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June 30, 2010

Former Washington coach knew he "wanted to get back in"

When he resigned as the head coach at Washington College on May 12, J.B. Clarke considered opportunities in administration and the private sector. But his head and heart never strayed far from coaching, which is why Clarke jumped at the chance to become the head coach at Limestone College, a Division II program in Gaffney, S.C.

"I knew I wanted to get back in," Clarke said Tuesday. "I didn’t spend much time at all looking at other options."

Clarke, who was named as the program’s fifth head coach on Monday, replaces Mike Cerino, who surrendered his coaching duties to devote himself fully to his role as the school’s athletic director.

Clarke, who has known Cerino for more than two decades, said he was intrigued by the position with the Saints after talking to Cerino.

"He and started talking about this a while ago, and it really came to fruition last week when I was down here visiting," Clarke said. "And today, I’m sitting in the office."

Under Clarke, Washington College had compiled a 138-63 record and qualified for seven NCAA Division III Tournaments. But Washington went 4-10 this past season, missing the tournament for the third time in the last four years, and the team had to overcome a hazing incident during the offseason.

Clarke inherits a Limestone squad that went 12-2 and has collected 10 or more victories in 12 straight years. The team made its 11th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament, capturing the national championship in 2000 and 2002 and finishing as a runner-up in 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2005.

Clarke said he understands the level of expectation with the Saints.

"They anticipate competing for conference championships and for national championships, which is exciting to me," he said. "The level of commitment here to men’s lacrosse and athletics as an institution is just fabulous. I haven’t seen anything like this in quite some time. So I’m excited about that. Certainly, having my boss being someone who understands the chair I sit in is exciting to me. But really, the most incredible thing that I’ve seen in my time looking at Limestone over the last couple of weeks has been the commitment that they have to this program and to athletics as an institution. It’s been remarkable."

Clarke makes the move from Division III to Division II, which brings scholarships into the picture. But Clarke, who has served as an assistant at Division I stops like Loyola, Duke and Ohio State, said he is eager to make the leap.

"We have more practices in the fall, we have more opportunities to work with our student athletes than you do in Division III as far as athletically-related activities," he said. "For example, they’re allowed to go to the weight room as a team in the offseason whereas in Division III, you can’t. So from those two standpoints, it’s quite a difference, and I’m really excited about being able to spend more time with the students as athletes. So that will be a welcome change for me."

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Washington
        

Review & preview: Premature 2011 poll part 3

Here is the third installment of an attempt at a preseason and premature poll for next season.

The top 20 will be broken up into four installments with Wednesday’s post involving teams ranked from Nos. 10 to 6. Monday featured Nos. 20 to 16, and Tuesday Nos. 15 to 11. Thursday will highlight teams ranked Nos. 5 to 1. Friday will include three schools not mentioned in the poll that could make some waves.

Unless there are confirmed reports about certain players planning to use fifth years of eligibility, this space will assume that seniors in 2010 will not return next year. Unannounced fifth-year seniors and potential transfers will affect the rankings that come out next February, but here’s a spin anyway.

10. Georgetown (2010 record: 9-5; Tournament finish: no tournament)

Losses: Five starters in attackman Craig Dowd (13 goals and 31 assists), midfielders Scott Kocis (16, 13) and Andrew Brancaccio (25, 1) and defensemen Chris Nixon (43 groundballs and 30 caused turnovers) and Eric Bicknese (19 GBs).

Returners: Five starters including freshman attackman Travis Comeau (25, 5) and junior attackman Rickey Mirabito (24, 5), junior midfielder Max Seligmann (14, 1), junior defenseman Dan Hostetler (40 GBs, 13 CTs) and senior goalkeeper Jack Davis (11.14 goals-against average, .481 save percentage) and a two key contributors in junior attackman Ryan Shuler (9, 6) and freshman midfielder Zac Guy (3, 11).

Reason for pessimism: Davis or sophomore goalie C.T. Fisher (9.66 GAA, .492 save percentage) must become more consistent to give the team a chance in the tough Big East Conference.

Reason for optimism: The defense should get a boost from the return of senior defenseman Barney Ehrmann who sat out this past season because of an injured ankle and freshman defenseman Brennan Bicknese (16 GBs, 18 CTs).

9. Duke (16-4; NCAA champion)

Losses: Five of the team's top seven scorers in a trio of starters in attackmen Ned Crotty (23, 63) and Max Quinzani (68, 14) and midfielder Steve Schoeffel (19, 6) and two key contributors in midfielder Jonathan Livadas (9, 13) and attackman Will McKee (12, 9).

Returners: Five starters in junior attackman Zach Howell (51, 19), sophomore midfielders Justin Turri (20, 17) and Robert Rotanz (9, 4), junior defenseman Michael Manley (44 GBs, 17 CTs) and freshman goalkeeper Dan Wigrizer (9.41 GAA, .508 save percentage).

Reason for pessimism: The Blue Devils bid farewell to a pair of face-off specialists in Sam Payton (80 GBs, 133-of-234 for .568) and Terrence Molinari (34 GBs, 50-of-101 for .495), which could put more of a burden on sophomore long-stick midfielder C.J. Costabile (65 GBs, 75-of-138 for .543).

Reason for optimism: Even with the graduation of Parker McKee (105 GBs, 32 CTs) and Dan Theodoridis (25 GBs), the defense could re-load with junior Tom Montelli (35 GBs, 22 CTs) and incoming Under Armour All-American Luke Duprey.

8. Notre Dame (10-7; finals)

Losses: Four starters in attackman Neal Hicks (23, 14), midfielder Grant Krebs (24, 4), defenseman Mike Creighton (30 GBs, 18 CTs) and goalie Scott Rodgers (7.56 GAA, .605 save percentage) and a key contributor in face-off specialist Trever Sipperly (67 GBs, 181-of-325 for .557).

Returners: Six starters including junior midfielder Zach Brenneman (29, 13) and a trio of sophomores in attackmen Sean Rogers (14, 5) and Nicholas Beattie (11, 8) and midfielder Max Pfeifer (10, 8) and two key contributors in junior midfielder David Earl (22, 6) and freshman midfielder Steven Murphy (9, 1).

Reason for pessimism: Can freshman John Kemp (7.52 GAA, .569 save percentage in two starts) rise to the challenge of stepping in and succeeding Rodgers, who powered the Fighting Irish’s run to the NCAA finals?

Reason for optimism: Kemp should get plenty of help from junior defenseman Kevin Ridgway (21 GBs, 7 CTs), sophomore defenseman Kevin Randall (22 GBs, 11 CTs), junior long-stick midfielder Andrew Irving (76 GBs, 27 CTs) and senior defenseman Sam Barnes, an honorable mention All American in 2009 who sat out this past season due to a hamstring injury.

7. Stony Brook (13-4; quarterfinals)

Losses: Four starters in a pair of defensemen in Chris Gignilliat (31 GBs) and Michael Sopko (24 GBs), long-stick midfielder Steven Waldeck (112 GBs, 32 CTs) and goalkeeper Charlie Paar (9.55 GAA, .562 save percentage).

Returners: The entire starting attack of senior Tom Compitello (37, 35), junior Jordan McBride (48, 8) and sophomore Kyle Belton (23, 5) and the starting midfield of Kevin Crowley (51, 26), Robbie Campbell (20 ,17) and Timmy Trenkle (10, 10).

Reason for pessimism: The holes on defense are immense, but none are as daunting as the graduation of Waldeck, who took out opponents’ top midfielders, battled on face-offs, and powered the transition game with 10 goals and four assists.

Reason for optimism: An intimidating offense should get plenty of opportunities courtesy of the return of junior face-off specialist Adam Rand (81 GBs, 266-of-432 for .616).

6. Cornell (12-6; semifinals)

Losses: Two starters in attackman Ryan Hurley (47, 13) and midfielder Chris Ritchie (17, 8) and three key contributors in long-stick midfielder Pierce Derkac (75 GBs), face-off specialist Austin Boykin (63 GBs, 166-of-296 for .561) and defenseman Andrew MacDonald (34 GBs).

Returners: Eight starters including the entire starting defense of junior Max Feely (30 GBs), freshman Jason Noble (56 GBs) and freshman Mike Bronzino and freshman goalie A.J. Fiore (8.69 GAA, .545 save percentage).

Reason for pessimism: There is a modicum of continuity with the promotion of Ben DeLuca from associate head coach to head coach, but how much will the Big Red miss Jeff Tambroni, who departed for Penn State on June 17.

Reason for optimism: The offense should be just fine with the presence of sophomore attackman Rob Pannell (29, 51), freshman attackman Steve Mock (21, 2), sophomore midfielder Roy Lang (16, 6), junior midfielder David Lau (12, 9), sophomore attackman Scott Austin (13, 3) and sophomore midfielder Chris Langton (12, 3).

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

June 29, 2010

Washington College tabs new coach

Washington College has hired Jeff Shirk as the 11th head coach of the lacrosse program, the school announced Tuesday morning.

Shirk, who had spent the previous four years as the head coach at Virginia Military Institute, succeeds J.B. Clarke, who resigned on May 12 and was named the new head coach at Division II Limestone Monday afternoon.

"I could not be more excited about the opportunity that lies ahead," Shirk said in a press release posted on the college’s website. "From the moment I drove into Chestertown and met all of the wonderful people at Washington College, I knew this was the place I wanted to coach and raise my family. The future is bright and I am ready to do my part in helping continue the great tradition of lacrosse excellence at Washington College."

The Cadets compiled a 13-46 record in four seasons with Shirk, but experienced their greatest success in 2008 when the program achieved three firsts: qualifying for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament, winning a conference tournament game (by defeating Providence), and advancing to the tournament final.

Shirk was a short-stick defensive midfielder at Maryland, playing in the 1997 and 1998 national championship games. He also played three years in the National Lacrosse League.

His coaching experience includes three years as the head coach at Naval Academy Preparatory School from 2002-04, one season as an assistant coach at Maryland and one year as the defensive coordinator at Brown before assuming the head coaching position at VMI.

Shirk, 32, inherits a Shoremen team has qualified for 30 NCAA and United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Tournaments, but has missed the NCAA Tournament in the last two seasons. Washington went 4-10 this past season.

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:34 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Washington
        

Former Maryland coach meets with Harvard officials

Former Maryland coach Dave Cottle has met with Harvard’s search committee for the head coaching vacancy there.

First reported by Lacrosse Magazine, Cottle confirmed via text message that he paid a visit with Crimson officials. However, he declined to elaborate on the tenor of the visit and his interest in the position.

Cottle is a candidate to succeed John Tillman, who – interestingly enough – was hired away by the Terps to replace Cottle on June 16.

In nine seasons at Maryland, Cottle compiled a 99-45 record and a 280-115 overall mark, guided the team to seven consecutive seasons of 10 wins or more, and eight straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

Since stepping down as the Terps head coach on May 16 – one day after the team dropped a 7-5 decision to unseeded Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals, Cottle interviewed for the vacancy at Penn State. The Nittany Lions eventually hired former Cornell coach Jeff Tambroni.

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:43 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland
        

Review & preview: Premature 2011 poll part 2

Here is the second installment of an attempt at a preseason and premature poll for next season.

The top 20 will be broken up into four installments with Tuesday’s post involving teams ranked from Nos. 15 to 11. Monday featured Nos. 20 to 16. Wednesday will highlight teams ranked Nos. 10 to 6 and Thursday Nos. 5 to 1. Friday will include three schools not mentioned in the poll that could make some waves.

Unless there are confirmed reports about certain players planning to use fifth years of eligibility, this space will assume that seniors in 2010 will not return next year. Unannounced fifth-year seniors and potential transfers will affect the rankings that come out next February, but here’s a spin anyway.

15. Drexel (2010 record: 10-5; Tournament finish: no tournament)

Losses: Three starters including attackman Colin Ambler (22 goals and 16 assists) and defenseman Matt McCormick (27 groundballs and 12 caused turnovers) and a key contributor in midfielder Adam Dennis (16, 8).

Returners: Three of the team's top four scorers in freshman attackman Robert Church (32, 9), junior attackman Scott Perri (22, 9) and junior midfielder Kevin Stockel (20, 10).

Reason for pessimism: The Dragons must fill the void created by the departure of a pair of face-off specialists in Zak Fisher (42 GBs, 85-of-148 for .574) and Ryan West (9, 7, 43 GBs, 62-of-131 for .473).

Reason for optimism: McCormick is gone, but the defense does welcome back sophomores Dana Wilber (49 GBs, 15 CTs), Frank Tufano (20 GBs, 15 CTs) and Brian Teuber (25 GBs, 11 CTs) and sophomore goalkeeper Mark Manos (8.30 goals-against average and .585 save percentage).

14. Villanova (10-5; no tournament)

Losses: Two starters in midfielder Paul Webber (31, 6) and defenseman Brian McCartney (39 GBs and 22 CTs) and a key contributor in midfielder Mark Scioscia (21, 8).

Returners: Five of the team’s top six scorers in sophomore midfielder Kevin Cunningham (15, 30), freshman attackman Jack Rice (26, 0), freshman attackman Will Casertano (13, 11), junior midfielder Michael Brennan (10, 12) and sophomore attackman Matt Bell (9, 12) and a starting defense that includes freshman goalie Billy Hurley (9.29 GAA, .514 save percentage) and junior defensemen Chris Ficke (27 GBs, 11 CTs) and Troy Higgins (18 GBs).

Reason for pessimism: As talented as the Wildcats appear, they may reside in one of the toughest conferences in the country with Big East rivals Syracuse, Georgetown and Notre Dame.

Reason for optimism: The defense welcomes back junior long-stick midfielder Brian Karalunas (55 GBs, 55 CTs), who was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year over the likes of Syracuse junior long-stick midfielder Joel White and Notre Dame junior defenseman Kevin Ridgway.

13. Johns Hopkins (7-8; first round)

Losses: Four starters including three of the team's top four scorers in attackman Steven Boyle (32, 23), midfielder Michael Kimmel (23, 16) and attackman Tom Palasek (13, 7 and who is transferring) and defensemen Sam DeVore (33 GBs, 21 CTs) and Matt Drenan (21 GBs).

Returners: Six starters including junior attackman Kyle Wharton (24, 9), freshman defenseman Tucker Durkin (25 GBs, 19 CTs) and freshman goalkeeper Pierce Bassett (9.90 GAA, .536 save percentage).

Reason for pessimism: Can freshmen midfielders John Ranagan (9, 5) and John Greeley (6, 2) make the developmental leap to fortify what could be a struggling offense next season?

Reason for optimism: Attackman Chris Boland, who led the team in scoring in 2009, will be back for a fifth year after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee last season.

12. Army (11-6; quarterfinals)

Losses: Three starters in attackman Tyler Seymour (23, 9), midfielder Andrew Maisano (3, 5) and defenseman Sam Harrison (24 GBs, 18 CTs) and a key contributor in attackman Tyler Oates (10, 5).

Returners: Five of the team’s top six scorers in junior attackman Jeremy Boltus (29, 38), freshman attackman Garrett Thul (41, 9), junior midfielder Rob McCallion (9, 17), sophomore midfielder Sean O’Sullivan (16, 6) and sophomore midfielder Devin Lynch (14, 7).

Reason for pessimism: The pressure is on the Black Knights to repeat last year’s run to the Patriot League reguIar-season and tournament championships and NCAA Tournament quarterfinals, which included an opening-round victory over Syracuse.

Reason for optimism: Scoring on Army could be a challenge with a defense that includes junior defenseman Bill Henderson (44 GBs, 19 CTs), sophomore defenseman Larry LoRusso (24 GBs, 12 CTs), sophomore long-stick midfielder Tim Henderson (56 GBs, 32 CTs) and junior goalie Tom Palesky (9.32 GAA, .556 save percentage).

11. Hofstra (9-5; first round)

Losses: Two starters in midfielder Dan Stein (8, 6) and defenseman Christian Scuderi (38 GBs, 15 CTs) and a key contributor in defenseman Adam Swarsen (24 GBs).

Returners: Eight starters including the entire junior attack of Jamie Lincoln (33, 20), Jay Card (31, 22) and Stephen Bentz (29, 12) and sophomore midfielders Brad Loizeaux (19, 11) and Mike DeNapoli (9, 3).

Reason for pessimism: The Pride gave seven starts each to sophomore Andrew Gvozden (9.30 GAA, .522 save percentage) and freshman Rob Bellairs (8.81 GAA, .398 save percentage) in the cage, and one of them must step forward as the undisputed starter.

Reason for optimism: The loss of Scuderi, the team’s best defender, hurts, but the unit does return a pair of starters in junior Mike Skudin (29 GBs, 13 CTs) and freshman Cody Solaja (11 GBs), junior long-stick midfielder Adam Mojica (32 GBs, 11 CTs) and the short-stick defensive duo of juniors Steve DeNapoli (49 GBs, 13 CTs) and Tim Holman (32 GBs, 12 CTs).

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Review & preview
        

June 28, 2010

Former Washington College coach lands another job

J.B. Clarke didn’t wait very long in the unemployment line.

Clarke, who resigned as the head coach at Washington College on May 12, has been hired as the head coach at Limestone, the Division II institution in Gaffney, S.C., announced Monday.

Clarke replaces Mike Cerino, who surrendered his coaching duties to become the school’s athletic director.

"My family and I are excited to be joining the Limestone College community," Clarke said in a written statement distributed by the college.  "For more than a decade I have seen Coach Cerino, President [Walt] Griffin and many great players create one of the most successful lacrosse programs in the nation. Under the leadership of Dr. Griffin, Limestone College has become one of the premier liberal arts colleges in the country. With Coach Cerino at the helm of the athletics program, we have seen conference and national championships become synonymous with the Saints lacrosse team. It is quite an honor to be given the responsibility of head coach from Saints Athletic Director Mike Cerino. He is a remarkable leader and I look forward to working with him as he enters a new chapter in his career."

Under Clarke, the Shoremen had compiled a 138-63 record and qualified for seven NCAA Division III tournaments. But Washington went 4-10 this past season and had to overcome a hazing incident during the offseason.

Clarke inherits a Saints squad that went 12-2 and made its 11th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division II tournament.

Said Cerino: "I am thrilled to have someone of Coach Clarke's pedigree to become our next leader of Limestone men's lacrosse. J.B. has an extensive background coaching at the highest levels of the game and I feel he is the perfect person to sustain Limestone as an elite program."

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:20 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Washington
        

Review & preview: Premature 2011 poll part 1

By now, you’ve probably already scoured through several polls for 2011. So what’s another one, right? Here is another attempt at a preseason and premature poll for next season.

The top 20 will be broken up into four installments with Monday’s post involving teams ranked from Nos. 20 to 16. Tuesday will feature Nos. 15 to 11, Wednesday Nos. 10 to 6 and Thursday Nos. 5 to 1. Friday will include three schools not mentioned in the poll that could make some waves.

Unless there are confirmed reports about certain players planning to use fifth years of eligibility, this space will assume that seniors in 2010 will not return next year. Unannounced fifth-year seniors and potential transfers will affect the rankings that come out next February, but here’s a spin anyway.

20. Towson (2010 record: 7-8; Tournament finish: no tournament)

Losses: The entire starting midfield of Christian Pastirik (28 goals and 19 assists), Will Harrington (28, 6) and Pat Britton (7, 6) and defensemen Joe Wascavage (14 groundballs and nine caused turnovers) and Cameron Zook (23 GBs) and one key contributor in midfielder Brock Armour (4, 10).

Returners: The entire starting attack of junior Tim Stratton (15, 18), freshman Matt Hughes (13, 4) and sophomore Matt Lamon (10, 4), sophomore defenseman Marc Ingerman (13 GBs) and junior goalkeeper Travis Love (9.24 goals-against average and .556 save percentage).

Reason for pessimism: Can sophomores Carl Iacona (11, 2) and sophomore Michael Brashears (4, 1) and junior Scott Ruhl (2, 0) make the leap to the first midfield?

Reason for optimism: The return of Love, Ingerman, freshman defenseman Ben Strauss (bone bruise in knee) and short-stick defensive midfielders Peter Mezzanotte (47 GBs, 30 CTs) and Kevin Lalley (10 CTs) should anchor the defensive end of the field.

19. Brown (8-6; no tournament)

Losses: Four starters including attackman Thomas Muldoon (27, 10), midfielder Reade Seligmann (13, 22) and defenseman Jake Westermann (9 GBs).

Returners: Six starters including a pair of attackmen in junior Andrew Feinberg (36, 7) and sophomore Parker Brown (19, 12), a pair of defensemen in junior Peter Fallon (37 GBs, 12 CTs) and sophomore Brennan Bailey (12 GBs, 10 CTs) and junior goalie Matt Chriss (10.46 GAA, .519 save percentage).

Reason for pessimism: Junior Seth Ratner (93-of-209 for .445) leads a face-off unit that won just 43.2 percent of its re-starts last season.

Reason for optimism: The defense could be much improved with the return of freshmen Roger Ferguson (1, 7 and 39 GBs) and Sam Ford (17 GBs) and junior Matt Greenberg (20 GBs, 10 CTs).

18. Massachusetts (8-6; no tournament)

Losses: Three starters including midfielder Bobby Hayes (20, 14) and defenseman Diogo Godoi (24 GBs, 22 CTs).

Returners: Four of the top five scorers – all of whom are starters – in freshman attackman Will Manny (27, 18), sophomore midfielder Anthony Biscardi (21, 14), junior midfielder Ryan Hantverk (15, 12), and junior attackman Ryan Liebel (14, 5).

Reason for pessimism: Despite the return of defensemen Tom Celentani (31 GBs, 25 CTs) and Travis Tripucka (17 GBs) and sophomore goalkeeper Tim McCormack (10.13 GAA, .523 save percentage), the graduation of Godoi saps the team of significant leadership and skill.

Reason for optimism: Sophomore attackman Art Kell registered 21 goals and 12 assists in eight starts before suffering a broken foot and missing the remainder of the season.

17. Loyola (9-5; first round)

Losses: Four starters in attackmen Collin Finnerty (24, 12) and Cooper MacDonnell (22, 6) and defensemen Steve Layne (32 GBs, 14 CTs) and Kyle Cottrell (23 GBs, 12 CTs) and two key contributors in midfielder Taylor Ebsary (8, 12, 36 GBs, 12 CTs) and short-stick defensive midfielder Michael Crimmins (19 GBs, 10 CTs).

Returners: The entire starting midfield of juniors Eric Lusby (20, 5), Stephen Murray (9, 5) and Chris Basler (2, 8) and junior attackman Matt Langan (16, 18), junior defenseman Steve Dircks (34 GBs, 11 CTs) and junior face-off specialist John Schiavone (90 GBs, 166-of-277 for .599).

Reason for pessimism: It remains to be seen whether junior goalie Jake Hagelin (8.24 GAA, .544 save percentage) can rebound from his late-season collapse that partially contributed to the team dropping its last three contests.

Reason for optimism: Sophomore Michael Sawyer, the Eastern College Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year in 2009, is slated to return and make the transition from midfield to attack.

16. Denver (12-5; first round)

Losses: Five starters including the entire defense of goalkeeper Peter Lowell (9.32 GAA, .541 save percentage) and defensemen Dillon Roy (82 GBs, 31 CTs), Nick Gradinger (20 GBs, 14 CTs) and Payton Sanders (15 GBs, 12 CTs).

Returners: The top five scorers in sophomore attackman Alex Demopoulos (36, 24), sophomore attackman Mark Matthews (38, 11), sophomore midfielder Patrick Rogers (20, 5), junior attackman Todd Baxter (13, 9) and junior midfielder Andrew Lay (12, 5).

Reason for pessimism: Roy, the ECAC Defensive Player of the Year, also was the team’s best face-off specialist, winning 63-of-116 for a .543 percentage.

Reason for optimism: Sophomore goalie Zander Buteux, who could succeed Lowell in the cage, registered a 9.66 GAA and a .538 save percentage in six starts.

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Loyola, Review & preview, Towson
        

June 24, 2010

Review & preview: Salisbury

Here is the seventh and final installment of a series that checks in with the seven Division III programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Thursday, we take a visit with Salisbury.

REVIEW

The good: A program that has captured eight national championships is usually judged by adding similar hardware. Even though that didn’t pan out after a 9-6 loss to Tufts in the NCAA title game, the Sea Gulls – by many accounts – thrived. The team won 21 of 23 contests, defeated Capital Athletic Conference rival Stevenson twice, and made its seventh appearance in the last eight national finals – a welcome reversal from last season when the squad failed to advance to the Final Four for the first time since 2002. "It was a good year for us," coach Jim Berkman said. "We beat Stevenson twice, we beat Gettysburg, we beat Cortland. We won four games against three of the top four teams in the country, and it was a good year. We won some close games, and we got better as the season went on." … Sam Bradman lived up to his billing. The heir apparent to Kylor Berkman who became the first player to be named the National Midfielder of the Year three times, Bradman, a sophomore, exploded to lead the offense in goals (58) and points (86). His reward? The National Midfielder of the Year award. "Sam Bradman had a breakout season," Jim Berkman said. "He’s a special player, and he made everybody around him better." … Like Bradman, Johnny Rodriguez emerged as one of the team’s go-to players. The junior goalkeeper set career highs in both goals-against average (7.14) and save percentage (.588) en route to being named to the All-American second team. "I thought Johnny Rodriguez towards the end of the season was as good as any goalie in the country," Berkman said. "I thought he played unbelievable, and what’s exciting is that he’ll be returning next year for his senior season and hopefully find the same consistency that he had finished the season with. You’ve got to have great goalie play to become a champion. We’re real excited about the way he’s matured into a truly outstanding goalie at the end of the season."

The bad: The loss to the Jumbos in the national championship was haunting in that the offense was out of sync. Simple passes were either dropped or thrown away from teammates, and players began to force things due to the deficit. Berkman said the offense’s performance evoked shades of the team’s 10-6 loss to Stevenson in the CAC Tournament final. "A lot of it looked like the way we had played the second half against Stevenson," he said. "We took the first shot, we were impatient, we forced things. We just decided to do it at the wrong time." … Like many other teams, Salisbury was plagued by injuries to several key players including sophomore defenseman Andrew Sellers (seven games missed due to an injured knee), senior attackman Jake DeLillo (one game – high ankle sprain), senior face-off specialist Ryan Finch (two games – pulled hamstring) and freshman attackman Eric Law (15 games – broken collarbone). The team still fared well, but the injuries had an effect on team cohesion. "It definitely affects your ability when you lose a kid that athletic and when you lose a kid that probably would have been your fourth attackman, it definitely doesn’t make you as deep," Berkman said. "Even though we were able to overcome that and still get to the championship game, as a coach, you always wonder, ‘What if that guy had been there? What would have happened?’ So that’s always in the back of your mind. But we were fortunate to have some good depth, which has always been a characteristic of our program. Some other guys stepped up."

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: The offense bids farewell to midfielder Mike Von Kamecke (40 goals and 30 assists) and attackmen DeLillo (43, 22) and Mike Winter (53, 7). Ordinarily, that might cripple a team, but Berkman sounded confident that the team had enough depth to find suitable replacements. "We’ve got a couple guys waiting in the wings," he said. "[Junior attackman] Erik Krum sat out this year [because of knee surgery], and he would have been in the mix with those guys. There are a couple of other attackmen waiting in the wings to play, and there are a couple of middies that are going to be pretty good." … The graduation of long-stick midfielder and second-team All American Connor Burgasser (54 groundballs and 45 caused turnovers) and defenseman Jeff Breeding (20 groundballs and 21 caused turnovers) opens the door for sophomore Evan Hockel (42 groundballs) and Sellers (19 groundballs and 16 caused turnovers), respectively. But Berkman sounded more concerned about filling the void created by the departures of short-stick defensive midfielders Will Poletis (7, 1; 35 groundballs and 16 caused turnovers) and Kevin Finn (5, 3; 26 groundballs and 16 caused turnovers). "Our biggest thing is going to be replacing the D-middies – Poletis and Finn – because those two had outstanding seasons," Berkman said. "They were really the unsung heroes of our team." Juniors Brandon Gonzalez and Dean Rossi – who was ahead of Finn on the depth chart in the preseason before breaking his hand and sitting out this past season – are the primary candidates for promotion. … The graduation of Finch (7, 5; 146 groundballs and 211-of-349 for a 60.5 percentage) would be traumatic, but sophomore Kyle Gallagher (1, 7; 52 groundballs and 78-of-154 for a 50.6 percentage) could be poised to step in and start at the face-off X immediately.

Forecast for 2011: Sunny. Finding weapons on has rarely been an issue with the Sea Gulls and even with the graduation hits, that unit should continue to thrive. The defense is sound and if Gallagher can produce as Finch did, the team should continue to challenge the likes of Stevenson, Gettysburg, Haverford, Cortland and Tufts for Division III supremacy.

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Review & preview, Salisbury
        

June 23, 2010

Junior commits sticking with Maryland

The news that Maryland had convinced John Tillman last Tuesday to succeed Dave Cottle as the team’s ninth head coach ended 3023 days of uncertainty surrounding the program. It also provided enormous comfort to high schooler Cory Dobyns.

Dobyns, a soon-to-be senior attackman at Georgetown Prep in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area who orally committed to the Terps as a junior, said Tillman’s hiring fills a void at summer tournaments.

"I’ve been going to the lacrosse tournaments and I hadn’t seen Maryland [coaches in the stands] because they didn’t have anyone," Dobyns said. "Now, we’ll see Maryland represented."

Dobyns is one of five highly-publicized juniors who verballed to the Terps during the past academic year. The other four are: St. Paul’s attackman Jay Carlson, Delbarton (N.J.) midfielder John Barney, St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) midfielder Joe LoCascio and Haverford (Pa.) long-stick midfielder Goran Murray.

Dobyns applauded the school’s netting of Tillman, saying, "Harvard was the first team to recruit me. I know that Coach Tillman is a really good guy. He really likes kids a lot and he wants to win, which is good. He always has an upbeat attitude, which I like. … I’m really excited for him and I hope he’s excited for me."

Similarly, LoCascio’s father was effusive in his praise of Tillman.

"We’re ecstatic," said Joe LoCascio, a former Adelphi player. "He recruited my son while he was at Harvard. I have not met him personally yet, but I’ve been hearing very positive things."

Both Dobyns and LoCascio said they never wavered in their commitment to the Terps after Cottle had stepped down on May 1623, one day after Maryland had lost to unseeded Notre Dame in a NCAA Tournament quarterfinal. Dobyns’ parents both graduated from Maryland, and LoCascio said he and his wife were satisfied with the university’s academic reputation and their son’s comfort level with his future teammates.

Similarly, Delbarton coach Chuck Ruebling said Barney was anchored in his loyalty to Maryland.

"I’ve had only a brief conversation with him, and he had no intentions of investigating other options," Ruebling said. "As I hope most kids do, he made his choice based on the university and not just on the lacrosse program. I had given him a heads-up because I had heard the rumor that Coach Cottle was on the fence a little bit, and he chose Maryland based on the kids on the team and the overall sense of belonging during the recruiting process."

Tillman joins the Terps with a reputation for molding and shaping powerful offenses. That was wonderful news to Dobyns.

"That’s good," he said. "Hopefully, he’ll bring in a good offensive set that everyone buys into and executes correctly."

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Maryland
        

Review & preview: Stevenson

Here is the sixth installment of a series that checks in with the seven Division III programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Wednesday, we take a visit with Stevenson.

REVIEW

The good: The Mustangs reigned atop the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll for a good portion of the season, winning 19 games, losing twice only to eventual national finalist Salisbury, and making it to the NCAA Tournament semifinals for the second consecutive year. "I thought we played pretty steady," coach Paul Cantabene said. "We had two losses to one team, and we made it to the NCAA semifinals again. I thought we got a little bit better winning our first conference championship." … The team was headlined by superstars like two-time national Attackman of the Year Steve Kazimer (46 goals and 49 assists), fellow first-team All American Jimmy Dailey (44, 37) and second-team All American Richie Ford (57, 35), but the program mined the most out of its depth. Eleven players finished with at least 10 points, and 30 players played in at least 11 games. "I thought we were a deeper team this year," Cantabene said. "I thought we were a little bit more talented this year, and also, I thought we played more guys. A year ago, we didn’t play as many guys. This year, we were a little fresher at the end of the year." … Graduating midfielder Greg Furshman who paced the team with a 63.6 face-off percentage (110-of-173) was lessened by the emergence of junior Ray Witte, who won 62.9 percent (300-of-477) en route to being named a second-team All American. "Our face-off guy, Ray Witte, exceeded our expectations big-time," Cantabene said. "He had a tremendous year for us."

The bad: As mentioned before, Stevenson advanced to the national semifinals for the second consecutive year. That’s certainly nothing to sneeze at, but team is still looking for its first trip to the NCAA title game. Still, Cantabene chose to be positive about the team’s showing. "Not too many teams for the last two years got to the national semifinals," he said. "We were just a hair away from being in the finals, and I think it shows that from where this program was six years ago, nobody would have thought that was possible. So we’re pretty happy with where we are, what we’re doing, how our kids work, how our program’s going. We hope to be around for a little while." … Injuries are a part of the game, but that aspect took a toll when senior goalkeeper Geoff Hebert and junior defenseman Evan Douglass missed significant time. Hebert sat out eight games with a broken left pinkie finger, and Douglass did not play in two contests after suffering bruised ribs and a bruised lung in a 16-10 loss to Salisbury. Mustangs supporters might inquire what might have been if Hebert and Douglass had been healthy for that loss to the Sea Gulls on April 3.

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: Cantabene has already made it clear that he is not looking to replace Kazimer, who graduates as the school’s record holder for points in a single season (95). Rather, Cantabene said he is looking for somebody to run with Dailey and Ford. "We’re trying to find the next guy who can be a great complement to those two guys," Cantabene said. "We think we have some good transfers coming and some good freshmen, and [junior] Neal Barthelme, who scored 34 goals this year, was our fourth attackman." … Finding a successor to Hebert might be even a bigger priority. Hebert, who registered a 7.97 goals-against average and a .636 save percentage, was 29-3 as a starter and 3-2 against Salisbury. "So I think the toughest thing to replace about Geoff is his leadership," Cantabene said. "We might be able to find somebody to replace the saves and stuff, but the leadership he provided our team was just tremendous. We have a freshman this year in Pete Wesselman and [sophomore] Ian Bolland played a lot for us this year. We hope they can come in and step in and replace Geoff." … Long-stick midfielder Mike Gustowarow (41 groundballs and 26 caused turnovers) earned a spot as an All-American honorable mention. Junior Joe Valderas and freshman Kyle Fendlay are just two names that could replace Gustowarow.

Forecast for 2011: Sunny. The Mustangs are overflowing with talent, so it’s not terribly difficult to envision the team finding replacements for Kazimer and Hebert. Whether the starting goalie is Bolland or Wesselman, he will derive great comfort from the return of all three starting defensemen in Douglass (37 groundballs and 37 caused turnovers), junior Ian Hart (29 groundballs and 16 caused turnovers) and junior Eric Schell (24 groundballs). Stevenson should challenge Salisbury again for dominance in the Capital Athletic Conference and the country as a whole.

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

June 22, 2010

Review & preview: Goucher

Here is the fifth installment of a series that checks in with the seven Division III programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Tuesday, we take a visit with Goucher.

REVIEW

The good: After back-to-back losses in the Landmark Conference Tournament, the Gophers rebounded nicely by capturing the conference tournament and earning the program’s first berth in the NCAA Tournament. Even though the team’s run ended with a 10-6 setback to Middlebury in the first round, the season was still a success. "The two main goals that we had were to win the Landmark and to participate in the national tournament, and we were able to accomplish both of those goals," coach Kyle Hannan said. "It was good for Goucher lacrosse because now we’ve gotten to the place that we wanted to be in the past. I think we can be a mainstay if we continue to do things the right way." … The offense has traditionally leaned on the attack to lead the charge, and sophomores Kyle Boncaro (38 goals and 28 assists) and Rory Averett (48, 8) didn’t disappoint. But the first midfield of sophomore Matt Lynch (34, 24), senior Jacob Fratella (16, 8) and freshman John Curry (11, 6) also contributed, making the unit multi-dimensional. "I think something that helped us this year was we were more balanced scoring in the midfield and scoring from the attack than we have been in the past," Hannan said. "Our attack has done a lot of our scoring, and we were able to balance that up with our midfielders. That made it more difficult to defend us down the stretch because we could create some offense from up top and behind the goal." … A pair of freshmen defensemen in starter R.J. Lucas (26 groundballs and 24 caused turnovers) and reserve Paul Taylor (33 groundballs and 27 caused turnovers) solidified a defense that surrendered just 6.7 goals per game. Both Lucas and Taylor will be expected to team with junior and All-American honorable mention Justin Dunn (66 groundballs and 59 caused turnovers) to anchor that unit next spring.

The bad: The offense averaged 10.3 goals this season, but Hannan said the players could benefit from refining their techniques during the offseason. "We rely a lot on athleticism, and our real focus for next year for every player and coach in the program is to become more complete and to understand the flow of the game and how to get yourself into successful positions," he said. "We struggled with that this year, but because of our athleticism, our speed, our strength and our size, we were really able to win games off of that. So I would think that’s got to be our main goal, to make sure that the guys commit to being more well-rounded players." … As well as the attack performed, the unit was still searching for consistent production from the third attackman spot. Sophomore Jackson Lane posted six goals and one assist in eight starts, but opposing defenses tended to slide off of Lane to pay more attention to Boncaro and Averett. "We have to develop our third attackman to have more of a presence," Hannan said. "We have got to find that third guy and that could mean we continue to develop Jackson Lane. I also feel like we have three very talented attackmen coming in to fight for that spot, and I also think we have two freshmen [Kyle Borsody and Mike Russo]. So I think there’s going to be a lot of competition for that third attack spot." … Like many other teams, Goucher’s second midfield of junior Chris Argonish, sophomore Pat Peddicord and Russo provided support by protecting the ball and giving the first line a breather, but more contributions from the second line could make that offense even more dangerous. "As we have to develop our third attackman, I think we need to get a second midfield that can create a little more on offense," Hannan said. "That was a super young group last year, and I think them having a year under their belts is good. And there will be a few new faces coming in who could put a lot of pressure on the returning guys to run on the second midfield."

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: The biggest change will occur in the net where Chris Stricklin capped a successful senior year by registering a 6.13 goals-against average and a .653 save percentage. But Hannan is optimistic that freshman Connor Mishaw (10.36 goals-against average and .558 save percentage) can fill that void. "I really think he is going to gel with the defense next year and have a phenomenal season," Hannan said. "He’s one of the more talented kids who has ever been in the program." … Argonish recorded six goals and two assists as he transitioned from attack to midfield, and he could be the primary candidate to replace Fratella on the first midfield. "At about midseason, we put him at midfield, and he’s going to stay in the midfield," Hannan said. "He’s a big athletic kid that’s just a little bit more of natural midfielder than an attackman." … Nick LaBricciosa took the vast majority of face-offs, winning 51.4 percent (167-of-325). His graduation leaves a hole that will be an immediate priority for the Gophers. "That’s a concern of ours because it is going to be a new guy at the face-off X and winning possessions are awfully important," Hannan said. "We feel that [sophomore] Heath Thumel is somebody that we’re really going to spend a lot of time with and try to develop. He has everything it takes to be a successful face-off guy. It’s just a matter of him getting the time and coaching and repetitions to be our guy."

Forecast for 2011: Sunny. Goucher has some holes to fill, especially in the cage and on face-offs. But the team will welcome back six of its top seven scorers, including its entire attack. And Hannan is optimistic that an incoming recruiting class of 16 players – the largest in the program’s history – can push some of the veterans and improve the team’s overall talent and depth. With more underclassmen than upperclassmen, the Gophers are in line to make a return to the Landmark Conference and NCAA tournaments.

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Goucher, Review & preview
        

June 21, 2010

Review & preview: St. Mary's

Here is the fourth installment of a series that checks in with the seven Division III programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Monday, we take a visit with St. Mary’s. (Coach Chris Hasbrouck did not return a few requests for comment.)

REVIEW

The good: For all of the questions that surrounded the Seahawks, the offense was always present and accounted for. The unit averaged 11.2 goals per game this season and reached double digits in goals 10 times. The team’s record in those 10 contests? 9-1. … The attack continued to power the offense. Junior Dennis Rosson (42 goals and 18 assists) was the team’s top playmaker, but he got assistance from sophomores Michael Mules (19, 8), Brendan Oster (12, 7) and junior Chris Becraft (12, 6). Freshman Patrick Mull (7, 25) may have emerged as the best feeder. … Another question mark was answered by freshman Albert Mitchell, who collected a team-best 102 groundballs and won 56.4 percent (177-of-314) of his face-offs. Mitchell adequately replaced All-American specialist Marc DiPasquale, who scooped up 71 groundballs and won 58.9 percent (176-of-299) last season. … Senior long-stick midfielder Ryder Henry (37 groundballs and 25 caused turnovers) was a force on defense. He was named an honorable-mention All American.

The bad: The attack could have used a little more support from the midfield. After senior Ryan Alexander (22, 13), no other midfielder finished with 20 points. Juniors Chris Morihlatko (10, 6) and Bobby Cooke (12, 0) played well at times, but St. Mary’s could use a more consistent showing from the midfield. … Five of the Seahawks’ six losses came at the hands of ranked teams – Stevenson twice, Salisbury, Roanoke and Denison. With the Mustangs and Sea Gulls likely to continue to anchor the Capital Athletic Conference, St. Mary’s will be dealing with ranked adversaries for quite a while.

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: Without knowing how many seniors have fifth years of eligibility remaining, it appears that the program will graduate just two starters in Alexander and Henry. Morihlatko and Cooke figure to anchor the first midfield, and a candidate from a pool that includes sophomore Billy Scheurer (5, 2), Mitchell (4, 1) and sophomore John Dehm (3, 0) could earn a promotion. … The loss of Henry is substantial, but sophomore long-stick midfielder Peter Windsor registered 47 groundballs and 23 caused turnovers. Then again, Windsor could be moved to close defense where he would join two starters in junior Sean Hatley (21 groundballs, 12 caused turnovers) and sophomore Eric Heisner (14 groundballs).

Forecast for 2011: Clearing. The Seahawks will use this offseason to address the concerns in the midfield. But with just two starters departing, the team has many positives returning. The attack should be strong, and the defense – with Hatley and Heisner – could be even better with junior goalkeeper Stu Wheeler, who posted a 9.21 goals-against average and a .548 save percentage. Their biggest obstacle is that they belong to a conference that includes Salisbury and Stevenson.

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Review & preview, St. Mary's
        

June 18, 2010

Huh? Penn State job over Maryland's?

Penn State announced Thursday the hiring of Cornell's Jeff Tambroni as its new men's lacrosse coach replacing Glenn Thiel, who retired after 33 years.

Tim Curley, athletic director at Penn State, released the following statement: "Jeff has established himself as one of the premier coaches in the country and his success at Cornell speaks for itself. He is the perfect person to take our lacrosse program to the next level and establish Penn State as a national presence in one of the country's fastest growing sports."

For Tambroni, this is an odd move. He's taken Cornell to three of the past four Final Fours and established the Big Red as a national power. He's 109-40 in his 10 years at Cornell.

Can Tambroni turn around the Nittany Lions? Of course. Penn State is coming off a 2-11 season. There is no place to go but up. The campus is perfectly located to recruit and the athletic facilities are among the finest in the nation.

But the bigger question is why Penn State over Maryland? Tambroni told a local paper in Elmira, N.Y., in early June that he declined to interview for the Terps job. But he then takes the Nittany Lions job?

Huh?

It remains to be seen if Harvard's John Tillman was the right choice for Maryland. But with Tambroni taking over at Penn State after declining to interview at Maryland, Tillman clearly looks like the second choice.

Would you rather have the guy who led his team to eight straight Ivy League championships or co-championships, or the guy who spent the last three years chasing him?

Posted by Ron Fritz at 8:44 AM | | Comments (15)
Categories: Maryland
        

Review & preview: Washington

Here is the third installment of a series that checks in with the seven Division III programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Friday, we take a visit with Washington. (Former coach J.B. Clarke did not return a request for comment.)

REVIEW

The good: In preparation for the Shoremen’s annual "War on the Shore" series with Salisbury more than a month ago, Clarke praised the team’s mental fortitude. Despite a 4-9 season that would eventually end with a five-goal setback to the Sea Gulls on May 8, the players continued to work hard on the practice field and in the meeting rooms to improve. "We’re 4-9, and that’s not acceptable around here obviously," Clarke said at the time. "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." … Doug Herdegen was voted onto the All-Centennial Conference second team. The junior midfielder who hails from Baltimore and graduated from Archbishop Curley paced the team in both goals (29) and points (36). He was also tied for third in assists (7) and led all offensive players in groundballs (18).

The bad: Injuries sapped Washington of some of its best players at several critical positions. Senior attackman Brendan O’Leary (21 goals and 10 assists last year) managed just four goals and two assists before tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in the fourth start of his season. Sophomore defenseman Jack Vermeil registered 10 groundballs and five caused turnovers in six starts before undergoing surgery on his wrist. And sophomore goalkeeper Peter Stewart owned a .557 save percentage and a 9.16 goals-against average in four starts before dislocating his ankle. … The team did not fare well against ranked teams, dropping contests against Salisbury, Gettysburg, Dickinson, Haverford, Cabrini and Washington & Lee. It’s a troubling trend for a once-proud program that captured the 1998 NCAA title and was a national finalist seven other times. The next head coach figures to be charged with the task of reviving the Shoremen to national prominence.

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: Without knowing how many seniors have fifth years of eligibility remaining, it appears that the program will bid farewell to just two opening-day starters in O’Leary and long-stick midfielder Thom Cecere (33 groundballs and 10 caused turnovers). Junior Josh Perlow (11 goals and two assists) and freshman Matt Lewis (6, 1) earned the bulk of the starts on attack, but junior Shane Kaski (11, 2) and sophomores Billy Stafford (6, 9) and Dominic Serio (7, 7) could carve out playing time.

Forecast for 2011: Cloudy with rain possible. The positives for the Shoremen are that the midfield – anchored by Herdegen – and the defense – powered by close defensemen Bryan Botti (22 groundballs and 16 caused turnovers) and Matt Torr (26 groundballs and 11 caused turnovers) – could return intact. The next coach may have to settle on either Stewart (9.16 goals-against average and .557 save percentage) or freshman Matt Miller (10.60 goals-against average and .556 save percentage) as the starting goalkeeper. But Washington will be hard-pressed to climb the ladder in the Centennial Conference, which includes reigning tournament champion Haverford, 2009 national finalist Gettysburg and an improved McDaniel squad.

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Review & preview, Washington
        

June 17, 2010

Terps' Tillman has options with coaching staff

New Maryland coach John Tillman said it would be two or three days before he decides if his former assistant coaches at Harvard, Kevin Warne and Rob Cross, will join him at Maryland.

Tillman said he is loyal to both coaches, and hinted he would give them the first option of coming with him to College Park.

If they don't, Terps defensive coordinator Dave Slafkosky might retain his position. Slafkosky, one of the better defensive minds in the game, has worked under the two previous Maryland coaches, Dave Cottle and Dick Edell.

Posted by Mike Preston at 11:12 AM | | Comments (0)
        

Review & preview: McDaniel

Here is the second installment of a series that checks in with the seven Division III programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Thursday, we take a visit with McDaniel.

REVIEW

The good: The objective for the Green Terror was finishing in the top four in the Centennial Conference and earn a spot in the conference tournament. Mission accomplished – even if the team failed to advance to the tournament final for the second year in a row. "I think that minimalistically, yes, it was a successful year because we did make it to the conference tournament," coach Matt Hatton said. "… We started off slow, but we got it rolling a little bit. We didn’t finish the way we would have liked to have finished, especially with losing our last three games. But whenever you can get to the conference tournament, that’s somewhat of a success." … Thirty-eight of the team’s 44 players return, and that bodes well for a very young team that took its lumps against the likes of Gettysburg, Haverford and Dickinson. "The good thing is, it’s good experience for the young guys, and we were as young as we’ve been since I’ve been here," Hatton said. "We started several freshmen, and we played a lot of sophomores for the first time. … It was battle-testing for the future." … An attack that featured the 1-2 punch of senior Gibbs Preston (23 goals and 26 assists) and sophomore D.J. Rickels (42, 10) paced the offense, but an underrated midfield supported the attack. The trio of junior Nicholas DiBernardo (17, 6), freshman William Clary (13, 3) and junior Jed Barnes (8, 8) could be tasked with doing more next season. "I think some of our offensive responsibilities are going to have to fall to our midfielders," Hatton said. "This past season, our midfield was very young, and everyone that we played at midfield is back. They’re hopefully a year wiser and a little bit stronger and a little bit more in-tune with what’s going on in the Centennial Conference and college lacrosse. Last year, they took a little bit of secondary role to our attack, and maybe this year, we can get some more output out of them."

The bad: The team struggled to find consistency in the cage, where sophomores Brad Motley (9.72 goals-against average and .500 save percentage) and Ty Wittelsberger (8.08 goals-against average and .529 save percentage) each made seven starts. Hatton was quick to note that new faces on defense contributed to the goalkeepers’ issues, but neither Motley nor Wittelsberger separated himself from the other. "I thought both of them played well at times, and I thought both of them didn’t play as well as times," Hatton said. "There’s going to be an open battle at that position, and it’s going to be between those two, and we also have two excellent goalies [Massachusetts native and Rivers School graduate Christian Dallmus and Catonsville graduate Nick Gallina, who suffered a broken collarbone and did not play this spring] coming in. So like every position in the fall, it’ll be an open battle, and the guy that we think gives us the best opportunity to win is going to be the guy standing at the end. Ideally, we’d like to be in the position where we’re just playing one guy." … The graduation of Preston will likely shift much of opponents’ attention to Rickels, an honorable mention All American. Can Rickels, a terrific finisher, get his teammates more involved? Hatton seems to think so. "D.J. Rickels, his role is going to have to expand a little bit," Hatton said. "He’s going to have to undertake the burden that Gibbs had taken for the last four years and then we’re going to have to find some people to complement his game." … As mentioned above, the defense featured some fresh faces. Senior Brad O’Brien, sophomore Nick Sicuranza and freshman Greg Mayer, who began the season on the field, were first-year starters. Sicuranza (19 groundballs and 15 caused turnovers) was eventually joined by junior Chris McLaughlin (18 groundballs and 10 caused turnovers) and freshman Greg Mayer on close defense, but the unit is still evolving. "Defensively, we had some different guys playing," Hatton said. "Defensively, we were very young, and I would say there’s certainly room for improvement there. But the guys also did a pretty good job at times."

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: Finding another option on attack to alleviate some of the pressure off of Rickels is a huge priority. Junior T.J. Willoughby (15, 8) switched from midfield to attack, but his versatility to play both offense and defense has Hatton thinking about switching Willoughby back to his natural position. Junior attackman Deane Mellor played in just three games because of injuries, sophomore J.S. Duke registered seven goals and four assists, and freshman Zach Woods has shown promise, according to Hatton. … Another pressing matter is the graduation of short-stick defensive midfielders Kyle Hadden (43 groundballs and 12 caused turnovers) and Anthony Falgares (20 groundballs and 10 caused turnovers). Hatton is high on freshman Mike Marks, but finding some more options might require some tinkering. "We might have to look at some guys who have a long-stick now and put a short stick in their hands and see if they can help us at that position, especially guys who aren’t getting that much run that they would like at close or long-stick middie," Hatton said.

Forecast for 2011: Clearing. Opposing defenses will make every effort to blanket Rickel and force his teammates to beat them, and the goalie situation needs to be resolved if the Green Terror harbors any hope of returning to the Centennial Conference Tournament and getting closer to a bid to the NCAA Tournament. But the midfield is young and could be much improved, and the defense could bail out the goalkeeper.

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: McDaniel, Review & preview
        

June 16, 2010

One Maryland player looking forward to working with Tillman

When Harvard head coach John Tillman on Tuesday accepted Maryland’s offer to coach the Terps program, many of the players received a text message from former goalkeeper Brian Phipps.

"He just told us that we’ve got a new member to the family and he’s going to be a great coach and a great friend and a great leader," soon-to-be senior defenseman Max Schmidt said. "That’s how we’re going to welcome him – as a member of the family."

The hiring of Tillman ended a 3023-day search for a successor to Dave Cottle, who stepped down the day after the team’s 7-5 loss to unseeded Notre Dame in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament on May 22.

During that time, Cornell head coach Jeff Tambroni, Bryant head coach Mike Pressler and Syracuse women’s head coach Gary Gait – who was an assistant coach for the Terps women’s lacrosse team prior to the hiring of Cottle in 2001 – each pulled their names from consideration for the vacancy.

While that might normally be alarming, Schmidt said he wasn’t overly worried.

"I knew our athletic department had the best intentions in mind, but I was anxious," he said. "It had been almost four weeks of us being in the dark, and we kind of hadn’t had any information on what was going on. But I knew that the athletic department was going to do what was best for us and what was best for the school, and I’ve heard from many different people that that’s what we’ve got."

Regarded as one of the finest offensive minds in the sport, Tillman will likely bring his coaching philosophy and style to College Park. What that means for defensive coordinator Dave Slafkosky and assistant coach Ryan Moran – and the players who have come to regard the pair as family – is uncertain.

"I don’t have enough knowledge to be concerned," Schmidt said. "Like I said, I really don’t know him as a coach. I think he’s going to do what’s best for the team. I think he’s already game-planning on who he wants to bring in, different assistant coaches on whom he thinks will be a great fit for our team. I think he’s going to do whatever it takes to lead a national championship-caliber team. I’m not going to put him in question right now because I have no idea about his coaching philosophy or anything like that. But we’re trusting our administration and we’re trusting our athletic department that they’ve hired the right guy, and that’s all we can do right now."

Tillman spent 12 years as an assistant coach at Navy – including the final six as that team’s head assistant coach. Schmidt joked that the players won’t hold that against the incoming head coach.

"We’ll welcome him with open arms," he said. "Navy was a couple years ago, so we don’t have to worry about that. And we don’t have Harvard on our schedule. So I’m not too worried about where his allegiances are going to fall."

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

Review & preview: Hood

Here is the first installment of a new series that checks in with the seven Division III programs in the state to evaluate the past and give a glimpse into the future. The series will unfold with teams appearing according to the chronological order in which their seasons ended. Wednesday begins with a visit with Hood.

REVIEW

The good: The Blazers set 17 new schools records, including number of goals scored (136), number of assists posted (82) and number of groundballs collected (728). Perhaps their most significant number was six, which was how many wins their registered this season. "I think they took a lot of steps forward," coach Curt Foxx said. "We played 17 games, and out of those 17 games, we were competitive in 14 of them, which is a huge step forward for our team. If you look back at the year before, we were only competitive in three out of our 13 games. So we took a huge step forward, and that’s awesome." … The number of victories has changed expectations surrounding the team, according to Foxx, and many of those changes have been internal. "I would say that we’ve done a lot of things to change the team’s culture," he said. "We talked a lot about commitment, accountability, work ethic, discipline. They’ve got to do their homework, they’ve got to do wallwork, they’ve got to get in the weight room, they’ve got to condition themselves, they’ve got to get out there and shoot, they’ve got to be physically fit, and they’ve got to be committed to each other." … Among a plethora of individual performances, the play of Hector Montoya was perhaps the most surprising. The sophomore won 44.5 percent of his face-offs (157-of-353) after winning just 39.9 percent (134-of-336) last season. Montoya’s improvement on restarts gave the offense more possessions and scoring opportunities. "Hector Montoya got a lot better at facing off this year," Foxx said.

The bad: The offense was responsible for many of Hood’s records, but the unit had its share of hiccups as well. Foxx said the offense sometimes fell into a rut of holding onto the ball and trying to attack opponents on an individual basis, thereby becoming one-dimensional. "I think we need to move the ball better on offense," he said. "When we move the ball fast, we get good looks. When we hold onto it and force things, it makes it too easy [for the opposing defense]. … I’m looking for my guys to do a lot of shooting and a lot of stickwork, a lot of wallwork so that when they come in, they can do what we’re asking them to do on offense." … Foxx said the defense needs to flex its muscles and force opposing attackmen and midfielders to make plays to beat the unit. Foxx pointed out that video of Stevenson junior attackman Jimmy Dailey running through the Blazers defense is posted on Youtube. "There’s ways to stop that. Taking good body position and being physical," Foxx said. "I think we need to get a lot more physical on defense.

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: The two major losses are on defense. Starter Jeff Balinsky compiled 27 groundballs and 10 caused turnovers and fellow defenseman Jeff Tarleton was even better with 39 groundballs and 24 caused turnovers. A pair of junior long-stick midfielders in George Mineff (58 groundballs and 28 caused turnovers) and Daniel Rocker (41 groundballs and 20 caused turnovers) might be candidates to shift to close defense or freshman Travis Kline (17 groundballs and seven caused turnovers) could earn a promotion. … The team’s top seven scorers return, including three starters in sophomore attackmen Corey Roberts (24 goals and five assists) and Scott Thompson (16, 1) and junior midfielder Domonique Shorter (21, 16). But Foxx said veterans and newcomers will be evaluated equally to find the best offensive players. "We’re looking for a lot of our recruits to step up and produce just because we’ve got to do something better on offense," he said. "We are going to be extremely competitive in practice, and it’s going to be much harder for people to step onto the field for us."

Forecast for 2011: Clearing. The Blazers made tremendous strides and an incoming class of 18 recruits should make practices even more competitive. The offense should be a year wiser and a year stronger and could be asked to carry the team until the defense finds cohesion. Hood is still looking for its first victory in the Capital Athletic Conference, which boasts a pair of national powerhouses in Salisbury and Stevenson. But the Blazers are getting closer: they lost to Marymount by only two goals on April 13.

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Categories: Hood, Review & preview
        

June 15, 2010

Washington College hopes to make announcement on head coach by July 1

Washington College is still in the process of interviewing candidates for its vacant head coaching position, a school spokesman said Tuesday morning.

The spokesman said the college’s timetable includes making an announcement by July 1.

The Shoremen have been without a head coach since May 12 when J.B. Clarke resigned. Clarke, who had also been the school’s assistant athletic director, had guided Washington 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 the Shoremen went 4-10 this season and had to deal with a hazing incident prior to the beginning of the season.

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:30 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Washington
        

Johns Hopkins opts out of Face-Off Classic and Day of RIvals

Johns Hopkins’ involvement in the Face-Off Classic and the Day of Rivals – both at M&T Bank Stadium – has ended for now.

The Blue Jays have opted to move their games against Princeton and Maryland back to campus, which was first reported by D1scourse.typepad.com and confirmed by a Johns Hopkins school official Tuesday morning. Johns Hopkins is scheduled to travel to Princeton in late February or early March and then take another road trip to College Park in mid-April.

The program had signed a two-year contract prior to 2007 to meet Princeton in the Face-Off Classic and signed another two-year extension. The school had signed a two-year contract to face Maryland in the Day of Rivals. But after this past season, the university elected not to renew both contracts.

Similarly, the Army-Navy contest, which was the second game of the Day of Rivals doubleheader, will return to campus, a Navy school official said Tuesday morning. Army is slated to visit Annapolis in 2011.

Andy Bilello, the director of business development for Inside Lacrosse, which runs both the Face-Off Classic and the Day of Rivals, said he has engaged in initial discussions with Johns Hopkins, Maryland and other schools about their involvement.

"We are still determining dates, match-ups and vernues for IL’s events," Bilello wrote via e-mail. "Nothing is set and anything is possible. We could have the same events with different teams or we could have different events altogether. To be honest, this is the time of year when we are working through all of the variables and trying to develop our plans. I would not expect any announcements to be made before late August or early September."

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:10 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Johns Hopkins
        

Towson and Seaman finalize three-year deal

Towson and head coach Tony Seaman finalized a three-year contract Tuesday morning.

This past season, Seaman had guided the Tigers to the Colonial Athletic Association regular-season championship and the No. 1 seed in the league’s tournament. Although the team lost to Delaware in the tournament final and was denied the automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament, Seaman was voted by his peers as the CAA Coach of the Year.

"I’m excited, especially for the 2011 season and the recruits we have coming in and the guys we have returning," Seaman said. "Two years in a row, we’ve been a couple goals away in the championship game from going on to the NCAAs. This was a little bit of a better year than the year before because we won the regular season. We’d like to repeat that again although the league is really challenging as is the schedule. But we’ll go from there and see what we can get in 2011."

In 12 years with Seaman, Towson has compiled a 96-83 overall record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament five times. The only coach to take three different schools to the NCAA Tournament (Penn, Johns Hopkins and Towson), Seaman is 260-156 in 29 years of coaching.

But the Tigers had not been to the NCAA Tournament since 2007 and Seaman was under a not-so-subtle directive to get to the postseason. Still, Towson rebounded from a 1-5 start in one of the most difficult schedules in the country.

In a related note, the Tigers agreed to shift their annual series against Johns Hopkins from late April to the first game of the season in February. Seaman joked that he hoped the move would translate into a win since Towson had failed to beat the Blue Jays the previous 12 times towards the end of the regular season.

"Hopkins is Hopkins. We just don’t get to see them play 10 times on TV before we play them," Seaman said. "It’s the starting game for each one of us. I think we go into it pretty equal."

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Review & preview: Maryland

Here is the seventh and final installment of a series that checks in with the seven Division I programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Wednesday will begin a series checking in on the Division III schools in the state. But on Tuesday, we take a visit with Maryland.

REVIEW

The good: Although the Terps advanced to the quarterfinals of last year’s NCAA Tournament, the team limped in with 10-6 record, and the loss to eventual national champion Syracuse saddled the program with the most losses in a single season under coach Dave Cottle. A renewed focus and an influx of youth and talent helped Maryland compile an 11-3 mark in the regular season and earn the No. 3 seed in the tournament. "What was great to see was the chemistry between the coaches and the players, how everyone was involved, how everyone participated, everybody had a role, and everybody fulfilled that role," Cottle said. "We worked hard, we competed, we followed the rules, we were good sports." … While the attack lived up to its reputation, the defense emerged as a tough out on the field. A year after then-sophomore defenseman Max Schmidt was named a third-team All American, junior defenseman Brett Schmidt transformed himself into the unit’s top defender (36 groundballs and 28 caused turnovers), earning third-team status. Max Schmidt (39 groundballs and 21 caused turnovers) was his usual reliable self, and junior defenseman and first-year starter Ryder Bohlander (30 groundballs and 19 caused turnovers) proved his worth. Cottle also noted the play of the team’s bevy of long-stick and short-stick midfielders. "Having [redshirt junior] Brian Farrell come back with [fifth-year senior] Danny Halayko and [freshman] Jesse Bernhardt, we were pretty strong in the pole position," Cottle said. "So that was a big improvement over the year before. And we had good shorties in [seniors Dean Hart and Bryn Holmes and junior Dan Burns]. I think that really helped us, too. So I think defensively, we got better as the season went on." … A non-descript group of midfielders underwent personnel changes and endured questions to provide support to the attack. Cottle said the midfield could be further bolstered by the return of junor Bob Kercher and sophomores David Miller and Joe Fontanesi from red-shirt seasons. "A lot of young players are waiting for their opportunities," Cottle said. "I think the midfield is going to be an area that has a lot of returning players."

The bad: It’s difficult to nitpick a 12-4 season, but the offense failed to reach double digits in goals three times – all of which ended in losses. The attack was particularly suspect in the team’s four setbacks. In those losses, juniors Grant Catalino, Ryan Young and Travis Reed combined for seven goals on 42 shots and nine assists, and they were stymied in the NCAA Tournament loss to Notre Dame, shooting 1-of-10 and recording two assists. "When you lose, there’s 100 different reasons why you lose versus why you win," Cottle said. "… I thought Ryan Young and Grant Catalino were All-American players, and I think if you added the goals we got from that left-handed position between Travis and [senior] Will [Yeatman], that’s a good amount. So I’m not going to say that our attack disappeared. Disappeared is probably a harsh word. I would probably say that we weren’t as productive." … The Terps were marginally better on face-offs this season (.520) than last year (.508), but could have used a few more possessions. They won just 5-of-15 face-offs in the loss to the Fighting Irish. The graduation of Holmes (149-of-275 for .542) saps the team of its only player who finished with a face-off percentage above .500.

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: Maryland’s first priority (aside from finding a head coach) should be to discovering whether redshirt sophomore Mark White, redshirt freshman MJ Leonard or freshman Niko Amato can replace goalkeeper Brian Phipps. Phipps (8.20 goals-against average and .556 save percentage) was a calming influence on defense – which will be another hole to fill. "That’s obviously for the next guy," Cottle said. "I would say Mark White and Niko, those two are probably ahead of M.J. Leonard now. I would say Mark makes some unbelievable saves and Niko might be a little more consistent. So it’s going to be a battle." … Yeatman has exhausted his eligibility, which likely opens the door for sophomore Joe Cummings to return to his natural position after playing on the first midfield this past spring. Or Cummings could stay in the midfield and redshirt freshman Owen Blye could be the fourth attackman. … As mentioned above, the team must find a successor to Holmes. Sophomore midfielder Jake Bernhardt (30-of-62 for .484) and freshman Curtis Holmes (11-of-24 for .458) have the most experience. With Bernhardt anchoring the first midfield, Holmes, who is the younger brother of Bryn Holmes, might be the heir apparent. "He was close," Cottle said of Curtis Holmes. "He was winning face-offs at the end of the year. The one guy that surprised me and maybe could get some more time facing off was Jake Bernhardt. I think he can get better at it. He’s there, and they’re going to have to develop somebody else, too. [Sophomore midfielder] Michael Shakespeare faces off, and Ryder Bohlander can face off with a pole." … Six members of the Terps’ incoming freshmen class will play in the Under Armour All-American game, which should be encouraging for the program. "I think there are going to be some guys that are going to supply some help," Cottle said. "I think you’re going to see something like what you saw this past year. You’ll see four or five get some time, and I think it’s a real positive because when you return 20 seniors, that’s a team that – if they could get a little impact from their freshmen – they’re going to be pretty daggone good."

Forecast for 2011: Partly sunny. Many of the pieces are in place for Maryland to improve on this past season’s accomplishments, especially on defense and in the attack. The inexperience in the net is a significant concern, and the face-offs must be addressed. But perhaps more than anything else, hiring a head coach who can connect with the players the way Cottle did should be priority No. 1. That transition could determine how the Terps fare in 2011 and in the Atlantic Coast Conference, where 2010 national champion Duke, Virginia and North Carolina eagerly await.

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Categories: Maryland, Review & preview
        

June 14, 2010

Stevenson coach has not been contacted by Maryland

Stevenson coach Paul Cantabene said Monday evening that Maryland has not contacted him about the program’s head coaching vacancy.

In six seasons with the Mustangs, Cantabene has guided the team to a 79-27 record and back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Division III tournament semifinals.

Cantabene was an assistant coach with the Terps in 2003 and 2004, serving with Dave Cottle, who stepped down after the team’s loss to Notre Dame in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals May 1522.

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:45 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland
        

Maryland reaches out to Harvard coach

Harvard coach John Tillman has been contacted by Maryland’s search committee for the team’s head coaching vacancy, according to a school official. He is believed to be one of the university’s top candidates for the position.

Tillman has guided the Crimson to a 20-19 overall record in three years. In 2009, the team won eight games, which was the most in the program’s history since 2002.

Prior to Harvard, Tillman spent 12 seasons at Navy, including the last six as that team’s head assistant coach. In charge of the offense, he helped the Midshipmen earn four consecutive berths between 2004 to 2007 in the NCAA tournament.

Virginia associate head coach Marc Van Arsdale is believed to be the only candidate to have interviewed for the Terps position previously held by Dave Cottle, who stepped down after the team’s loss to Notre Dame in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals May 1522.

Tillman did not return a phone message seeking comment. Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow did not reply to an e-mail also seeking comment.

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:40 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Maryland
        

Virginia assistant confirms interview with Maryland

Virginia associate head coach Marc Van Arsdale confirmed Monday that he did interview with Maryland about its head coaching vacancy last week.

"I would certainly say that they have contacted me and I have spoken with them," Van Arsdale said. "I certainly have a reasonable amount of interest in the position there."

Asked if he and the school had agreed to a date for an interview, Van Arsdale said, "I have interviewed with them, and that’s where we are right now."

Van Arsdale said no offer was given and that the search committee did not reveal timetable by which it would like to announce the hiring of a new head coach. Citing the ongoing nature of the search, Van Arsdale declined to characterize the tone or direction of the interview.

Under Van Arsdale, who also serves as the team's offensive coordinator, the Cavaliers finished the 2010 season ranked third in Division I in scoring, averaging 13.44 goals per game. They trailed only Robert Morris (15.33) and national champion Duke (13.45). The offense led the nation in scoring in 2009 and 2006. 

Van Arsdale, who recently completed his ninth year with head coach Dom Starsia, was the head coach at Pennsylvania, compiling a 27-39 record between 1997 and 2001. His son Owen, a senior at St. Anne's-Belfied, signed a letter of intent to play at Virginia next season.

News of communication between the school and Van Arsdale was first reported by The Washington Post.

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Review & preview: Mount St. Mary's

Here is the sixth installment of a series that checks in with the seven Division I programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Monday, we take a visit with Mount St. Mary’s.

REVIEW

The good: The Mountaineers were on a mission to return to the NCAA Tournament after losing in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament as the No. 2 seed. Then the season opened with back-to-back losses – culminating with a seven-goal setback to Jacksonville, a program making its debut in Division I. But after a public tongue-lashing by coach Tom Gravante and a renewed focus at practices, the team responded with five straight victories, including wins against two nationally-ranked teams in Lafayette and Robert Morris. Mount St. Mary’s would eventually set a single-season record with 12 wins. "They just weren’t playing lacrosse for us yet," Gravante said. "We needed an attitude of change and we did that immediately after the game against Jacksonville." … An offense that averaged just 5.99 goals last season exploded for 10.59 goals this spring. In almost every major offensive category, the unit was much improved – from shot percentage (.243 in 2009 to .338 in 2010), assists (58 to 91) and shots per game (24.7 to 31.4). With sophomore attackman Cody Lehrer (48 goals and nine assists) and freshman attackman Andrew Scalley (32, 17) leading the way, the offense demonstrated a level of development that coaches had been hoping for. "We had 17 new faces on the field last year, and the guys who were scoring were freshmen and sophomores," Gravante said. "They went home and over the summer, they improved their game as well as their physiques. We asked them to gain weight and strength that would help them physically as well as mentally, and when they came back this fall, we saw the fruits of their labor." … Scalley and Brett and Bryant Schmidt infused a level of talent and skill the Mountaineers desperately needed. Scalley provided a passing option to pair with Lehrer, and Brett Schmidt (17, 21), a sophomore attackman, and Bryant Schmidt (21, 16), a sophomore midfielder, filled out the first attack and midfield lines.

The bad: As the offense started scoring more, so did Mount St. Mary’s opponents. Opposing offenses averaged 9.35 goals this season, which is almost two goals more than the 7.78 goals per game the Mountaineers surrendered last spring. Gravante said he is hopeful that the defense will improve and thereby relieve some of the pressure off of junior goalkeeper T.C. DiBartolo (9.39 goals-against average and .590 save percentage). "The key is what these kids do over the offseason," Gravante said. "The way we get better is by the way these kids live their lives over the summer." … As mentioned above, the offense fared much better this season, but also encountered its fair share of hiccups, scoring seven or fewer goals in seven contests. Chalk some of that up to the unit’s youth, but Gravante said the offense must mature physically and mentally quickly. "I think at times, we were our own worst nightmare because they made decisions that weren’t very good," he said. "They make young mistakes, and I hope that with the experience of the game and the commitment they make over the summer, they’ll grow up from those mistakes to where we can be more poised and better manage the ball." … Transitioning the ball from defense to offense continued to be a sore point for the team, which successfully cleared the ball 78.9 percent (255-of-323) of the time. Gravante pledged to take a look at that aspect of the team’s game. "Clearing is one thing that was giving us problems towards the end of the season when it got nip-and-tuck with the end of the regular-season games," he said. "You’ve got to clear the ball."

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: The two major losses are on the defensive end where finding replacements for Russell Moncure (27 groundballs and 14 caused turnovers) and Matt Nealis (19 groundballs) are immediate priorities. A trio of sophomores in Brendan Rooney, David Tarleton and Jesse Schuman will likely compete with fifth-year senior Kasey Burst and freshman Kevin Downs. Junior long-stick midfielder Justin Schmidt (29 groundballs) and sophomore long-stick midfielder Mark Burns (32 groundballs and 10 caused turnovers) could also make the move to close defense. "If push comes to shove, we can move those guys down because of their experience," Gravante said. "I’m not worried about losing those two young men. They’re both very, very good, but I think we have some kids who can fill their spots. They may not be able to play as well as them, but they’ll be good enough to be competitive and win." … With no seniors among the top seven scorers, the offense should be just as prosperous as it was this past season. Junior midfielders Mark Stapor (6, 1) and Brendan Harrison (2, 4) could be competing for extended playing time on the top two lines.

Forecast for 2011: Partly sunny. Mount St. Mary’s is loaded on offense and that unit should be the backbone of next year’s team. The concern is on defense where the losses of Moncure and Nealis could be problematic. DiBartolo has seen too many shots, but his commitment to improvement is a reason why he finished the season ranked sixth among Division I goalies in save percentage. Making the move to the newly-formed Northeast Conference puts the Mountaineers in the crosshairs of Bryant and Robert Morris for the league’s automatic qualifier, but count on Gravante to use that as motivation.

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June 11, 2010

Maryland contacts Virginia assistant coach

Maryland has contacted Virginia associate head coach Marc Van Arsdale about its head coaching vacancy, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Under Van Arsdale, who also serves as the team's offensive coordinator, the Cavaliers finished the 2010 season ranked third in Division I in scoring, averaging 13.44 goals per game. They trailed only Robert Morris (15.33) and national champion Duke (13.45). The offense led the nation in scoring in 2009 and 2006. 

Van Arsdale, who recently completed his ninth year with head coach Dom Starsia, was the head coach at Pennsylvania, compiling a 27-39 record between 1997 and 2001. His son Owen, a senior at St. Anne's-Belfied, signed a letter of intent to play at Virginia next season.

News of communication between the school and Van Arsdale was first reported by The Washington Post.

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:52 PM | | Comments (0)
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Maryland has yet to contact Notre Dame's Corrigan

Kevin Corrigan, who guided unseeded Notre Dame to the championship final of the NCAA Tournament on Memorial Day, said he has not been in contact with Maryland officials regarding the head coaching vacancy there.

"I'm not in any position," Corrigan said Friday. "I've got a job and I haven't talked to anybody. I'm in the same position I'm in every day."

After Dave Cottle stepped down on May 1623 after the No. 3 seed Terps were upset, 7-5, by the Fighting Irish, Corrigan's name was included in a short list of potential successors that included Cornell coach Jeff Tambroni, Bryant coach Mike Pressler and Syracuse women's lacrosse coach Gary Gait.

However, Tambroni, Pressler and Gait -- a former assistant coach for the Maryland women's lacrosse team -- have since withdrawn from consideration. It is believed that the school's search committee is reviewing a pool of candidates that includes Corrigan, Albany coach Scott Marr and Stevenson coach Paul Cantabene.

Corrigan, who just returned with his team from a 10-day stay in Japan, declined to say whether he would be interested in the Terps job. "I'm not going to speculate about anything," he said. "There's no future in geting into hypothetical conversations."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:20 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Maryland
        

Review & preview: Loyola

Here is the fifth installment of a series that checks in with the seven Division I programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. The series will resume on Monday, but for Friday, we take a visit with Loyola.

REVIEW

The good: After getting frozen out of the NCAA Tournament last May, the Greyhounds bounced back with their third tournament appearance in the last four years. That included a 9-2 opening and a six-game winning streak with victories over Georgetown and Fairfield. "At the end of the day, going back to the tournament is always your goal, and I felt like we competed pretty admirably against a tough Cornell team," coach Charley Toomey said of the team’s 11-10 loss in triple overtime to the Big Red in the NCAA first round. "It was a heartbreaker of a loss up there." … Patrick Fanshaw recorded 11 goals and one assist, but another freshman who contributed was midfielder Josh Hawkins, who posted six goals and two assists and collected 31 groundballs as a short-stick defensive midfielder. "We got an awful lot out of Josh Hawkins," Toomey said. "Very athletic between the lines. We need him to continue to develop and take another step, but I think he can be a guy that can really put you on his back at times, and when you need a tough play, he’s going to be one of those guys to give you that play." … Junior defenseman Steve Dircks started slow, but by midseason, he looked completely healed from the fractured kneecap that sidelined him for the entire 2009 season. "We were able to put him on a match-up, especially late in the season when [senior Steve] Layne went down with an injury, and I think he began to regain his old form," Toomey said of Dircks. "He took the challenge and embraced it, and that’s what we’re going to need next year. We’re going to need a leader down low, certainly a stopper down low, and I think Steve Dircks has proven that he’s back and can lead the team."

The bad: As promising as Loyola’s opening was, the season ended with three consecutive losses, including an eight-goal setback to Denver for the Eastern College Athletic Conference championship and automatic qualifier and a three-goal loss to local rival Johns Hopkins. "We had a great run, certainly through the middle of the season, but we were disappointed at the tail end, to crack the top 10 again and to be so close to being a top-8 team," Toomey said. … Layne missed the contests against Denver and Johns Hopkins because of a sprained knee and was less than 100 percent in the playoff game against Cornell. Junior midfielder Chris Basler missed the first three games of the season due to an injured shoulder and re-aggravated the injury against Johns Hopkins. And junior midfielder Eric Lusby tore the anterior cruciate ligament and the medial collateral ligament in his right knee against Cornell. … Besides Lusby who registered 20 goals and five assists, no other midfielder reached double digits in goals. The Greyhounds got contributions from a multitude of players, but Toomey is hoping that players like junior Stephen Murray (9, 5), Basler (2, 8), Hawkins and freshman Davis Butts (4, 0) improve during the offseason. "We need to get some more production out of our midfield and hopefully, we saw signs out of that throughout the season," Toomey said.

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: Loyola bids farewell to two of its top three scorers in attackmen Collin Finnerty (24, 12) and Cooper MacDonnell (22, 6). Toomey has already proclaimed that junior Matt Langan (16, 18) will quarterback the unit with Fanshaw finishing on the inside. The remaining two or three spots could depend on the speed of the healing process for Lusby, whose natural position is attack; the return of sophomore Michael Sawyer, who sat out the 2010 season due to unspecified off-field issues; freshmen D.J. Comer and Will Fredericks; and incoming freshman Matt Sawyer, Michael Sawyer’s brother. "We have healthy competition at those spots," Toomey said. … Defense will also be a concern with the graduation losses of Layne (32 groundballs and 14 caused turnovers), close defenseman Kyle Cottrell (23 groundballs and 12 caused turnovers), short-stick defensive midfielders Taylor Ebsary (8, 12; 36 groundballs and 12 caused turnovers) and Michael Crimmins (19 groundballs and 10 caused turnovers). But Toomey pointed out that close defenseman Nick Disimile returns for the fifth year, and he feels optimistic that freshmen Dylan Grimm and Reid Acton could warrant extended playing time. "We feel like we’ve got some kids in the pipeline, and that’s what the fall is all about," Toomey said. "That’s why you open up opportunities for these young men and let them go out and compete for it."

Forecast for 2011: Partly cloudy. Graduation will take a toll on Loyola. Replacing Finnerty and MacDonnell on the attack is a priority, but the losses on defense are especially significant if junior goalkeeper Jake Hagelin struggles towards the end of the season as he did this spring. How the Greyhounds mix and match their personnel could determine their chances of knocking off Denver, which graduates three starting defensemen but returns seven of its top eight scorers.

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June 10, 2010

Review & preview: Johns Hopkins

Here is the fourth installment of a series that checks in with the seven Division I programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Thursday, we take a visit with Johns Hopkins.

REVIEW

The good: Despite the compiling the program’s first losing record since 1971, the Blue Jays overcame a four-game losing skid and seven losses in a nine-contest stretch to cap the regular season with back-to-back victories and the school’s 39th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament. "In the end, I’m happy that we kept that streak alive, although I’m not a streak guy," coach Dave Pietramala said. "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." … Freshman Pierce Bassett made the final seven starts in the cage and although his record as a starter was 3-4, he registered a 9.90 goals-against average and a .536 save percentage. Heading into the offseason, Bassett is the guy to beat. "The best guy is always going to play, but Pierce has earned himself a starting position there," Pietramala said. "… We’re very confident in him, [sophomores] Steven Burke and Guy Van Syckle. We think we have three talented goalies and a young one [Under Armour All American Eric Schneider] coming in, 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." … Including Bassett, six other freshmen got extensive playing time, and that experience could serve as a foundation for their continued development. "The growth that those guys are going to experience is going to be tremendous," Pietramala said.

The bad: Johns Hopkins did not fare well in groundballs, collecting 404 to opponents’ 448 for the season. The inequity in groundballs was a symptom of the team’s lack of speed and athleticism in the midfield and especially on the defensive end. "I think we probably need to improve our athleticism at the defensive midfield," Pietramala said. … Aside from attackman Steven Boyle (32 goals and 23 assists) and midfielder Michael Kimmel (23, 16), the offense struggled at times to find others who could create scoring opportunities. Sophomore attackman Tom Palasek (13, 7) also showed a proficiency at engaging defenses and opening up lanes for his teammates, but he is transferring. So who will initiate? "We’ve got to get back to basics," Pietramala said. "We’ve got to get back to drawing slides on the offensive side and being unselfish and moving the ball." … The Blue Jays didn’t do themselves many favors, winning only 47 percent (162-of-345) of their face-offs. With Michael Powers graduating, junior Matt Dolente will have to rebound from a subpar campaign (65-of-143 for .455). Freshman Mike Poppleton (10-of-20 for .500) and junior long-stick midfielder Peter Swerz (8-of-19 for .421) might be called upon to contribute.

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: As mentioned above, the biggest losses on offense are Boyle, Kimmel and Palasek. The positives are that senior attackman Chris Boland (torn anterior cruciate ligament in right knee) and junior midfielder Mark Goodrich (undisclosed injury) will re-join junior attackman Kyle Wharton (24, 9), freshman attackman Zach Palmer (10, 5) and freshmen midfielders John Ranagan (9, 5) and John Greeley (6, 2). "As a whole, we’re evaluating how we want to play as an offense and part of that involves getting a chance to see our high school kids play before they come in here," Pietramala said. "So I think we have to make sure we look at that as well." … Defense will also be a concern with the graduation of defensemen Sam DeVore (33 groundballs and 21 caused turnovers) and Matt Drenan (21 groundballs) and short-stick defensive midfielder Dave Spaulding (27 groundballs). If junior long-stick midfielder Orry Michael can stay healthy, freshman long-stick midfielder Chris Lightner could get bumped to close defense with freshman Tucker Durkin. And the program will welcome a pair of Under Armour All-American defensemen in Jack Reilly and Tobias Armour. "We’ve got to get back to playing the ball defensively and support and being intelligent schematically," Pietramala said. "But how do you replace those guys? That’s why you recruit, and you hope that all this experience that the guys got this year will translate and help them."

Forecast for 2011: Cloudy with rain possible. The hits on offense are critical, and the transfer of Palasek puts the onus on Boland and Palmer to be the primary initiators. Durkin, Lightner and Bassett provide a good base on defense, but there are a lot of questions in the midfield. Johns Hopkins must mine more speed from its roster between the lines to keep up with the likes of Virginia, Syracuse and North Carolina – which are poised to create some distance between themselves and the Blue Jays.

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Review & preview
        

June 9, 2010

Review & preview: Towson

Here’s the third installment of a series that checks in with the seven Division I programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Wednesday, we take a visit with Towson.

REVIEW

The good: A torturous schedule opened with a 1-5 start, but the Tigers rebounded to capture the Colonial Athletic Association regular-season championship and the No. 1 seed in the league tournament before losing to Delaware in the championship final. "I thought we handled the adversity in the first part of the year really well and then got on some pretty good momentum going into the second half and into our CAA schedule," coach Tony Seaman said. "Very happy with the CAA regular-season championship. I thought the kids deserved that." … A young attack unit seemed to find its rhythm, and Seaman will likely lean on junior Tim Stratton (15 goals and 18 assists), freshman Matt Hughes (13, 4), sophomore Matt Lamon (10, 4), sophomore Stephen Norris (11, 2) and sophomore Sean Maguire to repeat their performance. "We like all five of those guys," Seaman said. … Freshman Ben Strauss emerged as a budding defenseman, shutting out Maryland junior attackman Ryan Young (he scored two goals when Strauss was marking someone else) and limiting Navy junior attackman Andy Warner to a single assist. Strauss ranked second on the team in caused turnovers (seven) and had collected 13 groundballs in five starts before suffering a severe bone bruise in his knee that sidelined him for the remainder of the season. "You never like to see anybody get hurt, but thank God it was before he had used up his redshirt medical year," Seaman said. "So we get him for an extra year, and that’s a good thing."

The bad: Towson’s offense struggled at times, averaging just 9.3 goals per game this season. The unit’s inability to convert scoring opportunities was most visible in the CAA Tournament final against Delaware when Stratton was alone with junior goalie Noah Fossner, but after multiple fakes, Statton’s shot caromed off of Fossner’s helmet, preserving an 11-9 lead with 2:10 left in the fourth quarter. "We had some great chances in that Delaware game and didn’t come through," Seaman said. "When you get those kinds of things in a championship game, you’ve got to take advantage." … As well as sophomore goalkeeper Travis Love (a 9.24 goals-against average and a .556 save percentage) played, the defense surrendered 10.1 goals per game. And the unit will lose a pair of starters in Joe Wascavage and Cameron Zook (23 groundballs) and a key reserve in David Edens. But Seaman is optimistic that with the return of close defenseman Marc Ingerman and Strauss and short-stick defensive midfielders Peter Mezzanotte (47 groundballs and 30 caused turnovers), Kevin Lalley and Andrew Poulos, the defense will continue to be an area of strength next year. "And [sophomore] Mike Landy has played a lot for us over the last two years. [Freshman] John Fennessy redshirted this year, and he was an [Under Armour] All American in high school," Seaman said. "I think those kids give us a really, really good chance."

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: The Tigers graduate their top two scorers in midfielders Christian Pastirik (28, 19) and Will Harrington (28, 6). Brock Armour (4, 10) will also be missed. Junior Pat Britton (7, 6) will be back, but developing a few linemates will be a priority during the offseason. "Got to find some people who can score some goals," Seaman said. "I think [sophomore Carl] Iacona is going to be good, and I think we have a really good base of guys who are very similar. … We’ve got [junior] Scott Ruhl and [junior] Michael Brashears who have the potential to be really, really good ballplayers. They just need to work really hard in the offseason and step up. [Junior] Matt Hantschze is another kid who we expect some good things from." … The incoming freshman class includes an Under Armour All American in midfielder Andrew Hodgson and more midfielders in Tommy Denapoli, Robbie Flacco and Kurt Mueller. "I just think it’s as good a class as I’ve been able to bring in here in a long time offensively," Seaman said. "I’m really excited about it, and I just think the potential is incredible."

Forecast for 2011: Clearing. The defense should be much improved with Love gaining confidence as the undisputed starter and Ingerman and Strauss containing opponents’ attackmen. Another year of experience can only benefit the attack, but the key will be developing consistent midfield lines to support the attack. Iacona figures to join Britton as starters, while Ruhl and Brashears will be battling with Hodgson for the third starter’s spot. CAA champion Delaware loses quite a bit of its offensive punch, but Hofstra, Massachusetts and Drexel could be poised to block Towson from a repeat regular-season crown.

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

June 8, 2010

Salisbury's Berkman not interested in Division I openings

Since the head coaching positions at Maryland and Penn State became vacant, I’ve seen and read a few e-mails and comments on the blog asking about Jim Berkman and whether the Salisbury coach would pursue a similar job on the Division I level.

Berkman’s response? "That doesn’t interest me in the slightest bit."

Then I asked him why.

"We have a great situation," said Berkman, who has guided the Sea Gulls to eight NCAA Division III championships. "My wife works for the college, we’re ingrained within the community, we have great friends. The grass isn’t always greener when you know the house across the street isn’t any better. It’s got its downfalls, too. Obviously, if you’re the winningest coach ever at the University of Maryland and you get fired, then the grass isn’t really that green on that side of the street. What we do here and what we put out in terms of young men and lacrosse players is truly rewarding."

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

Review & preview: UMBC

Here is the second installment of a series that checks in with the seven Division I programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Tuesday, we take a visit with UMBC.

REVIEW

The good: There’s not much to enjoy from a 4-9 season, but if there is a silver lining to be found, as many as eight freshman played considerably and earned valuable collegiate experience. Midfielder Nick Doub started seven games, attackman Scott Jones played in 12, and midfielder Scott Hopmann appeared to finding his rhythm until a broken thumb sidelined the rest of his season. "It gave them a chance to get in some games and mature, and I think that’s going to help us down the road," coach Don Zimmerman said. "I think that would be the main thing, that some of our younger players were able to get some game experience and that’s certainly going to help them in the future and the program’s future." … Three of the Retrievers’ four wins were in the America East, where they finished second and earned the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament. A loss in the semifinals to Albany wrecked UMBC’s chances of winning the conference crown and getting to the NCAA Tournament, but Zimmerman said he never sensed any quit among the players. "We were trying to win our conference and then move on to the NCAAs," he said. "But we were kind of stagnant and weren’t going at the pace I had hoped, so that’s when we started to throw in some different personnel and they have to be younger kids – but never to a point where you scrap this season for the future. I just don’t believe in that, and I didn’t see that in the guys." … Junior face-off specialist J.D. Harkey won 104-of-213 face-offs (.488) in all 13 games despite playing with a repaired anterior cruciate ligament and a broken bone in his foot that prevented him from practicing Mondays through Thursdays. Doub recorded four goals and two assists while complementing senior Kyle Wimer and junior Jamie Kimbles, and sophomore defenseman Tim Shaeffer collected 16 groundballs in five starts. "They were three players who, when given an opportunity, really stepped up and seized the moment," Zimmerman said.

The bad: Both the offense and defense had their ups-and-downs with the offense scoring almost two fewer goals per game from 2009 and the defense surrendering more than two goals per contest. Nowhere was the offense’s troubles more apparent than on man-up opportunities where the unit fell from tops in Division I with a 52.6 converstion rate (30-of-57) last season to a 22.4 percentage (15-of-67) this past spring. "The man-up went from being No. 1 in the country 2009 to being pretty far down, and I take responsibility for that," Zimmerman said. "I coach the man-up , and we had different personnel, and I tried to use some things that worked in the past, and not having the same people and maybe having some younger guys just wasn’t as successful. Again, this is a learning experience. You walk away from a season like this and you realize, ‘Hey, we’ve got to rethink some things down the line.’" … Freshman Adam Cohen may have finished the season as the starting goalkeeper (8.76 goals-against average and .427 save percentage), but Cohen may have to compete with sophomores Brian McCullough and Matt Holman to remain as the starter. "That position will be evaluated in the fall," Zimmerman said. "When you had a season like we had, you’ve got to change things up, and I told the guys, ‘There are no gimmes. When you come back in the fall, every member of the team has to be ready not only to compete for a playing position, but also to earn a spot on the team.’"

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: Graduation takes its biggest toll on the defense, which loses close defenseman Matt Kresse, long-stick midfielder Michael Camardo (54 groundballs and 36 caused turnovers) and short-stick defensive midfielders Maxx Davis (seven goals and nine assists; 35 groundballs), Jordan Pierce (29 groundballs) and Michael Bryan. Freshman Ethan Murphy got some minutes at long-stick midfielder and has the versatility to stay there or move to close defense. Freshmen Neill Lewnes and Jake Zimmerman are two of several candidates that could make the leap to short-stick defensive midfielder. "I like the guys we have coming back," Zimmerman said. "We’re definitely going to miss the seniors that were part of this team. They did a nice job for us, but we realize that each team is a new team and each year is a new year. I think we have kids in place who can come in and help us be where we want to be." … The graduation of midfielder Kyle Wimer (16, 19) saps UMBC of its best playmaker, but finding a successor for attackman Matt Latham (25, 2) might be just as important because Latham was the team’s most potent threat on the inside. Jones, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound freshman, is a match-up problem for many defensemen, and Matt Gregoire, who will apply for a medical hardship waiver for his freshman year, impressed the coaching staff before he got injured. "So we’ve got some kids waiting in the wings," Zimmerman said. … The incoming recruiting class includes a plethora of midfielders in Zach Linkous, Marcellus Preston, Conor Finch and Brandon Merlino, who is recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament that wiped out much of his senior campaign at John Jay High School in New York.

Forecast for 2011: Cloudy with rain possible. Replacing Wimer, Latham and attackman Chris Jones on offense is a considerable task, but if the youth can mature and improve, that unit may flourish. The bigger priority is on defense. That’s not a good sign for Cohen, McCullough or Holman as one of those goalies will be asked to bail out the defense. After winning three of the last five America East Tournament crowns, the Retrievers might be hard-pressed to return to that level. Stony Brook, which captured its first conference tournament, is loaded, Albany will rebound from an injury-riddled 201o, and Hartford, which has beaten UMBC in the last two meetings, is quickly improving.

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Review & preview, UMBC
        

June 7, 2010

Report: Cornell coach turns down interview with Maryland

I am way late to the party on this one, but Cornell coach Jeff Tambroni has turned down the opportunity to interview for the head coaching vacancy at Maryland, according to Brian Delaney of the Ithaca Journal.

You can find the article here.

Tambroni has compiled a 109-40 record in 10 seasons with the Big Red and has guided the program to at least a share of eight consecutive Ivy League championships. Cornell has also advanced to the final four in three of the past four seasons.

Tambroni told Delaney that his roots in the Ithaca community and the upstate New York area proved too strong to ignore.

"It’s a great tradition down there, a great package with the compensation and coaching an extremely talented group of kids," Tambroni said. "When it came to Maryland versus Cornell, and this is no disrespect to Maryland, I think I’m in a good place here. There’s lots to be said for employee satisfaction. Our administration does a great job of taking care of our program. For me personally and my family, I think Maryland versus Cornell was made a little bit easier on our enjoyment of Ithaca and the people at Cornell."

With Syracuse women’s lacrosse coach and former Maryland women’s assistant coach Gary Gait pulling his name from consideration and Inside Lacrosse reporting that Bryant coach Mike Pressler has also opted out of the selection process, three of the Terps’ top choices are no longer on the board.

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:45 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Maryland
        

Locals dot Major Lacrosse League draft

The Major Lacrosse League draft took place Sunday night, and a multitude of players with ties to the Baltimore metropolitan area were selected in the six-team draft.

Johns Hopkins midfielder Michael Kimmel was selected with the second overall pick by the Chesapeake Bayhawks, who capped the first round by taking Virginia midfielder Brian Carroll, a Baltimore native and Gilman graduate, with the sixth overall choice.

The last pick of the second round belonged to the Boston Cannons, who grabbed Johns Hopkins attackman Steven Boyle at No. 12.

Chesapeake had two picks in the fourth round and used No. 19 on UMBC midfielder Kyle Wimer and No. 23 on Maryland goalkeeper Brian Phipps.

With the 29th overall choice in the fifth round, the Denver Outlaws selected Navy midfielder Patrick Moran. Three slots later, Chesapeake took Johns Hopkins defenseman Sam DeVore.

In the eighth and final round, Chesapeake chose Loyola attackman Cooper MacDonnell at No. 44, and Boston selected Notre Dame midfielder Grant Krebs, an Annapolis native and St. Mary’s graduate, at No. 45.

Duke attackman and Tewaaraton Award winner Ned Crotty was taken by the Chicago Machine as the top pick in the draft. After Crotty and Kimmel, the rest of the first round involved Duke attackman Max Quinzani at No. 3 by Boston, Duke defenseman Parker McKee at No. 4 by the Long Island Lizards, Virginia defenseman Ken Clausen at No. 5 by Denver, and Carroll.

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

Stevenson's Cantabene hasn't heard from Maryland

Despite rumors to the contrary, Stevenson coach Paul Cantabene has not been contracted by University of Maryland officials for the vacant Terrapins job.

Every year, Cantabene appears to be on a lot of short lists for possible replacements because of his success with the Mustangs, but he hasn't heard a thing from Maryland or athletic director Debbie Yow.

Posted by Mike Preston at 9:31 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Maryland, Stevenson
        

Review & preview: Navy

The end of last season kicked off a new series that checked in with the seven Division I programs in the state to evaluate the past and give a glimpse into the future. The series resumes with teams appearing according to the chronological order in which their seasons ended. So Monday begins with a visit with Navy.

REVIEW

The good: One of the biggest questions the Midshipmen had to answer in the preseason was finding a goalkeeper to replace Tommy Phelan. Enter sophomore R.J. Wickham, who ranked fourth among Division I goalies in save percentage (.593) and 12th in goals-against average (8.55) en route to being named the Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year and an honorable mention All American. "I thought R.J. played very well," coach Richie Meade said. ... Navy averaged just 9.13 goals per game, which didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard. But Meade said he wasn’t terribly upset with what he saw from the offense, which lost senior attackman Tim Paul to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the second game of the season. "I thought we played well at times," he said. "I thought we had a pretty good scheme, and we banged around the ball pretty good. We created, I thought, a lot of good, high-percentage opportunities that we didn’t finish in some very important games." … Senior defenseman Gordon Lawson played in 12 contests, starting five despite a torn anterior cruciate ligament. "He kind of fought through that, and when we were having some problems defensively, we decided to play him at close defense to see if he could hold up and he kind of played through the whole season that way," Meade said.  

The bad: As good as Wickham was, the defense surrendered 8.67 goals per game, the team’s highest average since 1998 when that squad allowed 10.23 goals per contest. At times, the unit seemed either slow or confused. "It seemed like we were always a step behind," Meade said. "Obviously, we’ve been very good defensively, and I felt like that we had the goaltender who had a very good year, but we let up a lot of easy goals. I think we got scored on six-on-six this year more than I can remember in a very long time." … Meade hates to talk about injuries and often cites other schools dealing with similar problems. But injuries sapped the Midshipmen of several keep players, including Paul (lost for 13 games), senior long-stick midfielder Jaren Woeppel (six), senior short-stick defensive midfielder Joe McAuliffe (six) and senior long-stick midfielder Zack Schroeder (three). "It’s tough for coaches to talk about things like this because it sounds like excuses, but you just never get any momentum or continuity when you have people hurt," Meade said. "You’re putting other people in and you just have a little uncertainty. And other people have to adjust. So I think it’s a fairly disruptive thing and especially when you have them in multiple positions." … An overtime win against Patriot League rival Bucknell preceded a seven-goal setback to Lafayette. A two-game winning streak ended with losses to Georgetown, Maryland and Army by a combined four goals. A 36-game losing skid to Johns Hopkins was followed by a loss to Army in the Patriot League Tournament final. That inconsistency was maddening, Meade said. "It’s hard to accommodate the fact that – despite their record – we beat Johns Hopkins and lost to Army," he said. "That’s nothing against Army. They had a great year and they worked very hard. But I kind of felt like a lot of the intangible things weren’t working in our favor. For our program and for our team, we’ve got to have all of that stuff working in our favor. We’ve got to come out and give unbelievable effort all of the time and create our own breaks. The big evidence of those intangibles not working was the groundballs statistic. I don’t have all the complete statistics, but in the previous five years, I don’t know if I can remember us being out-groundballed in more than five games in five years, and this year, it was hard to get on top of that for some reason. Again, I think a lot of it was intangible things – things that we started to work on the minute the season ended. That’s something we’re going to have to reverse next year."

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: Navy graduates three of its top four scorers, including midfielders Patrick Moran (28 goals and 10 assists) and Joe Lennon (17, 7) and attackman Brendan Connors (20, 12). The first midfield could include a combination of sophomore Nikk Davis, junior Kevin Doyle and freshmen Jay Mann and Bucky Smith – a line based more on speed than brute force. "Pat and Joe were not the fastest guys in the world, but big, strong dodgers," Meade said. "I think we’re going to be a little bit quicker and a little bit faster in the midfield than we’ve been over the last several years. I also think we have enough guys where we can do some different things behind the goal when our midfield is inverted that we haven’t necessarily done just because of the make-up of the guys." … The defense returns a trio of starting close defensemen in junior Michael Hirsch and sophomores Matt Vernam and Ian Crumley, but filling the hole at long-stick midfielder will be key. … The Midshipmen bid farewell to face-off specialist Robby Battle (59-of-134 for .440), but sophomore Logan West (64-of-130 for .492) was an emerging player.

Forecast for 2011: Cloudy with rain possible. The offense loses a lot of punch, putting the onus on junior attackman Andy Warner (22, 15) and sophomore Ryan O’Leary (9, 8) to carry the load. The team’s attempts to develop a consistent second midfield now shifts to the first unit. And while the defense returns a wealth of experience, that group must communicate better and improve its play to give Wickham a chance to make saves. And Navy must still deal with Patriot League regular-season and tournament champion Army, which returns seven of 10 starters.

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Navy, Review & preview
        

June 4, 2010

Loyola adds Mount St. Mary's to schedule

A year after adding Navy to the schedule, Loyola has agreed to play against another local school.

The Greyhounds will travel to Emmitsburg, Md., sometime in March and visit Mount St. Mary’s for the first time since 2003. Loyola has won eight of the previous 11 meetings, including the last seven.

The Mountaineers will replace Loyola’s previous game against Quinnipiac, which is leaving the Eastern College Athletic Conference to join the Northeast Conference – a new league that includes Mount St. Mary’s.

"We’re excited about playing them," Loyola coach Charley Toomey said. "Because of our schedule and the amount of travel that we have, any time that we can add a local team, I think, is a good thing. That’s one we’re excited about."

Added Mountaineers coach Tom Gravante: "It’s wonderful. That’s a new face added to the schedule, and we’re keeping some teams from the [Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference] on board with us as well."

The Greyhounds’ annual contest with Johns Hopkins will be moved to the last Saturday in April to accommodate the inaugural debut of the ECAC Tournament, which will be hosted by Denver in early May.

Toomey said he is hopeful that the school will be able to continue its relationship with the team that just finished the 2010 campaign as a national finalist.

"The game that we’re trying to figure out is Notre Dame," he said. "We’ve enjoyed a great rivalry with them over the last three years, and we’re just trying to figure out a date."

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Loyola, Mount St. Mary's
        

Cottle interviews at Penn State

Former University of Maryland men's lacrosse coach Dave Cottle interviewed with Penn State officials Tuesday and Wednesday about the Nittany Lions' vacant head coaching position.
 
Cottle met with the university's president, which is a good sign, but was not offered the position during the interview.
 
Cottle is one of the leading candidates for the job. He resigned at Maryland after his No. 3 seeded Terps were upset by unseeded Notre Dame in the NCAA mens' Division I quarterfinals.
Posted by Mike Preston at 7:45 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland
        

Mount St. Mary's Gravante not yet a candidate for Penn State or Maryland

Speculation regarding the successor to former Maryland coach Dave Cottle has been rampant, and as mentioned Thursday, Syracuse women’s lacrosse coach and former Maryland women’s assistant coach Gary Gait took himself out of the running for the Terps job.

Another Division I opening is at Penn State, and one rumor floated has been the candidacy of current Mount St. Mary’s coach Tom Gravante, who guided the Mountaineers to their first Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament crown and NCAA Tournament appearance since 2003.

Gravante chuckled when asked about the Penn State rumor.

"I heard that, too, from a couple people, which is kind of funny," he said. "But I haven’t seen anything regarding that. … I heard that I was a candidate, and I don’t know how that information evolved into the lacrosse world."

Would he participate in an interview if Penn State or Maryland inquired?

"If they called, I would go and speak with those schools, but I’m really hopeful that we’re going to move the sport at Mount St. Mary’s forward," Gravante said.

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland, Mount St. Mary's
        

June 3, 2010

Gait no longer in the running for Maryland vacancy

When Dick Edell stepped down as head coach after the 2001 season, a good number of Maryland alumni lobbied athletic director Debbie Yow to hire Gary Gait, the former Syracuse All-American attackman and assistant coach for the women’s lacrosse team.

The disappointment was palpable when Yow went with former Loyola coach Dave Cottle.

That emotion repeated itself Thursday when Gait took his name out of the running for the current Terps head coaching vacancy.

According to a press release distributed by Syracuse where Gait is the head coach of the women’s lacrosse team, Gait told Maryland’s search committee that he will remain with the Orange.

"I bleed Orange," Gait said in the release. "Syracuse is the right place for me and my family. There’s no better place to be, especially with the support we receive from Chancellor Nancy Cantor and [athletic director] Dr. Daryl Gross. I look forward to continuing to build the Syracuse women’s lacrosse program and take it to a national championship. I appreciate being considered for the Maryland position. The alumni have been very supportive."

In three seasons at Syracuse, Gait has guided the program to a 47-15 record, two Final Four berths in three NCAA Tournament appearances, two Big East regular-season titles and one Big East Tournament crown.

Gait, who helped the Orange capture NCAA championships in 1988, 1989 and 1990, was considered by some to be the leading candidate to replace Cottle. Cottle – who compiled a 99-45 mark in nine seasons with the Terps, guided the team to eight straight NCAA Tournament appearances, and posted seven consecutive years of 10 wins or better – was scheduled to interview for the Penn State vacancy on either Tuesday or Wednesday.

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:06 PM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Maryland
        

Handicapping the Tewaaraton field

By Thursday night, the Tewaaraton Award will be handed to one of five finalists as the sport’s top collegiate player this season.

Duke fifth-year attackman Ned Crotty figures to be the favorite to collect the honor. He led Division I in assists with 63 and ranked fourth in points per game with 4.3. Plus, the Blue Devils edged Notre Dame, 6-5, in overtime to capture that school’s first national championship.

But Crotty didn’t exactly torch the scoring sheets. He recorded one goal and two assists in the team’s semifinal victory over top-seeded Virginia, but managed just one assists in the title game due to a brilliant performance by Fighting Irish junior defenseman Kevin Rodgway.

Crotty’s primary challenger might be his opponent in the semifinals. Virginia senior defenseman Ken Clausen helped the Cavaliers reach the Final Four, but the 14-13 loss to Duke likely hurt his candidacy. Although he ranked eighth in the country in caused turnovers per game with 2.06, Clausen did allow Crotty to register one goal and two assists.

Delaware senior attackman Curtis Dickson and Syracuse junior long-stick midfielder Joel White had excellent individual numbers, but their seasons ended with losses in the first round of the tournament. Since the Tewaararton has been awarded beginning in 2001, no player whose team has lost the first round has ever taken home the trophy.

If the award was dedicated to the most valuable player of the season, Kevin Crowley might have a legitimate argument. The Stony Brook junior set a school record for goals in a single season with 51, and he chipped in 26 assists. The unanimous America East Player of the Year, Crowley was awarded last week by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association’s the Lt. Raymond J. Enners Award, which is given to the nation's most outstanding Division I player.

But since the Seawolves lost to Virginia in the quarterfinals, the guess here is that Crotty will be this year’s Tewaaraton winner. Further proof: the Tewaaraton has gone to a player from the national champion in six of the nine years of the award’s history.

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

No requests yet for Johns Hopkins' assistant coaches

Much ado has been made about the head coaching vacancies at Maryland and Penn State, and there’s also an opening at Division III Washington College in Chestertown on the Eastern Shore.

Two potential candidates who could be considered are Johns Hopkins associate head coach Bill Dwan and offensive coordinator Bobby Benson. That might be a long shot considering both played collegiately for the Blue Jays and are firmly entrenched at their alma mater.

But interviews with one or both are possible. Still, as of last week, head coach Dave Pietramala had not received requests for Dwan or Benson.

"It’s still early in the process," Pietramala said. "I have the good fortune of working with two wonderful assistant coaches. I’m smart enough to know that at some point in time, they’re going to move on to be head coaches. That’s our goal here at Johns Hopkins. … Our goal here is to help our assistant coaches and associate head coaches to be the best coaches they can be so that they can move on and become head coaches."

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Johns Hopkins
        

June 2, 2010

Onus on Notre Dame's Kemp to replace Rodgers

Notre Dame’s quest to avoid the "one-year wonder" label will likely depend on the development of soon-to-be-sophomore goalkeeper John Kemp.

Kemp, whose older brother Joey was named Division I’s Goalie of the Year and a first-team All American in 2008, started twice this season, registering a 7.52 goals-against average and a .569 save percentage while earning a 1-2 record.

Based on his experience, Kemp figures to be the starter next season, but he will have some big shoes to fill in replacing Scott Rodgers, the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player who surrendered just 22 goals and made 53 saves in four tournament contests.

"Losing Scott next year will be a big thing, but we’re returning some players," junior defenseman Kevin Ridgway said. "So hopefully, this will carry over to next year so that we can keep this going."

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

Familiar face on pace to return to Loyola

Michael Sawyer, the Eastern College Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year in 2009, is slated to return to Loyola for the 2011 season.

Greyhounds coach Charley Toomey confirmed that Sawyer, who sat out the 2010 campaign due to unspecified off-field issues, will be back for his sophomore year and could make a position switch from midfield to attack.

"We’re looking forward to welcoming back Michael Sawyer to the mix," Toomey said. "We might put him down low at attack."

Loyola graduates two starting attackmen in Cooper MacDonnell and Collin Finnerty. Junior Matt Langan and freshman Patrick Fanshaw return, but the addition of Sawyer, who recorded nine goals and four assists as a freshman, could bolster that unit.

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

June 1, 2010

Maryland vacancy furthest thing from Notre Dame coach's mind

After guiding unseeded Notre Dame to its first national title contest and its second Final Four appearance in 10 years, Kevin Corrigan might just be the hottest coaching commodity in the nation.

And with vacancies at Maryland and Penn State, Corrigan might have enough ammunition to call his shot.

But Corrigan wasn’t in the mood to talk about his immediate future after the Fighting Irish’s 6-5 overtime loss to No. 5 seed Duke on Monday.

"I have no comment whatsoever," Corrigan said. "I haven’t talked to anybody, and I have no comment."

Corrigan, who just wrapped up his 22nd season at Notre Dame and his 24th year overall, has compiled a career coaching record of 216-118. The Fighting Irish have qualified for five consecutive NCAA Tournaments.

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Maryland
        

Postscript from Notre Dame vs. Duke

Duke’s first national championship may have been historic in that it just might have lifted the burden of guilt weighing down on the program.

Even though charges of rape filed against three Blue Devils players in 2006 were dropped and the team was permitted to resume playing after that season had been canceled, the program almost seemed to wear a scarlet letter for that transgression.

When Duke, as the No. 1 seed, had advanced to the 2008 NCAA Tournament semifinals, I had written an article on the growing sentiment among lacrosse fans against the Blue Devils. The granting of fifth years of eligibility only served to inflame their opponents even more.

But minutes after the team’s 6-5 overtime victory over Notre Dame on Monday, it seemed that the statute of limitations for rehashing 2006 and fifth years had run out.

"I hope so," coach John Danowski said when asked if the media should drop that matter. "I will."

Monday’s win was shared by former players Matt Danowski, Zack Greer and Tony McDevitt, among others – all of whom shed tears over the program’s watershed moment.

"That meant so much to them, and for me, same thing," Danowski said. "It’s been a very emotional time and a very cool time. This is what we do and this is why we do what we do. There was so much emotion those first two years. People have no idea. These are young men trying to act like everything was OK, but they were hurting. And for them to go up on that field today and feel good – even when you’re not here and you leave a place, sometimes you don’t want that team to do well because you think, ‘They can’t do it without me.’ There’s not a bone in those guys’ bodies that feels that way."

Other notes:

*CJ Costabile’s game-winning goal five seconds into overtime against Notre Dame capped a roller coaster of a journey for the sophomore long-stick midfielder, who injured his ankle in a sledding incident in December and sat out a significant portion of the preseason. Costabile played in all 19 games this season, finishing with three goals and five assists, 63 groundballs and a face-off percentage of 54.1 (73-of-135). But Danowski said he didn’t fully re-gain his form of 2009 until April. "We don’t talk about CJ’s ability to ride a sleigh in the snow in December," Danowski quipped. "That’s a topic that we don’t talk about. He hurt his ankle, and he missed a good portion of the preseason. He probably came back too soon. He did play in that [season-opening] Bucknell game and probably came back just way before he should have."

*If the Blue Devils had lost in the championship game, that would have been the third loss in three attempts. And if that were the case, Danowski emphasized to the players that there was more to life than just lacrosse. "Winning – I’m not going to kid you – this is awesome," he said. "I told the guys last night, "Listen, this is not going to define your life. Hopefully, you guys one day are going to meet the right woman, you’re going to get married, you’re going to have children. Those will be the best days of your life.’ But this is pretty close."

*The other part of the equation of Costabile’s heroics involved the Fighting Irish’s strategy. Senior Trever Sipperly had won 8-of-15 face-offs, but coach Kevin Corrigan blamed himself for not protecting Sipperly in the event that Costabile cleanly won the opening face-off of overtime. "I’m mad at myself for not putting our wings further down and kind of playing a little more defensively there," Corrigan said. "Trever Sipperly had done a really god job all day and had really controlled the ball. So we weren’t think that he was going to give up a break because he had been in control of the ball for the better part of the day. But that said, in that situation, it might have been smarter to make sure because you know Costabile, if he has a chance, is going to attack the cage like that. It might have been smarter to put our wings down and tell Trever, ‘If you win it, just bring it to yourself and that way, we’re protected.’"

*Notre Dame (10-7) took 31 shots, but landed only 10 on net. Duke freshman goalkeeper Dan Wigrizer made only five saves, but the Fighting Irish failed to test him. "That was our fault," said junior midfielder Zach Brenneman, who scored three goals. "We just didn’t shoot well." Added Corrigan: "We got enough opportunities to score more than five goals. We just shot the ball horribly today. You’ve got a guy who makes [five] saves, and you don’t put more than 10 shots on him. That’s on us. We just didn’t put the ball on the cage."

*Notre Dame’s loss didn’t diminish the performance of junior defenseman Kevin Ridgway, who limited Blue Devils fifth-year senior attackman Ned Crotty to a lone assist and Cornell sophomore attackman Rob Pannell to two assists on championship weekend. Perhaps that’s why Corrigan was a bit vocal about Ridgway earning only honorable mention All-American status. "Kevin Ridgway is probably one of the most underrated defensemen in the country," Corrigan said. "He is not flashy and not good with the ball. It seems like guys get first-team All-American [honors] for looking good carrying the ball. I don’t know where that started, but somehow defensemen that carry the ball nicely now get extra credit and become All Americans. I thought the job of the defensemen is to stop people from scoring. Guys like Kevin don’t get enough credit when they do that and they do it very well."

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