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May 31, 2011

Attendance for championship weekend lags

Despite the presence of two teams from Maryland and an NCAA Division I tournament final between two teams straddling the Potomac River, attendance for championship weekend at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore was surprisingly low.

The announced crowd of 35,661 for Monday’s final between unseeded Maryland and seventh-seeded Virginia was the smallest at a Division I title game since it was played in professional stadiums, which began in 2003. The 18,086 figure cited each for the Division III final between Salisbury and Tufts and the Division II final between Mercyhurst and Adelphi on Sunday was the lowest since 2003.

Only the attendance of 45,039 for the Division I semifinals between Maryland and No. 5 seed Duke and Virginia and No. 6 seed Denver was moderately successful. That ranked as the sixth-largest figure in NCAA history.

Increased heat and humidity on Sunday and Monday may have impacted the attendance, but the final numbers are shocking considering the presence of Maryland and Virginia.

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:30 PM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Maryland
        

Nuggets from Nadelen's introduction as Towson coach

Shawn Nadelen was introduced Tuesday morning as the seventh head coach in the 52-year history of lacrosse at Towson. Here are a few snippets of what was said during his introductory press conference.

Athletic director Mike Waddell, who compared Nadelen to the title character of the upcoming “Captain America” movie: “Look at him. He’s apple pie, he’s Chevrolet, he’s American. … He’s the embodiment of Captain America.”

Waddell on Nadelen’s influence with the players: “The guy’s a winner. There’s something you can get from playing in this fellow that translates into renewed energy.”

Nadelen on his phone conversation with his 85-year-old grandmother in Watertown, N.Y.: “She says to me, ‘Shawn, now that you’re the head coach, you better not get a big head or I’m going to come down and wallop you.’ … Just want to say, ‘Thank you, Grandma.’ I promise that my head will fit in this cap.”

Nadelen on the influence of his predecessor and former boss, Tony Seaman: “He really allowed me to see a lot of different ways in which to conduct myself. … He’s been very, very instrumental in my success and in this team’s success.”

Nadelen on greeting opponents: “[Johnny] Unitas Stadium needs to be an intimidating place to play. …We need people to fear walking into our stadium.”

Nadelen in closing: “I’m ready to get to work. Let’s get everybody involved in restoring the roar here.”

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:52 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Towson
        

A Scarlet Knight?

Now that the NCAA Division I Final Four is over, look for Rutgers to pursue Duke coach John Danowski, a 1976 graduate of Rutgers.

Danowski earned a bachelor's of science degree from Rutgers and was a four-year letter-winner on the lacrosse team, where he still holds several records.

He has been at Duke for five years and appeared in the NCAA semifinals each of those years. Duke has also been in two national championship games under Danowski, winning one. It will be interesting to see if Rutgers can come up with the money to pry Danowski away from the Blue Devils.

Posted by Mike Preston at 10:16 AM | | Comments (0)
        

Old School versus New School

In the aftermath of Maryland's 9-7 loss to Virginia, it was clearly evident that Cavaliers' coach Dom Starsia outcoached Terps coach John Tillman. That's not to say that Tillman is a bad coach, but he is young and he went against a veteran like Starsia, who has won four titles at Virginia. Tillman will become a good coach some day, but he has to grow more as far as X's and O's.

The Terps had struggled against zone defenses this season, and they couldn't overcome Virginia's zone as the game went on. Maryland had its chances with numerous layups, especially in the first quarter, but once Virginia adjusted, the Terps had no counter. Starsia also did a good job of taking extra attackmen and inserting them at midfield. He couldn't beat the Terps down the middle of the field, but he chose to isolate their defenders on the outside of the goal, and consistently beat them.

Maryland has tremendous size and is very physical, but it's hard for those big defensemen to bounce back with only a day's rest, and then play in 90-plus temperatures. Maryland was slow sliding from the crease most of the afternoon.

In perspective, it was a strong season for Maryland after struggling during the regular season. The Terps got excellent leadership from their seniors in the postseason. But in the big game, Virginia prevailed partly because Starsia is one of the best in the business, and Tillman is still in the learning stages.

He'll get better.

Posted by Mike Preston at 9:49 AM | | Comments (0)
        

Postscript from Maryland vs. Virginia

Maryland’s defense – a unit brimming with experience and relied on as the team’s strength – picked the wrong time to post perhaps its worst outing of the season.

The unseeded Terps (13-5) allowed seventh-seeded Virginia (13-5) to score nine goals – including five in the second quarter – en route to a two-goal victory in the NCAA tournament final at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Monday.

Maryland, or more specifically senior defenseman Brett Schmidt, limited Cavaliers junior attackman and Tewaaraton Award finalist Steele Stanwick to zero goals and only one assist. But the defense failed to account for redshirt sophomore midfielder Colin Briggs (five goals) and sophomore attackmen Nick O’Reilly (one goal and four assists) and Matt White (three goals).

“We let in nine goals. We’ve been playing better than that lately,” a morose Schmidt said in the Terps’ locker room after the loss. “We did some uncharacteristic things today. It sucks. They had some good looks, and they finished their shots. So we’ve got to give the credit to them. [Redshirt freshman goalie] Niko [Amato] has been great for us through the playoffs, and he’s one of the best goalies in the country. He did all he could today, but we gave him shots that he couldn’t save, and that’s not on him. That’s our fault. We gave up 10-yard shots wide open from in front of the cage. You can’t blame Niko. That was all on the team defense. We just didn’t communicate well, and Virginia canned their shots.”

Amato sparkled early, making five saves in the first quarter including several from point-blank range. But he made just one stop in the second quarter, two in the third and zero in the fourth.

Asked if being asked to maintain that play over the final three quarters proved to be too much, Amato said he didn’t know.

“I just went out there each quarter and tried to do the best that I could do,” he said. “I knew the defense was going to do a great job. I just tried to make some plays to get the offense the ball back.”

The Terps (13-5) had leads of 1-0 and 3-2 in the first and second quarters, respectively, but the Cavaliers (13-5) ended the half with three goals over a span of 2 minutes, 25 seconds to enjoy a 5-3 advantage at halftime.

“You don’t want to let a team like that get on runs,” Maryland coach John Tillman acknowledged. “Give credit where credit is due. And to Virginia’s credit, they had some pretty good looks early. I felt like we were a little slow off the bus, and again, that young guy in the cage did a darn good job. We’re up 1-0 at the end of the first quarter, but Niko’s got five saves. So they’re a very talented group. They played very fast.”

Other notes:

*As mentioned previously, Schmidt performed admirably in his matchup with Stanwick, matching him on nearly every dodge and hounding him into surrendering the ball to his teammates. But Schmidt was in little mood to celebrate his personal showing. “I don’t know,” he said of gaining any satisfaction. “We let in nine goals as a defense. That’s all I really worry about, and I’m disappointed in that. I couldn’t help my teammates enough to get our team defense going and getting everyone communicating. It just sucks coming up this short.”

*Brian Farrell scored a goal to open the fourth quarter, but the Terps senior long-stick midfielder could only shake his head at a missed opportunity in the first quarter. On a well-designed play in which he faked heading to the sideline for a substitution, Farrell slipped past a Virginia player and received a pass from a teammate at the top of the box. The Baltimore native and Boys’ Latin graduate barreled into the high slot and slung a shot that eluded senior goalkeeper Adam Ghitelman, but rang off the left post. “We were told to shoot to the off-stick side, and I shot it, and it hit the pipe,” Farrell said. “It sucks thinking about it now. It would’ve been a big play early in the game.” Senior attackman Ryan Young and junior midfielder Drew Snider also struck pipe with shots, leading senior attackman Grant Catalino to wonder what might have been. “Two more inches, it’s a goal,” he said. “And a different day, maybe those pipes are goals. Our players played hard. They shot the ball well. I just think the ball didn’t roll our way today.”

*Some might conclude that Maryland’s bad luck regarding the pipes was a reflection of the Cavaliers’ tough zone defense, a scheme that forced opponents into taking low-percentage shots from the outside. That defense became nearly impenetrable in the fourth quarter when the Terps trailed by three and had fewer possessions. “You can’t beat a zone with one pass or one dodge,” Catalino said. “It takes multiple passes, draw a few guys to one side of the field, bang it across. So I think them having the ball really didn’t change much. I think towards the end of the game, when we were down a few, we had to press the situation a little more than we did in the beginning. It’s hard to come back on a zone that’s played well during so much of the game and stick a few in the end.”

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Maryland, Postscript
        

May 30, 2011

Maryland vs. Virginia: Halftime thoughts

Maryland’s bid for its first national championship since 1975 isn’t looking too strong as the unseeded Terps trail seventh-seeded Virginia, 5-3, at halftime of the NCAA tournament final at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore Monday.

Maryland (13-4) has had leads of 1-0 and 3-2 in the first and second quarters, respectively, but the Cavaliers (12-5) ended the half with three goals over a span of 2 minutes, 25 seconds for the game’s first two-goal cushion.

The Terps had numerous chances to extend their 1-0 lead in the first quarter. On a 4-on-3 break, sophomore long-stick midfielder Jesse Bernhardt took a shot from the high slot, but missed the cage. Senior long-stick midfielder Brian Farrell’s blast from the high slot rang off the left post, and junior midfielder Joe Cummings took a high shot from the right alley that sailed over the net.

In the second quarter, senior attackman Ryan Young had two opportunities to score. After curling around the left post, his bounce shot hit the right post. And in the final minute, Young curled around the right post, but missed the top half of the cage.

Other notes:

*Virginia’s zone defense continues to confuse opponents. After limiting No. 2 seed Cornell and No. 6 seed Denver to nine and eight goals, respectively, the unit has allowed Maryland to put just eight of 18 shots on net. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers have put 11 of 16 shots on net. Young does not have a single point, and senior attackman Grant Catalino has been quiet since scoring the game’s first goal with 12:27 left in the first quarter.

*Senior defenseman Brett Schmidt has done his job keeping Virginia junior attackman and Tewaaraton Award finalist Steele Stanwick off the scoreboard, but the Terps have been guilty of ball-watching. Redshirt sophomore midfielder Colin Briggs has scored three goals since returning from a one-game layoff termed as a coach’s decision, and sophomore attackman Nick O’Reilly has posted one goal and two assists.

*Sophomore Curtis Holmes has given Maryland the edge at faceoffs, winning 7-of-10 draws. But the Terps have committed five turnovers to the Cavaliers’ one, and both teams are even in ground balls with eight each.

Posted by Edward Lee at 4:51 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Halftime thoughts, Maryland
        

Virginia's Briggs won't start in NCAA final

Virginia’s Colin Briggs got the green light to play, but the redshirt sophomore midfielder will not start when the No. 7 seed Cavaliers (12-5) meet unseeded Maryland (13-4) in the NCAA tournament final on Monday.

The starting lineups for both teams were announced, and Briggs was not included in the first midfield. Sophomore Matt White, who usually plays attack, will join senior John Haldy and freshman Rob Emery on the first line.

Briggs did not play in Virginia’s 14-8 defeat of No. 6 seed Denver in Saturday’s semifinal due to what was called a coach’s decision.

Coach Dom Starsia had confirmed Sunday afternoon that Briggs would return, saying only, “Available for tomorrow.”

Briggs registered 24 goals and 12 assists in eight starts this season, including one goals in each of the team’s first two contests in this postseason.

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:29 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland
        

What others are saying about Towson's Nadelen

Included in Sunday's press release regarding Towson associate head coach and defensive coordinator Shawn Nadelen’s promotion to head coach are some quotes from lacrosse fixtures about Towson’s move.

Through university spokesman Eric Rhew, I also got in touch with redshirt sophomore midfielder Ian Mills, who served as the player liaison for the school’s search committee.

Former Towson coach Tony Seaman: “I am very proud that Shawn has been named as the head coach at Towson. I think they hired the right person for the job and I know Shawn will do a great job as the next head coach of Towson lacrosse.”

Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala, who coached Nadelen in 2001, his senior year: “When I think of Shawn, I think of the word class. From the time I met him during his senior year in high school to his senior year at Johns Hopkins when he played for me, he has been a first-class individual. He has continued to do things the right way as a coach and really cares about the kids and wants to be successful. Towson made a great choice in hiring not only a good coach, but an even better person.”

Bryant coach Mike Pressler, who also coached the U.S. national team which Nadelen was a part of and won the gold medal at the Federation of International Lacrosse World Championships in England in 2010: “I am very ecstatic for Shawn. In all of my time as a coach at the collegiate and international levels, I have never come across someone who is more of a competitor and is more selfless than Shawn. He is a tremendous individual who has a lot of character. What he did in five months to come back from his knee injury and play at the level he did in the World Championships last year is one of the most remarkable and incredible things I have ever seen as a coach. To see Shawn named as the head coach at Towson is very exciting for not only Shawn, but for Towson as well because they got a great young coach and an outstanding young man that the players will look up to. Congratulations to Towson on an outstanding hire.”

Redshirt sophomore midfielder Ian Mills, who served as the player liaison for the search committee: “There was overwhelming support for him [among the players]. We understand that there’s going to be a rise in intensity, but I think it’s welcomed. The guys are tired of losing. So we’re real excited to take this next step to bring Towson back to the dominant program that it was. Coach Seaman and Coach [Carl] Runk left a legacy to live up to, and we want to be back there.”

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

Maryland vs. Virginia: Three things to watch

There should be few surprises when Maryland and Virginia meet in the NCAA tournament final, marking only the second time in postseason history that two teams from the same conference will vie for the national championship. The Terps (13-4) last won an NCAA crown in 1975 and are 0-5 in title games since then. The Cavaliers (12-5) have captured four national championships, the most recent occurring in 2006. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Monday.

1) Virginia’s shot selection. Everyone knows about junior attackman and Tewaaraton Award finalist Steele Stanwick, who warrants almost constant attention. But the Cavaliers have scored 40 goals on 92 shots in the tournament, which is a robust 43.5 conversion rate. Their offensive efficiency is an area that has caught the attention of Maryland coach John Tillman. “Forty percent is just unheard of,” he said. “It’s probably a culmination of a number of things. They’re being very patient, and they’re waiting for the best shot. They’re moving the ball and getting excellent looks. So that makes you concerned. After we watched four games since last night’s game, you can figure out why they’re doing such a great job. It’s either unsettled or it’s Stanwick throwing to a guy that’s a terrific shooter in a good spot. I give [offensive coordinator] Marc Van Arsdale and Coach [Dom] Starsia a lot of credit. They’ve redefined the way they play offense in the last five games, and they’ve changed who they are given their personnel. They’ve put all the pieces in the best spot possible, and that’s a credit to them. It’s tough to do that mid-season, but it’s made all the sense in the world.”

2) Maryland’s defense. The Terps have lived up their billing as their fourth-stingiest defense in Division I, surrendering just 15 goals in three contests in the postseason. Senior defenseman Brett Schmidt will likely shadow Stanwick, and senior defenseman Max Schmidt could get junior attackman Chris Bocklet. If redshirt goalkeeper Niko Amato plays the way he has been, Maryland will be a tough nut to crack, according to Starsia. “I think we’re going to have to work extremely hard for scoring opportunities tomorrow,” he said. “Amato played very well against us the first time around, and we don’t need to be convinced of that. They’ve probably got as fine a set of poles as anyone in Division I. they’ve got a guy who’s a good matchup for Steele in Brett Schmidt. We believe that’s how they’ll match up there. He’s got really great feet. They’ve got experience, they’re long. You look at [senior long-stick midfielder] Brian Farrell out there and he has a way to get that stick in the passing lanes. That’s a very imposing group of defensemen. That’s a very good college defense. We’re going to have our work cut out for us generating opportunities. There may be less of them than we’ve been able to generate in the past couple of weeks. We’re going to have to really make the most of what we’re doing offensively and be very efficient at that end of the field to score some goals against them.”

3) Maryland’s faceoffs. In the Terps’ 12-7 win on April 2, sophomore Curtis Holmes won 14-of-22 faceoffs, effectively giving the ball to his offense and keeping it out of Virginia’s sticks. The Cavaliers can counter with a host of players including redshirt senior Brian McDermott (9-of-14 for .643 against Denver) and senior Garett Ince (71-of-139 for .511). “I’m sure they’re going to be really prepared for me and our faceoff wings,” Holmes said. “So I’m expecting a tough game. But I’m sure that – with our wings as well – we’ll be prepared.” Matching Maryland on draws might be considered a win for Virginia. “I think winning the faceoff piece of it is one of our chief concerns going into it, whether we can win our fair share there so that we can get some possessions for ourselves,” Starsia said.

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

Maryland to keep an eye (or four) on Virginia's Stanwick

It goes without saying that Virginia junior attackman Steele Stanwick warrants the kind of attention that a player who is a Tewaaraton Award finalist deserves.

But handcuffing that player of Stanwick’s caliber is easier said than done. Bucknell, No. 2 seed Cornell and No. 6 seed Denver have tried and failed as the Baltimore native and Loyola graduate has recorded 20 points on nine goals and 11 assists.

The task now falls on unseeded Maryland to figure out a way to solve Stanwick. Specifically, senior defenseman Brett Schmidt is the likely choice to shadow Stanwick as he did in the regular-season meeting between these teams on April 2.

“I think you can say he’s definitely stepped it up,” said Schmidt, who limited Stanwick to a single goal although he was hampered by a right foot injury at the time. “I think he has 20 points in the last three games. He just plays so smart. He hangs his guys up all the time on big-littles [picks]. He just finds ways to make it happen and sets it up for his teammates. So we’re just looking to play our team defense, give them shots that [redshirt freshman goalie] Niko [Amato] can save, and get the ball going in transition.”

Stanwick has taken on a more prominent after the dismissal of senior midfielder Shamel Bratton and the indefinite suspension of his twin brother and senior midfielder Rhamel Bratton.

“That’s pretty apparent, and why not?” Terps coach John Tillman said. “It’s funny because he’s emerged to become the guy that he was in high school in terms of being very intelligent, making everyone around him better. Everything kind of goes through him. He quarterbacks it.”

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

Postscript from Salisbury vs. Tufts

Salisbury’s reputation as an offensive-minded team was re-emphasized Sunday night when the offense exploded for 19 goals in a 12-goal rout of Tufts in the NCAA Division III tournament final. The output was the third most by a team in the title game.

But the Sea Gulls, ranked No. 1 in the most recent United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll, deserve credit for a defensive strategy that held the No. 5 Jumbos to their third-worst production of the season.

In fact, Salisbury (21-1) has been a top-5 defense all season, and that’s not a coincidence, according to senior defenseman Nick Mooney.

“All year, we were just really focused on defense,” he said. “Pressuring hard, coming out hard, coming out from the beginning and stopping everyone. We wanted to be a dominant defense. All year, we wanted to be the best defense in the nation, and we are. Hands down, we’re the best defense in the nation. We wanted to be physical, and we wanted to basically scare the opponent. We wanted to scare them off the field. That was our goal.”

The Sea Gulls were especially suffocating in the postseason. Their four opponents in the tournament – Endicott, Dickinson, Roanoke and Tufts – combined for an average of 13.9 goals prior to meeting Salisbury. Those four teams combined for an average of 6.5 goals against the Sea Gulls.

“They’re just very athletic, a tough defense,” said Jumbos senior attackman D.J. Hessler, whose offense had averaged 12.9 goals prior to Sunday night. “Our guys up top weren’t really able to dodge on them. All credit goes to them.”

Salisbury junior defenseman Chad Surman admitted that the defense  gets to hone its game by practicing against the team’s potent offense on a daily basis.

“We play against the best offense in the country every day,” Surman said. “So we know that when we go against another team, we’re not facing players who are nearly as good as the ones we see at practice every day.”

Other notes:

*The Sea Gulls took aim at and delivered against Tufts freshman goalie Patton Watkins. The offense unleashed 27 of its 46 shots in the first half, eventually scoring 9 goals over that same span. “We knew they had a freshman goalie, so we had to get on him quick, especially since he was on a big stage,” said junior midfielder Sam Bradman, who set a Division III record for most goals in a title game with seven. “Once we got that goal [102 seconds into the first quarter], our offense really started to roll.” Jumbos coach Mike Daly pulled Watkins in favor of junior Steven Foglietta after Bradman’s goal gave Salisbury a 9-3 advantage with 6:06 left in the second quarter, but Daly dismissed placing any blame on Watkins. “The biggest reason we made the goalie change was to just mix the karma up, not because we were down on Patton,” Daly said. “I don’t feel we protected him very well. Our energy on defense picked up a little bit in the second quarter. I wish we played with a little bit more energy. Every mistake we made, they made us pay for it. And when you make mistakes against good teams, that’s what they do, and they did it as well as you could do it today. And again, that’s not a reflection on Patton in any way, shape or form – or Steven. That’s just how it went down today.”

*The Sea Gulls enjoyed their ninth national championship even more because they captured it by defeating the team that prevented from winning last year’s crown. Last May’s 9-6 loss to Tufts resonated with the Salisbury players for a long time. “It’s definitely something that’s a little bit extra,” Surman conceded. “All year, we’ve been talking ‘9-6, Tufts,’ and ‘We’ve got to avenge the loss.’ To get back here against the team that took it from us last year, it adds a little bit more sweetness to the cake.” Hessler, a Monkton native and St. Paul’s graduate, downplayed the revenge angle. “I don’t think it mattered, what we did last year,” said Hessler, who paced the Jumbos with a team-high five points on two goals and three assists. “It’s a totally different game. Yeah, they kept it coming, but that’s what they did and they deserved it. They beat us. If they’re going to keep scoring, we’ve got to stop them.”

*Salisbury and Tufts have never met in the regular season, but that’s not due to a lack of effort, according to Jumbos coach Mike Daly. “We’ve been trying to do that for years and years and years,” he said. “It just hasn’t worked out with our spring break schedule. We had an opportunity last year where we were able to add Stevenson, which was a great game, and they’re back on our schedule next year. So we’re open to playing anyone. We think that’s what gives us the opportunity that we had today. Salisbury needed to play some more in-region opponents outside of their league, and I think they added Roanoke instead of our game last year. But Coach [Jim] Berkman and I have known each other since 1998 when I took over. He’s been a friend, and we’ve been trying to schedule that game for 12 years.”

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

May 29, 2011

Yow's big gamble

It's been about a year now, and so far, former Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow's gamble has paid off. She fired highly successful Terps coach Dave Cottle after he and the Terps failed to make it to the Final Four. Yow was criticized from all quarters, but so far, she appears to have made a good decision. In their first season under coach John Tillman, the Terps will play for the NCAA Division I championship Monday against Virginia.

 The biggest difference between Cottle and Tillman is that Tillman is more positive to his players, but doesn't have nearly the strategic mind of Cottle. He has been able to keep Cottle on board as an asset with the players, and the entire situation has been a positive for Maryland in 2011. Cottle also deserves a lot of credit because these are the players he recruited.

 We're not sure what the future holds for Tillman or Maryland, but so far, Yow's decision was the correct one, even though it wasn't popular.

Posted by Mike Preston at 8:37 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Towson's Nadelen doesn't shy away from expectations

Newly announced Towson head coach Shawn Nadelen has heard athletic director Mike Waddell openly express his wish to rebuild the Tigers as the Colonial Athletic Association champion and a contender for the NCAA title.

Nadelen said those comments don’t bother him. In fact, he said he feels the same way as his boss.

“At the start of every season and with every new recruiting class that I embark on, that’s my main focus,” Nadelen said Sunday afternoon as he was driving from Long Island to his home in Baltimore. “I don’t think that’s something that Towson cannot attain. It’s going to come through a lot of hard work and effort and some luck at times, I guess. But I think every team wants to win a national championship and compete at that level. I can’t see any reason why that can’t be Towson. That’s always a focus of ours.”

Nadelen, who signed a four-year deal after being offered the job on Sunday, has been the Tigers’ defensive coordinator since 2004 and the team’s associate head coach over the last two seasons.

Nadelen didn’t disagree that his familiarity with the players might have swayed the search committee and Waddell.

“I think I understand the team dynamics that we have,” he said. “I understand Towson very well. I understand the changeover between the new administration that’s occurring and the vision that they have and the passion and excitement that they’re creating. So I feel like that has really allowed me to jump into this thing with eyes wide open and understanding and knowing what is accepted and what it’s going to take.”

Nadelen’s candidacy was endorsed by the players, according to redshirt sophomore midfielder Ian Mills, who served as the player liaison for the search committee.

“I think that’s a big aspect of what’s going to lead to our success,” Mills said of Nadelen’s relationships with the players. “His end of the field has always been at or near the top of Division I. He’s always led a very, very good defense, and he knows the personnel here and he’ll able to draw from that and produce a very good team next year.”

Nadelen succeeds Tony Seaman, who went 99-93 in 13 years with the Tigers and 263-166 in 30 years at Towson, Johns Hopkins, Penn and C.W. Post.

Nadelen offered his gratitude to Seaman, saying, “I’m just extremely grateful for the opportunity that Coach Seaman has allowed me to have as an assistant coach. He promoted me to associate head coach. He’s been such a mentor for me in many different ways. Not just as a lacrosse coach, but in terms of how to deal with specific situations and understanding how to balance the coaching life with the personal life. I just feel like he’s been such a great help for me through the seven years that I’ve been under him. He’s done tremendous things for Towson lacrosse.”

Posted by Edward Lee at 5:29 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Towson
        

Towson AD on new coach: "This guy is world class"

Of the candidates that Towson’s search committee interviewed for the head coaching vacancy, the realization was that the best man for the job was already within the Tigers’ ranks.

In confirming the news that the school had promoted associate head coach and defensive coordinator Shawn Nadelen to head coach, athletic director Mike Waddell said Nadelen’s background and experiences helped him emerge as the school’s choice to succeed Tony Seaman, who parted ways with the university on May 9.

“From the very get-go, Shawn was the standard that we were measuring things up against because when you look at his background as a prep and as a collegian and as a professional and member of our world championship team and the captain of the New York team [the New Jersey Storm of the National Lacrosse League] back in the 2000s, he’s been a leader,” Waddell said Sunday afternoon. “He’s been around the greats when you talk about [former Princeton coach and current Denver coach Bill] Tierney and Seaman and Petro [Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala]. He played for three different coaches at Hopkins. So he definitely knows what it’s like to go through change. This guy is world class and what better leader could we hope for to carry on the tradition that Carl Runk and Tony Seaman established. I think Shawn Nadelen is a great choice.”

Nadelen was a four-year starter between 1998 and 2001 at Johns Hopkins, where he played close defense in his last two years after switching from the midfield. After three years as an assistant coach under Tierney at Princeton, Nadelen joined Towson prior to the 2004 season. Since then, he has been the defensive coordinator and was named the associate head coach prior to the 2010 season.

Waddell said Nadelen’s familiarity with the players was a factor in his hiring.

“I think that’s always a fundamental thing that you look for,” Waddell said. “If you have that at your disposal and you’re trying to make one of these hires, you’d be crazy not to look at that as a tremendous advantage. I think even if he would have been an outside candidate looking in, this is exactly the type of guy I want to be able to have as the leader of our program.”

Waddell has openly expressed his wish to rebuild the Tigers as the Colonial Athletic Association champion and a contender for the NCAA title. Waddell, however, said he won’t impose a timetable on those plans.

“That’s a better question for Coach Nadelen,” Waddell said. “I want to make sure that we’re doing everything administratively to support the coach and the student-athletes. That will be something that Coach Nadelen and I put together. First and foremost, we need to get back to having a winning record to representing ourselves among the teams in the greater Baltimore area to winning our conference. I think if you win your conference, you’re in position to do things nationally and once you’re one of that field of 16, anything can happen on any given day. Denver proved that, our teams proved that in 1991 and 2001. We definitely know it can be done. We just have to get back out and do the little things that make a difference in the close games and that make a difference between winning and losing.”

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:21 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Towson
        

Briggs expected to return for Virginia

Colin Briggs is expected to return and play when No. 7 seed Virginia meets unseeded Maryland in the NCAA tournament final on Monday.

Briggs did not play in the Cavaliers’ 14-8 defeat of No. 6 seed Denver in Saturday’s semifinal due to what was called a coach’s decision.

Coach Dom Starsia confirmed Sunday afternoon that Briggs would return, saying only, “Available for tomorrow.”

Briggs registered 24 goals and 12 assists this season, including six goals and one assist in two postseason contests.

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:41 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland
        

Towson promotes Nadelen to head coach

Shawn Nadelen, the associate head coach and defensive coordinator at Towson, has been promoted by the school to become the Tigers’ next head coach.

Mike Waddell, the school’s athletic director, confirmed the move Sunday afternoon – a development first reported by Inside Lacrosse.

Nadelen succeeds Tony Seaman, who parted ways with Towson after the team compiled a 2-10 overall record and a 1-6 mark in the Colonial Athletic Association.

Nadelen was a four-year starter at Johns Hopkins, where he played close defense in his last two years after switching from the midfield. After three years as an assistant coach under Bill Tierney at Princeton, Nadelen joined Towson, where he has been the defensive coordinator. Nadelen was named the associate head coach prior to the 2010 season.

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:58 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Towson
        

Salisbury vs. Tufts: Three things to watch

The heavily anticipated rematch of last year’s NCAA Division III tournament final pits Salisbury (20-1) against reigning 2010 national champion Tufts (18-2). The Sea Gulls, ranked No. 1 in the most recent United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll, advanced to its 10th title game in 13 years and are seeking the program’s ninth crown. Since falling to Bowdoin in the regular-season finale, the No.  5 Jumbos have won six consecutive games and are 13-1 in one-goal contests over the last two seasons. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Sunday.

1) Salisbury’s ball security. Salisbury can play fast and go on the attack with many of its peers, but the players tend to protect the ball very well during those risky situations. But the Sea Gulls committed five more turnovers than Tufts in last year’s final. Fourteen of those 25 turnovers occurred in the second half, and although the Jumbos didn’t really convert those takeaways into goals, the inability to protect the ball hampered Salisbury’s chances of making a comeback. “We turned the ball over a lot on offense last year, and that was our downfall there,” Sea Gulls coach Jim Berkman recalled. “When they made their little run, they got some goals where we made mistakes defensively, but by the same token, we had several empty possessions where we didn’t even get a shot, which is uncharacteristic. We may shoot early sometimes, but we’re usually getting some shots. We got some possessions where we forced things, kids were flat-footed, we started to press a little bit where we didn’t even get shots on goal to force the goalie to make some saves. Hopefully, we’re going to take care of the ball a little bit better, which we’ve been doing. I think our first six or seven offensive players have been playing extremely well. So hopefully, we’ll take care of the ball and get some good possessions, especially early in the game.”

2) Tuft’s goalkeeper. Junior Steven Foglietta, the starter in last year’s final, sustained an unspecified injury in the Jumbos’ 14-13 win against Stevenson in the fourth game of the season. Foglietta made two more starts after that, but has since been replaced by freshman Patton Watkins, who has registered a 9.00 goals-against average and a .626 save percentage. There is some question as to how Watkins will perform on the grandest stage of the 2011 season, and Salisbury would love to get under his skin early and rattle him. But junior midfielder Sam Bradman cautioned against taking any and every shot against Watkins. “We want to get that first shot from close range,” Bradman said. “We want to break his spirit early. We don’t want to take that long-distance shot and let him get that confidence. So we want to get close and break him early.”

3) Salisbury’s start. The Sea Gulls usually waste little time jumping on their opponents, having outscored their opposition, 83-28, in the first quarter. But they came out flat in last year’s final, falling into a 6-1 hole after the opening period. Senior goalkeeper Johnny Rodriguez acknowledged his shock at the team’s uninspired start against Tufts, and he said the plan this weekend is to remember the objective. “When we went to Baltimore, I think we went more for the whole experience rather than just focusing on the business side of the deal, which was winning the national championship,” Rodriguez said. “We kind of lost sight of that, and it definitely showed in the first quarter when we allowed six goals. In the first 25 minutes of the game, we let up seven of the nine goals they scored in the game. I know we have the talent and the chemistry, and I know we definitely have the heart. We’ve just got to come out and be ready to go against this tough Tufts team.”

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Salisbury, Three things to watch
        

Postscript from Maryland vs. Duke

Maryland is poised to accomplish something it hasn’t done since 1975: capturing the national championship. But history has not been kind to the Terps, who are 0-5 in the title game since defeating Navy, 20-13, 36 years ago.

However, coach John Tillman said the team isn’t burdened by its unsuccessful past.

“We’ve tried to focus on the moment and just the process and the journey,” Tillman said minutes after unseeded Maryland defeated fifth-seeded Duke, 9-4, in Saturday night’s NCAA tournament semifinal at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. “Stepping back now and kind of looking at things, instead of looking at that whole thing as a burden like what we haven’t done, we kind of look at what we have going for us. The tradition that we have, the alumni that we have, a state that loves lacrosse so much – we look at it as a source of strength for us. It would mean so much to everybody that it makes us play harder and work harder because we could make so many people happy. It would be so great for the people in this state to have a championship – in any sport. But for the sport of lacrosse, when almost every high school plays, it would be amazing, we run out behind that flag and not many teams do that. So we do play for more than ourselves.”

Terps senior attackman Grant Catalino said the players have embraced the school’s tradition.

“It’s kind of a feeling that you’re playing for the teams that played here in the past 30 years,” he said. “It’s not every year that a senior class gets the opportunity to play on Memorial Day weekend for the championship. There’s a lot of guys that wish they could be in our spot, but they’re out in the stands cheering us on. They’re supporting us, and they’ve supported us all year. It’d be awesome to go out as a senior and win it, and it would kind of be a tribute to the players that played here before us.”

Other notes:

*Maryland (13-4) has now beaten a pair of Atlantic Coast Conference rivals in Duke and No. 8 seed North Carolina and No. 1 seed Syracuse in the postseason. Tillman said he doesn’t rue the team’s unseeded status. “The fact that they were North Carolina and they were so good, we had to prepare hard or we were going home,” he said of learning the Terps’ draw. “I think if we had maybe gotten an easier draw, that might’ve hurt us because we saw this year that we were guilty of sizing up our opponents and trying to figure out how good they were and deciding how hard we were going to play. I think after that North Carolina game, we began realizing, ‘Start focusing on Maryland. It’s not about the opponent. We’ve got to be the very best we can be every single day and push ourselves.’”

*Tillman is the first to credit the previous coaching staff – headed by former head coach Dave Cottle – for bringing together this year’s talent. Tillman said the expectations of him and defensive coordinator Kevin Warne were tangible as soon as they met the players. “Losing their coach last year was really hard on these guys,” Tillman said. “I think almost all of them were so heartbroken, and when we came in as a staff, we kind of had to prove ourselves. It was kind of like, ‘OK, Coach Tillman, don’t screw this up for us.’ And we really had to prove ourselves. And I think the biggest thing for us was, ‘We’re not geniuses. We’re not going to reinvent the wheel here. You’re close. All we want to do is bring what we feel comfortable doing and the things that are true to us, and then maybe just a couple tweaks here and there, maybe that will help.’ But also having so many seniors, knowing that this is their final time, that makes a huge difference. It’s maybe that extra five minutes staying after or that extra workout or maybe leading some of the younger guys. That may get you that extra goal, that extra ground ball.”

*The All-Atlantic Coast Conference final of Maryland and No. 7 seed Virginia is the first such pairing since 1986. But no other conference has sent two members to the title game, and Duke coach John Danowski said the bar for ACC programs is high. “It doesn’t surprise me for a second,” he said of the league’s success. “From the first year that I came to Duke, I was shocked by the level of athleticism everywhere – North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland. Every team has their ups and downs and different challenges that they face. But in the end, it’s Virginia and Maryland, and we’re very proud to be part of the ACC. We root for both teams to win.”

*The Blue Devils’ run to their fifth consecutive Final Four and sixth appearance in the last seven years was somewhat surprising considering the number of players lost to graduation and injuries. Duke’s roster is young, which suggests that the school could be a contender in the near future. “The hope is that they will grow and learn from these,” Danowski said. “There’s no guarantee ever in athletics that it will get better, but that’s the hope, that we can build on these experiences going forward. We lose three seniors – [attackman] Zach Howell, who has been a major character guy for us; [defenseman] Tom Montelli, who has changed positions for us; and [short-stick defensive midfielder] Terrence Molinari. But with injuries, things change and you never know what’s going to happen next year. That’s why you kind of mourn about this year because you never know if you’re ever going to get back here. Now’s your chance, now’s the time. We certainly don’t want to look forward to tomorrow’s meeting when we say goodbye to everybody, but that’s when you start to look forward to next year.”

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

May 28, 2011

Maryland is peaking at right time

Going into the Final Four this weekend, Maryland was the team with the fewest weaknesses, and the Terps peaked at the right time against Duke. Terps goalie Niko Amato was superb with 13 saves and Maryland, led by Curtis Holmes, won 11 of 17 faceoffs. The Terps also got three goals from Grant Catalino and two from Joe Cummings.

But what was most impressive was Maryland's physical style. The Terps outhit and intimidated the Blue Devils tonight, and they hustled all over the field, especially in riding. Two keys in the Terps' championship game against Virginia Monday will be how well Maryland handles Virginia's zone defense, and if the Terps have much left after playing a tighter game against Duke than Virginia had against Denver.

Posted by Mike Preston at 9:37 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Maryland vs. Duke: Halftime thoughts

Maryland is one half closer to punching its ticket to the title game as the unseeded Terps lead No. 5 seed Duke, 5-2, at halftime of their NCAA tournament semifinal at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltmore Saturday night.

Maryland (12-4) hasn’t played in a tournament final since 1998 when Princeton applied a 15-5 whipping. Since then, the Terps have been 0-3 in their three previous trips to the Final Four.

After sophomore David Lawson converted a pass from junior midfielder Robert Rotanz to give the Blue Devils (14-5) a 1-0 lead just 54 seconds into the first quarter, Maryland embarked on a 3-0 run in 9:27 spanning the first and second periods.

Sophomore attackman Josh Offitt scored to temporarily stop the bleeding with 10:43 left in the first half, but sophomore faceoff specialist Curtis Holmes took the ensuing faceoff courtesy of a Duke violation and scored just five seconds later.

Junior midfielder Joe Cummings’ goal off of a pass from senior attackman Ryan Young gave the Terps their three-goal cushion at intermission.

Other notes:

*Young has an assist, and senior attackman Grant Catalino scored Maryland’s first goal of the game, but the team is being fueled by its midfield. Cummings has registered a goal and an assist, while junior Drew Snider, sophomore Kevin Cooper and Holmes have each scored once. The midfield accounted for four goals in the team's 6-5 overtime upset of top-seeded Syracuse in the quarterfinals last Sunday.

*As expected, the Terps have a decided edge at faceoffs. Holmes, who entered the contest having won 62.5 percent (198-of-317) of his draws, had won 6-of-9 in the first half. His play in the second half could determine whether the offense can hold onto the ball for extended possessions and wear down the Blue Devils.

*Redshirt freshman goalie Niko Amato has seven saves for Maryland, while sophomore Dan Wigrizer has four for Duke. Three of Amato’s stops have occurred on point-blank chances, including a save on Blue Devils senior attackman Zach Howell from in front as time expired in the first quarter.

*Regardless of who wins, the Atlantic Coast Conference is guaranteed an All-ACC final after No. 7 seed Virginia disposed of No. 6 seed Denver, 14-8, in the first semifinal. It will be the first All-ACC tournament final since 1986 when North Carolina edged Virginia, 10-9, in overtime.

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:59 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Halftime thoughts, Maryland
        

Virginia blows out Denver

With its blowout of Denver in the NCAA men's Division I semifinal, Virginia got a chance to rest some of its starters throughout the second half, especially in the final eight minutes of the fourth quarter. With the championship being played Monday, the extra rest could help the Cavaliers.

The Maryland-Duke matchup in the second semifinal is expected to be a better matchup, a game that many believe will go down to the final minute. Regardless if it's Duke or Maryland as the winner, either team will have played a much tougher opponent than Denver in a semifinal game.

Posted by Mike Preston at 6:13 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Virginia vs. Denver: Halftime thoughts

Denver’s magical run to the Final Four appears to be nearing an end as the sixth-seeded Pioneers trail seventh-seeded Virginia, 9-2, at halftime in the first NCAA tournament semifinal at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Saturday.

Denver (15-2) is making its first appearance in the Final Four, but a subsequent debut in the title game doesn’t look good courtesy of the Cavaliers (11-5).

Since freshman midfielder Jeremy Noble converted a feed from sophomore midfielder Eric Law to halve Virginia’s lead to 4-2 with 5 minutes, 25 seconds left in the first quarter, the Cavaliers have scored five unanswered goals.

Virginia junior attackman and Tewaaraton Award finalist Steele Stanwick has registered two goals and one assist, but the Cavaliers are also getting timely contributions from sophomore attackman Matt White (one goal and two assists) and junior attackman Chris Bocklet (two goals).

Other notes:

*Virginia’s zone defense has befuddled the Pioneers. No starting attackman has recorded a single point, and sophomore midfielder Cameron Flint, who scored three times in the team’s 14-9 rout of No. 3 seed Johns Hopkins in the quarterfinals, is also pointless.

*Goalie Jamie Faus has started 16 of Denver’s 17 games this season, but the freshman appears to be struggling on the biggest stage of his young career. He has stopped just four shots and surrendered two goals from 14 and 15 yards away and another goal from a poor angle left of the net.

*Sophomore Chase Carraro entered the game having won 58.9 percent of his draws (224-of-380), but he is not finding that kind of success against the Cavaliers, who have won 8-of-13 draws in the first half. Virginia also leads in shots (19-12) and ground balls (17-9).

*Under coach Dom Starsia, the Cavaliers are 11-8 against teams coached by Bill Tierney. Tierney, who guided Princeton to six national championships, is seeking his 300th career victory.

Posted by Edward Lee at 5:19 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Halftime thoughts
        

Video: NCAA lacrosse pep rally

Posted by Baltimore Sun sports at 1:48 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Maryland vs. Duke: Three things to watch

There’s certainly no love lost when No. 5 seed Duke and unseeded Maryland meet for the third time this season. The teams split the two previous meetings, but Maryland’s victory occurred in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament final. The reigning national champion Blue Devils (14-5) are making their fifth consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament semifinals. This is the first trip to the Final Four for the Terps (12-4) since 2006. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Saturday.

1) Duke’s Wolf vs. Maryland’s B.Schmidt. Senior attackman Zach Howell leads the Blue Devils in points (58) and goals (42), but freshman attackman Jordan Wolf is the playmaker, leading the team in assists (20). Wolf can dodge, but has good enough field vision to spot teammates cutting to open spots and feed them for high-percentage shots. Wolf will likely get the attention of Terps senior defenseman Brett Schmidt, who leads the team in caused turnovers (22) and ranks third in ground balls (50). In Maryland’s 11-9 victory in the ACC tournament final on April 24, Schmidt limited Wolf to zero goals and a single assist.

2) Maryland’s Ryan Young vs. Duke’s defense. Terps senior attackman Grant Catalino is the sharpshooter, but Young is the quarterback of the offense. The senior attackman likes to find his teammates for goals, but he doesn’t hesitate to create his own chances. The Blue Devils have a capable defense, an athletic group that is long and knows how and when to apply a poke-check. In Duke’s 9-8 overtime win on March 5, Young did not register a single point. In Maryland’s win in the ACC tournament, Young finished with one goal and two assists. That’s not a coincidence.

3) Duke’s Costabile vs. Maryland’s Holmes. Costabile is dealing with an unspecified injury that limited him to one faceoff in the Blue Devils’ 7-5 victory over No. 4 seed Notre Dame on Sunday, but here’s guessing that the senior long-stick midfielder will have improved enough to take on Holmes. Costabile has won 52.4 percent of his draws (97-of-185) and has the strength to battle Holmes. Duke could also go with freshman Brendan Fowler (55.6 percent on 84-of-151), but he was just 1-of-7 against Holmes in the ACC tournament. If Holmes (62.5 percent on 198-of-317) can be as dominant as he was against Syracuse (11-of-14), he will give the Terps plenty of possessions and opportunities against Duke sophomore goalie Dan Wigrizer.

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

Virginia vs. Denver: Three things to watch

No. 6 seed Denver and No. 7 seed Virginia will meet for the sixth time in both schools’ histories, but this will be the first time they have met in the NCAA tournament. The Pioneers (15-2) are riding a 12-game winning streak, but this is their first appearance in the national semifinals. On the flipside, this is the Cavaliers’ fourth consecutive trip to the Final Four and 22nd all time. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Saturday.

1) Denver’s midfield vs. Virginia’s zone defense. As Denver proved in its 14-9 thumping of No. 3 seed Johns Hopkins in the quarterfinal round a week ago, the Pioneers are more than just a potent attack. Sophomore midfielders Cameron Flint and Chase Carraro and freshman Jeremy Noble raced past their defenders and made the Blue Jays pay when they were reluctant to slide off of the starting attack of juniors Mark Matthews and Alex Demopoulos and senior Todd Baxter. Can they do it again against a Cavaliers zone defense that was patient and opportunistic in a 13-9 victory over No. 2 seed Cornell a week ago? Virginia’s defensive midfield of junior short sticks Chris LaPierre and Blake Riley and redshirt junior long pole Chris Clements are quick and strong enough to go toe-to-toe with Denver’s trio.

2) Virginia’s Steele Stanwick vs. Denver’s defense. Any talk of the Cavaliers offense begins with junior attackman and Tewaaraton Award finalist Steele Stanwick. The Baltimore native and Loyola graduate leads all players in the postseason with 15 point in two contests. Stanwick is doubly dangerous as a dodger and a passer, and his impeccable timing could force the Pioneers into making some tough decisions. Denver’s defense isn’t star-studded but solid. As one might expect from a Bill Tierney-coached unit, the defense is athletic and makes the right slides at the right time. But if Virginia (11-5) forces the action, especially in transition, the onus will be on the Pioneers to race back and get into their base defense before Stanwick picks a gap and attacks.

3) Denver’s Carraro vs. Virginia’s faceoff corps. Faceoffs is perhaps the one area where the greatest discrepancy exists for these teams. Carraro has won 58.9 percent of his draws (224-of-380), and because starting midfielders Flint and Noble occupy the wings, the Pioneers are a threat to attack off of faceoff wins. The Cavaliers will try to counter by mixing up Carraro’s opponents. Junior Ryan Benincasa has taken the most faceoffs (132 of which he has won 67 for a 50.8 percentage), senior Garett Ince is the most successful (51.9 percent on 67-of-129), and redshirt senior Brian McDermott (47.8 percent on 54-of-113) and LaPierre (45.7 on 16-of-35) could also join the fray. It will be interesting to see if Virginia can wear down Carraro or if Carraro and his comrades are just too fast for the Cavaliers.

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Three things to watch
        

Torn labrum doesn't diminsh Zordani's importance to Salisbury

Shawn Zordani is overshadowed by some of his Salisbury teammates, but only by the numbers.
Hardly anyone would confuse Zordani, a senior midfielder, with the likes of Sea Gulls senior Johnny Rodriguez, Division III’s National Goalkeeper of the Year, or junior attackman Matt Cannone and junior midfielder Sam Bradman, a pair of first-team All Americans.

But Zordani is just as important to his teammates because of his grit and determination.

In the fall, Zordani dislocated his left shoulder while getting tangled with a defender. The shoulder popped back into place, but Zordani was later diagnosed with a torn left labrum.

The severity of such an injury usually requires season-ending surgery, but Zordani declined that option.

“It popped into my mind real quick, but it didn’t take me too long to say no,” he said Wednesday. “It’s my senior season and I’m a captain. I really didn’t want to redshirt. I wanted to be there for the team and be a leader. I didn’t want to have to sit out.”

His decision turned out fortuitous for Salisbury. Zordani ranks second among his teammates in assists (28) and fifth in points (58) and goals (30). On Wednesday, he was named an honorable-mention All American.

The coaching and medical staffs have worked together to aid Zordani. His practices are usually limited to the first hour before he spends the rest of the sessions watching from the sideline. And he undergoes a tedious, repetitive treatment process for the labrum.

But there are times when even his high threshold for pain is pushed to the limit.

“The pain is pretty much constant, kind of like arthritic pain, the kind that never really goes away,” Zordani said. “After those hits that I told you about [against St. Mary’s on April 2 and Washington College on May 7], I’d get some real bad sharp pain that would be from anywhere between every 30 seconds to every couple hours. It would be a sharp pain that would shoot from the back of my shoulder all the way down to funny bone and then into my fingers. When that started happening pretty regularly, that’s when I talked to Coach, and we decided that it would be best if I didn’t push it every single day in practice. I’ve had to sit out of some shooting drills here and there, but I’m making it through.”

Zordani has made an impression with teammates like Bradman, who marvels at his linemate’s high tolerance for pain.

“Him continuing to play shows us that he’s got heart, and it really pumps the team up,” Bradman said. “He’s still playing. Whatever he has left is probably all torn now, and he’s still playing with that. … We look at him and he’s fighting through a torn labrum, and we’re thinking, ‘I can’t be sitting here with a little bruise on my hand.’ He’s still taking slashes, and that just motivates us.”

Zordani, in turn, has he gains strength from the team’s camaraderie.

“I feel blessed to be a leader on this team,” he said. “We have such a family of a team this year. In past years, there might be one or two guys that were outcasts, but this year, from top to bottom, we truly are a family.”

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

May 27, 2011

Guarded optimism over this weekend's attendance abounds

Baltimore’s claim to being the hotbed for lacrosse can be defended on many fronts, but attendance at the NCAA championships on Memorial Day weekend may not be a battle that has been won just yet.

The NCAA record for attendance for all three days of championship weekend was set in 2008 when an announced crowd of 145,828 flocked to Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. That same year, a record 48,970 watched Syracuse defeat Johns Hopkins, 13-10, in the Division I final.

Baltimore did host the largest crowd to watch the semifinals in 2007 when 51,719 descended on M&T Bank Stadium.

An NCAA spokeswoman confirmed late Thursday that the ticket office has sold more than 100,000 tickets for the weekend, and the feeling is that attendance could match last year’s combined attendance of 122,983 or even exceed that number.

A positive sign is the presence of Maryland and Virginia, two schools which boast legions of fans within a comfortable car ride of Baltimore. If those program’s supporters show up in droves, the potential to drive up attendance figures even further will be there.

What could ultimately impact attendance is the absence of Johns Hopkins and Syracuse, two schools that traditionally “travel” well. ESPN analyst Mark Dixon agreed.

“The most passionate fanbases in college lacrosse are Johns Hopkins and Syracuse,” the former Johns Hopkins midfielder said. “Not only in the tradition of the program and the attention that is paid by the alumni, but also in terms of putting butts in the seats. They’re the two groups that travel the best. And certainly, I would tell you that with Maryland making it, it may be a big boost to the championship weekend. Will attendance be hurt without Johns Hopkins and Syracuse? Yes, I think so. But I don’t think people are going to stay away in droves. I still think Blue Jay fans being in Baltimore will come, but definitely you lose the Syracuse fans, who would have traveled probably 15,000 to 20,000 strong. So it will hurt attendance, but it’s not a killer. And I think with Maryland making it, that’s a huge boost to the overall attendance.”

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:00 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland
        

Duke's Wigrizer settling in after run to title in 2010

Dan Wigrizer became just the sixth true freshman starting goalkeeper to capture the national championship when he helped Duke defeat Notre Dame in overtime in last year’s NCAA tournament final.

That experience has bolstered the sophomore as he prepares for his second consecutive Final Four with Saturday night’s meeting between the fifth-seeded Blue Devils and unseeded Maryland in a tournament semifinal at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

“It gives me a lot of confidence,” Wigrizer said Tuesday. “I’m not going into it freaking out. I’m looking at it as just another game right now, and that’s how I have to look at it. If I start freaking out and get too nervous, I’m not going to be relaxed during the game. I just want to be relaxed, and hopefully, that will help me play better because if I’m in there thinking too much or thinking about saves or thinking about the game or letting the whole atmosphere affect me, I don’t think I’ll play as well.”

After being pulled occasionally for Mike Rock last season, Wigrizer has been the undisputed starter this spring, sitting out two contests only due to injury. He has gone 10-5, while compiling a 9.21 goals-against average and a .553 save percentage.

“I feel like a much stronger player this year,” Wigrizer said. “[Assistant coach] Ron Caputo is an excellent coach, and I feel like we’re making strides that I continue to work on. We’ve focused on a couple things to change, and I think it’s really helped me a lot.”

In some quarters, however, the jury is still out on Wigrizer, who can be hot or cold on some days. Senior defenseman Tom Montelli said he hasn’t sensed any pressure on Wigrizer to return to his championship form of a year ago.

“I think he’s just very focused on himself and stopping the ball,” Montelli said. “I think the simpler a goalie thinks is truly better. Any goalie doesn’t need to be worrying about what other people are thinking about. That could be a challenge, but I think Dan has done a great job at consistently trying to get better.”

Wigrizer echoed his teammate’s sentiments, saying, “I don’t really like to think too much about that stuff. I like to stay relaxed and go into a game having fun. I go out to every practice trying to get better because if you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse. I use that to motivate me rather than let it affect me in a negative way.”

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

Maryland's M.O. for Final Four different from Duke's

Friday’s editions of The Sun included an article on Duke coach John Danowski’s atypical approach to preparing for upcoming games in the NCAA tournament. That style included racing go-karts, playing miniature, and watching movies.

The modus operandi for Maryland, Duke’s opponent in Saturday’s semifinal at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, appears to be quite different. Coach John Tillman said on Wednesday that his advice to the players about preparations this week is more business-like.

“For this week, it’s, ‘Stay focused on what you truly want. And you’re going to have to make some more sacrifices,’” Tillman said. “Being at the pool all day? Not a good idea. Staying out all night? Not a good idea. Going swimming, getting suntanned, getting dehydrated, playing golf? Sure, that would be fun, but would that take away from some of your energy and focus at practice? It would. So we want to have fun in other ways. We want to enjoy the moment, but we can’t get distracted by some of the little things. And this is where those 16 or 17 [senior] guys will really help us. They’re so close to getting what they want, and we put it on them a little bit this week, and they can handle it. And they’re ready for it, and they’re excited about keeping everybody in line, keeping their eyes on the prize, working hard, enjoying what we’ve achieved, but staying hungry and knowing that this week, it could change their lives forever. It already has somewhat, but you never know if you’re going to have this opportunity again.”

Tillman said the seniors have led the charge this week.

“When we have a meeting, they make sure that everyone’s on time and that everybody’s there,” he said. “Meals, the way we dress, when we practice, making sure you look to your left and your right and making sure that they’re into it, that their body language is good, everybody’s communicating. If someone’s not doing the right thing, you pull them back in a positive way so that we’re staying together and staying together like a family.”

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

Q&A with ESPN's Paul Carcaterra

ESPN analyst and former Syracuse All-American midfielder Paul Carcaterra provided analysis of the NCAA tournament quarterfinals from the sports network’s studio. Reprising that role for this weekend’s semifinals and final, Carcaterra broke down the keys for each of the semifinalists, pontificated on whether one of the team is the favorite, and didn’t budge on his initial assessment of the Tewaaraton Award winner – with one large caveat.

So let’s break down each of the semifinalists in terms of what they will need to be successful this weekend. Let’s begin with No. 5 seed Duke.
I think for Duke, it’s all about getting [freshman attackman] Jordan Wolf into the action early. He’s only a freshman, but I think that if he’s dodging well and he’s confident, he’ll open up a bunch of lanes for the midfielders. [Redshirt junior] Justin Turri, [junior] Robert Rotanz and [sophomore] David Lawson are all capable scorers, and I think they’re more effective off the dodge when Wolf is creating and causing problems in the defense. That’s certainly a key. And then another key for Duke is [senior long-stick midfielder] C.J. Costabile. If he has a great game, there’s a good chance that Duke will win. I say that because not only does he face off and he would be going against [Maryland sophomore] Curtis Holmes, who has been fabulous all season long, but he plays the wings as well. So if he’s not at the draw, he’s going to be on the wing, and he’ll have to be huge on those 50-50 ground-ball situations.

What about Denver?
They’re a tough team to scout. Going into Hopkins, I think everyone thought that if you stop [junior attackmen] Mark Matthews and Alex Demopoulos, you were going to win the game. But they showed that they have a midfield that is completely capable of putting up big numbers and creating matchup problems. That is a balanced, balanced offense. So if that midfield gets going and makes its presence felt early, you’re going to see Matthews and Demopoulos have great one-on-one matchups, and I think that’s key. We’ve seen their attack light it up and now we’re seeing their midfield take over games. I think that’s where the Hopkins game was won last week – at the midfield. They just dominated the short-stick defensive midfield of Johns Hopkins. Hopkins didn’t want to slide early because they didn’t want to leave guys like Matthews and Demopoulos open, and Denver made them pay. So I think a balanced offense would be really big for Denver. I think another key would their ability to adjust to a zone defense. If Virginia goes zone, [the Pioneers] are going to have to get into their offensive set and move the ball and almost play like they do on their extra-man [unit].

How about Virginia?
For Virginia, I think it’s their quick-strike offense. That’s what beat Cornell. They had great possessions, but they were quick ones. They found opportunities right away against Cornell and never really allowed Cornell to get into their base defense, and they struck pretty quick. I love their transition game. When guys like [sophomore midfielders Chris] LaPierre and Blake Riley are getting into the mix, they’re tough to stop because they put so much pressure on the middle of the field, and with guys like [junior attackmen] Steele Stanwick and Chris Bocklet, they can strike fast. I don’t think Virginia wants to let Denver get into their base defense too much. I think they want to attack right away because when they attack right away, they usually go through Stanwick, and he’s been masterful in the playoffs thus far.

And Maryland?
I’m not a guy that likes to say that the keys are faceoffs and goaltending. Those are obvious. To me, if you’re getting solid goaltending and you’re winning the majority of the draws, of course those are keys to the game. But when you have a faceoff kid like [sophomore] Curtis Holmes, to me, that takes it to another level. They won 11-of-14 faceoffs against Syracuse, and they completely controlled time of possession. Syracuse was never able to get into sync offensively because they coupled great faceoff play with very patient possessions, and I think if they do that against Duke, it’s going to be trouble. It’s the most frustrating thing for an offensive team to try to make plays after not having the ball for a long period of time because people get antsy and then they try to do things that are uncharacteristic. It just puts them in a very difficult situation offensively. People can argue all they want about stall warnings. This is the playoffs. You do whatever you can to advance. I don’t fault [Terps coach] John Tillman one bit for that game plan because he’s playing within the rules of the game. When you have Curtis Holmes and you’re adding on these valuable and patient possessions, it’s very, very difficult to counter that. If Holmes is winning at the rate he’s been winning in the playoffs, I don’t see anyone really blowing them out. Maryland is in every single ball game, down to the wire, and they’re favored if he’s playing at that rate.

Can you call any of the semifinalists a favorite?
It’s almost borderline ridiculous. I’ve looked at all four teams, and I can honestly say that I can see Denver winning the national championship. I can see Duke winning the national championship. I can see Maryland winning the national championship. I can see Virginia winning the national championship. It’s so even, and I don’t remember a Final Four where anyone can really win. There was always that team that had a nice run but was never really a threat to win it all, and we have four teams here that, honestly, I’d be lying to you if I told you that I think I know who’s going to win this national championship. And it’s a great thing because it makes the Final Four so interesting.

What’s the significance on the sport if Denver wins the title?
It just tells you that the game is growing. To me, the location of the school is secondary to the fact that they’re winning with kids from Canada, from Kentucky, from all over the place. That’s the bigger picture to me. They’re not littered with kids from Denver. It’s more of a team that recruits with a wide scope, and it’s a testament to the game’s overall growth. That’s the bigger issue rather than they’re playing in the western part of the country. I think if Denver wins the championship, it’s also huge for the sport because it’s a team that’s not one of the big dogs. It’s not Hopkins, Syracuse or an ACC school. In addition to Princeton, that’s been the ticket for the last 33 years. Off the top of my head, Princeton, Syracuse, Hopkins and the ACC schools have won every championship since Cornell in the ‘70s. So that, to me, is even bigger than the fact that they’re playing in the western part of the country. It’s a new team that is emerging, and it shows tremendous opportunity and optimism for those types of schools. A school like Villanova which lost to Denver by a few goals and had a great year can be in the mix down the road. You better watch out if Michigan gets rolling because they’re going to recruit nationally, too. Schools that have a mindset of recruiting nationally are going to benefit more and more.

Is Cornell junior attackman Rob Pannell still your leading candidate to win the Tewaaraton Award?
Yeah, you’ve got to look at the body of work. A lot of people like Steele Stanwick. Look, if Steele Stanwick propels Virginia to the national championship, then you have a serious argument and you’d probably have to give it to Stanwick because of what Virginia has gone through. That’s what I like about the Tewaaraton. The Tewaaraton is very championship-heavy. If you look at the guys who have won it in the past, how many of them played on Monday? I think they all were playing on Monday or definitely in the Final Four. … Steele Stanwick has taken it to a different level where this team was in disarray and people thought they were done a few weeks ago. And here he is, leading his squad and doing a terrific job of being the guy who takes over games. So if they win a championship and he continues to play the way he’s been playing, you have to give it to Steele Stanwick. With all that said though, at this stage and before Stanwick goes on this tear, it’s definitely Pannell’s. He was the guy that we were saying two weeks ago, “Mail him the trophy.” So now his team loses and he doesn’t get the Tewaaraton? He’s got 89 points, he’s dominated the competition, no one has gotten the upper hand on him from a matchup standpoint. He’s not playing with first-team All Americans. He’s making role players great scorers. So he’s my frontrunner still. The only way that I can see Pannell not winning the Tewaaraton is if Virginia wins the championship and Stanwick plays lights out like he has been.

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

May 26, 2011

IWLCA announces regional All-Americans

The Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association announced its Division I regional All-Americans on Wednesday, including a host of players from local schools. The national All-Americans will be announced May 30.

Maryland's Sarah Mollison, Katie Schwarzmann, Laura Merrifield, Brittany Dipper and Katie Gallagher were named to the South Region first team, while Iliana Sanza made the second team. Navy's Jasmine DePompeo also earned second-team honors.

In the Mid-Atlantic region, Loyola's Grace Gavin, Ana Heneberry, Abby Rehfuss and Kerry Stoothoff were named to the first team along with Towson's Alexa Demski and Johns Hopkins' Alyssa Kildare and Colleen McCaffrey. Loyola's Kellye Gallagher and Marlee Paton earned second-team honors along with Towson's Jess Dunn, Johns Hopkins' Candace Rossi and Taylor D'Amore and UMBC's Alicia Krause.

Following is the entire list of regional All-Americans:

 

 

South Region

First Team

Kitty Cullen (McDonogh), So., Florida, Attack

Corey Donohoe (North Harford), Sr., North Carolina, Attack

Liz Downs, Sr., Virginia, Defense

Brittany Dipper (North Carroll), Jr., Maryland, Goalkeeper

Katie Gallagher, Sr., Maryland, Defense

Grace Golden, Sr., William & Mary, Midfield

Emma Hamm, Jr., Duke, Attack

Mia Hurrin, Sr., North Carolina, Defense

Sarah Jonson, Sr., William & Mary, Defense

Christie Kaestner, (Sts. Peter & Paul), Sr., Duke, Attack

Becky Lynch, Jr., North Carolina, Attack

Laura Merrifield, Sr., Maryland, Midfield

Logan McCraw, Sr., Georgetown, Defense

Sarah Mollison, Sr., Maryland, Attack

Katie Schwarzmann (Century), So., Maryland, Midfield

Kat Thomas, Jr., Duke, Midfield

Kim Wenger, Jr., Duke, Midfield

South Region

Second Team

Casey Ancarrow (John Carroll), So., James Madison, Attack

Ashley Bruns (Mount Hebron), So., Florida, Attack

Kara Cannizzaro, So., North Carolina, Midfield

Cally Chakrian, Jr., James Madison, Defense

Jasmine DePompeo, So., Navy, Attack

Sam Farrell (Severna Park), So., Florida, Defense

Katy Fitzgerald, Sr., North Carolina, Defense

Julie Gardner (Severna Park), Jr., Virginia, Attack

Janine Hillier, So., Florida, Midfield

Jordy Kirr (Bryn Mawr), Sr., Georgetown, Attack

Mary Kate Lomady, Sr., James Madison, Attack

Mollie Mackler, Jr., Duke, Goalkeeper

Lauren Martin, So., Duke, Defense

Mikey Meagher, So., Florida, Goalkeeper

Iliana Sanza (St. Paul's), So., Maryland, Defense

Sophia Thomas (Maryvale), So., Georgetown, Midfield

Laura Zimmerman, Jr., North Carolina, Midfield

Mid-Atlantic Region

First Team

Erin Brennan, Jr., Pennsylvania, Attack

Lindsey deButts, Jr., Princeton, Defense

Alexa Demski (Loch Raven), So., Towson, Defense

Lizzie Drumm, Sr., Princeton, Midfield

Lauren Dykstra, Sr., Lehigh, Midfield

Jaci Gassaway (Severna Park), So., Princeton, Attack

Grace Gavin (St. Paul's), Sr., Loyola, Attack

Giulia Giordano, Sr., Pennsylvania, Midfield

Ana Heneberry (Dulaney), Jr., Loyola, Defense

Katie Hertsch (Winters Mill), Sr., Hofstra, Defense

Alyssa Kildare, Jr., Johns Hopkins, Defense

Colleen McCaffrey, Jr., Johns Hopkins, Attack

Cassie Pyle, Jr., Princeton, Midfield

Abby Rehfuss, Sr., Loyola, Midfield

Kerry Stoothoff, Jr., Loyola, Goalkeeper

Erin Tochihara, Sr., Princeton, Goalkeeper

Marley Welsh, Sr., Rutgers, Midfield

 

Second Team

Rebecca Alley, Jr., Rutgers, Defense

Taylor D’Amore, Fr., Johns Hopkins, Midfield

Jessica Dunn (Fallston), Sr., Towson, Attack

Kellye Gallagher, Jr., Loyola, Defense

Lily Kalata, So., Rutgers, Goalkeeper

Alicia Krause (Mount Hebron), Jr., UMBC, Midfield

Emily Leitner, Jr., Pennsylvania, Goalkeeper

Katherine Marino, Sr., Rutgers, Attack

Lydia Miller, Fr., Pennsylvania, Defense

Marlee Paton, Fr., Loyola, Midfield

Candace Rossi, Jr., Johns Hopkins, Attack

Ali Steinberg, Jr., Rutgers, Midfield

Charlotte Swavola, So., Temple, Attack

Leigh Ann Torcivia, Jr., Lehigh, Defense

Bridget Waclawik, Sr., Pennsylvania, Attack

Ana White, Fr., Lafayette, Midfield

Charlotte Wood, Jr., Drexel, Attack

Northeast Region

First Team

Jodi Battaglia, Sr., Albany, Attack

Nikki Branchini, Sr., Albany, Defense

Kat Collins, Sr., Dartmouth, Attack

Danielle Etrasco, So., Boston University, Attack

Taylor Frink, Sr., Albany, Attack

Kristen Giovanniello, Fr., Dartmouth, Goalkeeper

Ali Houlis, Jr., Massachusetts, Defense

Kristin Igoe, Sr., Boston College, Midfield

M.E. Lapham, Jr., Connecticut, Attack

Jackie Lyons, Sr., Massachusetts, Attack

Shannie MacKenzie, Sr., Dartmouth, Defense

Ariana Parker, Fr., Albany, Midfield

Jillian Rekart (Mount Hebron), Sr., Boston College, Defense

Danielle Tetreault, So., Harvard, Midfield

Michelle Tumolo, So., Syracuse, Attack

Jennifer VanderMeulen, So., Harvard, Attack

Brittany Wilton, Jr., Boston College, Attack

 

Second Team

Melanie Baskind, Jr., Harvard, Midfield

Brooke Blue, So., Boston College, Attack

Colleen Bubnack, Sr., Colgate, Midfield

Marissa Caroleo, Jr., Quinnipiac, Midfield

Rachel Collins, Sr., Boston University, Midfield

Corcoran Downey (Centennial), Sr., Boston University, Defense

Katie Ferris, Fr., Massachusetts, Attack

Katie Florence, Jr., Massachusetts, Goalkeeper

Liz Hogan, Sr., Syracuse, Goalkeeper

Kate Ivory, So., Cornell, Defense

Kelsey Johnson, So., Dartmouth, Defense

Sydney Mas, Fr., Vermont, Attack

Courtney Miller, Jr., Colgate, Midfield

Sarah Plumb, Jr., Dartmouth, Midfield

Catherine Rodriguez, Sr., Syracuse, Defense

Jessie Steinberg, Jr., Cornell, Attack

Paris Waterman, Sr., Brown, Midfield

West/Midwest Region

First Team

Shaylyn Blaney, Sr., Notre Dame, Midfield

Alex Breiner, Sr., Oregon, Midfield

Dana Cahill (Mercy), Jr., Penn State, Goalkeeper

Allyson Carey (John Carroll), Jr., Vanderbilt, Midfield

Emily Dashiell, Sr., Louisville, Midfield

Jackie Doherty (Mount Hebron), Sr., Notre Dame, Defense

Paige Farmakis, Jr., Stanford, Defense

Leslie Foard, Sr., Stanford, Midfield

Bergan Foley, Sr., Louisville, Attack

Alex Frank, Jr., Northwestern, Midfield

Colleen Magarity, Sr., Northwestern, Defense

Alayna Markwordt (Glenelg), Jr., Ohio State, Attack

Lauren Schmidt, Sr., Stanford, Midfield

Shannon Smith, Jr., Northwestern, Attack

Maggie Tamasitis, Jr., Notre Dame, Attack

Taylor Thorton, So., Northwestern, Defense

Brittney Zerhusen (Century), Sr., Ohio State, Attack

 

Second Team

Kaitlyn Brosco, Fr., Notre Dame, Attack

Brandi Byner, Fr., Vanderbilt, Defense

Gabby Capuzzi, Jr., Ohio State, Midfield

Allison Daley, Sr., Canisius, Goalkeeper

Maggie Dunbar (St. Paul's), Sr., Penn State, Midfield

Lauren Fenlon, Sr., Notre Dame, Defense

Erin Fitzgerald, So., Northwestern, Midfield

Sarah Flynn (Towson), Sr., Stanford, Attack

Lindsey Gysin, Sr., Ohio State, Defense

Courtney Kirk (Roland Park), Jr., Vanderbilt, Attack

Alyssa Leonard, Fr., Northwestern, Midfield

Liz Lovejoy, Sr., Louisville, Attack

Monica Negron, Fr., Louisville, Defense

Karen Nesbitt, Sr., Stanford, Midfield

Katie Oliverio, Jr., Louisville, Attack

Jen Steadman (Century), Sr., Penn State, Attack

Catherine Swanson, Sr., Stanford, Defense


 

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 7:04 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Women's lacrosse
        

JHU's Dolente, Ranagan headline area representatives on All-American list

The Division I All-American list is out and two Johns Hopkins players made the first team.

Senior faceoff specialist Matt Dolente and sophomore midfielder John Ranagan represented the Blue Jays on the first team. Dolente concluded the 2011 campaign ranked second in the country with a .667 success rate (194-of-291), and his 194 wins ranks third for the most in a single season.

Ranagan ranked third on the team in assists (14) and fourth in both goals (18) and points (32). He finished with 11 multi-point games this season.

Virginia’s Steele Stanwick, a Baltimore native and Loyola graduate, was also named to the first team. The junior attackman, who leads the Cavaliers in points (64) and assists (35), is the reigning Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year and the only Tewaaraton Award finalist whose team is still competing in the NCAA tournament.

Maryland senior defenseman Brett Schmidt and senior long-stick midfielder Brian Farrell were selected to the second team. Joining them were Johns Hopkins sophomore defenseman Tucker Durkin and sophomore goalkeeper Pierce Bassett.

The Terps placed senior attackman Ryan Young and junior midfielder Joe Cummings on the third team. North Carolina freshman faceoff specialist R.G. Keenan, a Perry Hall native and Boys’ Latin graduate, also was chosen to the third team.

The honorable-mention attackmen included Johns Hopkins seniors Chris Boland and Kyle Wharton, Maryland senior Grant Catalino and Loyola sophomore Mike Sawyer.

The honorable-mention midfielders included Maryland sophomore John Haus and North Carolina sophomore Marcus Holman (Baltimore/Gilman). Maryland sophomore Curtis Holmes was among four faceoff specialists to be recognized as honorable mentions.

The honorable-mention defensemen included Maryland senior Max Schmidt, Navy senior Michael Hirsch, Georgetown senior Barney Ehrmann (Baltimore/Gilman), Brown senior Peter Fallon (Baltimore/Gilman) and Bucknell senior Alex Lyons (Owings Mills/Boys’ Latin).

The honorable-mention goalkeepers included Hofstra junior Andrew Gvozden (Severna Park/Severna Park).

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:06 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Navy
        

Three area players earn national distinction

Stevenson seniors Jimmy Dailey and Evan Douglass and Salisbury senior Johnny Rodriguez headline a group of players for area Division III programs that earned All-American honors.

Dailey was named the nation’s Outstanding Player of the Year by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association on Wednesday. Dailey, a Westminster native and Winters Mill graduate, led the country in points (118) and assists (58) this season and is the Mustangs’ all-time leader in points (329) and assists (163).

Douglass was chosen as the Outstanding Defensive Player. His 59 caused turnovers are first in the nation, and he graduates as the school’s career leader in caused turnovers with 136.

Rodriguez was selected as the National Goalkeeper of the Year. His 5.97 goals-against average ranks third in the country, and he ranks fourth in school history with 475 career saves in three years at Salisbury.

Those three players made the All-American first team. They were joined by Salisbury junior attackman Matt Cannone, junior midfielder Sam Bradman and senior defenseman Collin Tokosch.

Cannone leads the Sea Gulls in points (84) and assists (37), Bradman ranks second in points (70) and goals (48), and Tokosch ranks second in ground balls (44) and caused turnovers (21).

Stevenson placed senior attackman Neal Barthelme and senior midfielder Kyle Moffitt on the second team and senior faceoff specialist Ray Witte on the third team.

The honorable-mention attackmen included Salisbury juniors Erik Krum and Tony Mendes, Stevenson senior Richie Ford, McDaniel junior D.J. Rickels and St. Mary’s senior Dennis Rosson.

The honorable-mention midfielders included Salisbury senior Shawn Zordani, sophomore Tyler Granelli and junior Andrew Sellers, Stevenson senior Sean Calabrese and freshman Tony Rossi and Goucher junior Matt Lynch.

The honorable-mention defensemen included Salisbury senior Nick Mooney, Stevenson senior Kyle Menendez and Goucher senior Justin Dunn.

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

Virginia's Clements returns to familiar position

Prior to Virginia’s 11-2 victory over Penn on April 30, the decision was made to move Chris Clements from close defense to long-stick midfield. Since then, the Cavaliers have won three straight, including a four-goal defeat of No. 2 seed Cornell in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals last Saturday.

Coincidence?

“I don’t know about that,” said Clements, a redshirt junior who ranks fourth on Virginia in ground balls (39) and has also caused 11 turnovers. “I think we’re doing the same things schematically. It’s just that we’ve gotten more comfortable playing defense as whole, and we’re getting more comfortable as everybody comes together as a defense. So hopefully, we can continue that progress.”

Moving Clements allows the Baltimore native and St. Paul’s graduate to return to the top of the defensive zone where he was a short-stick defensive midfielder in 2008 and 2009 before sitting out 2010 with an unspecified injury. To make room for Clements, the Cavaliers shifted senior long-stick midfielder Bray Malphrus to close defense.

“I enjoy it,” Clements said. “I played defensive middie my first two years here. So I had some experience playing up top and guarding midfielders. So it hasn’t been that hard of a transition. It’s been great because Bray’s been playing great on close defense. So it’s worked out pretty well.”

The moves have worked well thus far, according to the man who watches them perform on a daily basis.

“It’s definitely been beneficial because Chris was initially a short-stick midfielder, and he’s more comfortable at the top of the defense, covering guys and running the zone from up top,” senior goalkeeper Adam Ghitelman said. “And Bray is such a strong defenseman. He’s able to play wherever you put him on the field. It’s been great for us because both of those guys seem a lot more comfortable in their positions, and the fact that they were able to step up and do that in the middle of the season is something that has really contributed to our defense.”

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

Denver's run aided by former Salisbury attackman

Denver’s appearance in the NCAA tournament semifinals – the first in the program’s history – has been fueled by a prolific attack and a Bill Tierney-coached defense. There’s also been the contribution from sophomore Eric Law, a former Salisbury attackman.

In 16 games – 13 of which he has started as a midfielder and attackman – Law has registered 15 goals and 12 assists, ranking sixth among the Pioneers in points. Law, who posted seven goals and two assists for the Division III Sea Gulls, credited his smooth transition into the starting lineup to his first season in Salisbury.

“I have to give a lot of my success this year to the fact that I played at Salisbury and I played under [coach] Jim Berkman last year,” Law said Monday in a phone interview. “I learned so much from all those players last year, and they all helped me a great deal – not just in terms of learning the game, but also growing up into a bigger person. That definitely helped me out and it helped me become more of a leader.”

Law, a native of Centennial, Colo., said he agonized over his decision to transfer, waiting until the final day in August when tuition was due at both Denver and Salisbury before pulling the trigger on enrolling with the Pioneers.

“It was a very difficult decision,” he said. “I took a long time to make that decision. It was very difficult to make because I love all of those guys back at Salisbury. I definitely liked it out there. But it was time for me to come home.”

Law said he is especially excited for his former teammates because they earned a rematch with 2010 national champion Tufts in the Division III tournament final at M&T Bank Stadium in on Sunday night.

If No. 6 seed Denver can get past No. 7 seed Virginia on Saturday, Law – who said he still keeps in touch with junior attackmen Matt Cannone and Erik Krum, senior midfielder Shawn Zordani and sophomore D Adam Dickson – said he wasn’t sure whether he would be able to get permission to watch the Sea Gulls in person. 

“I really hope I’d be able to,” he said. “If not in person, I would hope to be glued to the TV and screaming for all of my buddies.”

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

Back injury nearly derailed season for Maryland's Burns

When Maryland meets No. 5 seed Duke in the NCAA tournament semifinals on Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Dan Burns will be his usual ground ball-scooping, opposing midfielder-harassing self. But there was a point when the Terps short-stick defensive midfielder thought his senior year was over before it even started.

Before the season began, Burns suffered an injury to his back, an ailment that prevented him from playing in Maryland’s first seven contests. Burns returned for the next nine games, but he admitted that he was concerned that his injured back might sideline him for the entire year.

“I was,” Burns said Wednesday when asked if he was worried. “Just with how long it lasted and the doctors, I was getting cortisone shots – 14 or 15 shots in my back. I thought something’s got to click in sooner or later. Finally, it came together and I couldn’t be happier. Sitting out this whole year would have been really tough.”

While he waited for his back to improve, Burns could only sit by and watch as the Terps fell, 9-8, in overtime to Duke on March 5.

“It was just really frustrating for me in the early part of the season,” he said. “You work so hard in the offseason to come back for that senior season and then you get an injury in the beginning and are forced to sit out of that first Duke game, watching them storm the field after we lost in overtime. But at the same time, it kept me motivated to keep working. Everyone kept telling me, ‘The team’s going to need you later. Don’t get too down on yourself.’ So I kept working hard with our training staff. I got out here two or three times a day to get into shape and try to push my limits. I finally started feeling good right before the ACC tournament, and that’s when I started gaining confidence, and we started meshing a little bit better as a defense.”

Indeed, the defense seems to have solidified with a healthy Burns on the field. A unit that surrendered 7.3 goals per game in the regular season has lowered that average after allowing just 11 goals in two contests in the NCAA tournament.

Maryland coach John Tillman singled out Burns’ return as a factor in the defense’s improved play in the postseason.

“He did get back in the ACCs, and that helped us,” Tillman said. “And then he got hurt again a little bit and wasn’t full strength before the Colgate game, and I believe he’s getting back to full strength again. So that’s something that has certainly helped us.”

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

May 25, 2011

Tufts' postseason run moving without last year's title-winning goalie

Tufts’ second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament final has been fueled by an opportunistic offense and a 7-1 record in one-goal games.

But one ingredient in the Jumbos’ ability to defeat Salisbury for last year’s national championship is not expected to play in Sunday’s title against the Sea Gulls.

Junior goalkeeper Steven Foglietta, who keyed Tufts’ 9-6 victory a year ago, suffered an unspecified injury in the team’s 14-13 win against Stevenson on March 23 and made two more starts before being replaced by Patton Watkins.

Since then, the freshman has started in each of the last 14 contests, going 12-2 while registering a 9.00 goals-against average and a .626 save percentage.

Jumbos coach Mike Daly said Foglietta tried to play through the pain, but was pulled after three quarters in an eventual 14-13 win against Western New England on March 28.

“It was [a decision] that we unfortunately had to make,” Daly said Tuesday morning during an NCAA-organized conference call involving the two Division III coaches, four Division I coaches and two Division II coaches who will appear at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore this weekend. “I think it’s a great example of the depth of our team, and when guys need to, they get inserted and they play, and that was the story there.”

Watkins has helped Tufts win six consecutive games. Asked if he anticipated this kind of showing from his freshman, Daly replied, “I’m surprised every day with our 18 to 22 year olds. They’re an elusive animal. We’re not surprised in that regard of his talent. We’re surprised frankly at how well he’s handled every challenge and every situation. He’s played in some enormous games and just has lived up to it.”

Salisbury coach Jim Berkman said he’s noticed that Watkins has borrowed a page from Foglietta’s playbook by playing out of the cage to cut down shooters’ angles.

“So you can’t waste outside shots,” Berkman said. “You maybe have to get the ball inside more, and that’s always been our characteristic anyway.”

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

Salisbury's attack grabbing spotlight

For the first time in three years, an attackman leads Salisbury in scoring.

In fact, attackmen occupy three of the top four spots among the Sea Gulls, who will meet Tufts in the NCAA Division III tournament final for the second straight year.

That’s a little bit of a departure from previous seasons when the offense leaned on midfielders Kylor Berkman and Sam Bradman to pace the unit.

“The attack has definitely gotten better as the season has gone on,” coach Jim Berkman said Tuesday morning during an NCAA-organized conference call involving the two Division III coaches, four Division I coaches and two Division II coaches who will appear at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore this weekend. “[We’ve] got some attackmen that can get to the goal versus just being shooters and finishers. So I think we’re a more well-rounded offense.”

Junior Matt Cannone, who leads Salisbury in assists (37) and points (84), said he has noticed a different style of defense opposing teams throw at the attack.

“You see them giving us more of a cushion rather than pressing out and really getting on us,” Cannone said. “I feel like if they press out on us, they know that we can just run right by them. So they’re really packing it in a little bit tighter. But I feel like we’re just really clicking and becoming a great unit.”

Cannone and junior Erik Krum, who leads the team in goals (50) and ranks third in points (65), have gelled quickly with junior Tony Mendes, who played briefly at Maryland and Syracuse before joining the Sea Gulls.

“It was kind of hard in the beginning of the year in terms of me adjusting to the attack,” said Mendes, a converted midfielder who ranks fourth in goals (44), assists (16) and points (60). “I thought I played attack in high school for a little while, but playing attack in college when you have really good defenders on you, it’s a really big difference. So it took me a little while to adjust. But Erik Krum and Matt Cannone, they’re my best friends. They’ve pushed me to get better, and they’ve taught me a lot, and I feel like we’ve definitely grown as a group.”

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

Long journey nearing end for Virginia

Virginia’s fourth consecutive appearance in the Final Four would usually be reason enough for a mild celebration.

But the Cavaliers have borne the emotional weight linked to the deaths of former midfielder Will Barrow in 2008, media relations assistant Michael Colley in 2009 and women’s lacrosse player Yeardley Love a year ago.

This season, Virginia dismissed senior midfielder and two-time first-team All American Shamel Bratton and suspended his twin brother Rhamel indefinitely.

The intra-program turmoil has taken a toll on the players and coaches, according to coach Dom Starsia.

“It’s been quite a year,” Starsia said Tuesday morning during an NCAA-organized conference call involving the four Division I coaches, two Division II coaches and two Division III coaches who will appear at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore this weekend. “It probably goes back a ways on both a personal and professional level. You’re right about having to deal with these things in our world with what we do. I feel like the real world has sort of stuck its face into our fantasy land over some period of time. But I’ve been surrounded here by a lot of support – both family and friends and staff people here at UVA. We’ve kind of gotten through it as best as we can. Throughout this year, this team has had outstanding leadership, and it’s been a group that has practiced well. It’s a good group to be around. We struggled for a while mid-season while we worked through some things, but it’s nice to see that the core of this team has been able to reap the benefits of their work throughout here in these past couple of weeks.”

Unlike the other semifinal between No. 5 seed Duke and unseeded Maryland, the No. 7 seed Cavaliers (11-5) meet a No. 6 seed Denver squad (15-2) it hasn’t seen since Feb. 20, 2006.

That unfamiliarity has excited the Virginia players and coaches, Starsia said.

“Frankly, it’s a little more fun in the preparation piece of it rather than just getting ready to play someone that you know almost as well as your own team,” he said. “Obviously, Denver is very, very good, and we’re going to have our hands full. So I don’t know if there’s a preference one way or the other, an advantage one way or the other. At this point of the year, you want to play two more games, and you need to win the first one in order to make that happen.”

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Denver prepping for Virginia's zone defense

Had Saturday’s opening NCAA tournament semifinal between No. 6 seed Denver and No. 7 seed Virginia taken place  in the middle of the season, the contest might have evolved – or devolved, depending on your perspective – into a track meet.

But with the Cavaliers (11-5) losing redshirt junior defenseman Matt Lovejoy to season-ending shoulder surgery after the team’s 12-7 loss to Maryland on April 2, the run-and-gun potential doesn’t appear likely as Virginia has unveiled a zone defense that frustrates opposing offenses and slows the pace of games.

The Pioneers (15-2) is preparing to solve the Cavaliers’ zone, which impressed Denver coach Bill Tierney Tuesday morning during an NCAA-organized conference call involving the four Division I coaches, two Division II coaches and two Division III coaches who will appear at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore this weekend.

“It’s different, but it tells you what a great coach Dom is,” Tierney said of Virginia’s Dom Starsia. “You can continue to beat your head against a wall if something’s not working or you can adjust to your team’s personnel, and he’s done that. When they lost the Lovejoy kid for the year, you had a force out there. For whatever reason, he’s gone to more zone. If 10 years ago, I told you we’d be talking about Bill Tierney playing Dom Starsia and one was playing zone and a great defense like that and the other one was trying to score a lot of goals, you might have the roles reversed a little bit. So I think it’s really interesting, and I give Dom and his staff a lot of credit for what they’re doing.”

After surrendering 12 goals in an overtime win against Bucknell in the first round, the Cavaliers suffocated No. 2 seed Cornell, shutting out the Big Red in a critical second quarter in which Virginia scored seven goals en route to 10-4 halftime advantage and a 13-9 final.

Tierney said the onus is on the Pioneers to succeed where Cornell didn’t.

“How do you beat it? That’s a good question,” he said. “I thought that Cornell has been really clicking all year long, and they were phenomenal. To be held down, especially in that second quarter, the way they were by Virginia, that was nothing short of amazing. Very athletic, very quick, and a great goalie with a lot of experience. So it’s going to be tough to score on them. Who knows? Maybe our game could be the 7-6 game. But I think it’s really a credit to Dom and his staff for what they’ve done.

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

Duke remains calm about third meeting vs. Maryland

For the second time in this postseason, a pair of Atlantic Coast Conference rivals will meet in the NCAA tournament for the third time in a single season.

The second semifinal at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Saturday pits fifth-seeded Duke (14-5) and unseeded Maryland (12-4) with both teams splitting the season series.

But Blue Devils coach John Danowski said he’s not stressing out about meeting a familiar opponent again – and again.

“I’m a big fan of everything that [Hall of Fame college basketball coach] John Wooden has ever done in that while you prepare for your opponent, a lot of this is now is about what you do and how you do things,” Danowski said Tuesday morning during an NCAA-organized conference call involving the four Division I coaches, two Division II coaches and two Division III coaches. “So how we approach the ball on defense, our team defensive position, playing a pick is playing a pick – if you’re playing Delaware or if you’re playing Notre Dame or if you’re playing Maryland. They like to pick for the ball. You’ve got to be aware of the hidden-ball trick. Their middies, if they get their hands free, can sling the ball when they get down the alley. There’s really not a lot new that you’re going to see, I don’t think, at this time of the year.”

Danowski isn’t speaking out of turn. Duke met Virginia three times last season, edging the Cavaliers in overtime in the Final Four en route to the school’s first NCAA title.

Danowski said the team will review film of the first two meetings with the Terps to get an idea of their tendencies. But he emphasized that his focus is on the Blue Devils themselves.

“It’s about how consistent can you be, how alert you are defensively, and offensively, it’s certainly going to be about, can you finish well?” Danowski said. “Is your team shooting well? Are we moving the ball, making the right pass? Are they going to slide from the crease? Are they going to slide adjacent or fake-slide or not slide at all so that you have to beat your man? All those lessons that your kids have learned all year, are they going to be able to translate that Saturday night? … Whatever happened in the past, you take a little from it, but it’s going to be about fundamentals, execution and enthusiasm.”

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

Being unseeded -- and unnoticed -- suits Maryland

The second team in as many seasons to advance to the Final Four as an unseeded squad, Maryland joins No. 5 seed Duke, No. 6 seed Denver and No. 7 seed Virginia in the NCAA tournament semifinals.

Although the Terps have compiled a 12-4 record and captured the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament crown, there is no consensus on whether Maryland can be considered the favorite to win the national championship on Memorial Day weekend.

Coach John Tillman played the lack-of-respect card Tuesday morning during an NCAA-organized conference call involving the four Division I coaches, two Division II coaches and two Division III coaches at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore this weekend.

“I think we relish the role of the underdog, and I don’t think it’s unique to our team,” Tillman said. “I think it’s pretty consistent here at the University of Maryland. I think if you look at [former men’s basketball coach] Gary Williams and the fire and passion that he coached with and his teams played with, I think it’s pretty consistent across the board here. We’re a group that, being ranked so high was due partly because we did such a good job last year, and last year’s team was so successful, and we had a lot of guys returning. But I think it goes to show that it doesn’t really matter how many guys you have coming back. You’re always going to lose critical parts of each team after graduation.”

As the lone unseeded team in the postseason, the Terps are the only team that was forced to win its first two contests on the road. Taking the path of most resistance has become a rallying cry for Maryland.

“We’ve talked about it as, ‘Maybe that’s the way things have to be for us. Everything has to be hard because our road is going to be hard,’” Tillman said. “We talked about it on Sunday. We had to go to North Carolina, and everybody has a different opinion on our seeding, and we didn’t really focus on that. We kind of drew strength from the fact that nobody thought we were good and we were going to have to earn everybody’s respect. But to get us ready for Syracuse, to go up to Boston and have to bus up there because the transportation situation was not ideal, everytime things have gotten hard, we just kind of reinforced that’s just the way things are for us. The only way we can get to where we want to is if it’s hard and the more hard things we do, the more prepared [the team will] be for the challenges ahead of us. To try to beat Duke again is going to be really, really tough. They’re experienced, they’ve been here, they’re more experienced than we are, they’re ridiculously athletic, they’re the national champions. Beating Syracuse and beating North Carolina is going to help us get ready to put us in a position where we would have a chance to win that game. But our guys bought into it. We can’t get anything easy, nothing’s ever going to be easy, and if you want it easy, then forget it. That’s the way it kind of is to be a Terp. We’ve got to be resilient, we’ve got to be gritty, we’ve got to be tough.”

Posted by Edward Lee at 6:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Maryland
        

May 24, 2011

Duke's Costabile might not face off vs. Maryland

Duke could meet unseeded Maryland in the NCAA tournament semifinals on Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium without its primary faceoff specialist.

Junior long-stick midfielder C.J. Costabile has won 52.4 percent (97-of-185) of his draws this season, but an unspecified injury limited him to just one faceoff in the fifth-seeded Blue Devils’ 7-5 victory over fourth-seeded Notre Dame in the quarterfinals on Sunday.

Coach John Danowski said he is prepared to rotate freshman Brendan Fowler (84-of-151), sophomore Greg DeLuca (15-of-38), freshman Charlie Payton (20-of-37) and senior Andrew Rullan (8-of-11) against Terps sophomore Curtis Holmes (199-of-317).

“We’re ready to throw out anyone we can,” Danowski said during an NCAA-organized conference call on Tuesday morning.

Danowski called Costabile a game-time decision for faceoffs.

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:18 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland
        

Denver scours country for talent

Of the four programs in the NCAA tournament semifinals, Denver may feature the most diverse roster, boasting players from 20 different states and Canada.

Junior attackman Mark Matthews, the team’s leader in points with 69 points, hails from Oshawa, Ontario, senior attackman Todd Baxter, who ranks second in goals with 31, is from Minnesota, and starting midfielders Eric Law and Chase Carraro are from Colorado and Kentucky, respectively.

“You can find a great one from anywhere,” Pioneers coach Bill Tierney said during an NCAA-organized conference call on Tuesday morning. “… Yes, we want Long Island kids, and yes, we want New York kids. But nowadays, you can get them from anywhere.”

Denver, the sixth seed in the tournament, is seeking the school’s first appearance in the title game, but to do so, the Pioneers must defeat No. 7 seed Virginia at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday.

One key will be limiting Cavaliers junior attackman Steele Stanwick, who leads all players in the postseason with 15 points. But containing junior attackman Chris Bocklet (a team-high 41 goals) and sophomore attackman Matt White (four goals and one assist in the postseason) could also be critical.

Tierney sized up Virginia in his own unique way, saying, “You don’t stop a team like Virginia. There are guys on their bench that could start for us.”

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:01 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Slowing it down vs. Syracuse not part of Maryland's nature

One ingredient for Maryland’s 6-5 overtime upset of top-seeded Syracuse in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals on Sunday was the Terps’ ability to dominate time of possession and keep the ball in the offense’s sticks.

But slowing the pace was not part of the game plan, asserted Maryland coach John Tillman who said he has heard some complaints about the team’s strategy.

“Not once was it talked about,” Tillman said during an NCAA-organized conference call on Tuesday morning. “Not once was it said, ‘Stall.’ … That’s not what we wanted to do, that’s not what we preach. But we also wanted to be smart with the ball.”

The Terps have relied on a senior-laden attack in Ryan Young and Grant Catalino, and sophomore Owen Blye has emerged as a third weapon. But the offense has also gotten a lift from its midfield, which has accounted for almost 33 percent of the scoring between the attack and midfield units.

Junior Joe Cummings ranks second in goals with 25, sophomore John Haus is tied with Blye for second in assists with 12, and the midfielders scored four of the team's goals in the win against the Orange.

“I think we’ve asked the middies to be more involved,” Tillman said. “… The middies feel they can make plays, and we have confidence in them to do that.”

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:00 AM | | Comments (13)
Categories: Maryland
        

Virginia's R.Bratton will not play this weekend

Virginia coach Dom Starsia announced that senior midfielder Rhamel Bratton would not return to the team to play in Saturday’s NCAA tournament semifinal against Denver at M&T Bank Stadium.

“Status unchanged,” Starsia said during an NCAA-organized conference call on Tuesday morning. “He will not be activated for this weekend’s game.”

Bratton, who has registered 17 goals and five assists in 12 starts this season, was suspended indefinitely prior to the Cavaliers’ 11-2 victory over Penn on April 30. His twin brother, Shamel Bratton, had been dismissed from the program at the same time.

Bratton’s role on the starting midfield has been filled by freshman Rob Emery, who has totaled four goals and two assists in Virginia’s last three contests.

Emery is a native of San Francisco and one of five players on the Cavaliers roster who does not hail from the traditional recruiting areas of Maryland, New York and the New England area. It's another indication of the growth of the sport as it expands from being an East Coast fixture.

“Ten years ago, we probably wouldn’t have imagined it was possible,” Starsia said of recruiting areas like California, Texas and Florida. “But now there are just kids from everywhere. … I think it’s the clearest signal that the sport has grown.

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:45 AM | | Comments (1)
        

Denver in 2011 reminds Tierney of Princeton in 1992

As the architect of six national championships at Princeton, Bill Tierney cherishes the memories of those titles and the teams that toiled away to register those achievements.

But Tierney, who left the Tigers for Denver after the 2009 season, acknowledged that he can make a comparison between his current Pioneers squad and the Princeton team that edged Syracuse, 10-9, in double overtime to capture the NCAA title in 1992.

“Not to jinx the guys, but they remind me so much of ’92 because I always used to tell people that in ’92, we were cute,” Tierney recalled after sixth-seeded Denver had bounced third-seeded Johns Hopkins by five goals in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals on Saturday. “We were kind of everybody’s favorite because they knew it was going to be one shot and then we’d be out of there. Our idea is that this could be the beginning of a program, and these guys have bought into everything that we’ve given them in the past two seasons. They’ve not doubted. They’ve believed and they’ve used their skills, which was varied and many, to win games like this.”

That Tigers squad completed a 13-2 campaign. Tierney’s current Denver team is 15-2 and riding Division I’s longest active winning streak (12 straight games).

But Tierney said he doesn’t want to the Pioneers to try to mirror his Princeton squad.

“This group of young men deserves to have their own history,” Tierney said. “They don’t need to be tied to Princeton or me. They need to be tied to Denver because that’s who they are.”

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

Q&A with ESPN's Mark Dixon

ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins midfielder Mark Dixon prowled the sidelines of all four NCAA tournament quarterfinals this past weekend, observing and collecting notes on what he saw and heard. Dixon, who will provide radio commentary for the NCAA Network on Westwood One for the semifinals on Saturday and the final on Monday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, offered his opinion on the results in the quarterfinals, the favorite to capture the national championship and the leading candidate to take the Tewaaaraton Award.

Although each quarterfinal game ended with the lower-seeded team defeating a higher-seeded opponent, many of these teams were evenly matched. So it’s not fair to say that the entire round was defined by upsets, is it?
I would agree with you. I think everybody’s favorite all year was Syracuse, but Syracuse played seven games where they won by two goals or less and then of course, they lost to Cornell. So while Syracuse was the No. 1 seed and probably the majority of people’s favorite [to win], they weren’t really dominant in most of the games this season. They really turned it on late, but it was against some not-as-stiff competition. If you look at a team like Virginia, the No. 7 seed, that was everybody’s pick to go to championship weekend. With the events that took place this season, they fell off a little bit and they lost some games and the defense wasn’t playing well. Now they’re in there, but this isn’t the Virginia team that people picked to make it to championship weekend. So I think when you look at the whole gamut of the season, no one team was that dominating squad. No one team got you to say, ‘Wow, I’m betting the house on this team to win the national title.’ It just never happened. So I think it speaks to the separation between the elite lacrosse teams in the country, which is very, very narrow.

Can we say that the four teams in the national semifinals – No. 5 seed Duke, No. 6 seed Denver, Virginia and unseeded Maryland – were at some point in the season contenders for the NCAA championship?
With the exception of Denver. I think everybody knew that Denver was going to be better. But if you would have told me back in February that Denver would be in the national semifinals, I don’t think I would have said Denver. And the same thing could be said of Duke. I thought Duke would make the tournament with maybe a first-round or quarterfinal loss, but all of the leadership they lost last year in addition to the productivity – I know everybody speaks about [Max] Quinzani and [Ned] Crotty on the attack, but they also lost Steve Schoeffel in the midfield and Parker McKee on the defensive end and then over the summer, they lost [defenseman] Mike Manley to a knee injury. So I think Duke and Denver are surprising. Maryland and Virginia are two teams that the majority of folks picked to get to championship weekend. But of course, Maryland was up and down in its play, and we already discussed Virginia. So I think Duke and Denver are surprising from the preseason standpoint. Now as the season wore on and we had the Duke-Notre Dame game yesterday, I think you could say, ‘Yeah, anybody could win that game.’ But the Hopkins-Denver game, you thought Hopkins was going to be able to control the faceoffs a little better and really test that Denver defense, and they never got that chance.

Would you say that Johns Hopkins’ performance in the 14-9 loss to Denver was the most stunning of the weekend?
No, because the Cornell-Virginia game was a little bit more surprising to me, and it was Cornell’s inability to solve Virginia’s defense. Cornell had a lot of possessions, Hopkins didn’t. Hopkins was not able to win that 63 percent of faceoffs that [senior] Matt Dolente usually controls. [Sophomore goalkeeper] Pierce Bassett also didn’t have one of his better games, and those were two very vital components of Hopkins’ success this season. Bassett had opportunities to make saves, but the defense struggled a little bit as did he. But they never really controlled the tempo of the game. They never controlled the possession time. Whereas Cornell has major opportunities to penetrate that Virginia defense. thy did a great job of limiting [sophomore attackman and Tewaaraton Award finalist] Rob Pannell, and when Pannell struggles, his complementary players like [senior attackman] Dave Lau and [sophomore attackman] Steve Mock and [sophomore midfielder] Roy Lang usually step up, and they were handcuffed as well. I can’t tell you how many passes and shots were knocked down by the Virginia defense. I haven’t seen anything officially, but unofficially, I saw eight or nine that didn’t even make it to [senior goalkeeper Adam] Ghitelman, and Ghitelman was terrific. … So I’d say Virginia really manhandling Cornell was the most surprising thing to me this weekend.

Which team impressed you the most?
I was impressed with Denver, their athleticism, their speed. [Junior attackman] Mark Matthews was not dominant in the game by any stretch. But their midfield, [sophomore] Cam Flint, [sophomore] Chase Carraro was as good as advertised. It’s interesting because I had a chance to have a conversation with Chase Carraro on Friday and I can look at him right in the eye, which is unusual. He’s a small guy as is [freshman] Jeremy Noble. Cam Flint’s not that much bigger, and in this day and age of your gigantic midfielders, it was pretty impressive to watch those guys. Every team this past weekend impressed me in some way. Virginia and their passion and their defensive game plan as well as their offensive execution was phenomenal. Maryland – let’s face it, how many times has Syracuse trailed in a game, tied the game late, and then won in overtime? Especially on that field in Foxborough [in Massachusetts]. For Maryland to weather that storm and win that game says a ton about their leadership and their perseverance. And then Duke is a team that fell behind 3-1, they made some adjustments, they’ve got playoff experience in terms of getting to the quarterfinals. … Coach [John] Danowski is just so relaxed and his players really reflect that, and I thought they were very calm against a very good Notre Dame defense.

Of the teams in the Final Four, can we call any of them the favorite to take home the grand prize?
I don’t think so. On the flight home yesterday, Quint [Kessenich, ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins All-American goalie] and I and Patrick Stevens, who is a writer for The Washington Times, and Russ Dlin, our stat guy, were talking about that. We were arguing that Maryland could be seen as the favorite even though they’re the unseeded team just because of all the seniors. So is Maryland the favorite? They beat Duke in the ACC championship game. But I think it’s wide open. Every team has strengths, every team has weaknesses, and although Virginia and Denver aren’t necessarily familiar with one another, [Cavaliers coach] Dom Starsia and [Pioneers coach] Bill Tierney are. They have a very rich playoff history. And then of course, you’ve got Maryland-Duke in Round 3, and those teams know each other as well as anyone. So I think it’s really a toss-up.

With Virginia junior attackman Steele Stanwick as the only Tewaaraton Award finalist left in the tournament, does he now become the favorite to be named the top player in collegiate lacrosse?
No. I still think it’s Rob Pannell’s. And I say that because Steele missed a couple of games and doesn’t have the numbers that Pannell does. But if Steele Stanwick is the reason Virginia wins the national championship on Monday, I think it’s going to be very difficult to deny him the trophy. He’s been lights out. I’ve said all along that he’s been the leader of that Virginia team. Him and [senior defenseman] Bray Malphrus have been the leaders, and now with the Brattons gone, you don’t have that situation where they just held the ball and dodged. Now Steele is able to orchestrate things from behind. The ball’s in his stick 80 percent of the time, and he just opens things up so well for them by distributing the ball. So I think if Virginia wins that championship and he’s the main reason why, you could see the Tewaaraton headed to Charlottesville.

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

May 23, 2011

Three points on Maryland's win over Syracuse

It’s been awhile since the Terps men’s lacrosse team was still playing during college lacrosse’s final weekend of action – 2006 actually – but Sunday’s gritty 6-5 overtime win over Syracuse in the NCAA quarterfinals propelled the Terps back into the Final Four. After winning the ACC tournament in April, the Terps spoke about how they weren’t content with just a conference title, how the team’s bigger goal – a chance to play for the program’s first national championship since 1975 – still loomed on the horizon.

That determination was evident in Sunday’s upset of the No. 1 seeded Orange.
With the win, the Terps achieved their self-stated goal and will face defending national champion Duke in the second of two semifinal matchups Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium. The Blue Devils advanced with a 7-5 victory over Notre Dame in a 2010 national championship rematch.

Here are some thoughts on Sunday’s game:

1.) John Tillman is a great X-and-O guy.

If it wasn’t for Tillman’s play-calling in overtime, the Terps’ season might have ended in the quarterfinals for a fourth consecutive year. The game-winning goal – a low-to-high shot from attackman Grant Catalino on the right wing – was the result of a play Tillman instituted in practice just last week. The Terps started working on the play, named “Stag,” on Tuesday and ran it four times against the Orange on Sunday.

Tillman knew Syracuse’s defense had a tendency to slouch toward cutters on the crease, so he developed the play to exploit that tendency by getting Catalino open on the outside off a double-seal. The Terps ran the play – starting with a dodge from midfielder Scott LaRue on the right wing – with 32 seconds left in overtime. It worked to perfection, and the rest is history.

“I knew they’d hedge a lot, and so you had to do things that took advantage of a hedge,” Tillman told The Washington Times. “We knew if they pulled over that much, we could double seal. If the guy sealed their own guys, there was no way that guy was getting back.”

2.) The Terps’ senior class finally got the monkey off its back.

When the Terps’ senior class arrived in College Park in 2007, it’s fair to say there was some hype surrounding the group. Ranked No. 2 in the nation by Inside Lacrosse – only behind ACC rival Virginia – the class was supposed to lead the Terps to multiple Final Four appearances. That never came into fruition.

Many players from the class have been staples in the Terps starting lineup since they first stepped on campus. Attackmen Ryan Young, Travis Reed and Catalino and defender Max Schmidt all earned a spot in the starting lineup in their first season with the Terps, while defender Brett Schmidt stepped into a starting role as a sophomore.
But despite the wealth of talent the group possessed, the Terps’ season ended in the NCAA quarterfinals for the past three years. With Sunday’s win over Syracuse, the senior class has finally led the Terps to the Final Four and accomplished what they set out to do when they first arrived in 2007.

3.) Curtis Holmes and Niko Amato are going to be the core of the Terps for the next two years.

Even though the Terps are going to lose 17 players to graduation and face a massive rebuilding project next season, the team has strong options at arguably the game’s two most important positions. Sophomore faceoff specialist Curtis Holmes and freshman goalkeeper Niko Amato will make up the core of the Terps for the next two seasons.

Both have had breakout campaigns this year – Holmes’ faceoff winning percentage of .625 is the nation’s seventh-best mark, while Amato’s 6.82 goals against average is good for No. 4 in Division I. Both were also key in the Terps win over Syracuse. Holmes dominated at the faceoff X, winning 11 of 14 draws, and Amato anchored the Terps defense, making nine saves, one of which came against Orange midfielder Jovan Miller with 19 seconds left in regulation and kept the Terps upset bid alive heading into overtime.

Don’t expect numbers like those to fall off next season.

Controlling possession and having a hot goalie can give a team an insurmountable advantage, and if the Terps can get consistent performances from Amato and Holmes next year, the task of replacing 17 seniors won’t seem that tough.


Baltimore Sun intern Jakob Engelke covers the Maryland men's lacrosse team for The Diamondback. Follow his Terps coverage at twitter.com/Jakob_Engelke.
Posted by Baltimore Sun sports at 11:49 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Maryland
        

Denver's win came at expense of coach's friend

As mentioned in the blog last week, Saturday’s NCAA tournament quarterfinal meeting between Johns Hopkins and Denver pitted a pair of old friends in Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala and Pioneers coach Bill Tierney.

Tierney was an assistant coach at Johns Hopkins when he recruited a tall, powerful defenseman named Dave Pietramala from Hicksville, N.Y. Even when Tierney became the head coach at Princeton and Pietramala enjoyed stints at Cornell and Johns Hopkins, the two remained close.

But those ties were buried for 60 minutes on Saturday when sixth-seeded Denver defeated the third-seeded Blue Jays, 14-9, at Hofstra University’s James M. Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y.

After the contest, Tierney, who improved to 8-6 against his former protégé, rued being the one to end his friend’s season.

“He’s like a son to me,” Tierney said. “So this is very, very difficult. This is almost the most difficult one other than coaching against my nephew [Hofstra’s Seth Tierney]. And so you get involved in those types of things, and you have to put it out of your head. I think the one that made this the easiest is these guys have no issue with Johns Hopkins. They don’t know who Johns Hopkins other than they’re a great program with a great history. But for them, it was another team that they just had to play. Unfortunately, for me, it was against the team with the most history in the country of lacrosse with a man who I think is the best defensive coach in the country, and these kids just kept playing. So it’s an honor for us to be on the same field with Johns Hopkins, and it’ll be an honor for us next week to play Virginia.”

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

Postscript from Roanoke at Salisbury

Many people deserve a second chance. Tony Mendes is enjoying his third chance, and that’s why the Salisbury junior attackman sounded grateful after the Sea Gulls overwhelmed Roanoke for the right to play in the NCAA Division III tournament final.

“I hadn’t played in two years, and to come here and have a real good opportunity to get to the national championship, it feels awesome,” Mendes said. “I’m glad I got the opportunity from Coach [Jim] Berkman.”

Mendes’ journey to this stage is a long, complicated road. As a freshman at Maryland in 2008, he played in 16 games, including one start and compiled five goals and two assists.

After leaving the program and enrolling at Syracuse in the fall of 2009, Mendes pulled out of school and decided to join the Sea Gulls. He was required by the NCAA to sit out the 2010 season.

Mendes’ decision was a fortuitous one for Salisbury, which has witnessed Mendes rank fourth on the team in goals (44) and points (60) this season. Junior attackman Matt Cannone is one teammate who said he is thankful that Mendes, who registered three goals and one assist on Sunday, joined the program.

“I’m the happiest person that it happened,” Cannone said. “We became best friends and being best friends out there, you look for each other. You see him on the backside, you want to get him the ball. He’s an amazing player. He can shoot it from anywhere. It’s just the greatest thing. I love it.”

Mendes said life at schools like Maryland and Syracuse isn’t vastly different from that with the Sea Gulls.

“It’s the same intensity at practice,” he said. “I have to work just as hard., I just feel that Division I, it was more of a business to me. I had a lot of fun when I was playing at Maryland, but once I came down here, I’m having a lot more fun. I’m just enjoying myself a lot more. I’ve got the best teammates in the world right here, and they have my back no matter what. So I can’t complain. I’m having the time of my life.”

Mendes said he still keeps in touch with a few of his former Terps teammates including roommate and junior midfielder Drew Snider and senior attackman Ryan Young. Mendes said he’s been watching Maryland’s progress in the Division I tournament with great interest.

“I was kind of disappointed that I didn’t get to watch,” Mendes said of the Terps’ 6-5 overtime win against top-seeded Syracuse in the NCAA quarterfinals on Sunday. “My brother told me the score. So that’s awesome. I’ll get to see all of my friends in Baltimore.”

Other notes:

*Salisbury’s 16-7 victory over the Maroons was notable not only for the offensive explosion that contributed to the team sprinting to an 8-0 advantage in the first 18 minutes, 56 seconds, but also the defensive display that permitted just two Roanoke goals in the first half. For the season, the Sea Gulls are surrendering just an average of 5.6 goals, and Berkman said this current unit is unlike some of his previous defenses. “We play good team defense,” he said. “This isn’t the chase-you-all-over-the-field, swarming defense of the Gulls of ‘94, ’95 and ’96. This is pressure defense on the ball, five guys backing you up below the ball. Whenever they dodge – and they like to dodge and go hard to the goal – there was nobody ever above the ball. So when that guy rolled to the inside, the guy covering the next guy was already below the ball. A couple of times, they were right there for an easy, adjacent slide up top. So we let teams move the ball around a little bit more than we have in the past. We don’t chase them as much. We pack it in a little bit more and play a little bit smarter team defense than in the past. That’s the character of our team.”

*Roanoke’s first appearance in the Final Four since 2006 is impressive when you consider the losses the program endured in the past year. Not only did the Maroons graduate 15 seniors and five All Americans, but they lost senior starting midfielders Trey Keeley and Noah Gibby to injuries, and a pair of players in sophomore attackman Brendan Nizolek and senior attackman Reid Mayberry were dismissed during the regular season. But coach Bill Pilat shrugged off the absences, saying, “We’re kind of used to it. We played Gettysburg without those guys and then we played Stevenson without those guys. So I don’t think that was a huge factor. … Depth would have helped today, especially on a hot day.” Berkman praised the Maroons’ perseverance. “He [Pilat] lost two of his seniors for disciplinary reasons and injuries to two of their best middies,” Berkman said. “To make it to this point without two of their top scorers was just a tremendous job on his part.”

*Roanoke’s season included a 12-game winning streak and the program’s 17th Old Dominion Athletic Conference tournament crown. The Maroons graduate just two starters in midfielder Justin Tuma and defenseman Alex Burkhead from a squad that started four freshmen in midfielder Spencer Parsons, defenseman Michael Packo, goalkeeper Charles Pease and long-stick midfielder Michael Lintner. The potential is there, but Pilat said he hopes the players learn from the loss to Salisbury. “It’s a place I want us to be, it’s a place we know we can be,” Pilat said of reaching the Final Four. “We were here in ’06. We were pretty close some other years to getting to the Final Four, and we’ve been close to the championship game, too. It’ll definitely help and give us some fuel to try to get back. A seasoned team like Salisbury can teach you a lot of things of what it takes to be in the national championship game year after year, and that’s what we want to do.”

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

May 22, 2011

Very classy, John Tillman

You can see why former Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow hired John Tillman to replace a legend, Dave Cottle, as lacrosse coach of the Terps.

Tillman has not only led Maryland to its first Final Four since 2006, he has done it with professionalism and class, and that was fully on display after the Terps' 6-5 overtime win over No. 1 Syracuse in the NCAA quarterfinals.

In an interview on ESPN2 after the game, Tillman tipped his cap to Cottle and the previous coaching staff for helping put the Terps in this position. Not many coaches would remember after one of the biggest wins of their life to give a nod to the previous regime.

That says a lot about Tillman. Not only can he clearly coach, he's a class act, too.

Posted by Ron Fritz at 5:11 PM | | Comments (14)
        

Catalino's OT goal sends Terps to Final Four

Grant Catalino scored with 32 seconds left in the first overtime to give the unseeded Maryland men's lacrosse team a 6-5 win over No. 1 Syracuse and a trip to the Final Four in Baltimore next weekend.

The Terps entered the fourth quarter of the NCAA quarterfinal at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., with a 5-3 lead, but the Orange (15-2) was able to tie the game and force the extra session.

Maryland (12-4) will face Duke in the national semifinals at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

There are three ACC teams in the Final Four.

Posted by Ron Fritz at 2:48 PM | | Comments (1)
        

Roanoke at Salisbury: Halftime thoughts

In a weekend littered with upsets on the Division I level, Salisbury is playing the role of favorite to the hilt as the Sea Gulls have sprinted to an 11-2 advantage over visiting Roanoke at halftime of a NCAA Division III tournament semifinal at Sea Gull Stadium in Salisbury on Sunday.

Salisbury (19-1), ranked No. 1 in the most recent United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll, scored the game’s first eight goals in a span of 18 minutes, 56 seconds. The Sea Gulls, who lost to Tufts in last year’s championship final, have appeared faster and confident thus far.

The contest appeared to turn on a three-minute penalty on Maroons freshman defenseman Troy Grogan with 2:38 left in the first quarter for playing with an illegal stick. Salisbury scored twice and got a third goal one second after the penalty expired in the second quarter.

So far, this game is far removed from the March 23rd meeting between these teams when the Sea Gulls escaped with a 10-7. That was the last time Roanoke lost. So barring a complete collapse by Salisbury or a monumental rally by the Maroons, their 12-game winning streak appears to be coming to an end.

Other notes:

*The Sea Gulls’ attack has been overpowering. Juniors Matt Cannone, Erik Krum, Tony Mendes and Kyle Quist have each scored two goals, and Cannone and Mendes have added two and one assists, respectively. The offense chased out Roanoke freshman goalie Charles Pease with 9:32 left in the second quarter, but he returned a little more than six minutes later after sophomore Mike Hardon surrendered two goals in 37 seconds.

*As Salisbury did in the first meeting, the defense has handcuffed Roanoke’s top three scorers. Junior attackman Jeff Keating has scored a goal, but sophomore attackman Richard Lachlan and sophomore midfielder Mike Hayden have been silenced by senior defenseman Nick Mooney and junior long-stick midfielder Andrew Sellers, respectively. Senior goalkeeper Johnny Rodriguez has made five saves.

*The Sea Gulls own several key categories, including shots (23-10), ground balls (21-11) and faceoffs (8-of-13). They have also converted 3-of-5 extra-man opportunities.

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:16 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Halftime thoughts, Salisbury
        

Roanoke at Salisbury: Three things to watch

The NCAA Division III tournament semifinal between Roanoke and Salisbury is the second meeting this season between these teams. The Sea Gulls (19-1), ranked No. 1 in the most recent United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll, is seeking their 10th trip in 13 years to the championship game. The No. 7 Maroons (17-3) have won 12 straight contests and are looking for their first berth in the NCAA final since 1992. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at Sea Gull Stadium in Salisbury on Sunday.

1) Clamp down on Roanoke’s Big 3 (again). As mentioned in the blog on Wednesday, the Maroons finished the regular season with the third-most prolific offense in the country, and the unit has increased its 16.2 goals-per-game average to 17.7 in the postseason. But their top three scorers – junior attackman Jeff Keating, sophomore attackman Richard Lachlan and sophomore midfielder Mike Hayden – were shut out in the 10-7 loss to Salisbury on March 23. Sea Gulls coach Jim Berkman didn’t want to tip his hand on whether the defense would copy that strategy for Sunday’s meeting. “I don’t know if we’re tweaking anything, but we’ve had different packages in depending on what the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses are,” he said. “Obviously, they have a great midfield line. So the match-ups are going to be a little bit different than if we were playing a team that had a great attack. We’ve got to negate that first midfield line from having a day like they’ve had against other teams.”

2) Solve Roanoke’s wunderkind goalie. The Maroons’ 12-game winning streak has coincided with the team’s decision to go with freshman Charles Pease as the starting goalkeeper. The rookie has not disappointed, especially in the NCAA tournament where he has made 50 saves and allowed 26 goals in three contests for a .658 save percentage. Pease, who made a career-high 22 saves in Roanoke’s 13-12 decision over No. 3 Stevenson on Wednesday, has caught Berkman’s attention. “They’re playing the goalie full-time now,” he said. “They were splitting the goalie before [between Pease and sophomore Mike Hardon]. The goalie now is a solid goalie. That was a big change from what they had done when they played us before.”

3) Value possessions by winning faceoffs. Coaches have frequently said that one part of the equation in keeping a potent offense on ice is keeping that unit from touching the ball. One avenue towards that goal is winning faceoffs. Salisbury owned Roanoke on draws with sophomore Tyler Granelli going 11-of-12 and freshman Chris Turner contributing 5-of-8 wins. Replicating that effort would be a huge benefit for the Sea Gulls, Berkman acknowledged. “I don’t know if we’ll get them as good as we did last time,” he said. “Last time, our guy pretty much dominated them. We’d sure like that to happen though. It means more possessions, but [Maroons senior Justin] Tuma’s a great player. He’s just a great all-around player. He finds a way to win some even if he doesn’t win them because of his effort and stick skills. We would hope – as we have in a majority of games this year – that we would have a little bit of an advantage at the X.”

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

Maryland vs. Syracuse: Three things to watch

Maryland owns an 8-6 advantage in its series with Syracuse, but the Orange have had the upper hand in NCAA tournaments, winning four of six meetings in the postseason. The unseeded Terps (11-4) bounced No. 8 seed North Carolina, 13-6, in the first round on Sunday and are 19-11 in the quarterfinal round. Syracuse (15-1), which blasted Siena, 10-4, on Sunday, is a torrid 26-2 at this stage of the tournament. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on Sunday.

1) Decipher Syracuse’s defense. The Orange’s success this season has been founded on the strength of its defense. The unit is surrendering just 7.0 goals per game, and the last six opponents have yet to reach 10 goals in a game. From boasting a shutdown defenseman in senior John Lade, an athletic long-stick midfielder in senior Joel White and the Division I career wins leader in senior goalkeeper John Galloway, Syracuse dares its opponents to make their moves. “They’re not very complicated,” Maryland coach John Tillman said. “They’re just really good at what they do, and you know what they’re going to do. It’s just hard to beat their guys. John Lade covers your best guy, and he can mark anybody. With your 1-on-1 matchups, you’ve got to do a really good job of playing at a really fast speed, being patient, making them work. And when you get other opportunities like extra man or ground balls or transition, you’ve got to make the most of them.”

2) Give Holmes some support. The Terps are blessed with one of the best faceoff specialists in the country in sophomore Curtis Holmes, who has won 62.0 percent (188-of-303) of his draws this season. On paper, it would seem that Holmes has a huge advantage over the Orange’s rotation of four, which is led by senior Jeremy Thompson (.513 on 61-of-119). But Tillman said Maryland must also worry about keeping White and senior midfielder Jovan Miller, who play on the wings, occupied. The Terps will probably counter with senior short-stick defensive midfielder Dan Burns and sophomore long-stick midfielder Jesse Bernhardt, but their assignment isn’t easy. “Even if you can’t win the ball clean, they can tie you up and now you’ve got White and now you have Jovan and some really good wing guys that you’ve got to deal with,” Tillman said. “Now I like our wings, but I think they like their wings, too.”

3) Keep hustling. Maryland is frequently regarded as a blue-collar team that tries to squeeze everything out of its players and coaches. That was apparent in the win against North Carolina and on Tuesday, the coaching staff showed the players selected video clips featuring unselfish and hustle plays such as sophomore midfielder John Haus diving to beat Tar Heels sophomore midfielder Marcus Holman to claim possession after a shot and Holmes batting a loose ball to a teammate a split second before getting creamed. “We’re constantly reminding them, ‘Yeah, we won, but look at the sacrifices that were made,’” Tillman said. “And then when we made those plays, we showed the bench, and the bench was jumping around and exploding. When we haven’t been the same team, we haven’t had the passion, energy, emotion. And we aren’t good enough to just line up and play. We need to have that chip on our shoulders, we need that edge.”

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland, Three things to watch
        

Postscript from Denver vs. Johns Hopkins

By the numbers, Johns Hopkins, not Denver, should have advanced to the Final Four at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Saturday.

As coach Dave Pietramala correctly noted, the Blue Jays were superiors in areas like shots (36-29), ground balls (31-23) and faceoffs (16-of-27). So why did No. 3 seed Johns Hopkins fall, 14-9, to the No. 6 seed Pioneers in an NCAA tournament quarterfinal at Hofstra University’s James M. Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y., on Saturday?

“I don’t think our team gave them the level of respect they deserved,” Pietramala said. “Why that is, I don’t know. I’ve seen us play other teams, and you come out of the locker room and you get a feel for your team. You watch your team practice, you watch your team warm up, and I just don’t think that we as a group gave them the respect that they deserved. And that’s a shame because we allowed an opportunity to slip by us.”

Asked to elaborate on that lack of respect, Pietramala began his answer by asking the reporter if he had any children.

“I can tell you from experience, kids understand certain things,” said Pietramala, the father of seven-year-old twin boys. “They understand Syracuse. They understand Virginia. They understand Carolina. They understand Maryland. Teams that have won championships. This was a new team for us. I’m telling you that when we got on the plane [after scouting Denver’s 13-10 victory over Villanova in the first round on May 15], we walked away like, ‘Wow.’ [Coach Bill Tierney] inherited a very talented team, but what I would say is, what a magnificent job they’ve done as a staff of actually making them a team. … Listen, I know my team. I know the feel of our locker room. There are no excuses. We got beat, and we should’ve prepared better. Shoot, if you want to blame anybody, blame me. I’m the head coach. That’s the way it goes. But I didn’t feel like we had that little extra something that we’ve had in some other games. I can’t attribute it to our guys not caring. They do care. If you know the things we’ve dealt with this year and the way they’ve done things, I can’t say they did not care. I just don’t think we played with the level of respect that maybe we should have, and that’s our fault.”

Other notes:

*Pietramala declined to sum up the season with a single or several profound statements. But while crediting the team’s senior class for reviving a program that had absorbed a 7-8 campaign last season – the school’s first sub-.500 year since 1971 – Pietramala asserted that the players exceeded the expectations of many outside the program. “No one thought we would be here,” he said. “Everybody thought we were going to stink this year. Nobody thought we would make the playoffs this year. Quite the contrary, we were pretty good. But we weren’t very good today, and Denver, I thought, was terrific.”

*Senior attackman Kyle Wharton will graduate tied for third in school history with 63 career games played and three goals in his final contest as a Blue Jay. But his voice welled with emotion when asked to voice his feelings on his career. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it justice right now,” he said. “I don’t have any regrets. I love every single one of these guys on this team. They’re like brothers to me. I don’t have any regrets. This was my favorite season. I can say that.”

*The Pioneers got an inspired performance from senior attackman Todd Baxter, who scored three goals before appearing to re-aggravate the high right ankle sprain and partially torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee that sidelined him for the team’s 13-10 victory over Villanova in the first round on Sunday. “Todd Baxter scored three goals today playing on a badly sprained ankle and a partially torn medial collateral ligament,” Tierney said, unprompted. “For that guy to be out of practice once he got hurt two weeks ago and just come out there, you talk about guts and performance, boy, he meant so much to our team today.”

*After enjoying a 7-3 advantage at halftime, Denver allowed the Blue Jays to score four of the first five goals of the third quarter to trail, 8-7, with 7:16 left. Baxter’s third goal of the game with 4:47 left gave the Pioneers a two-goal cushion, but junior short-stick defensive midfielder Henry Miketa’s second goal of the season 34 seconds later provided the spark the team needed. “It was probably the most exciting I’ve been all year when I saw Henry score that goal,” junior attackman Mark Matthews said. “I wasn’t even sure he was on the field. When he got that, he kind of picked everyone up and got us back on track.”

Posted by Edward Lee at 6:00 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Postscript
        

May 21, 2011

Denver vs. Johns Hopkins: Halftime thoughts

Johns Hopkins is in danger of becoming the second higher-seeded team to fall in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament as the No. 3 seed Blue Jays trail No. 6 seed Denver, 7-3, at halftime at Hofstra University’s James M. Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y., on Saturday.

The winner of this contest will meet seventh-seeded Virginia (11-5), which bounced second-seeded Cornell, 13-9, in the first quarterfinal here.

Johns Hopkins (13-2) got the first goal of the game when freshman midfielder Rob Guida took a pass from sophomore midfielder John Ranagan and blasted a shot past Pioneers freshman goalie Jamie Faus just 2 minutes, 21 seconds into the contest.

But Denver (14-2) embarked on a 6-0 run punctuated by the midfielders’ abilities to use their speed to blow past the Blue Jays’ short-stick defensive midfielders.

Johns Hopkins did get goals from Ranagan and senior attackman Kyle Wharton within a 43-second span midway through the second quarter, but sophomore midfielder Cameron Flint followed with his third goal of the game to give the Pioneers the 7-3 lead.

Other notes:

*As mentioned before, Denver has exploited mismatches with the Blue Jays’ short-stick defensive midfielders. Flint blew past senior Tim Donovan for the Pioneers’ third goal and then he split senior Matt Dolente and freshman Rob Guida for the first tally of the second quarter. Sophomore midfielder Chase Carraro swam past his defender for Denver’s fifth goal, and Flint’s third goal involved him leaving Dolente trailing behind him.

*Pioneers senior attackman Todd Baxter, who did not play in the team’s 13-10 victory over Villanova in the first round on Sunday because of a high right ankle sprain and a partially torn ligament in the right knee, doesn’t appear to have missed a step. He has scored twice and has been active around the cage.

*Ranagan leads Johns Hopkins with a goal and an assist, but the team’s top two scorers in senior attackman Chris Boland (32 goals and 16 assists) and sophomore attackman Zach Palmer (22, 24) have been non-factors. The play of Denver redshirt junior defenseman Brendan DeBlois and senior defenseman Steve Simonetti on Boland and Palmer, respectively, has been solid.

*The Blue Jays’ advantage on faceoffs has yet to materialize. Dolente, who entered the contest ranked first in Division I in faceoff percentage (.672 on 178-of-265), has won just 4-of-12 draws in the first half. Carraro, who isn’t exactly a wallflower at a .603 success at (213-of-353), has won 8-of-12.

Posted by Edward Lee at 4:15 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Halftime thoughts, Johns Hopkins
        

Denver's Baxter returns, JHU's John Greeley appears fine

Denver could get a big lift Saturday in its NCAA tournament quarterfinal against Johns Hopkins due to the apparent return of senior attackman Todd Baxter.

Baxter, who has been an everyday starter alongside juniors Mark Matthews and Alex Demopoulos, did not play in the sixth-seeded Pioneers’ 13-10 victory over Villanova in the first round on Sunday because of a high right ankle sprain and a partially torn ligament in the right knee.

Baxter, who ranks third on the team in goals (28), assists (18) and points (46), is participating in pre-game warm-ups. Although he is wearing a black, protective sleeve on the knee, Baxter appears to be running and moving without little hesitation.

Also, there was a rumor on the Internet that Blue Jays sophomore midfielder John Greeley was walking around campus this week with a walking boot. But he is also taking part in pre-game warm-ups with no troubles, and he is expected to start for No. 3 seed Johns Hopkins.

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:42 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins
        

Virginia vs. Cornell: Halftime thoughts

The NCAA tournament quarterfinals are underway with Virginia taking a surprising and commanding 10-4 advantage over Cornell into halftime at Hofstra University’s James M. Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y., on Saturday.

After barely nipping Bucknell, 13-12, in overtime in the first round on Sunday, the seventh-seeded Cavaliers were considered to be an afterthought against a second-seeded Big Red team that shared with Denver the current longest winning streak in Division I at 11 games.

But after trailing 4-1 with 3:57 left in the first quarter, Virginia (10-5) reeled off nine unanswered goals. The Cavaliers scored all seven goals of the second quarter and have outshot Cornell, 14-6, over the same time span.

The 10 goals the Big Red surrendered in the first half are tied for a season low, which they allowed in the second half of a 13-12 overtime win against Penn on March 26. Cornell has not allowed an opponent to score 13 goals yet this season.

The winner of this contest meets the winner of No. 3 seed Johns Hopkins and No. 6 seed Denver in the national semifinals.

Other notes:

*After registering three goals and five assists in the first-round win, Virginia junior attackman Steele Stanwick hasn’t let. The Tewaaraton Award finalist has posted one goal and four assists – all in the second quarter. Junior attackman Chris Bocklet has scored three times, and sophomore attackman Nick O’Reilly has totaled two goals and one assist.

*Sophomore attackman Steve Mock leads the Big Red (14-2) with two goals, but junior attackman Steve Pannell has been a non-factor after scoring the game’s first goal on a Cavaliers miscue. Pannell, a Tewaaraton Award finalist, has been slowed by Virginia’s decision to employ zone and man-to-man defense at different times.

*The Cavaliers scouting report on Cornell sophomore goalie A.J. Fiore has been spot-on as they have scored seven of their goals by going high on Fiore. A beat writer who covers the Big Red said that Fiore, while excellent on low shots, has struggled against shots aimed at the upper half of the net.

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:21 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Halftime thoughts
        

Denver's Law has support of at least one former teammate at Salisbury

No. 6 seed Denver has a shot to reach the NCAA Division I tournament semifinals for the first time in school history and sophomore Eric Law will try to help the Pioneers get past No. 3 seed Johns Hopkins on Saturday.

Law has the support of at least one of his former teammates at Salisbury. Junior attackman Matt Cannone talked to Law on Monday after Denver defeated Villanova, 13-10, in the first round.

“I told him it was a great game, and it was awesome to see him out there doing awesome,” Cannone said of Law, a Colorado native who left the Sea Gulls during the offseason. “I really loved the kid. He was always a great teammate and a great person. He wanted to go back home, and I understand. Denver’s a beautiful place, and people have their own reasons for going home. You can’t hold that against them. He’s a wonderful kid, and I’m just happy to see that he’s doing great.”

Law has fared well with the Pioneers. After registering seven goals and two assists in his freshman campaign with the Sea Gulls, Law has posted 14 goals and 12 assists in 16 games (13 of which he has started). He notched a goal and an assist while starting at attack for senior Todd Baxter (high right ankle sprain and partially torn knee ligament) in the first round.

But Cannone’s affinity has its limits. He conceded that he is rooting for Syracuse junior attackman Tom Palasek because he and Palasek grew up together in New York.

“I’m pulling for him,” Cannone said of Law. “I don’t know about winning it all. I’ve got a bunch of other friends on Syracuse and all that. But I’d like to see him do as well as possible.”

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

Denver vs. Johns Hopkins: Three things to watch

This is only the second meeting between Denver and Johns Hopkins and the first since 1998. Fresh off of a 13-10 victory over Villanova in the first round on Sunday, the sixth-seeded Pioneers (14-2) are riding an 11-game winning streak and seeking its first appearance in the NCAA tournament semifinals. The No. 3 seed Blue Jays (13-2) walloped Hofstra, 13-5, on Saturday and are 28-9 in the quarterfinals. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at James M. Shuart Stadium at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., on Saturday.

1) Solve Denver’s two-man game on offense. As profiled in Friday’s editions of The Sun, Johns Hopkins’ defense is playing superbly, surrendering an average of 6.8 goals this season, which is the lowest since Dave Pietramala became the program’s head coach for the 2001 season. But one of the Blue Jays’ two losses came at the hands of Princeon, which utilized a two-man game on offense to win 8-3 on March 5. Enter the Pioneers, who employ a similar strategy. ESPN analyst and former Virginia All-American attackman Matt Ward said Denver’s system is a bit more structured than Princeton’s. “They have the better personnel to execute those types of plays,” Ward said of the Pioneers. “… I would say it’s more designed than Princeton’s. Princeton kind of does a big circle with a lot of two-man individual games. Everyone in Denver’s offense is moving for a purpose – even if they’re not in the two-man game, which creates goals coming off of two or three passes.”

2) Beware of faceoffs. After winning just 47 percent of faceoffs (162-of-345) last season, Johns Hopkins boasts a 65.3 success rate (211-of-323) this spring. Senior Matt Dolente leads the nation with a .672 faceoff percentage (178-of-265) and faces another stiff challenge in Pioneers sophomore Chase Carraro (.603 on 213-of-353). But Pietramala said the problem isn’t limited to solely neutralizing Carraro. “They face off with their first midfield out there. So Carraro faces off, [sophomore Cameron] Flint plays on one wing and [freshman Jeremy] Noble plays on the other. So if they get it, they make it challenging for you. You can’t sub off your faceoff guy. … So it’s a really unique faceoff group that they have. There’s a greater challenge than just winning the draw and winning the ball. If they win the ball, they can put a ton of pressure on you, and that’s an area where we’re really going to have to be good at.”

3) Force Denver’s defense out of its comfort zone. Despite graduating their entire starting close defense and starting goalkeeper, the Pioneers is giving up an average of 8.3 goals with freshman Jamie Faus in the net. The starting unit of seniors Jeff Brown and Steve Simonetti and redshirt junior Brendan DeBlois has played solidly, and Pietramala said the unit has evolved. “They’ve really grown as the year has gone on,” Pietramala said. “In the beginning of the year, they were doing a lot of sliding and since the midpoint or three-quarters of the way through, they’ve dialed that back and done a lot less sliding, which – when you think of a Coach [Bill] Tierney defense – makes you think, ‘Wow, they’re not sliding.’ So he’s really played to their strengths.”

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

May 20, 2011

Leftovers from Q&A with Denver's Mark Matthews

Friday’s editions included a Q&A with Denver junior attackman Mark Matthews. Due to space constraints, here are some more answers that didn’t make the cut.

Does the altitude in Denver really give your team an advantage?
Personally, I think it does. Especially when I come back here after summer, I’m definitely out of breath, and it takes you about a week to get used to it. That’s why teams come in here a day or two before a game. We can definitely see it in their faces the fatigue. So I definitely feel like it’s an advantage.

How does it feel when you have that built-in advantage?
It’s nice. It’s in the back of their heads the whole time. Are we going to get tired? Are we going to be able to breathe? It’s definitely something that they have to think about, and it’s something we don’t have to think about. We’re fine because we practice in it every day. That’s definitely nice.

What’s it like to be coached by Bill Tierney?
It’s definitely a privilege and an honor. He’s definitely one of the better coaches that I’ve had in a while. He teaches, and he coaches, and he’s your friend, and he’s your family member. He’s great.

During games, it appears that he does a lot of yelling. Is that directed at the players or is he just blowing off some steam?
I think he’s just a real energetic guy. He’s just trying to get the team riled up. If you do something wrong, he’ll let you know. But if you do something right, he’s definitely on your side.

What’s your favorite movie and why?
Probably Rounders. I like cards, and it’s a pretty entertaining movie about poker and counting cards and reading cards.

What’s your favorite and least-favorite food?
My all-time favorite has got to be my mom’s chicken parmesan. It’s something I grew up eating before every hockey and lacrosse game. Some of the guys here can probably attest to it, that it’s pretty darn good. And anything with onions ruins it for me. I’m not an onion guy.

Do you have a favorite professional team or athlete?
Right now, I’m a big-time Canucks fan now that they’re in the playoffs. My favorite athlete would probably have to be Wayne Gretzky.

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

Salisbury prepping for different Roanoke team

As Roanoke’s 13-12 victory over Stevenson in the NCAA Division III tournament quarterfinals suggests, this Maroons team is drastically different from the one in the regular season.

That’s the approach that Salisbury is taking as the Sea Gulls, ranked No. 1 in the most recent United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll, prepare to welcome No. 7 Roanoke to Sea Gull Stadium in Salisbury in a semifinal matchup on Sunday.

The Sea Gulls defeated the Maroons, 10-7, on March 23, but that’s the last time Roanoke (17-3) lost.

“They’ve won 12 games in a row, so they obviously have more confidence,” Salisbury coach Jim Berkman said Thursday. “They’ve got some kids that had to step into new roles, and they’ve had a whole season since then. Twelve games is a whole year to adapt to their roles. They filled some holes, and the kids are just playing a lot better.”

In the first meeting, the Sea Gulls scored all six goals in the first quarter and shut out the Maroons’ top three scorers in junior attackman Jeff Keating, sophomore attackman Richard Lachlan and sophomore midfielder Mike Hayden. While that contest will be a subject during film sessions, Berkman said he wouldn’t rely on just that game.

“I don’t think you throw everything out, but by the same token, I think you’ve got to convince your guys that it’s all about Sunday,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what you did back in March. You’ve got to show up and play on Sunday. Everybody’s good. They wouldn’t be here at this point if they weren’t. You’ve got to show up, you’ve got to get it done, and you’ve got to play well. You can rest on any past laurels. What happened yesterday is a new day, and we’re going to have to play 60 good minutes of lacrosse. I like the way we’re playing right now, but we’re going to have to do it for 60 minutes.”

Salisbury (19-1) is making its seventh trip in eight years to the Final Four, but Roanoke hasn’t reached this stage of the tournament since 2006. Could that experience be a factor on Sunday? Berkman hopes so.

“We’ve definitely been there before a lot of times,” he said. “And we’ve been in this game a lot of times. … I don’t think any of their current players have played in the semifinals, but they’ve had a lot of success. Obviously, each possession is a lot more intense when you get to this level. We like that we’re home and we like that we’ve been there before. If that’s an advantage and means an extra goal or two, we’ll surely take it.”

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

JHU's Pietramala meets another close friend

A week after dispatching a friend from the NCAA tournament, Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala has a similar unenviable task on Saturday when the third-seeded Blue Jays meet No. 6 Denver at Hofstra University’s James M. Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y.

The Pioneers are coached by Bill Tierney, who was formerly the coach of Princeton when the Tigers captured six national championships. Tierney was also the assistant coach at Johns Hopkins when he recruited a tall, powerful defenseman named Dave Pietramala.

Last Saturday, the Blue Jays bounced Hofstra from the first round, and the Pride is coached by Seth Tierney, Bill Tierney’s nephew and the former offensive coordinator at Johns Hopkins when he and Pietramala worked together.

Meeting another friend on opposing sidelines is an assignment Pietramala would prefer not to deal with.

“When you face friends, it is difficult,” he acknowledged. “But in the end, we’re all professionals, and it’s not about us. It’s about Denver and Johns Hopkins, and it was about Hofstra and Johns Hopkins. It’s not about the head coaches or the assistant coaches or those storylines. I know I go into this game coaching against a man for whom I have tremendous respect for, who’s been very good to me, who’s imparted a ton of knowledge to me, who recruited me. I get to stand on a sideline with a guy that’s a Hall of Famer. You can’t imagine that a college football coach doesn’t stand on the sideline and think, ‘Wow, this is pretty neat. I get to coach against Joe Paterno.’ Or ‘I get to coach against Bobby Bowden.’ So I still have that kind of respect for him. It should be a great game between two good teams that are playing pretty well late in the season.”

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

Q&A with CBS Sports Network's Steve Panarelli

CBS Sports Network analyst and former Syracuse All-American defenseman Steve Panarelli helped the Orange reach the Final Four in 2004 and 2006 with the team capturing the national championship in 2004. Panarelli discussed the most interesting game of the NCAA tournament quarterfinals this weekend and a key storyline for each contest.

What’s the most intriguing game of the weekend?
The Syracuse-Maryland game is the most intriguing, I think. Someone said to me, “How does Syracuse get the No. 1 seed and they’re rewarded in the wquarterfinals with Maryland?” If you’re a seeded team and the best team out there, that’s probably one team you wouldn’t want to play. I think it’s going to be a great game. I think they match up well with each other. I think it’ll be up and down, there should be a lot of goals and excitement. So it’ll be a great game to watch.

Can unseeded Maryland keep pace with Syracuse if the game becomes a track meet?
Like I said before, I think the game is going to be up and down, and I think there’s going to be a lot of goals. That’s just the way those two teams play. I think the big thing that will help Maryland is faceoffs. If they can control X, they control time of possession and transition. That will put them in a good position to win the game. I think being how it’s going to so fast-paced and up and down, I think the faceoffs will be huge, and I think in a game like that, especially with two teams creating a lot of shots offensively, the goalie play is going to be huge. So look for the faceoff guys and the goalies to play a huge part in that game.

Can No. 7 seed Virginia handcuff junior attackman Rob Pannell of No. 2 seed Cornell?
He’s just such a dynamic player. Not only is he creating his own shot and scoring goals, but he makes everyone around him so much better. There’s really no way to stop him. you really need someone like a first All American, someone like a [Syracuse senior defenseman] John Lade to guard him. if you slide to him, he’ll find the open guy. If you don’t slide to him, he’ll just score. You need someone who can just take him one-on-one and put that guy on an island to cover him. But I don’t think Virginia has that guy. I look for them to play a lot of zone, which they did in the last game. And they didn’t look too hot in the zone. That’s something that they don’t do. For years, [coach Dom] Starsia has been a man-to-man guy, and you can tell that the guys didn’t really feel too comfortable in that. I also think with Virginia, there’s just so many distractions. No one’s even talking about the game. They’re talking about whether [senior midfielder Rhamel] Bratton’s playing or not. As a team, that wears on you. I’ve been on a team where we had guys in and out of the lineup for multiple reasons, and instead of talking about your matchup and game plan, you’re talking about whether X, Y and Z are playing. That wears on you, and it’s probably been wearing on those guys all year long. So it’s going to be a tough game for Virginia. I think Cornell comes in extremely confident. They’re playing their system extremely well, and like I said, with Pannell, there’s really nobody to match him up with one-on-one. He’s going to give them fits all day.

Which is more significant: No. 3 seed Johns Hopkins’ experience and tradition in the NCAA tournament or No. 6 seed Denver’s nothing-to-lose attitude?
Denver definitely has nothing to lose. They’ve already made huge strides by getting a home game in the first round. That’s a huge accomplishment for them and for the game of lacrosse. If you look at Hopkins, it’s the same old story. If you look at their defense, Coach [Dave] Pietramala does an unbelievable job year in and year out of playing that system. For Denver to score goals, it’s going to be tough. But Coach [Bill] Tierney knows Coach Pietramala pretty well from his days at Princeton and when they played similar styles. The quick-sliding defense, controlling possession, controlling the clock. He’s opened I up a little more in Denver since he got there, but it’ll be interesting to see what he does – whether he tries to run like he’s been doing all year or if he’s going to slow it down a little bit and go back to his old ways. I think it’ll be a good matchup, but I think you have to give the edge to Johns Hopkins because they have that tradition. In big games like that, that stuff plays a major role because you could be down by a goal or two or whatever is happening in the game, there’s always that belief. They always think they’re going to win, and when you play at a Hopkins or a Syracuse or a Virginia, no matter what goes on, you always that in the back of your mind, that you’re going to win. So I think that tradition will play a huge role, especially if the game’s tight late.
 
In the battle between No. 4 seed Notre Dame and No. 5 seed Duke, can Duke’s prolific offense solve the Fighting Irish’s stingy defense?
I always pick the defense over the offense, especially in a game like that. If you watch Notre Dame play, they’re very similar to Hopkins. They play their system so well. No matchup is a problem. They always have the answer. I think with Duke, the biggest question for them is in the goal. It’s something they’ve been dealing with all year. In big games, a goalie has to sometimes stand on his head and make a few saves. If Notre Dame is playing great defense and they’re controlling the clock and making some shots, it’s going to be huge for them. Duke’s offense is extremely dangerous. They like to push it in transition. If they’re going to be successful, you don’t want to play Notre Dame six-in-six. If you can make it a run-and-gun and get it up and down the field and use your long sticks, that’s when you’ll take the advantage., but if it gets to be a six-on-six game where it’s very controlled, sand they’re playing a slow style, that’s huge for Notre Dame. So if I was Duke – and I’m sure Coach [John] Danowski is talking to them – they want to get up and down, look for quick opportunities once you get the ball cleared.

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

May 19, 2011

Syracuse's T.Desko likely to miss quarterfinal vs. Maryland

Top-seeded Syracuse is expected to meet unseeded Maryland in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament without junior attackman Tim Desko.

Desko has missed the last seven contests because of an injury to his right knee and an infection in the tissue surrounding the knee. His father, John Desko who is the Orange’s head coach, did not sound optimistic that his son would be able to play against the Terps at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on Sunday.

“He just started practicing a little bit this week,” John Desko said. “But I don’t know. I think it would be probably overly optimistic to think that we’d see him out there, but it’s possible.”

Tim Desko, who had registered 16 goals and three assists in nine starts, has been replaced by junior Tom Palasek, who has totaled 12 goals and 11 assists in seven games.

Asked if Palasek had developed chemistry with senior Stephen Keogh and sophomore JoJo Marasco on the starting attack, Desko said, “I think so. What we had done when we had Tim was, he was the one lefty finisher and early in the year, was probably our best passing attackman. That gave us the ability to bring Tommy in and put JoJo up top in the midfield as a different look. Now we’ve been a little more consistent with those three on attack and bringing in [junior attackman] Collin Donahue at times. But Tommy’s done a very good job. I think last week, he was one and four, and he was in on three of the first four goals of the game. So his ability to find the open guys and create a little bit has certainly been a big help while Tim has been out.”

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

Battle for long-stick supremacy looms for Maryland's Farrell, Syracuse's White

There are so many tantalizing storylines peppered in Sunday’s NCAA tournament quarterfinal between top-seeded Syracuse and Maryland. One of those plotlines will center on the first-ever meeting between Terps senior long-stick midfielder Brian Farrell and Orange senior long-stick midfielder Joel White.

Widely regarded as two of the best to ever play the position, Farrell and White have never suited up against each other as Farrell missed the quarterfinal game between these teams in 2009 due to a cracked rib and punctured muscle near his lung.

Their strengths as defenders vary as much as their physical frames. Farrell, who stands at 6 feet, 5 inches and 240 pounds, is more offensive-minded, having recorded 28 goals and 20 assists in his career. The 6-1, 186-pound White is a vacuum for ground balls, collecting 278 and twice being named a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award, which is given to the nation’s top collegiate player.

Farrell, a Baltimore native and Boys’ Latin graduate, said he is looking forward to Sunday’s contest.

“Anytime you play a great player like Joel, it’s always a challenge, and you want to match up well against him,” Farrell said Wednesday morning. “… Actually, Joel is a good friend of mine. We really haven’t talked about the game yet, but he’s a good kid. We’ve always talked about how we wanted to play against each other because it was such a bummer that I didn’t get to play against him in 2009, but I would never want that to be the storyline. Joel is a great player, but we also have [sophomore] Jesse [Bernhardt], who I think is and is going to be one of the best long poles in the country.”

By the way, Farrell said he hopes he will not longer be asked about the hidden-ball trick with senior attackman Grant Catalino that led to junior midfielder Drew Snider’s goal late in the third quarter of Maryland’s 13-6 victory over No. 8 seed North Carolina in the first round on Sunday.

Farrell, who was a guest on ESPN’s First Take on Monday morning to talk about the play, said he is dismayed that the play has overshadowed the overall team effort against the Tar Heels.

“That was a neat experience, but the thing that’s a bummer about the whole thing is that it overlooks how well the whole team played,” he said. “People who don’t understand lacrosse see that and think, ‘Oh, that’s the reason why Maryland won,’ when that’s not the case at all. ‘Trickery Terps’ or ‘Terps trick UNC to win’ – that’s not it at all. That was a classic case of our team wanting it more than UNC and I think the score showed that.”

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

Salisbury advances to Final Four, but won't face expected rival

Salisbury’s 12-4 victory over Dickinson on Wednesday night guaranteed the program’s seventh trip in the last eight years to the NCAA Division III tournament semifinals. As a reward, not only do the Sea Gulls (19-1) get to host one-half of the Final Four on Sunday at 1 p.m., but they also won’t have to deal with Capital Athletic Conference rival Stevenson.

That’s because the Mustangs, ranked No. 3 in the most recent United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll, fell to No. 7 Roanoke, 13-12, in a tournament quarterfinal on Wednesday. Stevenson (18-3) had won three straight against the Maroons – including a 16-6 rout on March 16 – but Roanoke (17-3) returned the favor to extend its winning streak to 12.

In fact, the Maroons’ last loss took place on March 23 when Salisbury visited Donald J. Kerr Stadium in Salem, Va., and left with a 10-7 victory. Sea Gulls coach Jim Berkman told SFMSports.net after his team’s win against the Red Devils that Roanoke is a formidable opponent that will not be taken lightly.

“They’re a high-paced offense,” Berkman said. “They really attack the goal. They’ve got a great, senior-laden first midfield line, and they’ve got some solid defenders. And they’re very well-coached. Coach [Bill] Pilat has been there for a long time. We’re great friends, and he does a great job. They graduated 16 seniors and now they’re back in the semifinals. They’re a team that is much younger than the team that didn’t make it last year. So it’s a credit to him and his coaching job.”

Senior midfielder Shawn Zordani, who registered two goals and two assists in No. 1 Salisbury’s win despite playing with a torn left labrum, said the players learned of Stevenson’s ouster from the tournament before taking the field against No. 6 Dickinson (17-2), which had its 12-game winning streak snapped.

“We couldn’t help get the news just because the lacrosse world is so small and a couple of our coaches heard,” Zordani said. “The news spread quickly. We’re looking forward to a battle against Roanoke. They’ve improved greatly since the last time we’ve seen them. … We’re going to come out and do our best for one more win here at Sea Gull Stadium.”

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

May 18, 2011

Cummings, Catalino "good to go" for Maryland

As if their play in Maryland’s 13-6 win against No. 8 seed North Carolina in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday wasn’t indicative enough, senior attackman Grant Catalino and junior midfielder Joe Cummings are expected to play without any reservations against top-seeded Syracuse in the quarterfinals on Sunday.

Cummings, who missed the team’s regular-season finale against Colgate due to an injured right arm, did not start against the Tar Heels, but he did score a goal.

Terps coach John Tillman said Cummings could return to the starting lineup at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., but there’s also a chance that the first midfield of juniors Jake Bernhardt and Drew Snider and sophomore John Haus could remain together.

“Joe’s pretty much good to go,” Tillman said Wednesday morning. “So we’re pretty pumped. Nothing to hold him back. We don’t have to limit him. That was the funny thing coming out of the Duke game. His looked terrible and it seemed to be not the most complicated thing in the world, which was great. And again, we’ve mixed and matched all year. So you may see different combinations just based on who’s playing well together, and we may ride on the hot hand.”

Catalino also sat out the 10-8 loss to Colgate after breaking a bone in his hand, but he registered a goal and an assist against North Carolina. Catalino, who shares the team lead for goals (25) with Cummings, said his hand is at full strength.

“My hand’s back to 100 percent right now,” Catalino said. “It doesn’t affect me during the game, I’m practicing now. So everything’s fine. I’m just getting back to the rhythm of our offense. The hand’s fine.”

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:17 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland
        

Dickinson at Salisbury: Three things to watch

The NCAA Division III tournament quarterfinal between Dickinson and Salisbury is the first meeting between these teams. The Sea Gulls (18-1), ranked No. 1 in the most recent United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll, is the reigning Capital Athletic Conference tournament champion. The No. 6 Red Devils (17-1) have won 12 straight contests, including capturing the school’s first Centennial Conference tournament crown. A Salisbury victory would ensure a second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament semifinals. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at Sea Gull Stadium in Salisbury on Wednesday night.

1) Handcuff Dickinson’s offense. The Sea Gulls wrapped up the regular season with the fourth-stingiest defense in the country, surrendering just 5.5 goals per contest. That unit will get challenged by the Red Devils, who boast six players with at least 30 points or more and two more with at least 13 points. Salisbury coach Jim Berkman acknowledged that the defense must study and win its matchups. “They definitely have a real, real solid first midfield and a pretty good second midfield, but everybody that plays on that first midfield line is a threat,” Berkman said. “And then they’ve got a righty attackman, a lefty attackman and a crease guy, and all three of those players are pretty good players. But I think we’ve got some pretty good defensemen , too. So I think I like our match-ups. We know who they’ve got, and it’s up to us to stop them.”

2) Shrug off Dickinson’s pressure defense. The Red Devils aren’t quite as suffocating on defense as the Sea Gulls are, but they’re not exactly wallflowers either. Dickinson is allowing just 7.2 goals per game this season. Berkman pointed out that the Red Devils ask their defensive players to be aggressive and apply pressure to opposing ball carriers, who have coughed up the ball 203 times in 18 contests, an average of 11.3 caused turnovers per game. Berkman said Salisbury must withstand the pressure and then take advantage of gaps in the Dickinson defense. “They pressure the ball pretty good,” he said. “They’re pretty athletic on defense. If we don’t turn the ball and we get good shots, we should have some success, but they’ve definitely got some kids that can get the ball on the ground. … A lot of teams have turned the ball over against their pressure, and we can’t do that on Wednesday night.

3) Take advantage of faceoffs. The Red Devils don’t have many glaring vulnerabilities except for one: faceoffs. They are winning draws at a 47.5 success rate (177-of-373), which is an unusual number for a team that has lost just once all season. Junior Chip Murray (95-of-189 for .503) is Dickinson’s best faceoff specialist. That would seem to favor the Sea Gulls, who can send out either sophomore Tyler Granelli (178-of-268 for .664) or freshman Chris Turner (75-of-115 for .652). “Hopefully, that will be an advantage,” Berkman said. “I do know that they’ve had some trouble, but then they put their other defenseman up on the wing. He’s very athletic, so they’ve gotten the ball back when it’s on the ground. So it’s something else we’ve got to be aware of as we prepare for this game.”

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Salisbury, Three things to watch
        

Roanoke at Stevenson: Three things to watch

Stevenson owns a 3-1 lead in this series, including winning the last three meetings. The Mustangs, ranked No. 3 in the most recent United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll, tagged No. 7 Roanoke with its worst loss of the season, 16-6, on March 16. A Stevenson victory would guarantee a third consecutive appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament semifinals. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at Caves Athletic Complex in Owings Mills on Wednesday.

1) Lock down on defense (again). The Maroons (16-3) finished the regular season with the third-most prolific offense in the country. But a unit that averaged 16.2 goals per game was silenced by the Mustangs (18-2). Specifically, Stevenson limited four of Roanoke’s top five scorers – junior attackman Jeff Keating (80 points), sophomore attackman Richard Lachlan (64), senior midfielder Justin Tuma (52) and sophomore midfielder Mike Hayden (49) – to a combined two goals and zero assists. “I thought it was one of our better outings of the year,” Mustangs coach Paul Cantabene said. “I thought they did a great job of taking away the knowns, and I think we’re going to have to do that again this time. I think they’ve got some pretty talented players on the attack, especially inside. They’re a pretty dangerous team. They can go to the goal. We just have to do a nice job staying with them and understanding what their strengths and weaknesses are.”

2) Grip it and rip it. As good as Roanoke has been on offense this season, Stevenson has been even better, finishing the regular season ranked second after averaging 17.1 goals. The offense has outshot its opponents by an average of more than 33 attempts. The Mustangs torched the Maroons, 64-37, in the first meeting, and that occurred despite a sub-par outing for senior faceoff specialist Ray Witte, who won just 11-of-24 draws that day. Cantabene said he’d like to see the offense be just as opportunistic in the quarterfinals. “We controlled the ball on offense a lot, and we took some quality shots,” he said. “… So hopefully, we can do that again.”

3) Test the freshman. In the first contest, Stevenson chased sophomore goalkeeper Mike Hardon out of the net at halftime, but freshman Charles Pease didn’t fare much better, surrendering nine goals while making nine saves. Since that contest, the 6-foot, 190-pound Pease has been the starter, going 12-2. Cantabene said the Mustangs must attack Pease and make him feel uncomfortable. “He’s a big kid, and he’s got a pretty good stick, and he’s pretty athletic,” Cantabene said. “So I think he’s a pretty solid goalie. He’s a young kid though. So hopefully, we can get a few on him and see where his mindset is a little bit.”

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

Bucknell's Lyons: "No regrets" for missed opportunity

Bucknell’s record-setting season came to a heart-breaking end on Sunday when the Bison fell, 13-12, in overtime to No. 7 seed Virginia in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Bucknell squandered a two-goal lead in the final four minutes of regulation before Cavaliers sophomore attackman Matt White converted a feed from junior attackman Steele Stanwick with 2:33 left in overtime.

As disappointing as the ending was, Bison senior defenseman Alex Lyons said it wouldn’t dilute a campaign that included the school’s first Patriot League tournament championship and a record 14 victories.

“Honestly, we would have liked to have gone farther and win the national championship, which is the ultimate goal,” the Owings Mills native and Boys’ Latin graduate said. “All of the guys are really proud of what we did. We’re a really close team, and we’re never going to forget this. It’s been a really special season. So there’s no regrets.”

Bucknell qualified for the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2001 and made only the school’s second all-time appearance. But Lyons didn’t think the team’s lack of experience in the postseason played a role in the late collapse.

“We gave it all we got for as long as we had and maybe we made some poor decisions at the end, but I think we gave it all we had, and I think we just ran out of steam,” he said. “We got tired in the end. So I don’t think it came down to have experience in those situations. I think we just got tired in the end.”

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

Denver awaiting word on Baxter's status

No. 6 seed Denver isn’t sure whether senior attackman Todd Baxter will be able to suit up for Saturday’s NCAA tournament quarterfinal against No. 3 seed Johns Hopkins at James M. Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y.

Baxter, who has been an everyday starter alongside junior Mark Matthews and junior Alex Demopoulos, is dealing with a high right ankle sprain and partially torn knee ligament that sidelined him for the Pioneers’ 13-10 victory over Villanova in the first round this past Sunday.

“Todd, as he tells me, he gets better every day,” Denver coach Bill Tierney said during his weekly press conference with area media. “I know less than he knows and he knows a lot less than what the doctors know. So we’ll see.”

Without Baxter – who has registered 28 goals and 18 assists this season – the team turned to sophomore Eric Law, a transfer from Salisbury. Law contributed a goal and an assist against the Wildcats.

Tierney said despite not being able to play, Baxter hasn’t let his injuries prevent him from trying to assist the team.

“Todd’s been an inspiration,” Tierney said. “The first thing that Todd did Monday [last week] when he got out there on his crutches was to go to Eric Law and reassure Eric that he would be there for him. and he was all week. Eric’s a pretty talented kid anyway. We’re different without Todd. We lose a little bit of that – as [offensive coordinator Matt] Brown calls them – ‘energy goals,’ riding goals, those kinds of things. Whether Todd will be back or not, he probably wouldn’t be 100 percent. He’ll be an inspiration more than anything, and we’re hoping for good things to happen later in the week.”

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

Q&A with ESPN's Matt Ward

ESPN analyst and former Virginia All-American attackman Matt Ward provided analysis during No. 6 seed Denver’s 13-10 victory over Villanova in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday. The 2006 Tewaaraton Award winner discussed why it’s still fair to talk about parity in college lacrosse, why he’s interested in the Notre Dame-Duke quarterfinal, and why top-seeded Syracuse should beware of a potential upset.

With seven of the top eight seeds winning this past weekend and unseeded Maryland beating No. 8 seed North Carolina, is it fair to say that talk of parity in college lacrosse should stop?
No. I think this year is as wide open as any. If you take a look at the games, Duke-Delaware was very close. UVA was lucky in terms of getting out of Charlottesville with a win. Someone asked me to fill out a bracket, and I couldn’t tell you what was going to happen or who was going to win. I think you’re really going to see the parity this week in terms of anyone being able to beat anybody. It used to be where you could say that four teams were the elite. This year, the top eight are as even as I can remember. Any team can beat anyone to make it to the Final Four. So it’s going to definitely be a fun, interesting weekend.

What team impressed you the most this past weekend?
I think it was Maryland. When Maryland lost to Colgate and ended up not getting seeded and had to play North Carolina in the first round, I looked at Maryland and said, ‘That’s a top three team.’ I’ve thought that all year. They didn’t necessarily play brilliant every single day, but when they do, they’re as good as anybody. In the NCAA tournament, they’re bringing a focus, their hustle, their energy and their best game. When I saw that they had Syracuse, the No. 1 seed, I said, ‘Man, that’s a tough break for the No. 1 seed, to have to play that team in the quarterfinals.’ Maryland dominated possession of the ball against a very good faceoff guy in [freshman] R.G. Keenan of North Carolina. [Sophomore] Curtis Holmes for them has been phenomenal, and when they can do that, their defense is sound enough that they’re going to put on a lot of pressure, and they’re going to be tough to beat. In my opinion, they were the most impressive team.

What team in the quarterfinals has the most question marks?
I think you kind of have to look at Virginia, which is basically playing a very, very young team. We don’t know what’s going to happen with [senior midfielder] Rhamel [Bratton], and they’ve really had to lean on [junior attackman] Steele Stanwick. My concern there is Steele’s been battling a foot injury all year. How is that going to be handled as the pressure is notched up a level? Can they get production from their midfield? They’re playing a Cornell team that is as hot as any team in the country right now. [Junior] Rob Pannell on the offensive end is as good an attackman as I’ve seen in the last 10 years. The kid is an absolute stud. He can do it all. He can dodge, he can pass, he gets his teammates involved. He just has the perfect mix of skills to really dominate the college lacrosse landscape.

What quarterfinal game intrigues you?
I’m interested to see what happens between Duke and Notre Dame. It’s a re-match of a game earlier in the year, but I don’t think you can put a lot of stock in that. For whatever reason, Duke is a team where the first couple games of the season mean absolutely nothing. It looks like they don’t even scout those games. They just want to get out there and get the kids running and get a feel of what can do what in their schemes and then make the appropriate adjustments. If you look at them in the beginning of the year against Notre Dame, Christian Walsh and Jordan Wolf were not playing attack. They were coming out of the midfield, and they weren’t getting the production that they needed. Obviously, Coach [John] Danowski realized that he needed to put those two freshmen in, and they’ve had great freshmen campaigns. It’s a re-match of the national championship, but the game is going to be significantly different than it was earlier in the year. I think if you watched the Delaware game, in the first quarter of that game, Duke was dominant. I texted a bunch of people and said, ‘Man, Duke looks phenomenal.’ Then they just kind of lost their focus a little bit and let Delaware back into the game. If Duke comes out and plays the way they did in that first quarter, I think Notre Dame’s in a whole lot of trouble.

Which team in the quarterfinals should be on upset alert?
I would say Syracuse.  I think Syracuse has an unbelievable defense and has a lockdown defenseman in [senior John] Lade. [Senior] Joel White is as good as there is in the middle of the field with a long stick. [Senior goalkeeper John] Galloway is the Division I leader in wins, but Maryland’s not going to be intimidated by them. They’re going to go up and play their best game. To be honest, I don’t think either team is going to have an easy time of scoring on the other’s defense. If you watched Syracuse at the end of that game [10-4 win against Siena in the first round], Syracuse handled them, but they didn’t play as well as they had hoped. To me, the question is, who is going to run by an opposing defensive player? I don’t know that they have that consistent person. [Sophomore attackman] JoJo Marasco is good at it, but he’s not great. Their midfielders are all OK at it. They’re not the kind of middies who are going to take a pole and win that matchup. They’re very slick and very skilled, but when you have a good scheme on defense like Maryland does, it’s going to be very, very hard for them to get scoring opportunities.

Of the five finalists for the Tewaaraton Award – Syracuse senior goalkeeper John Galloway and senior long-stick midfielder Joel White, Army senior attackman Jeremy Boltus, Cornell junior attackman Rob Pannell and Virginia junior attackman Steele Stanwick – is Pannell your leading candidate to win the trophy given annually to college lacrosse’s top player?
I think it’s his award to lose at this point if you look at the body of work that he has. Nothing against Cornell’s team, but if you look at the roster, it’s not overwhelming with stud players. I think Rob makes them that much better and has taken them to the No. 2 seed on his shoulders. If you watch, every team focuses on stopping him, and yet he can’t be stopped. So in my opinion, it’s his award to lose at this point, and if he doesn’t get it, there may need to be an investigation.

Is there anyone you would have preferred to see as one of the finalists?
I think [Villanova senior long-stick midfielder] Brian Karalunas, with his body of work, should’ve been on that list. He deserved to be among the final five. I probably would’ve taken John Galloway out of it. I know John Galloway is a two-time national champion and the NCAA’s all-time leader in wins, but he’s middle-of-the-pack in terms of save percentage. That doesn’t measure the intangibles, which he has a ton of, but if a goalie’s going to be nominated for that award, I think he needs to be over 60 percent as a goalie and be a game-changer. I’m not sure John Galloway has been that this year.

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

May 17, 2011

Experience paves way for Stevenson

For the third time in as many seasons, Stevenson has reached the NCAA Division III tournament quarterfinals.

The Mustangs, who are ranked No. 3 in the most recent United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll, have made it out of this stage to the semifinals in their previous two trips. If a third appearance in the Final Four is in the cards, coach Paul Cantabene said the experience of playing in a tension-filled pressure cooker could be a huge benefit for Stevenson.

“We’ve been here for a couple years now, so I think they know what it takes to win these games, how to manage times, and how to go about it,” he said. “It’s tough when it’s your first time because you’re not sure what it’s all about. I think our guys understand that, and it’s a pretty motivated group, and hopefully, we’ll get a goal better.”

The Mustangs (18-2) will play host to No. 7 Roanoke, which has not lost since March 23.

But on March 16, the Maroons suffered their worst loss of the season when Stevenson paid them a visit and left with a 16-6 rout. Senior defenseman Kyle Menendez said the players aren’t banking on that result for Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Caves Athletic Complex in Owings Mills.

“I think the playoffs are just a different animal,” Menendez said. “I think everybody realizes that when you get to the playoffs, you just need to win however possible and move in. So I don’t think the score of our last performance matters. I think we’re happy that we played hard and we’re happy that our game plan worked. But besides that, I don’t think there’s a psychological advantage. We’ve just got to go out and play the game and get the win.”

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

Salisbury getting crash course in history

With Salisbury reaching the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division III tournament final, the temptation to eye a potential re-match with Capital Athletic Conference rival Stevenson in the semifinals is ripe.

But if the Sea Gulls, who are ranked No. 1 in the most recent United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll, are even remotely considering overlooking No. 6 Dickinson on Wednesday night, guess again.

Coach Jim Berkman has made it very clear that Salisbury can’t afford to look past the Red Devils after the Sea Gulls needed a goal with 33 seconds left in regulation and then another in overtime to escape Gettysburg, 12-11, in last year’s quarterfinals stage.

“I think our kids are excited about where we are and how much we’ve improved,” Berkman said. “They’re ready to seize the moment. They’ve been made well aware of how fortunate we were to get out of the quarterfinals with a one-goal, overtime win in a game that we shouldn’t have won. So they know how good everybody is, and we’ve got to take it and get it done on Wednesday night.”

Dickinson (17-1) should have the Sea Gulls’ full attention after winning 12 straight contests, including the Centennial Conference tournament crown for the first time in school history.

“They’ve been getting better and better ever since [coach] David Webster has been there,” Berkman said. “Last year, they broke through and got a couple of those schools up there, got a couple of good victories. They’ve added another good freshman class into the mix. They finally got Gettysburg this year, which was kind of the hurdle that they hadn’t gotten, and they got them twice.”

Salisbury hasn’t played too shabbily either, winning 18 of 19 games this season and knocking off Stevenson for the school’s 16th CAC tournament championship. Berkman credited the resurgence of the starting attack of juniors Matt Cannone, Eric Krum and Tony Mendes for sparking the offense over the past several weeks.

“I think our attack has come of age,” Berkman said. “We didn’t score a lot of goals early in the season, but those three are really starting to play well together, and we’re starting to generate some goals. They’ve moving the ball and really taking charge out there. Our attack is immensely improved from six weeks ago.”

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

Stanwick gets healthy at opportune time for Virginia

Steele Stanwick’s three-goal, five-assist display in Virginia’s first-round win against Bucknell in the NCAA tournament was no fluke.

The junior attackman who hails from Baltimore and graduated from Loyola dazzled and lifted the No. 7 seed Cavaliers to a 13-12 overtime victory over the Bison on Sunday because of improved health.

Stanwick injured his right foot in a win against Ohio State on March 19 and then was kneed in the left calf by a North Carolina defender in an overtime decision against the Tar Heels on April 9.

Stanwick, who has missed only one game, recently returned to practicing for the first time in a long while.

“He’s been playing the last six weeks basically on one good leg and hasn’t really been able to practice,” Virginia coach Dom Starsia said Monday. “But he came back to practice about two weeks ago. He’s not 100 percent, but he’s starting to feel a little bit better finally, and I think he realized that with the way we are right now offensively and personnel-wise, we just needed out attack to step up more. I think he’s been a little frustrated because he hasn’t been able to perform in games the way he felt like he should be and contribute as much in practice. … As we’ve had to re-tool offensively, it’s been hard not to have him with us. About two weeks ago, he decided that he was going to try to do more in practice in spite of the fact that he’s a little bit gimpy. So we don’t ask him to do everything that we do, but just having him out there has been good for my peace of mind, if nothing else.”

Speaking of Starsia, Sunday’s victory tied him with former Army coach Jack Emmer for the most wins by a coach on the Division I level. Naturally, Starsia tried to downplay his career record of 326-118.

“I think anybody would understand if I told you that I haven’t really had a lot of time to think about it,” he said. “It’s been a complicated endeavor over 37 years. It was really neat that Jack was here yesterday. For me, I think Jim Adams [of Army, Penn and Virginia] has held the record and Dick Garber [of Massachusetts] maybe and Jack Emmer. Those were the people that were my role models as I was growing up in coaching and to be on any list that includes those guys is a little bit humbling. When we have a little time to consider all this, we can think about it some more.”

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

May 16, 2011

Virginia's R.Bratton still in limbo

The status of senior midfielder Rhamel Bratton remains uncertain as No. 7 seed Virginia attempts to prepare for an NCAA tournament quarterfinal game against No. 2 seed Cornell on Sunday.

Bratton has sat out the team’s wins against Penn in the regular-season finale and Bucknell in the first round after the program suspended him indefinitely. His twin brother Shamel Bratton was dismissed from the team on April 29.

“It’s an ongoing discussion, and in a day or two, we’ll probably have that figured out,” Cavaliers coach Dom Starsia said Monday morning on Rhamel Bratton’s status.

Bratton’s availability for the quarterfinal against the Big Red at James M. Shuart Stadium at Hofstra in Hempstead, N.Y., could benefit Virginia. Bratton, who registered 17 goals and five assists, started on the first midfield with his brother and sophomore Colin Briggs and would bring an athletic element to the offense.

ESPN analyst Quint Kessenich said the Cavaliers might welcome another weapon in the midfield after that unit accounted for just three goals in the team’s 13-12 overtime win against Bucknell on Sunday.

“Of the 13 goals they scored the other day, I believe 10 came from their attack,” Kessenich said Monday morning. “They got tremendous production from the attack. [Junior] Chris Bocklet made some shots that were just ridiculous, and [junior] Steele Stanwick is one of the great clutch players that we’ve seen in the last decade or so. I like the fact that they got to 13 goals without [senior midfielder] Rhamel Bratton in the lineup, but they are certainly a goal-or-two underdog in this re-match with Cornell.”

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:07 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Maryland's Catalino, Cummings underwent operations

After Maryland’s 13-6 thumping of No. 8 seed North Carolina in an NCAA tournament first-round game on Sunday in Chapel Hill, N.C., Terps coach John Tillman revealed that both senior attackman Grant Catalino (broken bone in hand) and junior midfielder Joe Cummings (right arm) underwent surgeries for their respective injuries.

Tillman made the admission while answering a question posed by ESPN analyst Paul Carcaterra about the two-goal, three-assist showing by senior attackman Ryan Young.

“I think our MVP might be Amelia Sesma, our trainer,” Tillman said during a video posted on ESPN's website. “Those guys both had surgery in the last two weeks, and it was up to game time to figure out whether Grant was going to play, and we were lucky to have him. So that was a big, big thing.”

Catalino took his usual place beside Young and sophomore Owen Blye as the starting attackmen and finished with one goal on six shots and one assist. Cummings did not start, but scored a goal.

Barring a setback, it would appear that Catalino and Cummings, who share the team lead for goals with 25 each, will play when Maryland meets top-seeded Syracuse in a quarterfinal on Sunday at 12 p.m. at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:27 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland
        

Q&A with ESPN's Quint Kessenich

ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins All-American goalie Quint Kessenich spent the past weekend in the studio of ESPNU in Charlotte, N.C., watching every NCAA tournament first-round contest and participating in an online chat. On Monday afternoon, he will film a one-hour show wrapping up the first round and looking ahead to next weekend’s quarterfinals, each of which he will provide color commentary. Kessenich spoke Monday morning about the favorites’ ability to weather the storm, a team in the quarterfinals that is most troubled, and a snub for the Tewaaraton Award finalists.

Although seven of the eight seeded teams won their first-round games, some of them – No. 2 Cornell, No. 3 Johns Hopkins, No. 6 Denver and No. 7 Virginia – trailed either in the first quarter or at halftime. What did that suggest to you?
The theme was close games at halftime, and then adjustments and superior talent came through in the second half. Villanova led [Denver], 8-5, [in the third quarter] and Hartford led [Cornell], 3-1, [in the first quarter]. Bucknell led 4-1 early [against Virginia], and even Penn clawed back to keep the game within reach prior to halftime [against No. 4 seed Notre Dame] and Hofstra jumping out [against Johns Hopkins], 2-0. That was the theme, and the reason for that, to me, was that the teams between nine and 16 are very talented. They were excited and amped up to play, and they came out swinging. When the favored team dealt with that first flurry and settled down, they made their adjustments, found their strides, and then got rolling. In all those cases, you saw those teams in the second half play their best game, and the emotion was taken out of the equation. … To me, a bunch of those teams played really well for about a half or 45 minutes. I thought Maryland played the best 60-minute game, and now going forward into the quarterfinal round where all of these games look like one-goal games on paper, you’re going to have to play 60 minutes because if you do come out flat and the other team jumps on you, 4-0, you might not recover.

With seven of the eight seeded teams winning, what does that say about parity in college lacrosse?
When they talk about parity, to me, parity exists between teams 12 to 35 now. To me, the top teams are still the top teams. We could see upsets of the top teams, but 12 to 35 is absolute chaos. When a team like Siena can beat Rutgers or Robert Morris can beat Bucknell, there’s not much difference between teams 12 to 35. I still think this quarterfinal group has earned its separation from the pack, but beyond them, teams like Colgate and Harvard that didn’t get into the tournament are at equal quality with the teams that lost this weekend.

What team impressed you with its performance this past weekend?
I thought Delaware in its loss [to No. 5 seed Duke] was explosive offensively. I was impressed with what Bucknell brought to the table, and aside from not playing enough guys and getting tired, their offense is about as good as I’ve seen all year. From a winning standpoint, Hopkins continues to win using its formula of faceoff success, ground ball play and goaltending. Duke’s formula is pretty simple right now. They’re going to score in transition, and they’re going to score in the half-field set. I’ve got questions going forward because of their defense and their goaltending. And I like the way Notre Dame responded coming off of back-to-back losses to Syracuse and North Carolina. I thought they responded and jumped on Penn, 4-0, and that’s what you hope to see if you’re a Fighting Irish fan.

Is it fair to say that Virginia is the team in the quarterfinals with the most cause for concern?
I have concerns with different aspects of every team in the field, but certainly, Virginia’s defense is a concern right now and so is their lack of midfield production. Of the 13 goals they scored the other day, I believe 10 came from their attack. They got tremendous production from the attack. [Junior] Chris Bocklet made some shots that were just ridiculous, and [junior] Steele Stanwick is one of the great clutch players that we’ve seen in the last decade or so. I like the fact that they got to 13 goals without [senior midfielder] Rhamel Bratton in the lineup, but they are certainly a goal-or-two underdog in this re-match with Cornell.

Is there one game in the quarterfinals that you will have most interest in watching?
I’m looking forward to all of them. The Maryland-Syracuse game is a game that I would have said would be a national semifinal or a championship game. Now it’s a quarterfinal game, and that’s about as good of a quarterfinal game as you’ll ever get. I’m interested to see Johns Hopkins-Denver. They met back in 1998, but this is Denver’s first quarterfinal appearance. Johns Hopkins has appeared in 29 quarterfinals. So it’s kind of like the new kid on the block versus the established power. Notre Dame-Duke is a re-match of the championship game, and then Virginia-Cornell features two of the more dominant programs in the last 10 years. So I think from top to bottom, this is the best quarterfinals that I’ve ever been involved with, and I’ve been doing games since 1995 for ESPN.

Are Denver and Virginia impacted by having a short week of practice after playing on Sunday and then playing on Saturday?
Yes. The way the brackets work out this year, you had Johns Hopkins winning on Saturday, which allowed them to fly out to Denver and scout that game in person. Denver has got to fly east and play on Saturday after a Sunday game. So in Denver’s case, it’s probably the toughest scenario. They walk off the field on Sunday night, they’re going to give them Monday off, and then they’ve got Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to practice. They’ve got a short week, and the same thing with Virginia. I think for both Coach [Dom] Starsia [of Virginia] and Coach [Bill] Tierney [of Denver], there’s a legitimate gripe. I would think that the remedy is to keep those games on the same day, but unfortunately, it didn’t work out. But that is a slight advantage for Cornell and for Hopkins. And extra day of rest and an extra day of preparation.

The five finalists for the Tewaaraton Award, which is annually given to the top collegiate player, are Syracuse senior goalkeeper John Galloway and senior long-stick midfielder Joel White and Army attackman Jeremy Boltus. The juniors are Cornell attackman Rob Pannell and Virginia attackman Steele Stanwick. What are your thoughts on the finalists?
To me, the award runs through Rob Pannell. It’s his for the taking. Steele Stanwick is maybe making a late run now, although Virginia would need to make the national championship game. And then John Galloway, if Syracuse runs the table and John Galloway stands on his head, I could make an argument for him. But to me, Rob Pannell, you may as well just start engraving his name on the trophy with what he’s done this year. I was surprised that [junior attackman] Mark Matthews of Denver was not in the running. To me, if you watch Denver on tape and you see the numbers that this kid has put up, to me, he’s a top-five player. I would have replaced Joel White with Mark Matthews.

I thought that with Army not qualifying for the postseason, Boltus was a curious selection.
He put up great numbers and was a huge part of Army’s offense. I had him as a top-five player, and so I can’t argue with that. It was a disappointing season for Army, but to no fault of Jeremy’s. He’s an excellent player.

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:44 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Q&A
        

Tewaaraton Award finalists announced

Lost in the hoopla preceding the NCAA tournament first-round games over the weekend was the announcement of the five finalists for the Tewaaraton Award, which is annually given to the top collegiate player.

Inside Lacrosse has the list, which includes three seniors and two juniors.

The seniors are Syracuse goalkeeper John Galloway and long-stick midfielder Joel White and Army attackman Jeremy Boltus. The juniors are Cornell attackman Rob Pannell and Virginia attackman Steele Stanwick.

Many of the ESPN analysts whom I pester for their perspective on the sport – former Johns Hopkins All-American goalie Quint Kessenich, former Syracuse All-American midfielder Paul Carcaterra and former Johns Hopkins midfielder Mark Dixon – have said that the award is Pannell’s to lose.

Pannell finished the regular season as the only player in Division I averaging more than five points per game (5.47), and he also ranked second in assists (3.00) and ninth in goals (2.47).

Stanwick, a Baltimore native and Loyola graduate, was eighth in points (3.77), and Galloway was fourth in goals-against average (6.77) and 11th in save percentage (.567).

The surprises were the inclusion of both White and Boltus. White is widely regarded as the top player at this position, but a case could be made that Villanova senior Brian Karalunas or Georgetown senior Barney Ehrmann were just as imposing as White. And White’s average of 1.53 caused turnovers per game is lower than that of teammates John Lade (1.62) and Brian Megill (1.60).

Boltus led the nation in assists per game (3.07) and ranked third in points (4.67), but Army did not qualify for the postseason. A candidate’s full season must be taken into account, and that should include the NCAA tournament. (Full disclosure: Kessenich did not agree and said he had no problem keeping Boltus among the finalists).

Of the other candidates who were on list of 25 potential finalists when it was released for public consumption on April 18, I would’ve gone with Duke senior attackman Zach Howell and Maryland senior attackman Ryan Young.

Howell leads the Blue Devils, the reigning NCAA champions, in both goals (42) and points (58). Young is pacing the Terps in both assists (24) and points (43).

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:29 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Maryland
        

Salisbury, Stevenson prep for matchups in NCAA quarterfinals

Like their Division I brethren, Salisbury and Stevenson are fully aware of their opponents in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals on Wednesday.

The Sea Gulls, ranked No. 1 in the most recent United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll, will play host to No. 6 Dickinson at Sea Gull Stadium in Salisbury at 7:30 p.m.

Salisbury (18-1) is the reigning Capital Athletic Conference tournament champion – for the 16th time in the school’s history – and hasn’t lost since dropping a 16-12 decision to Stevenson on April 16, which was the regular-season finale for both teams.

Like the Sea Gulls, the Red Devils have suffered just one setback, losing to Skidmore, 9-7, on March 16. Since then, Dickinson (17-1) has won 12 straight contests, including capturing the school’s first Centennial Conference tournament crown.

This will be the first meeting between Salisbury and the Red Devils.

No. 3 Stevenson will welcome No. 7 Roanoke to the Caves Athletic Complex in Owings Mills at 4 p.m.

The Mustangs are 18-2 and have won the last three meetings with the Maroons, including a 16-6 pasting on March 16 in Roanoke territory.

The Maroons (16-3) have not lost since March 23 when Salisbury applied a 10-7 victory. Since then, Roanoke claimed the Old Dominion Athletic Conference tournament title – the program’s 17th such championship – but the Maroons have been forced to play two games to reach this spot. Stevenson enjoyed a first-round bye.

If Salisbury and Stevenson win, they would meet on Sunday in the national semifinals for the second consecutive year. The Sea Gulls won last season’s tilt, 14-13, in overtime to advance to the tournament final where they fell to Tufts, 10-6.

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

May 15, 2011

Quarterfinals set for Johns Hopkins, Maryland

Johns Hopkins and Maryland found out Sunday whom they will meet in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals next weekend.

The Blue Jays, the third seed in the tournament, will face No. 6 seed Denver on Saturday at James M. Shuart Stadium at Hofstra in Hempstead, N.Y., at 2:30 p.m. The contest will be the back end of a doubleheader featuring No. 2 seed Cornell (14-2) and No. 7 seed Virginia (10-5), which begins at 12 p.m.

The Pioneers overcame a 7-5 deficit at halftime to win, 13-10, against Villanova on Sunday evening.

Johns Hopkins (13-2) took care of Hofstra, 13-5, on Saturday and will meet the Denver (14-2) for only the second time in the schools’ histories. It will be the first meeting since Bill Tierney left Princeton for the Pioneers, and Tierney and Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala are close friends.

Johns Hopkins has won eight games in a row, not having lost since March 19 when it was edged by Syracuse, 5-4, in double overtime. But Denver has been even hotter, winning 11 straight contests since falling to Notre Dame, 10-9, on March 12.

The Terps will take on Syracuse, the top seed and prohibitive favorite, on Sunday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., at 12 p.m. That contest is the first of a doubleheader that includes No. 4 seed Notre Dame and No. 5 Duke clashing at 2:30 p.m.

The Orange (14-1) thumped Siena, 10-4, on Sunday night. Syracuse is 6-8 overall against Maryland, but 4-2 in the tournament against the Terps, including 4-1 in the last five meetings. The Orange defeated Maryland, 11-6, in the quarterfinal round of the 2009 tournament.

Maryland (11-4) routed No. 8 seed North Carolina, 13-6, on Sunday.  The Terps, who were unseeded despite winning the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championship, are the only unseeded team left in the tournament field.

Maryland is seeking its first appearance in the national semifinals since 2006.

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:52 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland
        

Maryland at North Carolina: Three things to watch

These Atlantic Coast Conference rivals meet in the first round of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1998 when Duke edged North Carolina, 16-14. Maryland (10-4) has won 15 of the last 19 meetings in this series, but eight of those contests have been decided by one goal, including the Terps’ 7-6 decision against the Tar Heels (10-5) in an ACC tournament semifinal on April 22. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Sunday.

1) Drum up the O. Maryland’s final game of the regular season was a 10-8 setback to Colgate that probably cost the team a top-eight seed and a home contest in the first round. Part of the offense’s futility stemmed from the absences of senior attackman Grant Catalino (broken bone in hand) and junior midfielder Joe Cummings (right arm), both of whom are tied for the team lead in goals (24). Even if both players return, they might not be fully healthy, which will mean that other players will have to fill the void. Senior attackman Ryan Young is confident that they can fulfill the task. “Obviously, you’re going to miss running your offense without your two top goal scorers, but our team is, I feel, the deepest team in Division I with great backups at all the positions,” Young said. “Once we get them back, it’s just going to help us out even more.”

2) Solve the zone. The Terps rank 12th in Division I in scoring (11.1 goals per game), but their two lowest outputs of the season have occurred against North Carolina, which surrendered six goals in a five-goal victory on March 26 and seven in the ACC tournament. The Tar Heels have flustered Maryland by playing zone, shutting off the Terps opportunities on the inside and daring them to shoot from the outside. Maryland coach John Tillman said he wasn’t sure whether North Carolina would stick with that formula or go back to a more traditional, man-to-man scheme. “We’re prepared regardless,” he said. “We’ve seen zone in almost every game, and the way some people play, it’s very similar to man-to-man anyway. so you have a lot of the same principles. We’re just going to take it as it comes. … If they want to do that, we’ll just hold onto the ball longer, and that’s great.”

3) Rely – and help out – Holmes. The Terps and North Carolina have relied on sophomore Curtis Holmes and freshman R.G. Keenan, respectively, for faceoffs, and both have excelled. Holmes ranks ninth in the nation with a .612 percentage (172-of-181), while Keenan is 10th with a .611 percentage (185-of-303). They split 16 draws in the ACC tournament meeting, but in the regular-season meeting, Holmes went 15-of-20 and Keenan went 5-of-19 as Maryland’s players on the wings used their physicality to aid Holmes. Could a similar formula be in the playbook? “That will be a battle, obviously,” Tillman said. “Everything around them will be important, too. But after every goal, there will be a chance for a make-it, take-it situation, and that helps.”

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland, Three things to watch
        

May 14, 2011

Mollison, Schawarzmann, Gavin named Tewaaraton finalists

Maryland's Sarah Mollison and Katie Schwarzmann and Loyola's Grace Gavin have been named among five finalists for the 2011 Tewaaraton Trophy as the best college women's lacrosse player in 2011.

Mollison, a senior attacker; Schwarzmann, a sophomore midfielder; and Gavin, a senior midfielder/attacker; were joined by Duke junior midfielder/attacker Emma Hamm and Northwestern midfielder/attacker Shannon Smith as finalists for the Trophy to be awarded, along with the men's trophy, June 2 at the Warner Theater in Washington, D.C.

Maryland's Caitlin McFadden won last season's trophy after leading the Terps to its first national championship since 2001. The Terps' Jen Adams, now the Loyola coach, won the inaugural trophy in 2001.

Loyola has never had a winner and Gavin is only the second Tewaaration finalist from Loyola.

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 11:20 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Women's lacrosse
        

Hofstra at Johns Hopkins: Three things to watch

Although Johns Hopkins dropped Hofstra from the regular-season schedule after the 2010 campaign, the NCAA selection committee ensured that the teams would continue their series with this first-round contest in the NCAA tournament. The visiting Pride (13-2) has split the last six meetings against the Blue Jays, but Johns Hopkins (12-2) has won all four games in the NCAA tournament, including a 10-4 thumping in 2008. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at Homewood Field in Baltimore on Saturday.

1) Look out for No. 14. Hofstra is averaging more than 10 goals per game this season thanks to the play of senior attackmen Jay Card (28 goals and 15 assists) and Jamie Lincoln (29, 10). But senior attackman Stephen Bentz (23, 14) is just as potent, and Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala said he is trying to make sure the defensemen are aware of No. 14’s presence. “While Card and Lincoln are a little more similar – one’s a lefty and one’s a righty – I think Stephen Bentz is probably the perfect complement to those guys,” Pietramala said. “I think he’s a guy that does a little bit of everything. He feeds the ball, he can finish, he can dodge. So I actually think he’s the perfect complement to those two goal scorers. I think they make him better and he certainly allows them play and succeed in the areas that they do well.”

2) Possession = opportunities. Coaches tend to emphasize that teams that win the possession usually find themselves on the positive end of outcomes. One element of possessions is faceoffs, and Saturday’s contest features two of the best at that aspect. Johns Hopkins senior Matt Dolente leads Division I in faceoff percentage (.673 on 165-of-245), but Pride sophomore John Antoniades has been nearly as prolific, ranking third (.661 on 170-of-257). Both are scrappy, undersized players who use their speed and toughness to their advantage. Hofstra coach Seth Tierney said the coaching staff has spent a lot of time studying film on Dolente. “Obviously, Matt Dolente has had a different year this year than last year,” Tierney said. “So we’re watching film on him now to see what has changed. We’re hopeful that we’ll have a game plan and that John will have a good day against him.”

3) Battle of the middies. ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins midfielder Mark Dixon said the key will be which midfield can assert itself. Both teams’ midfields have taken a back seat to their respective attacks in terms of points and attention, but the play of the Blue Jays’ starting trio of sophomores John Ranagan (17 goals and 12 assists) and John Greeley (12, 12) and freshman Rob Guida (10, 1) and the Pride’s threesome of sophomore Ian Braddish (16, 16) and juniors Kevin Ford (15, 10) and Brad Loizeaux (5, 4) could play an important role in the teams’ performances. “I guess with both of these teams, the middies are a little less heralded compared to the numbers that the attacks are putting up,” Pietramala said. “But what I would tell you is the midfielders for both teams are no less important. Both teams thrive on the midfielders’ abilities to dodge and create slides. So obviously, the midfielders will play a critical role for both teams.”

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Three things to watch
        

May 13, 2011

Stevenson on the mend at the right time

Not having played since walloping Denison, 14-2, on April 30, Stevenson has used the nearly two weeks off wisely.

Senior attackman Jimmy Dailey (swollen elbow) and junior goalkeeper Ian Bolland (sore thumb) have improved, and while senior attackman Richie Ford still isn’t 100 percent after injuring his groin in a 14-13 loss to No. 7 Tufts on March 23, the Mustangs are feeling much healthier, according to coach Paul Cantabene.

“We’re pretty healthy for this time of the year,” he said. “We’re always going to have nicks and bruises. So we don’t have any excuses.”

Stevenson’s postseason begins Saturday when Cabrini visits Caves Athletic Complex in Owings Mills at 1 p.m. The Cavaliers thrashed Widener, 16-9, on Wednesday night and improved to 13-5.

But Cabrini’s last two tournament appearances have ended in the second round at the hands of the Mustangs, who beat the Cavaliers, 8-7, in 2009 and, 19-9, in 2010.

“It’s always nice when you’ve beaten a team in the past, but I think each year, the NCAA tournament is its own animal and each team gets new players and stuff,” Cantabene said. “We watched them play yesterday against Widener. They’ve got some good offensive guys and a solid goalie and some really good D guys. So we think it’s going to be a pretty good game.”

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

Second-round opponent no stranger to Salisbury

In the second round of the NCAA tournament, Salisbury meets a team that did this season what the Sea Gulls couldn’t do last May.

On Saturday, Endicott visits Salisbury, the No. 1 ranked team in Division III in the latest United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association. One of the Gulls’ 16 wins include a 9-8 decision against Tufts on April 12. Tufts defeated the Sea Gulls, 9-6, to capture the national championship a year ago.

Salisbury coach Jim Berkman, who watched Endicott edge Springfield, 6-5, in the first round on Wednesday, was very well aware of the Gulls (16-4), the Commonwealth Coast Conference tournament champions.

“Endicott beat Tufts,” Berkman said. “They’ve had a great season. They beat Western New England for the championship the other day.

“We’re playing a team in the second round that … beat Tufts, is 16-4, and has got a great resume,” he continued. “If we take care of business there, then we could play a team that has just one loss in Dickinson. And if we take care of that business and Stevenson takes care of their half, we could be playing a team for the third time again. And at one time or another, we were both No. 1 in the country. … We didn’t get any favors.”

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

Older brother's counsel contributed to Gvozden's rise at Hofstra

Hofstra junior goalie Andrew Gvozden has enjoyed a breakout season, leading his Division I peers in goals-against average (5.70) and ranking second in save percentage (.621).

Gvozden, a Severna Park native and graduate, has rebounded from a sophomore campaign in which he split 14 starts with then-freshman Rob Bellairs, giving cause for analysts to question the strength of the Pride’s candidacy to challenge for the national championship.

Gvozden said his acclimation to playing in the cage was accelerated by conversations with his older brother Michael, who was a three-year starting goalkeeper for Johns Hopkins from 2008-10.

“He kind of prepped me going into it, about all of the pressure, how different it was from high school ball, and how it’s more based on your reactions and your body positioning rather than just talent alone,” Andrew Gvozden said. “So he really prepped me more on the mental aspects of being a college goalie.”

Michael Gvozden, the defensive coordinator for the Loyola Marymount men’s club lacrosse team and an assistant coach for the Beverly Hills High School girls lacrosse team, said his conversations with his brother were rooted in his experience in his final year with the Blue Jays when he made the team’s first eight starts before giving way to then-freshman Pierce Bassett.

“I think he benefited a lot from what happened to me,” Michael Gvozden said. “The way things ended for me helped put things in perspective for him. We talk about that all the time, and I am so proud of the kid. It’s great seeing somebody who wasn’t highly touted coming out of high school, who wasn’t highly touted when he got recruited and now he’s just blowing up.”

Hofstra coach Seth Tierney said Andrew Gvozden, who previously played in the shadow of his older brother, has garnered his own spotlight.

“He’s a guy who comes from Severna Park, and I think some people had questions of him because at that point in time, he wasn’t Andrew Gvozden. He was Mike Gvozden’s little brother,” Tierney said. “Now he’s Andrew Gvozden, and I think Michael Gvozden is Andrew’s older brother. The fact remains that they’re two very talented goalies who have had two good careers and experiences, but they’re two different people.”

Andrew Gvozden will try to help the Pride defeat Johns Hopkins on Saturday in an NCAA tournament first-round game. But he dismissed any notion that he is seeking to punish the Blue Jays for their treatment of his older brother.

“I’m not putting it as me trying to beat my brother’s alma mater or anything like that,” Andrew Gvozden said. “I am excited to go home and get to play in front of my friends and family. The last time I was there was the first time I ever played against my brother. So I always wanted to get another shot to play there. So I’m thrilled.”

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

Hopkins' Bassett not running to stand still

ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins midfielder Mark Dixon, who will provide commentary for NCAA tournament first-round contests involving Hartford at No. 2 Cornell on Saturday and Siena at No. 1 Syracuse on Sunday, noticed something unusual about Pierce Bassett of Johns Hopkins.

When the ball is in the Blue Jays’ offensive side of the field during games, Bassett, the junior sophomore goalkeeper, can sometimes be found running a few sprints between the cage to the top of the box.

Bassett said he’s been doing that since his days at Brophy Prep in Arizona.

“It’s something to keep my heart rate up and keep myself in the game so that I don’t get cold,” he said. “That way, if the ball comes back on the defensive end, you’re ready.”

Bassett said he doesn’t overly exert himself during those runs. “It’s usually a light jog back and forth just to keep the heart going,” he said. “Earlier in the season when it was cold, I would run a little bit more just because I was trying to keep warm.”

That example illustrates Bassett’s desire to improve himself as a goalie for Johns Hopkins. Bassett ranks third in Division I in goals-against average (6.71) and sixth in save percentage (.586) and has taken to studying film, working in practice, and improving his conditioning to become a better player.

“Pressure’s what you put on yourself, and Pierce is a guy who puts a lot of pressure on himself to succeed,” coach Dave Pietramala said. “I remember walking out of a game, and I thought he played a pretty solid game. He looked at me and said, ‘I need to play better. I’ll be better the next time around.’ So he’s a young man who’s got high expectations of himself – although he doesn’t necessarily communicate that to everybody.”

A productive regular season doesn’t necessarily translate into a successful postseason. Bassett, who said he committed to the Blue Jays because in part of their legacy of producing All-American goalies like Larry Quinn, Jesse Schwartzman and Brian Carcaterra, said he understands what is being asked of him as Johns Hopkins plays host to Hofstra on Saturday in an NCAA tournament first-round contest.

“We as a defense know what we have to do,” Bassett said. “We’re a team, and one aspect of the game isn’t going to win or lose a game. Personally, I know that I have to play well, but I know that the offense, the middies, faceoffs, the defense, they’re all working just as hard and playing their hardest. It’s not going to come down to one aspect of the game, but I always strive to put my best foot forward.”

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

Coaching changes signal potential, pitfalls of college lacrosse

There’s an illuminating article on Laxmagazine.com written by former Sun writer Gary Lambrecht about how the parting of ways between Towson and former head coach Tony Seaman and Navy and former head coach Richie Meade within a span of three hours on Monday afternoon was symptomatic of the necessary evils of the growth of college lacrosse.

While Denver begins to rival Baltimore and Long Island as a hotbed, every game in the NCAA tournament is broadcast on ESPN’s network of channels, and high-profile coaches get paid handsomely for their efforts, Lambrecht wrote that there is a dark side: the rise of a win-now atmosphere that could cost coaches their jobs and players their mentors.

Maryland coach John Tillman said the demand to mine success immediately in sports mirrors that attitude in society.

“We live in a now society,” said Tillman, who replaced Dave Cottle after he was dismissed by the administration despite a 99-45 record in nine seasons with the Terps and seven consecutive years of at least 10 wins. “Everybody wants everything now – fast food, microwaves, On Demand. You can get what you want pretty quickly. And all of us are competitive in everything that we do, and that includes athletic departments. Lacrosse is starting to become a sport that’s on TV a lot. As our athletic director and president like to say, athletics can be the front porch to your house. When people see that front porch and that front porch looks pretty nice, it may change some people’s opinions on the house.”

Stevenson coach Paul Cantabene, who could be a candidate for the Towson vacancy, said the pressure to produce positive results can come at the expense of building programs and fostering relationships.

“I think with the way the landscape of Division I lacrosse has gone, especially in football and basketball, teams want to win,” Cantabene said. “They see other schools doing well, they’re building facilities, putting more money into their programs, and they want to see the fruits of their labor. It’s important to them, and they want somebody who can possibly bring in some energy. So they’re willing to make changes in order for the program to be successful.”

But as Tillman pointed out, the coaches want to be successful and don’t need benchmarks from the administration to motivate them.

“I think all of us that truly want to be great at what we do, we put more pressure on ourselves than anybody could put, and we’re very driven,” he said. “But we’re also guys that want to do things the right way, and we’re not going to take shortcuts. So we’re going to do the best we can – given what the rules and regulations are and what’s right for the young men in our locker room. But we all are competitive. We all want to be successful, but I think some schools, they might not be quite as patient as maybe they used to be because they see that the sport is so much more visible.”

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

May 12, 2011

Terps' Mollison, Reese win ACC honors

Maryland senior Sarah Mollison was named the Atlantic Coast Conference women's lacrosse Player of the Year Thursday, and Terrapins coach Cathy Reese was honored as Coach of the Year for the third straight time.

Mollison, an attacker from Australia, scored a goal in every game this season and had three or more in 15 games in leading the No. 1 Terrapins to an 18-1 record and the top seed in the NCAA Division I tournament. She ranks second in the ACC in assists and points averages. She has scored in 64 straight games and ranks seventh on the Terps' all-time points list and third on their assists list.

Reese, a former All-Metro Player of the Year at Mount Hebron and All-American at Maryland, earned her fourth Coach of the Year honor in five years as Terps coach. Her record at Maryland is 95-10, and she is 22-3 in ACC competition. This year, she led the Terps to their third straight ACC title.

North Carolina's Abbey Friend was named the Rookie of the Year.

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 9:19 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Women's lacrosse
        

Bucknell seeking to upset Virginia and predictions

Bucknell and Syracuse lead Division I in victories this season with 14 each, but unlike the top-seeded Orange, the Bison – who are making their first appearance in the NCAA tournament since 2001 – aren’t expected by many to contend for the national championship.

In fact, Bucknell (14-2) is widely regarded as the overwhelming underdog in a first-round contest against No. 7 seed Virginia (9-5) on Sunday – which suits senior defenseman Alex Lyons just fine.

“I guess they’re not really familiar with our program,” the Owings Mills native and Boys’ Latin graduate said Wednesday of analysts who have already penciled in the Cavaliers for the quarterfinal round. “Maybe they’re just looking at how this is our first year in a long time in making the tournament. They can think what they want, but I guess we’ll find out on Sunday.”

The Bison qualified for the postseason after walloping Colgate, 10-3, in the Patriot League tournament final, capturing the program’s first conference title. Picked to finish third in the league in the preseason, Bucknell went wire-to-wire as the conference’s leader.

“It was pretty amazing,” said Lyons, who leads the team in caused turnovers (26) and ranks second in ground balls (62). “It was our No. 1 goal for the whole time, to win the Patriot League tournament because we had never done that before. We’ve worked really hard this season. It was awesome.”

The Bison haven’t played since winning the Patriot League crown on May 1, but Lyons said he and his teammates are eager to take the field against Virginia in Charlottesville.

“They’re a great program, but I think we match up well, and we’re excited to play them on Sunday,” Lyons said. “I think we have a good chance.”

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

Maryland's Catalino and Cummings back at practice, but status still unclear

Senior attackman Grant Catalino and junior midfielder Joe Cummings returned to practice earlier this week, but their availability for Maryland’s showdown with No. 8 seed North Carolina in the NCAA tournament first round on Sunday is still unclear.

“We got back on the practice field on Monday. But they’re out there on the field with us,” Terps coach John Tillman said Wednesday. “What they’re doing, I’ll kind of keep under my hat here, but they’re out there with us.”

Catalino (broken bone in hand) and Cummings (right arm) sat out the team’s 10-8 loss to No. 13 Colgate in their regular-season finale on Saturday. But Tillman sounded optimistic that Catalino and Cummings, who are tied for the team lead in goals with 24 each, are making progress.

“Will they be ready by Sunday? Good question. I’m trying to figure that out,” Tillman said. “And I’ve got to think about their long-term health and not just the short term. Most young guys live in the now, but as a guy who cares about them and this program, I’ve got to think about what’s best for them, and I’ve got to make sure that their families will be well-versed on the information and everything involved. This will be a decision made by those two and their families with all of the pros and cons involved. We’ll make the best possible decision for them and we’ll decide how that will impact our team.”

Maryland could use healthy and effective Catalino and Cummings against a Tar Heels defense that has limited the offense to six and seven goals in their first two meetings – both of which are the two lowest outputs of the season for the Terps.

North Carolina has befuddled Maryland with a zone defense, and Tillman said the Terps have spent the week preparing for that possibility on Sunday.

“We’ve seen zone in almost every game, and the way some people play, it’s very similar to man-to-man anyway,” Tillman said. “So you have a lot of the same principles. We’re just going to take it as it comes. … If they want to do that, we’ll just hold onto the ball longer, and that’s great.”

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

Q&A with CBS Sports Network's Matt Danowski

CBS Sports Network analyst and former Duke attackman Matt Danowski knows a thing or two about postseason success, having helped the Blue Devils reach the Final Four in his last three years. The four-time All American who was awarded the Tewaaraton Award in 2007 spoke about Maryland’s first-round game at North Carolina, a Denver squad that could make waves, and a potential upset in the first round.
 
Any surprises leap out to you when the bracket was announced on Sunday night?
I have to say that I was a little surprised that Hofstra got in. I thought they’d be on the bubble a little bit, but 13-2, you really can’t argue with that. I just didn’t think they had the wins to get in.

So in your opinion, which team had a better resume than Hofstra?
I think there were a lot of teams that were hovering around and had the same thing going on in terms of wins. Hofstra may have had the most wins and 13-2 is tough to argue with, but there were a couple teams on the bubble there, and it just didn’t seem that they could separate themselves.

Should Maryland feel slighted about the NCAA selection committee sending the reigning Atlantic Coast Conference tournament champion on the road for a first-round contest at North Carolina?
The thing is, when Maryland got their win against UNC, it was in the ACC semifinals, and a lot of people don’t believe that the ACC should even have a tournament and that it shouldn’t count. So you’ve kind of got to look at it from both angles. When Maryland lost to Colgate, I don’t think that helped their case at all. If Maryland had taken care of Colgate, they probably would have had a home game. So I don’t think they have a right to gripe.

Which first-round game is the most intriguing?
I think UNC-Maryland for obvious reasons. Johns Hopkins-Hofstra is very intriguing to me because Coach [Seth] Tierney knows Johns Hopkins very well. There’s a potential for that game to be really tight.

Which team heads into the tournament with the most concerns?
I think Virginia has some question marks. Losing the two Bratton brothers, I don’t know if it’s addition by subtraction. I don’t know how that team is reacting to it, but they lost two very good players that could help on both sides of the field. So losing them, I can’t say, helps them talent-wise. Hofstra is backing in after the loss to Delaware in first round of the CAA [Colonial Athletic Association tournament semifinal]. You never want to go in with a loss, and the same applies to Notre Dame. They have two losses going into the first round of the playoffs.

Is there a team in the field that’s flying under the radar?
I don’t think you can say that Denver is under the radar, but I don’t think they get as much press and coverage as the East Coast teams do. But that’s a team that’s very capable of turning it on and getting anybody. If they do stick around to face Hopkins, that’s a tough draw because Denver has a couple of players on attack who can put the ball in the net, and they’ve got a good faceoff guy. So they could get hot at the right time.

Is there an upset brewing in the first round?
I don’t think Bucknell will upset Virginia. I just don’t think they have the athletes although Virginia has shown the ability to let its guard down in the first round the last couple of years. I guess you can call Maryland’s win an upset over UNC, but I can see that happening. Maryland’s a very senior-laden team against a very young UNC team in the first round and that is coming off of a huge win against Notre Dame. And then I guess Penn-Notre Dame. Notre Dame is slipping a little bit. Two losses and although Penn hasn’t played great lacrosse over the past month, they’ve shown the ability to beat realy good teams. So those games stand out to me.

Which of the seeded teams has the easiest path to the Final Four? The toughest?
I think Cornell has the easiest road to the Final Four. They get to play Hartford and then they get to beat a Virginia team that has lost two of their better players. So I can see them getting to the Final Four pretty easily. I think one of the tougher ones would have to be that Foxborough bracket whether it’s either Duke or Syracuse. Duke may have to play Notre Dame in the quarterfinals, and Syracuse has to play an ACC team in the quarterfinals.

Posted by Edward Lee at 6:00 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland
        

May 11, 2011

Salisbury versus Stevenson should continue

Beginning next summer, Stevenson will leave the Captial Athletic Conference and join the Mid Atlantic Conference, but hopefully that won't end the school's lacrosse rivalry with Salisbury, which will remain in the CAC.
 
"I think the move is a positive one for our program for a few reasons," said Stevenson head lacrosse coach Paul Cantabene. "One, it aligns us with schools that are similar to Stevenson University core values and academic philosophies. Secondly, it puts us in one of the elite conferences in D-III athletics with a rich tradition of success on and off the field for the last century. The move also helps us have a presence in Pennsylvania and New Jersey hot beds for recruiting purposes. An added benefit will be that it will it decrease our travel times for away games and the amount of missed class time for our student/athletes. One of the biggest benefits is that we are able to go to a conference that is full of great people that understand the needs of the student-athlete and want to be apart of what Stevenson University has been able to create over the last seven years.
 
"As an Associate AD in charge of 9 sports plus all of the athletic facilities, I had to separate my personal thoughts about how it would  effect my program and think how it would benefit the department on a whole on few different levels," said Cantabene. "One being that Stevenson is a growing school that is has over 3,500 students and its enrollment is growing every year. Saying that recruiting is very important and this decisions puts us in some great recruiting markets such as Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. It will be a great benefit for our mens and womens occer, mens and womens basketball, baseball, field hockey and football programs. This move allows us to have all of our sports in the same conference except for Mens Volleyball.  It also allows several of our teams that where not able to compete for an NCAA bid to do that because there are now AQ's. Lastly, I don't think it will have a huge  effect on our rivalry with Salisbury. Instead of playing 3 times a year we might only be playing twice a year and that can make the rivalry better. We are committed to keeping the game but I have not yet talk to coach Jim Berkman about it. If I know him at all I would expect that he would want to keep the game for several reasons including recruiting, strength of schedule, and it is one of the most widely attended games in D-III."
Posted by Mike Preston at 12:30 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Lack of postseason doesn't bother Mount St. Mary's

Mount St. Mary’s 14-9 victory over Quinnipiac to capture the Northeast Conference tournament on Sunday may not mean much in the grand scheme of things because the automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament doesn’t kick in for the league until 2013.

But that didn’t detract from the Mountaineers claiming the inaugural tournament championship, according to coach Tom Gravante.

“I think it was great,” he said Monday. “I think it was great for both the program and Mount St. Mary’s. Very proud of my kids to be able to win back-to-back conference titles in two different conferences. [The Mountaineers won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament crown last year.] But winning the first one is pretty special, and it also makes a statement that Mount St. Mary’s lacrosse is playing well. I think the president has gotten behind us and pushed us to that primary level. There’s still more that can be done, but we’re another good team in the state of Maryland. Winning the first championship, it’s wonderful, and I’m very proud of my players.”

Participating in the NCAA tournament is the goal of many programs, and that’s true for Mount St. Mary’s. But Gravante said there was no wistfulness on his part that the Northeast Conference AQ had begun this season.

“In my thought process, I already knew,” he said. “So I wasn’t looking for anything more from these kids but to win a conference championship and really set the tempo. I told the kids at the game that winning is fun, and it feels great. But guess what? It comes with a price, and there’s also a price on your heads next year. Everybody’s going to want a piece of us. So let’s make sure we don’t go home this summer and sit back on our heels. It’s going to get even harder next year. Not having the AQ, the kids knew about it, but I don’t think it took away from their ability to stay focused and hungry. Their goal – and our senior captains made sure they understood it – was to win a conference title, and they did.”

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

End of series with Johns Hopkins "disappointed" Hofstra's Tierney

As a former midfielder and offensive coordinator at Johns Hopkins, Hofstra coach Seth Tierney routinely looked forward to annual showdowns with the Blue Jays in the regular season.

But a series that had taken place every year since 2004 ended prior to this season as Johns Hopkins dropped the Pride from the schedule. Tierney, who will lead Hofstra (13-2) into an NCAA first-round contest against the third-seeded Blue Jays (12-2) on Saturday, said Johns Hopkins’ request saddened him.

“Yeah, I was disappointed,” Tierney said Tuesday. “It’s my alma mater, the games have been very exciting, there are Long Island guys on both rosters, there are Maryland guys on both rosters. I think the games had some rivalry-type traits to them, and I was upset to see that it was going to end.”

But Tierney downplayed using the scheduling slight as a motivational tool. In fact, the Pride coach said the team was relishing in qualifying for the NCAA tournament after falling to Delaware in the semifinals of the Colonial Athletic Association tournament a week ago.

“When we lost to Delaware, it was a long four days because we needed a lot of help from other teams to be strongly considered for an at-large bid,” he said. “We had thought that at that time, close to 15 spots had already been taken, and there were four or five or six teams vying for that last spot. So you want to talk about a long four days, that was rough. So when your name gets flashed up on the screen, first, you don’t even see who you’re playing. You just throw your arms up in the air, and you’re just thrilled that your team is in it when you’re in the position that we were in. And then secondly, you see the opponent, and then again, you’re just happy to be in it. We would’ve played anybody. Everybody would’ve had the same sentiment. Because of the two losses, this is our draw, and we are excited.”

Hofstra set a program record with its fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament. But the school hasn’t won in the tournament since beating Providence, 14-8, in the first round of 2006 – a span of four games.

“It’s certainly motivation because it’s motivation for every year,” Tierney said of breaking the skid. “Eight of the 16 teams every year lose or win their first-round games. I’m certainly thrilled that this is the first time that a Hofstra University men’s lacrosse team has been to the NCAA tournament four years in a row in its history. With that being said, we are 0-3 under my regime, and if we’re going to start changing history with four years in a row, then I certainly would like to start with an NCAA win this Saturday at Hopkins.”

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

Former JHU goalie says he was "scapegoat" for last year's troubles

Michael Gvozden speaks of his four years at Johns Hopkins without a hint of rancor in his voice.

But the former goalkeeper is candid about how his senior year ended when he was replaced midway through the 2010 campaign by an unknown freshman named Pierce Bassett.

“I think I was more of a scapegoat with what happened,” Gvozden, a Severna Park native and graduate, said, referring to the Blue Jays’ first sub-.500 record since 1971. “I just don’t think the chemistry on the team was right at all, and I certainly know that I did not fit in with that group or where it was going. I have no problem saying that. I’m not going to sit here and it’s not going to make me sleep better at night to badmouth Hopkins or the coaches or the players. That’s not good use of my time. What I will say is, I did graduate from Hopkins with my pride.”

Gvozden became the full-time starter in his sophomore year, helping the team reach the NCAA tournament final in 2008. Last season, he registered an 8.83 goals-against average and a .532 save percentage in nine games (eight starts) before being replaced by Bassett (9.90 GAA, .536 save percentage) for the final seven contests.

Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala sympathized with his former goalie’s perspective – to an extent.

“Do I feel like Michael was a scapegoat? No,” Pietramala said. “I thought it was a very challenging year for everybody. But I would agree with him that I don’t think the chemistry on the team was great. I think that was very visible in our performance. Was it any one player’s fault? Absolutely not. Was Michael Gvozden responsible for our season last year? Absolutely not. But we were forced to make changes and as a coach, you try to give your team a spark and you try to lift your team up in challenging times. We did what we felt like we needed to do. We felt we did what was in the best interest of our team. I did my very best to not do that too hastily, to be quite honest with you. It’s a difficult situation. I can’t imagine how difficult it is for a young man, when he’s a starter for a certain period of time, and then he’s no longer in that position. That’s a challenging position to be in, and I certainly can’t imagine that leaves a good taste in anyone’s mouth. But in the end, our staff has a responsibility to 40-some guys, and we do the things that we feel are necessary to help the team.”

That experience soured Gvozden on lacrosse for a while, but he said it opened his eyes to who he was as a person.

“It made me look at things and the world completely differently,” he said. “I knew, but it wasn’t until last month that I actually became grateful that all of that stuff blew up in my face because now I realize that I have so much more to offer than just lacrosse. Before, I lived thinking, ‘I want to be a lacrosse player. This is what I want to be known for.’ I didn’t really explore any other side of my personality. I’ve always been a goofball and now I’m pursuing a career in comedy. I’ve found a niche there, and I just think that if it didn’t happen, if I didn’t have a falling-out with the team, the coaches or whoever, then I wouldn’t have been forced to explore a whole new side of me. So in hindsight, I’m grateful.”

Gvozden, who, in addition to developing a career in sketch comedy, is the defensive coordinator for the Loyola Marymount men’s club lacrosse team and an assistant coach for the Beverly Hills High School girls lacrosse team, said he plans to attend Saturday’s NCAA first-round game between Hofstra and the third-seeded Blue Jays at Homewood Field and support younger brother Andrew, who is the starting goalie for the visiting Pride.

But Gvozden said he does not hold a grudge against his former teammates or coaches.

“This weekend is not about me,” he said. “It’s not about my feelings for anybody or the program on the other side. I told my brother, ‘Look, this is about you, this is about your journey, your challenge, your opportunity, your mountain to climb. Whatever it is, it’s about you.’ So I’m going there to support my brother. That’s the only reason I’m going there.”

Posted by Edward Lee at 6:00 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Johns Hopkins
        

May 10, 2011

Difficult roads await Salisbury, Stevenson

The Division III bracket for the NCAA tournament was unveiled late Sunday night, and a sleepless night or two might visit Salisbury coach Jim Berkman and Stevenson coach Paul Cantabene.

The Sea Gulls (17-1), the Capital Athletic Conference tournament champions who are ranked No. 1 in the latest United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll, might perhaps have the tougher path to the South region final.

They get a bye in the first round, but could face an Endicott team (15-4) that tagged reigning national champion Tufts with one of its two losses. A third-round meeting with Dickinson (16-1) beckons before a potential Final Four meeting with Stevenson.

“I’ve been in this thing for 23 consecutive years and believe me, we’ve had a couple lucky draws and we’ve had some draws where it was like, ‘Man, why did we win all these games? It’s harder now than if we wouldn’t have won them,’” Berkman said Monday. “But the bottom line is, to be national champs, you’ve got to beat everybody in that given year. That’s what the national champs do, they take on all comers.”

Stevenson (17-2), ranked No. 3 in the USILA poll, could meet No. 7 Roanoke (14-3) or No. 12 Gettysburg (11-6) for the right to advance to the South region final.

“I thought it was pretty fair where we were seeded,” Cantabene said Monday. “In other years, we’ve had to play three top-10 teams in each round. So I think it was fair. I don’t have any complaints about it. You’ve got to beat somebody, and I think we’ve got some pretty quality teams in our half of the bracket. So we’re going to have to play well.”

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

Q&A with ESPN's Paul Carcaterra

ESPN analyst and former Syracuse All-American midfielder Paul Carcaterra provided commentary for the network when the bracket was unveiled Sunday night. Carcaterra discussed Maryland going unseeded, the teams with the easiest and most difficult paths to the Final Four and the one team that poses the biggest threat to the seeded teams.

What’s your take on Maryland being unseeded and having to travel to meet North Carolina for the third time this season?
I think Maryland is in a situation with winning the ACC, which is lacrosse’s toughest conference, to go on the road for the first round, that’s definitely a difficult draw for them. And if they win, they could potentially play Syracuse, the No. 1 team. So you’re playing your arch rival in North Carolina, a conference opponent whom you’ve played twice already. So if you look at Maryland and their potential path at getting to the Final Four, it’s harder than anyone else’s. That Colgate loss certainly did them in, in terms of not getting seeded. But I still felt that Maryland had played their way into a top-8 seed. If you look at Denver, they didn’t lose to anyone as their only two losses were to Syracuse and Notre Dame. That Duke victory is huge for them, but outside of that, they didn’t have to go through the ACC or play the type of schedule that Maryland has. Denver’s schedule, I thought, was much softer than Maryland’s.

So was Denver worthy of getting a home game?
I think there are a lot of things in consideration. I think from the outside looking in, people don’t realize all of the intricacies of how the seeding is done. There’s travel, conference opponents. They don’t want to pit ACC teams against each other. It’s been many years since a first round with ACC teams has been done. So they’re conscious of that, and they take all of that into consideration. But I think Denver is going to be a travel team regardless, and let’s be honest. The sport is growing in leaps and bounds out West. It’s made great strides from a popularity standpoint. I think it’s good for a sport, to take a playoff team to Denver and to that facility. That city is becoming a big-time lacrosse city. So I think it’s an opportunity where you have a team like Denver which certainly had a good year. You can argue that they deserved a top-8 seed. So I don’t think anything was outlandish regarding that.

A reader questioned why Johns Hopkins, as the No. 3 seed, got paired with a dangerous opponent in Hofstra while Denver and Virginia, as No. 6 and 7 seeds respectively, drew Villanova and Bucknell. Did the Blue Jays get a tougher draw despite being a higher seed?
Bucknell has six wins against teams in the top 20 in RPI – the second-most in all of college lacrosse. Just because Bucknell doesn’t have that big name in lacrosse, by no means is Bucknell a lesser opponent. I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s an easier game. And with Villanova, that’s a team that played Notre Dame tough and lost to Syracuse by a goal. I really don’t feel like you can justify Bucknell or Villanova being easier teams. If you’re a Johns Hopkins fan, you should like your draw. You’re playing Hofstra, a team that you should beat, and if you look at their potential quarterfinal matchup, out of the top four seeds, I think they actually have the easiest draw.

I thought Cornell, as the No. 2 seed, might have the easiest path to the Final Four.
Maybe, but let’s not mistake the fact that Virginia still has a ton of talent, and their one game two weeks ago without the Brattons was their most complete offensive outing of the year. They won, 11-2, against Penn, a playoff team. So they’re not going to be an easy game for Cornell. Virginia, on paper, is still more talented than Cornell. You don’t play the game on paper, but I just think that looking at Hopkins, if you had asked Dave Pietramala a couple months ago that if he wanted to get to the Final Four, he had to beat Hofstra and Denver, I think he’d take it and run. That’s no disrespect to those two teams.

Which unseeded team poses the biggest threat to upset the seedings?
Maryland, without a doubt. Maryland’s a team that many people felt could contend for a national title. And when they’re playing their best, they’re awfully difficult to defend. When [redshirt freshman goalie] Niko Amato is making saves ad starting the transition, I think their long poles handle the ball better than any other team in the country. Brian Farrell and Jesse Bernhardt are a lethal duo that can handle the ball in transition from defense to offense. I think they have to push the ball. I think the reason they lost to Colgate was they played a half-field game. When they play a half-field game, they struggle. If they’re pushing the ball, they can play with anyone.

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

Former Army coach rips Navy's decision to part ways with Meade

About an hour after Navy had made official Richie Meade’s departure as head coach, former Army coach Jack Emmer called to confirm a rumor he had heard about the move.

Then, unprompted, Emmer took the academy to task for what he saw as a forced resignation.

“What I see here is, graduates from the ‘60s when Navy dominated lacrosse using their status now as guys who have earned their fortune and bringing some pressure on that situation,” said Emmer, who retired in 2005 as the winningest coach in college lacrosse history. “I can’t believe that it had anything to do with the guys who played for Richie because they have universal respect for him. But these old timers, who are probably still wondering why you don’t bring football players out to play lacrosse like they did in the ‘60s, are calling for his head, and that’s very, very fortunate. I think [athletic director] Chet Gladchuk should know better. He’s not going to find a better guy, and he’s going to get a lot of negative feedback on this decision from former players. They’re going to be appalled and shocked. … I’m kind of shocked and upset by it because it’s a poor decision.”

Although the Midshipmen suffered the most losses (nine) under Meade’s guidance and missed the Patriot League tournament for the first time since joining the conference for the 2004 season, Meade compiled a 142-97 at Navy, captured five Patriot League regular-season and tournament titles in six years, and qualified for the NCAA tournament seven times, including advancing to the championship final in 2004.

Emmer cited those numbers as reasons to retaining Meade.

“If you look at his record, it was only in 2004 when they played for the national championship for goodness sake,” Emmer said. “That is a great accomplishment. They lost by a goal to Syracuse. Given his record against Army, he dominated Army, which I’m sorry to say. He kicked my butt enough years, and that’s important to the academy. To me, it must have been other issues from the standpoint of relationships. … Certainly, based on what he’s done with that program and with the respect he has from those he’s coached, you just don’t make that change. I can’t imagine somebody coming in and doing a better job than Richie in total, which is what you’ve got to do at the academy. It’s a 24-7 kind of job at that place.”

The dismissal of Meade, Tony Seaman from Towson on Monday and Dave Cottle from Maryland a year ago suggests to Emmer that administrations are willing to sacrifice institutional stability for the immediate need to win now.

“It has absolutely moved in that direction,” Emmer said. “It comes with the money. They’re paying coaches more, coaches have opportunities outside of their coaching, particularly from camp situations. It’s great exposure now for your institution with all the media and TV time that you get and the 50,000 people at the Final Four. So there is a lot more pressure now for lacrosse coaches compared to what they used to be. That said, it shouldn’t affect guys like Richie. Richie is a special guy for a special school, and I just don’t see them doing any better. … It’s not a good decision, and they’re going to live to regret Richie moving on.”

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:00 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Maryland, Navy, Towson
        

Q&A with Towson AD Mike Waddell

Whether you want to argue that Tony Seaman resigned or was forced out as the head coach at Towson, there’s no denying that the Tigers are looking for a new leader. The man behind that search is athletic director Mike Waddell, who spoke about the reasoning behind Seaman’s departure, the status of the program on the national level and the qualities he’s seeking in a successor.

What went into this decision at this time?
This was obviously not a strong season, but if I’m looking at it across the board in recent history, we’ve not been able to get over the top. That’s the best way to put it. There are a number of ways that we just haven’t won the big game. We’ve been in some big ones over the last few years, and it’s not been something to where we’ve won the championship or advanced onto the NCAA tournament. We haven’t won an NCAA tournament game here since the early 2000s. … I think it’s our results against our local teams that have really made me take a look. It wasn’t just the 2011 season. But I think there were some expectations coming off of last year about where we were going to be. For whatever reason, when I looked at it – not just over my time here, but also over the last four or five years – I saw a program that was … I don’t know if we were going up. I think we were more or less at a point to where we needed a little burst of momentum.

Would you say that a new, fresh approach from the top was needed?
Obviously, we’re making a change. We’re obviously very thankful to Tony. The guy’s a legend, and this is one that weighs on you. You want to make sure that you’re making the right call for the kids, and that’s what this is. I looked at it and evaluated it, and it was a decision we made to move in a different direction. It’s our hope that Tony and his family will remain a strong part of Towson athletics for many years to come. He and I are talking about ways to possibly get that done.

Is this a program capable of competing for championships?
This is a program that should be at the top of the Colonial Athletic Association. It’s a program that has the potential to do great things on a national scale, and we have to approach every day with that sense of urgency, that sense of we’re going to get it done. It’s easy to sit back and look around and say, ‘Well, we could do this, but for this.’ We need leadership moving forward that’s going to look at it and say, ‘This is a challenge, but I’m not going to be satisfied unless we’re winning.’ … This is a program at Towson University that should – year in and year out – be competing for a championship and win one every now and then.

What are you looking for in the next coach?
If you look at who we hired as our next basketball coach [former Pittsburgh assistant Pat Skerry] and our women’s golf coach [former Towson assistant Kate Stepanek], I want somebody who’s very aggressive on the recruiting, high-energy, somebody that’s going to cast the net far and wide. We want to recruit Baltimore, we want to recruit Philly, we want to recruit Long Island, we want to recruit the whole Tri-State area on the East Coast. But lacrosse is a national game. It’s growing, it’s expanding, it’s international. We can’t limit ourselves to any one region because we want to get the best players and have them come in here and get a diploma and a ring. That’s the goal. It’s R&D, championship rings and diplomas from walking across the stage, knowing that you got a first-class education from one of the best universities in the nation.

Are you looking for candidates with head coaching experience or younger hopefuls who might be toiling away as assistant coaches?
I don’t really want to paint myself into a box either way. I want to get the best fit for Towson University. There are a lot of very qualified people out there that are on a very short list that we have. I’m sure there are going to be other people that reach out to us. It was not prerequisite in my last two coaching hires that they had been a head coach. So I wouldn’t say that’s a prerequisite here either. I think there’s a high interest level in the job. I think we have a great job, I think we have great facilities, I think we have a great university, I think we have the tradition in lacrosse going from Carl Runk to Tony Seaman. We play in the heart of lacrosse. So the coaches that want to come here and coach want to be in the best place for lacrosse. They want to be associated with a program with tradition, they want to be associated with an administration that will get behind them and give them the resources they need to win.

What’s your timetable for filling the vacancy?
When we did the basketball search, I wanted to do it within a month. So I’d like to get this down as soon as possible. Definitely within a few days after the Final Four, if not before.

Posted by Edward Lee at 6:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Q&A, Towson
        

May 9, 2011

Meade steps down at Navy

Another area team has lost its head coach.

Richie Meade resigned from his position after 17 years at Navy, joining Towson’s Tony Seaman who stepped down earlier on Monday.

In a brief interview Monday evening, Meade said the Midshipmen will recoup and recover under new leadership.

“It kind of is what it is, and we’re moving forward,” said Meade, who will continue to teach as a fully tenured professor in the academy’s Physical Education Department. “The Naval Academy lacrosse program is a ship in the Navy, and I was the captain of that ship. I was proud of it. In the Navy, captains change all the time, and the ships still have to float and the ships still have to fight. The Navy lacrosse program will do that and do it every well.”

Athletic director Chet Gladchuk declined to comment. In a press release issued by the school, Gladchuk praised Meade.

“After coaching 26 years at a Service Academy as both an assistant at West Point and head coach at the Naval Academy, there are many coaches, student-athletes and staff whose philosophy on life has been influenced by Coach Meade,” Gladchuk said.  “He is a man of strong character and is professionally dedicated to that which is represented through the moral, mental and physical dimensions of our mission. Coach Meade has been offered the opportunity to reach an even greater representation of the Brigade as a tenured professor for the Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership, where he can share his extensive experience with our midshipmen at large. Although today he is leaving the playing field, educating in an even broader context for the Brigade of Midshipmen can be personally rewarding and to the great benefit of the Academy.  Our gratitude will continue to be with Richie.”

Under Meade, Navy went 142-97, captured five Patriot League regular-season and tournament titles in six years, and qualified for the NCAA tournament seven times, including advancing to the championship final in 2004.

Meade, who has compiled a 169-120 record in 21 years at Navy and the University of Baltimore, could be a candidate for the vacancy at Towson, where Seaman resigned. Meade said while he loves coaching, he isn’t sure he wants to get back into the saddle so quickly.

“I’m going to have to see what’s right for my family,” he said. “I don’t want to say that I want to coach again. … Ulysses S. Grant got relieved in the Civil War and came back and led the Union to victory. So if I get another command, I’ll look forward to doing that. But I’m not really thinking about that right now. I think my family and I, we just need to take a step back here and kind of look at all this stuff and see what happens.”

Meade said he informed the players of the decision, but declined to describe their reaction.

“I did talk to the players,” he said. “It’s not like I’m going anywhere. It’s not like this is going to be the last time I’m ever going to see any of those guys. I’m going to be around obviously, but it was pretty emotional.”

The Midshipmen ended this season on a five-game losing skid, totaling a 4-9 record that accrued the most losses under Meade’s guidance. But Meade said an offense powered by freshman attackmen Tucker Hull and Sam Jones and a defense anchored by junior goalkeeper R.J. Wickham should spring hope for the team and its supporters.

“The only thing I’m thinking about right now is my family, the kids that we have in our program, the kids that we recruited, the kids are committed so that they know that the Navy lacrosse program is going to be in great hands, and we’re going to continue to improve,” Meade said. “We’ve got a great group of kids coming in next year with the young team that we have. So my expectation is we’re going to be very successful down the road.”

Posted by Edward Lee at 6:53 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Navy
        

Source: Seaman to no longer coach Towson

After 13 years as Towson’s head coach, Tony Seaman will not return to coach the Tigers for a 14th season, a source confirmed Monday.

First reported by WNST 1570 AM and confirmed by the source who requested anonymity because the school has yet to make an announcement, Seaman’s tenure at Towson concludes with a 99-93 record and a 263-166 mark in 30 years as a head coach at Johns Hopkins, Penn and C.W. Post. The 263 wins placed him seventh among active coaches.

It's unclear whether associate head coach and defensive coordinator Shawn Nadelen and offensive coordinator Michael Allan will remain on the coaching staff.

Neither Seaman, who signed a three-year extension after the 2010 campaign, nor athletic director Mike Waddell returned calls seeking comment.

A few candidates who could succeed Seaman include former Maryland coach and current Chesapeake Bayhawks assistant coach Dave Cottle, Stevenson coach Paul Cantabene and Johns Hopkins offensive coordinator Bobby Benson.

Cantabene declined to speculate on his candidacy, saying, “You never know. I don’t know if they’re going to be interested in me. If they want to talk, I’m sure I’ll hear what they have to say. … But I’m just worrying about Stevenson University right now. They’ve really treated me well, and sometimes the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.”

Since joining the Tigers for the 1999 season, Seaman had guided the program to four conference championships, including three in the Colonial Athletic Association. He has been the CAA’s Coach of the Year twice (most recently, last season) and was the National Division I Coach of the Year in 2001 when Towson went 14-4 and advanced to the Final Four.

But the team underperformed this spring, compiling a 3-10 overall record and a 1-5 mark in the CAA, which was the first time that a Seaman-coached squad had finished with a sub-.500 record in the conference.

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:32 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Towson
        

Q&A with ESPN's Mark Dixon

ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins midfielder Mark Dixon will assist coverage of this weekend’s slate of first-round games in the NCAA tournament. Until then, Dixon sounded off on Maryland going on the road, Denver getting a higher seed than he had anticipated and Penn limping its way to the tournament.

It would appear that the NCAA selection committee emphasized RPI more than strength of schedule and quality wins this season. Did you come to the same conclusion?
I think it was two years ago when it was more strength of schedule and RPI that got people in. Last year, it was quality wins. So it seems like the scales get tipped in a different direction every year because I think there’s eight or nine criteria altogether, but it’s not necessarily ranked in any order. So if you have a particular team with a lot of wins or an incredibly strong strength of schedule, you can see things go in different ways. But I definitely think that the numbers played a huge role – they usually do – and I think it was pretty cut and dry with the 16 teams that got in. the team that were left out, you could make arguments very positively for the teams that got in versus why teams didn’t get in. I think the biggest controversy – if you want to call it that – is Denver getting a home game at [the No.] 6 [seed]. When you look at their strength of schedule, I think it was 29 with an RPI of six. And then you’ve got a team like Maryland that has to travel, and they had a better of strength of schedule. Even though their RPI wasn’t as strong, you could argue that they had more quality wins. There’s always going to be those discussions, but I think for the most part, the committee did a good job using the numbers.

So it sounds like you didn’t quibble with the bubble teams that got in and the bubble teams that were left out.
Stony Brook, for selfish reasons, I would have loved to see them play again because I would have liked to have seen [senior midfielder] Kevin Crowley roll out his career. But we’ve been saying it all year that Stony Brook was going to have to win the America East to get the automatic qualifier because they lost to Virginia, they lost to Cornell, and they even lost to Towson. So that’s going to drag down your numbers. They did beat Delaware, but of course Delaware won the automatic qualifier for the CAA [Colonial Athletic Association], so that was a non-issue. But at the end of the day, when you lose your automatic qualifier and your strength of schedule was 30 and your RPI was 13, that’s not going to get the job done. So I have no argument there. Harvard and Colgate, you certainly could have made arguments for them, but then you have Hofstra, who beat them both head-to-head, and that’s where that head-to-head criteria comes in.

Does Maryland have a right to gripe about the reigning Atlantic Coast Conference tournament champion having to travel in the first round and meeting an ACC rival in No. 8 seed North Carolina?
Yeah, I don’t get that. I don’t think that’s really appropriate. They’ve already played twice, and they split. One of the things about the NCAA tournament that makes it so intriguing is you get matchups that you don’t see every day or every season. We’ve got Notre Dame and Penn squaring off, Duke and Delaware are going to play one another, Virginia and Bucknell. So that always makes for interesting matchups. But we know that is not a criteria, so let’s move onto the next, which is the numbers. And when you look at Maryland, they did themselves a huge injustice by losing at home to Colgate this past weekend. But you just can’t erase that whole body of work and what they’ve accomplished this season. They beat Virginia, they beat Duke, they did beat North Carolina. I think they’re 12 and 12 in strength of schedule and RPI [respectively]. If you want to take a look at what-have-you-done-for-me-lately, how about Penn? Their two big wins were against Duke and Bucknell, and they were back in February and early March, and they’re “backing” into the tournament at this point. So I think Maryland does have a gripe. Did they lose a home game? I think so with that loss to Colgate. Having to play Carolina and then Villanova going to Denver, I’m not sure. Look, Denver’s a great team, and they’re playing very well right now and they’re probably going to make me eat my words by saying that they’re seeded too high at six. I thought they were going to go in at eight with either Carolina traveling to them or Maryland traveling to them. Maybe Maryland would prefer to go to North Carolina versus going to Denver. But I just thought that Denver was seeded a little too high and the Maryland-North Carolina rematch, yeah, there’s a certain level of intrigue to that, but been there, done that. I think the committee chair even said that this is a great thing for lacrosse, giving a home game to Denver. I think the Pioneers earned it. But at the same time, I just think they’re seeded maybe a little too high.

What’s the most intriguing first-round contest to you?
I’m really looking at that Hofstra-Johns Hopkins game as being something that could be really, really special. Hofstra’s a team that is 13-2 and looked great. I am shocked they lost to Delaware at home in the first round of that conference tournament. I say that because Hofstra was playing so well and Delaware was playing so poorly going into that game. You’ve got to give a lot of credit to the Blue Hens. They did it again this year, winning the CAA as the No. 4 seed and going on the road twice at Hofstra and then UMass. But I really like that Hopkins-Hofstra matchup. You’ve got two terrific faceoff units, both around 65 to 68 percent, decent goaltenders for both, strong defenses, good attacks. But the midfield is where, I think, this game is going to be won. I love the defensive midfield unit for Hofstra, and I just love the offensive midfielders for Johns Hopkins. So I think that game is a five star.
 
You referenced Penn backing its way into the field. Is that the team with the most question marks?
No question. When you look at their last couple of games, they got blown out by Virginia, and then they lost in the first round of the Ivy League tournament to Harvard. And a big loss for Penn was they lost freshman Maxx Meyer, who is one of their better defenseman. They got Brett Hughes, the senior, and then Maxx Meyer, the freshman who was just playing great. He broke his leg [prior to the team’s 11-2 loss to Virginia on April 30], and he’s out for the rest of the season. So figuratively and literally, they are limping into the postseason. I think it you’re looking at another team, it would be Villanova. [Junior attackman] Kevin Cunningham has been injured and hasn’t played that much lately. His health will be a huge factor because he’s such a good offensive player. And as it turned out, Villanova’s schedule was more front-loaded. So down the stretch, their competition wasn’t as stiff and then they lost to Georgetown this past weekend. Villanova has had one other tournament appearance, and that was a couple of years ago at Virginia where they just got absolutely decimated [18-6 in 2009]. So Penn and Villanova are the two teams right now that you look at and say, “They’re not coming in with the most momentum.

Which of the top eight seeds has the easiest path to the Final Four at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on May 28? And which has the toughest path?
There’s no such thing as an easy path. So I don’t see anybody getting to Baltimore without a couple of bumps, scrapes and bruises. The hardest path? I think you have to look at Hopkins, which gets Hofstra in the first round and then possibly a very, very good Denver team in the second round. And then of course, Maryland and North Carolina. Those are two very good lacrosse teams that are going to beat the heck out of each other on Sunday and then in all likelihood, they’re going to have to face [top-seeded] Syracuse.

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:00 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Q&A
        

Pietramala explains decision to drop Hofstra from Johns Hopkins schedule

When the 16-team field of the NCAA tournament was unveiled Sunday night on ESPNU, network analysts Quint Kessenich and Paul Carcaterra discussed the first-round contest between Hofstra and third-seeded Johns Hopkins.

Kessenich and Carcaterra pointed out that the Blue Jays and Pride had played each other in the regular season every year since 2004 – until this season.

Both analysts also noted that Hofstra had handed Johns Hopkins a 14-6 thumping that began a four-game slide and contributed to the team’s first sub-.500 record since 1971 and that Pride coach Seth Tierney, who had served as the Blue Jays’ offensive coordinator for six years, might use that snub as motivation prior to the two sides meeting on Saturday at 12 p.m.

Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala, however, maintained that the decision to remove Hofstra from the regular-season schedule should not be interpreted as a slight.

“That wasn’t a quick or a rash decision,” he said. “We’ve been discussing that since ’06. And because Seth got the job [to coach the Pride prior to the 2007 campaign] and because of the relationship that we had with him, we felt obligated to keep it, to be quite honest with you. After last year and evaluating how things have gone for our program with that game where it was, we just felt like it was something that we needed to change, and our schedule continues to remain challenging. You’re talking about Princeton and then Syracuse, Virginia, Carolina, Maryland, and then you look at the tournament, and we’ve played quite a few of the teams. It’s regrettable to have to drop anybody, especially someone that you know and respect. But in the end, it goes on every day. It goes in all sports, it goes on in the business world where people drop clients. You have to do what’s best for your program, and we did what we thought we needed to do for our program.”

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Categories: Johns Hopkins
        

No decision yet on Maryland's Catalino and Cummings

No. 6 Maryland’s 10-8 loss to No. 14 Colgate on Saturday – and subsequent fall from a top-eight seed and a home contest in the first round of the NCAA tournament – was influenced by the absence of senior attackman Grant Catalino and junior midfielder Joe Cummings.

The Sun’s Mike Preston reported that Catalino is dealing with a broken bone in his hand, while Cummings injured his right arm when he was slashed by the Duke defender in the Terps’ 11-9 win against No. 7 Duke in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament final on April 24.

Catalino and Cummings are tied for the team lead in goals with 24, but coach John Tillman did not have anything conclusive on their availability for Sunday’s first-round road game at No. 8 North Carolina in the NCAA tournament.

“I’m not sure,” Tillman said, declining to elaborate on the duo's injuries. “We’ll find out more this week. I know they’re eager to get back, and we’re excited to have them back. We’ll just see how it goes this week. They’re making good progress, and hopefully, I’ll find out more.”

Maryland looked lethargic in the loss to Colgate, committing nearly as many turnovers (nine) as shots taken (10) in a first half in which the Terps fell behind, 6-2.

That contest was the team’s first since the ACC final, but Tillman wasn’t ready to say that the long layoff played a role in the performance.

“Hard to tell,” he said. “It’s definitely different when you have a weekend off. Did it play a part of it? I don’t know. We were a pretty tired group after the ACCs and emotionally and physically spent.”

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Categories: Maryland
        

NCAA selection chair's brief chat on ESPNU

Dermot Coll, an associate athletic director at Air Force, also chairs the NCAA selection committee for Division I lacrosse, and he spoke late Sunday night on ESPNU about the reasoning behind some of the decisions the group made regarding the 16-team field.

Dermot Coll on which teams were left out: “It really did come down to seven teams for those last three or four spots, and the last three teams we struggled with and ultimately couldn’t get into the field were Stony Brook, Harvard and Colgate. We weighed all the selection criteria, we used everything to try and differentiate those last three teams and make sure that we got the right 16 into the field.”

On No. 6 seed Denver becoming the first program west of the Mississippi River to host a first-round game: “It really is good for the game of lacrosse to get Denver an opportunity to host out in the West for the first time. It was pretty unique as we went through it. We have a two-flight guideline for the tournament, try to do no more than two flights in the first round. And we knew that with Notre Dame and Denver in the mix that we were going to have two flights right off the bat. It was a tough decision to do that, but Denver has certainly earned the right to host a home game. With only two losses and both to top-five teams in the RPI, it’ll be great for Denver to get Villanova out there and host a game.”

On why Villanova was selected to travel to Denver: “When we looked at the 400-mile restriction on travel – anybody under 400 miles can bus – it became pretty apparent that they would have an opportunity to go out there and we could still shift some guys where we could get Bucknell on a bus and send them down to Virginia,. So we’re really trying to minimize the flight opportunities, but keep true to the one through 16 [seedings]. Even though we don’t rank down to 16, we try to keep it as true as possible in the bracket.”

On pairing Maryland and No. 8 seed North Carolina, a pair of Atlantic Coast Conference rivals, in the first round: “That was the one we struggled with the most today as we finalized the bracket. We really tried not to have opportunities for conference teams to match up in the first round. But the reality is, when we talked about the travel situations with Notre Dame and Denver and some of the other things, there were just some schools that were 417 miles away – just over the driving limit. So when we looked at that, we wanted to try and avoid that. One of things that Came into consideration as we did that [was] Carolina’s win over Notre Dame on Friday and Maryland’s loss to Colgate on Saturday really kind of impacted the numbers and selection criteria. They were both so close to, who should’ve been the eight seed there? Had Maryland been there, we might have been able to put some other teams in different locations and avoided that first-round matchup.”

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Categories: Maryland
        

May 7, 2011

Catalino to sit out Maryland's regular-season home finale

Barring a last-minute change, Maryland senior attackman Grant Catalino will not play Saturday when the No. 6 Terps (10-3) play host to No. 14 Colgate (9-4) at 3 p.m. at Byrd Stadium in College Park. 

According to a team source, Catalino has a broken bone in his hand and will be held out of the game. Catalino is tied with junior midfielder Joe Cummings for the team lead in goals (24) and ranks third in points (32).

Catalino, however, will play in the postseason for the Terps, who are expected to get an at-large bid and possibly one of the top eight seeds in the NCAA tournament. The 16-team field will be unveiled Sunday night.

--Mike Preston

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Categories: Maryland
        

Towson gets one player on All-Colonial Athletic Association teams

Perhaps the 3-10 record this season was a factor, but Towson was not represented by one player on the All-Colonial Athletic Conference team, the league announced Friday.

Tigers senior defenseman Marc Ingerman was named to the second team. His numbers weren’t stellar (14 ground balls and seven caused turnovers), but Ingerman was the one player the coaching staff had confidence in to shadow opponents’ most dangerous offensive weapon.

Towson did put three players on the All-Rooke team. Midfielder Andrew Hodgson was tied for second on the team in assists (12) and ranked third in points (19).

Defenseman John Fennessy collected 14 ground balls and caused 13 turnovers in 13 starts. And midfielder Thomas DeNapoli scored four goals in five starts.

Hofstra junior goalie Andrew Gvozden, a Millersville native and Severna Park graduate, made the All-CAA second team.

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Categories: Towson
        

Colgate at Maryland: Three things to watch

Saturday’s contest is the second meeting between these teams with Maryland cruising to an 18-10 throttling last year. No. 14 Colgate (9-4) lost to No. 12 Bucknell in the championship game of the Patriot League tournament last Sunday and needs to beat the Terps to remain in the conversation for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. At 10-3 and as the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament champion, Maryland is assured of a spot in the NCAA tournament, but the team could use a victory to cement a top-eight seed and the right to host a first-round contest. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at Byrd Stadium in College Park on Saturday.

1) Peter Baum vs. Brett Schmidt. The Terps have the luxury of starting senior defenseman Brett Schmidt, who leads the team in caused turnovers (20) and ranks second in ground balls (45). Schmidt’s athleticism and understanding of the defense allows the coaches to put him on close defense or at long-stick midfielder. That flexibility could mean that Schmidt will shadow Raiders sophomore midfielder Peter Baum, who is averaging 2.1 goal and 3.1 points per game this season. “If you talk to anybody in that league or anybody that’s played them, you know that everybody raves about him and that everybody has a ton of respect for him,” Maryland coach John Tillman said. “He’s a really good player. And if people haven’t seen him, they’ll be really impressed.”

2) Jared Madison vs. Terps shooters. Maryland enters the contest ranked ninth in Division I in offense, averaging 11.3 goals per game. It will be up to the team’s snipers to solve Colgate junior goalie Jared Madison, who ranks 18th in the country in goals-against average (8.15) and 25th in save percentage (.535). Madison’s play is one reason why the Raiders rank 16th in defense, surrendering just 8.1 goals per contest. “I give him a lot of credit,” Tillman said. “He’s been really consistent, a really good leader, a very energetic guy. The guys feed off of his energy. He’s a good clearer and creates transition for them.”

3) Jim Carroll vs. Curtis Holmes. The Terps have leaned on Curtis Holmes, and the sophomore has responded in resounding fashion, tying for ninth in the nation with a 61.6 success rate (159-of-258). Six slots behind Holmes is Colgate senior Jim Carroll, who has won 58.2 percent (153-of-263) of his draws. Neutralizing Carroll will be priority No. 1 for Holmes and the rest of the faceoff unit. “He’s really tough because he’s got a number of moves,” Tillman said of Carroll. “And he’s not just a faceoff guy. He’s a good athlete. He can pick up the ball with a lot of people hanging on him, he can handle pressure. He scored against Army. So you’re getting much more than just a face-off, get-off guy. You’ve got a dangerous threat and a guy who can handle the ball and make good decisions.”

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Categories: Maryland, Three things to watch
        

Salisbury at Washington: Three things to watch

The “War on the Shore” series hasn’t been much of a contest lately with Salisbury claiming 12 of the last 13 meetings, including the past 10 games. The No. 1 Sea Gulls (16-1) are virtually assured of a top two seeding in the South region of the NCAA tournament, but a loss would likely seal the No. 1 seed to Capital Athletic Conference rival Stevenson. Washington (5-8) had dropped four straight prior to defeating Cabrini two weeks ago, but a victory would send the Shoremen into the offseason on a positive note. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at Roy Kirby Jr. Stadium in Chestertown on Saturday.

1) Test Rodriguez. Salisbury has relied on the goalkeeping prowess of senior Johnny Rodriguez, who is 15-1 as a starter this season. But the senior’s last outing was a disastrous one as Rodriguez made just four saves while allowing 11 goals in 22 minutes, 52 seconds of play against Stevenson in the CAC tournament final on April 23. But Sea Gulls coach Jim Berkman said Rodriguez will start against Washington, and Shoremen coach Jim Shirk said he is anticipating a different goalkeeper. “It could go both ways, to be honest with you,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of goalies have an off day and then they bounce back and stand on their heads in the very next game. So I think our game plan is going to approach it to where we’re going to give everything we have and hopefully, it’s enough, but we’re definitely not going to bank on being in his head because I’m going to assume that he’s going to bring his best game and we’re going to get the best Rodriguez there is.”

2) Take advantage of the man-up advantage. In 15 contests, Salisbury is averaging 6.6 penalties. In two against the Mustangs, however, the Sea Gulls committed 27 total penalties. Stevenson converted just five of those extra-man situations into goals, but Washington is hoping to have more success if those opportunities arise. “With any team that is aggressive and with any team that pressures you, you’ve got to combat that by attacking back,” Shirk said. “So I fully expect Salisbury to come out of the gate and pressure us all over the place and be overly aggressive to see how we’re going to react. So we’ve really preached to the guys that we’re going to attack their pressure and their aggressiveness. We’re definitely not going to lean back on our heels.”

3) Play 60. Of their eight losses, the Shoremen have dropped four of them by one goal and another by two goals. The team has suffered lapses occasionally that opponents have exploited. So Shirk is hoping to see a much more focused team against the Sea Gulls. “I think the key is to stick with what we do,” Shirk said. “I think all year, leading up to the Cabrini game, there were times in every game that we got away from what we do, and I think that’s why we lost so many one-goal games. I think that’s why we let teams that we were up on back into the game. So our whole thing is to handle the atmosphere and the rivalry and then to put together a full 60 minutes and make sure that we stay focused.”

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Categories: Salisbury, Three things to watch, Washington
        

May 6, 2011

Mount St. Mary's takes home two major NEC awards

Mount St. Mary’s goalkeeper T.C. DiBartolo and coach Tom Gravante were named the Northeast Conference Defensive Player and Coach of the Year, respectively, the league announced Thursday night.

DiBartolo, a Bowie native and Archbishop Spalding graduate who is the program’s all-time leaders in saves with 701, has registered a 10.87 goals-against average and a .520 save percentage this year. But in five conference games, DiBartolo’s numbers improved to an 8.53 goals-against average and a .571 save percentage.

Gravante repeated as Coach of the Year in the NEC. It’s the sixth such honor in his career, which includes being named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1997, 1999, 2003 and 2010.

In addition to DiBartolo, junior attackman Brett Schmidt, sophomore attackman Andrew Scalley and junior midfielder Bryant Schmidt made the conference first team.

Brett Schmidt leads the Mountaineers in assists (13) and is tied for the lead in points (42). He had registered a streak of seven consecutive multiple-goal games earlier in the season.

Scalley leads the offense in goals (30) and shares the lead in points with Schmidt. Scalley has posted at least one point in 30 straight contests and has recorded 10 goals and six assists over the past four games.

Bryant Schmidt ranks fourth on the team in both goals (15) and points (23). He has compiled six multiple-goal games this year.

Junior attackman Cody Lehrer, senior defenseman Kevin Downs and senior faceoff specialist Ben Trapp represented Mount St. Mary’s on the second team.

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Categories: Mount St. Mary's
        

Gravante vows different Mount St. Mary's vs. Bryant

Six days after Mount St. Mary’s dropped a 9-8 decision in overtime to Bryant at Waldron Family Stadium in Emmittsburg, the Mountaineers get a re-match with the Bulldogs in one semifinal of the Northeast Conference tournament on Friday night.

That suits coach Tom Gravante just fine.

“In this case, I think my players understand they dropped one they should’ve won,” he said Thursday. “They weren’t playing at their best, and it was a 9-8 ballgame. So I’m very certain that we’re going to field a different team on Friday night than we saw last Saturday.”

Part of that has to do with a series of much improved practices this week compared last week's, which left Gravante less than impressed.

“Last week, our performance on Saturday was directly related to how were practicing,” Gravante said. “I don’t think we were practicing with enough passion and conviction. … I’m more confident in my guys after watching them the last four days. … I think they know. I can see it in their eyes. They’re ready, and I think they really want this game. Rather than playing somebody else, I think they want a shot at Bryant.”

Game-planning against an opponent just six days after the first meeting is easier, Gravante said. But he said the coaches and players are preparing for a re-tweaked Bulldogs team.

“They threw a couple wrinkles in their offensive strategy that we didn’t see,” Gravante said. “So we’re going to be better prepared for that. … And we have some things that we didn’t get a chance to run, some plays here and there. But absolutely. And I think Coach [Mike] Pressler expects that.”

The Mountaineers (7-6 overall and 4-1 in the NEC) meet Bryant (8-8, 3-2) in the later semifinal, which is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. The first semifinal between No. 2 seed Quinnipiac (6-6, 4-1) and No. 3 seed Robert Morris (9-5, 3-2) will begin at 5 p.m.

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Categories: Mount St. Mary's
        

Leftovers from Q&A with Salisbury's Johnny Rodriguez

Friday’s editions included a Q&A with Salisbury senior goalie Johnny Rodriguez. Due to space constraints, here are some more answers that didn’t make the cut.

To compete for a national crown, you will likely meet Stevenson for the third time in a single season for the third year in a row. Do you ever get tired of seeing the Mustangs?
We’ve played each other eight times over the last three seasons, and there’s little scouting you can do. We know all of those guys. It’s the same matchups, the same shooting tendencies. It’s just a matter of coming to play mentally. But it’s always a blast. We see those guys every summer, and while we may hate each other on the field, we respect each other off the field.

Who is the toughest offensive player you’ve faced during your career at Salisbury?
I’d probably have to pick [Stevenson senior attackman] Jimmy Dailey. He probably has the most goals on me because we’ve played them so many times. He’s just a great attackman. He’s quick, and he’s a tough guy to guard and a tough guy to stop in terms of his shot, too.

Have you ever scored a goal as a goalkeeper?
I scored in my junior year against Marymount [on April 15, 2010]. I’ve had a few assists in my sophomore year, too. It’s definitely intense. You’re always joking around with the guys about going down there. It’s not every day that a goalie gets to score a goal. So it was definitely exciting. And I can attest that it’s not much fun when you’re on the other end. [Stevenson junior goalie] Ian Bolland took a shot against me that missed the net by about six inches. That would have been devastating.

Has an opposing goalie ever scored against you?
I can honestly say no.

What’s your favorite movie and why?
I would say Gladiator just because it gets me jacked up. I’ll watch it before a game sometimes. [Ravens linebacker] Ray Lewis watches it before games sometimes, which is why I do it, too.

Is it fair to assume that the Ravens are your favorite NFL team?
They’re my favorite sports team all-around. I’m pretty pumped about the draft picks they picked up. I thought getting [cornerback] Jimmy Smith was incredible because I was hoping for him before the draft even started. He’s a great cornerback, and he wears the No. 3 [which is Rodriguez’s number] – at Colorado anyway. And then [Maryland wide receiver] Torrey Smith is a long-ball factor that we’ve been needing for the past couple of years.

So then it must have been a thrill for you to play the NCAA title game at M&T Bank Stadium on Memorial Day weekend, right?
That’s probably the highlight of my life so far. It was a shame we let an opportunity pass by, but being in the locker rooms and being under the stadium where they do all of their pre-game stuff and getting to walk onto that field through that tunnel, it was definitely a moment I will never forget.

What’s your favorite food?
I do. Sour gummy worms. I eat at least a bag a day. Pretty bad habit, but I enjoy it.

Is there a food you won’t eat?
It’s what my roommate makes. He’s from McDonogh. It’s tuna, eggs, Ramen soup, and it’s the most disgusting thing I’ve ever had. He makes it all the time, and I just hate it.

Do you have a celebrity crush?
I’m definitely a Taylor Swift fan. She’s my girl. So I guess I’d have to go with her.

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

May 5, 2011

Bye weekend came at good time for Maryland

No. 6 Maryland has not played since defeating No. 7 Duke, 11-9, in the championship game of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament on April 24.

But rather than being concerned about rust, Terps coach John Tillman said it was clear that the layoff was a welcomed visitor for the players and coaches.

“We got to Saturday, and I’m not sure we would’ve given our best effort, focus,” Tillman said Tuesday. “With everything that we’ve been through together, I just felt like it’s been a long year and having that week off gave us a chance to step back and just focus on school and rest up a little bit. We were able to go up on Saturday and work with a group called Charm City Lacrosse in inner-city Baltimore and do something fun together without the pressure of playing a game. So all in all, it seemed like a good week for us.”

On Monday, Raiders coach Jim Nagle openly expressed the importance of Saturday’s contest to Colgate (9-4), which is one of several teams fighting for perhaps one at-large berth to play in the NCAA tournament. That motivation has not been lost on Maryland (10-3), which is jockeying for one of the top-eight seeds and the right to host a home game in the first round.

“We’ve talked about the importance of playing as well as we possibly can in May,” Tillman said. “We’ve got to play 60 minutes of good lacrosse, and that’s what May demands. So that’s really our big emphasis. … We want to be more focused on us, but you do look at other teams, and I feel like with our team, when we’re hungrier, when we’re the underdogs or when we’re faced with adversity, we play a little bit better. So knowing that there’s going to be a team coming in with a lot at stake to continue their season, we’ve noted that to our players. We can’t lose that emotional battle because that’s something that could swing and be an advantage to them and we can’t let that happen.”

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Categories: Maryland
        

Johns Hopkins understands what awaits on Friday night

Hardly anyone would mistake Johns Hopkins as a sacrificial lamb, but the team is aware of what awaits when it travels to West Point, N.Y. to take on Army at Michie Stadium on Friday night.

The No. 15 Black Knights (9-5) will celebrate the careers of 12 outgoing seniors in their regular-season home finale. They also have a shot at upsetting the No. 4 Blue Jays (11-2) and further strengthening their candidacy for an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament.

Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said the coaches have taken pains to address the circumstances surrounding Friday’s contest.

“We’ve told them that we’re playing a team that we believe is going to put forth its very best effort,” Pietramala said Wednesday. “We believe it’s a team that’s going to play extremely hard. … They’re a very poised group. I think they’ve shown that. They are a group that is going to be very motivated. It’s their Senior Night. It’s a playoff game for them, and it’s a group that is very well-coached.”

As significant as a victory could be for Army, Pietramala stressed that a win is just as important for the Blue Jays.

“We want to continue to develop confidence and we want to be playing our best lacrosse towards the end of the year,” he said. “I understand that the ramifications of this game may be different for each team, but the goal is to win the game. So we’re not going up there just to play and see what happens. We’re going up there to put our best foot forward out of respect for our own program and our desire to win.”

One motivation, however, will not be jockeying for higher seeding in the upcoming NCAA tournament. A projected bracket or two have Johns Hopkins and No. 2 Cornell vying with each other for the No. 3 seed behind Syracuse and Notre Dane, but that’s not relevant to Pietramala.

“I’ve got one thing that I’m worried about, and that’s Friday night,” he said. “I’m not a bracketologist. We could sit here for hours and wonder, ‘What if Cornell wins or loses? What if Hopkins wins or loses? What if Denver wins or lose?’ I’m not a prognosticator. I don’t have a crystal ball. I know one thing. I know it’s important for our team to go up and put its best foot forward against a team that we think is going to be very well-prepared and excited to play. That’s the last message we need to be sending our team, about what comes after Friday. It’s what comes Friday that we need to be worried about.”

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Categories: Johns Hopkins
        

Loyola's Toomey: one more loss, "you go home"

According to several projected brackets, No. 18 Loyola is one of several teams fighting for perhaps one at-large bid in the NCAA tournament.

The best path for the Greyhounds (8-4) entails beating Fairfield on Thursday night and then – most likely – No. 5 Denver on Saturday for the Eastern College Athletic Conference tournament championship and the subsequent automatic qualifier.

Loyola coach Charley Toomey said the team understands the circumstances surrounding its postseason hopes.

“It’s a playoff atmosphere, for sure,” he said Tuesday before the team departed for Denver, the site of the ECAC tournament. “We recognize that we’ve got to be playing our best lacrosse right now because if you lose, you go home. That’s the challenge. It’s an exciting time, and what we’re trying to deal with for the ECAC tournament is, it’s not only about playing our best lacrosse, but it’s also about managing exams, managing travel, managing some things that we probably wouldn’t even be thinking about in the regular season. The good news is that you’re preparing for an opponent that you’ve seen earlier in the year. The bad news is, you’ve got a lot of other factors that play into a weekend like this.”

Toomey said playing in the ECAC tournament should be an appropriate appetizer for the NCAA tournament and the weight of anticipation for the postseason.

“In May, everything is magnified,” he said. “So you’ve got to be playing your best lacrosse. If you’re not communicating on a pick and they come around and score, that could be the difference maker and now you’re going home.”

As the second seed in the tournament, the Greyhounds get a rematch with third-seeded Fairfield (7-7), which dropped a 7-6 decision in overtime on April 9.

“The old adage is, you change things when you lose,” Toomey said. “We won a game in overtime that we easily could have lost. In my opinion, [junior goalkeeper Charlie] Cipriano was the difference maker that day for them [with 16 saves]. So we’re going to go into this game and maybe tweak a few things, but I also believe that we should be playing with some confidence right now. That was game No. 3 of a five-game winning streak, and we were able to win a couple of close games in overtime. And then, we had another close game against a quality opponent this past weekend. So we need to be playing our best lacrosse at the right time, and I believe that we have become a better team than the one that played against Fairfield.”

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Categories: Loyola
        

Postscript from Susquehanna at Goucher

A decent portion of Goucher’s success has stemmed from an opportunistic offense led by the three-headed monster of junior attackman Rory Averett and Kyle Boncaro and junior midfielder Matt Lynch.

But the Gophers have also been buoyed lately by the play of sophomore goalkeeper Connor Mishaw, who has posted double-digit saves in each of the team’s last seven contests en route to a 6.92 goals-against average and a .618 save percentage. He registered 19 saves in Goucher’s 11-3 rout of Susquehanna in a Landmark Conference tournament semifinal at Gopher Stadium in Towson on Wednesday.

Mishaw, who succeeded Chris Stricklin as the starter, said he found his comfort zone prior to a game against Christopher Newport on March 26.

“Before the Christopher Newport game, I just started to relax and our defense really came together,” Mishaw recalled. “I felt like we were working together, and that benefited me. They know what I can save and what I can’t.”

Mishaw has turned aside 115 shots in his last seven games, averaging more than 16 stops. While that could be perceived as Mishaw playing behind a porous defense, Mishaw asserted that those saves are the result of the defensive game plan.

“The majority of those saves, my defense is forcing shots that I like to see,” he said. “So it’s repetition. And the defense has been playing great lately.”

Coach Kyle Hannan said Mishaw has been phenomenal, especially in the latter half of the season.

“I think he was feeling everything out through the first half of the season and then the light went on,” Hannan said. “… He’s kept us in close games. And even today, we won by a lot of goals, but his play was a big part of us winning the way that we did. I think his confidence is high right now, and his teammates have a lot of confidence in him, which helps the entire defense.”

Other notes:

*As noted in Thursday’s editions, with four goals against the Crusaders on Wednesday, junior attackman Rory Averett added the program’s single-season goals record to the career goals mark he achieved last Saturday. But Averett quickly downplayed the accomplishments, saying, “It’s always nice to have the records, but like I said, it’s a lot more than just me setting those records. A lot of people have helped me achieve those records along the way.” Hannan said that’s typical of Averett. “The thing about that record is, it’s easy to see on paper, but the work he puts in and how committed he is to being a great lacrosse player is even more impressive than the record,” Hannan said. “It’s a reward for being the kind of person that he is.”

*If Goucher can beat No. 2 seed Scranton on Saturday in the tournament final, the team will repeat as Landmark Conference champions. Retaining that title is vitally important to the Gophers, according to Averett. “We have three coaches on the staff [Stricklin, defenseman David Jadin and faceoff specialist Nick LaBricciosa] that were a part of that team, and we have people coming back for that game. So there’s ton of pride,” Averett said. “We don’t want to let down the people who have paved the way for us in this program in any way. So there’s a lot of pride in continuing this.”

*In Scranton, Goucher gets a rematch with the one foe that tagged the Gophers with their only loss in the conference in the regular season. But Mishaw said avenging the 9-8 overtime loss on April 23 is not a priority for he and his teammates. “We’ll take anybody we can get,” Mishaw said. “We just want to get to the Landmark championship and play for it again.”

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Categories: Goucher, Postscript
        

May 4, 2011

8 Towson players, coach LaMonica recognized by CAA

Eight Towson players were named to the Colonial Athletic Association all-conference team announced Wdnesday night and coach Sonia LaMonica was named Coach of the Year.

Tigers Alexa Demski (Loch Raven), Jess Dunn (Falltston), Mary Teeters (Centennial) and Ashley Waldron made the first team along with James Madison's Casey Ancarrow (John Carroll) and Hofstra's Katie Hertsch (Hofstra).

Towson's Megan Fitzgerald (Archbishop Spalding), Jackie LaMonica (Hereford) were named to the second team along with William & Mary's Ashley Holofcener (St. Paul's) and Delaware's Morgan Leonard (Liberty). Rhiannon Coogle (North Harford), Kelly Murkey (Westminster) and Jenn Ward (Fallston) of Towson were named to the All-Rookie Team.

All of the major awards went to William & Mary players: Grace Golden, Player of the Year; Sarah Jonson, Defensive Player of the Year; and Taelor Salmon, Rookie of the Year.

Following is the complete list:

First Team

Casey Ancarrow, James Madison, R-So.,. Attacker,

Lisa Bernardini, Old Dominion, Jr., Midfielder

Alexa Demski, Towson, So., Defender

Jess Dunn, Towson, Sr., Attacker

Grace Golden, William & Mary, Sr., Midfielder

Katie Hertsch, Hofstra, Sr., Defender

Sarah Jonson, William & Mary,, Sr. Defender

Mary Kate Lomady, James Madison, Sr., Attacker

Jill Maier, Hofstra, So., Midfielder

Kalyn McDonough, Delaware, Jr. Midfielder

Mary Teeters, Towson, Jr., Goalkeeper

Ashley Waldron, Towson, So., Midfielder

Second Team

Sarah Bauer, Drexel, Sr., Defender

Annie Brophy, James Madison, Jr., Midfielder

Cally Chakrian, James Madison, Jr., Defender

Megan Fitzgerald, Towson, Sr., Defender

Chelsea Gamble, George Mason, Sr.. Midfielder 

Sarah Geary, Old Dominion, Jr., Goalkeeper .

Ashley Holofcener, William & Mary, Sr., Attacker

Julianna Jeffers, Delaware, Sr., Attacker

Jackie LaMonica, Towson, Jr., Midfielder 

Morgan Leonard, Delaware, So., Midfielder 

Molly Wannen, William & Mary, Sr., Midfielder 

Charlotte Wood, Drexel, Jr., Attacker 

All-Rookie Team

Alex Alois, Delaware, Fr., Defender 

Bridget Burns, Delaware, Fr., Midfielder

Rhiannon Coogle, Towson, Fr., Attacker

Anna Kopecka, George Mason, Fr., Attacker

Kelly Murkey, Towson,, Fr. Midfielder

Amanda Norcini, Drexel, Fr., Midfielder

Megan Piotrowicz, James Madison, Fr., Attacker

Taelor Salmon, William & Mary, Fr., Attacker

Katie Stillwell, William & Mary, R-Fr., Midfielder

Jenn Ward, Hofstra,, Fr. Attacker

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Posted by Katherine Dunn at 9:49 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Women's lacrosse
        

8 Loyola players, coach Adams land All-Big East honors

Eight Loyola players and coach Jen Adams as well as a handful of players with local roots earned All-Big East honors announced Wednesday night.

Loyola's Grace Gavin (St. Paul's) was named the Attacker of the Year for the second straight time and earned her third straight unanimous selection to the first team. Gerogetown's Sophia Thomas (Maryvale) was named Midfielder of the Year and Georgetown's Logan McCraw earned Defensive Player of the Year Honors.

Adams shared Coach of the Year honors with Syracuse coach Gary Gait, her mentor when she was a three-time national player of the year at Maryland from 1999-2001.

Loyola's Abby Rehfuss was named to the first team along with Notre Dame's Jackie Doherty (Mount Hebron) and Georgetown's Jordy Kirr (Bryn Mawr).

Loyola's Meg Decker (Mount de Sales), Kellye Gallagher, Ana Henberry (Dulaney), Mary Heneberry (Dulaney), Marlee Paton and Kerry Stoothoff made the second team along with Georgetown's Kelsi Bozel (Notre Dame Prep).

Following is the entire list:

Attack Player of the Year

Grace Gavin, Loyola

Defensive Player of the Year

Logan McCraw, Georgetown

 Midfielder of the Year

Sophia Thomas, Georgetown

Coaches of the Year

Jen Adams, Loyola

Gary Gait, Syracuse

First Team

*Shaylyn Blaney, Notre Dame, Sr., M

*Emily Dashiell, Louisville, Sr., M

Jackie Doherty, Notre Dame, Sr., D

Bergan Foley, Louisville, Sr., A

*Grace Gavin, Loyola, Sr., A

Liz Hogan, Syracuse, Sr., GK

Jordy Kirr, Georgetown, Sr., A

Tee Ladouceur, Syracuse, Sr., A

M.E. Lapham, Connecticut, Jr., A

Logan McCraw, Georgetown, Sr., D

Abby Rehfuss, Loyola, Sr., M

Catherine Rodriguez, Syracuse, Sr., D

Maggie Tamasitis, Notre Dame, Jr., A

Sophia Thomas, Georgetown, So., M

Michelle Tumolo, Syracuse, So., A

Katie Webster, Syracuse, Fr., M

*unanimous selections

Second Team

Kailene Abt, Notre Dame, Sr., M

Kelly Barnes, Georgetown, Jr., D

Becca Block, Syracuse, So., D

Kelsi Bozel, Georgetown, So., M

Kaitlyn Brosco, Notre Dame, Fr., A

Meg Decker, Loyola, Sr., M

Justine Donodeo, Villanova, Jr., M

Kellye Gallagher, Loyola, Sr., D

Ana Heneberry, Loyola, Jr., D

Mary Heneberry, Loyola, Sr., A

Dina Jackson, Georgetown, So., A

Liz Lovejoy, Louisville, Sr., A

Katie Oliverio, Louisville, Jr., A

Marlee Paton, Loyola, Fr., M

Ali Steinberg, Rutgers, Jr., M

Kerry Stoothoff, Loyola, Jr., GK

Marley Welsh, Rutgers, Sr., M

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 9:38 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Women's lacrosse
        

UMBC lands 6 on All-America East teams

Six UMBC women's lacrosse players were named to America East all-conference teams announced Wednesday.

Jamie Fahey (Loch Raven) and Alicia Krause (Mount Hebron) were named to the first team while Erika Braerman (Fallston), Amanda Pappas (Chesapeake-AA) and C.J. Durham (Chesapeake-AA) made the second team. Kristen Bilney (Mount Hebron) made the all-rookie team.

Two others who played high school lacrosse in the Baltimore are were named to the first team: New Hampshire's Haley Rausch (Severna Park) and Boston U's Corcoran Downey (Mount Hebron).

Albany's Nikki Branchini and Boston U's Danielle Etrasco were named Co-Players of the Year and Vermont freshman Sydney Mas was the Rookie of the Year. Albany coach John Battagliano, whose team is the only one left unbeaten in Division I, was named Coach of the Year.

For the entire team, click here to go to the America East web site.

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 7:16 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Women's lacrosse
        

Susquehanna at Goucher: Halftime thoughts

Goucher, the reigning Landmark Conference tournament champion, has asserted itself early, sprinting to a 5-1 advantage against Susquehanna in a tournament semifinal at Gopher Stadium in Towson on Wednesday.

Top-seeded Goucher (10-5 overall and 4-1 in the Landmark) scored the game’s first goal before Crusaders junior midfielder Billy Spack converted a pass from junior attackman Dustin Breakey from the left wing to end a scoreless drought of 24 minutes, 33 seconds.

If the Gophers can maintain this pace, they would play host to either No. 2 seed Scranton (7-7, 3-2) or No. 3 seed Catholic (11-5, 3-2) on Saturday in the conference tournament final.

Other notes:

* Susquehanna senior long-stick midfielder Justin Darlea has shut out junior midfielder Matt Lynch, but the Crusaders (10-5, 3-2) haven’t been able to do the same to junior attackmen Rory Averett and Kyle Boncaro. Averett has scored twice, and Boncaro has registered three assists.

*Goucher sophomore defenseman Bryce Carson has silenced junior midfielder Luke Delavan, Susquehanna’s leader in assists (24) and points (45).

*The Gophers have taken more shots (30-10), scooped up more ground balls (24-19), and committed fewer turnovers (6-12) than Susquehanna. The Crusaders have won 5-of-8 faceoffs.

Posted by Edward Lee at 5:52 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Halftime thoughts
        

Susquehanna at Goucher: Three things to watch

Goucher has never lost to Susquehanna since joining the Landmark Conference for the 2008 season. The Crusaders (11-5 overall and 3-2 in the conference) are riding a six-game winning streak en route to their first appearance in the Landmark tournament. The Gophers (10-5, 4-1) are the top seed in the tournament for the third consecutive year. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at Gophers Stadium in Towson on Wednesday.

1) Faceoffs. Goucher has been on the winning end of many categories thus far, but if there is one problematic area, it’s faceoffs. The Gophers have been dreadful, winning just 35.6 percent (116-of-326) of draws, and that rate dips to 28.1 percent (32-of-114) in conference play. Four players have taken at least 40 faceoffs, and the best is junior defenseman D.J. Shelton (42-of-97 for 43.3 percent). After winning just 7-of-19 draws in the 10-6 win against Susquehanna on April 2, Goucher would doing itself a huge favor by reaching that 50 percent mark on Wednesday.

2) Big three. The Gophers are averaging 10.9 goals per game this season as they have relied on the trio of junior attackmen Rory Averett and Kyle Boncaro and junior midfielder Matt Lynch, especially against conference foes. Averett, the team leader in both goals (48) and points (60), has registered 16 goals and five assists in five league contests, and Boncaro, the leader in assists (25), has posted 11 goals and six assists. But Lynch has been the most consistent of the three, recording at least three points in each game for a total of 14 goals and nine assists. Those three players must rise to the occasion again against the Crusaders.

3) Shot selection. Goucher is averaging 38.2 shots this season, but that rate has increased to 43.2 against Landmark rivals. But that doesn’t necessarily translate into efficiency. In three games this season in which the offense has taken more than 50 shots, the unit has converted less than 20 percent of those attempts into goals. Exhibit A in that case? The four-goal victory against Susquehanna against whom the Gophers launched 56 shots. Goucher could afford to be more selective against the Crusaders.

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

Colgate pinning postseason hopes on upsetting Maryland

Colgate coach Jim Nagle understands what’s at stake when the No. 14 Red Raiders visit No. 6 Maryland at Byrd Stadium in College Park on Saturday.

A victory, and Colgate (10-5) will likely be in the conversation for an at-large berth in the NCAA tournament. A loss, and the Terps (10-3) will move on while the Red Raiders stay home.

“I think if we win, we have a very strong case of getting into the tournament,” Nagle said Monday. “I think a lot depends on what the other leagues do. But I feel like we’re going down to play the ACC [Atlantic Coast Conference] champs. So that should be motivation enough. But I do think that’s true.”

Colgate was busy last week, defeating Army for the second time this season in Friday’s semifinal round of the Patriot League tournament and then falling to No. 12 Bucknell in the final on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Maryland hasn’t played since edging No. 7 Duke in the ACC tournament final on April 24. The Terps could be rusty or rested. Nagle said he isn’t sure which team will show up on Saturday.

“I don’t really know how that plays out, to be honest with you,” he said. “Sometimes it can be good for a team because they get the rest and can re-focus. Other times, they might get out of rhythm. But we can’t worry about what it’s going to do to them. We’ve got to improve this week.”

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

Stevenson makes case for No. 1 seed in NCAA tournament

Seven days after falling to Capital Athletic Conference rival Salisbury in the conference tournament final, No. 3 Stevenson took out its frustration on No. 16 Denison, racing to a 14-1 advantage after three quarters en route to a 14-2 thumping on Saturday.

Mustangs coach Paul Cantabene acknowledged that there might have been a little carryover effect from losing to the Sea Gulls in the CAC title game on April 23.

“I thought the guys were pretty motivated after that game and did a real good job of understanding that we still have a shot at the No. 1 seed in the South for the tournament,” he said Tuesday. “So I thought they came out and played really well and dictated the pace. So it was a good effort by the guys, to refocus and understand how we needed to play.”

Although Salisbury (16-1) is the top-ranked team in the latest United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll, Stevenson may have just as strong of a case for the No. 1 seed in the South Region of the NCAA tournament, which will be announced on Sunday.

According to Laxpower.com which does a very credible job of compiling numbers that the selection committee takes under consideration, the Mustangs are No. 2 in RPI, while the Sea Gulls are No. 5.

In the department of quality wins, Stevenson has top-five wins against Cortland (fourth in RPI) and Salisbury, a top-10 victory over Roanoke (eighth) and top-20 wins against Haverford (12th), Lynchburg (17th) and Denison (19th). Salisbury has a top-five victory over Stevenson, a top-10 win against Roanoke and top-20 victories over Gettysburg (14th) and Lynchburg.

“I think it is a big edge for us,” Cantabene said of the team’s tough schedule. “We did play Cortland, we did play Tufts, and we did play Western New England. Those are all regionally ranked teams, and that really helps us. So those extra games that we’ve played have really helped us out with making a stronger schedule, and I think when you look at the NCAA tournament, that’s what they’re looking at.”

The Mustangs have the weekend off before preparing for the NCAA tournament, and the time off couldn’t have come at a better time. According to Cantabene, senior attackman Richie Ford still isn’t 100 percent after injuring his groin in a 14-13 loss to No. 7 Tufts on March 23, senior attackman Jimmy Dailey is dealing with a swollen elbow, senior midfielder Kyle Moffitt had to have his knee drained after a bursa sac burst, and junior goalkeeper Ian Bolland is nursing a sore thumb.

“We’ve played so much this year,” Cantabene said. “We played Wednesday-Saturday for so long. I think it was seven weeks. At times you want to play because you worry about your rhythm, but at times, the guys need to rejuvenate their bodies and get physically and mentally healthy. You can’t play all those games and think you’re still going to be fresh. So it’s good for us to get an opportunity to get out legs fresh and be 100 percent to go in our first NCAA game.”

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

May 3, 2011

Loyola, UMBC put players on all-conference teams

Several players from Loyola and UMBC were honored by their respective conferences with their inclusion on all-league teams.

Senior defenseman Steve Dircks and sophomore attackman Mike Sawyer represented the No. 18 Greyhounds on the Eastern College Athletic Conference first team.

Dircks, a three-year starter on defense, ranks second on the team in caused turnovers (14), and he has helped the defense limit opponents to 8.0 goals per game, which ranks 15th in Division I.

Sawyer leads Loyola in both goals (27) and points (32) this season and has scored at least one point in every game this season. He was the ECAC Rookie of the Year in 2009.

Senior faceoff specialist John Schiavone was selected to the conference second team. He has won 55.2 percent (116-of-210) of his draws and leads the team in ground balls with 63.

UMBC placed senior midfielder Jamie Kimbles, sophomore attackman Scott Jones and sophomore defenseman Sam McKelvey on the America East second team.

Despite injuries that plagued him for the first half of the season, Kimbles recorded nine goals and eight assists, including six goals and four assists in the Retrievers’ three conference wins.

Jones leads the team with 22 goals and has posted 17 goals and four assists in his last eight contests. McKelvey, who has become a regular starter over the last three games, has totaled 16 ground balls and four caused turnovers.

Freshman midfielder Zach Linkous found a spot on the All-Rookie team. He has played in all 12 games, starting six, and compiled six goals and four assists.

Posted by Edward Lee at 4:26 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola, UMBC
        

Blue Jays' McCaffrey, 7 locals named to All-ALC first team

Johns Hopkins attacker Colleen McCaffrey was named to the American Lacrosse Conference first team Tuesday along with seven women who played high school lacrosse in the Baltimore area, including Player of the Year Kitty Cullen, a McDonogh graduate at Florida, and Goalie of the Year Dana Cahill, a Mercy graduate at Penn State.

Florida's Ashley Bruns (Mount Hebron) and Sam Farrell (Florida), Vanderbilt's Ally Carey (John Carroll), Penn State's Maggie Dunbar (St. Paul's) and Ohio State's Alayna Markwordt (Glenelg) were also named to the first team.

The second team included Johns Hopkins players Taylor D'Amore, Alyssa Kildare and Candace Rossi as well as Florida's Haydon Judge (St. Mary's), Vanderbilt's Courtney Kirk (Roland Park), Penn State's Jen Steadman (Century) and Ohio State's Brittney Zerhusen (Century).

Florida's Amanda O'Leary was named Coach of the Year after guiding the Gators to the No. 3 ranking and the top-seeded spot in this week's ALC tournament in only the second year of the program. The Gators (14-2) won 14 straight games and went undefeated in the conference.

 

Following are the complete teams:

Player of the Year: Kitty Cullen, Florida
Goalie of the Year: Dana Cahill, Penn State
Rookie of the Year: Alyssa Leonard, Northwestern
Coach of the Year: Amanda O’Leary, Florida

First Team
Ashley Bruns, Florida
Dana Cahill, Penn State
Ally Carey, Vanderbilt
Kitty Cullen, Florida
Maggie Dunbar, Penn State
Sam Farrell, Florida
Alex Frank, Northwestern
Colleen Magarity, Northwestern
Alayna Markwordt, Ohio State
Colleen McCaffrey, Johns Hopkins
Shannon Smith, Northwestern
Taylor Thornton, Northwestern

Second Team
Gabby Capuzzi, Ohio State
Taylor D'Amore, Johns Hopkins
Jackie Eastman, Penn State
Lindsey Gysin, Ohio State
Janine Hillier, Florida
Haydon Judge, Florida
Alyssa Kildare, Johns Hopkins
Courtney Kirk, Vanderbilt
Mikey Meagher, Florida
Candace Rossi, Johns Hopkins
Jen Steadman, Penn State
Brittney Zerhusen, Ohio State

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 11:30 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Women's lacrosse
        

Army taking aim at Johns Hopkins for a shot at NCAA tournament

Army’s season isn’t over yet.

Despite falling to No. 14 Colgate in the semifinals of the Patriot League tournament on Friday, the No. 15 Black Knights could insert itself into the conversation for a berth by defeating No. 4 Johns Hopkins in the regular-season finale for both teams on Friday night.

Army (9-5) has an RPI of 23, but beating the Blue Jays would raise that ranking and give the team another quality win to add to tagging an 11-9 decision against No. 2 Cornell on March 5.

Coach Joe Alberici chuckled when asked if Friday’s game had taken on must-win proportions.

“They all feel like must-win games, to tell you the truth,” he said Monday. “It’s been a good season, and we do have a Cornell win on our resume. But I don’t see how we’re in the discussion without a win against Hopkins. So from that standpoint of NCAA ramifications, yeah, it is a must win. But we try to approach everyone and every game as a must win, and that’s just the mentality of the program. So I don’t want to put it out there that you’re going to see a different Army team just because it’s Johns Hopkins. Our goal is that you see the same team every week, and it’s not dependent on the other team’s name on the jersey or circumstances surrounding the game. That’s at least what we’re trying to work towards.”

While acknowledging that vying for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament is inspiring, Alberici said Friday’s opponent presents an exciting opportunity.

“I’d start with this: I think the motivation itself is that Johns Hopkins is coming to Michie Stadium,” Alberici said. “That’s a big deal to everybody associated with the program, and the fact that they’re having the successful season that they are just adds to that. I think it starts there. Now if we’re able to be successful against Johns Hopkins, the chance for another week for us to be together is definitely motivation for our guys. But what we’re really focused on is trying to put together the best four quarters of our season against one of the elite teams in the country.”

Many analysts in the preseason had high expectations of the Black Knights after they captured the regular-season and tournament crowns in the Patriot League and upset Syracuse in the first round of the NCAA tournament last May. Alberici said those expectations mirrored those harbored by the players and coaches.

“Maybe some people thought we were this, that, or the other thing, but I think we had a real good sense of who we are,” he said. “I think we’re a good team – I still believe we’re a good team – and I still believe much of what we want to accomplish this year is still ahead of us. So I’m not ready to write that final chapter on this team just yet and hopefully, I won’t have to for several more weeks.”

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

Virginia reminds lacrosse community not to count out Cavaliers

In the wake of last week’s revelation that senior midfielder Shamel Bratton had been dismissed and senior midfielder Rhamel Bratton had been suspended indefinitely, it wouldn’t have been much of a stretch if No. 9 Virginia had faltered against No. 16 Penn on Saturday.

Instead, the Cavaliers (9-5) handled the visiting Quakers (8-5), 11-2. But coach Dom Starsia wasn’t sure whether the result sent a statement.

“I probably haven’t taken enough time to be able to consider anything other than the fact that we needed to play well, and we did so,” he said Monday. “It was a complicated week for everyone, and we were playing a good Penn team, and it was going to require a thoughtful, efficient effort on our part, and I thought we did that. With the people that we had available, we were a little different team, and so we needed to take better care of the ball and do some things like that, and that happened. I think it was an example of our whole being a little bit better than all of our parts have been in other situations.”

The victory convinced ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins midfielder Mark Dixon that Virginia deserved to be one of the top eight seeds in the NCAA tournament and get a subsequent home game in the first round. Starsia agreed.

“I feel like if we can improve on that performance a little bit, then maybe we can make a little noise in the playoffs,” he said. “I think we probably strengthened our position for the playoffs. We’ve been practicing well. We just hadn’t played well in the last few weeks, and I think if nothing else, it gave the players a little chance to kind of catch their breath a little bit. They only want to hear the ‘You practice hard and practice well’ so much. They want to see it manifest itself on gameday, and it just hadn’t been happening for us. And so if nothing else, it just feels like it gives us a little breathing room. And in a year when it feels like a lot of things are still unsettled, maybe we’ve planted a little seed for ourselves as we enter into the month of May.”

The Cavaliers won’t play this weekend and will wait until the first round of the NCAA tournament before facing an opponent. Starsia said the time off could be beneficial.

“I think the bye comes at a good time for us,” he said. “I think everybody could stand a couple days off. We start our exam period on Thursday. So we’re going to give the guys off a couple days at the end of the week. And we’ve got a couple guys that are nicked up like [junior attackman] Steele [Stanwick] and then some guys are a little run down like [sophomore midfielder Chris] LaPierre, whom we’ve asked to do so much for us. I think a couple days off comes at a good time for them.”

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

UMBC gets second crack -- within five days -- at Hartford

UMBC’s 10-6 loss to Hartford on Saturday night not only ended a four-game run for the Retrievers, but it also translated into another trip to Connecticut.

Because of the setback, UMBC (6-6 overall and 3-2 in the America East) dropped to the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament, and a semifinal match with the aforementioned Hawks (9-6, 3-2) awaits on Wednesday night.

Now the burden is on the Retrievers to overcome a quick turnaround and a repeat trip to Hartford.

“That’s the beauty of home-field advantage,” UMBC coach Don Zimmerman said Monday. “You can stay at home and play on your home field. We didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to get the game down here at UMBC, and now we have to go back. That’s something we have to be able to handle and go back up there with the attitude that we’re still playing and let’s see if we can do a better job this time around.”

The Retrievers outshot the Hawks, 49-29, but only 23 of those attempts were on net. Junior goalkeeper Scott Bement made 14 saves, but Zimmerman said the offense must improve its shot selection.

“He made some real nice saves, and then all of a sudden, shooters are starting to try to be too accurate as far as where they’re putting the ball,” Zimmerman said. “But I also felt like we took some ill-advised shots to bad places. Some of those saves were real good saves, and some of those were, I thought, way too easy.”

UMBC also faltered in extra-man situations. Despite entering the contest ranked 15th in Division I in man-up opportunities (13-of-36 for .361), the team converted just 1-of-8 chances against Hartford.

“They run a bouncing, shut off-type defense where they shut off different players,” Zimmerman said. “That was something we had prepared for, but our guys weren’t used to seeing that in a game. So I think it threw us off a little bit. But we had plenty of opportunities, but we just weren’t outing our shots on goal. That’s something that we have two days to work on because I feel like they’re an aggressive team and they will foul. If we don’t make them pay for their fouls, they’re going to remain aggressive, and our man up has got to do a better job.”

The Hawks have won the last three meetings in this series, but Zimmerman expressed confidence in his team.

“They played well, and I don’t think we played to our ability,” he said. “The key is going to be, can we go up there and play to the best of our ability for 60 minutes? That’s what you have to do at this point in the year. We’re playing sudden-death lacrosse now. So you have to be able to put your best game out on the field, and that’s going to be our goal.”

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

May 2, 2011

Loyola's path to NCAA tournament narrows

Loyola’s one-goal loss to Johns Hopkins may have hurt the Greyhounds in more ways than one.

Not only did the 8-7 setback at Homewood Field in Baltimore on Saturday extend the No. 4 Blue Jays’ winning streak against their Charles Street rivals to 12 consecutive meetings, but Loyola has backed itself into a corner regarding the NCAA tournament.

The No. 18 Greyhounds (8-4), the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Eastern College Athletic Conference tournament, must beat No. 3 seed Fairfield on Thursday night and then probably top-seeded and No. 5 Denver on Saturday night to claim the automatic qualifier for the NCAA tournament. Anything short of that goal, and Loyola will likely end up watching the postseason on television.

“We figured going into this game, we had to win two of the next three,” coach Charley Toomey said after Saturday’s loss. “I felt like if you beat Hopkins and you beat Fairfield, you probably give yourself a good chance at an at-large [bid] with the strength-of-schedule points that you would get just for playing at Denver. So now we’ve got to win two of the next two, and that’s where we are. We’ve got to figure out a way to win on the road at Denver, and that’s something that’s been a challenge for us. We’re going to go back and talk about that at Loyola right now and talk about the plan for the week. The challenge for us is going to be to prepare for exams because we start exams on Wednesday, and we’re going to be gone on Tuesday hopefully through Saturday. So it’s going to be a long week for us, and we’re going to prepare as well as we can. We already know these teams because we’ve played them. But I’d like to think that we’re a better team right now than the last time we played these guys. Looking at this game film should give us a lot of confidence defensively and even offensively. So it’s going to be a challenging week for us, but also an exciting one.”

That might seem like an arduous task for the Greyhounds, who got waylaid by Denver, 12-8, on March 16 at home. But senior goalkeeper Jake Hagelin didn’t sound fazed at the challenge facing Loyola, which has been to three of the last four NCAA tournaments.

“I don’t think there’s really any pressure,” he said. “We know what we have to do. We have to go out and win. Like Coach said, during exams, it’s going to be tough. We’ll just have to drink a lot of water around Denver and get some wins.”

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

Q&A with ESPN's Mark Dixon

ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins midfielder Mark Dixon will provide commentary for the next installment of the “War on the Shore” series between No. 1 Salisbury and Washington on Saturday at 1 p.m. Dixon discussed his candidate for the top seed in the NCAA tournament, Virginia’s performance on the heels of a major personnel shakeup, and Maryland’s bid for a top-eight seed and a home game.

With No. 1 Notre Dame falling to No. 3 Syracuse, 11-8, on Saturday, who is your candidate with the inside track for the top seed in the NCAA tournament?
I think the No. 1 seed right now is Syracuse. The reason is when you look at the three main criteria for the NCAA selection committee, it’s RPI, strength of schedule and quality wins, and I think Syracuse has all of those wrapped up. Their RPI was already No. 1 going into this weekend. The SOS hasn’t been put out yet, but I’d be shocked if they weren’t in the top three. And when you look at their quality wins, you’re talking about [No. 4] Johns Hopkins, Notre Dame, [No. 9] Virginia, [No. 7] Duke, [No. 5] Denver and [No. 13] Villanova. They just have all three of those wrapped up. They play St. John’s in their final and minus any catastrophe there, Syracuse will be the No. 1 seed.

What did you think of Virginia’s 11-2 win against No. 16 Penn in light of the program’s decision to dismiss senior midfielder Shamel Bratton and suspend indefinitely his twin brother Rhamel Bratton?
I wasn’t surprised, to be honest with you. [ESPN analyst] Quint Kessenich and I did a segment a couple weeks ago for Inside Lacrosse called “Quint vs. Dixon: Buy or sell Virginia?” and I said sell. The main reason was the team chemistry. You could just tell that things weren’t right with the team chemistry. So the players stepped up, voted to have Rhamel suspended and Shamel dismissed from the team, and that’s huge. When you’re looking around the locker room, those are the guys you go to battle with in terms of the lacrosse field every single day in practice and then on gameday against other schools, and they made the decision that they didn’t want them there. Virginia has problems in addition to the Brattons with the defense being very suspect. But they did a tremendous job [Saturday]. They made some adjustments. [Senior long-stick midfielder] Bray Malphrus played down at the close, and [redshirt junior defenseman] Chris Clements went up to long-stick midfield. I like [sophomore] Harry Prevas back there. [Senior] Adam Ghitelman is a good goalie who can make saves when given the opportunity. To beat Penn, 11-2, at home, I thought it was a statement win, and I liked the way this offense still has weapons. They still have [junior attackmen] Steele Stanwick and Chris Bocklet and [junior] Colin Briggs in the midfield. So this team still has an explosive offense. It’s just a question of whether or not this defense can pull it together. But I think for this team – in terms of the off-field distractions – the soap opera is done and the drama is finished. Shamel Bratton has been dismissed from the team. Sure, they’ll miss him on the field in terms of his ability and what he brought to the table as an electric offensive lacrosse player. But they don’t have to put up with all of the other stuff, and they can really just focus on winning games now and doing the best that they can without the whole sideshow.

What was the most surprising result of the weekend?
Two things stood out to me. One was the Syracuse offense and how they were able to pick apart the Notre Dame defense. I was really impressed with them being able to penetrate that Irish defense, and I think the big key to that from where I was sitting was [junior attackman] Tom Palasek. His ability to dodge off the corner, get about goal-line extended, create slides, create defensive rotations really opened up a lot of things for the Syracuse offense. And when you can get the ball into [senior attackman] Stephen Keogh, forget about it. That guy’s going to finish. He’s a tremendous goal scorer, and that’s what they were able to do. I was impressed with the play of the second midfield unit, [redshirt sophomore] Steve Ianzito in particular. I think the second biggest surprise wasn’t that [No. 12] Bucknell won the Patriot League championship, but how they did it in such dominating fashion. This is a team right now that is really gelling, and I think they’re peaking at the time that you want a team to peak. I just really love that trio that they have on the offensive end in [senior attackman Mike] Danylyshyn, [senior midfielder Ryan] Klipstein and [junior midfielder] Charlie Streep.

I’ve seen a few projected brackets that don’t have No. 6 Maryland getting a top-eight seed and a home game in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Agree or disagree?
I think Maryland is a top-eight seed and that they will get a home game. When you look at their body of work, their RPI is a little low right now at 11. Their strength of schedule is probably going to be anywhere between eight and 13, but if you look at their wins – the win over Duke in the ACC championship, the win over North Carolina in the ACC tournament – in my opinion, they’re going to get the home game. The RPI and the SOS are a little bit low, but when I look at my top eight, I’ve got Villanova, Bucknell and maybe Penn on the outside looking in. If I compare the resumes of those teams to Maryland’s, I guess Villanova would be the one that would be the most problematic with an RPI of four. But I think their strength of schedule is going to be much lower than Maryland’s. I see the Terps getting seeded anywhere between six and eight. And remember, they still have to play [No. 14] Colgate at home next weekend. That’s going to be a huge game for Colgate because if they can win, that would keep them alive. For Maryland, that’s a good win. Not an eye-popping win, but a good win.

Which top-10 team might not get a top-eight seed in the NCAA tournament?
On team that might not get a home game might be Denver. If you look at their RPI, they’re at eight right now, but the strength of schedule is not going to be very, very strong. Their big win is over Duke, and that’s their only quality win. Now, their only two losses are to Syracuse and Notre Dame, but when you look at their strength of schedule, that might hurt them. If they don’t win the ECAC, I still think they’re an at-large [lock], but they definitely wouldn’t get a home game. I would have said that about Virginia if they had lost to Penn, but with Virginia beating Penn, their RPI is seven, and they’re going to have a top-three strength of schedule. They’ve got the win over [No. 2] Cornell, which is huge. So I think Virginia solidified a home game in the playoffs with that win over Penn.

Is No. 8 North Carolina a lock for the NCAA tournament?
When you talk about North Carolina, their RPI is at 13, their schedule is very, very strong, they’ve got one head-to-head win against Maryland. I think they’re bubble-in right now. I’ve got 13 teams in right now, including the automatic qualifiers that aren’t locks. And I’ve got Penn and North Carolina as my next teams in at 14 and 15. And then it’s between Colgate, Army, Yale, Harvard and maybe Loyola and UMass at the bottom for that last spot. So they’re a bubble-in right now, and they’ve got a huge opportunity against [No. 1] Notre Dame next weekend. If they knock off the Irish, it’s a done deal, and they may even elevate themselves to get a home game perhaps.

Let’s do a rapid-fire conference-by-conference look-in. Who do you like to come out of the Ivy League tournament?
Cornell. And that’s my favorite tournament because it always seems like there are all these one-goal games and overtimes and things like that. And outside of Cornell, you’ve got [No. 16] Penn, [No. 17] Yale and Harvard. I think Penn’s in a good position to get an at-large berth with their win over Duke and they’ve got a pretty strong RPI at 12, but their strength of schedule is going to be in the top five, I believe. And Yale’s a very nice team. I’d love to see them get into the tournament, but they’ve got to get to the finals of the Ivy League to have a chance and that would mean knocking off Cornell.

The Colonial Athletic Association?
I love [No. 10] Hofstra. I love the way that they’re playing right now. They’ve got home-field advantage at Shuart Stadium. That’s a huge plus for the Pride. I just think they’re playing great right now.

The Eastern College Athletic Conference?
Denver.

The America East?
[No. 11] Stony Brook. That’s Stony Brook’s to lose. But I think Hartford is the one that can give them a run for their money.

The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference?
That’s an interesting conference. This last weekend jockeyed everything. Detroit, had they won, would have been the No. 1 seed, but they lost and fell to No. 3. So it’s Siena, Marist, Detroit and Jacksonville, and I think right now, the team that is probably playing the best and with the most experience in this format is Siena. So I think you have to give the nod to the Saints.

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

May 1, 2011

Postscript from Loyola at Johns Hopkins

In less than a year, Johns Hopkins has already reversed a troubling trend.

A season removed from absorbing three one-goal losses en route to the program’s first sub-.500 campaign, the No. 4 Blue Jays have won four one-goal contests this spring.

Johns Hopkins (11-2) added to that string on Saturday by holding off No. 18 Loyola, 8-7, at Homewood Field in Baltimore.

The Blue Jays, who have edged No. 6 Maryland, No. 8 North Carolina and No. 9 Virginia by one goal each, are 40-15 under coach Dave Pietramala in one-goal games.

After last season’s 7-8 record, Pietramala joked that he’s happy with any victory, but he conceded that he’s enjoyed witnessing the character this current squad has shown.

“I like that we found a way to win,” he said. “I like that we got the stop we needed to get. I like that when we needed to extend that lead by one more goal, we got it. I thought [sophomore midfielder] Lee Coppersmith’s goal [at the end of the second quarter] was a big one. I like that we feel good about putting our faceoff guy out there and knowing that we’ve got a pretty darn good chance of coming up with the ball. I like that.”

Just as he did in the 10-9 decision against North Carolina on April 3, senior faceoff specialist Matt Dolente won Saturday’s final draw. Although the offense would later cough up the ball, Dolente said he doesn’t mind bearing the burden of winning that key faceoff.

“We’ve been in that situation a few times this year where you need to come up with a faceoff late, and we’ve had good results and bad results,” he said. “But I think we feel comfortable in that situation. We’ve been in that situation before, and I was confident that we could come away with a win there.”

Other notes:

*The eight-goal output was the first time the Blue Jays had not reached the double-digit mark since losing to then-No. 1 Syracuse, 5-4, in double overtime on March 19 – a stretch of five games. Some of the credit goes to Loyola’s defense (more on that later), but Johns Hopkins sophomore midfielder John Ranagan said the showing should serve as a candid reminder for he and his offensive teammates. “I think it shows what can happen when we don’t play the way we should,” Ranagan said. “I think it’s a good wake-up call for us, and going into practice this week, we’ve got to make sure that we get on the same page and work to play better on Friday night [against No. 15 Army].”

*Conversely, the Greyhounds were buoyed by their ability to limit the Blue Jays to eight goals. “I think if we can hold a team to eight goals, that’s a win for us – defensively,” said senior goalkeeper Jake Hagelin, who finished with six saves. Loyola’s defenders did a remarkable job of sliding to the ball carrier and then switching off and recovering as quickly as possible. “We prepared for this,” coach Charley Toomey said. “We were prepared for this result. As Jake said, we knew what they were going to do, and we knew how we wanted to slide, and they beat us with some great shots. They picked up some tough ground balls, rode us well. Again, we just need to learn from this tape and prepare for Fairfield now [in the Eastern College Athletic Conference tournament semifinal on Thursday night].”

*Loyola’s offense awoke in the second half, but the unit could only lament what could have been if it had been able to replicate that effort in the first half. Johns Hopkins outshot the Greyhounds, 15-11, and subsequently, took a 6-3 lead into halftime. Sophomore midfielder Davis Butts said the blame rests on the offensive players. “I think we were hurting ourselves in the first half,” said Butts, who registered a goal and an assist. “We were kind of making stupid mistakes. We came into halftime, and we knew what we needed to do. We came out in the second half and did exactly that. It just happened that we were one [goal] short. … It’s extremely frustrating. We got a lot of opportunities to put it in, and I think if we had it back right now, we’d put it in.”

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