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October 21, 2010

Terps attackman Yeatman seeking another year of eligibility

COLLEGE PARK — Maryland attackman Will Yeatman said he would like to return for another lacrosse season.

“I’m still seeing if I can get another year of eligibility for lacrosse,” the senior said this week in an interview.

Yeatman transferred from Notre Dame in January 2009. After leading the Irish in scoring his freshman year, his career was interrupted by an alcohol-related suspension.

“My sophomore year I played in one scrimmage for Notre Dame and I didn’t play the rest of the year," he said.

It is possible that Yeatman could get that season of eligibility back.

Maryland’s athletic department confirmed that it is considering applying to the NCAA for another year of eligibility for Yeatman, who is also a tight end on the football team.

Jeff Barker

Posted by Baltimore Sun sports at 4:52 PM | | Comments (2)

October 13, 2010

Patriots' Belichick talks lacrosse

In what has become an annual tradition of sorts, New England Patriots coach and avid lacrosse fan Bill Belichick took a few moments during his conference call with Baltimore media to talk lacrosse.

Belichick, who spoke while preparing for Sunday’s showdown between the Ravens and the Patriots, is very tight with Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala. So it’s no surprise that Belichick is eagerly anticipating the upcoming season.

"It looks like there’s a lot of good teams in lacrosse this year," he said. "So I’m sure it’ll be very competitive. There will be all the usual big names, but it seems like there’s always a couple teams that get into the mix. Hofstra had a great year last year and Villanova and teams like that that people weren’t talking about a lot at the beginning of the year but showed up at the end. It’s always interesting."

Belichick admired Notre Dame’s run to the national title game, especially after he watched the Fighting Irish’s 10-8 home loss to Rutgers on March 27. That setback began a three-game skid for Notre Dame and nearly jeopardized the team’s hopes for a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

But they recovered in grand fashion, upending higher-seeded opponents in Princeton, Maryland and Cornell before falling to Duke in the championship final.

"Coach [Kevin] Corrigan did a great job at Notre Dame," said Belichick, whose son Stephen is a junior defenseman for the Scarlet Knights. "When I saw my son’s team, Rutgers, beat them out there, they sure didn’t seem like a national championship contender at that point. But they just got better with each game, and they really played great down the stretch, and that’s when it counted. They got some great goaltending and big plays out of their midfield. So it was a terrific game, and it was a big win for Duke after they had been so close. So it was great for lacrosse."

The sport took a little bit of a bum rap when several fans complained that Duke’s 6-5 overtime win against Notre Dame wasn’t explosive enough and lowered the game’s high-octane reputation a notch.

Belichick, a defensive guru with teams like the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns and Patriots, didn’t seem to mind. "I love a good defensive game," he deadpanned.

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:01 PM | | Comments (1)

October 7, 2010

Johns Hopkins still in construction phase

Nine days from now, Johns Hopkins will meet 2010 NCAA tournament finalist Notre Dame in the San Francisco Fall Lacrosse Classic at Kezar Stadium, and that scrimmage could serve as the first true indicator of where the Blue Jays are and where they could be headed.

Until then, coach Dave Pietramala is spending his days evaluating the players, and his assessment is still under construction.

"I think it’s difficult to gauge where we are right now," he said. "We haven’t played against anybody else yet. What I would tell you is that the attitude of this team, the approach of this team, the way we’re practicing is different from what it was a year ago. There is a sense of focus, a sense of urgency. The older guys have done a very nice job of leading, and I think we enter the season -- after an un-Hopkins-like season -- with a sense of humility and a sense of focus and desire to get back at it. So this has been a pretty focused group. They’ve done the things we’ve asked them to do. It’s been an enjoyable group to be around. We’re young. We’re still very young. We might be the youngest team in Division I lacrosse right now with the freshmen and sophomores, but the seniors have really set a good tone for this group. Where we’ll be, that’s to be determined. I make no predictions right now, but what we are doing is, the kids are practicing hard. They’re enthusiastic. They’re excited to come back to practice the next day. We’ve done some different things in terms of drills and how we’re practicing, and it’s been a positive step after the disappointment from a year ago."

Compiling the program’s first losing record (7-8) since 1971 was a humbling experience for all involved, and Pietramala questioned his own practices and strategies, eventually agreeing to make changes.

One of those changes is making every position open to competition.

"Right now, everybody’s competing for a spot," he said. "It’s not just a ‘You were here last year at this position, so you will start here next year.’ Everybody’s going to have to earn their keep after the season we had last year and the disappointment. We need to be more competitive in practice, and the obvious way of doing that is everybody’s got to earn their keep and compete for their spots."

Pietramala, whose contract was extended by the school through the 2016 season, is cautiously optimistic that an influx of freshmen could give the team the jolt it needs.

"There are some young guys who show a lot of promise, but right now, our focus is to learn how to practice the right way again, get our young guys up to speed and up to snuff on how we do things, our basic philosophies and our principles," he said. "We’re going to go out and play Notre Dame in California, and everybody’s going to get a chance to play, and we’re going to be able to have a better evaluation then."

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

October 6, 2010

UMBC working to erase memory of 2010

UMBC is several months away from the start of the 2011 season, but the memory of last year’s 4-9 record still resonates within the program.

"I think that’s a strong motivating force behind everyone involved in the program – players, coaches, support staff," said coach Don Zimmerman, who shared his thoughts after the announcement that the Retrievers would meet Johns Hopkins in the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic on Saturday, March 12. "It’s a new year, and we want to have a good one."

Last season’s results were a cruel blow to a proud school that had qualified for four consecutive NCAA Tournaments prior to 2010. Questions in the cage, ineffectiveness from the offense and lack of depth troubled the team.

Still, Zimmerman is optimistic that the tide could turn. Although graduation sapped the squad of some of its most experienced players, Zimmerman welcomes a youth movement highlighted by the presence of 31 freshmen and sophomores among the 39 players this fall.

Zimmerman said the influx of new personnel brings competition at every position.

"Pretty much every position is up for grabs," he said. "That’s our approach going into the fall. There are no gimmes. Every position is up for grabs, and we’re going to be watching to see who steps up and seizes the moment."

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, UMBC

October 5, 2010

Pair of Johns Hopkins rivalries return to campus

Johns Hopkins will participate in two lacrosse tripleheaders at professional venues next spring, meeting local rival UMBC at the Konicia Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on March 12 and North Carolina at the Konica Minolta Big City Classic at The New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on April 3.

But two staples that had been played in NFL stadiums – the annual showdowns with Princeton and Maryland – have been returned back to campus at the request of all three programs.

Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala said the coaches and players looked forward to playing in front of larger crowds at professional venues and showcasing the school to a more expansive fanbase.

"That being said, one of the drawbacks is you’re not on your campus and somebody’s forfeiting a home game," he said. "For us and Princeton, none of the young men on our teams have played that game on our campus or on their campus [over the last four years]. That’s important. So we had discussed not doing it this year and moving the game back to campus, and when the people at Inside Lacrosse moved the Face-Off Classic back one week, it worked out perfectly. So it’s nice that we’ll have the Princeton game at home this year and we’ll still be able to participate in the Face-Off Classic. That is a win-win situation for us."

Johns Hopkins’ game against Maryland was featured in the Day of Rivals doubleheader, which also included Navy vs. Army. But all four schools decided to bring their respective games back to campus.

"There’s something to be said for playing at Homewood Field and having a home-field advantage," Pietramala said. "So we decided that with both of those games, we were going to move those back to the campuses, and we would consider moving another game to a professional venue. … With the Hopkins-Maryland game, we did it. We did it for a couple of years, it was a great event for us, but that game carries some special meaning for both of those teams, and playing at home is a distinctive advantage for both of those teams. I think we both strongly about being in our own facility and being in our own locker room and playing on our own field and bringing our fans to our campuses."

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

October 1, 2010

Return of Syracuse, Virginia to Face-Off Classic could mean increased attendance

The return of Syracuse and Virginia to the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic on March 12 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore is a positive development for the event.

Not only do fans get an opportunity to see two programs that have captured a combined 14 national championships, but the tripleheader could get larger crowds.

When Syracuse and Virginia participated in the Face-Off Classic in 2007 and 2008, the combined attendance for those two years was 39,345. The event drew a combined 37,861 in 2009 and 2010, and last year’s event was a tripleheader.

"Syracuse is always one of those programs that peaks interest," said Andy Bilello, the director of business development for Inside Lacrosse. "Not only do they have their own dedicated fanbase, but they’re one that people still find them interesting just because they’re always good, they’re aImost always exciting, and they have stars. They have quality players that people enjoy watching. Virginia is definitely similar. These are teams that are still winning national championships and being in the Final Four. So people like their style of play, and people know they’re going to be good again."

One note: Syracuse and Georgetown agreed to take part in the Face-Off Classic for only 2011. They will be replaced by Princeton and North Carolina in 2012, Bilello said.

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