t seeing everybody is being slid to. We have to give them a better look where they don’t see slides. We’ll be better at it this week than we were last week. We’ve got to do a better job of running by somebody from the midfield."

3. One key matchup: The dilemma for Maryland – and this applies to many of Virginia’s opponents – is determining which player to defend with a long stick. No. 12 Johns Hopkins tried to double-pole junior midfielders Shamel and Rhamel Bratton, which left senior midfielder Brian Carroll to record two goals and three assists, and both Brattons posted three goals each. The prowess of the first midfield to draw slides gives attackmen like sophomores Steele Stanwick and Chris Bocklet and freshman Matt White opportunities to score. Without giving up any trade secrets on how his defense intends to limit the Cavaliers, Cottle said the unit will have to be effective and disciplined. The defense has had success against Virginia before: the 10 goals the Cavaliers scored in last year’s seven-overtime thriller were the fewest they had produced in a win that season.

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:20 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Maryland, Three things to watch
        

North Carolina at Johns Hopkins: Three things to watch

No. 12 Johns Hopkins (4-4) is 64-10 at Homewood Field under coach Dave Pietramala, but will that translate into a victory against No. 3 North Carolina (9-0) on Saturday at noon? Here are a few factors that could account for the final score.

1. One key to a North Carolina win: The Tar Heels boast one of the most potent offenses in Division I, but the possible absence of junior attackman Billy Bitter (leg) and senior midfielder Sean DeLaney (shoulder) could slow down that unit. The loss of Bitter is mitigated by the presence of freshman Marcus Holman, who ranks third on the team in goals (14) and is tied for fifth in points (17). But if DeLaney, who was injured in the third quarter of the team’s 9-7 victory over No. 5 Maryland last Saturday, can’t play, no other player on the roster has scored more than three goals this season. After DeLaney went down against the Terps, North Carolina took just 12 shots and scored just four times. So pardon coach Joe Breschi if he’s been a little more concerned about his team rather than the Blue Jays. "I think from our standpoint, it’s not necessarily about worrying too much about preparing for Johns Hopkins, but trying to figure out – as some guys sit out for practice – who we are and how we approach things this week," Breschi said. "So it’s been a lot more about us and keeping our edge and our focus on how we prepare."

2. One key to a Johns Hopkins win: Everyone knows about senior attackman Steven Boyle and senior midfielder Michael Kimmel, and that’s not necessarily a good thing. Opposing defenses have keyed on Boyle and Kimmel, and that duo has combined for three goals and three assists in losses to No. 2 Syracuse and No. 1 Virginia. Sophomore attackman Tom Palasek has shown that he can initiate, but he may draw a long-pole defender. That means that others – such as freshmen midfielders John Greeley and John Ranagan and freshman attackman Zach Palmer – must be aggressive and creative on offense to force defenders to slide from their original assignments, which could open up opportunities for Boyle, Kimmel and junior attackman Kyle Wharton. Since the season-ending knee injury to senior attackman Chris Boland on March 9, the offense has scored just 19 goals in three games, all of which are losses. "I don’t want to say we’ve been limited, but because of our youth, we’ve had to dial back the offenses and not run quite as much as what we’ve wanted," coach Dave Pietramala said. "So Coach [Bobby] Benson [the team’s offensive coordinator] has worked on doing a little bit more there. We’ve worked on more full-field, to work on our between-the-box game. We’ve talked about trying to find ways to score goals other than in half-field [sets]. In transition, we’ve worked on that. We’ve worked all week on our groundball play to improve that, to increase the number of possessions. We’ve worked to get goals off face-offs, goals off the ride, goals off transition."

3. One key matchup: Syracuse and Virginia may have provided a blueprint for strangling the Blue Jays’ offense by shutting off Kimmel. Long-stick midfielders Joel White and Bray Malphrus were masterful in staying in front of Kimmel and forcing him to give up the ball to one of his teammates. Kimmel also looked tired as he spent extensive time on defense against the Orange and Cavaliers. Kimmel gets another tough challenge in North Carolina senior long-stick midfielder Sean Jackson. "I think Kimmel is a phenomenal player," Breschi said. "We’re going to have to try to limit him first and know where Boyle is all over the field and do a great job on the rest of the guys as well." If Kimmel can’t win that matchup, it could be a long day for Johns Hopkins.

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Three things to watch
        

Postscript from Georgetown at Navy

Davey Emala has played sparingly this season for No. 13 Georgetown, but the Hoyas are probably grateful that the freshman attackman’s energy was put to good use Friday night.

The Baltimore native and Gilman graduate scored three goals and was part of a freshman class that contributed to 11 of Georgetown’s 13 goals in a one-goal overtime victory over No. 20 Navy at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

Prior to Friday night, Emala had played in just two games, taking just one shot and scooping up one groundball. He scored on all three of his shots against the Midshipmen.

"It was absolutely a great experience,’ he said. "... I think as a team, we worked real hard this week. We had great practices Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and really focused on working hard and going after ground balls, and I think it showed a lot tonight."

One of the most sought-after recruits, Emala joined a Hoyas offense that featured a crowded attack with senior Craig Dowd, redshirt junior Rickey Mirabito, sophomore Ryan Shuler and freshman Travis Comeau. In fact, Emala got his most extensive playing time of the season Friday night because Mirabito sat out with a cracked jaw suffered in the team’s 15-10 loss to No. 6 Duke a week ago.

"It’s definitely a process," Emala said of his transition to college. "One big thing is playing all year-round. It’s definitely different focusing on just one sport. And the thing about college is, everyone was the best player coming out of their high school. So you’ve got to elevate the level of your game to play with them. So it’s been a tough transition, but it’s been a great learning experience."

Coach Dave Urick said Emala has been patient in waiting for his turn to play.

"We’ve been trying to get him some playing time, but four attackmen is the more comfortable rotation," Urick said. "It’s tough to play five. So if we kept Rickey out for this game, then Davey is that guy that plays in that role. He’s a finisher. He can score, and he proved it tonight."

Other notes:

*Navy sophomore goalkeeper R.J. Wickham thought he had scored the first goal of his career when he carried the ball coast-to-coast and fired the ball past senior Jack Davis with 9:04 left in the second quarter. "I was still running to the middle of the field and kind of celebrating," Wickham said. "... And then [junior short-stick defensive midfielder] Marty Gallagher was screaming in my face and saying that it wasn’t a goal." That’s because officials ruled that the Midshipmen had jumped offsides just prior to Wickham’s shot. Coach Richie Meade didn’t seem to argue the call. "We only had three guys back," he said. "We slipped over. We were subbing. It’s kind of tough. I thought when we scored, we were onsides and then we slipped over, but they didn’t see it that way." Wickham also didn’t seem upset, but wished the team would have gotten a win out of it. "I was disappointed, but you’ve just got to keep playing at that point," he said. "I was hoping that if they took it away, we’d get the win. But it didn’t work out that way. Yeah, it was disappointing, but I’d rather win than score."

*For the second straight week, the Midshipmen erased a deficit in the fourth quarter and sent the game into overtime. The only difference was that Navy came away with a 10-9 overtime victory against Colgate last Saturday. Junior attackman Andy Warner, who led all scorers with six points on two goals and four assists, said he was encouraged by the offense’s ability to mount comebacks. "I think it speaks volumes about the kids on offense," Warner said. "There’s a lot of heart and it seems like when it comes down to execution time at the end of the game, we’ve been able to do it in the last couple of games. It’d be nice to get that going throughout the rest of the game, but coming down the stretch, we played really well today."

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:30 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Navy, Postscript
        

Georgetown at Navy: Halftime thoughts

No. 20 Navy trails No. 13 Georgetown, 6-4, at halftime here at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, and the Midshipmen have got to be kicking themselves over finding themselves in this situation.

After the teams exchanged goals to open the game, Navy allowed the Hoyas to gain a two-goal lead via some sloppy play. While attempting to clear the ball, sophomore defenseman Matt Vernam got the ball knocked out of his stick by Craig Dowd, and the Georgetown senior attackman raced in alone on a breakaway to score with 4:22 left in the first quarter.

Nine seconds later, freshman midfielder Patrick Murray won his first career face-off and scored his first career goal.

The Hoyas began the second quarter with five turnovers on five possessions, and the Midshipmen took advantage, getting a pair of man-up goals from junior attackman Andy Warner to tie the score with 5:06 left.

But Georgetown ended the period with two straight scores to regain the two-goal cushion. By the way, the Hoyas have taken the lead in groundballs (20-9) and shots (17-13). So the Midshipmen have had their chances to seize control, but have squandered those opportunities.

Other notes:

*Sophomore goalkeeper R.J. Wickham appeared to score the first goal of his career when he went coast-to-coast and fired the ball past Georgetown senior Jack Davis with 9:04 left in the second quarter. But the goal was waived off after the play because officials had determined that Navy was offsides. Several of us in the press box atop the stadium didn’t see the offsides penalty, but who are we to question the officials?

*The Hoyas got a huge lift defensively with the earlier-than-anticipated return of senior defenseman Eric Bicknese. Bicknese had been nursing a shoulder injury that forced him to sit out the team’s last three games. But he played and has allowed Midshipmen senior attackman Brendan Connors to score just once. The same could not be said for redshirt junior attackman Rickey Mirabito, who suffered a jaw injury in the Georgetown’s 15-10 loss to No. 6 Duke last Saturday and will miss this game.

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:10 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Halftime thoughts, Navy
        

Area teams involved in some significant games as well

While games involving No. 1 Virginia-No. 5 Maryland, No. 3 North Carolina-No. 12 Johns Hopkins, and No. 2 Salisbury-No. 1 Stevenson have garnered a significant amount of attention, there are several other significant contests involving area teams this weekend. Here’s a brief breakdown of those games according to the times of the games.

*No. 19 Stony Brook (5-3) at UMBC (1-5) at 1 p.m. at UMBC Stadium. If the Retrievers have any hope of earning an invite to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth consecutive year, the team must finish in the top four of the America East Conference and win the conference tournament. A victory over the visiting Sea Wolves would be a good start. Stony Brook has dropped the last five meetings in this series, but this year’s version is unlike any other. The offense ranks fifth in Division I in scoring (13.6 goals per game) and man-up situations (52.2 percent conversion rate) and first in the nation in shooting percentage (.373). Junior attackman Jordan McBride and junior midfielder Kevin Crowley are tied for fifth in points (37), and McBride ranks third in goals (31). But the Sea Wolves have dropped two of their last three games because of a suspect defense that has surrendered 10 or more goals in six games this season. That should bode well for UMBC, but the offense has endured its own struggles, scoring at least 10 goals just twice thus far. Since last playing in a 13-7 loss to No. 5 Maryland on March 20, the team has spent practices working on improving its shooting percentage, which is at 55 percent. The Retrievers put just 19 of 42 shots on the net against the Terps. "I think against Maryland, we missed the goal 55 percent of the time," coach Don Zimmerman said. "When you miss the goal, you’ve got no chance of scoring. You’ve got to give yourself a chance to win a game, and in order to win a game, you’ve got to put the ball in the goal, and in order to put the ball in the goal, it’s got to be on target. So we’ve been focusing on shooting."

*Mount St. Mary’s (3-2) at No. 18 Lafayette (6-1) at 1 p.m. at Rappolt Field. The Mountaineers take a four-game winning streak to Easton, Pa., for this non-league contest against the Leopards, who may be one of the most encouraging stories of the year. Once an afterthought in the Patriot League, Lafayette has already defeated preseason favorites Navy and Bucknell and figures to be the top seed in the Patriot League Tournament. The offense ranks third in the country in scoring (14.0 goals per game) and first in assists (9.7). Junior attackman Tom Perini is tied for fifth in goals per game (3.1) and junior attackman Stefan Bauer is tied for ninth in assists (2.3). "That’s a game that we need to be in from the start with no lapses," Mount St. Mary’s coach Tom Gravante said. "We have to limit to their scoring. Your best defense is a very poised offense. If we can maintain possession of the ball and win at least 50 percent or better from the face-off X, then we can limit their shots on offense. Drexel did a pretty good job of that." The Mountaineers, who rank second in the nation in shot percentage (.365), will need solid performances from junior goalkeeper T.C. DiBartolo and senior defensemen Matt Nealis and Russell Moncure.

*Ohio State (5-4) at No. 7 Loyola (4-2) at 2 p.m. at Ridley Athletic Complex. As part of the newly reshaped Eastern College Athletic Conference, the Buckeyes visit the Greyhounds for the first time since 1998. Ohio State defeated No. 16 Villanova in the season opener for both teams, but the Buckeyes have fallen to No. 11 Notre Dame in overtime, Bucknell and Robert Morris. The attack is powered by a pair of freshmen in Logan Schuss (15 goals and 15 assists) and Jeff Tundo (14, 4), and senior James Green (15, 2) is an All American-caliber midfielder. The defense – anchored by senior goalkeeper Brandon Freeman and senior defenseman Scott Foreman – is 14th in the nation in goals allowed per game (8.8), but Ohio State will be playing the fourth game of a five-game road stretch. "It can take a lot out of you to be on the road," Loyola coach Charley Toomey said. "But what takes more out of you is when you’re on the road and you play on a Tuesday and then you continue on the road and you play on a Saturday. They’ve had a week at home, and everyone’s going on Easter break. They’ll probably put their legs up a little bit on Thursday and Friday in preparation for the game." The Greyhounds have outscored their opponents, 16-8, in the first quarter and will look to get off to a fast start again against the Buckeyes.

*Delaware (5-4) at Towson (1-5) at 3 p.m. at Johnny Unitas Stadium. Much like UMBC, the Tigers’ bid for their first invite to the NCAA Tournament since 2007 hinges on the team finishing in the top four of the Colonial Athletic Association and winning the conference tournament. The problem is, Delaware is tied for 13th in Division I in scoring (11.7 goals per game) and senior attackman Curtis Dickson ranks first in the nation in goals per contest (4.0) and second in average points (5.2). Offense has been an issue for the Tigers, who rank last in the CAA in scoring with 9.0 goals per game. Towson has been especially vulnerable on man-up opportunities, converting just 8 of 31 situations. "When we were 5-for-8 at the beginning of the season, it was the same shots that we’re getting now that we’re 3-for-23," coach Tony Seaman said. "I don’t know what to do. Do you change personnel? We’ve done that twice. Do you try to find other places to shoot the ball? Are you getting the ball to the people you want to shoot the ball? Yes. They made five of them in the beginning and now they’ve made three of them in three times as many opportunities. You work at it every single day." The Tigers could get extra work on their extra-man chances as the Blue Hens rank last in the CAA in penalties (5.1) and penalty minutes (4.0) per game.

Posted by Edward Lee at 5:15 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Loyola, Mount St. Mary's, Towson, UMBC
        

Georgetown at Navy: Three things to watch

A victory could go a long way towards determining the postseason fate for Friday’s participants, No. 13 Georgetown (4-3) and No. 20 Navy (5-4), at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis at 7 p.m. Here are a few developments that could factor into the outcome.

1. One key to a Georgetown win: The Hoyas have one of the more promising offenses in Division I, featuring a dangerous attack and an athletic midfield. But there have been occasions when the midfield has disappeared for stretches. When the midfield has registered at least six points in a game, Georgetown is 4-1. When the same unit posts five or fewer points, the team is 0-2. In the three losses, opponents have been especially good at limiting opportunities for senior midfielder Andrew Brancaccio, who has scored just twice in those games. Brancaccio, who has scored five goals in three meetings with the Midshipmen, could get a lot of face time with senior Jaren Woeppel, the Patriot League’s Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, but at 6-foot-5 and 205 pounds, Brancaccio is a match-up problem for many defensemen.

2. One key to a Navy win: The Midshipmen aren’t shooting themselves in the foot lately with regards to turnovers. After posting 48 turnovers in back-to-back losses to Loyola and North Carolina, Navy has since stayed below the 20-turnover mark. The team has coughed up the ball 78 times in five victories compared to 75 turnovers in four losses. That’s not to say that the Midshipmen won’t take their chances, pressing to move the ball in transition or trying to take advantage of unsettled situations. But coach Richie Meade would prefer if they avoid the unforced errors or the careless giveaways that drive coaching staffs crazy.

3. One key match-up: Georgetown’s defense has been depleted by injuries. Senior defenseman Barney Ehrmann (Achilles tendon) and freshman long-stick midfielder Tyler Knarr (torn anterior cruciate ligament) are out for the season, senior Eric Bicknese is expected to miss Friday’s game due to a shoulder injury, and senior goalkeeper Jack Davis is playing despite a herniated disc in his back. But Meade said Navy’s game plan remains unchanged. "They’re going to be one of the best teams we’ve faced this year no matter who they put on the field," he said. "The guys that they have that are banged up are not going to change our approach much. We’re not that sophisticated, and the guys that they have as replacements are highly-recruited guys that are pretty good. So I don’t think that’s going to have to do a lot with it."

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Navy, Three things to watch
        

No decision yet regarding Johns Hopkins goalie

The better part of this past week has been spent evaluating the goalie position, and No. 12 Johns Hopkins (4-4) is prepared to name the starter for Saturday’s home contest against No. 3 North Carolina (9-0).

Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala said he won’t make that decision until practice later on Friday and therefore, he declined to disclose the starter’s identity during an interview Friday morning. Whatever the decision, Pietramala said the difficulty is not making a change if it gives the team the best chance to snap a three-game losing skid.

"The hard part is that it affects a kid – one way or the other," he said. "You’ve got a kid who’s been practicing hard who may not have played a lot yet but has seen some action and he’s going, ‘Wow, I hope I get an opportunity.’ And then you have another young man who’s been your goalie and you say, ‘He’s been our goalie, and we’ve been loyal to him. Do we make that change?" That’s the hard part about these decisions as coaches. To the coaches, it’s not important who plays. You want to put the best guy in there. But the struggles at times is that your decision affects a young man, and that’s something you’ve got to take into consideration."

Senior Michael Gvozden has been the team’s three-year starter in the net, and he is 25-15 over the last three seasons. But he was pulled in favor of sophomore Steven Burke just eight minutes into an eventual 14-6 loss to No. 10 Hofstra on March 13, and freshman Pierce Bassett replaced Gvozden midway through the third quarter of a 15-6 setback to No. 1 Virginia last Saturday.

Pietramala compared the situation to his sophomore year in 1987 when Stuart Jones, a senior, began the season as the starter, but was replaced by freshman Quint Kessenich, who helped Johns Hopkins capture the national championship.

"It’s more comfortable when you’ve got an experienced guy," Pietramala said. "You know he’s seen this team, you know he’s played in big games, and you know he’s capable of playing well in big games. But then you’ve got a young guy like a Bassett or a Burke or a [sophomore Guy] Van Syckle, and you think, ‘Man, we’ve watched this guy in practice every day and boy, he’s doggone good.’ That’s where you ask, ‘Do we make that change?’ That’s the difficulty of it, and I think the most important thing you can do is you have to weigh what’s best for the team. How does this affect the team? How do they react to this? Do they react positively or negatively to it? Is this going to give us our best chance? The difficulty is that there is some unknown there if you do make a change. For us, we’ve seen Bassett and Burke in games. So it’s not like it’s a complete unknown commodity."

Pietramala has read and heard the reports about the possible absences of Tar Heels junior attackman Billy Bitter (leg) and senior midfielder Sean DeLaney (shoulder), but he said he fully expects North Carolina’s two most dangerous offensive players to play Saturday.

"We’ve put a game plan in with both of those players in the game, and if they’re not there by some chance, then we’ll make the necessary adjustments," Pietramala said. "But in the end, you still have to defend [sophomore attackman Thomas] Wood and [freshman attackman Marcus] Holman and [senior attackman Gavin] Petracca and [senior midfielder Jimmy] Dunster. There are still quality players in that offensive end. Even without those two players, I don’t know that their whole offense is going to change. Maybe specific roles in that offense will change, but they’re still going to run what they run, and we’ve prepared for both guys."

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Johns Hopkins
        

North Carolina's Holman still has ties to Baltimore

Friday’s edition of The Sun included an article on North Carolina freshman attackman Marcus Holman, who is slated to start in the No. 3 Tar Heels’ game against No. 12 Johns Hopkins this Saturday.

The Holman family has a strong connection to Baltimore. Holman’s father was a three-time All-American goalkeeper at Johns Hopkins and coached there for seven years before coaching at Boys’ Latin and the Breakers Club Lacrosse Team.

When Joe Breschi became the head coach at North Carolina after the 2008 season, Brian Holman was hired as a volunteer assistant coach to tutor the goalies. But leaving Baltimore was tough, he said.

"It was not easy," said Holman, adding that he’s fielded several requests for tickets from friends. "My family was firmly entrenched in Baltimore. Laurie and I had lived in the same house for 20 years, and my kids were in Gilman and Bryn Mawr and the same church. Yeah, it was hard. But having the opportunity to come down here with Coach Breschi and really being able to have an impact with a program right from the start, the good Lord sort of led us this way, and we followed it. I can tell you that we’ve been blessed. … It was not an easy position. Lots of tears shed, and we kind of fought through it, but it sure has been worth it."

Marcus Holman emphasized that he chose the Tar Heels over Johns Hopkins, Princeton and Notre Dame prior to his dad getting the job in Chapel Hill, N.C. He said he and his father are frequently asked about being in such close proximity to each other on a daily basis.

"It’s not weird at all," Holman said. "I keep telling people that it’s a dream come true for me. For some reason, even when I was younger, I never envisioned it any other way. I always felt like my dad would always be there with me on the sidelines, somehow. And when the opportunity arose and he got the job down here at Carolina, I was just thrilled because he’s so positive and he loves the game and he loves seeing us be successful. … We’re on different ends of the field during practice, but it’s always great to have him there because he’s always encouraging me whenever he gets the chance. I’m just so grateful for his presence."

Added his father: "To be quite honest, we don’t talk that much at all. I see him every day, which is a blessing, but he’s busy and I’m busy. After practice is over, they hit the weight room and he’s going to class. He loves being on campus. So I see him about the same as I see every other kid on the team. And it’s nice. He obviously doesn’t want to have his father hanging around him, and we have such a great relationship, all my kids really. I’ve coached Marcus since he was a little kid, so we’re very clear on where the dad and the coach responsibilities lie. It’s a blessing. I’m very, very lucky."

Marcus Holman is the middle child of three. His older brother Matt is a sophomore goalkeeper at UMBC. Brian and Marcus Holman met up with Matt when North Carolina defeated the Retrievers, 12-7, on March 6.

"It was a little bit weird," Marcus Holman said of playing against his brother. "We were teammates at Gilman. In my junior year, he was a senior and the starting goalie on our team. That was such an amazing feeling playing with my brother. And I was a little weird seeing him on the sideline in a different colored jersey. But after the game, we hugged each other. That was good."

Their sister Sydney is a freshman at East Chapel Hill High School, and if you believe Marcus Holman, she may be the most talented lacrosse player in the family.

"As much as it pains me to admit it, I think she got the best lax genes from our family," Holman said. "That’s ok. That’s just something I’ll have to live with."

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

UMBC ends goalie rotation

Saturday will mark the first time in two weeks that UMBC has played a game. It will also mark the day the Retrievers settled on one goalkeeper.

Senior Kevin Kohri will start against No. 19 Stony Brook (5-3) at UMBC Stadium, and barring an injury or complete ineffectiveness, he will remain there through the season, coach Don Zimmerman confirmed Thursday afternoon.

"You can’t make predictions, but I’m also not going to have all of our goalies looking over their shoulders, wondering if the next goal is going to have them coming off the field," Zimmerman said. "We decided to go with Kevin because he’s our senior, and he has been as solid as anybody in the goal. We just felt like for our goalies’ sake and for our team’s sake, we needed to make a decision on who our starter was going to be, and it’s going to be Kevin. But it’s like any other position. I’ll make a move if I need to, but I don’t intend or expect to make any moves during the game. We’re going to go with him."

Kohri has two starts under his belt: the season opener against Delaware and the team’s most recent game against No. 5 Maryland. He has made 20 saves and surrendered 24 goals in those starts. For now, Kohri has beaten out sophomores Brian McCullough and Matt Holman and freshman Adam Cohen for the starting job.

"I made the decision to go with the senior," Zimmerman said. "He’s been practicing well for us. It’s not a game-by-game decision anymore. We’ve decided to go with Kevin Kohri as our starter."

In addition to settling on a starting goalkeeper and giving injured players time to heal, the Retrievers (1-5) used the extra week to place an emphasis on finish among the top four teams in the America East Conference and qualifying for league’s season-ending tournament.

"It really does separate our out-of-conference schedule from our in-conference schedule with the exception of Towson, which is a mid-week game," said Zimmerman, who has guided UMBC to three of the last four America East Tournament championships. "But from here on out, it’s the America East Conference, and we realize that’s our ticket to advance to the NCAAs. We’ve always focused on our conference, we understand the importance of it. I think the week off has really allowed us to focus on this second season – so to speak – and to allow some of our guys who have been banged up to get healthy."

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

April 1, 2010

Salisbury coach thinks Sea Gulls will stay at DIII level

Salisbury has been a dominant force in Division III lacrosse, winning eight national titles under head coach Rick Berkman, who is in his 21st season at the school.

Berkman is often asked if the Sea Gulls with move up to Division I, but he doesn't see that happening in the foreseeable future.

"I don't see us doing [that]. In fact, it's almost impossible to do it unless you do it like Hobart did," Berkman said. "In that situation, Hobart can't give scholarships and I think we can all say Hobart isn't the old Hobart. If you do that, you have to have tremendous commitment, which requires your other sports to go DI, or at least one of the women's sports to move up as well. I don't think we have the financial commitment from the school to move up."

Posted by Mike Preston at 10:13 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Salisbury
        

Maryland's Yeatman still finding footing in midfield

One of the biggest conundrums No. 5 Maryland faced was finding ways to get five talented attackmen – juniors Grant Catalino, Ryan Young and Travis Reed, senior Will Yeatman and sophomore Joe Cummings – on the field at the same time.

One solution has been to start Yeatman from the midfield, and seven games into the strategy, the converted attackman is still growing comfortable in an unfamiliar role.

"I wouldn’t say it’s been really tough," he said. "It’s certainly new for me because I’ve never played midfield before. I’ve got so many great players surrounding me. I’ve been in situations where I’ve dodged from up top before and played at the top of the offense. It’s a different situation, but it’s a role I’ve accepted, and I feel like I’m helping the team out."

Yeatman got off to a nice start in February, scoring six goals on 10 shots in the Terps’ first three wins against Bellarmine, No. 13 Georgetown and No. 6 Duke. However, since then, he has scored just once on 10 shots and contributed two assists.

Maryland coach Dave Cottle said the coaching staff is still tinkering with Yeatman’s best placement on the field and dismissed any notion that Yeatman is enduring a slump.

"I don’t think we’ve given him the ball enough," Cottle said. "… That’s one of the things we’re working through a little bit – where to play him, where to give him an opportunity to dodge more. … We’re probably going to have to give him the ball a little more."

Yeatman has played well against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents, recording six goals and three assists in four games last year. His best outing produced two goals and three assists against Virginia, which happens to be the Terps opponent this Saturday at 8 p.m. at Byrd Stadium in College Park.

Yeatman has been criticized in the past for not using his 6-foot-6, 250-pound frame to outmuscle opposing defenders, but he has drawn an opposing close defenseman, which has opened up options for his teammates.

"That’s a role I’ve accepted, and I think it’s a role our team has appreciated," he said. "I think it’s certainly helped out our offense, having me out there and taking a different long pole and opening up other options for our team. That’s the way it is, I’ve accepted that, and I’ve been dealing with it."

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

Q&A with ESPN's Paul Carcaterra (Part 2)

Paul Carcaterra, a former All-American midfielder at Syracuse, is now an analyst for ESPN after working for CBS College Sports. This is the second of a two-part conversation in which Carcaterra shared his thoughts on the general lacrosse landscape as the 2010 campaign hits its midpoint.

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

Paul Carcaterra: "It was probably Duke’s lack of success. Early in the season, they came off beating Team USA in the preseason, they had virtually the whole team back in guys like [senior attackman Ned] Crotty and [senior midfielder Steve] Schoeffel and [senior midfielder Mike] Catalino and one of the nation’s best scorers in [senior attackman] Max Quinzani, a great defense in [senior defenseman Parker] McKee and [sophomore long-stick midfielder C.J.] Costabile and [junior defenseman Mike] Manley. Those guys are complete studs. The other part of that is that might actually help them down the road because over the last four or five years, it seemed like Duke was the team to beat and the pressure was on them. Now, they may be able to sneak up into the tournament. That’s not going to be a team that I would want to play because now they don’t have pressure."

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

PC: "[Junior midfielder] Jeremy Thompson from Syracuse. He’s fantastic. The kid faces off, he’s an exceptional shooter, he can play defense, he feeds the ball well. With the box [lacrosse] background, a lot of people thinks he’s just one-handed, but he has a great left hand. Also, [sophomore attackman] Chris Bocklet down in Virginia and [attackman] Matt White, the freshman. Those two guys have really turned it on as of late. Bocklet filled in Garrett Billings’ right-hand spot, and he also gave them another dimension because he shoots the ball incredibly well from the outside. That’s exactly what that offense needs. Everyone focuses in on the Brattons [Shamel and Rhamel] and [senior midfielder Brian] Carroll, and he gets those opportunities – inside and out – on that right-hand side, and he’s leading the team in goals. White is very poised for a young kid on attack."

Q: Would it be fair to say that Virginia, Syracuse and North Carolina have separated themselves from the rest of the field?

PC: "I think on paper, they have, but I don’t think from a talent standpoint, there’s much of a drop-off from those three and the next two or three schools. You’ve got to throw Duke in there. I’m telling you that this is a team where if they’re clicking, look out. Crotty, Quinzani, [sophomore midfielder] Justin Turri, Schoeffel, that defense. If that goalie can save 55 percent of his shots and their offense is clicking, I don’t want to play that team. Maryland, I think, has some questions. On paper, those three teams have separated themselves, but I think there’s two or three other schools that could definitely be clumped in there."

Q: What four teams have the inside track to making the Final Four?

PC: "Syracuse, Virginia, North Carolina and Duke."

Q: Who are the top players at the attack, midfield, defense and goalie positions thus far?

PC: "In the goal, it’s [Syracuse junior] John Galloway. The combination of saves, clears, leadership – I don’t even have to look at his statistics. I just watch the way the kid plays and the impact he has on the game. I think he’s the best. The top defender as of right now? [Junior Ryan] Flanagan down at North Carolina is certainly pretty good. He chewed up Crotty. He’s a stud. [North Carolina senior Sean] DeLaney at midfield. I know he might be injured and we don’t know the extent of it, but he’s been the guy. He’s leading the team in points. As a midfielder, he’s got 20 goals and eight assists. At attack, I think [North Carolina junior Billy] Bitter has a lot of pieces to the puzzle in terms of guys stepping up to take the pressure off of him. [Sophomore attackman Rob] Pannell up at Cornell is tops. He’s awesome. He’s top-five in the country in points, he’s a total quarterback, and I think when you game-plan for Cornell – because [Max] Seibald is gone and [John] Glynn is gone and Rocco Romero was great as a senior as well – he is the marked man, and he’s still doing very well."

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