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May 31, 2010

Terps land five on women's All-America teams

National champion Maryland landed five players on the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches’ Association All-America teams announced Monday, including three on the first team -- Caitlyn McFadden, Karri Ellen Johnson and Karissa Taylor. Sarah Mollison was named to the second team and Katie Schwarzmann was named to the third team.

Half of the players named to the first team played high school lacrosse in the Baltimore area: McFadden (Notre Dame Prep), Johnson (Broadneck), Vanderbilt’s Ally Carey (John Carroll), North Carolina’s Kristen Carr (Mercy) and Corey Donohoe (North Harford), Notre Dame’s Jackie Doherty (Mount Hebron), Syracuse’s Christina Dove (Bel Air) and Virginia’s Brittany Kalkstein (Roland Park).

Towson’s Hillary Fratzke and Loyola’s Grace Gavin (St. Paul’s) were named to the second team. Schwarzmann, one of only two freshmen on the teams along with Northwestern’s third-team pick Taylor Thornton, was last year’s All-Metro Player of the Year at Century.

Awards for attacker, midfielder, defender, goalie and coach of the year as well as scholar athlete of the year will be presented at the All-America banquet to be held June 12 in King of Prussia, Pa.

Here is the entire All-America list as provided by the IWLCA:

First Team

Sarah Bullard, M, Duke University, Jr.

Ally Carey (John Carroll), M, Vanderbilt University, So.

Kristen Carr (Mercy), D, University of North Carolina, Sr.

Ali DeLuca, M, University of Pennsylvania, Sr.

Jackie Doherty (Mount Hebron), D, University of Notre Dame, Jr.

Corey Donohoe (North Harford), A, University of North Carolina, Jr.

Christina Dove (Bel Air), M, Syracuse University, Sr.

Katrina Dowd, A, Northwestern University, Sr.

Liz Hogan, G, Syracuse University, Jr.

Karri Ellen Johnson (Broadneck), A, University of Maryland, So.

Brittany Kalkstein (Roland Park), M, University of Virginia, Sr.

Caitlyn McFadden (Notre Dame Prep), M, University of Maryland, Sr.

Jenn Russell, M, University of North Carolina, Sr.

Shannon Smith, A, Northwestern University, So.

Danielle Spencer, A, Northwestern University, Sr.

Karissa Taylor, D, University of Maryland, Sr.

Second Team

Shaylyn Blaney, M, University of Notre Dame, Jr.

Lauren Costello, A Boston College, Sr.

Sarah Downing, A, Vanderbilt University, Sr.

Kaitlin Duff, M, University of Virginia, Sr.

Molly Ford (Notre Dame Prep), A, Georgetown University, Sr.

Alexandra Frank, M, Northwestern University, So.

Hillary Fratzke, M, Towson University, Sr.

Grace Gavin (St. Paul’s), A, Loyola University, Jr.

Lindsay Gilbride, A, Duke University, Sr.

Kim Griffin (North Harford), M, James Madison University, Sr.

Sarah Jonson, D, The College of William & Mary, Jr.

Sarah Mollison, A, University of Maryland, Jr.

Logan McCraw, D, Georgetown University, Jr.

Alex Mundy (Glenelg), D, Vanderbilt University, Sr.

Halley Quillinan, M, Syracuse University, Sr.

Logan Ripley, GK, University of North Carolina, Sr.

Third Team

Erin Brennan, A, University of Pennsylvania, So.

Megan Bosica (Mount Hebron), M, University of North Carolina, Sr.

Brooke Cantwell, A, Rutgers University, Sr.

Liz Downs, D, University of Virginia, Jr.

Corrine Gandolfi, M. Hofstra University, Sr.

Danielle Kachulis, D, Duke University, Sr.

Ashby Kaestner, M, Georgetown University, Sr

Morgan Kelly (St. Mary’s), GK, James Madison University, Sr.

Tee Ladouceur, A, Syracuse University, Jr.

Mary Kate Lomady, A, James Madison University, Jr.

Lauren Schmidt, M, Stanford University, Jr.

Katie Schwarzmann (Century), M, University of Maryland, Fr.

Emma Spiro, M, University of Pennsylvania, Sr.

Taylor Thornton, D, Northwestern University, Fr.

Julie Wadland, G, Dartmouth College, Sr.

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 5:46 PM | | Comments (1)
        

Championship final doesn't draw interest

The NCAA just announced that Monday's paid attendance for the championship final is 37,126, which is the smallest crowd to watch a title game since the sport moved to NFL stadiums for the 2003 season.

For the entire three-day weekend, the attendance was 116,289. That's only slightly larger than the 106,861 fans in 2003 and the 102,601 in 2009.

Posted by Edward Lee at 5:37 PM | | Comments (36)
        

Notre Dame vs. Duke: Halftime thoughts

Unseeded Notre Dame trails No. 5 seed Duke, 3-2, at halftime of the NCAA Tournament final, and improved shot efficiency will be the key for the Fighting Irish (10-6).

Notre Dame has put just three of 19 shots on goal – not nearly enough to test freshman goalkeeper Dan Wigrizer, who made just seven saves in the Blue Devils’ 14-13 win against top-seeded Virginia in the semifinals.

Part of the credit belongs to the Duke defensemen, who are tall and rangy and getting their sticks in the way, but the Fighting Irish have sailed a few high-percentage attempts.

For the Blue Devils, maintaining a lead will depend on getting more contributions from the starting attack. Fifth-year senior Ned Crotty and senior Max Quinzani have an assist each, and junior Zach Howell has scored once. Crotty has been held in check by junior defenseman Kevin Ridgway, Quinzani by senior Mike Creighton, and Howell by sophomore Kevin Randall.

Duke did beat the Cavaliers despite Crotty and Quinzani getting shut out in the first half, but the Blue Devils would probably like to avoid a repeat performance.

Other notes:

*The five goals in the first half ties a NCAA record for fewest goals in a half. In 1980, Johns Hopkins enjoyed a 4-1 lead at the break on Virginia. Two years later, North Carolina had the identical advantage over Johns Hopkins. Both Johns Hopkins in 1980 and North Carolina in 1982 would eventually capture the national championship.

*Face-offs have been fairly even with Notre Dame winning four and Duke taking three. One of the few highlights in the first half was the 40-second scrum between senior Trever Sipperly and senior Sam Payton to begin the second quarter.

*The Blue Devils own a 14-8 advantage in groundballs, but that didn’t mean much in the regular-season meeting between these teams on Feb. 20. Duke collected 42 groundballs to the Fighting Irish’s 27, but Notre Dame walked away with the 11-7 victory.

*The Blue Devils are 10-0 this season when leading at halftime. The Fighting Irish is 1-4 when trailing at the break.

Posted by Edward Lee at 4:38 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Halftime thoughts
        

Keenan story was overblown

I've read and heard a lot about Boys' Latin faceoff specialist R.G. Keenan being charged with a DUI. The story has made it on radio talk shows and in newspapers. Wow, what an overblown story.

First, I was surprised how The Sun treated the story. From the headline to the length of the story, I was surprised that Keenan, 18, was treated more like a professional athlete than one in high school. He made a mistake, lied and has to suffer the consequences, but he is a high school athlete.

I've coached high school-age kids in lacrosse for four years now, and I'm also a parent. I realize that these kids do make mistakes, and every parent and coach just hopes it isn't his or her child or athlete that gets in trouble. I've known R.G. for four years because my son plays lacrosse for Boys' Latin, and R.G. is a great kid. He is a good student, has good grades and is well-liked by his teammates. He will someday make many positive contributions to our society.

I know a DUI is a serious offense and the serious results that can come from it, but I also realize the Keenan is a young man first and an athlete second, even though he was the most dominant high school lacrosse player in the area.

No high school student, regardless of whether he is from Boys' Latin, McDonogh, Dundalk or Parkville, deserves the kind of scrutiny that Keenan has been under.

-- Mike Preston

Posted by Mike Preston at 3:56 PM | | Comments (18)
        

Notre Dame's Corrigan's ties to Duke

Notre Dame coach Kevin Corrigan would like nothing more than to guide his team to the school’s first national championship by defeating Duke on Monday.

In doing so, however, Corrigan might be toeing the line between title-winning coach and family black sheep.

You see, Corrigan’s father Gene played lacrosse for the Blue Devils. Kevin Corrigan’s uncle and Gene Corrigan’s brother, James H. Corrigan, graduated from Duke. Kevin Corrigan’s brother Eugene "Boo" Corrigan is the university’s senior associate athletic director for external affairs.

So you can imagine that Corrigan might have some conflicted feelings. Not so, according to the Fighting Irish coach.

"All of them, I took them off of speed dial for this week, and I’m not talking to any of them," he said jokingly. (I think.)

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

Notre Dame's Rodgers and Duke's Crotty still friends

Notre Dame fifth-year senior goalkeeper Scott Rodgers and Duke fifth-year senior attackman Ned Crotty have known each other since they played together in a high school All American game.

Rodgers and Crotty are still friendly, and that was evident when Rodgers was asked during Sunday’s press conferences about tangling with Crotty.

"The toughest part about playing against Ned is that he’s a nice guy," Rodgers said. "You get no bad vibes off of him, he doesn’t make you angry out there. He makes all the feeds in the world. The kid can make any feed – no-look, it doesn’t matter. He kind of reminds me of [Cornell sophomore attackman] Rob Pannell in the sense that his feeding ability is unreal. And I think his team feeds off of that. He can see anyone. I’ve seen him make a 20-yard, no-look pass across the field at the top of the box. He’s just a phenomenal player."

That’s when his coach, Kevin Corrigan, interjected, "Remind me to tell you later what he said about you."

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

History smiling on Duke and Notre Dame

Monday’s NCAA Tournament final between No. 5 seed Duke and unseeded Notre Dame is rematch of a regular-season contest on Feb. 20 that the Fighting Irish won, 11-7.

So how have rematches in the title game gone for the competitors?

In the previous 25 championship finals involving rematches, 13 of the teams that won in the regular season also walked away with the national crown in May. Those teams included Maryland in 1973, Johns Hopkins in 1974, 1979, 1985 and 2005, Cornell in 1977, North Carolina in 1982, Syracuse in 1988, 2000, 2002, 2008 and 2009, and Princeton in 1994.

So by the slimmest of margins, that would seem to suggest that Notre Dame might be able to pull off the sweep.

But consider this: an unseeded team has never won the NCAA title in four attempts. Cornell lost to Syracuse in 1988, Towson lost to North Carolina in 1991, Maryland in 1997 and Massachusetts in 2006.

And the lowest seed to win the national championship was No. 5 seed North Carolina in 1986.

So history could shine on Duke, too. Should be interesting to see what unfolds at M&T Bank Stadium at 3:30 p.m.

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

May 30, 2010

Notre Dame relying on versatility on offense

In three NCAA tournament games, Notre Dame has been led offensively by three different players.

Junior midfielder David Earl scored five goals to power the unseeded Fighting Irish to a 7-5 upset of No. 6 seed Princeton in the first round. Then sophomore attackman Sean Rogers scored three to help the team upend No. 3 seed Maryland in the quarterfinals. Finally, senior attackman Neal Hicks scored four goals in Notre Dame’s 12-7 win over No. 7 seed Cornell in the semifinals on Saturday.

Coach Kevin Corrigan said the diversity in offensive options is rooted in a team-wide commitment to share the ball and the accolades.

"Our guys have been absolutely unbelievable for the past three weeks about playing without the intrusion of ego into the equation, playing very selfless lacrosse, and accepting what we’re asking them to do and understanding that it’s not going to be the same guys every day," Corrigan said. "You’ve got to take what they’re giving you a little bit and be willing to be flexible. And if you are as a team, you become a lot tougher to defend even if that means you on a particular day don’t get something. When you look at that and say David Earl has five one day and then Sean Rogers has three one day and then Neal Hicks has four one day, I don’t think anybody else would have predicted that, but I think our guys were willing to say, ‘Hey, we’ll take whatever plays come to us that day. I think that’s a big thing in how we’ve played recently."

Posted by Edward Lee at 5:00 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Duke's Danowski reflects on 2007 NCAA final

Monday will be Duke’s first return to the NCAA tournament final since 2007 when that team lost, 12-11, to Johns Hopkins.

That was coach John Danowski’s first year with the Blue Devils, who had jettisoned coach Mike Pressler after three players were charged with rape in 2006. (The charges were eventually dropped and the players and program were exonerated.)

On Sunday, Danowski had an interesting perspective on the two trips to the title game.

"The emotion of the first year was unmanageable," said Danowski, who also guided the 2008 squad to the national semifinals. "… I think this team is much freer, much more focused on playing lacrosse than the first two groups were. It’s just different. It’s a different feel, a different focus, and I’ve also been around these guys for four years. I can’t tell you that I knew that group the first year. We coached them and obviously, we showed up every day, but we didn’t know them. These guys, I’ve got a better feel for them as people."

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

Midfield depth could be key in NCAA final

As different as Duke and Notre Dame are in styles and philosophies, they mirror each other in one aspect: depth in the midfield.

Neither the Blue Devils or Fighting Irish have played too many midfield lines, usually sticking with two offensive midfields to power their offenses.

But with temperatures in the 90s and high humidity projected for Monday’s championship final, both teams might have to tinker with their lineups.

Notre Dame coach Kevin Corrigan said he has already told his third midfield to get ready to play.

"We’ve already talked to them today, that they made need a couple runs that they haven’t gotten in these last few games," he said. "But I don’t think that puts us in a different situation than they are. We’re not trying to survive on one group or anything like that. We’ve been pretty consistent at playing four or five short-stick D-middies, a couple long poles, four close guys, two offensive midfields that mix in. That’s fairly decent depth, I think, for this time of the year. And then with a third midfield that can come in and spot a little bit, I think we’ll be OK."

Duke coach John Danowski felt the same way.

"For us, we think it’s awesome," he said of the potential forecast. "It’s weather that we’re used to in Durham. So our guys are accustomed to the weather. We play a lot of people. We played 23 guys yesterday – two offensive midfields, five short-stick defensive middies, two long-stick D-middies. So we played 14 midfielders during the course of the game. So for us, the hotter, the better."

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

Duke-Notre Dame final a study in opposing styles

Monday’s championship final pits the unstoppable force against the immovable object.

Duke, the No. 5 seed, thrives on its explosive offense, a unit capable of scoring a bunch of goals at the whim of its vaunted attack. Unseeded Notre Dame, on the other hand, relies on a stingy defense to wear down its opponents.

So which unit will prevail with a NCAA title at stake?

"It’s going to be a tough matchup because their defense is firing on all cylinders right now," said junior attackman Zach Howell, who has registered 49 goals and 18 assists for the Blue Devils (15-4) this season. "They want to play us in the box. They want to pack it in and try to put their goalie to see our shots. It’s going to be our job on offense to really work hard for good shots. Three other teams have tried to do that so far, but haven’t been able to accomplish that. So it’s going to be a challenge."

Fifth-year senior goalkeeper Scott Rodgers said the Fighting Irish (10-6) are eager for another shot at the No. 2 offense in Division I.

"The thing about our defense is, Virginia might have some great defensive guys, big names and stuff. But we’re the kind of defense that strangles you, kind of annoys you," he said. "You don’t want to play us because we’re really not trying to take the ball away from you. We’re just not letting you get what you want to get. So I think we’re a little more frustrating for a good attack to play against."

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

Ex-Terps coach Cottle to interview at Penn State

Former University of Maryland coach lacrosse coach Dave Cottle is expected to interview for the vacant head coaching job at Penn State this week, and the interview could take place either late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.

Cottle resigned last Sunday after his No. 3 seeded Terps were upset by unseeded Notre Dame in the NCAA Division I quarterfinals.

One of the sport's all-time top coaches, Cottle would be a perfect fit for the Nittany Lions if they are serious about upgrading their program and becoming a contender.
If the Nittany Lions are serious about the commitment, Cottle might take the job. If not, he might retire from coaching and move on to other business endeavors. Cottle recently completed his 29th season as a head coach, his ninth at Maryland.
 
-- Mike Preston
Posted by Ron Fritz at 1:52 PM | | Comments (10)
        

Tufts vs. Salisbury: Three things to watch

Salisbury and Tufts – the final two teams in the NCAA Division III Tournament – will represent different ends of the spectrum when they meet on Sunday at 12 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. The Sea Gulls, the No. 1 seed in the South region, will be making their 12th appearance in the championship final. The Jumbos, the No. 2 seed in the North region, are playing for the national title for the first time in the program’s history. So will Salisbury take home its ninth NCAA crown or will Tufts become only the eighth team to capture the championship since 1980?

1. One key to a Tufts win: The Jumbos (19-1) boast a prolific offense that leans on junior attackmen D.J. Hessler (36 goals and 50 assists) and Ryan Molloy (35, 29), but they will need another inspired performance by Steven Foglietta. The sophomore goalkeeper has compiled a .606 save percentage and has yet to surrender 10 goals in any of the three tournament games he has played thus far. If Foglietta can reach that 60 percent mark again, Tufts will be in good shape.

2. One key to a Salisbury win: The Sea Gulls (20-1) could use a breakout performance from sophomore midfielder Sam Bradman, who has recorded just four goals and two assists in three tournament contests. But even so, Bradman draws attention, and that will create scoring opportunities for his teammates. Senior attackman Mike Winter, senior attackman Jake DeLillo and sophomore attackman Matt Cannone have each led the team in scoring during the tournament, and they could play a significant role again on Sunday.

3. One key match-up: If the Jumbos harbor any hope of containing Salisbury’s high-octane offense, they have to avoid the penalty box. The Sea Gulls ranked second in the country in extra-man conversions, scoring 49 man-up goals on 112 opportunities (43.8 percent). Tufts isn’t exactly Swiss cheese in that department, stopping opponents on 78.3 percent (19-of-87) during man-down chances. But if the Jumbos get caught up in the emotion and can’t maintain their poise, it could be a long day for them and a celebratory one for Salisbury.

 

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

Postscript from Duke vs. Virginia

In a fitting and unsurprising way, Duke advanced to the NCAA Tournament final courtesy of the connection between attackmen Ned Crotty and Max Quinzani.

Quinzani’s fourth goal of the game off of a pass from Crotty with 12 seconds left in the fourth quarter propelled the No. 5 seed Blue Devils to a 14-13 victory over top-seeded Virginia Saturday night at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

Thanks to almost two full seasons of playing together, Crotty, a fifth-year senior, and Quinzani, a senior, have developed an instinct on finding each other and parlaying opportunities into goals.

A good majority of Crotty’s nation-leading 62 assists have found their way into Quinzani’s stick, and a significant portion of Quinzani’s 68 goals – also tops in the country – have come from Crotty’s pinpoint passing.

"We give each other leeway," Quinzani said of his relationship with Crotty. "Coach [John Danowski] definitely lets Ned throw it throught the defense to me. It doesn’t connect all the time, but I have all the confidence in him and we let him do it. I tell him all the time, ‘If you throw it, at least you know I’m going to catch it. It might not go in, but I’m going to catch it and something good’s going to happen.’"

Added Crotty: "Obviously, we’re kind of different. I’m feeding and he finishes. But we’re both just players. Playing him the last couple of years on the same attack line, we’ve just kind of developed that chemistry and it’s something that definitely works well for us."

That Duke is playing for a chance to capture the school’s first NCAA title on Monday because of Crotty and Quinzani was not lost on Danowski.

"Tonight might have been a little more storybook," he said. "We certainly didn’t design for Ned to throw it to Max. We would have been delighted for anybody to catch it at that point and for anybody to throw it in. The way it worked out today was epcial because those kids have worked so hard."

Other notes:

*Crotty, who finished with one goal and two assists, and Quinzani were shut out in the first half by Cavaliers senior defensemen Ken Clausen and Ryan Nizolek. Quinzani did not soften his words when he was asked about the difference in the second half. "At halftime, Coach D gave us a rash of [expletive], which is good," he said. [At this point, Danowski interjected, "We had a discussion, for the record."] "We started getting the ball more, and I explicitly said that I’ve got to take more shots. I ripped a couple underhands that probably looked gross, but they were good for me to just kind of feel the ball in my stick and get that confidence." Said Crotty: "Basically at halftime, we just kind of said that we couldn’t have played any worse than that. So we put that behind us. We probably played our worst first half in I-don’t-know-how-long and we were only down two goals to the No. 1 team of the tournament. So we knew we could do it. The effort’s always there. We just need to, like Coach said, just start catching it and throwing it."

*The Blue Devils will get a shot at avenging a regular-season loss when they meet unseeded Notre Dame in the championship final on Monday at 3:30 p.m. The Fighting Irish stunned Duke, 11-7, on Feb. 20, and Crotty said that team’s status as an unseeded squad should have no bearing on the title game. "The numbers that are put next to the teams are done by the people who pick them," he said. "It’s definitely the 16 best teams in the country, and they are now one of the two best teams in the country. So the fact that they’re unseeded is definitely not in any way a factor to us. They’re almost similar to us. We came out not the way we wanted to. We kind of had a lull in the season and started hitting our stride towards the end. They came out strong, had their lull, and now they’re playing their best lacrosse. They’re a great team, and we’re definitely excited to play them andf avenge that one loss to them."

*Virginia came undone in the second half Saturday night. Not only did the lack of face-off wins (just 11-of-30 for the contest and 8-of-17 in the second half) play a role, but the Cavaliers offense didn’t put their shots on cage with any regularity. After firing 11 of 22 shots on net in the first half, the shooters tested Duke freshman goalkeeper Dan Wigrizer just nine of 24 times in the second frame. "I thought we moved the ball pretty well, but we were settling on offense for just OK shots, not good shots," sophomore attackman Steele Stanwick said. "That kind of hurt us there."

*One of the most trying seasons in Virginia history came to an end, and coach Dom Starsia was somewhat at a loss for words about what to do next. The program has been rocked by the deaths of former short-stick defensive midfielder Will Barrow after the 2008 season, sports information information director Michael Colley after the 2009 campaign and Starsia’s father Dominic on May 7. Four days prior to the death of his father, Starsia had to deal with the murder of women’s lacrosse player Yeardley Love and the subsequent homicide charges against George Huguely, a former second-line midfielder. So Starsia was a little uncertain what was next for him. "I can’t say for sure," he said after pausing. "I think a lot people helped me stand up and get through all this and I owe them an awful lot. So I probably need to just figure that out for a little bit before I just sort of jump into the recruiting again, which is what we usually do."

 

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

May 29, 2010

Attendance at semifinals significant, but not record-setting

It was just announced that the paid attendance for Saturday's Division I semifinals of the NCAA Tournament was 44,238.

That's the sixth-best crowd for semifinals behind 2007 (51,719), 2006 (49,552), 2008 (48,224), 2004 (46,923) and 2005 (45,275).

 

 

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:38 PM | | Comments (6)
        

Duke vs. Virginia: Halftime thoughts

If Duke can’t rebound from the 7-5 deficit the No. 5 seed Blue Devils have built in a NCAA Tournament semifinal against No. 1 seed Virginia Saturday night, they will have no one to blame but themselves.

Duke (14-4) has hit the post at least three times in the first half, but even more grating is that the Blue Devils have failed to successfully clear the ball on six occasions. They have wilted under the pressure of the Cavaliers’ suffocating ride, which is something Duke usually applies to opponents.

The Blue Devils have never led, but did tie the score at 5 when senior midfielder Jonathan Livadas connected with senior attackman Will McKee for the second time in the game with 5:45 left in the second quarter.

But after Virginia junior goalkeeper Adam Ghitelman stoned senior midfielder Steve Schoeffel on a wrap-around attempt, the Cavaliers got back-to-back goals from midfielders Colin Briggs and Brian Carroll.

Other notes: 

*Virginia seniors Ken Clausen and Ryan Nizolek have done a remarkable job, silencing Duke attackmen Ned Crotty (22 goals and 60 assists) and Max Quinzani (64, 13), respectively. The match-up between Clausen and Crotty is a battle between the two remaining Tewaaraton Award finalists in the NCAA Tournament.

*The Blue Devils elected to give the start to freshman goalie Dan Wigrizer, who backed up junior Mike Rock in the previous three games. Wigrizer has stopped four shots – just one fewer than Ghitelman – but he’s surrendered a couple of soft goals. Don’t be surprised if Rock makes an appearance in the second half.

*Virginia owns the two-goal lead despite losing the face-off battle by a significant margin. The Cavaliers have won just three face-offs, while the Blue Devils have won 10. Senior Sam Payton, who missed Duke’s 16-12 loss to Virginia in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament final, has owned senior Brian McDermott.

*If the Blue Devils lose, this may be the most traumatic setback for the program in quite a while. The school has reached the Final Four in five of the last six years and a sixth appearance in the last seven might not be in the cards because Crotty, Quinzani, midfielders Steve Schoeffel and Payton, and defensemen Parker McKee and Dan Theodoridis will be gone in the offseason.

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:17 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Halftime thoughts
        

Final Four attendance figures

With Inside Lacrosse reporting that nearly 41,000 tickets being sold for Saturday’s semifinals and a little more than 37,000 sold for Monday’s final, it might be worthwhile to review Final Four attendance figures since the NCAA moved the tournament’s Final Four to NFL-based stadiums.

2003 at M&T Bank Stadium: 37,823 (semifinals); 37,944 (finals); 106,861 (weekend)

2004 at M&T Bank Stadium: 46,923 (semifinals); 43,898 (finals); 122,011 (weekend)

2005 in Philadelphia: 45,275 (semifinals); 44,920 (finals); 133,801 (weekend)

2006 in Philadelphia: 49,552 (semifinals); 47,062 (finals); 144,604 (weekend)

2007 at M&T Bank Stadium: 51,719 (semifinals); 48,302 (finals); 146,003 (weekend)

2008 at Foxborough, Mass.: 48,224 (semifinals); 48,970 (finals); 145,828 (weekend)

2009 at Foxborough, Mass.: 36,594 (semifinals); 41,935 (finals); 102,601 (weekend)

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

Cottle dismissal doesn't sit well with area coaches

More than just being a sympathetic ear, Tony Seaman may understand what Dave Cottle is enduring.

After the 1998 season, Seaman was forced to resign by Johns Hopkins despite a 77-33 record (.700), four seasons of 10 wins or more and four Final Four appearances in eight seasons.

So when Seaman heard on Sunday from Cottle himself that he had decided to take himself out of consideration after Maryland told him it was unlikely to sign him to a new contract, Seaman felt like he was thrown into a time warp.

"I was fortunate enough to start that trend in 1998 when my resume at Hopkins looked very similar to Dave’s," Seaman, the coach at Towson, said with tongue firmly planted in cheek. "When I wasn’t renewed, we were 10-4 and we had gone to the Final Four four out of eight years. You wonder sometimes. And they went seven more years before winning a championship. So sometimes it’s not about changing the program or the leadership. You’ve just got to have a bunch of kids and have a little luck and be good and do a good job of recruiting and it’s all got to mesh and the chemistry has to come together. That’s why only five [active coaches] have ever done it."

The debate over the Terps’ decision to part ways with Cottle has raged since news broke on Sunday, one day after Maryland, as the No. 3 seed, fell to Notre Dame, 7-5, in a NCAA Tournament quarterfinal.

Critics point out that the team never advanced to the national title game despite three trips to the Final Four, that the team compiled dubious records against arch-rivals like Johns Hopkins (2-7), Virginia (5-12) and Navy (4-5), and that the Terps had fallen behind Atlantic Coast Conference foes Virginia, Duke and North Carolina in appeal to high school recruits.

Backers argue that the Terps qualified for eight straight NCAA Tournaments – the second-longest active streak behind Johns Hopkins’ 39-year streak – posted seven consecutive years of 10 wins or more, and captured two ACC regular-season and two tournament championships.

The school’s treatment of Cottle has made waves in the coaching community, sending the message that no national titles means no long-term security.

"There’s any number of things that a coach can be judged on: graduation rates, conduct of the team, anything that you can focus on if you’re not pleased with someone for some reason," Navy coach Richie Meade said. "I think it’s very easy to say you’re going to replace somebody. I think it’s lost on a lot of people just how hard it is to win. Every program goes through peaks and valleys. This is just my opinion, but I think this is going to set their program back several years now."

Cottle’s fate seemed sealed after the loss to Notre Dame, but since 1990, only 17 teams have advanced to the national semifinals. And Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said one game should not determine a future.

"They had a bad last game," he said. "But give Notre Dame some credit. We’re all quick to pull the trigger and say, ‘What a bad job they did.’ How about what a good job Notre Dame did in turning things around and getting things back on track? … Dave Cottle, I can tell you right now, put plenty of pressure on himself. His goals are to get to the Final Four and win a national championship, too – every bit as much, if not more than, as the University of Maryland."

The national title argument doesn’t hold much water with Seaman, who pointed out that only five active coaches – UMBC’s Don Zimmerman (with Johns Hopkins), Denver’s Bill Tierney (with Princeton), Virginia’s Dom Starsia, Syracuse’s John Desko and Pietramala – have guided teams to NCAA crowns.

Cottle has not said what he plans to do in the immediate future, but Seaman said that any program with a coaching vacancy (ahem, Penn State) should interview Cottle immediately.

"There’s a lot of good teams out there that could certainly use his services," Seaman said. "If I was any one of these guys who doesn’t have a coach right now, I think I would hired Dave Cottle yesterday."

 

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Navy, Towson
        

May 28, 2010

Salisbury, Tufts comfortable with unsettled situations

The NCAA Division III Tournament pits two teams that thrive under chaotic circumstances.

There are no official statistics on goals scored during transition or unsettled situations, but Tufts, the No. 2 seed from the North region, has outscored its opponents by 91 goals this season and boasts seven players with at least 11 goals each.

Salisbury, the No. 1 seed from the South region, has outscored its opponents by a mind-boggling 189 goals and features seven players with at least 10 goals each.

Jumbos coach Mike Daly said his players look forward to taking advantage of unsettled situations.

"Certainly something that our guys are great about embracing and working with me on is we’re about to put 18- to 22-year-old young men on the field and with 20 of them on at the same time, a lot of crazy stuff happens," he said. "So we embrace that chaos a little bit and our guys are great about not worrying about the last play but worrying about the next play. We like – as Salisbury does – to create as much of those 18- to 22-year-old chaos and mistakes, and when it goes great, it’s one of the most beautiful things to watch. So we want to harness that energy and turn into what we’ve been able to turn it into 19 times this year."

Salisbury, however, might be one team well-prepared for Tufts’ transition game, according to coach Jim Berkman.

"Well, I don’t think it’s anything different from what we do every day in practice," he said. That’s the way we play. We’re running up and down and we’re making good decisions, and our drills reflect that in practice. We’ve never had a problem with playing fast."

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

Final Four in Baltimore welcome sight for two Notre Dame players

Notre Dame’s first appearance in the NCAA Tournament semifinals since 2001 has coincided with the Final Four’s return to Baltimore for the first time since 2007.

Having both the semifinals and final at M&T Bank Stadium is especially appealing to senior midfielder Grant Krebs, an Annapolis native and St. Mary’s graduate who fondly recalled his earlier days as a spectator at the NCAA Tournament.

"It’s incredible," he said. "I grew up going to the Final Fours my whole life, rushing from Little League games down to Byrd Stadium, which was where it was held when I was younger. I went to just about every Final Four, and to have the opportunity to play in one is incredible."

A little later, Krebs said, "If I were to make one Final Four, it would be the one in [M&T Bank] Stadium. I have tons of family and friends coming to the game. As soon as the Maryland game was over, I got back to the locker room, and I had 45 texts. My battery died. Old coaches, parents, my friends, people from school, they just said congratulations, and it’s a great feeling to have the opportunity to play in front of my family and friends."

Junior defenseman Kevin Ridgway hails from Kensington in Montgomery County and played at Georgetown Prep, and he feels the same as Krebs.

"It’s going to be a blast," he said. "I’m going to have a bunch of family and friends coming up. It’s always cool to go back to your home state and playing in the Final Four is something that we’ve dreamed about and playing in Maryland is particularly special just because it’s so close to home. We’re getting a lot of support from family and friends."

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

May 27, 2010

Coaching Moves

Tony Seaman has received an extension from Towson University to continue coaching the mens lacrosse team. The exact years of the new contracts have to be worked out, but it will be a muli-year deal.

 As for the vacant head coaching job at Penn State, the Lions might draw interest from Brown's Lars Tiffany, Drexel's Brian Voelker and Cornell assistant coach Ben DeLuca. No word yet on if the Nittany Lions have interest in former Terps coach Dave Cottle, but they should. 

Posted by Mike Preston at 3:41 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Towson
        

Johns Hopkins' Kimmel named first-team All American

Johns Hopkins senior midfielder Michael Kimmel earned a spot on the All-American first team, the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association announced Thursday.

The Towson native and Loyola graduate ranked second among the Blue Jays in both assists (16) and points (39). Kimmel joined Paul Rabil and Del Dressel as the only midfielders in school history to record at least 30 points in each of his four seasons.

Syracuse led all programs with three players on the first team. They are junior long-stick midfielder and Tewaaraton Award finalist Joel White, junior defenseman John Lade and junior goalkeeper John Galloway.

Virginia and North Carolina each placed two players on the first team. Senior defenseman and Tewaaraton Award finalist Ken Clausen and junior midfielder Shamel Bratton represented the Cavaliers, while junior attackman Billy Bitter and junior defenseman Ryan Flanagan stood in for the Tar Heels.

Two other Tewaaraton finalists in Duke fifth-year senior attackman Ned Crotty and Stony Brook junior midfielder Kevin Crowley made the first team. Cornell sophomore attackman Rob Pannell was the final member of the first team.

Players from area schools who made the second and third teams and honorable mentions are listed below:

Second team: Redshirt junior long-stick midfielder Brian Farrell (Maryland).

Third team: Junior attackman Grant Catalino (Maryland), junior defenseman Brett Schmidt (Maryland).

Honorable mention: Senior attackman Steven Boyle (Johns Hopkins), junior goalkeeper T.C. DiBartolo (Mount St. Mary's), senior defenseman Steve Layne (Loyola), senior attackman Cooper MacDonnell (Loyola), senior midfielder Patrick Moran (Navy), fifth-year senior midfielder Christian Pastirik (Towson), senior goalkeeper Brian Phipps (Maryland), junior face-off specialist John Schiavone (Loyola), junior defenseman Max Schmidt (Maryland), sophomore goalkeeper R.J. Wickham (Navy), senior midfielder Kyle Wimer (UMBC).

Players with high school connections to the Baltimore metropolitan area and who made the list include:

Second team: Senior midfielder Brian Carroll (Virginia/Gilman), sophomore goalkeeper Tyler Fiorito (Princeton/McDonogh), sophomore attackman Steele Stanwick (Virginia/Loyola).

Honorable mention: Senior midfielder Grant Krebs (Notre Dame/St. Mary's), sophomore defenseman Charlie McComas (North Carolina/Boys' Latin).

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:30 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Mount St. Mary's, Navy, Towson, UMBC
        

Stevenson's Kazimer claims national award again

For the second consecutive year, Stevenson senior Steve Kazimer was named Division III’s Attackman of the Year.

The two-time first-team All American set a school record with 95 points this season and concluded his career with 247 points and 131 assists.

Kazimer ranked 12th in the country in points per game (4.57) and 11th in assists per game (2.38).

With Kazimer, the Mustangs finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll and advanced to the national semifinals for the second year in a row.

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

Notre Dame goalie occupies Cornell

Cornell ranks 15th in Division I in scoring this season, averaging 11.2 goals per game.

Whether the No. 7 seed Big Red can continue that run against Notre Dame and senior goalkeeper Scott Rodgers in a NCAA Tournament semifinal on Saturday at 4 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore is another matter.

At 6-foot-4 and 254 pounds, Rodgers is an intimidating presence in the cage. IN the Fighting Irish’s 7-5 upset of No. 3 seed Maryland in the quarterfinals on Saturday, it appeared at times that the Terps hesitated to take shots out of fear that Rodgers would stop them. Maryland landed just 13 of 33 shots on net.

Cornell coach Jeff Tambroni said one of his priorities this week has been to encourage his offensive players to test Rodgers.

"It’s an extremely fine line," Tambroni said. "You have to be confident. We try to eliminate the fear of failure with our guys, especially when it comes to shooting. … We’ve played [Princeton sophomore Tyler] Fiorito, [junior Matt] Chriss from Brown, Fiorito again, [junior Jake] Hagelin from Loyola and [junior Tom] Palesky from Army and now Rodgers from Notre Dame. You’re talking about probably five of the premier goalies in the country. You don’t want them coming off the field after the goalie makes a save not feeling like they’re not going to be able to score the next one. So we’ve really tried hard to provide some tendencies, but not cross that line to get our guys thinking too much about where they need to place the ball. I think when a guy gets the ball in the proper shooting area and he feels like he’s got an opportunity to take advantage of that shooting space, we want our guys to think nothing about where he needs to put it, but to just kind of shoot based on his preparation throughout the week."

Other notes:

*The Big Red’s return to the Final Four has surprised even the players and coaches, who knew they had the arduous of replacing 16 seniors, including six starters in midfielders Max Seibald, John Glynn and Rocco Romero, attackman Chris Finn, defenseman Matt Moyer and goalkeeper Jake Myers. The pressure was even more palpable for the offense where attackmen Ryan Hurley and Rob Pannell were the only returners with considerable starting experience. "Going into last year’s games and going into a big game like this, you knew that you had Ryan Hurley above you and Max Seibald and John Glynn and Rocco Romero and Chris Finn and guys like that who have been there before and you can count on," Pannell, a sophomore, recalled. "I could kind of just do my thing and go about my business. I knew that if I didn’t necessarily play my best, I had other guys to step up and who were capable of generating offense. This year, it’s been a lot different as far as I’m one of those guys now – along with Ryan – as a veteran on the offensive end. So I guess there’s been a little more pressure going into each game, but I think we’ve been able to handle it throughout the season and we’re becoming more used to handling it and peaking right now as a team and as an offense."

*Pannell leads the country in points per game (4.59) and ranks second in assists per game (2.88). His two-goal, two-assist performance in a 14-5 rout of Army in the quarterfinals convinced Black Knights coach Joe Alberici of Pannell’s talent. "I think Rob Pannell is the best attackman in the country, and it starts there," Alberici said. "When you start game-planning for them, you’ve got to start with him. He’s got a unique ability of making everybody else better, but he doesn’t turn the ball over. He rarely does. So now what you’re relying on is goalie saves, and then you start entering the second part of the equation with them, which is they’re not going to shoot the ball from very far. They’re going to have good, quality opportunities. … The saves your goalie has to make tend to be a little bit tougher because they’re coming off of feeds and passes from behind the goal. So you’re turning them. In the past, we’ve been better with him than what we showed today."

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

Notre Dame not worried about serving as an example

This year’s Notre Dame team is just the second squad outside of the Eastern time zone seaboard to advance to the Final Four.

The first one to do that? The Fighting Irish in 2001. The school’s appearance would seem to validate the expansion of the sport.

But when coach Kevin Corrigan was asked about his team being a non-Eastern program to make the national semifinals, he had a humorous answer.

"I guess I’ll feel like we’ve really gotten to the point of people accepting the growth of the game when I no longer get this question," he said with a laugh. "I feel like we’ve been around for a while now, and I feel like the game has expanded incredibly in the 22 years I’ve been out here. I don’t think anybody anticipated what was going to happen over this past 20 years. And so I feel like I’ve been very lucky to be where I am and kind of have a great bird’s-eye view of what’s going on around the country. It’s fantastic for the sport, and we’re excited to be a part of it. But I don’t think it’s at this point a very new phenomenon to say that in college lacrosse, you’ve got people outside of the traditional powers. I think everybody has seen this for a decade or more."

That seems to be a sentiment shared by the players as they spent the week preparing to tangle with No. 7 seed Cornell on Saturday at 4 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Senior midfielder Grant Krebs said Notre Dame has just as much of a chance at capturing the NCAA crown as the other Final Four participants.

"Obviously, we’re not Virginia, Syracuse or Hopkins, but we have the talent," the Annapolis native and St. Mary’s graduate said. "It’s a dream come true and it’s something that maybe a month ago, we didn’t even think we were going to get into the tournament. But we’re given the opportunity to play, and we just really elevated our game and began playing like we should have been playing all year."

Other notes:

*Corrigan had another pretty funny reply when he was asked what the team learned from enduring a 7-6 record in the regular season. "I don’t think there’s anything you can learn from a loss that you can’t learn from a win," he said. "My opinion of it is, you’re supposed to learn from everything. Every day, you’re supposed to learn – whether that’s in practice or in a game or anything else. So the losses will benefit us because they were another day of competing and another chance to find out more about ourselves. But do I look at it like some great advantage that we have six losses right now? Not particularly."

*On Saturday, Corrigan will come face-to-face with one of his biggest regrets. You see, Ryan Hurley, a native of Eagan, Minn., attended lacrosse camps at Notre Dame and could have been a member of the Fighting Irish. But Corrigan said the coaching staff didn’t pursue aggressively, and Hurley committed to Cornell, where he became only the second player in school history to score 40 goals in three consecutive seasons. "I still kick myself because he’s a kid from Minnesota that we had at our camp here when he was young," Corrigan said. "I’m a big fan of his and the way he’s played and the way he puts himself in position to score goals. They’re unafraid to find him in pretty much any situation." Asked if he had recruited Hurley, Corrigan said, "Yes, but probably not as hard as we should have or as early as we should have."

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

Salisbury's Bradman tutored by predecessor

Thursday’s edition of The Sun included a feature on sophomore midfielder Sam Bradman, who has been one of the key ingredients in Salisbury returning to the NCAA Division III Tournament final for the 12th time in 20 years.

Bradman appears to be following in the footsteps of former Sea Gull Kylor Berkman, who became the first player in Division III history to be named the National Midfielder of the Year three times and in three consecutive years.

Bradman fondly recalled his days playing alongside Berkman.

"As a freshman, he just led me along the way and taught me how to be a college lacrosse player," Bradman said. "He taught me the Salisbury way of lacrosse on offense and just embedded it in my head. He told me I’d have to take over his spot next year. He just pointed me in the right direction."

When Berkman graduated last May, the torch was passed to Bradman, who has responded by leading the team in both goals (58) and points (85) this season.

Bradman said he anticipated the high expectations placed upon him.

"I knew I had some big shoes to fill in the beginning, but I came in and felt sort of relaxed," he said. "I think this team is more team-oriented, and we play a lot better together. But I did surprise myself a little."

Coach Jim Berkman, Kylor’s father, said he has tried to be patient with Bradman, who seemed content to play a backup role to his more veteran teammates last season.

"Kylor went through the same thing when he was a freshman," Berkman said. "He was one of our best players, but he didn’t shoot enough, didn’t go to the goal enough. It was that you’re kind of in the mix, and you’ve got a couple upperclassmen that are good, and you don’t want to rock the boat and you’re trying to fit in. I told Sam before the season that he’s got to step it up. It was more of a mental thing more than anything. It was, ‘Hey, you’re our guy now. You’ve got the green light. I’m going to be yelling at you when you don’t shoot and when you don’t go to the goal. You’re out there to make things happen and make plays.’ He’s that kind of guy like Kylor was for three years, and he’s definitely done that so far. And when he does that, he makes everyone around him better. He gives everyone a step, and teams are sliding to him and poling him. And when he’s getting poled, that gives everybody else a little more time and room. So he’s playing the way I thought he was capable of playing."

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

May 26, 2010

Bradman continues Salisbury's streak of midfield awards

Sam Bradman became the sixth midfielder in Salisbury's history to claim National Midfielder of the Year honors, a distinction announced by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Wednesday.

The sophomore joins Dan Mergot (1995), Chris Turner (1999, 2000), Andy Murray (2003, 2004), Justin Smith (2005) and Kylor Berkman (2007, 2008, 2009) as Sea Gulls to have captured the award.

Bradman leads Salisbury, the No. 1 seed in the South region of the NCAA Division III Tournament which will meet Tufts on Sunday in the national title game, in both goals (58) and points (85). He has also collected 42 groundballs and caused 24 turnovers this season.

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

Johns Hopkins content to "move forward" despite pair of transfers

Since Inside Lacrosse reported Monday the decision by attackmen Tom and Matt Palasek to transfer from Johns Hopkins, there’s been a sufficient amount of hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing by Blue Jays fans.

True, the loss of Tom Palasek hurts. The sophomore set career highs in goals (13), assists (7) and points (20), ranking fourth on the team in each of those three categories. Palasek was expected to start on an attack unit composed of redshirt senior Chris Boland (torn anterior cruciate ligament in right knee) and senior Kyle Wharton (24, 9). Matt Palasek, a freshman, played sparingly in five contests.

Now freshman Zach Palmer (10, 5) figures to move into what would have been Palasek’s spot. For his part, coach Dave Pietramala wasn’t climbing down from a ledge at the moves.

"You graduate players, you get players hurt every year, and that’s why you recruit," Pietramala said. "Tommy had a good year, and he was a contributor. Chris Boland comes back, Kyle Wharton returns, we’ve got a group of young, talented freshmen coming in, Zach Palmer moves back to his natural position where earlier in the year he was averaging a goal or two per game. How do we handle it? Simply. We move on. Next guy up. Thankfully, Zach Palmer, who is a pretty talented kid who we feel like is ready to play attack now, can go back there. In the Syracuse game, he had a goal and an assist as an attackman. So we’ll make that natural adjustment, and we’ll move forward."

As he told Inside Lacrosse, Pietramala described his meeting with the Palasek brothers as amicable, and he said he did not oppose their decision.

"If the young men are looking for something different, then we want them to be happy," he said. "It’s a mutual decision that they go, and we’ll do everything we can to help them. And you’re seeing this more and more in lacrosse. So it’s not like it’s uncommon. We’ve gotten calls from several other kids that are interested in transferring. So it’s going on, it’s a part of the process now. As a coach, you’re never happy to lose guys, but you lose some and you gain some."

Pietramala would not say whether one of those phone calls came from sophomore attackman Matt Mackrides, who has reportedly requested a release from his commitment to Penn State. Mackrides led the Nittany Lions in both goals (36) and points (44) this past spring.

"I couldn’t confirm or deny anything," Pietramala said. "That’s not my place to do that. That young man is obviously going through a process, and it would be very inappropriate for me to even comment on him."

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

2010 class for National Lacrosse Hall of Fame announced

Straight from the press release:

BALTIMORE – The induction class for 2010 for the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame has been approved by the US Lacrosse Board of Directors. This year’s class will be inducted in a ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 30 at The Grand Lodge in Hunt Valley, Md.

The 2010 induction class includes Scott Bacigalupo, Michael Burnett, Harry McNamara "Mac" Ford, Eleanor Keady Gaffney, Francesca Den Hartog, Jack Kaley, Bonnie Rosen and Mary McCarthy Stefano.

A program of US Lacrosse, the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame was established in 1957 to honor men and women, past and present, who by their deeds as players, coaches, officials and/or contributors, and by the example of their lives, personify the great contribution of lacrosse to our way of life. More than 350 lacrosse greats are honored in the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, which is located with the Lacrosse Museum at US Lacrosse Headquarters in Baltimore.

Bios for this year’s inductees follow:

Scott Bacigalupo
Scott Bacigalupo (Princeton ’94) will be inducted as a truly great player. He was a high school All-American and All-Star at St. Paul’s (MD) in 1990. At Princeton, Bacigalupo was a three-time first team All-American (1992, 1993, 1994) and second team All-American (1991) goalie, a four-time All-Ivy league member, and the recipient of the C. Markland Kelly Award for the Division I Goalie of the Year (1992, 1993, 1994) and the Raymond Enners Award for the Division I Player of the Year (1994). He captured two Ivy League Championships (1992, 1993), two NCAA Division I Championships (1992, 1994) and was twice named the NCAA Division I Tournament Final Four MVP (1992, 1994). Bacigalupo tops Princeton’s leader board as the all-time saves leader. Bacigalupo participated in the North/South All-Star Game in 1994. He was named to the NCAA Silver Anniversary Team (1995) and the Lacrosse Magazine All-Century Team in 2000. In 2010, Bacigalupo was inducted into the US Lacrosse Greater Baltimore Chapter Hall of Fame.

Michael Burnett
Michael Burnett (North Carolina ’83) will be inducted as a truly great player. Burnett was a three-time high school All-American and high school All-Star at St. Mary’s (MD). During his All-American campaign at North Carolina, Burnett was named ACC Player of the Year (1981) and was a three-time All-ACC team member. He is UNC’s third all-time leading scorer and remains second among UNC’s all-time assist leaders. Burnett helped his team capture two NCAA Division I National Championships (1981, 1982) and two ACC Championships (1981, 1982). As one of the Top-50 All-Time ACC Players, Burnett was voted into the US Lacrosse Chesapeake Chapter Hall of Fame in 2009.

Harry McNamara "Mac" Ford
Harry McNamara "Mac" Ford (North Carolina ’85) will be inducted as a truly great player. Ford was a four-year attackman for Gilman School (MD) where he received All-American (1981), All-MSA (1981), and All-Metro (1980, 1981) accolades. Ford helped lead his school to capture the MSA Championship in 1981. At North Carolina, Ford was an All-American first (1985) and second (1984) team member as well as All-ACC in 1984 and 1985. He received the ACC Player of the Year award (1985) and captured an NCAA Division I National Championship in 1982. Ford was also the MVP of the 1985 North/South All-Star Game. Ford was a member of the professional team, Baltimore Thunder (1987). A member of the U.S. Men’s National Team in 1990, Ford was voted Best Attackman and to the All-World Team. In 2006, Ford was inducted into the US Lacrosse Greater Baltimore Chapter Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

Eleanor Keady Gaffney
Eleanor Keady Gaffney (Boston Women’s Lacrosse Association/U.S. Women’s National Team) will be inducted as a truly great player. From 1953 to 1962 Gaffney was a member of the Boston Women’s Lacrosse Association and a member of the All-Boston first team (1954, 1962). Gaffney was a part of the U.S. Women’s National Team, First Team (1956, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1961); Reserve Team (1954, 1962); and the U.S. Touring Team in 1957. Gaffney was inducted into the US Lacrosse New England Chapter Lacrosse Hall of Fame (2002), the Boston University Athletic Hall of Fame (1981) and the Women’s Hall of Fame – Northeast New Agenda (2003).

Francesca Den Hartog
Francesca Den Hartog (Harvard ’83) will be inducted as a truly great player. Serving as team captain, Hartog was a four-year member of Weston High School’s (MA) lacrosse team. At Harvard, she was voted co-captain in 1983 and received All-American (1982, 1983) and All-Ivy team (1980, 1981, 1982, 1983) honors. In 1981 and 1983, Hartog was voted the Ivy League Player of the Year and voted to the Ivy League Silver Anniversary Women’s Lacrosse Team (1999). She played for the U.S. Women’s National Team, First Team (1982, 1988, 1989); Reserve Team (1983, 1984, 1985, 1987); U.S. World Cup Team (1982, 1986, 1989); and the U.S. Touring Team (1984, 1987). As a club player, Hartog was a 14-year participant (New England I, Philadelphia I, Hampshire Club) and received the Beth Allen Award in 1998. Also in 1998, Hartog was inducted into the Harvard Varsity Club Hall of Fame and in 2000, into the US Lacrosse New England Chapter Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

Jack Kaley
Jack Kaley will be inducted as a truly great coach. Beginning his coaching career in 1964, Kaley was the head coach for Lynbrook High School. From 1968 to 1985, he was the East Meadow High School head coach boasting a 227-90 record while winning four Nassau County Championships as well as three Long Island Championships. He has a cumulative high school career coaching record of 245-124 and in 1985, was named Nassau County’s Coach of the Year. Kaley coached the NY Lacrosse Club (1971), the Long Island Lacrosse Club (1972-1975) and the North Hempstead Lacrosse Club (1990-1991). He served as the assistant coach at St. John’s University from 1986 to 1992. In 1993, Kaley was hired as the head coach to start a team for New York Tech (1993-2009) holding a cumulative record of 175-31. His 84.9 winning percentage is the highest of all Division I and II coaches. He has won four NCAA Division II National Championships (1997, 2003, 2005, 2008). He is an ECC Champion and a four-time NYCAC Champion. Kaley was named the NYCAC Coach of the Year (2006, 2008), the FieldTurf Division II Coach of the Year (2006, 2008), the ECC Coach of the Year (2007) and the Nassau College Coach of the Year (2006). Internationally, Kaley was the head coach for Team Germany (2002, 2004, 2006, 2008). He was the U.S. Men’s National Team’s assistant coach (1974). Kaley was inducted into the US Lacrosse Long Island Metro Chapter Hall of Fame in 1987.

Bonnie Rosen
Bonnie Rosen (University of Virginia ’92) will be inducted as truly a great player. At Harrinton (PA), Rosen, a four-year player, was a four-time All-DelVal and All-Main Line team member, an All-American honorable mention (1987) and All-American (1988). As an All-American for Virginia, Rosen won the Women’s Lacrosse Team Award (1991, 1992) and was voted team captain and the MVP (1992). Rosen received honorable mention on the All-South Regional team and played in the North/South All-Star Game (1992). She is a member of the ACC’s 50th Anniversary Women’s Lacrosse Team (2002). Rosen was a 13-year club player, winning the USWLA Tournament Championship with Philadelphia (1994) and New England (1998, 1999). Internationally, Rosen was a member of the U.S. Women’s National First Team (1992), their Elite Team 1993 to 2005, Touring Out Team (1996, 2000) and the Touring In Team (1999, 2004). Rosen won gold at the 1997 and 2001 World Cup games. She was awarded the Beth Allen Award (1999) and inducted into the US Lacrosse Connecticut Chapter Lacrosse Hall of Fame (2010), the US Lacrosse Philadelphia/Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter Lacrosse Hall of Fame (2008), the Harriton High School Hall of Fame (2000) and the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame (2002).


Mary McCarthy Stefano
Mary McCarthy Stefano (Penn State ’87) will be inducted as a truly great player. At Moorestown High School (NJ), she was a member of the All-South Jersey Team and part of the New Jersey state championship team in 1983. At Penn State, Stefano was team captain (1987) and selected to the All-American first team (1985, 1986, 1987). Stefano went on to play for the Philadelphia Club Lacrosse team for 10 years and later was the recipient of the Beth Allen Award (1994). On the international level, Stefano was a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team, First Team (1988, 1989, 1990, 1991), Reserve Team (1986, 1987, 1992), the U.S. World Cup Team (1989, 1993) and the U.S. Touring Team (1987, 1992). Stefano was inducted into the US Lacrosse New Jersey Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1997.

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:30 PM | | Comments (3)
        

Local players in Division III All-Star Game, too

The United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association announced the rosters for the Division III North-South All-Star Game on Friday at 3 p.m. at Goucher.

Stevenson and St. Mary’s each put two players on the South team. The Mustangs players are attackman Steve Kazimer and goalkeeper Geoff Hebert, while the Seahawks players are midfielder Ryan Alexander and defenseman Ryder Henry.

The South team will also include three players with high school ties to the Baltimore metropolitan area. They are Roanoke long-stick midfielder and Mount St. Joseph graduate Steve Simmons, Cabrini attackman and Dulaney graduate Rich Romanelli and Washington and Lee attackman and Gilman graduate Will Keigler.

Nazareth long-stick midfielder and Catonsville graduate Kyle Brown will play for the North team.

The South team will be coached by Goucher coach Kyle Hannan.

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

Is Mike Pressler a Terps candidate?

If I were Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow, I would seriously consider Bryant coach Mike Pressler. He was a proven winner in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and definitely sound and technical as far as the X's and O's. The stain on his record while at Duke, which was not deserved, has faded and he knows the ACC where he was a three-time Coach Of the Year. The only problem with Pressler might be his contract. Despite finishing his fourth season at Braynt, he received an extension, which might force him to stay at the Smithfield, R.I., school. 
Posted by Mike Preston at 11:21 AM | | Comments (5)
        

Local players dot All-Star game

The United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association announced the rosters for the Division I/II North-South All-Star Game on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Goucher.

UMBC led the state programs with three players on the South team. They are midfielders Kyle Wimer and Maxx Davis and long-stick midfielder Mike Camardo.

Maryland is represented by goalkeeper Brian Phipps and midfielder Adam Sear. Attackmen Collin Finnerty and Cooper MacDonnell were chosen from Loyola, while defensemen Matt Nealis and Russell Moncure were selected for Mount St. Mary’s. Towson midfielder Will Harrington will also play for the South.

The team will also include three players with high school ties to the Baltimore metropolitan area. They are North Carolina midfielder and St. Paul’s graduate Cryder DiPietro, Limestone midfielder and Annapolis graduate Mike Poerstel and Mercyhurst defenseman and Calvert Hall graduate Chris Eline.

The South team will be coached by Mount St. Mary's coach Tom Gravante.

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola, Maryland, Mount St. Mary's, Towson, UMBC
        

Pre-Final Four note from Duke

Duke coach John Danowski was a few minutes late to a scheduled teleconference call on Tuesday, so this entry will be a little shorter than I had planned.

Perhaps the most interesting development involves the fluid situation in the net.

Freshman Dan Wigrizer started 14 games for the Blue Devils, but senior Mike Rock has started the last three. But in the No. 5 seed Duke’s 17-9 thrashing of No. 4 seed North Carolina in a NCAA Tournament quarterfinal on Saturday, Rock allowed five goals, made just one save, and was pulled before halftime. Wigrizer was slightly better as he surrendered three goals and made three saves.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Danowski played coy when asked about which goalie would start against top-seeded Virginia in a national semifinal on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

"Who knows?" he said. "We’re looking forward to a great week of practice. We got a jump on things, and we were able to get in a little workout on Sunday night. We had a good one ysterday, and we’ll see how the week goes, and may the best man win."

A little later, Danowski added, "This is a team sport, and whatever it takes to get it done, we’ll do anything that we need to do for the team."

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

Pre-Final Four notes from Virginia

Virginia’s third consecutive berth in the Final Four has somewhat masked the program’s disappointing finishes in the NCAA Tournament in the previous two seasons.

In 2008, the second-seeded Cavaliers dropped a 12-11 overtime thriller to No. 3 seed Syracuse, which beat No. 5 seed Johns Hopkins for the championship. In 2009, Virginia, the tournament’s top seed, was pasted, 15-6, by No. 5 seed Cornell, which lost, 10-9, in overtime to Syracuse.

Add the Cavaliers’ first-round upset loss to unseeded Delaware in 2007, and you can understand the sense of urgency welling up within the program.

"I think everybody understands what’s at stake here and wants to put their best foot forward," said coach Dom Starsia, who has guided the program to NCAA crowns in 1999, 2003 and 2006. "I’ve got some older guys that have been around the block. You can’t replace what those seniors bring to the table here in terms of having been there and having not finished off the weekend as we might have liked. Their attentiveness to the preparation and all, those are invaluable resources that can only be attained by having gone through it. So you look to those guys to help out, and I think I’ve got a group of guys who are certainly willing to do that."

Other notes:

*The second national semifinal on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore will pit top-seeded Virginia and No. 5 seed Duke for the third time this season. That may not necessarily be a positive development as the Cavaliers’ only loss in 17 games this spring occurred at the hands of the Blue Devils to the tune of a 13-9 decision on April 17. Until Virginia’s 16-12 victory in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament six days later, Duke had won the previous eight meetings. "In a situation like this with Duke, we are almost as familiar with them as we would be with our own team," Starsia said. "We’ve already got a lot of stuff banked that we can work on."

*Because the Blue Devils routed No. 4 seed North Carolina, 17-9, on Saturday and Virginia nipped No. 8 seed Stony Brook, 10-9, on Sunday, the Cavaliers have one fewer day to prepare. "It’s a fast week," Starsia conceded. "For us as a staff, it’s a no-sleep time period. But even for the players, it’s a quick turnaround getting yourself organized and things like that. … We gathered [Monday] night, and we talked about Stony Brook and then we talked about Duke a little bit. It’s not the kind of week where you’re going to do a lot of heavy lifting, but if there’s going to be any of that, it’s probably going to get done [Tuesday]. So we’ll have the kids over here for a little bit longer period of time. I don’t think we need to create a lot of things for them to do just in terms of getting organized, getting their laundry done. We’ll be getting out of here pretty early on Thursday, so we don’t have a lot of time to do that. So I think that the time will go really quickly. You’d almost like it to slow down so that you could enjoy the fact that you are headed to the semfinals of the national championship, but Thursday will be here in no time and we’ll find ourselves on the road on the way to Baltimore."

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

May 25, 2010

Stevenson, Salisbury top All-American list

The United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association released its All-American list for the 2010 season, and three players from Stevenson and Salisbury made the first team.

Senior attackman Steve Kazimer and junior attackman Jimmy Dailey represented the Mustangs. Kazimer led the team in assists (49) and points (95) and ranked second in goals (46). Kazimer ranked 12th in the nation in points per game (4.57) and 11 in assists per game (2.38). Dailey was second among Stevenson players in assists (37) and third in goals (44) and points (81).

The Sea Gulls, who will meet Tufts on Sunday for the national championship, were represented on the first team by sophomore midfielder Sam Bradman, who led the team in goals (58) and points (85).

Salisbury placed four players on the second team. They are senior midfielder Mike Von Kamecke, senior long-stick midfielder Connor Burgasser, junior defenseman Collin Tokosch and junior goalkeeper Johnny Rodriguez.

Stevenson put three players on the second team, including junior attackman Richie Ford, junior defenseman Evan Douglass and junior face-off specialist Ray Witte.

Mustangs junior midfielder Kyle Moffitt made the All-American third team.

The list of honorable mentions includes: a Salisbury trio of sophomore attackman Matt Cannone, senior attackman Jake DeLillo, senior face-off specialist Ryan Finch; a Goucher pair of sophomore midfielder Matt Lynch and junior defenseman Justin Dunn; a Stevenson duo of senior defenseman Mike Gustowarow and senior goalkeeper Geoff Hebert; McDaniel sophomore attackman D.J. Rickels; and St. Mary's senior long-stick midfielder Ryder Henry.

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:35 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Goucher, McDaniel, Salisbury, St. Mary's, Stevenson
        

Salisbury back where it belongs

Salisbury has returned to familiarity.

The South region’s top-seeded Sea Gulls’ 14-13 victory over No. 2 seed Stevenson in a NCAA Tournament semifinal on Sunday marked the 10th time in 12 years that the team has earned a spot in the national championship game.

Cementing a spot in the tournament final against Tufts on Sunday at 12 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium has required a long journey after Salisbury fell to Stevenson in the quarterfinals last May.

"It’s always a goal at Salisbury," coach Jim Berkman said of returning to the championship game for a program that has captured eight NCAA titles. "There’s such a tradition here. This is the 12th time in 22 years that we’ve been there, and to most kids here, the bar has been set by the alumni. If you don’t get there, it’s not a good season. So obviously, that motivated our guys, especially our eight seniors. They kind of used that as fuel to pump them up and do all the right things through the course of the year to hopefully prepare themselves for the opportunity that’s now presented itself."

The path to this stage of the season has been arduous. The Sea Gulls have beaten six opponents ranked in the top 20 of the most recent United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association, including No. 1 Stevenson twice, No. 3 Cortland, No. 4 Gettysburg, No. 9 Lynchburg, No. 11 Haverford and No. 20 Ohio Wesleyan.

Salisbury has been extended to overtime three times and won those contests against Gettysburg (11-10), Haverford (12-11) and Stevenson (14-13). The team has won four consecutive games in overtime and six of its last seven contests involving extra time.

Berkman said he can appreciate the tough schedule and close calls.

"I really believe that Tufts is a great team, but I’ve got to believe that they’re going to be as good as four or five other teams that we’ve already played," he said. "Obviously, with a one-goal game against Cortland, they’re at Cortland’s level, but with Gettysburg and Stevenson three times, we’ve played six or seven games against the top four teams in the country. So it’s not like we’re going to go out there and cover Shamel Bratton of Virginia for the first time and not be used to his speed. We’ve seen good players, we’ve seen good teams with good depth, we’ve seen good goalies. So we’ve got to do what we do on Sunday."

The eight seniors who populate the Sea Gulls roster have tasted championship weekend before, winning crowns in 2007 and 2008. That experience is invaluable, according to Berkman.

"That’s good for them to have that experience," he said. "I think the biggest advantage we might have is not with the kids, but as a coaching staff, we know the routine. And it’s a different routine. You’ve got a lot of things to go to, and there are certain things that you want to do and certain things you don’t want to do. You’ve got to make sure you’re in the right places. There are a lot of little nuances that hopefully helps you prepare your team to the best of their ability, and we’ve kind of been through that a couple times. Where to go, what to do, when to do it, those type of things that maybe make it a little bit less of a mental strain for the players so that they can rest appropriately and focus on the game."

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Salisbury
        

Q&A with ESPN's Quint Kessenich

ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins All-American goalkeeper Quint Kessenich will provide commentary for the NCAA Division I Tournament semifinals and final at M&T Bank Stadium this weekend. Kessenich offered his thoughts on Notre Dame’s first trip to the Final Four since 2001, the Virginia-Duke semifinal and the head coaching vacancy at Maryland.

Question: Can getting to the Final Four reap benefits in the long run for a team like Notre Dame? 

Quint Kessenich: "It’s been a steady upgrade for them in the past 15 years. This year, the big deal was that they were entering the Big East conference and they had a new lacrosse-only stadium with state-of-the-art locker rooms. It’s a tough academic school, and the travel is difficult. [Coach] Kevin Corrigan continues to do a great job of finding kids. It’s a huge win. It’s not a program-making win. They’ve been a well-established top 10 program for the last five years. And keep in mind last year, they were 15-0, and they hosted the first round. That was pretty upsetting last year."

Q: So is it fair to say that Notre Dame enduring a 7-6 regular-season record this year was more beneficial than going undefeated last year?

QK: "Looking back on it in hindsight, they learned a lot about themselves because of those losses whereas last year, because they were 15-0, they were drinking the blue-and-gold Kool Aid. I think a humbling regular season where you had moments of greatness by beating Duke and Loyola and then moments of shaking your head because you just lost to Rutgers and you just lost to Fairfield and you just got shut out by Georgetown in the second half, the kids had to kind of swallow their pride and the coaching staff got them together and said, ‘If we don’t play well, we won’t win. And here’s what has to happen for us to play well.’ I think those losses gave that team a better sense of self and what has to happen to win. And they surrendered themselves for the good of the team. I think Notre Dame right now is very aware of who they are as a team, what their strengths and weaknesses are and how to play to those strengths and weaknesses."

Q: Was Army’s performance in a 14-5 loss to No. 7 seed Cornell a case of nerves?

QK: "I think there were a lot of things that conspired against them. I think talk of the Syracuse win lasted well into the week, Thursday, Friday. I think it was an unusual week in terms of the schedule with their graduation being on Saturday. Lots of stuff going on out of their routine. And I think the match-up was difficult for them. They struggled to cover [senior attackman] Ryan Hurley [who recorded four goals and one assist]. They fell behind and just didn’t have any punch from the midfield, and Cornell did a nice job against [junior attackman] Jeremy Boltus and [freshman attackman] Garrett Thul."

Q: How fortunate was top-seeded Virginia to escape No. 8 seed Stony Brook with a 10-9 win on Sunday?

QK: "When they took a 5-1 lead, I thought they had the potential to run away with it and end the game early. But face-offs, they just couldn’t get possessions, and so Stony Brook wore them down. That was a Virginia team that looked kind of tired late in the ballgame. They didn’t really have that many possessions in the second half, and their defense was really tested. [Junior goalkeeper] Adam Ghitelman was, I thought, their MVP. He made three really key stops that could have been momentum changers. I give Stony Brook credit because I didn’t think they could match up with the Brattons. [Junior midfielder] Shamel Bratton got off to a good start [with three goals], but after that, they [the Seawolves] really kind of found themselves on the defensive end and settled down. Had they shot the ball better in a couple instances, they could have pulled the upset off."

Q: With that in mind, how concerned should the Cavaliers be about meeting No. 5 seed Duke?

QK: "Very much concerned because that’s a game that could go either way. Both teams know each other very well. I think the best thing about the Virginia win was that they were tested. They had to make some late-game decisions. Keep in mind that during the regular season, they really only had two close games. So to play through some late-game strategy-type stuff was a positive for them. I think the players will benefit from the physical exertion because the Mount St. Mary’s game [in the first round] for them, for the starters, was a walk in the park, and this game on Sunday was taxing to them physically, which will really help them break through their fatigue this week and get ready for what should be a great semifinal game. I think they’ll really move forward off of that game."

Q: Some are already labeling the national semifinal between Virginia and No. 5 seed Duke as the championship final. How unfair is that to Cornell and Notre Dame?

QK: "I absolutely refuse to go there. The last time I checked, Notre Dame beat Duke during the regular season. We’ve seen what Cornell can do in the NCAA playoffs. Duke-Virginia is going to be more of a high-scoring, athletic contest. Notre Dame-Cornell will be a defensive struggle. On one day of rest, anything goes. I think it’s totally unfair. There’s a good chance that Virginia and Duke knock each other around a little. That’s what happened with Johns Hopkins when they won the title in 2007. They had the easier semifinal with Delaware, and that’s why they were able to beat Duke, who was taken to the limit by Cornell in the other semi. Hopkins jumped on them in the first half. So you really have to hold off on any championship predictions until the smoke is cleared on Saturday night."

Q: How surprised were you by Dave Cottle and Maryland parting ways?

QK: "I know Dave well, so I know that he and [Towson coach] Tony Seaman were in the same situation and working without a contract for next year. It seems ironic that Dave makes the playoffs and plays a game and Tony doesn’t, but it’s Tony who gets the extension and not Dave. So it’s just maybe a new era for college lacrosse where coaches at certain programs are being told to make it to championship weekend and bring home trophies or you’re not going to coach here. It’s a shame because if you put up his nine-year resume, other than a playoff here and there, it’s an extremely strong resume that he’s built over the last nine years in terms of games won in the toughest conference in America and playing a great schedule against Navy and Hopkins. I think [senior goalkeeper] Brian Phipps said it best in Patrick Stevens’ blog [d1scourse.typepad.com]. Dave has changed in the last two years for the better in terms of being a players’ coach, and I know that he really loved this group. He had a connection with this group that I hadn’t seen there before. So it is a shame that he can’t stay with this group."

Q: How deep is the pool of candidates to replace Cottle?

QK: "I have about 10 people that I would want to interview if I were [athletic director] Debbie Yow."

Q: Is there any coach who tops that list?

QK: "No, I’d like to talk to them first."

Q: Will this be an easy search for Maryland?

QK: "I think Maryland’s the fourth- or fifth-best coaching job in America. So I think they’ll be able to attract strong candidates."

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

May 24, 2010

Labels not an issue for Notre Dame

After back-to-back convincing victories in the NCAA Tournament, one might think that Notre Dame coach Kevin Corrigan is getting a little tired of hearing the word "upset" attached to his team’s wins.

For his part, Corrigan didn’t try to duck the Fighting Irish’s triumphs over No. 6 seed Princeton in the first round and No. 3 seed Maryland in the quarterfinals.

"Look, we were 7-6 in the regular season," Corrigan said via telephone Sunday morning. "It is what it is. Certainly, they were the favorites, and we understand that. As long as we hear win, I don’t care what the prefix is."

Saturday’s 7-5 decision against the Terps (12-4) cemented Notre Dame’s first trip to the Final Four since 2001 when that squad fell to Syracuse, 12-5. Corrigan said the coaches have not tried to use the program’s tradition as inspiration with this year’s team.

"We talked about this with our kids last week and we said, ‘We’ve been to the tournament 15 years, but that’s meaningless because some of those happened before a lot of you were born,’" Corrigan said. "While tradition is certainly important to a program and it’s meaningful to the kids to be part of a program like that, it’s this year and this team that you’re kind of focused on. It’s a thrill and I’m guessing that if it happened again within the next four years, it would be just as much of a thrill every time."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:00 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Postscript from Stony Brook vs. Virginia

Quietly, Adam Ghitelman has been putting together one of the best seasons of his career.

The junior goalkeeper was instrumental in top-seeded Virginia’s 10-9 victory over No. 8 seed Stony Brook in a NCAA Tournament quarterfinal at Stony Brook’s Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium.

Ghitelman has registered double-digit saves in 11 of the Cavaliers’ 17 contests. His 13-save performance against the Seawolves was his seventh in a row.

Ghitelman’s showing was reminiscent of his 16-save display in Virginia’s 10-6 victory over Maryland in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament final.

"I’ve built up a lot of experience in my career," he said. "I just try to stay calm out there and keep it 0-0 in my mind at all times. … It was a tough game, and I’m glad we were able to hold it down in the end."

Ghitelman will have to play just as well against No. 5 seed Duke in Saturday’s national semifinals if the Cavaliers hope to reach their first national title game since 2006. Coach Dom Starsia sounded confident that Ghitelman will continue his ways.

"Clearly, as we move forward in this season, you need your goalie to have big moments and I think Adam was one of the bright spots for us today," Starsia said. "There were times with Stony Brook, I’m sure they thought they had it, and Adam would get a big stop for us, and we’d get an opportunity going the other way."

Other notes:

*Stony Brook’s season ended with a 13-4 mark, setting a school record for number of wins in a season. The team also captured its first America East regular-season and tournament championships and advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time in the program’s history. But it was difficult for coach Rick Sowell to put that all in perspective after Sunday’s heart-breaking loss. "We all will have to re-live the game and certain periods of the game, and we’ll probably drive ourselves nuts with the would’ves, could’ves and should’ves," he said. "But I want to avoid that because for me, as I told the guys, the fun’s over. I’m more bummed out by that than the result of the game. The finality of it is there’s no practice tomorrow, there’s no weightlift, there’s no going to the training room. That’s the bummer for me. This team’s gone, and there will be a new team next season."

*But cupboard isn’t exactly bare with the Seawolves, who will return their entire starting attack and midfield units. The biggest losses will occur on the defensive side of the field where close defensemen Chris Gignilliat and Michael Sopko, goalkeeper Charlie Paar and long-stick midfielder Steve Waldeck will bid farewell. Still, Sowell said the bar has been set. "We don’t want it to be one-and-done," he said. "That’s not what we want. We’re not happy just to be here. We’re going to try to get back here as often as we can."

*One of the funniest comments from Sunday’s postgame conference came from junior midfielder Shamel Bratton, who returned to Long Island where he had played for nearby Huntington High School in Huntington Station, N.Y. Asked what he thought about returning to the area, Bratton said, "Actually, I was expecting a little more love from the crowd. There weren’t that many people rooting for me over the age of 12."

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

Postscript from Army vs. Cornell

Even though No. 7 seed Cornell enjoyed an 8-3 advantage at halftime over Army in a NCAA Tournament quarterfinal, the Big Red wasn’t exactly relaxed.

That’s because in the three previous contests, Cornell had surrendered significant leads, dropping the Ivy League Tournament championship to Princeton in overtime.

And when Black Knights senior midfielder Tyler Oates converted a pass from senior attackman Tyler Seymour to open the third quarter, there was a little rumbling among Army fans.

But the Big Red scored six unanswered goals en route to an eventual 14-5 victory. Senior attackman Ryan Hurley acknowledged getting queasy about trying to protect a large lead in the second half.

"We had some trouble with that in the past couple of games, and that’s something we had been working on all week," said Hurley, who recorded four goals and one assist. "To come out especially in the third quarter and score those goals early, we really felt good."

Army could not string together two consecutive goals, which coach Joe Alberici noted.

"When we got to 8-4, they made it 9-4," he said. "Any time that we were able to get one, they answered right back, and that’s a credit to them."

Other notes:

*Cornell’s starting defense is anchored by three freshmen in goalkeeper A.J. Fiore and close defensemen Jason Noble and Mike Bronzino. Fiore has posted an 8.46 goals-against average and a .552 save percentage in 16 starts, Noble ranks third on the team with 54 groundballs, and Bronzino limited Black Knights freshman attackman Garrett Thul to just one goal on Sunday. "These freshmen, how they play these games is just remarkable," coach Jeff Tambroni said. "I credit our seniors getting them through the right way, staying with them, showing trust. It’s a game-to-game thing. On this particular day, we were very fortunate that our freshmen played the way they did."

*Black Knights junior goalie Tom Palesky suffered a serious pulled groin injury after attempting to run upfield with the ball as time expired in the second quarter. Although Palesky got up and limped off under his own power and did not miss a minute of the second half, he was clearly hobbled in the second half, and his lateral movement was limited. Junior attackman Jeremy Boltus said he wasn’t surprised to see his teammate return for the second half. "He’s a very selfless player," Boltus said. "He’s going to give everything he has for all the other guys. It’s never about No. 1 with Tommy. We knew he was going to come back and just play a great game."

*2010 will be remembered as the year when Army captured the Patriot League regular-season and tournament championships and upended No. 2 seed and 11-time reigning champion Syracuse in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. But the Black Knights were outgunned by the Big Red, which was somewhat of a disappointment for the team that had become the crowd favorite among the announced attendance of 10,024 at Stony Brook’s Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. "We wanted to go out there today and have our best performance of the season and show people the Army team that we are, the group of men that we are," Alberici said. "We came up short today." Asked if he could sum up the season as a success, Boltus said, "A little bit down the road, but like I said, just very sad time for all of us. We had high expectations going into this. … Everyone on the team gave everything they had for how-many days we had practice. It was a long season, but it was enjoyable and those guys made it very enjoyable."

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

Former Maryland coach defined by numbers

It goes without saying that Maryland’s 7-5 loss to unseeded Notre Dame in a NCAA Tournament quarterfinal likely doomed coach Dave Cottle from getting a new contract from the school.

The university and the program’s backers have hungered for a national championship to return to College Park for the first time since 1975, and Cottle annually welcomed recruiting classes ranked among the top five in the country.

Just by the numbers, Cottle achieved considerable success since joining the Terps from Loyola prior to the 2002 season. The team went to eight consecutive NCAA Tournaments – the second-longest active streak behind Johns Hopkins’ streak of 39 – and three Final Fours.

Cottle compiled a 99-45 record with the school (280-115 overall), posted seven straight years of 10 wins or more, and helped Maryland capture two Atlantic Coast Conference titles.

The Terps, however, tended to stumble in May. In both 2003 and 2005, they were pasted by Virginia and Duke, respectively, in the national semifinals. In 2006, Maryland dropped an 8-5 decision to unseeded Massachusetts in the Final Four – a devastating outcome for a senior-laden team.

In the end, as Virginia coach Dom Starsia noted, there’s only one that matters.

"The number that counts at schools like Virginia and Hopkins and Maryland is the No. 1," Starsia said Sunday after his top-seeded Cavaliers edged No. 8 seed Stony Brook in a NCAA Tournament quarterfinal. "You have to be No. 1 once in a while. When we moved my dad to Charlottesville in 1998, I had been there since 1993 and we had been in overtime of the NCAA finals twice. And I thought, ‘Oh, this is great. We’re going to move my dad to Charlottesville and I’m going to get fired.’ We were able to break through in ’99 and win a championship. I think we all understand there’s a bottom line here. I just wish that everybody could be in Dave Cottle’s shoes for a couple days. We get to this point in the playoffs, we’re at the quarterfinals, we’re at Stony Brook. John Desko [of Syracuse] is home, Joe Breschi [of North Carolina] is home, Maryland’s home, we almost went home. It’s really hard. I’m sure Maryland’s a little frustrated. They haven’t held the trophy at the end of the tournament oin a while. But I will say this: whoever is going to be the coach at Maryland is going to have a hard time because none of us are going to lay down for him."

Posted by Edward Lee at 6:00 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Maryland
        

May 23, 2010

Army's Palesky plays on

Army junior goalkeeper Tom Palesky has returned and is in the net in the second half of the Black Knights' quarterfinal against No. 7 seed Cornell

Palesky (five saves) appeared to injure his left leg when he attempted to run upfield with the ball as time expired in the second quarter. It looked like his left foot got caught in the turf, and my initial reaction was that he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. Palesky did get up and limp off under his own power

Had he sat out the second half, sophomore Zach Palmieri – who has played just 12 minutes this season, allowing two goals and making three saves – would have been in the net for Army, which trails the Big Red, 8-3, at halftime.

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

Army vs. Cornell: Halftime thoughts

Unless Army makes a few adjustments at halftime, it would appear that the Black Knights’ run through the NCAA tournament could end one stop short of the Final Four.

Unseeded Army trails No. 7 seed Cornell 8-3 in a quarterfinal at Stony Brook’s Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium, and much of the credit belongs to the Big Red’s ability to dissect the Black Knights defense.

Seven of Cornell’s goals have come from shots in the slot or just outside the crease, giving junior goalkeeper Tom Palesky no chance to making the stop. The eighth tally came from junior defenseman Max Feely, who picked up a loose ball off the faceoff and raced in alone.

Feely’s name will haunt Loyola and its fans as he was the one who scored the game-winning goal in triple overtime to send the Big Red to the quarterfinals and the Greyhounds home for the summer.

Army has done itself any favors either. After Cornell senior attackman Ryan Hurley was whistled for a 30-second penalty for pushing, the Black Knights whiffed on the extra-man opportunity. Hurley, racing out of the box, collected a pass over the midfield line and fed freshman attackman Steve Mock for an easy score to give the Big Red a 5-1 advantage just 2:08 into the second quarter.

Other notes:

*Cornell is also faring better on ground balls, collecting 18 to Army’s 13. Even though the Big Red has won just six of 13 faceoffs, the players just seem faster and more adept at picking up loose balls than the Black Knights.

*I have to wonder whether nerves are playing a role thus far. This is Army’s first appearance at this stage of the tournament since 1993, and the program has never advanced to the national semifinals. Meanwhile, Cornell is seeking its third Final Four berth in the last four seasons.

*Palesky (five saves) appeared to injure his left leg when he attempted to run upfield with the ball as time expired in the second quarter. It looked like his left foot got caught in the turf, and my initial reaction was that he tore the anterior cruciate ligament. Palesky did get up and limp off under his own power, but if he can’t play in the second half, sophomore Zach Palmieri – who has played just 12 minutes this season, allowing two goals and making three saves – could be asked to anchor a potential comeback.

*Hurley leads all scorers with three goals and one assist, while Mock has scored three times. The Black Knights are paced by attackmen Jeremy Boltus and Garret Thul and midfielder Devin Lynch, who have each scored once.

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

Virginia bucks the rules

The tragic death of Virginia women's lacrosse player and Cockeysville native Yeardley Love and the subsequent arrest and murder charges against men's lacrosse player George Huguely continue to hound the men's team and the NCAA Tournament.

Awaiting media covering Sunday's quarterfinals at Stony Brook was a stack of papers outlining post-game interview policies. The final sentence contained the following: "Virginia's locker room is CLOSED at all times."

That's very unusual as many of the locker rooms after NCAA Tournament contests have generally been open to the media. Interpret Virginia's decision to keep media away as you please, but I'll be curious to see if this trend continues if the Cavaliers are fortunate enough to advance to the Final Four at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Memorial Day weekend.

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:00 PM | | Comments (9)
        

Stony Brook vs. Virginia: Three things to watch

Virginia and Stony Brook meet for the first time in the NCAA Tournament, but the Cavaliers have owned the all-time series, winning all seven games. The Cavaliers, the top seed, are 20-8 in the quarterfinal round and haven’t lost at this point in the tournament since 1998. The Seawolves, the No. 8 seed, are making their first appearance in the quarterfinals. The winner of Sunday’s contest at 2:30 p.m. at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium in Stony Brook, N.Y., will move on and face No. 4 seed North Carolina (14-2) or No. 5 seed Duke (14-4) on Saturday, May 29 at either 4 or 6:30 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

1. One key to a Stony Brook win: Emotions are running high around the Seawolves for beating Denver, 9-7, in the first round and earning their first victory in the NCAA Tournament. School officials had already sold 9,600 tickets to the quarterfinals by Thursday. Many of the fans in attendance will be Stony Brook fans trying to will the team to another win. The players have to take advantage of the wave of support and ride those emotions against a Virginia team that some say is the most talented in the history of the sport.

2. One key to a Virginia win: The Cavaliers took care of the Seawolves, 13-8, on Feb. 27 courtesy of a productive performance on face-offs. Sophomore Ryan Benincasa won 12-of-16 face-offs, outdueling Stony Brook junior Adam Rand. Benincasa isn’t even Virginia’s best face-off specialist as senior Brian McDermott has won 63.4 percent this season. McDermott and Benincasa will have to be just as successful against Rand, who ranks fourth among Division I face-off specialists with a 60.6 percentage.

3. One key match-up: Seawolves midfielders Kevin Crowley and Tom Compitello each scored two goals against Virginia, but junior attackman Jordan McBride was shut out by senior defenseman and Tewaaraton Award finalist Ken Clausen. If Clausen repeats that performance, Stony Brook will be hard-pressed to pull off an upset. If McBride can turn the tables, the Cavaliers might end the season with yet another disappointing outcome.

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Three things to watch
        

Army vs. Cornell: Three things to watch

Cornell and Army meet for the second time this season with the Big Red having won the last five meetings. Cornell, the No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament, has won its last two quarterfinal games after losing the previous three times. The Black Knights haven’t been to the Final Four since 1984. The winner of Sunday’s contest at 12 p.m. at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium in Stony Brook, N.Y., will move on and face either No. 6 seed Maryland (13-3) or Notre Dame (9-6) on Saturday, May 29 at either 4 or 6:30 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

1. One key to an Army win: The Black Knights (11-5) are at this stage after rallying and edging No. 2 seed and 11-time national champion Syracuse, 9-8, in double overtime. Sophomore Derek Sipperly was a key component in that comeback as he won 11-of-18 face-offs. His performance against Big Red senior Austin Boykin could determine whether Army has the ball long enough to take advantage of possessions and attack freshman goalkeeper A.J. Fiore.

2. One key to a Cornell win: Getting a significant lead is not necessarily beneficial for the Big Red (11-5). In the last three games, Cornell has enjoyed sizable advantages, but allowed opponents to rally back. Only once did the Big Red squander the lead and the contest (to Princeton in the Ivy League Tournament final), but it’s not a good sign when your team can’t maintain an advantage and finish off a game. If Cornell is fortunate enough to jump on the Black Knights, many Big Red supporters will stay rooted in their seats to ensure a positive outcome.

3. One key match-up: Watch the one-on-one battle between Cornell sophomore attackman Rob PannelI and Army junior defenseman Bill Henderson. In the regular-season meeting between these teams on March 6, Pannell registered two goals and one assist, but Henderson did a decent job, causing two turnovers and collecting one groundball. The winner in this match-up could help determine the result.

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

Stevenson at Salisbury: Three things to watch

Salisbury and Stevenson clash for the fifth time in two seasons. The Sea Gulls, the top seed in the South region of the NCAA Division III Tournament, are 11-7 in the national semifinals. Meanwhile, the Mustangs, the No. 2 seed in the South region, are eager to make their first appearance in a title game. The winner of Sunday’s contest at 1 p.m. at Sea Gull Stadium in Salisbury will move on and face either North region No. 1 seed and reigning national champion Cortland (17-2) or No. 2 seed Tufts (18-1) on Sunday, May 30 at 12 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

1. One key to a Stevenson win: The Mustangs (19-1) boast one of the more prolific offenses in the country, but their success in the postseason has been founded by the play of senior goalkeeper Geoff Hebert. The Lutherville native and Dulaney graduate has turned aside 49 of 72 shots on net in victories over Cabrini and Roanoke. For the season, Hebert has compiled a 7.49 goals-against average and a .659 save percentage – the latter of which would rank third in the country if Hebert hadn’t missed eight games because of a broken pinkie finger on his left hand. Certainly, Hebert has been aided by a defense sparked by junior Evan Douglass and Ian Hart, but if Hebert can continue his run against the Sea Gulls, a first for the Stevenson program may be in the cards.

2. One key to a Salisbury win: The Sea Gulls (20-1) have six players who have scored 17 goals or more, but Sam Bradman has been having an underwhelming postseason. The sophomore midfielder who registered a team-best 54 goals and 79 points in the regular season has posted just two goals and one assist in two playoff contests. Bradman could be hard-pressed to improve on those totals as Douglass limited him to one goal and one assist in the Mustangs’ 10-6 decision over Salisbury for the Capital Athletic Conference Tournament championship on April 24. But if Bradman breaks out of his shell, it might be Stevenson that will feel the heat on trying to contain the Sea Gulls’ top playmaker.

3. One key match-up: Salisbury senior Ryan Finch and Mustangs junior Ray Witte are two of the best face-off specialists in the nation and will play a significant role in the outcome. Witte, who ranks 12th with a .639 percentage, has won 34-of-59 (.576) draws in the postseason. Finch, who ranks 21st with a .615 percentage, won 18-of-24 face-offs and recorded two goals – including the game-winner – and one assist in the Sea Gulls’ 15-14 overtime win against Haverford.

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

May 22, 2010

Duke vs. North Carolina: Three things to watch

North Carolina and Duke meet for the second time this season with the Tar Heels winning rather easily, 13-7, back on March 10 in Durham, N.C. North Carolina, the No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament, hasn’t been to the Final Four since 1993, losing in the quarterfinals in 1994, 1996, 2004, 2007 and 2009. The Blue Devils, the No. 5 seed, are 4-0 in the quarterfinals in the last five years. The winner of Saturday’s contest at 2:30 p.m. at Princeton Stadium in Princeton, N.J., will move on and face either No. 1 seed Virginia (15-1) or No. 8 seed Stony Brook (13-3) on Saturday, May 29 at either 4 or 6:30 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

1. One key to a Duke win: The Blue Devils (13-4) are led by an attack of fifth-year senior and Tewaaraton Award finalist Ned Crotty (19 goals and 57 assists), senior Max Quinzani (61, 13) and junior Zach Howell (43, 16), but they are especially dangerous when the midfield is active. When senior Steve Schoeffel (15, 4) is posting three goals and one assist as he did in the team’s first-round victory over Johns Hopkins and sophomores Justin Turri (14, 15) and Robert Rotanz (8, 4) are combining for one goal and three assists, they force opposing defenses to extend, which opens the middle for Quinzani and Howell.

2. One key to a North Carolina win: In their first 11 games, the Tar Heels (13-2) allowed just one opponent (Princeton) to reach double-figures in goals. In the last four, every opponent has scored at least 13 goals. North Carolina cannot allow that trend to continue, especially against a Duke offense that ranks third in Division I in scoring (13.7 goals per game). Redshirt junior goalkeeper Chris Madalon (.545 save percentage and 8.28 goals-against average) has to improve his play, and junior defenseman Ryan Flanagan could have his hands full if he is tasked with shadowing Crotty.

3. One key match-up: In that regular-season meeting, Tar Heels junior attackman Billy Bitter had his way with the Blue Devils defense, spinning and twisting his way to four goals and two assists. Bitter looked a little lethargic in the team’s first-round win against Delaware, but even a 90 percent Bitter is a dangerous opponent. Either Duke senior Parker McKee or junior Mike Manley could get the nod against Bitter. The question is, can either one of them hang with him?

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

Notre Dame vs. Maryland: Three things to watch

Maryland and Notre Dame meet for the second year in the NCAA Tournament with the Terps winning last year’s first-round showdown, 7-3. Maryland, the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, has been bounced from the quarterfinals in two consecutive springs, but a victory would guarantee the Terps their fourth Final Four appearance under coach Dave Cottle. The Fighting Irish are 1-2 in the quarterfinals, advancing to the national semifinals in 2001. The winner of Saturday’s contest at 12 p.m. at Princeton Stadium in Princeton, N.J., will move on and face either No. 7 seed Cornell (11-5) or Army (11-5) on Saturday, May 29 at either 4 or 6:30 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

1. One key to a Notre Dame win: The Fighting Irish (8-6) have relied on an athletic and deep midfield. Junior Zach Brenneman leads the team in both goals (23) and points (35) and senior Grant Krebs is second in goals (22). But the unit could use a little more production from the attack. Senior Neal Hicks leads the way in assists (13) and ranks second in points (32), but he appears to be the lone threat on the attack. Sophomores Nicholas Beattie (10 goals and 7 assists) and Sean Rogers (9, 3) need to help Krebs relieve some of the offensive burden off of the midfield.

2. One key to a Maryland win: For all the firepower the Terps (12-3) boast on offense, none of that will really matter if they can’t solve Notre Dame senior goalkeeper Scott Rodgers. At 6-foot-4 and 254 pounds, Rodgers takes up a lot of real estate in the cage. In the first-round upset of Princeton, the Fighting Irish were content to pack in the defense and dare the Tigers to beat Rodgers on long-distance shots. Maryland took 33 shots against Notre Dame last year and must improve its shooting percentage and shot selection to force the defense to extend a bit further out.

3. One key match-up: I can’t say this with any degree of certainty, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Terps match up junior defenseman Brett Schmidt against Brenneman. Schmidt is a converted long-stick midfielder who has tangled with midfielders like Virginia junior Shamel Bratton and North Carolina sophomore Jimmy Dunster. Schmidt’s nimble feet and stickwork would seem to be a good test for Brenneman, the Fighting Irish’s top playmaker.

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Maryland, Three things to watch
        

May 21, 2010

New conference honors Mount St. Mary's

Next season, Mount St. Mary's will move from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference to the Northeast Conference, joining Bryant, Quinnipiac, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart and Wagner. On Friday, the Northeast Conference handed out its inaugural set of postseason awards, and the Mountaineers were well represented.

Freshman attackman Andrew Scalley was named the Rookie of the Year, and Tom Gravante was honored as the Coach of the Year. In addition, four players made the All-NEC first team, while two more made the second team.

In his 15th season, Gravante was the architect behind Mount St. Mary's school-record 12 wins and the program's first MAAC Tournament championship since 2003. That title also earned the Mountaineers their first berth in the NCAA Tournament since 2003. Gravante has compiled a career coaching record of 107-130.

Scalley, an Arnold native and Archbishop Spalding graduate, finished his rookie campaign with 32 goals and 17 assists. Scalley, who scored three goals in the team's 18-5 loss to No. 1 seed Virginia in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, scored 24 goals over his last nine contests. 

Cody Lehrer, one of four players to make the All-NEC first team, registered 48 goals and 9 assists. The 48 goals were the second-most in a single season in school history. The sophomore attackman scored three or more goals in nine games.

Bryant Schmidt posted 21 goals and 16 assists. The sophomore midfielder scored in each of the team's last six contests.

Russell Moncure led Mount St. Mary's in caused turnovers with 14. The senior defenseman also collected 27 groundballs.

T.C. DiBartolo recorded a 9.39 goals-against average and a .590 save percentage with the latter ranking fifth among all Division I goalkeepers. The junior from Bowie who graduated from Archbishop Spalding stopped 33 shots in two games to help the team capture the MAAC Tournament crown.

Senior defenseman Matt Nealis and sophomore attackman Brett Schmidt were named to the All-NEC second team. Scalley and the Schmidt twins were selected to the conference's All-Rookie team.

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:30 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's
        

Terps tidbits

Just a few notes before No. 3 seed Maryland’s contest against Notre Dame in a NCAA tournament quarterfinal Saturday:

*Last year’s quarterfinal loss to Syracuse was punctuated by the loss of goalkeeper Brian Phipps, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee late in the first quarter of that 11-6 setback. Since then, the Annapolis native and Severn graduate has started every game for the Terps (12-3) and is a major reason they are one victory away from their fourth Final Four appearance under Dave Cottle. "He’s made all of the important saves," Cottle said of Phipps, who had recorded a .549 save percentage and a 8.27 goals-against average. "When we’ve gotten to the end, when we’ve needed a save or a stop, he’s made all the important plays, and that’s what you’re hoping for."

*Since moving to the midfield as a starter before the team’s game against Virginia on April 3, sophomore Joe Cummings has compiled nine goals and three assists. The Towson native and Loyola graduate said moving from attack required an adjustment. "It was definitely more of a physical change at first because it involves a different kind of running," he said. "But it’s also been a mental change because your perspective of the game is different. On attack, you’re dodging mostly from behind the goal, and in the midfield, you’re going from up top and you see things differently. And then you also have to worry about getting back on defense. So going to defensive studies and reviewing defensive film, I’m trying to catch up on 10 years of lost defensive knowledge and condensing it into a few weeks. It’s been fun."

*Jake and Jesse Bernhardt have been teammates throughout the youth, high school and college levels, and Jake Bernhardt, a sophomore midfielder, wouldn’t have had it any other way. "It’s awesome because we are so close," Bernhardt said of his brother, who is a freshman long-stick midfielder. "We’re not even a year apart. We’re 355 days apart. Jesse and I always shared a room when we were growing up, and we still share a room together here. I think it would be weird if he went somewhere else. So it’s a great opportunity that he decided to come here with me. He’s been playing great this year as a freshman, stepping up behind [redshirt junior] Brian Farrell. And Brian has helped him out so much. He’s like Jesse’s mentor and somebody that he looks up to. It’s just great to know that he’s on the team."

*This year’s senior class could be the first to have never tasted the experience of playing in a Final Four. That possibility has not been lost on Cottle. "For Maryland, that would be good, and for the kids, that would be good," he said. "But our goals are more than the Final Four. But if for some reason the season ended on Saturday, it wouldn’t diminish what I think about this team or how hard they worked or how hard they played for us. But these are our goals, and this is why we play. If we really like each other, we’ll play hard and play for another week."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland
        

Part 2 of Q&A with ESPN's Mark Dixon

On Wednesday, ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins midfielder Mark Dixon reviewed the first round of the NCAA tournament and previewed the quarterfinals. He also took a moment to speak on a couple of local topics of interest.

Question: From your perspective, what does Johns Hopkins need to do to rebound from its worst season since 1971?

Mark Dixon: "Listen, I’m a broadcaster, not a lacrosse coach. But when I looked at that game [against Duke] on Saturday and their whole body of work in 2010, there’s a couple of things that jumped out at me. The faceoff play has to get much, much better – not only from the guy taking the draws, but also from the wing play. They just got crushed on faceoffs this year. And I think [Duke’s] Tom Montelli was the third long-stick midfielder to score a goal against Johns Hopkins after Joel White did it for Syracuse and Jesse Bernhardt did it for Maryland. The defensive midfield has got to get better. You saw it on Saturday. [Duke senior midfielder] Steve Schoeffel – with the first goal of the game – just ran by a short stick for Johns Hopkins. They need better short-stick defensive midfield play. And then with the overall team defense, if you look at the national championship team in ’07 and then the ’08 team that made it to the national championship game, they had that sort of anchor on the inside. Eric Zerrlaut directed the traffic. I think they need a leader back on defense and guys to clear the ball and create ground balls. That’s where a guy like Matt Bocklet came in. But I think [freshman] Tucker Durkin is outstanding. [Coach] Dave Pietramala is very satisfied with his goalie in [freshman] Pierce Bassett. But I really think Hopkins’ problems are on the defensive side of the field. If you want to talk a little bit about the offense, who’s going to score the goals next year? [Midfielders John] Ranagan and [John] Greeley are going to be sophomores next year, and one of them will draw the pole. They need someone in the midfield now. Are those guys ready to take on that leadership role and be the No. 1 guy and draw the attention of the other team’s best midfield defender?"

Q: If you’re Loyola coach Charley Toomey, do you stick with junior Jake Hagelin as your starting goalkeeper or do you open it up to a competition?

MD: "Well, [fifth-year senior Alex] Peaty is gone, so the guy who came in to relieve him has graduated. So Jake Hagelin is your starter. He’s had a good career at Evergreen, but for whatever reason, he struggled mightily in his last three games and Peaty came in and relieved him. I don’t think it’s as much about Jake Hagelin as my starter. I think it’s about what he didn’t do well in the last three weeks of the season versus what he did well in the first 10 weeks of the season. Hagelin’s got to be your guy, and I think you spend the summer seeing what went wrong and just trying to correct it and make him better so that you have him in as good a spot as you can entering the fall session in 2010."

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

Notre Dame not taking time to enjoy the silence

Notre Dame’s 8-5 upset of No. 6 seed Princeton in the first round of the NCAA tournament went a long way toward silencing its critics, many of whom cast doubt and aspersions on the team’s 7-6 record and late collapse, which still earned the school an at-large bid to the tournament.

But if coach Kevin Corrigan is feeling a certain sense to gloat, he’s avoiding taking that road.

"I don’t know that anything’s going to satisfy that feeling of the people who are concerned about that," he said. "I can’t worry about that. I’ve been on both sides of that one, and people who are disappointed about not getting in probably feel like that could’ve been them when they see that win. They’re disappointed, and understandably so, but I’m not too worried about that."

Which is why Corrigan is funneling all of his focus on the Fighting Irish’s next opponent, No. 3 seed Maryland, in the quarterfinals Saturday at Princeton. It’s a rematch of last year’s NCAA tournament first-round contest that the Terps won, 7-3, in South Bend, Ind.

That victory ended Notre Dame’s 15-0 season and renewed criticism of the team’s schedule. So the players have a little sense of payback on their minds, right?

"That was last year’s team," Corrigan said. "Everybody who was on that team last year certainly remembers the feeling of disappointment. But honestly, I think the disappointment was so much more in ourselves than anyone else. We just didn’t feel like we played our best game. Whether you win or lose, you want to feel like you went out and played your best game and just got beat because you didn’t have enough that day. We didn’t feel very good about that. We didn’t feel like we played great."

Many observers anticipate Maryland winning again and moving onto the Final Four. Corrigan said the Fighting Irish don’t duck the underdog label.

"We’re pretty honest about who we are and who we aren’t," he said. "If we’re the underdogs, we’ve earned it. We lost six games this year. I don’t think it’s unfair to call us the underdogs. But our guys also feel like we can be a pretty good lacrosse team, and they’re excited for the opportunity to prove that to people."

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

Q&A with ESPN's Paul Carcaterra

ESPN analyst and former Syracuse All-America midfielder Paul Carcaterra will be providing commentary for the Toronto Nationals home opener on Saturday against the Chesapeake Bayhawks in the Major Lacrosse League. But Carcaterra will certainly keep track of the NCAA tournament quarterfinal results this weekend. Carcaterra took a look at the impact of Syracuse’s absence in the tournament, Virginia’s first game outside of Charlottesville since the tragic death of women’s lacrosse player Yeardley Love, and the most intriguing game of the quarterfinals.

Question: What does the absence of Syracuse do to the rest of the NCAA tournament bracket?

Paul Carcaterra: "If you look at the bracket and you just look at the hype going into the tournament, it’s really heavy on one side. If you look at the Viriginia side of the bracket, you have Duke, Carolina and Stony Brook. If you look at the other side, you have a couple upsets with Army squeaking in there and Notre Dame. Just looking at it quickly, you’d think it’s all on one side of the bracket. I think Syracuse losing changes the complexity of a potential Virginia-Syracuse national championship matchup, whereas now I think the typical lacrosse fan thinks that Maryland is going to walk into the final. But I don’t see that being the case. Maryland’s a really good team, and I think they’re balanced on offense with very prolific attackmen and a midfield that’s almost a midfield by committee. But an Army team or a Cornell team will scrap, and those are the types of teams that even if they lose, they don’t get blown out – other than Army getting blown out earlier in the season by Hofstra [17-2 on March 30, which is the Black Knights’ last loss]. So I think people need to give a little more credit to those other teams on the other side of the bracket with Maryland, Notre Dame, Cornell and Army. Being an ex-Syracuse player, this might sound a little biased, but it’s always exciting when Syracuse goes deep into the playoffs just because their style of play is exciting to watch. I think they bring the best out in lacrosse, and I think they also bring the best out of their opponents."

Q: Coach Dave Pietramala has been catching some flak after Johns Hopkins bowed out of the first round against No. 5 seed Duke. Is coach John Desko getting similar treatment after Syracuse’s loss?

PC: "No. You have to look at what Coach Desko has done. In a 12-year span, he’s had the most successful coaching run in modern-day lacrosse. He’s won five national championships. He’s not the guy at the end of the game who is shooting low-to-low. He’s not the guy who’s leaving his defenseman on a premature slide. These guys were doing all these things right throughout the year, and they picked the wrong time to make some mental mistakes. But I don’t put one bit of that game on him. He’s done one of his best coaching job this year. Here’s a team that had lost five of its top six midfielders, lost its top attackman, lost its top defenseman, and he put them in a position to threepeat. They were 13-1 heading into the playoffs and a solid No. 2 seed."

Q: Top-seeded Virginia was able to rebound from the tragic death of women’s lacrosse player and Cockeysville native Yeardley Love with a home win against Mount St. Mary’s. What can the Cavaliers expect when they must leave the friendly confines of Charlottesville and take on a Stony Brook team that is the No. 8 seed and is essentially playing a home game this Sunday at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium?

PC: "I think the beginning stages of that game will be really important because if they can go out and have a first quarter like they did last week, I think they’re going to take that crowd out of the game. I think the longer that Stony Brook hangs around, the more difficult it will be for Virginia. But I also think that when Virginia stepped on the field last weekend, their lacrosse ability and the way they play and their approach to the game kind of took over, and regardless of what has transpired down there, when they were on the field, it was a lacrosse game. They did some things on the field that night that showed me that they’re going to play their best lacrosse regardless of where they are. But in terms of this weekend, I think it’s critical that they really start hot and get that crowd out of the game. With Stony Brook being home, I think the typical fan who doesn’t have an allegiance to one of those schools would jump on the home team and the underdog. It’s only natural. So I think if Stony Brook hangs around, they’ll be able to get the crowd and make it more of a factor. But I see some discrepancies in the midfield from an athletic standpoint in that game that I think will be exposed."

Q: Is there one quarterfinal contest that has upset written all over it?

PC: "I don’t even know if you would consider Army beating Cornell an upset because they lost by a goal earlier in the season [12-11 in overtime on March 6] and they’re a hot team right now. So I think that one is almost like a pick 'em regardless of who is seeded higher. And it’s also in the matchups. Cornell’s best player is [sophomore attackman] Rob Pannell, and I think [junior defenseman Bill] Henderson matches up well against him. I think he can take the huge factor that Pannell brings to every game in terms of getting involved at least a little bit out of the mix. So I don’t know if that would be considered a huge upset. One game that’s also interesting to me is the Notre Dame-Maryland game. I think the midfields for those teams are very comparable, and Notre Dame’s midfield is more potent as a scoring unit. So I think they have a slight edge in terms of putting up numbers, but Maryland’s midfield is one by committee and gets that attack unit involved. Notre Dame has a really solid defense, and their approach to the game and the way they’re fundamentally sound on defense matches up well against the Maryland attack. But I think for Notre Dame, it’s going to be very difficult unless they get some scoring from their attack unit. That attack unit has not put up big numbers this year, so it’ll be interesting to see if they force those guys. [Senior attackman Neal] Hicks is the only guy who has more than 10 goals on the season in that unit. So I think that’s a huge factor. That attack unit has to score some goals because Maryland’s going to go heavy after Notre Dame’s midfield."

Q: So do you think three Atlantic Coast Conference teams will advance to the Final Four at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Memorial Day weekend?

PC: "When it’s all said and done, yes. You’ve got a lock in the Carolina-Duke game, I don’t see Virginia losing to Stony Brook, and although Maryland could struggle with Notre Dame, I think in the end, they just have too much depth."

Posted by Edward Lee at 6:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Q&A
        

May 20, 2010

Sell-out crowd expected at Sunday's quarterfinals at Stony Brook

An athletic department spokesman at Stony Brook said the school has sold 9,600 tickets for Sunday's NCAA Tournament quarterfinals.

Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium seats about 8,300 and 1,400 standing-room-only tickets were sold out in 90 minutes Thursday morning.

Army and No. 7 seed Cornell will kick off the day at noon, while No. 8 seed Stony Brook and No. 1 seed Virginia are slated to begin play at 2:30 p.m. Expect lots of emotion on display on Sunday.

Posted by Edward Lee at 4:30 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Johns Hopkins' Pietramala not worried about criticism

Monday’s blog included a post on Johns Hopkins’ 18-5 loss to No. 5 seed Duke in the first round of the NCAA Tournament – a setback that cemented the program’s first losing season since 1971.

That entry generated 14 reader comments, perhaps the most by a single post this year. While some cited the team’s youth, lack of speed and/or conservative style of play as reasons for the Blue Jays’ troubles, several pinned the blame solely on coach Dave Pietramala.

Let’s review Pietramala’s resume. Under the 10-year coach, Johns Hopkins has advanced to six Final Fours and four tournament finals, capturing the national championship in 2005 and 2007. The team has compiled a 113-38 record, and Pietramala is 45 wins shy of tying Bob Scott for the most victories by a Blue Jays coach.

On the flip side, Johns Hopkins struggled to make its 39th consecutive tournament appearance, defeating Towson and Loyola in its final two regular-season games. The Blue Jays have lost 10 of their past 13 meetings with Virginia, including the past six. Johns Hopkins has lost five of its past six games against Syracuse and dropped annual showdowns with Maryland and Navy, the latter breaking a 36-game losing skid in April.

Pietramala didn’t seem bothered that he might be the target of criticism during the offseason.

"People are going to do what they want to do," he said. "Right now, we lost in the first round of the playoffs, and we’re going to get criticized for it, and we deserve to be. That’s the way that is. That’s part of this job. Am I concerned about the criticism? I’m not concerned about the criticism. I’m concerned that we’ve put ourselves in a place where we can be criticized. Am I concerned about the criticism? No, we deserve it. I’m not hiding from anything. Am I worried? No. My body of work here has been tremendous. My staff’s body of work here has been tremendous. Should [Syracuse coach] John Desko be worried now [after the Orange lost, 9-8, in double overtime to Army in the first round]? If it was easy, everybody would be doing it, and everybody’s not doing it. No matter what everybody wants to say, go back and look to see who’s won championships in the last 10 years. It’s the same teams. Did we fall down? Absolutely we did. Am I concerned that in our last two playoff games, we did not do a good job? Yeah. So we’ll fix it. We’ll adjust, we’ll adapt, we’ll change if we have to, and we’ll address it. But everybody wanted to say that Hopkins wasn’t going to make the playoffs and that it was going to happen. It didn’t happen. Isn’t it funny how we found a way to make it? We didn’t let what happened to Syracuse, Princeton and Virginia happen to us. People will look at it in one of two ways. They’ll say, ‘Well, it didn’t happen to them, so that’s a good thing.’ Or, ‘But they didn’t do the job in the playoffs.’ In the end, I’m happy that we kept that streak alive, although I’m not a streak guy. But we found a way when our backs were against the wall to do the job, and I know we’re capable of doing the job. Now we’ve got to find a way to do it all the time. … Criticism is the way it goes. That’s part of the job, and I have to deal with it. Our performance has put us in a position where we can be criticized. In the end, the only criticism that matters is the one from my administration and my staff here, and we’ve been supported tremendously here."

Pietramala vowed to take a critical look at every aspect of the team – beginning with himself.

"We have to figure out, as coaches, the mistakes that we made," he said. "That’s where it starts. You look at yourselves first. So we’ll do that. We’ve already met with our strength coach to talk about how we’re approaching the summer, the fall and the winter and what changes needed to be made there. We have to meet as a staff, but I think right now, each of us is kind of soul-searching and asking, ‘What could I have done better?’ And for me, I’ve got to do a better job of communicating with my team. Maybe when we meet, we’ve got to talk about the people we have here and do we have to adjust our style or change our style? Do we have to keep doing what we do? … We’ve been asking ourselves those questions and thinking about them as we’ve gone through the season. It’s not something where you say, ‘We’ll wait until the end and then figure it out.’ We’ve got to be, as coaches, willing to adjust to change, and I’m at the head of that list. I’m in charge of this."

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:00 PM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Johns Hopkins
        

Postscript from Haverford at Salisbury

With a trip to the national semifinals at stake, Salisbury put the ball in the hands of their eighth-leading goal scorer.

That’s not a dig at senior face-off specialist Ryan Finch, but a realization of the hot hand that he had against No. 4 seed and visiting Haverford (12-6) in a NCAA Tournament quarterfinal at Sea Gull Stadium Wednesday night.

Finch, a Finksburg native and Westminster graduate who had scored five goals entering Wednesday’s contest, scored twice including the game-winner after winning the face-off just 12 seconds into overtime to catapult top-seeded Salisbury (20-1) to a 12-11 decision and a semifinal meeting with No. 2 seed Stevenson.

Finch, who had dominated the face-off X to the tune of 18 wins in 24 attempts, popped the ball forward, scooped up the loose ball, and sprinted down to the box. Recognizing that no Fords player was sliding, Finch took the shot and scored.

"They hadn’t been sliding all night on the fast breaks because they didn’t want our attack to score on fast breaks," Sea Gulls coach Jim Berkman said. "He threw a little fake like he was going to throw it to the point, which froze them even more. … He came right off the face-off on a fast break, they held on the attackmen, and before you knew it, he was already to about six or seven yards from the goal, and he just ripped it high and hard to the corner."

Salisbury trailed, 11-9, after Haverford senior midfielder Andrew Kim scored with 7:07 left in regulation. But sophomore midfielder Sam Bradman scored his first goal of the game with 5:56 remaining, and junior midfielder Shawn Zordani tied it up with 33 seconds left.

Despite the late deficit, Berkman said he never sensed any anxiety on the part of his players.

"I was really happy with the way our kids kept their composure and stayed the course and kept running the things that we do and kept playing solid defense," he said. "They didn’t panic or take a penalty that would’ve been really critical to us in terms of maybe not coming back. … There was a good sign of confidence on the sideline."

Other notes:

*Bradman has had a quiet postseason thus far. The team’s leader in goals (56) and points (82) has recorded just two goals and one assist in two tournament contests partly because Springfield and Haverford paid a lot of attention to him. Berkman said he’s not terribly worried about his star player. "Obviously, anybody would like their best player to have four or five goals, but by the same token, we’ve got six or seven guys who can score goals," Berkman said. "And if they’re going to pay that much attention to somebody and they’re going to play him with a pole and they’re going to slide to him, then obviously, somebody else is going to get some great opportunities. That’s what a great player does. He gives everybody else a step or two, and if they’re going to pay that much attention to him, he’s going to have to play team lacrosse and get the ball to other players who can definitely get it done. But obviously, he’s got to play and draw that attention, which means he’s got to take some chances and risks and work to get the ball, and we’ve got to put him in position to get the ball maybe a little more on Sunday."

*The Sea Gulls’ 12th trip to the national championship game is blocked by a familiar foe. The Mustangs (19-1) edged Roanoke, 15-14 in overtime on Wednesday, setting up a semifinal showdown between Capital Athletic Conference rivals. Stevenson beat Salisbury, 10-6, in the CAC Tournament final partly because the Sea Gulls put just 19 of 40 shots on senior goalkeeper Geoff Hebert. Berkman said that percentage must change on Sunday."I think we shot the ball a little too quickly when we lost," he said. "We took the first shot that presented itself. I only watched bits and pieces of yesterday’s game, but Roanoke had 72 shots. But when I was watching them, they took a lot of 15- and 17-yard shots. To win a great game, you can’t have your guys shooting from 15, 17 yards. I think last time, we took some of those shots because the way they play sometimes presents those opportunities. You have to be disciplined not to take those shots. For us, that’s what it’s always been about. We’ve never been a team to shoot the ball from out there, but we did that on that day. It’s a tribute to them. They made us play a little faster, and we played the way they wanted us to play. And if we play that way on Sunday, we’re going to be in trouble."

*The Sea Gulls have lost just five times in the last two seasons, but three have come at the hands of Stevenson. The Mustangs’ win on April 24 snapped Salisbury’s string of 16 consecutive CAC Tournament crowns, but Berkman took great pains to emphasize that Sunday’s game is not about payback. "There’s more than enough incentive here," he said. "It doesn’t matter who you’re playing right now. They don’t care if they’re playing Salisbury. They want to get to the championship. If you’ve ever been to the championship before like we have 11 times, it’s the greatest experience of your life, and there’s no other athlete in a Division III sport that gets remotely the same experience. In Division III basketball, there are 1,500 people in the gym. In Division III football, there’s 4,000 people. In Division III lacrosse, there’s 25,000. You’re treated like a pro athlete. The magnitude of it is just unbelievable, the experience. So on Sunday, we’re playing to get to that experience. That’s what it’s about right now. … Somebody from the CAC and somebody from Maryland is going to be playing a week from Sunday at [M&T Bank] Stadium, and we really want it to be the Gulls. So it’s going to be about playing well and doing the good things. There’s no payback. We want to be in the championship. That’s what it’s about right now, and that’s what it’s about for them. They’re dying to put their program on the map. They want to get there, they were knocking on the door last year, they’ve had a great season. To be the best, you’ve got to beat the best. We’ve got to beat a good team on Sunday, and they know they’ve got to beat a good team. Both coaches know that their teams have got to play well."

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Postscript, Salisbury
        

Maryland trying to avoid thinking of Syracuse-less bracket

When the 16-team field for the NCAA tournament was unveiled May 9, many observers thought No. 3 seed Maryland’s path to the national championship game would be blocked by No. 2 seed and 11-time national champion Syracuse.

That hurdle, however, was cleared Sunday, when Army stunned the Orange, 9-8, in double overtime. That doesn’t mean that the Terps (12-3) are a lock to make it to the tournament final. They still have to beat Notre Dame in the quarterfinal Saturday and then either No. 7 seed Cornell or the aforementioned Black Knights in the semifinal.

But a couple of Maryland players were candid in their realization that perhaps the team’s biggest impediment has been removed.

"I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about it at all," sophomore midfielder Jake Bernhardt said Tuesday. "I was just taking an exam, and I was thinking about it. I would like to sit here and say, ‘Since Syracuse is gone, we’re going to definitely make it.’ But we’ve got Notre Dame this weekend, and they’re not going to be a pushover. We’ve got all of these other great teams that we’ve got to get past first. We just have to focus on Notre Dame this weekend."

Added sophomore midfielder Joe Cummings: "It’s definitely hard not to look past Notre Dame, but we’ve been keeping our focus on them and trying to get ready every day and get better every day. The knowledge that the team that has won it the last two years isn’t in it anymore makes it exciting. There’s going to be a new national champion, and we want to be that national champion. Congratulations to Army, but we’ve got to take care of our business with Notre Dame to be able to get to the Final Four."

If Bernhardt, Cummings and their teammates are having those thoughts, they’re certainly doing a good job of keeping them under wraps because coach Dave Cottle says he has not had to temper their enthusiasm about the possibilities that lie ahead.

"Not one time have we talked about it," Cottle said. "That’s the what-if? What if we play Cornell? What if we play Army? We’re not dealing with what-ifs. We’re playing with what-is. We’re going to focus on us and try to get better."

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Maryland
        

Q&A with ESPN's Mark Dixon

ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins midfielder Mark Dixon will be monitoring the quarterfinals from the ESPNU studio in Charlotte, N.C., this weekend. Dixon assessed the impact of Syracuse’s upset loss on the sport, Maryland’s contest against Notre Dame and the one game with the most potential for another surprise.

Question: What’s the impact of Syracuse’s double-overtime loss to Army in the first round of the NCAA tournament, particularly as it pertains to the landscape of lacrosse?

Mark Dixon: "I think it shows the value of automatic qualifiers. A lot of people hem and haw about AQs, and the MAAC [Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference] and the Patriot League, in particular, are two conferences that get dumped on in terms of automatic qualifiers. People say that they’re not that strong and that if they didn’t have the automatic qualifiers, they wouldn’t make the tournament field. But I think that fuels recruiting and brings kids to the table that might sit on the bench for a Maryand or a Syracuse. Now they can play right away for some of these schools that have automatic qualifiers. Army, being a service academy, is a different animal and gets a different type of student-athlete. But still, I think it speaks to the value of automatic qualifiers. I think to the more immediate future, unfortunately, Syracuse being knocked out is going to hurt the attendance of the championships in Baltimore. Syracuse always brings down a large and unique fan base, and I think attendance will probably be hurt at M&T Bank Stadium. I could be wrong, but any records that we were hoping to be broken this Memorial Day weekend have probably gone out the window. You’re still going to get a very good crowd and great games and tremendous competition."

Q: So Syracuse’s absence has a negative impact on the sport?

MD: "I think it has a negative impact on attendance, but I think it’s better for the sport when you have some fresh blood in there. Now you’ve got Army and Cornell. You’ve got a service academy possibly getting into the national semifinals for the first time since Navy did it in 2004. Cornell’s a team looking to go back for the third time in four years. You look at Maryland and Notre Dame. Maryland’s a team looking for a little redemption perhaps after a disappointing ’09. Now they come in and they can make a run at the championship. Notre Dame is an underdog. A lot of people thought they didn’t belong in the tournament, but they pulled off the upset of Princeton. Duke-Carolina, what a great match-up there. Can North Carolina return to the national semifinals for the first time since 1993? If Duke gets there, is this the year they get over the hump and can they win the national championship? Stony Brook is an intriguing team. First quarterfinal appearance ever, and they would make history if the they could make the national semifinals. And of course, Virginia, the No. 1 seed, all the drama and focus surrounding that team because of the tragedy in Charlottesville. Can they weather the storm of not only being the No. 1 seed, but also all of the off-field incidents that have taken place? So there are still many, many storylines, many subplots. With Syracuse, the storyline there was: Can they win their third straight national championship? It’s a program rich in tradition. But without them there, I don’t think it hurts the landscape. I think it makes the tournament a little wide open right now."

Q: You wrote an insightful column for Inside Lacrosse about how Mount St. Mary’s qualifying for the NCAA Tournament actually helped Army. Could you elaborate on that?

MD: "The MAAC tournament can always be a wild card, and what I mean by that is the AQ from that conference typically gets placed based on geography. So you’ve got Siena in the north and Mount St. Mary’s in the south. Had Siena won that game against Mount St. Mary’s in the MAAC championship, they would have gone to Syracuse. I can’t speak with 110 percent, but if past history is any indication, they would have gone north to play Syracuse, and that would have created a little bit of a domino effect. Maybe Loyola would have gone to Virginia with Army going to Cornell. It would have completely changed the landscape of the tournament. Look, Army still had to go out on the field and beat Syracuse, but I think Mount St. Mary’s beating Siena, that gave Army the opportunity to do what they did on Sunday, and that was upset Syracuse."

Q: Will Army’s ride in the NCAA tournament continue?

MD: "I did a quick version of Quint [Kessenich]-vs.-Dixon thing for Inside Lacrosse, and we each picked our upset special, and mine is Army over Cornell. When you look at the two teams and their personalities, they’re very similar. The attack leads the way offensively, they like to play 6-on-6 offense, half-field. Decent goaltending, good, strong defenses, teams that don’t beat themselves often. But right now, the interesting thing is the way they’re getting it done on the field is going in different directions. Army has shown an ability to come back, and they exemplify all of the things you see in a service academy. Discipline, patience, perseverance. Cornell is a heck of a team. They’re extremely well-coached, and they’re a very disciplined bunch, too. But they have had problems putting teams away. Three games ago, they almost gave up a late lead to Princeton. In the Ivy League championship game of that tournament, they gave up the late lead and lost in overtime [to Princeton]. And after being up seven goals to Loyola on Saturday, they allowed the Greyhounds to come back. And that’s how Army got back into the Syracuse game. I think Army is playing great, and they’re going to have fan support. Not that anybody dislikes Cornell, but anytime you have a service academy making a run at the national semifinals, people get behind service academies. This is a team that hasn’t been to the quarterfinals since 1993. [Coach] Joe Alberici has done a tremendous job up there with a dangerous attack in [junior Jeremy] Boltus and [freshman Garrett] Thul, a good 1-2 punch. A good goaltender in [junior] Tom Palesky. The Henderson brothers [on defense] are tremendous. [Senior] Bill Henderson did a great job on [Syracuse senior attackman Chris] Daniello this past weekend. He’ll probably get the assignment against [Cornell sophomore attackman Rob] Pannell. And then [sophomore] Tim Henderson at the long-stick midfield position will probably match up with guys like [sophomore midfielder] Roy Lang. So it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Army could continue this run and pull the second upset."

Q: So is the Army-Cornell game the most compelling quarterfinal?

MD: "There’s a lot of storylines. Stony Brook basically has a home game. That place will be sold out with 8,000 people behind Stony Brook. Virginia will travel well, but that is a home game for Stony Brook. And then you’ve got Maryland-Notre Dame, which is a rematch of last year’s first round. Notre Dame is a team built to make a deep run into the tournament. In the NCAA tournament, goals are so hard to come by because everyone has seen everyone play eight or nine times on film – if not in person – and it’s hard to score goals. They’ve got [senior goalie Scott] Rodgers healthy with a great defense. Maryland has a terrific offense and a terrific defense of their own, and now the roles are reversed. Maryland is the favorite and Notre Dame is the underdog. And then you’ve got Carolina-Duke. Carolina manhandled Duke in Durham back in March, and [fifth-year senior attackman] Ned Crotty was held to double doughnuts [zero goals and assists]. Now the roles are sort of reversed. North Carolina is a team that looks like it’s struggling and [junior attackman] Billy Bitter looks like he’s banged up. So is it Duke that gets revenge? So I think every game has a heck of a storyline to it. But in terms of intrigue and upsets, yeah, Army is the most captivating in terms of the most unlikely team to get to the quarterfinals."

Q: When the smoke clears, will there be three Atlantic Coast Conference teams in the Final Four? 

MD: "Yes. I think that Virginia takes care of Stony Brook, the Duke-Carolina winner goes, and I think Maryland – with the their energy and the way they play and if they shoot well – that’s a team finding a way to win right now."

Q: If there’s one key statistical category that Maryland needs to dominate against Notre Dame, what would it be?

MD: "Ground balls. Maryland ranks in the top three in the country in ground balls per game. They’re unbelievable on the ground, especially on ground balls in the defensive end. And this is where a guy like [redshirt junior long-stick midfielder] Brian Farrell is going to be a huge difference-maker, and same with [freshman long-stick midfielder] Jesse Bernhardt. Notre Dame’s strength is their midfield. We saw [junior] David Earl score five against Princeton. They’ve got [junior Zach] Brenneman and [senior Grant] Krebs. So it’s ground balls overall, but in particular, ground balls in their defensive end, getting the ball going from defense to offense."

Q: With two of the five finalists for the Tewaaraton Award getting bounced from the first round (Delaware senior attackman Curtis Dickson and Syracuse junior long-stick midfielder Joel White), should there be some consideration for expanding the future pool of finalists?

MD: "I’m not so sure that I would agree. Sometimes, you have to make tough decisions, and this is a year when there were a lot of really talented players. Curtis Dickson had 62 goals. He didn’t score against North Carolina, but look at the impact that he had on that game. He drew five penalties – three slashes, two interference calls, and he was doubled every time he even got within an inch of the ball. [Stony Brook junior midfielder] Kevin Crowley, a guy who scored three goals against Denver, put the team on his back when they needed him to score some goals. I bring those two up because I think those are the ones that people are scratching their heads about, but that’s because they’re from the non-traditional powers. So I don’t know if I necessarily agree with expanding it because I think you’re setting yourself up for a dangerous precedent. Who is to say that you’re going to have that many candidates next year? Whenever it comes down to things like the Tewaaraton and All-American, tough decisions have to be made. The committee made their decision, and you have to respect it."

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

May 19, 2010

Army getting some love, but getting ready for Cornell

Army’s first-round upset of 11-time reigning national champion Syracuse is still having reverberations around West Point.

During a conference call earlier Wednesday with Black Knights coach Joe Alberici and junior attackman Jeremy Boltus, junior defenseman Bill Henderson, sophomore midfielder Devin Lynch and junior goalkeeper Tom Palesky, the players explained that their cell phones and Facebook accounts were flooded with congratulatory messages after knocking off the No. 2 seed Orange, 9-8, in double overtime.

Alberici has had a few days to digest the importance of the victory to his program.

"It was a great win based on the amount of e-mail traffic and all of that and the significance to the whole Army family," he said. "You wear that jersey and carry around that flag, a lot of people relate to you. I think that’s pretty significant, but what I’ve encouraged our players and what I’ve done myself is we’ll put perspective on it and all of those things come June and July. We had Monday and the guys enjoyed that victory, and we came back Tuesday a very focused group on Cornell."

Army (11-5) meets No. 7 seed Cornell (11-5) in a quarterfinal on Sunday at 12 p.m. at Stony Brook’s Kenneth P. LaVelle Stadium. It’s another re-match for the Black Knights, who dropped regular-season decisions to both Syracuse (12-7 on Feb. 28) and the Big Red (12-11 in overtime on march 6).

"I think it’s a bit of a positive for us given the week," Alberici said. "We’ve got graduation this week, a few guys are in summer school, a few guys start their duties. So there’s a little difference there. It helps that we’re not starting from ground zero against Cornell. We have a little bit of knowledge about them, having played them. But they’ve changed significantly. They’ve got a lot of people in different positions, a lot of new guys playing. Their changes and who they are, are more significant than Syracuse’s were. Syracuse was pretty much the same lineup and doing a lot of the same things. With Cornell, obviously their core is still the same, but there’s a lot of quality players filling different roles for them right now."

If Army can get past the Big Red, the program’s first Final Four appearance awaits with either No. 3 seed Maryland or Notre Dame in the national semifinal. But Alberici said the team has avoided trying to look into the future.

"We looked at this at the beginning of the tournament as two two-game tournaments, and we’re standing by that," he said. "We were fortunate to get by the first round and really it’s about Cornell. There hasn’t been any talk in our locker room about anything beyond that. It’s about getting Cornell, and then that starts another two-game tournament on another weekend if we’re fortunate to do it."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:00 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Stevenson prepared for another dangerous opponent

Cabrini senior attackman Casey Grugan had entered last Saturday’s NCAA Division III Tournament second round averaging 3.6 goals and 5.3 points per game.

That average took a little slide during Stevenson’s 19-9 rout of the Cavaliers. The 18-1 Mustangs, the top-ranked team in the latest United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll but the No. 2 seed in the South region, limited Grugan, who registered 334 points in his career, to just one goal and zero assists.

Coach Paul Cantabene said much of the credit belonged to junior defenseman Evan Douglass.

"We thought Evan Douglass was going to do a great job on Grugan, which turned out to be the case," Cantabene said. "We really limited their offensive capacity, and that allowed us to put a lot of pressure on them, and once we got our shots falling, they’re not a great catch-up team, so we were able to extend out on them."

So what’s Stevenson’s reward? A quarterfinal contest with No. 5 Roanoke, which upended No. 3 seed and 2009 national finalist Gettysburg in the second round and boasts senior attackman Matt Quinton (a team-leading 54 goals and 65 points).

Quinton was shut out by junior defenseman Ian Hart in the Mustangs’ 18-9 thumping on March 27, and Cantabene said Quinton can expect the same match-up on Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Caves Athletic Complex in Owings Mills.

"He’s a great off-ball player, and he has an extremely slick stick, and he can shoot it really well," Cantabene said of Quinton. "I thought we just did a good job of limiting his opportunities. That really kept them off the boards. We don’t expect keep him off the boards again. We just hope to limit his opportunities again and hopefully in the end, we’ll be one-goal better."

Other notes:

*As mentioned before, the quarterfinal is a re-match of an earlier meeting in the regular season. Because of that, Cantabene said he doesn’t expect too many surprises from either team. "When you go into a game blind against a team you haven’t played before, you don’t really know what’s going to happen," he said. "I think playing them gives us an idea of what their abilities are and what they can do and what they’re going to do in certain situations. But they’re also going to be a real motivated team because we beat them by nine earlier in the season, and they’re going to want to come back and be ready to go."

*Fast starts have been something of a routine for Stevenson, which has jumped out to quick and sizable leads in 11 games this season. The Mustangs enjoyed a similar advantage against Roanoke, sprinting out to a 7-1 lead in the first quarter. "We might not be able to do that again, but we sure would like to get up on them and make them play quick and force them to take shots that they normally wouldn’t take," Cantabene said.

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

Defense provides foundation for offense at Salisbury

Salisbury has historically boasted some of the most explosive offenses in Division III history. And that’s no different this year as the offense ranks 14th in the country with a 16.2 average.

But the 19-1 Sea Gulls, the top seed in the NCAA Tournament, have also been buoyed by a stingy defense that is 17th in the nation with a 6.9 average. Only four opponents this season have scored 10 or more goals, and only one (Stevenson) walked away with a victory.

Coach Jim Berkman said the team’s prowess on offense is directly linked to the success of the defense.

"The reason the offense scores so many goals is because of the defense," he said. "… The defense generates possessions, and that’s always been the case here. If you look at the teams from 2003 to 2008, they gave up six or seven goals a game, and that’s it. They got the ball on the ground and they created situations on the other end so that we could score goals. So even though we’re scoring a lot of goals, it’s the defense that’s always done that. I’ve been very pleased with our defensive effort. We’ve kept some of the best teams in the country down to 10 goals, and we really believe that if we hold anybody to 10 goals, we should be winning the game."

Other notes:

*Salisbury will meet No. 4 seed Haverford on Wednesday at 7:30 in a tournament quarterfinal. Berkman half-joked that he is already well-prepared for the Fords (12-5) because they bring back the same team that lost, 16-10, to the Sea Gulls in the second round of last year’s NCAA Tournament. "They’re the exact same team because they lost no players from last year’s team," he said of Haverford, which upended Gettysburg, last spring’s national finalist, for the Centennial Conference Tournament championship. "Last year, they beat Gettyburg in the regular season and they won 13 games. So it’s an awful good team that is an experienced team."

*Berkman thinks the Fords have responded to new head coach Colin Bathory, who has installed a man-to-man, aggressive defense that departs from the traditional match-up zone defense that former coach Mike Murphy favored. The defense has also leaned on sophomore goalkeeper Joe Banno, who at 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds fills up much of the cage. Banno’s size will be test the Sea Gulls, Berkman said. "The big thing is, you’ve got to be patient," he said. "You can’t take the first shot that presents itself. When you come around the goal, you’ve got to get inside the hashes to shoot because if he’s holding the pipe, there really isn’t any space for those 45-degree angle shots. You’ve got to be a little more disciplined and maybe not take that first good shot, but maybe wait until you get that great shot. If you do that, I think that’s the key to beating them."

*Salisbury has welcomed back freshman attackman Eric Law, who missed 15 games because of a broken clavicle. Law, who compiled four goals and one assist in his first three contests, has scored three times and added an assist in the team’s wins against Washington College and Springfield. "The return of Eric Law definitely helps because that puts us in a position where we have seven scorers now," Berkman said. "He’s another kid who is a good finisher and a lacrosse player that hasn’t been in the mix since Feb. 27."

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

Maryland figures to get the Fighting from the Irish

Friday’s edition of The Sun will include a feature on the depth of Maryland’s midfield, but here is the first of a few posts on the No. 3 seed Terps’ path to the Final Four at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Memorial Day weekend.

To get there for the first time since 2006, Maryland (12-3) will have to get past Notre Dame (8-6), which upended No. 6 seed Princeton, 8-5, in the first round this past Sunday. Saturday’s quarterfinal contest at Princeton is a re-match of last year’s first-round meeting when the unseeded Terps travel to South Bend, Ind., and knocked off a Fighting Irish squad that had earned the No. 7 seed despite compiling a 15-0 record in the regular season.

Maryland coach Dave Cottle said Tuesday he fully expects Notre Dame to use the memory of that loss as motivation.

"We took a 15-0 team and upset them at their home place. You don’t think they’re going to take great pleasure and great enhusiasm in trying to reverse the favor to us?" he asked rhetorically. "They’re going to have the cause in this thing a little bit, and we’ve got to make sure that we’re going to have our reasons why we’re going to play really well. We’re going to focus in on Maryland. We’re not going to play the what-if game. We’re going to play the what-is game, and what is next for us is this practice."

Terps sophomore attackman Joe Cummings echoed that sentiment, saying, "They want to come and get us this year because that was a disappointing loss for their team. They’re going to come out firing against us. So we’re definitely going to have to bring our ‘A’ game."

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

May 18, 2010

Q&A with ESPN's Quint Kessenich

ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins All-American goalkeeper Quint Kessenich will ditch the studio this weekend and provide commentary for all four quarterfinal contests at Princeton on Saturday and Stony Brook on Sunday. Kessenich revealed his thoughts on ranking Army's win against Syracuse, Maryland's chances against Notre Dame and the worst surprise of the quarterfinal round.
Question: How would you rate Arm'y upset of No. 2 seed and 11-time reigning national champion Syracuse on Sunday?

Quint Kessenich: “The Army victory over Syracuse is one of the biggest playoff upsets I’ve seen. You can compare it to Delaware going down to Virginia in 2007, but very few 1 and 2 seeds have lost a home game in the NCAA Tournament. This Army team is radically improved. They opened the season 1-4, went on a great win streak, and beat Navy twice – which is really special. They have found a way to win close games. They’ve been involved in eight one-goal games. They have some star players in [junior attackman] Jeremy Boltus, [freshman attackman] Garrett Thul and [junior goalkeeper]Tom Palesky. They have a really tight defense, and they’re battle-tested now. There’s a certain confidence there, and they’re a great story.”

Q: Any other surprising developments from the first round?

QK: “Delaware was the sexy upset pick, and they’ve really changed the way they played, and they really gave North Carolina all that they could handle. All of a sudden, North Carolina’s defense is really struggling. They’ve given up about 13 goals a game in their last five games. They’re not the same team that they were in March. [Junior attackman] Billy Bitter had trouble with his traction, but it was a gutty win by North Carolina. But they’re going to have to play significantly better if they’re going to beat Duke. And I was really impressed with Virginia in terms of their sharpness. Amid all these distractions, amid the tragedy, they came out and were very crisp. Their legs looked fresh, they looked fast. They played much better and they were more efficient than I would have guessed.”

Q: How dangerous is Notre Dame to Maryland’s hopes of reaching the Final Four for the first time since 2006?

QK: “Notre Dame is a team that plays excellent defense, and they protect the middle of the field and allow their [senior] goalie Scott Rodgers to make saves from 10 yards and out. They pack it in and they really condense the defense. So the challenge for Maryland is going to be to get to the middle of the field and generate quality shots. It’s not quantity. Princeton took 37 shots, but very few were from the inside or the middle of the field. Because Rodgers is so big, you can’t take those severe-angle shots. He just fills up the goal too much. Maryland’s focus will be to get to the middle of the field. Notre Dame’s not a high-scoring offense. They’ve got a couple good players. [Junior midfielder] David Earl really turned it up a notch the other day. [Senior attackman] Grant Krebs and [junior midfielder] Zach Brenneman are their stars, but Notre Dame is a tricky team in that they can score in transition if you give them opportunities. So Maryland has just got to play their typical game and try to wear Notre Dame down. I’m really impressed with Maryland’s intangibles this year. They’re really a team relying less and less on their stars and getting contributions from a lot of different people. They have a certain mental toughness where they don’t always play well and yet they find ways to win. At times, they look like they’re struggling, and then they seem to fight through it.”

Q: Which quarterfinal game this weekend will yield the least surprising result?

QK: “I would make Duke the biggest favorite of the weekend. That may sounds surprising, but I see two teams who are potentially going in different directions. Carolina won the regular-season game in Durham, and yet I think that if Duke can make a couple saves, they can win that ball game. I think Stony Brook is capable of giving Virginia a game at home. That’s a very skilled Stony Brook team. I’m not sure their team speed and goaltending is where they need to be to pull the upset off. We’ll see. I think Notre Dame can muck it up against Maryland and keep that game close. And I think the Cornell-Army game is a toss-up. So right now, I see Duke on the improve, and I see Carolina sputtering towards the finish line.”

Q: What were your thoughts on Virginia senior defenseman Ken Clausen, Stony Brook junior midfielder Kevin Crowley, Duke fifth-year senior attackman Ned Crotty, Delaware senior attackman Curtis Dickson and Syracuse junior long-stick midfielder Joel White making the list as the five finalists for the Tewaaraton Award?

QK: “I talked to the [nominating] committee members and they recommended that the Tewaaraton Committee have eight finalists this year because of the nature of this year. There are a lot of exceptional players, and to pick it with four games left in the season, they felt that certain athletes should have been finalists. But the committee said it was too difficult from a logistical standpoint to invite eight families to the Tewaaraton banquet and do that. If it were up to me this year, I think you need a little flexibility. [Sophomore attackman] Rob Pannell of Cornell has to be a Tewaaraton finalist. I just don’t see any way around that. To me, [Duke senior attackman] Max Quinzani is a quality player, and had Syracuse won [Sunday] night, I think everyone would have been screaming for [junior goalkeeper] John Galloway. So I would just encourage the committee to be a little more flexible in their selections. Guys like Rob Pannell, John Galloway and Billy Bitter should be in that mix.”
Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland, Q&A
        

May 17, 2010

Postscript from Johns Hopkins at Duke

Johns Hopkins’ regular-season finish with two victories earned the school its 39th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, but it couldn’t mask the team’s deficiences against a top-tier opponent.

The Blue Jays got pounded by No. 5 seed Duke, 18-5, in the first round on Saturday, absorbing the program’s worst loss in the postseason. And Johns Hopkins’ weaknesses were on full display as the Blue Devils won almost every major statistical category.

"The things that we struggled with throughout the year came back to haunt us, and when you get to the playoffs, you’re playing against very good teams no matter what seed you have or they have," coach Dave Pietramala said. "When you get to this point in the season, teams are capable of exploiting your weaknesses, and the things that we struggled with were exploited in that game. We struggled between the boxes this year. We had difficulty off the ground, off face-offs, off the wings, and all three of those places were detrimental to us in that game."

Pietramala said the team had pointed to five areas for success against Duke: winning face-offs, collecting groundballs, limiting attackmen Ned Crotty, Max Quinzani and Zach Howell, preventing transition, and clearing the ball.

The Blue Devils won 18-of-27 face-offs, scooped up 20 more groundballs, scored goals off transition, and got a combined eight goals and eight assists from Crotty (2, 6), Quinzani (4, 1) and Howell (2, 1). The only area that Johns Hopkins thrived in was clears, where the team succeeded on 19-of-20 attempts.

Pietramala said the re-emegence of the Blue Jays’ flaws was disheartening.

"The outcome is a result of the play, so I’m disappointed by our play," he said. "Early on, I felt like we were hanging around, and I felt like that’s what we needed to do against this team. It was 6-3, and then bang, bang, we gave up two to make 8-4 at the end of the [second] quarter, and then it’s 9-4, 10-4 at the start of the third quarter. I’m disappointed that we kind of reverted back to many of the mistakes that we made throughout the year rather than what we did in the last two games."

Other notes:

*Freshman goalkeeper Pierce Bassett started the final seven games for Johns Hopkins, compiling a .536 save percentage and a 9.90 goals-against average. With sophomores Steven Burke and Guy Van Syckle and incoming Under Armour All-American Eric Schneider in the fold, Pietramala said the starting job is Bassett’s to lose. "The best guy is always going to play, but Pierce has earned himself a starting position there," Pietramala said. "I’ll be honest with you, I think the young man did a very good job. I don’t think we helped him a whole heck of a lot on Saturday, and I would not fault him one bit. We’re very confident in him, Steven Burke and Guy Van Syckle. We think we have three talented goalies and a young one coming in [Schneider], and in the end, you go into it where here’s the guy at the position and he works to keep it or someone works to take it. I don’t think we need to go in say, ‘Open competition.’ Open competition says he didn’t do a good job. He did a good job, but we’re always looking to improve ourselves in an area. So if someone comes back and proves he is the better person for the job – whether that’s at attack, midfield or defense – then that’s what we’ll do."

*2010 will likely be remembered as the worst in program history. The eight losses are a school-record high, and the 7-8 record is the first sub-.500 finish since the 1971 squad went 3-7. Pietramala acknowledged that frustration among the players and coaches boiled over. "We were all frustrated at times, and it came out in our play," he said. "For us, it’s not a matter of showing our frustration. Now it’s a matter of figuring out why it happened and what we’re going to do to fix it. And you mark my words, we’re going to fix it."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:05 PM | | Comments (17)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Postscript
        

Impact from Sunday's surprises

Sunday yielded some shocking results as Army knocked off 11-time reigning national champion and No. 2 seed Syracuse, 9-8, in double overtime and Notre Dame thwarted No. 6 seed Princeton, 8-5.

It’s only the third time in the history of the NCAA Tournament that two unseeded teams have bounced seeded teams from the first round. In 1990, Rutgers edged No. 6 seed Virginia, 7-6, and Princeton nipped No. 7 seed Johns Hopkins, 9-8. In 2008, Navy surprised No. 4 seed North Carolina, 8-7, and Ohio State dumped No. 8 seed Cornell, 15-7.

Syracuse (13-2), which was attempting to join the 1978-80 Johns Hopkins teams, the 1988-90 Syracuse squads and the 1996-98 Princeton teams as the only squads to capture three straight national titles, became the fourth reigning champion to fall in the first round.

In 1999, 1998 titlist Princeton lost to Syracuse, 7-5. In 2005, 2004 champion Syracuse was edged by Massachusetts, 16-15. In 2007, 2006 titlist Virginia fell to Delaware, 14-8.

Army (11-5) collected its first tournament victory since beating Maryland, 15-13, in 1993. The Black Knights, the Patriot League regular-season and tournament champions, will meet No. 7 seed Cornell (11-5) on Sunday at 12 p.m. at Stony Brook and are aiming for their third Final Four appearance in the program’s history (1971, 1984).

Notre Dame (8-6) earned its first tournament win since defeating Johns Hopkins, 13-9, in 2001. The Fighting Irish will take on No. 3 seed Maryland (12-3) on Saturday at 12 p.m. at Princeton and are looking for only their second Final Four berth in school history (2001).

Update: As pointed out by "Laxxreff," Sunday's outcome marks the fourth time two unseeded teams won in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. In 2007, Delaware ambushed No. 2 seed Virginia, 14-8, and UMBC stunned No. 7 Maryland, 13-9. My apologies.

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:50 AM | | Comments (7)
        

Postscript from Mount St. Mary's at Virginia

Remember those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books where you, as the reader, would make choices for the main character and determine his/her outcome? Tom Gravante wishes he had had that option Saturday night when his Mount St. Mary’s team took on top seed and overwhelming favorite Virginia in a NCAA tournament first-round game.

Instead, the Cavaliers (15-1) crafted an 18-4 rout in dominating fashion and Gravante could only guess what might have been different if junior Ben Trapp had scored off the opening faceoff instead of getting his shot snuffed by junior goalkeeper Adam Ghitelman.

"That might have changed the course of the game a little bit," Gravante said. "You’re left wondering what might have been if we scored the first goal of the game like that."

Still, Gravante knew that one goal – as significant as it might have been – didn’t provide enough of a cushion against a Virginia squad blessed with talent and experience at nearly every position.

"To win that game, we had to be perfect," he said. "We had to be 50 percent better on faceoffs, we had to be 50 percent better on ground balls, we had to be 90 percent in clearing, and we could not give up any transition goals. … At the end of halftime, we were 0-for-4. We gave up transition goals, we were less than 90 percent clearing, we were less than 50 percent facing off, and we were less than 50 percent on ground balls. Against a team like UVA, which is so athletic, I’m sure that teams facing them next, their goals will have to be the same to be in a game with these kids."

Other notes:

*While playing in front of a pro-Cavaliers crowd of 3,355 might be daunting to some, Gravante said his players were thrilled to do their part in turning the focus back to lacrosse. The Virginia team and the Charlottesville, Va., community has been under intense scrutiny since former midfielder George Huguely was charged with homicide in the death of women’s lacrosse player and Cockeysville native Yeardley Love, but Saturday night was an opportunity to honor Love and return to some degree of normality. "I thought the public support that night was fantastic for the game and for the UVA men’s lacrosse team, Coach Starsia and the players," Gravante said. " … It was just a tremendous atmosphere despite the incident. The support there was wonderful, and my kids appreciated it. I don’t think it was a factor in our performance."

*The Mountaineers’ 12-5 season included the program’s first Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament championship and automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament since 2003. It also paid tribute to Jeannie Schmidt, the mother of junior Justin and sophomore twins Brett and Bryant Schmidt who lost her battle with colon cancer in November. Perhaps fittingly, Mount St. Mary’s captured the conference title and the automatic qualifer May 9 -- Mother’s Day. "It was a great season," Gravante said. " … At the start of the season, we dedicated it to Jeannie Schmidt, and the boys finished it. They finished it on Mother’s Day last Sunday. It was a perfect ending to a fantastic season."

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's, Postscript
        

May 16, 2010

Postscript from Loyola at Cornell

Lacrosse is often referred to as a game of runs. It can also be described as a game of inches.

That’s just one storyline embedded in No. 12 Loyola’s 11-10 triple overtime loss to No. 7 Cornell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday afternoon.

Perhaps the most memorable play occurred in the second overtime when senior attackman Cooper MacDonnell took a left-handed jump shot from the right wing that buzzed past Big Red freshman goalkeeper A.J. Fiore but caromed off the right post. A few inches to the right, and the Greyhounds (9-5) -- not Cornell (11-5) -- would be getting ready for a quarterfinal meeting with either No. 1 Syracuse or No. 20 Army.

"I thought as a team, we had a couple chances," Loyola coach Charley Toomey recalled. "Whether it was [senior midfielder] Taylor Ebsary humming one over the pipe or Cooper just off-pipe or [senior attackman] Collin [Finnerty] low-to-high missing one, we had some chances in overtime to put that thing away. But you’ve got to give Cornell credit. They got it done on their end. It was probably a way you didn’t anticipate the game ending. You expected it to probably be in Cooper’s hands or [Big Red sophomore attackman Rob] Pannell’s hands or [Cornell sophomore midfielder Roy] Lang’s hands or Taylor’s hands, and the game ends with a defenseman [junior Max Feely] going all the way."

Toomey, who had just wrapped up a meeting with his players, had mixed emotions about the team’s final game of the season. He appreciated the way the Greyhounds bounced back from a 9-2 deficit in the third quarter to send the game into extra frames, but he pointed out the 25-minute, 25-second stretch when the Big Red scored seven unanswered goals.

Likewise, Toomey said the season left him both satisfied and wanting.

"To be able to open Ridley [Athletic Complex], to be able for this program to go back to the tournament for the third time in four years, that was exciting," he said. "But we certainly didn’t reach all of our goals, and that would be to advance in the tournament and to win the [automatic qualifier] out of our conference [the Eastern College Athletic Conference]. So we’ve got to re-evaluate some things and look to improve and take that next step next season. We fell short in some areas that we’re going to hold ourselves accountable for as coaches, and we’re going to come back and be ready to attain those goals."

Other notes:

*Toomey said he wasn’t surprised by the play of fifth-year senior goalkeeper Alex Peaty, who surrendered just two goals and made eight saves in more than 45 minutes of play in regulation. "That’s the guy we’ve always felt Alex was," Toomey said. "He’s a very even-keeled kid. When he’s in there, he plays with high energy, and it was easy to look down [the sideline] at him and say, ‘Hey are you ready to go?’ He just gave me that nod as if to say, ‘Yeah, I’ve been ready.’ And then he just went out there and did what we knew he could do, which was to hold Cornell at bay for a little while and give us a chance to claw back in."

*Peaty’s play raised questions about whether junior Jake Hagelin is the long-term answer in the cage. The Havre de Grace native and Boys’ Latin graduate played superbly during the team’s 9-2 start but allowed 27 goals and made just 10 saves in the last three contests -- all of which were Loyola losses. But Toomey made it clear that he has no such questions about Hagelin. "You don’t go from being a Tewaaraton list guy to being thrown aside that quickly," Toomey said. "Yeah, Jake’s our guy, and I make no bones about it. I’m not even going to say there’s a competition. The competition is going to be for us to allow Jake to make the first save. As I said in the press conference yesterday, that wasn’t Jake Hagelin not standing on his head. That was the defense not giving him a chance to play. Loyola played a different 30 minutes in the second half than they did in the first half, and unfortunately, Jake was in there when we weren’t playing very well."

*Junior midfielder Eric Lusby appeared to have torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the fourth quarter against Cornell and is scheduled to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging exam when the swelling subsides. Toomey said he wasn’t sure whether the Severna Park native and graduate would be ready at the start of next season. "You certainly look at the six-month mark as being one of those benchmarks, but the nine-month benchmark puts us out in January, and that’s what we’re hopeful of," Toomey said. "We hope in January, he’ll be released to go full speed."

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:10 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola, Postscript
        

Postscript from Hofstra at Maryland

Maryland’s attack gets a lot of attention and rightfully so. That unit has helped the offense rank 10th in Division I with an 11.8 average entering Saturday’s first-round game against Hofstra in the NCAA Tournament.

But the defense deserves a few headlines, too. That unit, which ranked 10th after surrendering 8.5 goals per game prior to Saturday, limited the No. 19 Pride to a season-low eight goals in a three-goal victory for the No. 3 Terps.

Junior defenseman Ryder Bohlander shut out Hofstra junior attackman Jamie Lincoln, the team’s leader in goals (33) and points (53), and junior attackman Stephen Bentz didn’t register a point against junior Max Schmidt.

"I thought Ryder Bohlander did a really good job on Jamie Lincoln," Maryland coach Dave Cottle said. "He stayed in front of him, and when he dipped under, he didn’t let him get anything. I think he had one under shot. If he got by us, we wanted him to take us top-side a little bit."

Pride junior attackman Jay Card scored four goals on junior defenseman Brett Schmidt, but two of those goals occurred in the final 71 seconds of regulation.

"They did a great job of getting in our hands and pressuring the ball," Card said. "I know our whole attack found it difficult to kind of get in a groove because they were always in our hands. It was just hard to operate and get into our sets with that happening."

Hofstra coach Seth Tierney said the team ran plays to persuade the Terps to slide, but Bohlander would not budge from Lincoln, and the other defensemen mostly stayed true to their assignments.

"I thought we had a lot of opportunities," Tierney said. "If it’s not one guy, it’s another on their defense that steps up and makes a play. Or their goalie will come up and make a save on a lay-up-type look. … They keep coming at you. They’re tough. They’re a tough lacrosse team."

Other notes:

*Four of Maryland’s goals came off transition situations. Redshirt junior long-stick midfielder Brian Farrell’s goal gave the Terps a 1-0 lead with 11:31 left in the first quarter, and tallies from sophomore midfielder Jake Bernhardt, senior midfielder Dean Hart and junior attackman Ryan Young also occurred during transtion. "I think transition is a big part of our game," Cottle said. "Our poles can pick the ball off the ground and run and they can score. We have to get transition in order to be effective."

*Senior Bryn Holmes won 15-of-22 face-offs, matching his career high when he won 15-of-21 draws against Navy on April 10. And Holmes thrived in a match-up against Hofstra freshman John Antoniades, who entered the game tied for 18th: in the country with a .562 percentage. Cottle said he has discovered the key to Holmes’ success. "I’ve figured out the way to really get him going is to make fun of him, telling him that there’s no way he can beat this guy. And when I do that, he shows me wrong each week. We’ve been a good groundball team all year and a good face-off team and a good clearing team, and Bryn has stepped up."

*The Pride were in the game on Saturday due to the play of sophomore goalkeeper Andrew Gvozden, the Severna Park native and graduate who made 13 saves. It was a welcome departure from earlier in the season when he was benched after the season opener and didn’t return to the starter’s role until April 6. "This season has kind of been a roller-coaster kind of season for me," Gvozden said. "I felt like at the beginning of the season, it dropped, and I still stuck it out and waited. When I got my shot again, I had two games where I played really well and then I had a couple games where I didn’t crack 50 percent, which is what you’re shooting for. But when you make the playoffs, none of that matters. You’ve still got a chance anyway. So when they still stuck with me for this game, I knew I had to come out and make a lot of saves because when you’re goinng against a team with a lot of shooters and big guys, they’re not going to stop, and that’s pretty much what they did. They just kept it going, and after a while, our defense – I don’t want to say we got too tired, but after a while, all of those shots and all of those one-on-ones start to get to you."

*One of the funniest lines from the post-game conference came from Hofstra coach Seth Tierney, who compared some of the Terps’ larger players to certain kitchen appliances. "There are some big boys on that team," he said in an obvious reference to 6-foot-6, 260-pound attackman Will Yeatman, 6-5, 240-pound attackman Grant Catalino, 6-5, 205-pound long-stick midfielder Brian Farrell and 6-4, 220-pound Max Schmidt. "Over 60 minutes, they lay on you. Gets tough to bench-press some of those refrigerators out there."

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

May 15, 2010

Hofstra at Maryland: Halftime thoughts

No. 3 Maryland leads No. 19 Hofstra 4-3 in an NCAA tournament first-round contest at Byrd Stadium in College Park, and the only reason the Terps, the No. 3 seed in the tournament, aren’t enjoying a larger advantage is because of Andrew Gvozden.

The Pride’s sophomore goalkeeper has been simply amazing, turning away 10 of Maryland’s shots in the first half. Gvozden, a Severna Park native and graduate, was especially mesmerizing in the second quarter, when he denied the Terps six times.

He blocked away shots by senior attackman Will Yeatman and sophomore mifielder Drew Snider in the slot, stopped a blast from freshman long-stick midfielder Jesse Bernhardt off of a faceoff, and swallowed an offering from junior midfielder Dan Hart, who was allowed to run uninhibited down the right alley.

Hofstra's season high in saves by a player is 11 by Gvozden against Delaware and freshman Rob Bellairs against St. John's. Maryland has got to figure out Gvozden, who had surrendered 42 goals in his previous four games.

Other notes:

*It has not been a good afternoon for junior defenseman Brett Schmidt, who got duped on an inside roll by Hofstra junior attackman Stephen Bentz and fell for a fake by junior attackman Jay Card for that team’s second and third goals. Meanwhile, Terps junior defenseman Ryder Bohlander has shut out junior attackman Jamie Lincoln, the Pride’s leader in goals (33) and points (53).

*Hofstra’s oft-criticized defense has been holding up well. Freshman defenseman Cody Solaja has allowed Maryland junior attackman Grant Catalino to score just once, senior defenseman Christian Scuderi has surrendered just one assist to junior attackman Ryan Young, and junior defenseman Mike Skudin has permitted the duo of Yeatman and junior attackman Travis Reed to record just one assist.

*The Terps are winning several statistical categories including shots (22-14), groundballs (19-8), faceoffs (5-3) and turnovers (2-5).

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

Mount St. Mary's at Virginia: Three things to watch

Mount St. Mary’s and Virginia have squared off every regular season for the past six years, and the Cavaliers have won each meeting. The Mountaineers’ first tournament victory depends on if they can up upset top-seeded Virginia. The winner of Saturday’s contest at 7:30 p.m. at Klockner Stadium in Charlottesville, Va., will move onto a quarterfinal game against either No. 8 seed Stony Brook (12-3) or Denver (12-4) on Sunday, May 23 at either 12 or 2:30 p.m. at Stony Brook.

1. One key to a Mount St. Mary’s win: Some would consider the team’s first Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament crown and NCAA Tournament appearance since 2003 would be a moral victory for the Mountaineers (12-4). But Mount St. Mary’s has the offense (averaging 11 goals per game, which is tied for 16th in Division I), the goalkeeper (junior T.C. DiBartolo leads the country with a .606 save percentage) and the optimism that springs from youth. If the Mountaineers can keep the game close into the second half, maybe the Cavaliers begin playing a little tighter and start making mistakes.

2. One key to a Virginia win: Talent and skill are never a question with the Cavaliers (14-1), who boast some of the country’s best players at every position. But considering the emotional trauma rippling from the death of Virginia women’s lacrosse player and Cockeysville native Yeardley Love and the distraction of the media scrutiny poring over midfielder George Huguely who has been charged with homicide in the case, will the men’s team be focused without being hyperactive? The Cavaliers will likely draw strength from overwhelming public sentiment, but they need to play with poise and determination.

3. One key match-up: There are several interesting "games within the game" as DiBartolo will try to outshine Virginia junior goalie Adam Ghitelman, and sophomore attackman Cody Lehrer could see a lot of Cavaliers senior defenseman and Tewaaraton Award finalist Ken Clausen. But keep an eye on the chess match between senior defenseman Matt Nealis and Virginia sophomore attackman Steele Stanwick. Stanwick, the Loyola graduate is the offensive quarterback who leads the team with 23 assists. Nealis surrendered just one combined goal to Manhattan’s James Synowiecz and Siena’s Ryan Duggan in the MAAC Tournament.

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

Loyola at Cornell: Three things to watch

The last time Loyola played against Cornell, the year was 1962 – nine years before the creation of the NCAA Tournament. The Greyhounds have earned a berth in the tournament for the third time in the last four years, but haven’t advanced to the quarterfinals since 1999. The winner of Saturday’s contest at 2:30 p.m. at Schoellkopf Field in Ithaca, N.Y., will move onto a quarterfinal game against either No. 2 seed Syracuse (13-1) or Army (10-5) on Sunday, May 23 at either 12 or 2:30 p.m. at Stony Brook.

1. One key to a Loyola win: The Greyhounds (9-4) have thrived because their attack has been so explosive. But in the last two contests, seniors Collin Finnerty and Cooper MacDonnell and junior Matt Langan have been almost invisible. Finnerty has taken eight shots without a goal and recorded one assist, MacDonnell went 1-of-14, added an assist, and committeed five turnovers, and Langan went 1-of-6 with zero assists and four turnovers. With senior midfielder Chris Basler (shoulder/concussion) expected to play at less than 100 percent, Finnerty, MacDonnell and Langan must be on top of their game.

2. One key to a Cornell win: The Big Red (9-5) have overcome the graduation of its starting midfield of Max Seibald, John Glynn and Rocco Romero and defenseman Michael Moyer courtesy of an opportunistic offense and a stingy defense. But the team has been susceptible to allowing opponents to rally back from deficits. Syracuse trailed Cornell, 7-5, with 9:11 left in the fourth quarter, but the Orange scored the last three goals to win. The Big Red withstood a 6-1 comeback by Princeton to win by one goal in the regular season, but the Tigers outscored Cornell, 7-2, in the second half and overtime to capture the Ivy League Tournament championship. If the Big Red gets a sizable lead on Loyola, the team will have to tighten the screws and prevent another rally.

3. One key match-up: Cornell sophomore attackman Rob Pannell ranks second among Division I players in assists (45) and fourth in points per game (4.7). His ability to distribute the ball and beat defensemen usually demands the attention of an opponent’s best defender. In the Greyhounds’ case, that assignment would normally fall to senior Steve Layne, but he likely won’t be 100 percent after missing the previous two contests. So if Layne doesn’t get matched up Pannell, could redshirt junior Steve Dircks get the call?

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

Johns Hopkins at Duke: Three things to watch

Johns Hopkins is 3-1 against Duke in the NCAA Tournament, winning in the championship final in 2005 and 2007 and ending the Blue Devils’ hopes in 2008. Duke, which earned the No. 5 seed, is 9-3 in the first round, while the Blue Jays have lost just once in the first round, falling to Princeton in 1990. The winner of Saturday’s contest at 12 p.m. at Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C., will move onto a quarterfinal game against either No. 4 seed North Carolina (12-2) or Delaware (10-6) on Saturday, May 22 at either 12 or 2:30 p.m. at Princeton.

1. One key to a Johns Hopkins win: The Blue Jays (7-7) limped their way into the postseason, but are granted a fresh opportunity in the tournament. The team has struggled to win the battle over groundballs, collecting 387 to opponents’ 411 this season. Johns Hopkins, which is 5-1 when it finishes with more loose balls than its opponents, will have to deal with Duke, which has scooped up 587 groundballs to opponents’ 446. Whether the Blue Jays have the speed and strength to beat the Blue Devils at loose balls could determine whether Johns Hopkins will advance to the quarterfinals for the 20th consecutive year.

2. One key to a Duke win: The Blue Devils (12-4) has one of the most explosive attack units in the country in senior Max Quinzani (57 goals and 12 assists) fifth-year senior Ned Crotty (17, 51) and junior Zach Howell (41, 15). But the attack must get support from the midfield, which seems to have fortified its production lately. Sophomore midfielder Justin Turri (14, 13) paces the first line, but senior Jonathan Livadas (8, 10), senior Steve Schoeffel (12, 3), senior Mike Catalino (10, 1) and sophomore Robert Rotanz (7, 3) need to play well and relieve some of the pressure off of the attack.

3. One key match-up: Johns Hopkins has relied on senior attackman Steven Boyle (30, 22) and senior midfielder Michael Kimmel (23, 16) to power the offense. Duke will probably counter with senior defenseman Parker McKee (team highs with 28 caused turnovers and 89 groundballs) and sophomore long-stick midfielder C.J. Costabile (7 caused turnovers and 51 groundballs). Can junior attackman Kyle Wharton (7 goals in his last two games) and sophomore attackman Tom Palasek (2 goals and 2 assists in the same span) take advantage?

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Hofstra at Maryland: Three things to watch

Maryland and Hofstra haven’t met since 2000 with the Terps winning eight of nine meetings. Maryland, the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, has been bounced from the first round only once since 1995, but that took place in 2007. The winner of Saturday’s contest at 12 p.m. at Byrd Stadium in College Park will move onto a quarterfinal game against either No. 6 seed Princeton (11-4) or Notre Dame (7-6) on Saturday, May 22 at either 12 or 2:30 p.m. at Princeton.

1. One key to a Hofstra win: The Pride (9-4) and Maryland are mirror images of each other in that the attack units power the offense. That’s especially true for Hofstra, which relies on junior attackmen Jamie Lincoln (33 goals and 20 assists), Jay Card (27, 22) and Stephen Bentz (28, 12) to account for 50.9 percent of the team’s goals and 52.4 percent of the assists. Those three are particularly adept at moving off-ball and creating scoring opportunities when opposing defensemen are keep track of the ball carrier. They’re going to need to combine for another huge performance for the Pride to advance out of the first round for the first time since 2006.

2. One key to a Maryland win: The Terps (11-3) appear to be at full strength with the return of senior Will Yeatman from a concussion, which could bode well. Hofstra may surrender an average of 8.9 goals per game, but the defense has allowed double-digit goals in each of its last four contests. Sophomore Andrew Gvozden opened the season as the starting goalkeeper, was replaced by freshman Rob Bellairs for seven games, and then reassumed the starting role for the last five contests. The lack of continuity in the net should be an area that Maryland tries to attack on Saturday.

3. One key match-up: The Terps are 7-0 this season when they win more face-offs than their opponents and 9-1 when they collect more groundballs. Those two departments aren’t always related, but Maryland’s success has been built on effort and determination. That being said, the Terps’ face-off unit – led by senior Bryn Holmes – will have its hands full with a Hofstra face-off group powered by freshman John Antoniades, who has won 56.2 percent of re-starts (173-of-308), which is tied for 18th among Division I face-off specialists.

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May 14, 2010

Terps women take the big three ACC honors

Maryland won all three Atlantic Coast Conference women's lacrosse individual honors as Catilyn McFadden was named Player of the Year, Katie Schwarzmann, Freshman of the Year, and Cathy Reese shared Coach of the Year.

McFadden snared Player of the Year honors for a second straight season, adding to a superb resume that also includes national Midfielder of the Year in 2009 and two selections each as a Tewaaraton Trophy finalist, an All-American and the ACC Tournament MVP. The Notre Dame Prep graduate, a senior midfielder who played on the gold-medal winning U.S. World Cup team last summer, has scored at least one point in 44 straight games, the nation's 11th longest active streak.

Schwarzmann, last season's All-Metro Player of the Year from Century, earned a starting spot on a loaded Terps team and ranks fourth on the team in scoring. She has scored three game-winning goals and also plays a big role on a defense that allows just 6.68 goals per game.

Reese, a Mount Hebron graduate, earned a share of Coach of the Year honors for the third time in her four-year Terps career. She shared the award this season with North Carolina's Jenny Levy, a Roland Park graduate. Reese's record at Maryland stands at 78-9 and she has the Terps opening the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 seed for the first time since Maryland won the last of seven straight titles in 2001 -- with Reese in the lineup.

The Terps are used to reeling in the ACC accolades as Dana Dobbie won two straight Player of the Year awards just before McFadden and Karri Ellen Johnson (Broadneck) was last season's Freshman of the Year. McFadden is the third player in ACC history to win the award twice after Maryland's Jen Adams (2000, 2001), Duke's Katie Chrest (Maryvale; 2005, 2006) and Dobbie (2007, 2008).

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Stevenson well-prepared for Cabrini's Grugan

Cabrini senior attackman Casey Grugan has registered 96 points this season, matching the school’s single-season record that he set last spring. He has also posted at least one point in a nation-leading 75 straight contests and has scored a goal in a Division III-record 72 consecutive games.

Fortunately, for the South region’s No. 2 seed in Stevenson, the Mustangs (17-1) have dealt with their fair share of potent opponents.

They shut out Roanoke’s Matt Quinton, who has compiled 52 goals and 62 points this season, and they limited Salisbury’s Sam Bradman (54 and 25) to just one goal and one assist in the Capital Athletic Conference Tournament final.

"We’ve played a lot of good players before," Stevenson coach Paul Cantabene said. "… I don’t think you try to stop him, but you just try to contain him. Hopfeully, he doesn’t go for 5 [goals] and 5 [assists]. You just want to limit his looks a little bit, limit the quality shots, and try to make him shoot with pressure on him and without letting him get his hands free."

The Mustangs haven’t played since May 1, but Cantabene thinks the chance to heal and refine their game has been more beneficial than trying to rebound from a Wednesday game and play on Saturday as the Cavaliers will be doing after they outlasted Denison, 10-7.

"We’re not as beat up," Cantabene said. "Denison’s a pretty physical team, so hopefully, they knocked them around a little bit and they’ve got a few more bruises and stuff. But once you get into these games and the energy starts going, I don’t think there’s an advantage of disadvantage. So we’re going to have to play pretty well to beat them."

Cantabene said a victory could depend on results at the face-off X and in the net. Junior Mike Gurenlian won 12-of-14 face-offs for Cabrini, and freshman goalkeeper Erick Zarzecki finished with 10 saves, including five in the fourth quarter.

"I think we have to win face-offs and keep them from controlling the ball and being patient," Cantabene said. "They’ve got a freshman goalie and if we can shoot the ball and get a few on him early, maybe we can get him rattled. So I think goalie play and face-offs are going to be a huge aspect of this game."

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Salisbury seeks to use element of unfamiliarity to its advantage

Salisbury coach Jim Berkman didn’t have a rooting interest in the NCAA Tournament first-round game between Widener and Springfield on Wednesday afternoon. But that didn’t mean that he wasn’t pleased when the Pride stifled Widener, 7-1.

That’s because the South region’s top-seeded Sea Gulls (18-1) like to play fast, and their overall speed usually catches first-time opponents off guard. Teams that have played Salisbury earlier in a season are generally prepared for the Sea Gulls’ penchant for frenetic, unsettled style of lacrosse.

"Obviously, if a team has been in an arena already, what mistakes they may have made, they’ll probably make adjustments," Berkman said. "If it’s the first time, you’re kind of feeling each other out. Is there more of a homefield advantage if they haven’t been here? Maybe."

Another advantage for Salisbury is that Springfield (13-5) will have just two days between the first- and second-round games to recover and prep for Saturday’s showdown at 7:30 p.m. Meanwhile, the Sea Gulls have been waiting since knocking off Washington College last Saturday.

"They played a tough game," Berkman said of the Pride. "Their players played the whole 60 minutes because it was 5-1 right there towards the end, and obviously, they had to play real hard to win the game. So there may be a cumulative effect when they jump on the bus [Friday] and drive eight hours and play again on Saturday. But the other thing is, that kids are pretty excited at this time of the year, and sometimes that excitement and energy outweighs tired legs. Also if you’re playing well – and I think they’re playing well right now – you don’t even want to practice. You just want to play."

The rest has been especially beneficial for sophomore defenseman Andrew Sellers, a Baltimore native and Archbishop Curley graduate who played last Saturday after missing six consecutive games because of an injured knee. Senior attackman Jake DeLillo (high ankle sprain) and senior face-off specialist Ryan Finch (pulled hamstring) are at about 95 percent, according to Berkman, but the return of Sellers enhances an already stingy Salisbury defense.

"Right now – knock on wood – there’s been no ill effects," Berkman said of Sellers’ knee. "He’s practiced the entire time extremely hard. I think he’s getting close to where he was prior to the injury – other than he has to wear a knee brace."

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:30 AM | | Comments (0)
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Underdog role motivates Johns Hopkins

Many have written off Johns Hopkins’ chances of upending No. 5 seed Duke in the first round of the NCAA Tournament this Saturday at 12 p.m., and the Blue Jays’ underdog status has not escaped the attention of the players and coaches.

"Nothing against them because they didn’t say it, but we heard people saying, ‘Well, it looks like Duke is going to have a tough second-round game against North Carolina’ – which immediately writes off us and Delaware," senior midfielder Michael Kimmel said. "I think Delaware is also a great team with some good players. Once you get into the playoffs, anything can happen. … We were relieved to make the playoffs and keep the streak going for 39 straight years at Hopkins, but at the same time, we’re not just satisfied with being in the tournament. That’s not what Hopkins is all about. We expect to battle and see what happens."

Added coach Dave Pietramala: "In the [ESPNU] broadcast, they talked about Duke playing Carolina. That doesn’t slip by players and coaches, but that’s OK. This is a [Blue Devils] team with a really veteran group. They’ve got fifth-year seniors and seniors. It is a very, very talented team. As many seniors they’re playing, we’re playing freshmen. So I understand why people are saying that, and it’s not like we’ve sprinted to the playoffs coming off an undefeated season. But the fact that people are counting you out a little bit, sure, you use that as motivation. Why wouldn’t you?"

If Johns Hopkins (7-7) hopes to upset Duke (12-4), the team could benefit from an appearance by its major freshman contributors on offense. In the last three contests, midfielders John Greeley and John Ranagan have combined for zero goals and one assist. Attackman Zach Palmer has also gone scoreless, but he has been dealing with an unspecified injury.

Pietramala dismissed the notion that the freshmen have run into the proverbial rookie wall.

"Do I think these guys are hitting the wall? No, no, I don’t feel that way," he said. "I don’t look at them at practice and think, ‘Oh, they’re really bad now.’ I just think the games have unfolded, and when you look at Towson and Loyola, where did a lot of the points come from? Those three guys [attackmen Steven Boyle and Kyle Wharton and midfielder Michael Kimmel] we just talked about. If those three guys are scoring a lot of goals, then obviously, the ball’s in their sticks a little bit more."

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Loyola gets special visit from Ravens' Cameron

Before Loyola players, coaches and staff piled onto a number of buses for the long road trip to Ithaca, N.Y., on Thursday evening, the Greyhounds got a special visit from Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.

Cameron was the guest speaker for the team’s 12 seniors, who will not be able to participate in Saturday’s commencement ceremony because they will be playing against No. 7 seed Cornell in a NCAA Tournament first-round contest.

"It was great," Loyola coach Charley Toomey said. "It was a well-done ceremony honoring our young men. I was just joking around with [WBAL Radio personality] Pete Gilbert on the radio that I might have a hard time getting our kids fired up to play after what he just did. For 35, 40 minutes, he had our team ready to play."

Toomey said Cameron urged the players to pursue their goals.

"He talked about when he had graduated from Indiana, he had graduated with a business degree, but in his heart, he knew he wanted to coach," Toomey said. "His first coaching position was for $9,000, and he made the decision to follow his heart. Now, he’s loving life every day with what he does, and that’s what he told them that they should do – following their dreams, following their hearts, and know that when you go to a school like Loyola, whatever you do, ethics will be a part of it. It was a great message for our guys. Then he challenged our guys to go up there and get a win."

The entire team was present for Cameron’s speech, which included a pep talk for Saturday’s contest.

"He told us to go up there, play defense, and get prepared," Toomey said. "He’s watched us play this year, and he knows that we’re a scrappy team. He said we need to play scrappy and we need to play solid defense – just like the Ravens."

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Loyola's Layne, Basler expected to play Saturday

One might speculate that Loyola’s two-game losing skid to end the regular season was linked to the absence of senior defenseman Steve Layne, who is dealing with a sprained knee.

Layne is expected to return just in time for the Greyhounds’ first-round game in the NCAA Tournament against No. 7 seed Cornell (9-5) on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

"I think he’s going to play," coach Charley Toomey said late Thursday as Loyola (9-4) traveled to Ithaca, N.Y. "The swelling is looking good. I’d be shocked if he doesn’t take the field, but to be honest with you, I was shocked when he went through warm-ups against [Johns] Hopkins [last Saturday] and then said he couldn’t play. I think you have to be prepared both ways, and we certainly are. But I know it’s in Steve’s heart to take the field on Saturday. It’s going to be tough to keep him off. But if he feels like he’s going to be a detriment to the team, he’s going to tell us. Nick DiSimile, who is a senior for us, is going to be ready to go."

Even if Layne plays, he may not be 100 percent, which is a less-than-ideal situation when Big Red sophomore attackman Rob Pannell is involved. Pannell has registered 25 goals and 45 assists and demands extra attention.

Toomey wouldn’t say whether Layne or redshirt junior Steve Dircks will be the one providing that attention.

"The one thing we’ve made a living doing is, we talk about match-ups going into a game, but we’re prepared because of the pick play below goal-line, to switch match-ups," he said. "The guys have to know all three players, whether that’s Rob or [senior] Ryan Hurley or [sophomore] Scott Austin or [freshman] Ross Gillum. They’ve thrown five guys out on attack, and we’ve got to prepare for all five of them. But just having Steve on the field as a leader – whether it’s Pannell or the other four – he’ll be ready to play. He’ll be ready to defend hard dodges."

Toomey also sounded optimistic that senior midfielder Chris Basler, who re-aggravated a prior shoulder injury and also suffered a concussion during practice, would also suit up Saturday.

"He’s going to try to play as well," Toomey said. "He went down with a concussion, and he’s been cleared by the trainers to go ahead and practice [Friday]. So we’re going to get him back into it with a little pre-game, something light. As a coach, you’re always concerned about guys who don’t have a full week of preparation, but having a senior like Chris Basler on the first midfield, if we have him where he’s able to play, we’re going to play him."

Finally, despite surrendering 19 goals and making just eight saves in the past two contests, junior goalkeeper Jake Hagelin is expected to start against Cornell. Toomey said his faith in Hagelin has not wavered even after he replaced Hagelin with senior Alex Peaty in the third quarter of Saturday’s 9-6 loss to Johns Hopkins.

"As a former goalie myself, I’ve always said that I don’t want to have a goalie looking over his shoulder and worrying about the coach," Toomey said. "That’s our decision and when we make it, we’re probably justified in making it. But Jake’s our guy, and he’s our leader. The guys play hard in front of them and now, I think it’s on their backs to play hard and allow Jake to get into the game where he can play with some confidence."

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Categories: Loyola
        

May 13, 2010

Outtakes from interview with Johns Hopkins' Kimmel

Friday’s edition of The Sun will include a feature on Johns Hopkins senior midfielder Michael Kimmel, who is a key cog in the Blue Jays’ first-round game against No. 5 seed Duke in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday. Here are a few nuggets that didn't get into the article.

What surprised me was that Kimmel played attack at Loyola. But the Towson native said he wasn’t shocked when coach Dave Pietramala informed him that he would be moved to the midfield.

"That’s just the way I played in high school," Kimmel said. "I almost always played up top, so it was just fitting that I would come and play midfield here.I played behind the net a little bit when I would invert with the short-stick [defensive midfielder], but other than that, my game was more fitting for playing midfield in college."

Kimmel said he was recruited by the traditional powers like Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Duke and Georgetown. But Syracuse never called.

"Syracuse never sent me anything," he said. "When I was in elementary school, I was a big fan of their program. It’s always been motivating, but I guess they recruit a lot of upstate kids and a few local Baltimore kids, but I wasn’t one of them. That’s how it goes sometimes. It can be humbling a little bit."

Kimmel, who is expected to be drafted by a Major Lacrosse League franchise at season’s end, said he would like to go out on a winning note.

"There definitely is pressure," he said. "There was pressure going into that last game and winning to make the playoffs. Watching the selection show was definitely a relief, but there’s still a ton of work to be done, and I definitely won’t be satisfied with anything other than a great effort down at Duke. They’re a great team, but I just want to see our team kind of put it together like we showed against Loyola a little bit, like we did against Albany."

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Mount St. Mary's getting prepped for wave of support behind Virginia

A cynic might say that two opponents await Mount St. Mary’s in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday night: top-seeded Virginia and public sentiment.

While the death of Cavaliers women’s lacrosse player and Cockeysville native Yeardley Love at the alleged hands of men’s lacrosse player George Huguely has opened discussion on the state of the sport, many lacrosse fans are openly rooting for Virginia to capture the national championship.

Mountaineers coach Tom Gravante is well aware of the public support behind the Cavaliers, but he said the team remains optimistic about its chances.

"I would like to say no," Gravante said in response to whether Mount St. Mary’s will be overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for Virginia. "We won a hell of a game [in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament final on Sunday], and I don’t want to pop our balloon. We are flying high right now, and we get an opportunity to play again. Right now, there are only 16 teams still playing, and that’s what I told my kids. Regardless of what happened down there, these kids really earned their opportunity to be the 16 seed, and I want them to enjoy every minute of it."

The Mountaineers and Cavaliers have met in the regular season for six consecutive seasons, and each game has been a family affair. Mount St. Mary’s assistant coach Max Van Arsdale’s uncle is Virginia associate head coach Marc Van Arsdale, and Van Arsdale and Gravante played together at Hobart.

"Marc was like a big brother," Gravante recalled. "… That’s how he’s always been. When I was at Hobart, he was a senior, and the guy really took me in. that was a growing-up process, and it was good to have him. So I’m always excited about going down there and seeing Coach [Dom] Starsia and Marc."

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:00 AM | | Comments (3)
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Dixon's analysis of finalists for Tewaaraton Award

In addition to providing expert analysis of the NCAA Tournament, ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins midfielder Mark Dixon was kind enough to discuss the list of five finalists for the Tewaaraton Award. Here is what Dixon had to say.

Question: What’s your assessment of the five finalists – Virginia senior defenseman Ken Clausen, Duke fifth-year senior attackman Ned Crotty, Stony Brook junior midfielder Kevin Crowley, Delaware senior attackman Curtis Dickson and Syracuse junior long-stick midfielder Joel White – for the Tewaaraton Award?

Mark Dixon: "Terrific players. It’s a strong list. I’m shocked that [North Carolina junior attackman] Billy Bitter is not on that list though. I don’t know how you can have five finalists for the Tewaaraton, and Billy Bitter is not part of it. The other big omission, I thought, was [Syracuse junior goalkeeper] John Galloway. He’s just been terrific all year long. I don’t know if a goalie has ever been a finalist for the Tewaaraton before, but if ever there was a year for that guy to be a finalist, it would have been this year. So those are two disappointing things, that Bitter and Galloway are not part of the conversation. … Kevin Crowley is terrific. He came out of nowhere. Everybody in Stony Brook and some of us lacrosse heads knew about him, but now he’s opened up to the rest of the country. Curtis Dickson has just carried this Delaware team into the NCAA Tournament. Clausen and White are both terrific defenders, although I am a little surprised that they ave two long poles with those finalists. And of course, Ned Crotty, everyone’s preseason favorite, has really put it together. Two other omissions I was surprised at – but I guess when you have to get down to five, you have to make some tough decisions – were [sophomore attackman] Rob Pannell from Cornell and [senior attackman] Max Quinzani from Duke. But I am really shocked that Billy Bitter is not on that list."

Q: No defenseman has ever won the Tewaaraton, and Hofstra midfielder Doug Shanahan is the only player to have won the Tewaaraton even though his team did not reach the Final Four. Would you agree that things seem to favor Crotty to win the award?

MD: "When I saw the list, I had a similar sentiment. But look, if Virginia can make a championship run with the story that’s going on with the Cavaliers right now, they’re going to have to play good defense to get it done and Ken Clausen could walk away with the Tewaaraton. It would be unprecedented. I think the only other long pole I can recall being nominated is Brodie Merrill when he was with Georgetown. Is it a conspiracy? I’m not ready to buy into that, but I think when you look at the lay of the land, it’s very feasible that Dickson and Crowley could be eliminated this coming weekend, and then you’ve got two defenders. So maybe you’re thinking conspiracy, but I’m not."

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Q&A with ESPN's Mark Dixon

ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins midfielder Mark Dixon is pulling double duty this weekend, providing commentary for No. 5 seed Duke’s first-round game against Johns Hopkins at Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C., this Saturday at 12 p.m. and for No. 4 seed North Carolina’s showdown with Delaware at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill, N.C., this Sunday at 5 p.m Dixon addressed the possibility of shifting criteria, the disadvantages of conference tournaments and the one player missing from the list of five finalists for the Tewaaraton Award.

Question: Were there any glaring omissions in the make-up of the 16-team field?

Mark Dixon: "I think every Monday, there’s always great discussion. The bottom line is, there’s only 60 men’s lacrosse teams playing Division I ball, and you’re going to have some hurt feelings. As it is, with 16 teams, I think the ratio is already out of proportion with what the NCAA wants. I think for the most part, they got it right. It looked like the criteria was a little inconsistent. In other words, Hopkins with their strength of schedule and their RPI seemed to really benefit, whereas Georgetown didn’t get the same luxury. I think they applied some different criteria when they looked at Georgetown and – let’s say – Notre Dame. Georgetown had a better strength of schedule and a better RPI than Notre Dame, also a better win-loss record, and they beat them head-to-head. But the criteria applied looked more at significant wins – Notre Dame’s significant wins coming against Duke, Loyola and Denver, while Georgetown didn’t possess those same wins with oomph. They didn’t have a win over Duke. They had a win over Delaware, but they lost to Loyola. What’s frustrating for lacrosse fans is the criteria seemed to be on an as-needed basis. There is uniform criteria, but they’re not used in a particular order. It just seems like this year, the criteria was split, whereas in years past, the strict criteria was strength of schedule and RPI. This year, the strict criteria appeared to be quality wins. But it’s a monumental task, being on the NCAA selection committee. I feel for Georgetown. I think they should have gotten a bid into the NCAA Tournament, but at the end, if you look at the criteria and you look at the metrics that are used, Notre Dame is in."

Q: Did the loss to Delaware in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament hurt Drexel, while Hofstra failing to qualify for the CAA Tournament help the Pride get into the NCAA Tournament?

MD: "I actually wrote about this in a piece for Inside Lacrosse this week. I thought the conference tournament hurt both UMass and Drexel. It’s a double-edged sword. It can help you or it can hurt you. Had Drexel beaten Delaware and reached the CAA final, we could be talking about Drexel being in the tournament as opposed to Notre Dame because Drexel beat Notre Dame head-to-head. The conference tournament are built to give teams incentives because if you didn’t have a post-league tournament like they did in the Ivy League, teams like Harvard and Yale have been eliminated in mid-April. Hofstra perhaps did benefit from not making their tournament, but they also had some quality wins outside of the conference, and they were helped out in some other conference tournaments. For example, Army winning the Patriot League. Hofstra had a resounding win over the Black Knights. So that definitely hurt Drexel, but it would have gone in the other direction if Drexel had beaten Delaware and gotten to the CAA final."

Q: Any argument with the top eight seeds?

MD: "I have no beef with the top-8 seeds. I thought they got it right. You could have looked at Denver as maybe being a potential first-round site, but when you look at their numbers compared to Stony Brook, it’s virtually dead even. And even though Denver did beat Stony Brook head-to-head, Stony Brook, I believe, had a better strength of schedule. I think they got it right."

Q: Of the first-round games, which one has "upset alert" written all over it?

MD: "There are two games. I think one is Delaware and [No. 4 seed] North Carolina. Delaware is surging right now, and they’re playing great offensively, and their defense is inspired, particularly with the story of [junior goalkeeper] Noah Fossner [whose mother died of cancer on May 2]. North Carolina has been banged up for such a long time that they’ve lost two of their last four. And in their last three games, they gave up 14 goals, 13 goals and 13 goals. That defense has shown a little bit of wear-and-tear. The second game I’m looking at is Notre Dame-Princeton. If Notre Dame can control the tempo of that game, they’ve got a nice defense. This is a match-up between two goalies that everyone thought at the beginning of the year were going to be first- and second-team All Americans in [Notre Dame senior] Scott Rodgers and [Princeton sophomore] Tyler Fiorito. Rodgers has been hurt and played a little uneven, while Fiorito struggled early before putting together his game lately. Notre Dame’s a team that can win, and you have a second life in the NCAA Tournament."

Q: Which of the top seeds has the easiest path to the Final Four?

MD: "That would probably be Virginia. Mount St. Mary’s is a good ball club and has a tremendous goalie in [junior] T.C. DiBartolo. And then you’ve got the Denver-Stony Brook situation. Virginia has already beaten Stony Brook, and they’ve already beaten Mount St. Mary’s, and I think they match up well with Denver because they have such good face-off credentials. That’s on paper, and that’s just looking at the lacrosse aspect and just a talent aspect. I think everyone is eager to see how Virginia comes out and plays in the NCAA Tournament with all of the distractions that they’ve had."

Q: Maryland coach Dave Cottle said Hofstra may be the toughest team a No. 3 seed has had to face in recent memory. What do you think?

MD: "I don’t disagree with that. Hofstra is a very dangerous team, but they’re also a very inconsistent team. They’ve beaten Hopkins, Army and Brown, but they also lost to Penn State, which was 2-11. Defensively, this team has been atrocious, and I don’t mean the individual players down there. But they’ve really struggled at the defensive end of the field. [Sophomore] Andrew Gvozden started the year in the net and then was pulled in favor of freshman Rob Bellairs, and now Gvozden is back. So the defensive end is really the big question mark for Hofstra. Offensively, they can play with anyone. [Junior attackmen] Jay Card and Jamie Lincoln are a terrific 1-2 punch, and [junior attackman] Stephen Bentz has had a nice year, and same for [sophomore midfielder] Mike DeNapoli. So offensively, those guys are really, really dangerous, and they’ve got some nice short-stick defensive middies as well. But the defensive end is where Hopkins has really struggled, and Maryland is one of the best groundball teams in the country. Hofstra’s going to have to be good on groundballs, and they’re going to have to try to control the offensive flow of the game because I’m not so sure that Hofstra matches up well with Maryland’s attack unit."

Q: How would you rate Loyola’s chances of upsetting No. 7 seed Cornell?

MD: "I definitely think that Cornell is favored in this game. Loyola has shown over the last couple of weeks that if their attack doesn’t produce, then they’re in trouble. [Senior attackman Collin] Finnerty and [Cooper] MacDonnell have only combined for three points in the last two games – both losses. So I think teams have shown that if you shut down Loyola’s attack, you shut down Loyola. Their midfielders have to step up. They have to beat people off the dodge. [Senior midfielder Chris] Basler can do that, but his status is unknown this weekend with the shoulder injury. The other thing that hurts Loyola is [senior defenseman] Steve Layne’s knee injury. Does he play? He’s the leader of that defense. Not only is he the best cover guy, but he’s the guy who directs the traffic. Loyola doesn’t like to slide a whole lot. I think his presence is huge. And then all of a sudden, the goalie play has been inconsistent. [Junior Jake] Hagelin has struggled the last couple of weeks, and [senior Alex] Peaty has had to come in and relieve him. There’s a lot of question mark for Loyola, but if they can get back to playing the type of lacrosse they played the majority of the year, they’ve got a very similar personality to Cornell – attack heavy which is where the offense is generated from, a good cover defense that doesn’t take a lot of risk and beat itself, and steady goaltending. So I think when these two teams look in the mirror, I just think in the individual match-ups, Cornell has more firepower."

Q: Johns Hopkins is 3-1 in the NCAA Tournament against Duke. Can the Blue Jays extend their magic against the No. 5 seed Blue Devils?

MD: "Even in 2008, Duke was the hands-on favorite to win the championship, and Hopkins pulled off the upset. But this Hopkins team is much different than that team in ’08. The big key is going to be groundballs. Hopkins has not been very good on groundballs this year, and Duke is an athletic team that pressures the ball and gets after it. The groundballs are going to be key on Saturday. Even though Hopkins was beaten handidly by Loyola in the face-off and groundball departments this past Saturday, Loyola couldn’t get to the goal. Duke can, and that’s going to be a big challenge for the Hopkins defense. [Fifth-year senior attackman Ned] Crotty and [senior attackman Max] Quinzani behind the net are as good as they get in college lacrosse. [Junior attackman] Zach Howell is a great third guy. The midfielders for Duke are starting to put points on the board and starting to produce. So the defense for Hopkins really needs to be on its game, and [goalkeeper] Pierce Bassett has just been terrific. I think in the last two games, he has a 72 save percentage. But when you’re talking about Duke, that’s a different animal from Navy, Towson or Loyola. This team is going to put a lot of pressure on him, so we’ll see how he responds. This is a team capable of pulling off the upset, but they’re really going to have to play a perfect game – similar to what they did back in 2008. They’re going to have to really take Duke out of their comfort zone and change some things. But certainly [coach] Dave Pietramala has shown that he can make those adjustments and make things happen."

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

May 12, 2010

Women's Tewaaraton finalists announced

Two local women were among the five finalists named Wednesday for the 2010 Tewaaraton Award for women's lacrosse -- Maryland's Caitlyn McFadden, a Notre Dame Prep graduate, and Virginia's Brittany Kalkstein, a Roland Park graduate.

The other finalists were Penn's Ali DeLuca, Northwestern's Katrina Dowd and North Carolina's Jenn Russell.

McFadden, a repeat finalist and last year's national midfielder of the year, is a versatile senior ranking in the top three on a balanced No. 1 Terrapins team in goals, assists, points, ground balls, draw controls and caused turnovers. The two-time Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, she is also a two-time ACC tournament Most Valuable Player. The Phoenix resident has the 11th-longest point-scoring streak in the nation at 44 games.

Kalkstein, an All-ACC selection this spring, is also a versatile senior midfielder, but she is perhaps best known for her ability to control the draws. She won 90 this season, breaking her own single-season school record and moving into third nationally. She also holds the school and conference career records with 280, fourth in NCAA history. Kalkstein leads the No. 6 Cavaliers in goals and is second in points, ground balls and caused turnovers.

The Tewaaraton Award, the premier award in college women's lacrosse, will be presented June 3 at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 5:14 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland, Women's lacrosse
        

Clarke elaborates on resignation at Washington College

For the first time in 21 years, J.B. Clarke woke up Wednesday without a meeting to attend or a report to file.

"I’ve been employed since 1989," he said. "It feels a little bit weird waking up and not really having an office to go to."

Clarke resigned earlier in the day as head coach at Washington College and as the school’s assistant athletic director. In 12 years, Clarke had guided the Shoremen to a combined 138-63 record and seven NCAA Division III Tournament appearances. In 2004, the school reached its first Final Four since 1998.

But Washington went 4-10 this season and had to deal with a hazing incident prior to the beginning of the season. Still, Clarke disputed any link to his decision to step down.

"Some people may point to the incident in January, but that wasn’t it," he said. "That actually brought me close to the players. That was a teachable moment.The NCAA reports that 80 percent of student-athletes are hazed, and what this did was – without any real tragedy – it gave us an opportunity and gave me an opportunity to really help educate these guys. I was far closer to this team that had that incident and had a disappointing year as far as wins and losses go than maybe any that I had."

Clarke said he has no immediate plans for the future other than attending one of his daughter’s softball championship game. Clarke said there are opportunities in an administrative role and private sector, but he didn’t dismiss the possibility of returning to coaching.

"I love working with young guys," he said. "A lot of people ask, ‘Do you want to keep doing it?’ Yes. The relationships, the opportunity to work with people that age is really unparalleled."

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:40 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Washington
        

Clarke resigns at Washington College

J.B. Clarke has stepped down as head coach of the Washington College men’s lacrosse program, the school announced Wednesday morning. The move was first reported by Inside Lacrosse.

In a two-paragraph release, the college said a national search will begin immediately. Assistant coaches Paul Richards and Ryan Browning will run the team.

There is no mention of Clarke’s responsibilities as the school’s assistant athletic director. Clarke’s name in that role was removed from the college’s website.

In 12 years, Clarke had guided the Shoremen to a combined 138-63 record and seven NCAA Division III Tournament appearances. In 2004, the school reached its first Final Four since 1998.

But Washington went 4-10 this season and had to deal with a hazing incident prior to the beginning of the season.

Clarke did not return several requests for comment.

Update: Just spoke to athletic director Bryan Matthews, who declined to comment on the reasons behind Clarke's resignation. But Matthews did say that the school would like to begin interviewing candidates this month and have a new coach in place by next month. "We don't want our student-athletes and recruits to go any longer than necessary without knowing who the new coach is going to be," he said. "But by the same token, we're not going to rush. We want to do a thorough job."

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:00 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Washington
        

Knee-jerk reaction to Tewaaraton Award finalists

1. Where is North Carolina's Billy Bitter? Yes, the junior attackman has been slowed by a strained calf and injuries to teammates like senior midfielder Sean DeLaney (left shoulder) and sophomore attackman Thomas Wood (fractured hand), but Bitter consistently attracts opposing defense's top player. He is one of the game's most dynamic offensive players and has powered the Tar Heels to the No. 4 seed.

2. No. 8 seed Stony Brook and Delaware have just as much of an opportunity to reach the Final Four, but the path to that stage is not favorable. If the Seawolves can get past Denver -- the Pioneers won the regular-season meeting, 13-12 -- they would likely face top-seeded Virginia in the quarterfinals. The Blue Hens have to upend No. 4 seed North Carolina and then meet either No. 5 seed Duke or Johns Hopkins in the quarterfinals. Those scenarios are not favorable for Stony Brook junior midfielder Kevin Crowley and Delaware senior attackman Curtis Dickson.  Only one player (Hofstra midfielder Doug Shanahan) has won the Tewaaraton even though his team did not reach the Final Four.

3. I'm all for breaking with tradition, and I applaud the inclusion of two defensemen (Virginia senior Ken Clausen and Syracuse junior Joel White) among the five finalists. But history suggests that neither of those two players will win the Tewaaraton. Five attackmen and four midfielders have taken home the award since 2001 -- without a defensman in sight.

4. White is a fine candidate, but is he the best representative for Syracuse? Junior John Galloway is just one of two Division I goalkeepers (Fairfield senior Joe Marra is the other) to rank in the top 5 in both goals-against average (7.09) and save percentage (.590). And there have been some who assert that senior attackman Cody Jamieson (25 goals and 13 assists) has been the Orange's best player this season.

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:30 AM | | Comments (2)
        

Finalists for Tewaaraton Award announced

The list of 26 semifinalists for the Tewaaraton Award has been pared down to five, and the names of those finalists were announced Wednesday morning by the Greater Washington Sports Alliance and the University Club of Washington, DC.

In alphabetical order, those players are Virginia senior defenseman Ken Clausen, Duke fifth-year senior attackman Ned Crotty, Stony Brook junior midfielder Kevin Crowley, Delaware senior attackman Curtis Dickson and Syracuse junior long-stick midfielder Joel White.

Clausen leads the top-seeded Cavaliers in caused turnovers with 34 and ranks third in groundballs with 43. He ranks fourth among Division I defensemen with an average of 2.3 caused turnovers per game.

Crotty ranks second among the No. 5 seed Blue Devils in points (68). Nationally, he leads all Division I players in assists (51) and assists per game (3.2), and he ranks sixth in points per game (4.3).

Crowley leads the No. 8 seed Seawolves in points (71) and ranks second in both goals (46) and assists (25). He leads the country in points per game (5.0) and ranks fourth in goals per game (3.1).

Dickson leads the unseeded Blue Hens and the nation in goals (62) and hat tricks (12), and he tops the country in goals per game (3.9). With 162 career goals, he overtook Randy Powers as the school's all-time leader.

While, who leads the 11-time reigning national champion Orange in groundballs with 71 this season, has collected at least five groundballs in 10 of the team's 14 contests this season and has scooped up 193 loose balls in his career. He ranks second among Division I defenders in both goals (six) and points (nine). 

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

Denver streaking into postseason

No. 2 seed Syracuse is not only the reigning national champion which has captured the last two titles, but the Orange also is the hottest team, having won its last 11 contests.

Can you guess the second hottest team? Did you say Denver?

That’s right. The unseeded Pioneers (12-4) have won nine straight games, which includes victories over two tournament teams in Loyola and Stony Brook, which happens to be Denver’s first-round opponent on Saturday.

But if you believe coach Bill Tierney, the key to the team’s streak has been deviating from what he initally tried to install.

"I think in the beginning of the year when we were 1-3 with losses to Syracuse, Jacksonville and Penn, we tried to impart what I knew and what I did on a group of young men for whom, really, it wasn’t their thing," he said. "I think what we did was we became a little smarter and simplified things. We talked to them and got them to figure out some things that they were comfortable doing both offensively and defensively. We started getting some face-offs, we started getting some goalie play, guys believing each other, and we’re playing much better offensively and defensively now. It’s a whole different team."

Tierney, the architect of six national championships in 22 years at Princeton, has turned around a program that dismissed three players – two of whom were starters – midway through last year and parted ways with former head coach Jamie Munro at season’s end.

But Tierney downplayed his work with the players.

"Well, it’s not really about what I’ve done," he said. "What we’ve done is just chart up a blueprint for a bunch of young men to follow and believe in. It was them and their talents and their willingness to just buy in and do everything that they could do. Coach Munro and his coaching staff brought these guys to me, so I can’t take any credit for that. But what we’ve done is just try to get these guys to believe in themselves and into what we’ve been all about, and they’ve gotten onto a roll. So we’re proud of where we’re all at together."

On Saturday, the Pioneers will meet Stony Brook, which was the starting point of Denver’s winning streak. Tierney said he fully expects to see a motivated Seawolves squad.

"I’m sure Coach [Rick] Sowell and his players – who had a five-goal lead in the first quarter and then a four-goal lead in the fourth quarter – are feeling like they didn’t play their best," Tierney said. "We happened to put together two good runs that day, and when we went ahead 13-12, there wasn’t enough time for them to get the next one. … I think it’s going to be a totally different game. Both teams have improved a great deal. They have some fantastic players and great coaches."

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

Q&A with ESPN's Paul Carcaterra

ESPN analyst and former Syracuse All-American midfielder Paul Carcaterra will provide commentary for No. 1 seed Virginia’s first-round game at Klockner Stadium in Charlottesville, Va., against Mount St. Mary’s this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Carcaterra offered his opinion on the omission of Georgetown, the seed with the easiest road to the Final Four, and the local team with the best chance to reach the Final Four.

Question: How would you evaluate the selection committee’s decisions regarding the make-up of the 16-team field?

Paul Carcaterra: "One interesting team that popped out at me was Georgetown. It’s almost unfair to put them head-to-head with another team, but when you look at the Georgetown-Notre Dame situation, it doesn’t make complete sense unless you were in that committee. Georgetown had the better record, a better strength of schedule, a better RPI, and they beat Notre Dame head-to-head. So to me, there’s some kind of discrepancy there. Look, it’s not an easy job because this year – more than ever – so many teams beat each other. For example, Loyola beat Georgetown, Georgetown beat Notre Dame, and Notre Dame beat Loyola. That’s just one example of how it’s so cyclical with all of these teams beating each other. I think there was probably a lot of tension on who should be in and who should be out. If Georgetown got in and Loyola didn’t, then people would be barking that Loyola beat them head-to-head, and something similar could be said for a lot of these situations. It was not an easy situation to be in if you’re on the committee, but that was one team that possibly got a raw deal."

Q: So it sounds like you had Georgetown pegged for the tournament. If that’s the case, which team did you think was out?

PC: "I was kind of debating between four teams for the last two spots, and they were Hopkins, Loyola, Hofstra and Drexel. I thought Drexel had a pretty nice body of work. Drexel beat Notre Dame, beat Hofstra. The other situation that I thought was kind of interesting was that Drexel was almost penalized – in my mind – for going to the conference tournament. Hofstra doesn’t make the conference tournament, but gets in the NCAA Tournament, and Drexel stays home because they lost to Delaware again. When you think about it, Drexel hurt themselves by going to the conference tournament and losing again, whereas Hofstra stayed idle and got to the NCAA Tournament. So those were my four teams, and I felt like it came down to either Hofstra or Drexel and Hopkins or Loyola. I had Georgetown in and Notre Dame in, so it wasn’t necessarily about Georgetown getting in over Notre Dame. Hopkins beat Loyola last weekend, and even though they had a worse record, they also played a much tougher schedule than Loyola. So I thought that Hopkins and Drexel should have gotten in. I think Hofstra’s a better team – top to bottom – than Drexel, but they just didn’t take care of business when they should have. And not making your conference tournament – although that’s not a pre-requisite – to me, that just didn’t add up."

Q: What were your thoughts on Stony Brook getting the No. 8 seed and a home game in the first round?

PC: "I was surprised because when you think of Stony Brook and their body of work – although they have two of the most explosive offensive players in [junior midfielder] Kevin Crowley and [junior attackman] Jordan McBride – what’s their top win? I looked at their schedule, and they had no big wins on that entire schedule. They beat Towson, but Towson’s at home and they’re 7-8. Delaware’s their best win, but you don’t get a No. 8 seed when Delaware’s your best win. I would have given the No. 8 seed to – as crazy as it sounds – Georgetown. Georgetown beat Notre Dame, they played a very difficult schedule, and they didn’t have any bad losses. Georgetown had a top-10 RPI and their strength of schedule was ninth. That’s why when Georgetown didn’t get in, it was like, whoa. With that said, I think Stony Brook can beat Denver because Denver is traveling all the way to the East, and it’s at Stony Brook."

Q: Would you agree or disagree that Virginia has the easist path to the Final Four at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Memorial Day weekend?

PC: "Absolutely. Virginia’s path to the Final Four is drastically easier than the other top seeds. They’re playing a Mount St. Mary’s team that is actually pretty good this year. They’re not a poor team by any stretch, but for the No. 1 team in the country, they will be heavily favored and should win that game without too much trouble. And that quarterfinal game, when you think about it, is normally a bear of a game for every top seed. It’s usually a difficult game more times than not. But to face either Stony Brook or Denver as opposed to [No. 4 seed] North Carolina and [No. 5 seed] Duke potentially squaring off, [No. 2 seed] Syracuse possibly playing [No. 7 seed] Cornell, and [No. 6 seed] Princeton playing [No. 3 seed] Maryland, those are much tougher games than Virginia’s. Unless North Carolina gets healthy, I think Duke is a few goals better than North Carolina right now. Syracuse and Cornell, the last two times those teams have played, it’s come down to the last second, so you can’t tell me that’s an easy game."

Q: So it sounds like of the top seeds, North Carolina has the most difficult path to the Final Four.

PC: "They’re playing a Delaware team that has won five in a row, has a couple of really good offensive players in [senior attackman Curtis] Dickson and [senior midfielder Martin] Cahill, and they’re going to play North Carolina tough. Delaware is a team that is one of the hottest in the country right now, and that’s a tough game for one of the top four seeds. And if they get past that, they’re looking at the Duke-Hopkins winner, which – if everything plays out – will be a team that has gone to the last four Final Fours in the years they were eligible to participate. They have a lot of the same cast of characters in [senior attackman Max] Quinzani, [fifth-year senior attackman Ned] Crotty, [sophomore long-stick midfielder C.J.] Costabile, [senior defenseman Parker] McKee, [senior midfielder Steve] Schoeffel, [senior midfielder Mike] Catalino. All of those guys have big-time game experience, more than the Carolina guys. And Carolina is dinged up right now. [Senior midfielder] Sean DeLaney is not 100 percent. That’s a tough draw"

Q: So the North Carolina-Delaware game has the biggest potential for an upset in the first round? 

PC: "Yeah, because when start getting into those 7 seeds and 8 seeds, they’re not really upsets. But when a top-4 seed goes down, that’s a big upset."

Q: How would you rate No. 3 seed Maryland’s chances of advancing to the Final Four?

PC: "Maryland has shown me that they’re highly explosive. It’s interesting because my tone has changed with them. I didn’t feel like they had the middies to make a big run, but I’m not neccesarily sure that they need to because they’re playing so many of them. They’re getting a goal from this guy and a goal from that guy. They’re playing three midfields, and then they have that explosive foursome with [junior attackman Grant] Catalino, [junior attackman Ryan] Young, [junior attackman Travis] Reed and [senior attackman/midfielder Will] Yeatman. Those guys have all proven that they can fill up the net and do some work. That’s a team that’s really, really hot right now, and I think they’re going to get to the Final Four. Hofstra can’t defend Maryland right now. Hofstra’s struggled to defend teams in the last six or seven games. They’ve let up double-digit goals, and their goalie play has been a little sporadic this year. I think Hofstra won’t be able to hang with Maryland. And then Maryland would play either Princeton or Notre Dame, and I think they would have more trouble with Notre Dame because I think Notre Dame is a little more athletic at the midfield than Princeton is. But Maryland should be in the Final Four. It’ll be interesting if Maryland advances and Syracuse advances. That would be a great semifinal game. Maryland’s strength is their attack, but Syracuse might be the one team where Maryland doesn’t match up as well."

Q: How does Loyola knock off No. 7 seed Cornell considering the potential absence of senior defenseman Steve Layne (knee) and recent troubles of junior goalkeeper Jake Hagelin?

PC: "Cornell is interesting. Cornell is just so unbelievably well-coached. [Jeff] Tambroni does a fabulous job. With that duo of [sophomore attackman Rob] Pannell and [senior attackman Ryan] Hurley, those guys put up huge numbers, and Pannell is the type of kid who is so effective at distributing the ball. But when he turns the corner, he’s such a great low-angled shooter. You have to respect him as a feeder since he leads the nation in assists per game, but he’s also a very good dodger. People don’t give him credit for being a scorer the way they should, but the kid really gets it done. Loyola, they might want to throw some wrinkles in that defense, which is a little bit under-manned right now with injuries. I think Loyola matches up fine at the midfield. Cornell’s midfield doesn’t really scare you. They’re smart players and they play both ends of the field really well, but the biggest issue will be containing those two at attack."

Q: What’s your assessment of Johns Hopkins’ first-round showdown with No. 5 seed Duke?

PC: "I think on paper, Duke is definitely favored by a bunch of goals. But the thing people have to really think about is at this time of the year, Coach [Dave] Pietramala prepares and throws wrinkles in his game plan as well as anyone. That has to account for a few goals. He is just brilliant at taking other teams’ strengths away. He’s done it for years with Hopkins. I wouldn’t be surprised if they played Duke a lot tougher than people think. I think he’s going to do things to the Quinzani-Crotty duo that they probably haven’t seen much of this year."

Q: With Mount St. Mary’s getting the unenviable task of taking on top-seeded Virginia, what can the Mountaineers do to avoid getting overwhelmed by the Cavaliers’ talent and speed?

PC: "I think it’s critical for Mount St. Mary’s not to let the game get away from them early. I say that because if they hang around, I think they could make a serious game about it. I think if Virginia starts rolling and starts playing freelance lacrosse, it could get out of hand. But I also think Mount St. Mary’s strength is exactly what it needs to be in a game like that, and that’s having an incredible goalie. One of the best goalies in the country is on that Mount St. Mary’s team, the [T.C.] DiBartolo kid. Last year, when he played Virginia, he had over 20 saves, and they only let up 10 goals. Now they didn’t score a lot, and they lost, 10-2, but they were playing six or seven freshmen. Those kids have all grown up, and their sophomores aren’t normal sophomores. Their sophomores are very seasoned because they have two full years of lacrosse under their belts. So if DiBartolo plays awesome and those guys start sticking some early goals and they could make a game of it at halftime, they’re going to be able to hang around longer than people think. But if Virginia starts rolling and begins playing freelance lacrosse, it could get out of hand."

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

May 11, 2010

Loyola's MacDonnell, Hagelin capture top ECAC awards

Despite finishing what amounts to second place to Denver in the Eastern College Athletic Conference, Loyola took two of the league's five top honors.

Senior attackman Cooper MacDonnell was named the ECAC Offensive Player of the Year, while junior goalie Jake Hagelin was voted as the league's Goalkeeper of the Year.

Despite missing three games with an injured shoulder, MacDonnell has scored 22 goals this season and added seven assists. He has scored a goal in 12 of the Greyhounds' 13 contests and has scored at least twice in seven of those games. MacDonnell has recorded a point in 28 consecutive contests.

Hagelin has registered a 7.86 goals-against average, which tops all goaltenders in the ECAC and ranks third nationally. The Havre de Grace and Boys' Latin was the league's Rookie of the Year in 2008.

Joining MacDonnell and Hagelin on the All-ECAC first team were senior attackman Collin Finnerty, senior defenseman Steve Layne, junior midfielder Eric Lusby and junior face-off specialist John Schiavone

Finnerty leads the Greyhounds in scoring with 34 points and is tied with MacDonnell for the team lead in goals with 22. Like MacDonnell, Finnerty has posted a point in 12 of the team's 13 games.

Layne has been the anchor of Loyola's defense, which has surrendered just 100 goals this spring -- the lowest allowed by any team. He leads the Greyhounds in caused turnovers with 12 and has collected 29 groundballs.

Lusby has posted 19 goals and five assists after making the switch from attack to midfield. The Severna Park native and graduate has scored three hat tricks this spring.

Schiavone ranks fifth in Division I in both face-off percentage (.600) and groundballs per game (6.3). Schiavone leads the team with 83 groundballs, which ranks eighth on the school's single-season list for groundballs.

Senior midfielder Taylor Ebsary was chosen to the league's second team. He is tied for second on Loyola with 12 assists and has scored a career-best seven goals. Ebsary ranks second on the team in groundballs (34) and is tied for second in caused turnovers (11).

Denver, the regular-season champion and the winner of the league's automatic qualifier for the NCAA Tournament, boasted the Defensive Player of the Year in senior Dillon Roy and the Coach of the Year in Bill Tierney. Ohio State attackman Logan Schuss was named the Rookie of the Year. 

Posted by Edward Lee at 5:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola
        

Towson women meet Virginia at noon Sunday

Game time has finally been set for the Virginia women's lacrosse game Sunday against Towson in Charlottesville. The NCAA first-round game will start at noon at Klockner Stadium and be broadcast live on ESPNU.

If you plan to go to the Cavaliers' first game since the death of Yeardley Love, the Notre Dame Prep graduate found murdered in her apartment last week, you can purchase tickets by phone or online. Call 1-800-542-8821 or go to virginiasports.com.

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 1:23 PM | | Comments (0)
        

No decision on Towson's Seaman until later in the week

An athletic department spokesman said Tuesday that the school is still in the process of evaluating head coach Tony Seaman's tenure at Towson.

Seaman, who boasts a career record of 260-156 in 29 years and a school mark of 96-83 in 12 seasons, needed to guide the team to its first postseason berth since 2007 to impress school officials, but for the second consecutive season, the Tigers fell in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament final – just one victory away from clinching the automatic qualifier and making an appearance.

The spokesman said that a decision on Seaman, who was named the conference Coach of the Year last Friday, likely won't be forthcoming until at least the end of this week and possibly the early part of next week.

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:10 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Towson
        

Loyola's Schiavone wins weekly league award

Loyola senior face-off specialist John Schiavone earned his second Defensive Player of the Week award in as many weeks, the Eastern College Athletic Conference announced Monday.

Schiavone won 12-of-19 face-offs in Saturday's 9-6 loss to Johns Hopkins and collected 10 groundballs in the process.

Schiavone, who has scooped up 83 groundballs this season, ranks eighth on the school's single-season list for groundballs. Two more groundballs will vault him past P.T. Ricci, who collected 84 groundballs in 2008.

Schiavone ranks fifth in Division I in both face-off percentage (.600) and groundballs per game (6.3).

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola
        

Stevenson settles for No. 2 seed in South region

A year removed from getting the top seed in the South region of the NCAA Division III tournament, Stevenson was not regarded as highly this time around.

When the bracket was unveiled late Sunday night, the Mustangs (17-1) were awarded the No. 2 seed. The No. 1 seed went to Capital Athletic Conference rival Salisbury.

"We knew that it would be either us or Salisbury that would be the No. 1 seed, and we thought we had more regional wins against regional-ranked teams and a stronger schedule than them," Stevenson coach Paul Cantabene said. "So we thought our body of work was a little bit better even though they did beat Cortland out-of-region. But we also had two wins against out-of-region ranked teams as well. We thought we had a little better resume for that, but in the end, you’ve got to play teams. Everybody you play in the NCAA Tournament is going to be very good, and whether you’re the 1 or the 2 or the 3 or the 4, you’ve got to play good teams."

Stevenson will meet the winner of Wednesday’s first-round contest between No. 15 Denison (10-3) and No. 8 Cabrini (14-3). The Mustangs defeated Denison, 13-9, on May 1 and scouted Cabrini twice this season.

"I think we know all the teams," said Cantabene, who will accompany his coaches on a trip to Radnor, Pa., to watch Cabrini-Denison. "I don’t think there’s an advantage or disadvantage. Obviously, Denison we just played and just beat them, 13-9. I didn’t think we played great, so we kind of already know them and we get to see them again on Wednesday against Cabrini. And we’ve scouted Cabrini twice already just knowing that we might see them. So we have a pretty good idea of what they’re about. They’re a very good team and we played them for a while when we were in their conference. We kind of know how they like to attack and what they like to do. But I don’t think there’s an advantage or disadvantage when you come to the playoffs. You’ve just got to you’re your game, and whichever team comes ready to play is going to win. You’ve just got to play well."

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Salisbury, Stevenson
        

Salisbury hurdles Stevenson for top seed in South region

Ranked No. 2 in the latest United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll, Salisbury got the top seed in the South region of the NCAA Division III tournament Sunday night.

The Sea Gulls (18-1) appeared to be battling with top-ranked Stevenson (17-1) for the No. 1 seed, but it appeared that the selection committee rewarded Salisbury for a strength of schedule that included contests against the Mustangs (a 16-10 win on April 3 and a 10-6 loss on April 24), North region No. 1 seed and reigning national champion Cortland (a 12-11 win on March 10), No. 3 seed Gettysburg (an 11-10 overtime win on March 27), unseeded Widener (a 9-7 win on Feb. 27), unseeded Ohio Wesleyan (a 16-5 win on March 13) and Lynchburg (a 14-9 win on Feb. 20), the 10th-ranked team in the USILA poll that was not invited to the NCAA Tournament.

"I don’t know if there was any validation," Sea Gulls coach Jim Berkman said of getting the No. 1 seed in the South region. "I just think that we did have a pretty good body of work – not that it was that much better than anybody else’s. It was probably by the thread of a hair because everything was so close between us and Stevenson. But probably going to the outer region win [against Cortland] was the difference."

Because of the top seed, Salisbury will get a first-round bye and await the winner of Wednesday’s first-round game between Widener (10-9) and Springfield (12-5).

Not that Berkman and his coaching staff will be sitting on their hands to wait for the result. They plan on traveling to Springfield, Mass., to scout both teams.

"Film is great, but there’s nothing like being there in person to get a sense of their speed and their continuity," Berkman said. "Plus, when you’re watching film, you’re not seeing the whole field. So sometimes you’re missing what guys are doing away from the ball or on the other end of the field on rides. For us, we always like to see them in person."

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Salisbury, Stevenson
        

Q&A with ESPN's Quint Kessenich

ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins All-American goalkeeper Quint Kessenich will occupy a spot in ESPNU’s studio in Charlotte, N.C., offering commentary on all eight NCAA Tournament first-round games this weekend. Kessenich broke down his thoughts on the snub of Georgetown, the challenge for Virginia and seed with the toughest path to the Final Four.

Question: What is your assessment of the selection committee’s decisions regarding the make-up of the 16-team field?

Quint Kessenich: "I think in the end, the two teams that were left out were Georgetown and Drexel. I can make a case for both of those teams, and I can make a case for the teams that were selected. So for me, just getting clarity on the selection process – what the mindset was, what the reasoning was – and if the fans are OK with what they’re hearing from [committee chair] Tim Pavlechko and the committee, then I can’t really argue. I thought Georgetown was in. In my mock bracket which we did on Saturday in the studio, I had Georgetown not only in, but I thought they had just as strong a resume as Stony Brook, and I gave them the eighth seed and had them hosting a game. That’s how tight it was in terms of being in and out. There’s not much difference between teams 8 through 16 this year."

Q: So the exclusion of Georgetown was the biggest surprise of Sunday night?

QK: "Yes, that’s the team that has the most to complain about given what they accomplished. One thing that surprised me looking at it this morning is that Mount St. Mary’s moved to 16 in RPI. So Georgetown gets a lot more credit for that Mount St. Mary’s win than I anticipated. I thought their RPI and strength of schedule were tough. They played teams ranked Nos. 2, 3 and 5, so I was surprised when the brackets initially came out. And I thought the Big East was a better conference than the ECAC [Eastern College Athletic Conference]. I think Loyola’s in-conference wins are unimpressive, to say the least. I thought the Big East and the CAA [Colonial Athletic Association] had better years and are much stronger conferences than the ECAC."

Q: So in your mock bracket, which team was out?

QK: "I did not have Loyola in the tournament. Otherwise, the field was the same. The top seven seeds were the same. Most of my match-ups were on. But I had Georgetown in and Loyola not in."

Q: So you had Hofstra in?

QK: "I did. Hofstra and Notre Dame, I thought, were very solid. And if Johns Hopkins got in, I thought Georgetown would get in also."

Q: With Virginia getting the top seed, can returning to lacrosse be cathartic for the Cavaliers?

QK: "I think it is. When we spoke to [coach] Dom Starsia last night, he mentioned meeting with the captains and making sure that they were on board and really willing to do this. I think Dom sat them down and really went over what they’re going to encounter over the next 20 or so days. This is going to be quite a journey for them. The issue is not going to go away. So they’re going to be confronted with it on a daily basis, especially as they near games. Playing lacrosse will be great therapy and will return their lives to – at least for 2½ hours – a little bit of normalcy. When they’re out on the lacrosse field, that will be an oasis away from the off-the-field troubles. That will help get them back to normalcy. They will be surrounded by friends and their teammates in the locker room, traveling to games, through the practices and schedule of their week. I can’t argue with [athletic director] Craig Littlepage and Dom Starsia saying that lacrosse is a vital part of the healing process."

Q: Would you agree or disagree that Virginia has the easist path to the Final Four at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Memorial Day weekend?

QK: "This is year when the top five teams stood out. The ACC [Atlantic Coast Conference] was 40-1 out of conference, and Syracuse only has one loss, and that’s a one-goal loss at Virginia. Other than Duke’s loss to Notre Dame, those teams have really demonstrated to me that they’re superior to the rest of the country this year. I’m thinking the logical NCAA champion will come out of those five teams. The 8-9 game is not a particularly strong 8-9 game this year with Denver and Stony Brook. Is it an easier bracket? Well, look at Syracuse’s bracket. Syracuse has beaten every single team in that bottom half of the bracket. They beat Cornell, they beat Army, they beat Princeton, they beat Hofstra in a scrimmage, and they beat Maryland in a scrimmage. Their challenge is going to be between the ears."

Q: On the flipside, which seed has the most difficult path to the Final Four?

QK: "[No. 4 seed] North Carolina has the toughest road because in the last three games, they really haven’t played good defense. They gave up a lot of goals to Robert Morris [14 in a three-goal win], lost to Maryland, and gave up a lot of goals to Ohio State [13 in a six-goal win]. They’re 2-2 in their last four games. They’ve been banged up, they’re not 100 percent. They play a very dangerous Delaware team. This is a Delaware team that is very athletic with a nice senior class. Delaware beat Virginia in 2007 on the road, so they have a history of being able to pull this type of upset off. And then Carolina would face the winner of Duke and Johns Hopkins, and that’s going to be a tough game as well."

Q: So it sounds like the North Carolina-Delaware game has the biggest potential for an upset in the first round?

QK: "Delaware, if they play well, they’re right in that ballgame. I think No. 6 seed Princeton-Notre Dame would be second on the list. Those would be my two upset alerts."

Q: What’s your impression of No. 3 seed Maryland’s first-round game with Hofstra?

QK: "On paper, I thought Hofstra was going to have a really great year, but they’ve managed to lose games that they have no business losing like the game against Penn State. But Hofstra has a very skilled attack, very talented goal scorers in [junior attackmen] Jay Card, Jamie Lincoln and Stephen Bentz. Their defense has been suspect all year, and I’m just not sure how Hofstra is going to match up with [junior attackman] Grant Catalino, [senior attackman/midfielder] Will Yeatman and [junior attackman] Ryan Young. If Maryland takes care of winning the groundball battle, I just don’t see Hofstra being able to stop them. Hofstra has given up double-digit goals in four straight games. Their defense is just not playing well right now. Maryland’s in a good spot. If they just play with the energy and emotion that they have all year, they’ll be fine."

Q: What’s your evaluation of Johns Hopkins’ first-round showdown with No. 5 seed Duke?

QK: "[Coach] Dave Pietramala will have to draw something up to really help out his guys who are covering [Duke senior attackmen] Ned Crotty and Max Quinzani. Hopkins has not been a good groundball team this year, and Duke has great speed between the lines. On paper, everything points to Duke, but Coach Pietramala will scheme something up."

Q: Does Loyola need senior defenseman Steve Layne to return to have a chance against No. 7 seed Cornell?

QK: "They need someone to cover [Big Red sophomore attackman] Rob Pannell. I’ve been impressed with what Pannell’s been able to get done over the past several weeks. He is exceptional. Him, [North Carolina junior attackman] Billy Bitter, Ned Crotty and [Virginia sophomore attackman] Steele Stanwick are the best attackmen in the nation. So Loyola’s got to stop Pannell first. Cornell doesn’t impress me in terms of their midfield dodgers, so Loyola’s got a shot to play defense. My problem with Loyola is their ability to generate shots on the offensive end of the field, high-quality shots. They out-shot Hopkins [41-22 in a 9-6 loss last Saturday], but they’re not getting in a lot of good areas to score goals. They’re shooting a lot of severe-angle, low-percentage shots, and Cornell plays a really strong brand of team defense. So I would say that if Loyola can win some face-offs, they have a shot. The biggest issue for Loyola the last two weeks is that if you look at their losses this year, they don’t score goals in their losses. They’re single-digits in all of their losses. And lately, out in Denver and last week, [junior goalkeeper] Jake Hagelin all of a sudden is not making stops. He’s got eight saves and 19 goals-against in the last two games, and he got yanked the other day. So something’s happened to him. I don’t know what it is, but they’ve got to get him out of whatever funk he’s in."

Q: Give me one team that you think has dark-horse potential to make the Final Four.

QK: "Stony Brook and Princeton would have an intrinsic advantage if they can win their first-round game because they’re hosting the quarterfinals. That could be a two-goal swing. Those are two teams that have homefield advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs, and that could be pretty significant. I don’t think you can underestimate that."

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Q&A
        

May 10, 2010

Q&A with NCAA selection committee chair Tim Pavlechko

With the 2010 field for the NCAA Division I tournament in the books, Tim Pavlechko is nearing the end of his tenure as the chair of the selection committee. Pavlechko, the senior associate athletic director at Bucknell, spoke on Monday about the rationale behind including Johns Hopkins, excluding Georgetown, and having two games at the same time on Saturday.

Question: How difficult was determining the 16-team field this past weekend?

Tim Pavlechko: "I think in the at-large pool, you had a grouping of teams that differentiated themselves at the top. And then you had a second group of very quality teams that had great seasons for those last at-large spots. I think the challenge quite honestly – moreso than the past, but I don’t know to what degree – is that those teams were all very similar. Over the past two years, the committee has expanded the selection criteria to make sure that we had all of the tools necessary to try and differentiate those teams, and in the end, it really was a laborious process to finally select the teams that were going to be the at-larges."

Q: What went into the decision to invite bubble teams like Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Hofstra and Notre Dame?

TP: "If you look at it from a committee perspective, you had five committee members – and sometimes four [under committee rules, Loyola coach Charley Toomey was not allowed to be in the room when discussing the Greyhounds] – seeing all of those primary criteria that ended up being circular at some point. You had common opponents, but you could never make sense out of it, and even the head-to-heads didn’t show a clear, concise rationale for this is why this team is above others. As we continued to look through the criteria, the committee has remained consistent that results against [teams with a Rating Percentage Index of] 1-to-5, 6-to-10 and 11-to-15 and looking at the full scope of work, the entire season [were significant]. Looking at those games, the 1-to-5, 6-to-10 and 11-to-15, who had success there and who had results there, the players played those games and had results in those categories. That ultimately made for hard decisions that differentiated a team here and a team there."

Q: Did Johns Hopkins get in on the basis of top-10 ratings in both RPI (8) and strength of schedule (4) or two victories over Loyola and Towson, two teams ranked in the top 15 in RPI?

TP: "The simple answer is yes. They had wins in the 11-to-15 category, and the other schools didn’t. We had a situation where you take the names off the school and you’re really looking at results. Whether it was Hopkins or Bucknell, we had team sheets that showed us some key things. I think at the end of the day, I would come back to that subjectivity is not a part of this. It was based upon selection criteria and the way things worked out."

Q: Georgetown did not earn a spot despite an RPI and a strength of schedule both rated at nine that were better than those of Loyola (11 and 17), Notre Dame (18 and 14) and Hofstra (13 and 25). But while those three schools had at least two wins each against teams ranked in the top 15 in RPI, the Hoyas did not. Was that why they were not invited?

TP: "We talked about their results against the RPI, and that’s how close these schools were. … Ultimately, it wasn’t like we were down to two schools, and we had to decide who was the one. There were X amount of schools for four spots. I’m an administrator on our campus, and I know how difficult it is come selection time when you’re not selected. Someone asked me last night, ‘What are your feelings after selections?’ My feelings are that I feel good about the bracket and that we’re going to have exciting games, and yet there are student-athletes who are disappointed, and that’s the unfortunate [by-product] of having a 16-team bracket and 10 at-large spots. We had a lot of quality teams, and it was a tough selection."

Q: How did Hofstra get in when that team finished outside of the top four in the Colonial Athletic Association and did not play in that league’s tournament?

TP: "Looking back at Hofstra, you have an entire season of work. Conference tournaments, while there are positives, there are restrictions. You could have a conference tournament of four teams and all of them are tied for second place. I look at how the Metro Atlantic [Athletic Conference] chose two of three teams by picking a name out of a hat. [Marist, Canisius and Manhattan finished with identical 5-3 league records for the last two spots in the conference tournament and due to deadlocks in several tiebreakers, the last tiebreaker involved pulling a name out of a hat. Canisius’ name was pulled, and Marist and Manhattan moved onto the tournament.] I think there’s a lot of parity in those conferences. The CAA this year is a good example. You had the regular-season champion in Towson not even being .500. I just think there’s that parity. There’s still a lot of subjective criteria, but the one thing that as a committee throughout the entire weekend that we kept coming back to was, these are our primary criteria for selection. It’s not who feels something is this way or taking a subjective focus. It was, ‘Here is our selection criteria. Here is the core of our foundation.’ And we were looking for the entire body of work over the course of a season. Just discounting that someone didn’t make the tournament, no. We were looking at the entire scope of work, and that’s kind of how the CAA played out."

Q: Why are there two games on Saturday at noon and none on Sunday at noon?

TP: "That was a deviation requested by our television partner, ESPN. So we have five games on Saturday and three games on Sunday based on the NCAA and ESPN. We’ve created some strides in the last two years to have all eight games in the first round on TV. Just think about two years when we didn’t have that. So for us, it’s certainly necessary and important to work with our TV partner to get our games on televsion and provide fans of each of the schools an opportunity to see them in the first round."

Q: What are your thoughts as you finish out your term as the committee chair?

TP: "When I got involved in the sport back in 1998, I became a fan of the sport beyond just working with men’s lacrosse. And when this opportunity came up, I wanted to give back to this sport. I hope the sport is in better shape now than when I first took over. I think our championship success and the interest in hosting the championships and the potential for the future is bright for men’s lacrosse. … I’m going to look forward to seeing these games next weekend and even moreso next year when I can truly enjoy the entire championship experience."

Q: What will you do with all of your free time next May?

TP: "I don’t want to put any pressure on my head men’s lacrosse coach, but I hope I’m still busy – just as a team administrator rather than getting involved in the championship committee. No pressure on my coach, Frank Fedorjaka, though."

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:30 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Q&A
        

Salisbury, Stevenson join "Group of Death"

When the NCAA Division III men’s lacrosse bracket was revealed late Sunday night, Salisbury and Stevenson learned that they will be playing in the sport’s version of "The Group of Death."

The Sea Gulls, the top seed in the South region, and the Mustangs, the No. 2 seed, are included in a portion of the tournament that is is loaded with six of the top 10 teams in the most recent United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll.

Besides Stevenson, which is ranked No. 1, and Salisbury, which is No. 2, No. 3 Gettysburg is the third seed, and No. 5 Roanoke, No. 7 Dickinson and No. 9 Cabrini are unseeded. No. 14 Denison is also unseeded, while No. 17 Haverford, which upended Gettysburg to capture the Centennial Conference tournament championship, is the fourth seed.

The six top-10 teams have a combined win-loss record of 94-11 (an .895 winning percentage), and when you add Denison and Haverford, the mark grows to 115-19 (.858).

Meanwhile, reigning national champion and North region No. 1 seed Cortland needs to only get past No. 6 Tufts (the second seed) and No. 8 Connecticut College (the fourth seed) to advance to the championship final.

Sea Gulls coach Jim Berkman acknowledged the obstacles in the path to playing at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Memorial Day weekend.

"I’ve been doing this for a long time, and we’ve had some good draws at times, and we’ve had some not-so-friendly draws," Berkman said. "We’ve come to the conclusion that if you’re going to be a champion, you’ve got to beat everybody. You can’t let it irriate you that three of the top four teams are in the South. It is what it is, and you’ve got to deal with it."

Mustangs coach Paul Cantabene chuckled slightly when asked about the level of competition in the South region.

"It’s a really tough region," he said. "And then you throw in Roanoke and Cabrini and Dickinson, it’s a really, really tough draw. There’s a lot of great games in there and you’re going to have to play your best lacrosse to get through it. Goalies are going to have to play well, and you’re going to have to face-off well. Whoever gets out of this region is going to be one heck of a team."

Berkman pointed out that with such a loaded field in the South, the team that emerges from the scrum to play in the national title game might be battered and bruised.

"The South is definitely loaded, and hopefully, the South doesn’t beat themselves up so bad that when whoever gets there, they haven’t lost all of their edge," he said.

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:00 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Salisbury, Stevenson
        

Mount St. Mary's returns to top

Mount St. Mary’s first Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament crown and trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2003 wasn’t just a thrill for the players and coaches. It was validation for their determination to rebuild a program that suffered when head coach Tom Gravante was afflicted with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was forced to sit out the 2005 season.

"It’s a tremendous win for the program and an opportunity to be in the spotlight," Gravante said. "These kids have persevered through so much, especially my seniors, who, as freshmen, watched a coach fight to regain his health and fight to rebuild his program. And I made a promise to them that if they stayed with me, I would get this right for them. And I commend them and am so grateful to them for staying in there and believing in not only in me, but in themselves for turning this program around."

The Mountaineers, who set a single-season record for wins with 12, advanced courtesy of a 7-6 victory over Siena in the MAAC tournament final on Sunday. Freshman attackman Andrew Scalley scored with no time remaining in regulation to send Mount St. Mary’s to the postseason.

"I can’t say we drew that up as planned," Gravante said with a chuckle. "My staff and I knew that we wanted to set the ball behind with either [sophomore] Brett Schmidt or Andrew Scalley. Andrew’s got a little bit better footwork coming around the corner and banging it. So he ended up back there. … That’s the deadliest place – in my opinion – to set the ball and drive from because defensively, they’re all looking right at you, but their backs are on the guys we’re trying to get the ball to. And in this case, he just got a step on their D-man, and the rest of their five players were all pressed out, and he came around and banged it. … It was goal, time over, and that was it. It was unbelievable. It was almost too real to be true."

The Mountaineers’ reward? A first-round showdown with No. 1 seed Virginia on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

"That’s going to make graduation a little bit of a problem on Sunday," Gravante said. "But that’s going to be great. That’s going to be a lot of fun. That’s going to put a little pressure on our kids for Sunday, but we’ll figure it out."

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:30 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's
        

Toomey's lips were sealed

As a member of the NCAA selection committee for the first time, Loyola coach Charley Toomey was not permitted to be in the room when the team’s resume was being reviewed.

But he still knew the schools in the 16-team field and knew that the Greyhounds were in. So he had to button it up while watching the NCAA Selection Show with his players Sunday night.

"This is a special moment for the student-athletes, so I think this is something you want them to be excited as a team," Toomey said. "You don’t want to steal their thunder of seeing their name come up on TV. I think there was genuine excitement and elation when they saw the Loyola name and knowing that they’ve got another week together."

For Loyola, this is the third trip to the NCAA Tournament in the last four years, which pleases Toomey. But he is well aware that the team can’t be content with just making an appearance.

"We’ve been back to the tournament three of the last four years now. We’re excited about that, and we feel like the program has some great momentum," Toomey said. "Now the challenge is to take that next step in the tournament and that’s something we’ve also talked about. Maybe we dodged a bullet and got an at-large selection, and now it’s time to take that next step as a program.

With the Greyhounds slated to meet No. 7 seed Cornell on Saturday at 2:30 p.m., the availability of senior defenseman Steve Layne and junior midfielder Chris Basler is unclear.

Layne, the team’s top defenseman, has sat out the last two games because of an injured knee. Layne, who leads the team in caused turnovers with 12, attempted to return for the season finale against Johns Hopkins, but the knee wouldn’t comply.

"It’s truly a day-to-day and hopefully, by the end of the week, he’s got some flexibility and feels like he can move around," Toomey said.

Basler re-injured the separated left shoulder that sidelined him for the first three games of the season and was scheduled to get additional tests on the shoulder Monday.

"We’re hopeful, but we played without him for a few quarters against Hopkins," Toomey said. "If he can go, he will go, I promise you that."

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

Maryland not surprised by Hofstra's presence in NCAA tournament

One of the hot topics on Monday will center on the selection committee’s decision to invite Hofstra – a team that didn’t even qualify for its own conference tournament – to the NCAA Tournament.

But don’t count Maryland coach Dave Cottle as one of those questioning the committee’s reasoning.

"Am I surprised that they made the NCAA Tournament field? No," said Cottle, whose Terps play host to the Pride on Saturday at 12 p.m. "Making your conference tournament is not a criteria. When you looked at it, they had some good wins."

"Am I surprised that they made the NCAA Tournament field? No," said Cottle, whose Terps play host to the Pride on Saturday at 12 p.m. "Making your conference tournament is not a criteria. When you looked at it, they had some good wins."

Cottle referred to Hofstra’s wins against three tournament teams in Johns Hopkins (14-6 on March 13), Patriot League regular-season and tournament champion Army (17-2 on March 30) and Colonial Athletic Association tournament titlist Delaware (12-11 on April 10).

Cottle, who will spend the week conferring with his coaches on trying to limit junior attackmen Jamie Lincoln (33 goals and 20 assists) and Jay Card (27, 22), was buoyed by the return of senior Will Yeatman, who had missed the previous two games because of a concussion before scoring two goals in the team’s 18-10 rout of Colgate last Saturday. (Yeatman also has been dealing with a broken right thumb.)

"We thought we had to get him back," Cottle said. "He had two weeks off, and he did a good job. He needed to play, and that was a positive. It was going to take two or three weeks for his thumb to feel a little bit better, and that was a positive. He gives us a little more depth at that position. He gives us a different look than we’re used to seeing."

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:30 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland
        

Tournament invitation elicits usual reaction from Johns Hopkins

After 38 consecutive years of earning a berth in the NCAA Tournament, one would think that Johns Hopkins’ reaction to No. 39 would be a little muted.

But when the Blue Jays had to win the last two games of the season to even their record at 7-7 just to be eligible for postseason consideration this spring, a little outpouring of emotion is expected.

"They cheered – like we do every year," coach Dave Pietramala said of his players’ reaction when they saw that they will meet No. 5 seed Duke on Saturday at 12 p.m. "We don’t take things for granted around here. Strange things can happen. Obviously, there have been years when we’ve been certain where we stand that we’ll be in. But it still doesn’t take away from the excitement that you’ve been named to the NCAA Tournament, and that you’re one of 16 teams and now you have an opportunity to compete for a national championship. Was the cheer a little louder today? Probably so and that’s because of the position we put ourselves in and that position was pretty simple. Our destiny was in the hands of others."

Johns Hopkins, which has never lost in the first round of the tournament, didn’t get any favors from the NCAA selection committee, which sent the team to Durham, N.C., for a meeting with the Blue Devils (12-4). Duke has won 10 of its last 11 games – including tagging Virginia with its only loss of the season.

"Listen, we’ve never looked at our match-up and thought, ‘Oh, we’ve got the short end of the stick,’" Pietramala said. "You’ve got to play against great teams in this tournament no matter what and records go out the window. I’m certain right now, everyone’s got Duke moving on. In the broadcast [Sunday night], they had Duke moving on. And that’s OK. Based on the year we had, I understand that. What we’re going to do is we’re going to try to work awful hard and control the things that we can control."

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (12)
Categories: Johns Hopkins
        

May 9, 2010

Postscript from Delaware at Towson

Under normal circumstances, Towson coach Tony Seaman would spend Monday and Tuesday meeting with each of the underclassmen, reviewing their seasons, and planning their offseason programs.

It’s anything but normal around the Tigers.

A 13th year as the head coach at Towson – and a 30th year overall – for Seaman is at stake as the administration mulls whether to sign the coach to a new deal.

Seaman, who boasts a career record of 260-156 and a school mark of 96-83, needed to guide the team to its first postseason berth since 2007 to impress school officials, but for the second consecutive season, the Tigers fell in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament final – just one victory away from clinching the automatic qualifier and making an appearance.

Minutes after the team lost, 12-9, to Delaware Saturday afternoon, Seaman, who was named the CAA Coach of the Year on Friday, was asked to sum up his feelings.

"Well, I really hate losing. I’ve never been a good [at accepting it," he said. "It would have been exciting to have these kids get a chance at the NCAAs. We won the league in the regular [season], and I think we did a great job in the league throughout the season. I gave them a schedule to go by that was really tough and difficult. I haven’t met with [athletic director] Mike [Hermann] or the president yet, and I know what was expected of us. And we didn’t make it. Missed it. So I guess they’re going to have to make a decision. It’s rewarding to see my colleagues make me the Coach of the Year for the league. That meant a lot to me."

Seaman was poised and rational during his post-game comments, and he praised his players for their perseverance in rallying from a 1-5 start to winning the CAA regular-season title and the top seed in the conference tournament.

"That’s the kind of team we’ve been all year," he said. "These kids are incredible with how hard they’ve worked and how they hang in there with the schedule they had in front of them all year long. They just don’t quit, and today, it was just that short of being enough. That probably hurts more than anything else."

No players were made available to talk about possibly playing for Seaman for the final time, but Blue Hens coach Bob Shillinglaw commented on a sport without Seaman.

"I would hate to see that," Shillinglaw said. "Tony’s a fantastic coach. His resume is as good as anybody out there. The landscape in lacrosse is so difficult and everybody is so equal. You look at the scores day-to-day. There’s no given – as you can see in the ultimate program like Hopkins is 7-7. I hope Tony continues coaching here. I think he’s good for Towson, I think he’s good for the sport of lacrosse, and I think he’s good for kids. That’s the most important thing, what the kids get out of the experience."

Other notes:

*Saturday’s victory capped an emotional week for Delaware’s Noah Fossner. The junior goalkeeper made a season-high 16 saves against the Tigers and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, and all of this came after his mother Elaine died of breast cancer at the age of 57 last Sunday. "This year, I started out a little rough," Fossner said. "My mind was on a lot of different things. Unfortunately, one part of my life took a drastic change. I was fortunate to have enough time with my mom and talk through my game with her. She got me to a point where she was like, ‘You know what? If you’re not having fun, there’s no reason to play.’ That’s a very clichéd thing to say, but it kind of hit me. You’ve got to play. You’ve been given an ability, and you can do it if you can just let your mind stay out of the way."

*Fossner made one of the more incredible plays of the season with a little more than two minutes left in regulation and Delaware protecting a two-goal lead. Off of a failed clear, Tigers midfielder Christian Pastirik picked up a loose ball and fired a pass to junior attackman Tim Stratton, who stood alone on the doorstep with only Fossner blocking the net. Stratton threw at least three stick fakes before shooting, but the ball caromed off of Fossner’s helmet and out of bounds. "I sat back, and he set his feet and let me get set," Fossner said. "I was expecting a quick shot. Then, I just tried to follow his fakes and got a piece of it. It just worked out." Said Seaman: "It was 10-9, and we had Timmy Stratton, who is one of our best finishers, in front of the goal one-on-one, and the kid probably made the best save of his life. He’ll never forget it, Timmy Stratton will never forget it, and I’ll probably be put in grave remembering that. That would have made it 11-10 with another face-off [coming]. So it was huge."

*With five goals against Towson on Saturday, Blue Hens senior attackman Curtis Dickson overtook Randy Powers as the school’s all-time leader in career goals with 162. Dickson has recorded 12 hat tricks this season – the most in Division I – and posted his 56th straight contest with at least one point, which is the second longest by an active player. It’s been an amazing run for Dickson, who said he never envisioned reaching this stage in his career. "The first half of my freshman year, I was sitting on the bench and throwing water bottles," he recalled. "It definitely wasn’t in my mind at that point. The personal accomplishments are always a cool thing to have on the side, but today’s win means a heck of a lot more to me than any of that kind of stuff does."

*The last time Delaware qualified for the NCAA Tournament, that team advanced to the Final Four. Dickson was asked if this squad bears any resemblance to that group. "In 2007, our backs were against the wall, and we had to win out to make the tournament," Dickson said. "We did. We beat Drexel in the semis and we beat Towson at Towson in the finals. That’s basically exactly what we’ve done this year. So far, it’s pretty exact to a ‘T.’ If we play UVA next week, we’ll see if we can do the same thing. But until then, we’re just going to enjoy it." Shillinglaw said he had no idea who the Blue Hens would face in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, which will be unveiled Sunday night. "I think it might be an ACC team or Syracuse," he said. "I don’t know. But we’ll play anybody."

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

May 8, 2010

Delaware at Towson: Halftime thoughts

Towson’s season – and perhaps Tony Seaman’s tenure as the head coach – has come down to 30 minutes this Saturday afternoon as the host Tigers trail Delaware, 7-4, in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament final at Johnny Unitas Stadium.

With a 7-7 record, the Tigers won’t earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament unless they capture the CAA title. And with Seaman in the final year of a three-year contract, he may not get another deal unless Towson gets to the Big Dance for the first time since 2007.

Towson needs to correct a few areas. First, the team must do a better job on face-offs, where the Blue Hens (9-6) won the first nine and finished the first half with an 11-of-13 showing. Sophomore Dan Cooney, in fact, scored off a face-off win just five seconds after junior midfielder Pat Britton had scored to help the Tigers close the gap to one at 5-4 with 3:05 left in the second quarter.

Second, the defense must do a better job on senior attackman Curtis Dickson and junior midfielder Kevin Kaminski. Kaminski helped Delaware battle back from a 3-1 deficit with back-to-back goals over a span of 4 minutes, 2 seconds in the second quarter.

Dickson had been held in check by sophomore defenseman Marc Ingerman, but Dickson scored his 58th and 59th goals of the season in the second quarter.

Third, Towson goalkeeper Travis Love has to amp up his game. Some of the Blue Hens goals came from long range. Maybe the wind here is having an impact, but the Tigers need their junior to perform.

Other notes:

*Towson senior midfielder Will Harrington’s goal with five seconds left in the first quarter was his 27th of the season. He has scored a goal in each of the team’s 15 games.

*The last time the Tigers hosted the CAA title game, they lost to – guess who? – Delaware, 10-7.

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:35 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Halftime thoughts, Towson
        

Delaware at Towson: Three things to watch

The Colonial Athletic Association Tournament final on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. pits two teams in top-seeded Towson (7-7) and No. 2 seed Delaware (9-6) that haven’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2007. The winner at Johnny Unitas Stadium will go on, while the loser will go home.

1. One key to a Delaware win: The Blue Hens are averaging 11.4 goals per game this season – good enough to rank 13th among Division I offenses – and fired 15 goals against a Drexel team that had ranked fourth in the country in defense (7.9 goals per game). Senior attackman Curtis Dickson leads the nation with 57 goals, and he gets a lot of help from senior midfielder Martin Cahill (30 goals). Towson coach Tony Seaman said his defense will have to adopt a strategy that differs from the one the unit used so effectively in Wednesday night’s 13-6 rout of No. 17 Massachusetts. "UMass is an off-the-ball, cutting, we’ll-work-for-this-shot team – maybe one of the best I’ve ever played against," he said. "But they don’t have people who can just go out and beat you one-on-one. Delaware presents the complete opposite problem. They can beat anybody one-on-one. So that creates all different kinds of problems for you."

2. One key to a Towson win: The Tigers have rallied back from a 1-5 start and early deficits in games. Their offense is at their best when many players are making contributions. The Tigers have had seven different players lead the unit in scoring, and 15 players have scored at least once. As the offense did against the Minutemen, Towson must take advantage of the Blue Hens’ short-stick defensive midfielders, especially if Delaware elects to double-pole midfielders Christian Pastirik and Will Harrington.

3. One key match-up: As potent as the Blue Hens are on offense, they sometimes tend to get bogged down in one-on-one match-ups, relying on their dodging and speed to create scoring opportunities. Senior defensemen Joe Wascavage and Cameron Zook and sophomore defenseman Marc Ingerman were critical in surrendering just six goals to Massachusetts, and junior short-stick defensive midfielder Peter Mezzanotte is unheralded at his position. How that unit fares against Delaware's offense could play a significant role in the outcome.

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Three things to watch, Towson
        

Johns Hopkins at Loyola: Three things to watch

Much ado has already been made about Saturday’s showdown between No. 20 Johns Hopkins (6-7) and No. 12 Loyola (9-3) at Ridley Athletic Complex at 12 p.m. The winner is probably in the NCAA Tournament, while the loser could be watching the tournament at home.

1. One key to a Johns Hopkins win: The Blue Jays finally held onto a lead, dispatching Towson, 13-6, on April 28, which was the team’s most recent game. Johns Hopkins had nursed sizable advantages against both Maryland and Navy, but eventually surrendered those leads and suffered losses. The Blue Jays could do themselves a favor by jumping on the Greyhounds early, but coach Dave Pietramala said he’s looking for a total effort. "It’s certainly easier and beneficial to play with a lead," he said. "But this is a game where you have to grind it out for 60 minutes. It has always been a 60-minute game, a game where each possession is important."

2. One key to a Loyola win: Prior to last Sunday’s 12-4 loss to No. 11 Denver, the strength of the Greyhounds has been its defense with senior defensemen Steve Layne and Kyle Cottrell and junior defenseman Steve Dircks disrupting passing lanes and blocking shooting lanes for junior goalkeeper Jake Hagelin. The unit will be tested by Johns Hopkins’ offense of senior attackman Steven Boyle, senior midfielder Michael Kimmel and junior attackman Kyle Wharton. "We always talk about stopping the knowns and trying to be prepared whether we press out or defend them," Loyola coach Charley Toomey said. "You have to stop the knowns and certainly Kimmel and Wharton and Boyle are Hopkins’ knowns. So whatever the game plan is, you have to have a game plan for those three."

3. One key match-up: In last year’s regular-season finale, Johns Hopkins escaped with an 11-10 victory in double overtime, in part, because of the defense’s ability to handcuff Greyhounds attackmen Cooper MacDonnell and Collin Finnerty. Sam DeVore surrendered just one goal to Finnerty, and Matt Drenan limited MacDonnell to one assist. Loyola must get more production from its two best attackmen, who will likely get a rematch with DeVore and Drenan.

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

Seaman, five Towson players recognized by conference

If this really is Tony Seaman’s last year as the head coach at Towson, he’s certainly doing his best to make it difficult for the administration to dismiss him. On Friday, Seaman was honored by the Colonial Athletic Association as that league’s Coach of the Year.

The Tigers also had five players recognized by the conference. Midfielders Will Harrington and Christian Pastirik and defenseman Marc Ingerman were named to the All-CAA first team, goalkeeper Travis Love made the second team, and face-off specialist Ryan DeSmit joined the All-Rookie team.

Seaman has guided Towson (7-7) to the conference tournament championship final against Delaware (9-6) on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Johnny Unitas Stadium despite a 1-5 start. The Tigers won five straight contests – including four against CAA opponents – and clinched the top seed in the conference tournament before falling to Hofstra in the regular-season finale for both teams.

Seaman, who was named the CAA Coach of the Year in 2004, boasts a career record of 260-155 in 29 years of coaching and is seeking his fourth tournament crown and first since 2005.

Harrington, a senior, ranks second on the team in goals (26) and points (31). A repeat first-team selection, the Baltimore native and Friends graduate is the only player to score a goal in each of the Tigers’ 14 games.

Pastirik, a fifth-year senior who transferred from Cornell, leads the offense in goals (27), assists (19) and points (46). He has registered five hat tricks this season.

Ingerman, an All-Rookie choice last season, has started all 14 games and is usually assigned to the opponents’ top playmaker. The redshirt sophomore has recorded 13 groundballs and five caused turnovers.

Love, who assumed the starting goalie duties from senior Rob Wheeler in the fourth game of the season, is tied for 16th among Division I goalkeepers in save percentage (.561) and ranks 21st in goals-against average (9.07). The Westminster native and Winters Mill graduate is just a junior.

DeSmith has won 27-of-69 face-offs this season. The Towson native and Friends graduate has also scooped up 10 groundballs while backing up redshirt freshman Matt Thomas.

The Tigers and Drexel led the conference with three layers each on the All-CAA first team.

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

May 7, 2010

Cornell skips rebuilding, goes straight to re-loading

This was the year Cornell was supposed to give way to some of its Ivy League counterparts and fade into rebuilding mode. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell the Big Red.

No. 7 Cornell’s 10-9 victory over No. 8 Princeton gave the program at least a share of the last seven Ivy League regular-season championships and eight of the last nine. Although the team (9-4) will share this season’s crown with the Tigers (9-4), No. 9 Brown (8-5) and No. 16 Yale (10-3), the Big Red continues to prosper despite graduating its starting midfield of 2009 Tewaaraton Award winner Max Seibald, John Glynn and Rocco Romero, defenseman Matt Moyer and goalkeeper Jake Myers.

"I give our guys credit this year," coach Jeff Tambroni said. "We’ve gone through some difficult times this year and lost in some tough games within our league, but they’ve been a very resilient group. … Coming into this season, there was the label, ‘The Team Without,’ because we graduated so many talented guys, some of Cornell’s all-time greats. I think they just made it a point to compete and play as a group and not to necessarily have that one or two marquee guys on the team. They used it as motivation, and they never doubted the journey."

Cornell has beaten Princeton, Yale, No. 15 Stony Brook and No. 19 Army, leading to speculation that even if the Big Red should falter in Friday’s semifinal round of the Ivy League Tournament, the team’s resume is impressive enough to warrant an at-large bid.

As pleasing as that would be, Tambroni said the team would like to remove any doubt from the selection committee.

"We certainly don’t want to take any chances," he said. "We want to put our best foot forward by winning the Ivy League Tournament. … Looking at some of the wins we’ve had, Stony Brook’s having a great year, Princeton’s having a great year, Army beating Navy a couple times, including this past weekend, has helped our cause. So with the combination of the strength of our league and our non-league schedule, I think we’ve put ourselves at least in a quality position in those discussions. So I’m hopeful that regardless of what happens, we’ll be in strong consideration."

Due to an elaborate series of tiebreakers, Cornell gets to host this year’s Ivy League Tournament and will meet Yale in the second semifinal at 8 p.m. Princeton and Brown will battle in the first semifinal at 5 p.m.

Tambroni did not seem to take much solace in playing host this weekend.

"In most years, that’s a huge advantage," he said. "You’re on your home field, inside of your locker room, inside of your film room with all of the resources you need to prepare. … But having said that, I look back at our record, and we’re 1-1 at neutral sites, 4-3 at home and 4-0 on the road. So this team has not done as well as we have typically done. This year, we’ve been OK, and part of that has to do with we’ve had Virginia and Syracuse come to town. But the other part of that is that we have not defended our home turf as well as we would have liked. So we’ll see what kind of an advantage it is when the weekend is over."

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

Reminders of past not needed at Towson

As Towson prepares for Saturday’s Colonial Athletic Association Tournament final against Delaware, Tony Seaman said he hasn’t had to remind his players of last year’s run to the same stage before falling to Villanova.

"They know. I didn’t even have to bring it up because they brought it up [after Wednesday night’s 13-6 rout of No. 17 Massachusetts in a CAA Tournament semifinal]," Seaman said. "… They were saying, ‘This isn’t the end. This is only the start. Rememeber what happened last year when we held Drexel to only two goals and then on Saturday, we lost. So let’s not lose.’ And our assistant coach Shawn Nadelen brought it up in the locker room that three years ago, Delaware came in here and beat us for the CAA championship and went to the Final Four. They beat us by a goal late in the game. So Saturday is as important as any game we’ve had."

If the Tigers (7-7) can get past the Blue Hens (9-6), they will have earned the qutomatic qualifier, ensuring their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2007. A win will also satisfy the administration’s mandate that the team make the NCAA Tournament to warrant a new deal for Seaman, who is in the final year of a three-year contract.

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

May 6, 2010

Towson fighting for Tony

While working on an article for Friday’s edition of The Sun, I spoke with Towson freshman attackman Matt Hughes and asked him about the precarious situation involving coach Tony Seaman.

Seaman is in the final year of a 3-year contract, and a new deal hinges on whether the Tigers qualify for the NCAA Tournament, which would be the program’s first appearance since 2007.

Towson (7-7) could do just that by beating Delaware (9-6) in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament final on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Johnny Unitas Stadium inTowson. The Tigers are the top seed, while the Blue Hens are the No. 2 seed.

Hughes said the players are well aware of Seaman’s status.

"That’s one of the things we use as motivation," he said. "At our pre-game practice on Wednesday night, he went up to [senior midfielder and team captain] Brock [Armour] and told him that this could be his last practice. It’s hard to hear that. We all want to play for him and not just for ourselves."

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:00 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Towson
        

Could Penn State vacancy have an impact locally?

Penn State coach Glenn Thiel announced on Wednesday his decision to step down after 33 years of leading the Nittany Lions.

He compiled a 236-186 record at Penn State and owned a career mark of 313-222, which includes the 1972 national championship as the coach at Virginia.

The school’s web site said that a national search for Thiel’s successor will begin immediately, and I can think of a few local names that could become candidates.

Shawn Nadelen is the associate head coach and defensive coordinator at Towson, while Bobby Benson is the offensive coordinator at Johns Hopkins. Navy assistant coach Stan Ross was the head coach at Butler for two seasons before the school dropped the lacrosse program, and coach Paul Cantabene has Stevenson in line for its second overall No. 1 seed in the Division III Tournament.

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:00 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Navy, Stevenson, Towson
        

Maryland eager to play rather than take weekend off

No. 3 Maryland figures to get a high seed when the field for the NCAA Tournament is unveiled Sunday night. But those hopes could take a slight fall if the Terps (10-3) drop the regular-season finale to Colgate (3-9) on Saturday.

Still, Maryland coach Dave Cottle said he had no regrets about scheduling a game against the Red Raiders rather than taking a week off.

"No, I’d rather play," Cottle said. "It’s a great opportunity for us to keep playing and keep improving. No one’s yet figured out how to take two weeks off and still keep playing well. So this just keeps us going. This gives us an opportunity to play on Long Island, and we have some guys from Long Island on our team. So they get to play in front of their houses and their parents and their friends. So I think it’s a tremendous opportunity, and our kids are looking forward to it."

Colgate’s season is over after Saturday, but the things might have been different had the team reversed the trend on five one-goal losses – three of which were decided in overtime. Which is why the Terps are taking the Red Raiders seriously.

"That’s a team that went to the NCAA Tournament two years in a row," Cottle said. "You can’t be afraid to play games. As you know, we’re playing a lot of younger guys, and it’s another opportunity for us to play our guys and to get better. I think the kids are looking forward to playing."

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Maryland
        

Records don't matter in War on the Shore series

Saturday adds another installment to the War on the Shore series when Washington visits Salisbury at 1 p.m.

On paper, the game doesn’t appear competitive as the Sea Gulls are 17-1 and poised to earn one of the top two seeds in the Southern region of the NCAA Division III Tournament. Meanwhile, the Shoremen are 4-9 and have dropped six of their last seven contests.

But don’t buy into the records, Salisbury coach Jim Berkman cautioned. Even though the Sea Gulls have won 11 of the last 12 meetings – including the last nine – they know what to expect on Saturday.

"There’s a lot of tradition to this game, and that plays into the emotions," Berkman said. "Washington College has had two weeks to practice since their last game, and I’m sure that in the back of their minds, they’re thinking, ‘This could make our season.’ … Watching them on film, they’re a very solid team. They have good athletes, they’re well-organized, they’re well-coached. They’ve had some hard luck in some one-goal games. They’ve got a huge goalie who is good. We’re going to have to play well – as we have all season – against a very good team."

Asked if his players view Saturday’s game as the team’s Super Bowl, Washington coach J.B. Clarke replied, "I think certainly in the back of their minds, they’re thinking that way. … But the hype of the game doesn’t require us to give them many motivational tools this week. When you’re playing in a game like this, I think one of the main things you have to do is almost calm them down so that they just don’t go out there like chickens with their heads cut off. So I don’t think that will be something we’ll need to use this week."

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Salisbury, Washington
        

Postscript from Albany at UMBC

After several years of standing atop the mountain, UMBC discovered what many climbers realize: at some point, you’ve got to come down.

After four consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament and three America East Tournament crowns in four years, the Retrievers’ run of success ended Wednesday night with an 11-7 loss to Albany in a conference tournament semifinal at UMBC Stadium.

Finishing at 4-9 – the program’s worst record under coach Don Zimmerman since going 3-9 in 1996 – UMBC struggled despite the presence of 16 seniors on the Opening Day roster.

The Retrievers shuffled goalkeepers like a card shark in Atlantic City, could not get consistent production from the second midfield, and bid farewell to senior defenseman and team captain Bobby Atwell, who left the team for undisclosed reasons after being benched for the first quarter against Towson.

Zimmerman, who still has maintained his youthful look despite the losing, said the onus is on the players and coaches to review their efforts and make changes.

"You’ve got to do some soul-searching, and I think every coach and player on this team has to do some soul-searching," he said. "It wasn’t a good year. We played a very difficult schedule early on, but then we were kind of inconsistent as the season progressed. It’s a negative that we need to turn into a positive. As a coach, I’ve got to go back and look at everything that we do, and see if we can’t figure a way to turn this thing around. We’ve had some very good years here. This year was not a good year. But certainly we believe that we can get back to our winning ways, and that’s what we’ll be working on."

Other notes:

*Named the starting goalie for the April 7th contest against the Tigers and beyond, Adam Cohen seemed to do reasonably well. But in last Saturday’s loss to Hartford, the freshman surrendered 14 goals, and although he was marginally better Wednesday night, Cohen finished with just four saves in 50 minutes, 23 seconds of work before getting pulled for senior Kevin Kohri. "Maybe some freshman-itis came out," Zimmerman said. "The stakes get higher as the season wears on, and obviously, this was a do-or-die game. I just felt like he wasn’t real crisp in seeing the ball. Goalies are going to make or break you. But you’ve got to give him credit for a freshman. He came in, and we were bouncing back and forth with our goalkeepers early in the season, but he won the job. He just didn’t have a great night tonight. That’s going to happen, and he’s got to learn from it and hopefully come back next year and be more determined to step in and win a sot and be a solid, consistent goalkeeper for us."

*One of the hallmark of the Retrievers offense under Zimmerman has been an ability to stay unruffled while taking advantage of opportunities. That wasn’t the case Wednesday night as the Great Danes employed a zone defense to lock down senior attackman Matt Latham, the team’s leader in goals. Albany also pressed UMBC’s midfielders and did a good job of either disrupting passing lanes or blocking shots. Only 18 of the Retrievers’ 41 shots found their way to the net. "I just think that on offense, we didn’t do a really good job of sticking to the game plan and of being patient," Zimmerman said. "We talked about being poised and patient all week, and we didn’t. We got away from that, and we started to do our own thing, and we got discombobulated. I don’t know if you would call it hitting the panic button, but we just didn’t stick to the game plan."

*The Great Danes made it a point not to get hurt by Latham or senior midfielder Kyle Wimer. Latham, who scored six goals in UMBC’s 12-7 win between these two teams in the regular season, was shut out for only the second time this season. Wimer did not register a point for the first time in 32 contests. "We played better individual defense," Albany coach Scott Marr said. "We didn’t have to slide so much, and when we did have to move and slide to them, we did a good job of covering up inside. We really didn’t give Latham much. He had six goals against us last time, and he’s killed us pretty much every time that we’ve played him. This is probably the first time we’ve held him to limited goals, and I think overall, we just played great team defense."

*Congratulations, Great Danes (5-10). Your reward for beating the Retrievers is a date in the America East Tournament final on Saturday with top-seeded Stony Brook (11-3), which blanked Albany, 15-0, on April 24 – the Seawolves first shutout win in school history. But if you believe Great Danes senior attackman Dave Brock, this is the match-up the team has been eagerly anticipating. "They embarrassed us at home, 15-0, a couple weeks ago, and since then, we’ve been telling ourselves that we’ve got to see them again," Brock said. "And it’s going to be a whole different story."

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

May 5, 2010

Albany at UMBC: Halftime thoughts

UMBC isn’t having quite the easy time it had against Albany in the regular season.

The Retrievers trail, 6-4, at halftime of an America East Tournament semifinal here in Catonsville – which is a far cry from the teams’ first meeting on April 17 when UMBC sprinted to a 7-2 start en route to a comfortable 12-7 victory.

The Great Danes have taken advantage of a pair of goals off unsettled situations. Senior defenseman Brendan Gleason fed freshman midfielder Mike Woods off of transition, and freshman defenseman Anthony Ostrander scored off of a face-off.

The Retrievers also have not been able to find an answer for redshirt freshman midfielder Dwayne Stewart, who scored both of his goals in the second quarter. On both occasions, Stewart, the conference’s Rookie of the Week, used his quickness to create enough space to fire shots past freshman goalkeeper Adam Cohen (two saves).

UMBC has taken too many high shots against sophomore goalie John Carroll, who has four saves. The Retrievers need to vary their shots and start taking advantage of extra-man opportunities. The man-up offense is 0-for-1 tonight and has not converted on its last 16 chances.

Senior attackman Chris Jones leads UMBC with two goals, and sophomore attackman Rob Grimm has chipped in one goal and one assist. Senior attackman Matt Latham, who leads the team with 25 goals, has been held scoreless.

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:36 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Halftime thoughts, UMBC
        

Goucher hoping past doesn't repeat itself

For the second consecutive year, Goucher earned the top seed in the Landmark Conference Tournament. But coach Kyle Hannan is hoping the result is much different when the Gophers (12-3 overall and 6-0 in the conference) play host to the United States Merchant Marine Academy (7-7, 3-3) in a tournament semifinal at Goucher on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Last season, the top-seeded Gophers were upended by Scranton in the semifinals and did not advance to the NCAA Tournament. While the memory of that loss is still fresh, Hannan said the players and coaches aren't harping on that game.

"No, we're not talking much about last year, to be honest with you," he said. "It's a different team and a different year. It's just more about our team at this point and the guys being ready and focused on the 2010 Landmark Tournament against a team that we've already played."

Goucher defeated the Mariners, 11-7, on April 3, using a 4-0 fourth quarter to break a 7-7 tie after three quarters. Hannan said the key was making an adjustment on the team's clears to facilitate the transition game and give possession back to the offense.

"We gave up seven goals, but three of them were the direct result of failed clears," he said. "So it was more of between the lines where we were struggling. So then once we were able to get the ball out of our defensive end and create a little bit of transition and get it to our offense, that's when the game significantly changed. So obviously, today, that's a real focal point. We want to be very confident when we're clearing the ball and getting the ball into our offensive end."

The other semifinal between No. 2 seed Drew (8-6, 4-2) and No. 3 seed Catholic (11-3, 4-2) begins at 4 p.m., but Hannan said there won't be any scoreboard-watching.

"Our sports information director, Mike Sanders, asked me about that yesterday," Hannan said. "He said, 'That game might be finished right about when yours is about to start.' I told him, 'I don't want an announcement.' I learned a long time ago that we can only get wrapped up with the things that we can control, and we certainly can't control the outcome of that game up in New Jersey today. So we're just going to keep our guys focused on our task."

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:10 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Goucher
        

U.Va. women's team looks for 'normalcy'

Virginia women’s lacrosse coach Julie Myers spoke to The Daily Progress of Charlottesville on Tuesday about the Cavaliers’ decision to continue their season after the killing of senior Yeardley Love.

Myers told The Daily Progress that Love, a Notre Dame Prep graduate and Cockeysville native, was “one of the most amazing people you could ever meet, and that’s the God’s honest truth.”

“We all have unbelievable sorrow and saddness — this void in our hearts,” Myers said. “But we do feel it’s important for us to try and have a little normalcy in our day and structure to our lives, and obviously, lacrosse can add to our healing.

Jim Daves, Virginia’s assistant athletics director for media relations, told Baltimore Sun reporter Don Markus that the continuation of the Cavaliers’ season came with the blessing of Love’s family.

Posted by Baltimore Sun sports at 2:20 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Women's lacrosse
        

Albany at UMBC: Three things to watch

As noted on Monday, UMBC has enjoyed tremendous success playing host in the America East Tournament, winning seven consecutive games at UMBC Stadium. The Retrievers (4-8 overall and 3-2 in the conference) will try to make it eight straight against Albany (4-10, 3-2), which nipped UMBC, 9-8, in overtime in a conference tournament semifinal in 2004. Here are a few things I will be looking for when the Great Danes and Retrievers meet on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

1. One key to an Albany win: Senior attackman Dave Brock leads the team in goals (30) and points (35), but he has had little help from the rest of his teammates. Only senior attackman Kyle Brunk has reached double digits in goals (10), and Brunk and junior attackman Matt Johnson and Derek Kreuzer are the only players to get at least 10 points. Brock has shouldered the load since season-ending injuries to junior attackman Brian Caufield (fractured jaw) and sophomore attackman Joe Resetarits (broken foot) and scored four goals in the Great Danes’ 12-7 loss to the Retrievers on April 17. Brock is going to need more contributions from his teammates if Albany hopes to advance to the tournament final.

2. One key to a UMBC win: Since naming freshman Adam Cohen as the starter in the cage, the Retrievers have surrendered an average of 8.8 goals and won three of the five games in which Cohen has played. Senior Matt Kresse leads a close defense that includes sophomore starters Tim Shaeffer and Aaron Verardi and senior Lance Ophof, but Cohen is the linchpin in the defense, according to coach Don Zimmerman. "After Saturday [when UMBC lost, 14-12, to Hartford], I felt that Adam made some nice saves for us, but I also thought that he let a few in that he should’ve had. Adam needs to understand that now he’s our starting goalkeeper, he’s got to be ready to play 60 minutes. Now he’s a freshman and it does take time for goalkeepers to kind of grow into the college game. But now we’re in crunch time, and Adam needs to come ready to play and understand that every save is a big save."

3. One key match-up: Great Danes freshman Matt Mackenzie has won just 119-of-278 face-offs for a .428 percentage this season, but one of his better showings occurred against the Retrievers when Mackenzie won 13-of-22 re-starts. UMBC junior J.D. Harkey and sophomore Justin Radebaugh combined to win just 6-of-22 face-offs against the Hawks this past Saturday. An improved performance by the duo could translate into more offensive opportunities and perhaps more goals.

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:30 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Three things to watch, UMBC
        

Massachusetts at Towson: Three things to watch

As the No. 1 seed in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament, Towson (6-7 overall and 4-1 in the conference) gets to remain in the friendly confines of Johnny Unitas Stadium for the semifinal and final rounds. The first step takes place Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. when No. 17 Massachusetts (8-5, 2-3) pays a visit.

1. One key to a Massachusetts win: The Minutemen were 6-2, but then they lost sophomore attackman Art Kell for the remainder of the season because of a broken foot. At the time of his injury, Kell had ranked 12th among Division I scorers in points per game (4.1). The void has been filled by freshman attackman Will Manny (26 goals and 18 assists), sophomore midfielder Anthony Biscardi (21, 14) and senior midfielder Bobby Hayes (19, 13), and the offense ranks ninth in the country with an 11.9 average. But Massachusetts has been handcuffed in three of its last four games, failing to reach 10 goals in those contests -- all of which ended as losses. The Minutemen will have to find their rhythm against the Tigers.

2. One key to a Towson win: The Tigers overcame a 1-5 start with five consecutive wins, but capped the regular season with back-to-back losses to No. 20 Johns Hopkins and No. 18 Hofstra. One common element in the last two setbacks was Towson's habit of falling behind early. The team trailed the Blue Jays, 8-0, at halftime and the Pride, 5-3, at intermission. In fact, the Tigers are 1-6 this season when trailing at halftime. Still, coach Tony Seaman didn't sound too concerned about the team's cold starts. "I'm not one of those guys who believes in fast starts," he said. "Everybody has runs, and you want yours to be one more than their run."

3. One key match-up: Massachusetts's strength has been a defense led by preseason All American Diogo Godoi, but redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Tim McCormack ranks in the upper half of the nation in both goals-against average (9.86) and save percentage (.525). The 6-foot, 230-pound McCormack takes up a lot of space in the net, but Towson seemed to solve him when the offense scored 10 goals in a one-goal victory on April 10. The Tigers will have to figure him out again, according to Seaman. "He's a big kid, he's strong, he's right-handed," Seaman said. "He's from Long Beach/Long Island. We recruited him as well. He's a talented kid, and he keeps them in ballgames. A good goalie with a good defense in front limits your chances to score."

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

Seven UMBC players earn all-conference honors

UMBC had seven players gain recognition from the America East Conference, including placing four on the first team.

Senior attackman Matt Latham, senior midfielder Kyle Wimer, senior defenseman Matt Kresse and senior short-stick defensive midfielder Maxx Davis earned first-team honors.

Latham, an Eldersburg native and Liberty graduate, leads the team in goals (25) and ranks second among Division I players in shooting percentage (25 of 47 for a 53.2 percentage). Wimer, a repeat first-team selection, leads the Retrievers in scoring with 35 points on 16 goals and 19 assists and has moved into 15th place in program history with 133 career points.

Kresse, a team captain, has played 60 games at close defense, starting 49 of them. Davis, a Baltimore native and Friends graduate, ranks second on the team in groundballs (31) after making the switch to short-stick defensive midfielder this season.

Senior long-stick midfielder Michael Camardo found a spot on the second team. He has broken the school's single-season record of 32 caused turnovers -- a mark he registered last season -- with 35 caused turnovers. That's the second-best total in the country, and he leads UMBC with 47 groundballs.

Freshman midfielder Nick Doub was named to the All-Rookie team. The Annapolis native and St. Mary's graduate has posted four goals and two assists since being promoted to the first line midway through the season.

Senior attackman Chris Jones was selected to the All-Academic team for the third consecutive year. Jones boasts a 3.45 grade-point average while majoring in economics and recently passed the 50-point mark for his career.

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

"Perfect storm" has rained on Washington College

Washington’s season began shakily and went downhill from there.

As they prepare for another installment of the War on the Shore series with No. 2 Salisbury on Saturday, the Shoremen are 4-9. Along the way, they had to overcome a hazing incident in January and the loss of key players at three critical positions.

"It’s kind of been the perfect storm," coach J.B. Clarke said. "We had an off-field incident to start the year. And then the top player on each position on our team has gone down with a season-ending injury. We’ve had at, any given time, 13 or more players that couldn’t play because they were injured. That’s not to make excuses. We haven’t played well. Most of the guys who will play Saturday are freshmen and sophomores, and they’re taking the place of guys who are injured or they’re a little better than the guys at that position. This is not an experienced team. For most of these guys, this will be their first time in the War on the Shore."

Washington has lost senior attackman Brendan O’Leary (21 goals and 10 assists last year), who registered four goals and two assists in six starts before tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee; sophomore defenseman Jack Vermeil, who compiled 10 groundballs and five caused turnovers in six starts before undergoing surgery on his wrist; and sophomore goalkeeper Peter Stewart, who owned a .557 save percentage and a 9.16 goals-against average in four starts before dislocating his ankle.

A dislocated shoulder and a sprained ankle have slowed sophomore face-off specialist Stephen Evans. And Clarke said freshman goalie Matt Miller and a close defense of freshmen Michael Pierandri and Matt Torr and sophomore Bryan Botti will start against Salisbury.

As frustrating as this season has been, Clarke said he’s trying to step back and look at the big picture.

"You have to take a step back and recognize the age and experience of the guys playing out there," he said. "I really enjoy this team. We’re 4-9, and that’s not acceptable around here obviously. But they’re a terrific group of kids, and they have not quit. From the outside looking in, you’re probably thinking, ‘When are they going to give in?’ And they haven’t. … So it’s not hard to like this group of young men because they continue to give everything that they have."

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:30 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Washington
        

Mount St. Mary's meets an old "friend"

Last year's Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament ended early as Mount St. Mary's was bounced by Manhattan in the semifinals. Guess which teams will play in the first semifinal on Friday at 4 p.m. at Marist?

"These kids know that this is the team that knocked us out last year from the playoffs," Mountaineers coach Tom Gravante said. "So they have an opportunity at redemption. I'm excited for them for Friday. But we play one game first. We focus on one game before we move on to whoever is the next opponent."

Mount St. Mary's (10-4 overall and 7-1 in the conference) earned the No. 2 seed in the tournament -- in part -- by defeating the Jaspers (7-8, 5-3) in the regular season. The Mountaineers won a 5-4 decision on April 17, but the offense was stymied over the final 26 minutes, 36 seconds.

"Offensively, we became hesitant and stiff," Gravante recalled. "We weren't playing with that same kind of poise that we were going at the start of the game. We got up on them 4-0, and then my young offense sort of broke down mentally. That provided opportunity for Manhattan, and they were able to cash in on it. What we need to do to counter that is help the kids to stay focused. Put the excitement of the game aside, and stay focused on the task at hand."

Mount St. Mary's could help its own cause by getting contributions from a man-up offense that ranks 20th in Division I after converting 26-of-66 opportunities for a 39.4 percentage. The problem is that Manhattan's man-down unit is ranked first in the nation after surrendering just 10 goals in 58 short-handed situations.

"We need to move the ball a little bit faster, and we need to practice on our man-up situations," Gravante said. "We have become more organized in terms of when to run a play, but that's a part of practice that is very, very important. We were 1-for-7 against Marist. If we go 4-for-7, it's a different ball game, which I continually remind my staff of. We need to spend more time practicing man-up, and that's one way you can improve."

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

May 4, 2010

Revisiting tragedy at Johns Hopkins

While working on an article for Wednesday’s edition on how teams deal with tragedy in the midst of a season, I talked to Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala, who played for an assistant coach afflicted with cancer.

Fred Smith was involved in Johns Hopkins lacrosse for 40 years as both player and coach. Smith and current Denver head coach Bill Tierney served as co-defensive coordinators in 1987 despite Smith battling lung cancer.

Pietramala, who was a sophomore defenseman that year, was part of a unit that helped the Blue Jays upset No. 1 Maryland, 13-8, in the NCAA Tournament semifinals. Smith was present for that game at Rutgers, but he returned home and died shortly after the program captured its seventh national title.

Pietramala, who called Smith "the granddad of Hopkins lacrosse," said Smith was a trusted voice among the players, who gained inspiration from their coach.

"Fred was a guy who wouldn’t really let you know. It was a battle that he didn’t necessarily allow us to fight with him. We all knew that he was sick toward the end. It was always something where you wanted to play for Freddy. He was such a special man. To me, it felt like it was me against the world, and he was the only ally that I had. He was just such a special guy that when we realized how sick he was and when the coaches told us that he was going home and wouldn’t be with us for the championship, I think we kind of realized, ‘Holy cow, Freddy’s not going to be here. Things must be really bad.’ Because Freddy was tough. He never missed anything. And the way we got through it was that we persevered for him. He was just such an important part of at least my life, that you said to yourself and to your teammates, ‘We’re going to play for Freddy. We’re going to play for ourselves, but we’re going to play for Freddy.’"

Smith is so revered by Pietramala that a framed picture of Smith hangs on the wall of Pietramala's office -- directly beneath a framed picture of NFL Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi.

"When I walk in, I’ve got a picture of him before warm-ups in the Maryland game," Pietramala said. "It was given to me when I got the head coaching job here by my former head coach, Don Zimmerman. He said to me, ‘Freddie would’ve been proud of you, and he’ll always be looking out for you.’"

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:00 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Johns Hopkins
        

Revisiting tragedy at Cornell

While working on an article for Wednesday’s edition on how teams deal with tragedy in the midst of a season, I talked to Cornell coach Jeff Tambroni, who had a player die six years ago.

George Boiardi, a senior defenseman, was struck in the chest by a shot in a game against Binghamton on March 17 at the Big Red’s Schoellkopf Field in Ithaca, N.Y. He collapsed and despite attempts to revive him, he was declared dead at a nearby hospital later that evening.

Tambroni said the memory of Boiardi’s death is still fresh.

"I’m not sure you ever get over it," Tambroni said. "I know the old saying, that time heals all wounds. But when it comes to someone that you love and you’re around these kids probably as much as your own kids, I’m not sure you ever really get over it. But I do know this: it’s been six years since George’s passing, and when it first happened, it was unfathomable. The entire team and everyone associated with our program was just in disbelief that something like this could happen to a young man with such a promising future. We had a lot of help through the Cornell lacrosse family, through Cornell University, and – to be honest with you – through the strength of Mr. and Mrs. Boiardi. Their strength and their faith and their love was probably our compass and our guiding light through that time."

After Boiardi’s death, the team canceled its next game against North Carolina, but still traveled there for spring break. The players and coaches returned for Boiardi’s funeral in Washington, D.C., and drove back to North Carolina for a few more days before returning to campus.

Tambroni called the decision to stay together over spring break in North Carolina the best decision the team made during that traumatic time.

"Guys broke down at times and were challenged by their own emotions in trying to figure out what was right. Could they laugh? Should they cry?" he said. "But down there, we played touch football, and we played a little bit of everything other than lacrosse. And when we came back, we had a long discussion and every emotion that you could imagine came out. We sat down in a circle as a team and just said, ‘There would be no shame in ending the season right now and wrapping it up.’ We had only played up until that point, four or five games. So there was plenty of season left to play. Certainly the way it happened at Cornell brought added incentive as to why we should stop playing. But to a man, I think everybody was on board and agreed to come back to play – with the caveat that we would not put any pressure on one another to win this for George. Rather, it was about honoring the man and the family in only the way we knew how and to remember the gifts that he left behind and to make sure they weren’t going to pass with him."

The circumstances surrounding the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams at Virginia re-opened the wound for Tambroni.

"There are constant reminders, and unfortunately, this happens to be one of them," he said. "I can’t imagine what they’re thinking about, but I know there are constant reminders of what we went through and what we’re still going through."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:00 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Revisiting tragedy at Loyola

While working on an article for Wednesday’s edition on how teams deal with tragedy in the midst of a season, I talked to former Loyola coach Dave Cottle, who had a player die in 1997.

Gerry Case, a freshman midfielder who played at Broadneck, died of a meningitis-related blood infection on March 22 -- three days after registering his first collegiate goal and assist and a little more than three weeks after his 19th birthday.

Cottle recalled that Case played against Fairfield on Tuesday night, but called the coach on Wednesday morning complaining of vomiting. Case was admitted to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he was on Saturday when the Greyhounds routed Brown, 18-10.

"We all took the game ball over to the hospital that night, and they said that things were turning for the better," remembered Cottle, who is now the head coach at Maryland. "Then at 11 o’clock that night, he passed away, and we heard it on the news."

Practice was canceled for the next three days while players, coaches and staff met with counselors and administrators. Saturday’s game against Towson was canceled, and players wore Case’s No. 9 on their jerseys and helmets.

"Before every game, we would take our helmets off and point to the sky," Cottle said. "We had his number on. He helped us get stronger as a team. It was just a horrific situation. … We just kept working. Life’s not fair. There’s a lot of disappointments, but losing a member of our family in Gerry brought us closer. He helped solidify our team that year."

Loyola went 10-4 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals before falling to Syracuse. Cottle said any thought of canceling the season was dismissed after talking to the Case family.

"I can remember talking to the family and that was the furthest thing from their minds," he said. "They came to the games, and that’s why you have tremendous respect for them. I can’t imagine it as a parent, and yet they were so classy and so committed to the other kids. To this day, those kids from that team go and visit them."

Looking back, Cottle said the school was the perfect place to deal with the trauma of Case’s death.

"Loyola College is a tremendous place to handle tragedy because of the faith and the religion and the small school and the family atmosphere," he said. "I’ve always felt like that school could handle tragedy better than a lot of other places because it was a small, faith-based school."

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:30 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Loyola
        

A little R&R for Stevenson

After topping No. 14 Denison, 13-9, this past Saturday, No. 1 Stevenson gets a chance to rest.

Not that the Mustangs (17-1) will spend this two-week layoff prior to a first-round game in the NCAA Tournament tanning and goofing off. This week, classes wrap up and exams begin on Monday.

Coach Paul Cantabene said the time off would be beneficial for the players.

"I think it’s kind of a good thing for us because we’ve played so many games," he said. "It’s been the whole month of April with the CAC Tournament and then playing a really physical Denison game. I think this gives us time to get in shape and get used to the heat. Everyone has nicks and bruises at this time of the year, so this is a chance to get everybody healthy and focus on the NCAA Tournament."

Players will practice Tuesday, take Wednesday off, return on Thursday and Friday, and then get the weekend off to prepare for exams. But many of the players will be finished with exams by Wednesday, Cantabene said.

"We’re going to really focus on our conditioning and stickwork and then next week, get back to our usual practice regimen," Cantabene said. "We want to focus on getting used to the heat. Saturday was really our first hot day of the year, and I think everybody – Denison and us – struggled a little bit with the heat. So we’ve just got to get ready for that humidity and get our guys in the best shape possible without wearing them off for next week."

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

Salisbury on the mend

Salisbury coach Jim Berkman talked last week about how a two-week layoff between the team’s final two regular-season contests would benefit a few key players trying to overcome injuries.

Berkman spoke on Monday and seemed optimistic that sophomore defenseman Andrew Sellers, senior attackman Jake DeLillo and senior midfielder/face-off specialist Ryan Finch would be able to play as early as this Saturday when the No. 2 Sea Gulls plays host to Washington in the teams’ annual War on the Shore series.

Sellers, a Baltimore native and Archbishop Curley graduate, has missed six consecutive games because of an injured knee, and although his long-term health is a priority, Berkman said he would like to see Sellers suit up against the Shoremen rather than wait until the NCAA Tournament.

"Andrew needs to play," Berkman said. "He hasn’t played in more than a month. His last game was April 3. It’ll be five weeks on Saturday, and we’ve got to find out where he’s at to make the stretch run for the playoffs."

Berkman said DeLillo and Finch – both of whom played in the team’s last contest, a 10-6 loss to No. 1 Stevenson in the Capital Athletic Conference Tournament final on April 24 – appear to be improved.

"Jake should be ready to go this week," he said. "He only practiced minimally last week, and he had all weekend off to rest his ankle, and he’s had a lot of treatment. He should be in the 90th percentile. With Finch [a Finksburg native and Westminster graduate], his hamstring is definitely feeling a whole lot better. … Hopefully, we’re getting over that hump. I think the time off has actually been a good thing."

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Salisbury, Washington
        

Q&A with ESPN analyst Mark Dixon

ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins midfielder Mark Dixon will be providing commentary on Saturday at noon when No. 20 Johns Hopkins (6-7) visits No. 12 Loyola (9-3) in what will be a pivotal game for both teams. Dixon talks about the Johns Hopkins-Loyola showdown, Towson’s berth in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament and UMBC’s hopes of capturing a third straight America East Tournament crown.

Question: Johns Hopkins must beat Loyola on Saturday to be eligible for consideration for the NCAA Tournament, but is the game a must-win situation for the Greyhounds, too?

Mark Dixon: "I would definitely say that Loyola needs to beat Hopkins. They lost to Denver in the ECAC, so the Pioneers get the automatic qualifier [AQ]. Loyola was ranked sixth, and their RPI [Ratings Percentage Index] was in the top 10 [sixth] last week. If you look at Loyola, they beat Georgetown, and that win could loom large because you have the Hoyas out there circling around for an at-large berth, but they’ve got to knock Hopkins off. They’ve got to put the dagger through the Blue Jays’ heart because if they lose, then Hopkins is in play for an at-large berth. If Loyola can take care of Hopkins, that’s one less team that they’ve got to worry about on Selection Sunday."

Q: If Johns Hopkins wins on Saturday, is Loyola’s resume impressive enough to warrant an at-large bid?

MD: "They’re definitely on the bubble. There’s just so much going on. Denver winning the ECAC and the AQ not only hurt Loyola, but also so many other bubble teams, including Hopkins. What’s going to happen in the CAA [Colonial Athletic Association]? I think both Hopkins and Loyola are really rooting for Towson to win the CAA [Tournament] because both of them beat Towson. When you look at the Ivy League, they want either Princeton or Cornell. They’re looking for a nice, clean Ivy League championship where either Princeton or Cornell goes to the Ivy League championship game, one of them takes the title and the AQ, and then the other one goes in as the second Ivy League team. If either Brown or Yale gets through, that creates a lot of mayhem. And last but not least, Stony Brook in the America East because if one of those other three teams [UMBC, Albany or Vermont] wins it, Stony Brook is a strong contender for an at-large berth. So unfortunately for Loyola and for Hopkins, Loyola had destiny in their hands prior to face-off on Sunday against Denver, and they can only control what they can control. Unfortunately, there are a lot of other parameters to consider, and there’s a lot that will come into play."

Q: With Towson losing its last two games, how concerned would you be if you were coach Tony Seaman?

MD: "He’s got two things going for him. One, he’s in the [CAA] tournament and number two, he’s got the No. 1 seed. Towson’s in a situation where they have to win the CAA to get in. The CAA has been a circus all year long. Towson, who started the season 1-5, is the No. 1 seed and has home-field advantage. [No. 2 seed] Delaware was left for dead a couple weeks ago and now they’re playing great lacrosse. UMass and Drexel have both lost two out of their last three, and then you have Hofstra, the preseason favorite, not even in the tournament, and they can still get an at-large. So it’s crazy, but if you’re Towson, what you’re talking about is beating UMass. You’re talking about trying to get off to a quick start, getting UMass down early, and then playing strong and winning and getting to that championship on Saturday."

Q: How is it possible that Hofstra, which did not qualify for the CAA Tournament, could still get an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament?

MD: "Everybody plays everybody. There’s no hiding from anyone. If you want to be rewarded, it’s high risk, high reward. You’ve got to play a competitive schedule. You’ve got to play top teams. And if you lose, there’s really no such thing as a good loss. But if you win, you can go a long way. Look at Notre Dame. This is a team that started 3-0, but has gone 4-6 since with losses to Fairfield and Rutgers, and they’re still in the equation because of a win they had on Feb. 20 against Duke. It’s just the way it is. Would I like to see more teams come in? Yes, but that’s a whole other ball of wax and a discussion for another day. But with Hofstra, they beat Hopkins head-to-head, and if Hopkins beats Loyola, they [Hofstra] are in play for an at-large berth. They were helped out a great deal by Army winning the Patriot League [Tournament] because they smoked Army, 17-2, and that will help their RPI [Ratings Percentage Index]."

Q: Does UMBC have a chance at winning the America East Tournament and that conference’s AQ? 

MD: "Stony Brook is the hands-down favorite, but UMBC has been to four consecutive NCAA Tournaments, and this is a much different team than the ones Don Zimmerman has had in the last couple of years. They’ve had a lot of internal things on with [senior defenseman Bobby] Atwell leaving the team, and it’s an emotional time right now for UMBC. The Retrievers lost to Hartford on Saturday, and they were dominated at the face-off, which was really the difference in the game. I think UMBC has the tools to make a run. They’ve got a nice midfield with [junior Jamie] Kimbles and [senior Kyle] Wimer and [senior] Maxx Davis. I think defensively, they’ve got some concerns, and they really don’t have an attackman who can break defenses down. If they get past Albany, then they’re going to have to face Stony Brook, and that’s when the defense and goalie are really going to have to come to play."

Q: Will it seem weird not to see Navy in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003?

MD: "Navy was the kingpin of the Patriot League for a long time, so for your Bucknells and your Colgates and your Lafayettes, that was your benchmark. That was whom you were chasing. This year, Navy had some problems. Tim Paul went down with a season-ending knee injury, and they had some defensive problems. [Sophomore R.J.] Wickham, the goalie, was terrific, but their defense struggled a lot. [Matt] Vernam’s only a sophomore and [junior Michael] Hirsch was coming back from a knee injury. [Senior Gordon] Lawson hadn’t played a whole lot until this year. They had some injuries to the long-stick midfield position, [senior Jaren] Woeppel in particular. So it was an odd year for Navy, but they went in as the No. 2 seed, and they had a second chance against Army, but they didn’t beat them. Army’s a pretty good team. So yeah, it’s a little bit weird, but I’m not shocked. The Patriot League is getting players, and they’re all after Navy."

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Navy, Q&A, Towson, UMBC
        

May 3, 2010

Second RPI list is in

The NCAA released its second Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) list on Monday, and top of the list remains the same.

Virginia (14-1), Maryland (10-3), North Carolina (11-2), Syracuse (12-1) and Duke (11-4) are Nos. 1-5 as they were last week.

Cornell (9-4), Princeton (9-4), Loyola (9-3), Stony Brook (10-3) and Georgetown (8-5) round out the top 10. Princeton and Loyola each dropped a spot, while Cornell vaulted over them from No. 8.

Locally, Johns Hopkins (6-7) jumped two places to No. 14, Towson (6-7) fell four spots to No. 14, Mount St. Mary's (10-4) dropped one place to No. 24, and UMBC (4-8) moved down four spots to No. 38.

Navy (7-8) fell two places to No. 26, but since the season is over and the team has a sub-.500 record, the Midshipmen are mathematically eliminated from postseason consideration.

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 2:15 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Mount St. Mary's, Towson, UMBC
        

Denver's win has impact in 2011

No. 18 Denver's 12-4 victory over No. 6 Loyola was significant in that it netted the Pioneers the Eastern College Athletic Conference regular-season championship and the league's automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament.

The win also means that Denver (11-4) will serve as the host for the inaugural ECAC Tournament next season. The winner of the conference tournament, which begins next year, will earn the automatic qualifier.

The Pioneers and No. 20 Army (10-5) became the first teams to punch their tickets to the NCAA Tournament. The Black Knights knocked off Navy, 11-8, in the Patriot League Tournament final to earn that conference's automatic qualifier.

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:45 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Loyola
        

UMBC hitting on all cylinders at home

UMBC has made a habit of qualifying for the America East Tournament, earning a berth in the tourney every year since the program joined the league in 2004. The Retrievers have been nearly as automatic when it comes to prevailing in tournament games at home.

UMBC (4-8), which plays host to Albany in a tournament semifinal on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., has won seven straight tournament contests at home after dropping the first two back in 2004 and 2005. The team is 3-0 in championship finals at UMBC Stadium.

"I think any time you play at home should give your team a psychological edge," coach Don Zimmerman said. "Certainly, playing an America East Conference tournament game magnifies that. Our guys don’t have to sleep in a hotel before the game, they’re sleeping in their own beds, and they’re able to stick to their routines. All of those things go into giving you an opportunity to take advanatge, but you still have to go out and play 60 minutes."

The Retrievers defeated the Great Danes, 12-7, on April 17 courtesy of a 3-1 start that eventually ballooned to a 7-2 advantage with 6:21 left in the second quarter. Zimmerman said the team could use another fast start.

"I think anytime you’re able to get out to a quick start, it’s going to help your team," he said. "Obviously, it gets points on the board, but it also builds some momentum. I agree with you that that was the key to our first game. I think it’s important that we come out ready to play from the start."

UMBC did just that this past Saturday, scoring the game’s first four goals against Hartford. But the Hawks responded with a 7-2 run in the remainder of the first half and scored four of the third quarter’s first five goals to eventually produce a 14-12 victory.

"I was happy that we got off to a good start, but I felt that we kind of got away executing basic fundamentals," Zimmerman said, also noting that Hartford won 80 percent (24-of-30) of the face-offs. "You’ve got to give Hartford credit. They’re a very good team and after watching the film, I was impressed with the way they played. … I thought we had a couple guys try to do too much, and we need to understand that if we just keep things simple and share the ball and talk on defense and execute the fundamentals on defense, that’s the key to our success."

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:40 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: UMBC
        

May 1, 2010

Loyola's Toomey a quick study of Denver

Just two days removed from No. 6 Loyola’s 17-12 victory over Eastern College Athletic Conference foe Hobart last Saturday, Greyhounds coach Charley Toomey was already elbow-deep in his study of No. 18 Denver.

That’s because the winner of Sunday’s contest at Invesco Field between Loyola (9-2 overall and 6-0 in the ECAC) and the Pioneers (10-4, 5-0) will capture the conference title and will automatically qualify for the NCAA Tournament.

So by Monday, Toomey sounded like a long-time Denver fan as he talked about that team’s strengths.

"Their first two midfields have just about doubled up our first two midfields," Toomey said. "I think their first two midfields have 68 goals and 43 assists to our first two midfields’ 41 and 27. So they are very balanced. And their attack has scored 67 goals. So they’re getting production from all over the field. It’s a team that really shares the ball offensively, and they can attack you from all different areas. … We’re just going to do what we’ve done the last couple of weeks and do our best to prepare for our opponent and limit those looks that they’re going to get on the offensive end."

The Pioneers have rebounded from last season when they went 7-8 and failed to qualify for the four-team Great Western Lacrosse League Tournament, and part of the credit goes to coach Bill Tierney, who left Princeton after the 2009 season.

Tierney is widely regarded as one of the strongest defensive gurus, and Toomey said you can see Tierney’s fingerprints on Denver.

"I think early on in the year, you saw a team still transitioning to a Coach T team, maybe still caught up in the mindset of taking some chances." Toomey said. "Now they look like a very cerebral defensive team. Slide and recover, very smart away from the ball. … They can win individual match-ups, and they really limit what you can get to look at on the offensive end. They’re doing a good job out there."

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Loyola
        
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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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