Q&A with ESPN's Paul Carcaterra
ESPN analyst and former All-American Syracuse midfielder Paul Carcaterra will have a front-row view of Friday night’s tilt between No. 1 Syracuse and No. 2 Virginia as he provides commentary for ESPN. Carcaterra discussed two surprises of the weekend, a team that may have done itself a huge favor, and the wish for a delete button on Loyola’s 3-2 win against Towson.
Question: What was the most surprising result of the weekend?
Answer: I think it would have to be two. Duke [ranked No. 10 by The Sun] only putting up three goals against Penn, that was shocking to me. Duke is a team right now searching for an offensive identity. They don’t have the dodgers and playmakers that can really create and give some of their shooters an opportunity. Guys like [senior attackman] Zach Howell, who’s a fabulous shooter, they don’t have those other pieces to the offense to get him the ball. Putting up three goals against Penn, a team that towards the bottom of the Ivy [League] last year, in a loss, that was pretty shocking to me – regardless of the deficiencies of Duke, they have a ton of talent still in Durham. It’s just that they’re very young and obviously, it’s going to take longer to develop that talent than expected. And then the other piece was [No. 14] Georgetown getting blown out by [No. 3] Maryland. Maryland was a team that I picked in the preseason to go to the Final Four. After watching Georgetown against Jacksonville last week, I thought, ‘This offense is for real. They’re crafty, they’ve got good dodgers and finishers.’ I thought it was an offense ready to take Georgetown over the hump that they’ve been traveling on the last few years, but apparently not. Maryland just lit them up. I expected Maryland to be a great team, but I didn’t expect Georgetown to be in a position where they wouldn’t be able to compete in that game. They didn’t, so maybe it’s the same old Georgetown.
Q: What team registered the most impressive performance of the weekend?
A: I’d have to go back and probably say Maryland. They dominated all facets of that game and just forced their will on Georgetown. They dictated the tempo of the game, they defeated Georgetown in every facet – ground balls, physical play. They really came out, ands they made a statement yesterday. They didn’t beat a team that doesn’t have talent. Georgetown’s a team that has talent year in and year out. They just completely blew them out. So that was, to me, the most impressive team performance of the weekend.
Q: Was there an individual who stood out with his showing over the weekend?
A: I would say that the most impressive player performance over the weekend was either [Maryland senior] Grant Catalino’s five goals in that game. He’s a fabulous player. He’s big, strong and has the skills of an elite attackman. He’s not a guy that uses his size and strength to create offense all the time, but he’s just skilled. He’s a great shooter and a fabulous offensive player. His performance [Saturday] was just great as well as [Virginia junior attackman] Steele Stanwick’s. Five goals and three assists in a tough game against Stony Brook minus the Brattons, he really put his team on his shoulders. Eight points in a one-goal, overtime game including the game-winner, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better performance than his.
Q: Is there a team that got a performance over the weekend that might pay dividends in the long run?
A: I think it’s Penn. If you look at Penn’s 7-3 win against Duke, regardless of what Duke has back, they are the defending national champions, and for a team that was towards the bottom of the Ivy to take that game, I think it will certainly give them confidence. When they went on the field yesterday, they looked across at the other sideline and that was Duke on their chests and Duke had won the national championship. So regardless of how they were decimated by graduation and some injuries, it’s the defending national champion. And for a team to come out there after not having a great season a year ago, I think that will bode well from a confidence standpoint.
Q: How much will No. 5 Stony Brook’s one-goal overtime loss to No. 2 Virginia impact the Seawolves?
A: I think it was a little disheartening for Stony Brook. People talk about the Brattons not playing, but Virginia is still Virginia, and Stony Brook’s second-best player behind [senior midfielder] Kevin Crowley is [senior attackman] Tom Compitello, and he didn’t play. So I think if you put him in the mix, that changes that whole offense because he’s a dodger from behind and from the wings, and he makes defenses play up top with Crowley and behind with him, and he opens up so many other things for his teammates. If you look at [senior attackman] Jordan McBride’s totals [Saturday], he did nothing, and I think a lot of that has to do with Compitello not playing and not creating opportunities for McBride. That loss, to me, was just as big of a loss as the Brattons were for Virginia. I think in the back of their minds, Stony Brook probably thinks they can compete – regardless of who Virginia puts out on the field. And when they get Compitello back, they’ll be in the mix. So I look at them as a team that can play and challenge anyone.
Q: Anything stand out to you in No. 7 Hofstra’s 11-9 win against No. 8 Princeton?
A: I expected that. I thought Hofstra, just offensively, was a little bit too much for Princeton. I think Princeton played well, but Princeton is a little thin in the midfield. They’re missing [midfielder] Mike Chanenchuk, a freshman All American a year ago who isn’t playing this season, and that’s a big loss for them. They have some nice, young midfielders, but there’s really no depth there at the midfield. I thought that would be a problem for Hofstra. And Hofstra is just a stacked team with great seniors. If you look at their seniors, [attackman] Jamie Lincoln, [attackman] Jay Card, [midfielder] Steve Serling are guys who are amongst the nation’s elite. Competing against them was going to be a hard task for Princeton. I think Hofstra is a lot like Stony Brook. They’re going to be in the mix, and they’ll compete against anyone. Those are the types of teams that will really make a challenge to the Final Four this year.
Q: What did you think of No. 12 Loyola’s 3-2 win against Towson?
A: Obviously, a defensive battle, but you’d almost like to erase that game from a lacrosse fan’s standpoint. It was a complete snoozer. Credit the teams for grunting it out and playing solid defense and goaltending, but games like that are tough to watch, and I’m not sure it’s good for the game.
Q: What’s your preview of Saturday’s game between Princeton and No. 9 Johns Hopkins?
A: I did the Hopkins game [Saturday], and I was very, very impressed with their young players. Eight of their 10 starters are freshmen and sophomores, and their second midfield is made up of a sophomore and a freshman as well. They really only have two seniors playing legitimate minutes, and that’s Kyle Wharton and Chris Boland. I was just really impressed with the way they got after ground balls and their unselfish play. They move the ball around exceptionally well. This is a team that I think is going to challenge everyone this year and make some noise. But in the next couple of years, Hopkins is going to be back. They’re just loaded with young talent. Looking at that match-up, I would favor Hopkins. I think Hopkins is so young right now that they’re buying into a system and they’re going with it, and sometimes when you’re young, you don’t overthink things. You go out and you play, and sometimes that’s a positive spin. I think Hopkins beats Princeton.