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June 30, 2011

Columbia native assumes head coaching role at Marist

Columbia native Keegan Wilkinson is the new coach at Marist, marking the eighth different Division I head coach named in 2011.

The school, which made the announcement Tuesday, promoted Wilkinson from assistant coach -- a role he had served over the past four seasons.

Over that same span, the Red Foxes have improved their record in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference each year and qualified for the league tournament in each of the past two seasons.

“I’d like to thank President [Dr. Dennis] Murray, [athletic director] Tim Murray and the search committee for conducting a great process. The support I’ve received has been overwhelming,” Wilkinson said in a statement posted on the school’s website. “The progress we’ve seen in the past few years [has] been astounding, and I’m looking forward to the challenge of continuing that progression.”

A graduate of DeMatha, Wilkinson was a four-year starter at attack at St. Joseph’s. He paced the Hawks in points and assists in three seasons, and his 83 career assists rank second on the university’s all-time assists list.

Wilkinson’s promotion leaves Bellarmine, Colgate, Siena and St. Joseph’s as the only Division I programs with head coaching vacancies.

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

June 29, 2011

Review & preview: Salisbury

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

REVIEW

The good: For much of the 2011 campaign, the Sea Gulls (21-1 overall and 7-1 in the Capital Athletic Conference) had done a pretty good job of refraining from talking about last year’s 9-6 loss to Tufts in the NCAA tournament final. But after beating Roanoke in the semifinals and guaranteeing a rematch with the Jumbos, the players openly relished another shot at Tufts and exacted a measure of revenge with a 19-7 thrashing. “The year before, I think in everybody’s minds and the players especially, we didn’t give our best effort that day,” coach Jim Berkman said. “We didn’t mentally or physically play up to our capabilities. It’s one thing to get beat when you don’t play well, and obviously, Tufts did some things to not allow us to play well on that day, but the performance that we exhibited there in 2010 was nothing remotely like we had played down the stretch. Scoring six goals which is kind of unheard of from us, but again, credit has to be given to Tufts. By the same token, we had some kids that hadn’t been there before, and when the lights were on, they didn’t play very well. In 2011, some of those same guys played unbelievable because it was their second time there and they were a little more comfortable.” … Several players had career years, including sophomore Ryan Clarke, who joined junior Sam Bradman and senior Shawn Zordani on the first midfield. Clarke registered 10 goals and 12 assists and meshed well with Bradman (55, 23) and Zordani (31, 29), who got more touches than Clarke. “To see Ryan Clarke go from the second midfield to the first midfield down the stretch and get big goals, he just really, really blossomed,” Berkman said. “And it’s scary to see how good he could really become if he works on his shooting.” … After graduating faceoff specialist Ryan Finch (211-of-349 for .605 and 146 ground balls), Salisbury didn’t miss a beat with the insertion of Tyler Granelli. The sophomore went 220-of-337 for .653 and collected 110 ground balls despite not playing much in 2009 as a freshman at Cortland and sitting out 2010 after undergoing knee surgery in the preseason. “After each game, he just got better and better,” Berkman said. “… For him to play that well and continue to improve during the course of the season and really grab that role, I had no idea how good he was going to be. EspeciaIly with him coming off of knee surgery the year before, and he virtually had no college experience because he really didn’t play at Cortland.”

The bad: Full disclosure: when a team captures a NCAA crown – the program’s ninth in 13 finals appearances – trying to pick out negatives looks a lot like quibbling. The Sea Gulls offense finished the year ranked sixth in the country with a 15.36 goals-per-game average, but Berkman noted that the unit didn’t score more than eight goals in three of the team’s first six contests. “We played great defense all year long, but our offense wasn’t there,” he said. “Our attack wasn’t there with two new guys, some kids that hadn’t played in a couple of years. Trying to mesh together, we were winning games 7-4 and 8-2. But down the stretch, we were putting up big numbers against quality teams. … Just seeing that improvement on offense was very gratifying because we had spent a tremendous amount of time on just individual attack play throughout the year that we normally wouldn’t do at this level. All of that extra work before and after practice that we had been doing really paid off.” … Salisbury remained relatively healthy, but there were injuries. Junior attackman Matt Pierotti (10, 3 in 2010) missed the season due to injury, sophomore defenseman Brett Baer sat out six games because of a broken foot and poor conditioning, and Zordani played the entire season with a torn labrum. A concussion sidelined Bradman for three games, and Berkman thinks the brief absence cost Bradman shots at National Player of the Year and National Midfielder of the Year honors. But those injuries didn’t hamper the Sea Gulls. “It’s a little less frustrating when you’ve got good depth,” Berkman noted.

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: Of the three starters who leave Salisbury, the largest priority involves finding a successor to National Goalkeeper of the Year Johnny Rodriguez, who recorded a 5.99 goals-against average and a .567 save percentage. Backup goalie Tim Swinburn also graduates, leaving freshman Alex Taylor as the heir apparent. “Alex Taylor is a freshman, and he’s paid his dues,” Berkman said. “He’s really athletic and quick. Based on the depth chart, he’s the guy. There’s a couple guys coming in that could compete for that spot, but Alex had a good season. He proved himself here, and he’s a real competitor. Hopefully, he’s ready to seize that moment.” … The team also has to replace a pair of starting defensemen in first-team All-American Collin Tokosch (45 ground balls and 21 caused turnovers) and honorable-mention All-American Nick Mooney (33, 30). Freshman Danny Sherr (12, 10) is poised to join junior Chad Surman (24, 14) as starters, but there are plenty of options for the third spot. Junior Andrew Sellers (32, 22) could move from his usual position as the long-stick midfielder. Or freshman Zeke Smith could step into a starting role. “I think it’s going to depend on where Zeke is because he actually played long stick a little bit,” Berkman said. “Is he going to be a better long stick or a better close defenseman? I’m not sure. So there’s three or four guys there in the mix.” … The final hole to fill involves adding a first-line midfielder to join Bradman and Clarke. Berkman floated the idea of moving junior Tony Mendes from attack to midfield, but acknowledged that replacing Mendes on attack might be even more difficult. At this point, it would appear that junior Jeff McGuire (13, 7) is the leading candidate to succeed Zordani. “He’s a great role player,” Berkman said of McGuire. “He knows the system and is smart enough to know that the ball needs to be in Sam’s stick and Ryan’s stick. Yet he’s a great cutter and can shoot on the run.”

Forecast for 2011: Sunny. Climbing back to the top of the Division III mountain means that Salisbury will likely return to the top of opponents’ hitlists. Programs like Tufts, Stevenson, Roanoke and Cortland will train their sights on the Sea Gulls and work in the offseason to dethrone the new king. But that’s familiar territory for the Salisbury players, and the return of six frontline players bodes well. The biggest question is whether Taylor can replace Rodriguez. Sherr, Smith, Baer and junior long-stick midfielder Evan Hockel should replenish the defense, and the offense is in good hands with Bradman, junior attackmen Matt Cannone (49, 39), Erik Krum (52, 16) and Mendes (48, 17). The Sea Gulls will do their best to keep the hardware on the Eastern Shore.

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

June 28, 2011

Gilman's Emala leaving Georgetown, possibly heading to North Carolina

Davey Emala, a Baltimore native and Gilman graduate, has withdrawn from Georgetown and is seeking to transfer to another school, according to a pair of sources.

A university spokesman confirmed the departure, and Emala is no longer listed on the team’s website.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pound attackman recently wrapped up his sophomore campaign as the Hoyas’ leader in both points (48) and goals (35). He was named to the All-Big East second team.

Emala and sophomore attackman Travis Comeau became the first Georgetown duo to each score 30 goals in a single season since 2001 when Steve Dusseau (38) and Scott Doyle (30) did it in 2001.

Emala is considering a number of programs, and one rumored destination is North Carolina, which makes sense as a four former Gilman players dot the roster. They are junior goalkeeper Matt Holman, sophomore attackman Marcus Holman, redshirt sophomore midfielder Greg McBride and freshman midfielder Duncan Hutchins.

Tar Heels coach Joe Breschi declined to comment, citing NCAA regulations prohibiting discussing a potential transfer until the student has enrolled at the school.

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:57 AM | | Comments (2)
        

Review & preview: Stevenson

Here is the sixth installment of a series that checks in with the seven Division III programs in the state to evaluate the past and offer a glimpse into the future. Tuesday, we take a visit with Stevenson. (Coach Paul Cantebene did not return requests for an interview.)

REVIEW

The good: The Mustangs extended their streak of 17-win campaigns to three with 18 victories in 21 contests this past spring. The team stayed within the top five of the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll for much of the season, losing once only to eventual national champion Salisbury, 2010 NCAA titlist Tufts, and Roanoke, and advancing to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals for the second consecutive year. … Stevenson had nine players earn All-American honors. The individual accolades were headlined by seniors Jimmy Dailey and Evan Douglass. Dailey, a Westminster native and Winters Mill graduate, was named Outstanding Player of the Year after leading Division III in points (118) and assists (58), which are school records. He also wrapped his career as the program’s leader in points (329) and assists (163). Douglass was selected as the nation’s Outstanding Defensive Player after leading Division III in caused turnovers (59) and setting a school record for caused turnovers in a career (136). … Another school mark was surpassed when senior Neal Barthelme scored 73 goals, obliterating the previous program mark of 59 goals by Richie Ford in 2008. Barthelme, a Towson native and Dulaney graduate, finished with 94 points, which was one point shy of Steve Kazimer’s school record of 95 points established last year.

The bad: As successful as the program has been over the past three seasons, the Mustangs have not been able to hurdle the final obstacle and reach the NCAA title game. A highly anticipated showdown with the Sea Gulls in the tournament semifinals never materialized because Stevenson fell, 13-12, to Roanoke in the quarterfinals. After throttling the Maroons, 16-6, on March 16, the Mustangs couldn’t hold onto a 12-11 lead in the fourth quarter. It was a disappointing finish to a promising campaign. … Two of the team’s three losses involved an ability to hold onto a lead. In addition to the setback to Roanoke, Stevenson held a 12-8 advantage at halftime against Salisbury, but could not prevent the Sea Gulls from roaring back en route to a 16-14 victory in the Capital Athletic Conference tournament final on April 23. Not quite what you would expect from a senior-laden and experience-brimming team as the Mustangs were. … All three of Stevenson’s losses occurred either at Caves Athletic Complex in Owings Mills or close to home. Salisbury and Roanoke beat the Mustangs on their home turf, and they dropped a 14-13 decision to Tufts at Towson’s Johnny Unitas Stadium. The optimist’s view would focus on the team going 7-0 on the road, but the pattern was somewhat disturbing.

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: It’s unclear whether Barthelme has a year of eligibility remaining, but the offense loses some punch with the graduation of Dailey, attackman Richie Ford (23 goals and 16 assists) and midfielders Kyle Moffitt (35, 7), Sean Calabrese (18, 9) and Jake Stocksdale (8, 19). The midfield has plenty of depth in freshmen Tony Rossi (26, 18) and Chris Dashiell (8, 12) and junior Justin Lea (13, 4), but can freshman Tyler Reid (38, 7) or sophomore Danny Schanne (5, 3) succeed Dailey as the offensive quarterback? … Stevenson’s biggest questions are on defense with the departure of all three starting defensemen in Douglass (62 ground balls and 59 caused turnovers), Kyle Menendez (44 GBs, 31 CTs) and Ian Hart (37 GBs, 19 CTs). Sophomore Kyle Fendlay (25 GBs, 15 CTs) and freshman Ryan Rubenstein (29 GBs, 14 CTs) could fill the void, but the unit will likely miss the experience it enjoyed with Douglass, Menendez and Hart.  … The Mustangs also took a hit on faceoffs. After Ray Witte (139 GBs, 252-of-387 for .651) and Joe Valderas (32 GBs, 72-of-105 for .686), the next most experienced faceoff specialist is freshman Mike Schiavone (6 GBs, 10-of-25 for .400). Schiavone or sophomore Sam Ramatowski (4 GBs, 9-of-16 for .562) could be in line to assume those duties.

Forecast for 2011: Cloudy. Stevenson brings in a huge recruiting class, but has many holes to fill on every side of the field. Even if Barthelme is eligible to return for another year, the offense needs to find a quarterback to initiate the action and feed his teammates. Getting possessions isn’t guaranteed either as Witte and Valderas graduate. Junior goalkeeper Ian Bolland (6.57 goals-against average and a .590 save percentage) should anchor the defense, but there are some question marks there, too. The Mustangs will move to the Middle Atlantic Conference for the 2013 campaign, but before then, they will have another year meeting Salisbury and the rest of their Capital Athletic Conference rivals.

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

June 24, 2011

Five Division I coaching vacancies remain

With Monday’s announcement that Stony Brook had hired Jim Nagle as its head coach, there are still five Division I programs with head coaching vacancies.

Those schools are Colgate (Nagle resigned to coach the Seawolves), Siena (Brian Becht left for Rutgers), Marist (Scott Nelson left for Binghamton), St. Joseph’s (Pat Cullinan resigned on June 15) and Bellarmine (Bart Sullivan became the interim coach after the death of Jack McGetrick).

Colgate may be the most attractive opportunity as the Raiders went 11-5 overall and 5-1 in the Patriot League and return six starters, including sophomore midfielder Peter Baum (34 goals and 15 assists in 2010) and junior goalkeeper Jared Madison (8.13 goals-against average and .539 save percentage).

Another option is Siena, which went 13-5 overall and 5-1 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference en route to winning the conference tournament and qualifying for the NCAA tournament. The Saints do graduate all three starting defensemen, but return eight of their top nine scorers.

In all, 11 programs have changed head coaches. It’s a lot of turnover for a sport that invites just 16 teams to its NCAA tournament and has travel restrictions for the schools involved in the first round of the tournament.

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

June 23, 2011

Towson adds former defenseman to coaching staff

Shawn Nadelen announced Thursday his first official hire since succeeding Tony Seaman as Towson’s head coach, adding Dan Cocchi to his staff as the team’s new defensive coordinator.

Cocchi was a four-year starting defenseman for the Tigers, helping the school reach the NCAA tournament in 2001 and 2003. Cocchi, a three-time All-American selection who played in 55 career games, ranks second in program history with in ground balls with 283.

“Dan was a great player at Towson and what better person for our young men to learn from than a Towson all-American and a Major League Lacrosse All-Star,” Nadelen said in a written statement on the Tigers’ website. “His experiences as a player and a coach at many different levels will be a great benefit for our lacrosse program.

“Dan’s intensity for the game is infectious and I look forward to seeing how that permeates through our team,” Nadelen continued. “Dan and his wife, Kristen, are Towson alums and it is very exciting for both of them to be back here in town. Dan will be instrumental with the involvement of our lacrosse alumni in the program. I couldn’t be more excited to have Dan joining our staff.”

Since graduating in 2003, Cocchi has spent nine years in the Major League Lacrosse, including the last five with the Long Island Lizards. He has served as the head coach at the University of North Florida, which competes in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association, and Matanzas High School in Palm Coast, Fla.

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

Maryland leads pack in Under Armour All-America selections

Maryland fell just short of capturing the national championship, but the Terps will reload with one of the top recruiting classes in the nation.

The Under Armour All-America list was announced on May 26, and Maryland leads all Division I schools with seven players on that list.

Representing the Terps on July 2 at 8 p.m. at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium will be three attackmen in Jay Carlson (St. Paul’s), Kevin Forster and David Solomon, two midfielders in Bobby Gribbin (who reportedly has switched his commitment from Penn State) and Joe LoCascio, and two defensemen in Goran Murray and Eric Parnon.

Johns Hopkins has four commits in attackmen Wells Stanwick (Boys’ Latin) and Mike Daniello and defensemen John Kelly and Michael Pellegrino.

Navy will be represented by attackman Patrick Kenna and goalkeeper John Connors, while Loyola has a selection in midfielder Jeff Chase (Boys’ Latin).

Virginia – which beat Maryland for the 2011 NCAA crown on Memorial Day – Syracuse, and North Carolina each have five players on the list. A pair of local products in attackman Taylor Michel (St. Paul’s) and midfielder Ryan Tucker (Gilman) will play for the national champion Cavaliers.

Harvard will be represented by four players, Duke by three, and Notre Dame by two. One of the Fighting Irish’s commits is attackman Conor Doyle (Gilman). Defenseman Bryson Greene (McDonogh) will represent Georgetown.

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

June 22, 2011

Review & preview: Goucher

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

REVIEW

The good: The Gophers won’t be confused with in-state peers Salisbury and Stevenson, but the offense made some progress. Statistically, the unit averaged 10.7 goals this past spring after averaging 10.3 goals last season. Seven different players recorded at least 11 points, and five of those players scored at least 10 goals each. “We definitely made some improvement on the offensive end, and I think that had to do with the experience on that end because we returned so many offensive players,” coach Kyle Hannan said. “We have two attackmen that have started since their freshman year. That certainly helped and then with Matt Lynch in the midfield, I think that’s where we had the most game experience and continuity on the offensive end.” … The question mark heading into the season involved determining the successor to goalkeeper Chris Stricklin. That question was resolutely answered by the emergence of sophomore Conor Mishaw, who registered a 7.22 goals-against average and a .610 save percentage. Both of those figures tied him for 24th in the country in both goals-against average and save percentage. “He kind of played the way we knew he was capable of playing,” Hannan said. “He’s a very talented player, and he’s going to make a lot more saves for Goucher lacrosse over the next couple of years.” … Another individual highlight came from junior attackman Rory Averett, who scored 53 goals last spring and has deposited 138 in his career. He surpassed Phil Anthony for the school record for goals in a season (50 in 2002) and Anthony for gals in a career (132 from 1999 to 2002). Averett has consistently downplayed his achievements, but Hannan openly praised his attackman. “He really stepped up and did great things this year,” Hannan said.

The bad: A promising season that included an 11-6 record and a 4-1 mark in the Landmark Conference ended on a disappointing note as Goucher fell, 12-8, to Scranton in the tournament final on May 7. After qualifying for their first NCAA tournament last spring, the Gophers have now lost in the Landmark tournament in three of the last four years. “We didn’t play well in the Landmark championship game,” Hannan said. “So that’s another thing that we have to learn, how to play better on that big stage.” … A year removed from nearly winning 50 percent of faceoffs, the team absorbed a huge dropoff in that department. The unit won just 35.5 percent (130-of-366) of the draws. Five different players took at least 37 faceoffs – the most telling sign that the team sorely missed the presence of Nick LaBricciosa, who won 50.4 percent (171-of-339) in his final year of eligibility last spring. “We thought we had a couple of guys waiting in the wings, and it just worked out that their hand speed and technique just wasn’t quite good enough at this level to consistently win faceoffs,” Hannan said. “We did all kinds of things as the season went along in terms of trying different people and different techniques and adding poles to the wings and having long sticks take faceoffs. We were trying to be as creative as possible, but we kind of put a bandage on an area that we needed to be healed. That’s an area we’re making a big effort to improve on in the fall.” … With just two seniors on the roster, Hannan said the team lacked some guidance from the players themselves, who are generally better at rallying their teammates and keeping them in check. Hannan is hopeful that the return of nine soon-to-be seniors can carry out that task next season. “Where we need to improve the most is leadership, and I think that’s going to happen,” he said. “We return every player except for two, and I think that by having a very veteran team coming back, that leadership is going to be better. Everybody is going to understand their role, and that’s going to help us tremendously next spring.”

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: The Gophers’ only loss in the starting lineup is two-time honorable-mention All-American defenseman Justin Dunn, who led the team in both ground balls (53) and caused turnovers (46). Freshman long-stick midfielder Paul Taylor is poised to move into Dunn’s spot, but that leaves the team searching for a long-stick midfielder. “I think there’s a couple of freshmen that are really going to vie for that spot,” Hannan said. “[Incoming freshman] Ethan Haddaway is a young man who has a ton of talent. [Junior] Tom Stabler could play there. There’s also a couple of returners that we’re going to look at for that spot, and we’ll see how that shakes out. ” …. As mentioned previously, five different players took at least 37 faceoffs with sophomore Gavin Loney (44-of-133 for .389) taking the brunt of the draws. While citing a pair of incoming faceoff specialists in David Waligurski and Tristan Morris, Hannan said he must weigh using a rotation of players or going with a primary specialist. “There’s a chance we could have a rotation,” he said. “We’d rather have one guy, kind of like a goalie where that is his responsibility and he takes pride in it and really works on his technique throughout every practice. But I don’t know if we’re going to be in that position next year.” … Next year’s starting attack figures to be filled by juniors Kyle Boncaro (28 goals and 28 assists) and Averett (53, 12). Freshmen Max Roach (11, 2) and George Skelos (5, 7) will likely compete to round out the unit, but Hannan noted that incoming freshman Sam Morgan scored 120 points in 17 games in his final season with Kearsarge Regional High School in New Hampshire. “We’re excited about having him because he’s going to fight for a spot to be able to play with Kyle Boncaro and Rory Averett,” Hannan said. “So that could be a very potent attack.”

Forecast for 2011: Partly sunny. Goucher has a few holes to fill. Filling Dunn’s spot might not be terribly difficult, but replicating his ball-hawking abilities is no easy task. And as long as faceoffs continue to cost the offense possible possessions and scoring opportunities, the team might have a tough time taking the next step. But with nine returning starters and several key contributors waiting in the wings, the Gophers have a ton of potential in the lineup and on the field. If a few incoming freshmen can validate Hannan’s optimism, Goucher could find itself atop the Landmark Conference again and poised to qualify for the NCAA tournament.

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

June 21, 2011

Review & preview: Washington

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

REVIEW

The good: The Shoremen made slight progress from 2010, going 5-9 from 4-10, averaging 7.9 goals from 7.8, and surrendering 10.0 goals per game from 10.4. Coach Jeff Shirk, who completed his inaugural season at Washington, said he was more impressed with the team’s demeanor and work ethic. “I got a good feeling after the season because I liked the way the guys played,” Shirk said. “They played hard, they were physical, they gave us a chance to be in almost every game that we played. I think we had some hiccups along the way, some youthful growing pains, and I think that accounted for our four one-goal losses and a two-goal loss. I think if we move forward and continue to play hard and work hard but with a little more experience and better decision-making, I’m excited about the strides that we made this year.” … The offense continued to evolve despite the loss of starting senior midfielder Doug Herdegen, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in a 9-8 loss to Ursinus on April 6. Seven different players registered at least 14 points each, and five different players scored at least 10 goals each. “I think that just shows that we spread things out,” Shirk said. “… One guy would step up and then the next day, another guy would step up. Some guys, especially our freshmen, had ups and downs, where for some games, they showed up, and for other games, they just weren’t there. I think that’s going to bode well for the future, too, because we don’t rest everything on one guy’s shoulders. It’s everybody playing their part.” … The offense got more opportunities courtesy of an improved effort in clears. Washington successfully cleared 81.4 percent of the time, which is 7.2 percent better than last year’s showing. “We really focused hard on the clearing game because one of the things we stressed was not giving second-chance opportunities,” Shirk said. “So it might have just been a thing to the guys where it was new to them last year. With more practice this year, they understood it a little bit better. Maybe we explained it in a couple different ways where it clicked with them. But the guys definitely did a good job in the clearing game.”

The bad: As mentioned previously, the Shoremen made some progress statistically, but those numbers didn’t impress Shirk. He said the indicators of growth are there, but he is hoping for greater improvement. “If you look at it from a strict numbers standpoint, I’m disappointed – from our faceoff percentage to our goals allowed to our goals scored,” Shirk said. “But I think in terms of the big picture and from being on the inside, I’m really excited because of the guys’ attitude.” … Faceoffs were a huge liability. After winning 44.9 percent (133-of-296) of draws last year, the unit’s success rate dipped to 39.1 percent (116-of-297). Shirk said a few approaches to resolving the issue include bringing in four faceoff specialists as incoming freshmen and hiring former LeMoyne faceoff specialist Corey Bulken, who led Division II in faceoff percentage (69.2%) and was named the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Division II Specialty Player of the Year, as a graduate assistant coach. “So we’ve tried to really hit it from every aspect,” Shirk said. “We’re just going to work at it, and I think we’ll see a big improvement at it next season.” … Washington’s 5-9 overall record and 2-6 mark in the Centennial Conference might have been better if the team had fared better in four one-goal losses and one two-goal setback. In a four-game stretch against conference foes, the Shoremen won once and dropped three one-goal decisions. Shirk said the team’s youthfulness played a role in its inability to protect a lead or overcome a deficit. “It was one of those things where we just didn’t have the experience and guys that have been through it before to step up and lead the young guys,” he said. “I think next year, with more confidence, more experience, we’re looking to have those outcomes be different.”

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: The Shoremen graduate just five players, and only two were starters. Shirk said the number of returning players will allow the coaching staff to focus their introduction effort on the incoming freshmen and potential transfers. “We did everything different this year, and there was a big learning curve for guys to kind of adapt to doing something new when they were used to doing something entirely different in their previous time here,” he said. “So it does get me excited that this fall will be us working on what we do, but teaching the freshmen as opposed to teaching the entire team. Experience goes a long way, and I’m excited that we’re going to be an experienced team next year.” … That being said, the two starters to replace are midfielders Shane Kaski (11 goals and 5 assists) and Herdegen (3, 3). Citing sophomore Patrick Coyle (13, 10) and junior Billy Stafford (9, 5) as leading candidates to replace Kaski and Herdegen on the first line, Shirk said the departure of Kaski and Herdegen leaves the team with a void. “I’m hoping that returning guys step up, and there’s always a big improvement between a freshman and a sophomore or a sophomore and a junior. But those two guys are going to be hard to replace,” Shirk said. “We don’t want our next Doug Herdegen. We want a new name. We’ll honor Doug and that No. 14 jersey will always remind me of Doug, but we want that next name. That’s kind of what we’ll stress.” … The strength of the team figures to be the defense with the return of all three starting close defensemen (juniors Bryan Botti and Jack Vermeil and sophomore Michael Pierandri), both starting short-stick defensive midfielders (juniors Dave Lundquist and Michael Pancottine), starting long-stick midfielder (sophomore Jonny Poe), and starting goalkeeper (junior Peter Stewart). “It makes me excited because I think we did a pretty good job – minus a couple of games – on the defensive end,” Shirk said. “To have a goalie like Pete coming back to where the entire team believes in him and a defense that has experience, understands our system, and has a goalie behind them that they can trust, it has me excited. But I’m also excited to see what freshmen come in to push the guys because nobody is guaranteed a starting spot.”

Forecast for 2011: Partly cloudy. As Shirk pointed out, Washington still has some areas to address. Faceoffs were a prickly thorn in the team’s side, and the offense scored seven goals or less in six games, which resulted in a 1-5 mark. The defense also has some holes to fill, but the return of all seven starters on that side of the field should be a positive. A starting attack of sophomores Bennett Cord (19, 8) and Matt Lewis (10, 4) and freshman Jim Cusick (16, 3) should be a calming influence as the midfield re-tools and tries to develop chemistry and depth. The Shoremen still play in one of the tougher leagues in the country with reigning tournament champion Dickinson, 2011 NCAA tournament qualifier Gettysburg and competitive Haverford.

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

June 20, 2011

Stony Brook hires away Colgate's Jim Nagle

The coaching carousel continues.

Stony Brook announced Monday that it has hired Jim Nagle as its head coach. Nagle, who coached at Colgate for the past 10 seasons, succeeds Rick Sowell, who became the head coach at Navy on June 9. Sowell replaced Richie Meade, who parted ways with the academy on May 9.

“Coach Nagle is committed to continuing to build Stony Brook University men’s lacrosse into a national power,” athletic director Jim Fiore said in a written statement released by the school. “His infectious passion and competitiveness helped the Colgate program reach heights never achieved, and he has now come home to lead Stony Brook to exciting new places. We expect the men’s lacrosse program to continue its upward trajectory towards contending for a spot in the NCAA Championship under his leadership.”

Nagle becomes only the sixth head coach in the 29-year history of the Seawolves program. He went 86-64 (.573) with the Raiders, winning at least 10 games in four of the last six seasons. He is the winningest coach in Colgate history and is a two-time Patriot League Coach of the Year.

“I grew up in Stony Brook, and I know how much lacrosse means to the University, the Three Village community and to all of Long Island,” Nagle said in the statement. “I am excited to take over what is an already strong men's lacrosse program and continue to build its national profile.”

Nagle’s departure leaves Colgate and Siena as two Division I schools searching for a head coach. Brian Brecht left Siena on Thursday to take over Rutgers’ program.

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:35 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Navy
        

Review & preview: St. Mary's

Here is the third installment of a series that checks in with the seven Division III programs in the state to evaluate the past and offer a glimpse into the future. Monday’s visit takes us to St. Mary’s.

REVIEW

The good: Record-wise, the Seahawks took a few steps back, falling to 6-9 overall and 4-4 in the Capital Athletic Conference after going 10-6 and 5-2, respectively, in 2010. But coach Chris Hasbrouck said the players are in place to continue the program’s evolution. “Even though the record didn’t maybe show it, I think we can see that we’re continuing to build the program and hopefully moving toward what might be a top-15, top-10 type of team,” he said. “It’s a work in progress, and I think we’re recruiting the right guys and they’re doing the right things to get there. … We can accept the 6-9 record as long as that is part of moving forward and becoming the team we want to be.” … For the third consecutive year, St. Mary’s advanced to the conference tournament semifinals. The Seahawks avenged a 7-4 regular-season loss to conference foe York on March 30 with a 14-9 victory in the tournament’s first round before losing to Stevenson, 16-7, on April 20. The advancement was an encouraging sign for Hasbrouck. “I’m not a moral victory guy, but to make the semifinals was good for these guys,” he said. “Now we need to move forward and get to the championship game.” … After limping out to a 2-7 start, the team went 4-2 after April 2. The rough start bothered Hasbrouck, but he also expressed satisfaction with the squad’s perseverance when the players could have folded. “I think our overall growth was solid, and I think we played our best lacrosse at the end of the year,” he said. “Everything was clicking a little bit better.”

The bad: St. Mary’s poor start coincided with a lack of punch on offense, which proved problematic for the entire year. After averaging 11.2 goals last season, the unit’s production dropped to 8.4. Hasbrouck said the graduation of standout midfielder Ryan Alexander (22 goals and 13 assists in 2010) allowed opponents to concentrate on senior attackman Dennis Rosson (28, 16). “Dennis Rosson had maybe overall one of his better years without putting up the points because he drew the other team’s best defenseman, and they were sliding early and double-teaming him, and Denny still had a good year,” Hasbrouck said. “I think some of the younger guys were kind of waiting for the upperclassmen to step up, and I think that probably made us a little one-dimensional. I really look forward to getting past that, and I think we’ll be able to attack from a lot more areas on the field, and it won’t be just one guy carrying the ball and doing the brunt of our scoring.” … The offense didn’t get much help from the faceoff unit, which won just 45.9 percent (153-of-333) of its draws. “The faceoffs themselves, we went up against some pretty good guys. But yeah, it’s something that we need to improve on,” Hasbrouck said. “That’s something that I’ve challenged all of our faceoff kids. We need to possess the ball. I look at our season, and we couldn’t consistently get the ball on offense off the faceoff, which forced us to play a lot more defense. We’re bringing in a couple more faceoff kids. I know [sophomore] Albert [Mitchell] is going to work extremely hard. [Freshman] Cody Tidwell is going to get a little bit more of a look. I think that’s an area we will definitely improve on next year.” … The defense also took a step back, surrendering 10.7 goals per game this past spring. Injuries didn’t help. Senior defenseman Sean Hatley tore the posterior cruciate ligament in his knee in the team’s 12-4 loss to Salisbury on April 2. His replacement, senior John Windsor, also sustained a variety of aches and pains. “In many of our games, we were looking at freshmen and sophomores on the field playing D,” Hasbrouck said. “So we’re pretty happy with what we have down there and how we played at times. It’s certainly something to build on.”

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: Replacing Rosson is an inescapable priority. Junior John Dehm has the experience to join juniors J.P. Lennon and Michael Mules as starters, but incoming freshman Eric Simon could carve some time for himself. “Guys are ready,” Hasbrouck said. “Denny had a great career here, but I think it’s more of a matter of not trying to replace the power game in terms of what he can do, but looking to have somebody to step up and put him in a position to succeed. I think it might makes us a little bit less one-dimensional with having some guys in there.” … In addition to graduating Hatley and Windsor, junior defenseman Eric Heisner is expected to graduate in the fall, and senior backup long-stick midfielder Michael Ott bids farewell. Hasbrouck is high on the emergence of freshmen Brett Williams (McDonogh), David Mitchell-McShane (St. Paul’s) and J.J. Eckert-Nathan. “Brett Williams and David Mitchell-McShane started for two of the best private schools in Maryland, and J.J. Eckert-Nathan is a kid from California who may end up being just as good as those two other guys,” Hasbrouck said. “So I think we’ve got three very dynamic sophomores-to-be. Justin Harty is back for his junior year. He’s just been steady. He’s a very physical kid back there. So I think it’s going to be a great opportunity for guys to say, ‘Hey, I can get my time now.’” … The defense also says goodbye to goalkeeper Stu Wheeler (9.53 goals-against average and a .536 save percentage). Hasbrouck anticipates that sophomore Ben Wheeler and freshman Zack Blewitt will vie for the starting role. “Leaving at the end of the year, they both know that it’s a great opportunity for one of them to step up and win that starting role,” Hasbrouck said. “We’ve been pretty set for the last three years there. So it’ll be a great opportunity for somebody to come up and grab the ring and say, ‘It’s my spot.’ Both of those kids are very, very solid keepers.”

Forecast for 2011: Stormy. The Seahawks have a number of issues to address and they are somewhat interconnected. Fortifying the faceoff unit might give the offense more possessions and more opportunities to create scoring chances. That, in turn, might keep the pressure off of a defense that wore down as the season unfolded. Lennon is a finisher and a target for opposing defenses, but he relied on Rosson to feed him the ball. Is another distributor on the roster? Lennon could use some help from the midfield. A good portion of the defense’s success depends on finding a starting goalie between Wheeler and Blewitt. The program’s bid to compete for the conference tournament championship gets easier with the departure of Stevenson, but Salisbury, which added its ninth Division III championship a month ago, continues to stand in the way.

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

June 17, 2011

Review & preview: Hood

Here is the second installment of a series that checks in with the seven Division III programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Friday, we take a visit with Hood. (Blazers coach Jeremy Mattoon did not return requests for an interview.)

REVIEW

The good: A year removed from setting 17 new school records, the team continued to break new ground. Hood registered the program’s first victory in the Capital Athletic Conference with an 8-7 overtime win against Wesley on March 26, snapping a string of 31 consecutive losses to conference foes. The squad also qualified for the CAC tournament for the first time and set a single-season mark in victories with eight, which was two more than the previous best of six, which was registered last season. … The defense surrendered 10.5 goals per game, which is still too much for any coach’s liking. But there were some bright spots, including schools records in fewest goals allowed in a season (178) and save percentage (.551). … The Blazers got some unlikely contributions from freshmen. Midfielder Ricky Orndorff led all first-year players in points (12) and assists (7), midfielder Randolph Clark ranked first in goals (6), ground balls (89), faceoff wins (136), faceoff attempts (273) and faceoff percentage (.498), and defenseman Mark Filuta collected 31 ground balls and 13 caused turnovers. Their continued development could be key to helping the program move forward.

The bad: Offensively, Hood took a step back. After setting school records in goals scored (136) and assists (82) last season, the offense dropped to 101 goals and 52 assists. The unit must be more productive to offset the number of goals the defense has allowed. … One area related to the offense’s ineffectiveness was the inability to take advantage of extra-man opportunities. In 74 man-up chances, the Blazers scored just seven times, which is a 9.5 percent success rate. In the conference, those numbers were even poorer as the squad converted just 2-of-32 chances for a 6.2 percentage. It’s not a stretch to say that the team’s extra-man unit has to take advantage of those opportunities to further its development. … As mentioned previously, the defense set program records, but continues to need assistance in covering gaps in its coverage. Few teams that allow 10.5 goals per game find much success, which can include winning the conference title and qualifying for the NCAA tournament. Until the defense can resolve those issues, those objectives will remain distant.

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: Graduation appears to take its biggest toll on the defensive ledger. Defenseman James Larrimore led the team in caused turnovers (29) and collected 39 ground balls, starting long-stick midfielder Daniel Rocker registered 43 ground balls and 22 caused turnovers, and backup long-stick midfielder George Mineff posted 36 ground balls and 23 caused turnovers. Those losses don’t bode well for a unit in need of experience and talent. … The offense bids farewell to its leading goal scorer in Kris Miner (26 goals and 6 assists) and its assists leader in midfielder Domonique Shorter (17, 10). Their graduation would appear to put the onus of scoring on teammates like junior attackman Corey Roberts (19, 3), Orndorff and sophomore midfielder Trey Freeman (9, 5). … The team does return its starting goalkeeper – or two. Sophomores William Lane (10.39 goals-against average and .543 save percentage in nine starts) and John Martin (10.01 GAA, .581 save in seven starts) will compete for sole goaltending duties in the fall, but Mattoon has demonstrated that he will go with a rotation if he feels that’s the right formula for the defense.

Forecast for 2011: Stormy. Hood continues to make progress as a lacrosse program and is poised to become more of a player in Division III. Mattoon has instilled high expectations and the players appear to be responding to that motivation. But the defense continues to surrender an alarming number of goals, and the offense took a step back from 2010. The Blazers do welcome a class of 17 recruits, and there’s a chance that a few could compete for playing time and maybe even starting time. But can that infusion of talent shore up the defense and reignite the offense? That remains to be seen.

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

June 16, 2011

Michigan joins American Lax Conference

Michigan will field its first women's varsity lacrosse team in 2013 and, it was announced today, the Wolverines will play in the American Lacrosse Conference, home to Johns Hopkins and six-time national champion Northwestern.

In addition to the Blue Jays and Northwestern, which won the 2011 national title, the conference includes Florida, Vanderbilt, Penn State and Ohio State. Despite its youth, the conference regularly ranks among the top conferences in Division I. For seven of the past 10 seasons, the conference has had the top RPI. This year, all of the conference's teams were ranked in the national polls at some point during the season.

Johns Hopkins coach Janine Tucker, who took the Blue Jays from Division III to Division I in 1999, welcomes the addition as Michigan elevates a club program already in place.

"It's really a great program to add," Tucker said. "Our conference is very unique because we have such a different and interesting variety of schools and to have a school like Michigan that is going to really support the program and help it be good as quickly as possible is wonderful.

"It's just pretty neat to see the tremendous growth of the sport and how we can add a school like a Michigan, invited in, and embrace them into a conference that has taken off. We've got terrific schools and terrific coaches and we're really excited about having them as a new member."

The conference, which began in 2001 as a women's lacrosse-only conference, has a history of teams jumping into the national spotlight quickly. Florida, the most recent addition, reached the NCAA quarterfinals this spring in only its second year as a varsity program. Northwestern, which resurrected its varsity program in 2002, won the national title in just three years and won five straight from 2005 to 2009.

"The American Lacrosse Conference has a history of producing national champions, and we are proud to become its seventh member,” Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said in a news release. “This will be a great opportunity for our program to play in one of the top lacrosse leagues in the country.”

In addition to Michigan, two other big-time sports schools will add women's lacrosse in 2013. Marquette will begin play as an independent and then join the Big East, which also includes Loyola, in 2014. USC will play in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation league along with such teams as Stanford, Denver and Oregon. 

"Our sport is just so hot right now and so exciting and so fun that it's experiencing a lot of popularity," Tucker said. "It's growing all across the country from the youth level on and I think it's really neat that these bigger schools are embracing that they can bring this sport on and have it carry a lot of excitement in their schools."

 

Posted by Katherine Dunn at 4:26 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Women's lacrosse
        

Inside Lacrosse: Siena's Brecht to be named Rutgers coach

Brian Brecht of Siena will be named men's lacrosse coach at Rutgers today, according to Inside Lacrosse, citing sources.

Dave Cottle, former Maryland coach, interviewed for the job last week, as did former Navy coach Richie Meade, who removed himself from consideration. Cottle was thought to be the frontrunner.

In January, Cottle was named president of the Chesapeake Bayhawks and also serves as an assistant coach to the defending Major League Lacrosse champions.

Brecht has been coach of Siena for seven years and led the Saints to NCAA Tournament appearances in 2009 and 2011. Siena was 13-5 last season and has gone 65-49 under Brecht. 

Posted by Ron Fritz at 10:25 AM | | Comments (1)
        

Review & preview: McDaniel

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

REVIEW

The good: A tough 2011 campaign yielded few bright spots, but the Green Terror (6-8 overall and 3-5 in the Centennial Conference) may have found its goalkeeper of the future in freshman Christian Dallmus. After beginning the season with juniors Ty Wittelsberger and Brad Motley through the first four contests of the season, the team made the switch to Dallmus, who finished with a 6.46 goals-against average and a .572 save percentage. “I think he has the potential to be excellent for us, and I think things came together defensively for us when he was in there,” coach Matt Hatton said. “I thought he did a really good job being a freshman with several seniors and upperclassmen in front of him.” … McDaniel graduates just eight seniors and returns all 10 starters, including a pair of fifth-year players in midfielder Nicholas DiBernardo (16 goals and 6 assists) and defenseman Nelson Hannahs (24 ground balls and 6 caused turnovers). “I certainly think bringing back guys who have played three or four years is a bonus,” Hatton said. “But it’s tough to really tell what that means until we get out there in February and March. We’ve got a lot of things that are going to transpire between now and then.” … Despite a down year, the Green Terror finished one game out of the top four places in the Centennial Conference tournament, which the team had qualified before in each of the previous two seasons. Hatton is optimistic that the players will use this experience as a foundation to build on. “If we can figure out a couple positions, I think we might find ourselves back in the hunt, and that’s where we would like to be,” he said. “We’ve got a great group coming back. Certainly, there’s some potential there, but it’s just a matter of if we come together.”

The bad: McDaniel’s start was less than desired with three losses in the first four contests, but the team really hurt itself with a pair of conference-opening setbacks to Washington College (9-7 on March 19) and eventual Centennial champion Dickinson (7-6 in double overtime on March 23). Those losses kept the Green Terror out of the conference tournament. “We put ourselves in a tough situation at the end of the season, where we had to win [against Gettysburg] to get into the conference tournament, which would have been nice to have done that three years in a row,” Hatton said. “But at the end of the day, we really didn’t take care of business when we should have early on. I think we let a couple games get away from us, and I think when you play in the Centennial Conference, you have to show up.” … The graduation of attackman Gibbs Preston turned out to have more of an impact than initially thought. Preston (23, 26 in 2010) was the offensive quarterback who coordinated the offense from behind the net. His absence contributed to the offense averaging almost two fewer goals than last season. “Offensively, we had been scoring at a pretty good pace the last couple of years, and then this past year, there were times when we could get it done and times when we really struggled,” Hatton said. “We needed somebody to get out there and be able to distribute the ball a little bit better than we had this past year.” … Another component missing from the offense was the lack of depth in the midfield. After DiBernardo, junior Michael Young (8, 2) and sophomores William Clary (9, 2), Michael Woglom (5, 4) and Andrew Mummert (2, 4), no other midfielder finished with more than three points. “We need to be deeper at the midfield,” Hatton said. “We had a limited number of guys through the box offensively, and that hindered our play.”

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: Returning all 10 starters eliminates questions about that aspect, but there’s still the matter of finding an offensive quarterback. Hatton thinks junior attackman J.S. Duke (7, 4) has the tools to play that role. “We need to find someone who can play from the X and distribute,” Hatton said. “I think if we can do that, we’re going to be in good shape.” … There will, however, be a few holes to fill. Faceoff specialist Matt Dean led the team in ground balls (57) and won 57.7 percent (128-of-222) of his draws. Hatton said sophomores Mike Marks and Skippy Clary and freshman Trey Hunt III will probably vie for the honors in fall and preseason workouts. “There’s definitely going to be a steep learning curve associated with that position,” Hatton said. … Long stick midfielder Matt Mummert led McDaniel in caused turnovers (17) and finished second in ground balls (51). Losing Mummert will hurt, but Hannahs played the position in his freshman and sophomores years, and junior defenseman Preston Ketchum (10 ground balls) could play up top against stronger midfielders. “I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of having some flexibility at that position,” Hatton said.

Forecast for 2011: Stormy. Retaining all 10 starters is a positive, but this group finished behind last year’s squad that went 7-8 overall and 4-4 in the Centennial Conference. Junior attackman D.J. Rickels is a bona fide finisher (31 goals), but his team-high nine assists prove that the team needs a distributor. And it would help Rickels and the rest of the attack if the midfield could be more productive and alleviate some of the defensive focus off of the attack. The biggest strength appears to be a defense that surrendered just 7.9 goals per game. That unit might need to be the foundation for a Green Terror team that is currently looking up at Dickinson, Gettysburg and Haverford in the conference.

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

June 15, 2011

Review & preview: Maryland

Here is the seventh and final installment of a series that checks in with the seven Division I programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Thursday will begin a series checking in on the Division III schools in the state. Wednesday’s visit takes us to Maryland.

REVIEW

The good: The Terps achieved all sorts of objectives this past spring: first Atlantic Coast Conference tournament crown since 2005, first Final Four appearance since 2006 and first trip to the NCAA tournament final since 1998. The accomplishments would seem to validate the previous administration’s decision to hire coach John Tillman, but that’s not the approach he took. “I just felt like we had one shot at this with this group,” he said. “These seniors had had their hearts broken a number of times, and all the coaches really wanted to do was put forth all of our time and energy to put the kids in the very best position we could to have them be very proud of what they accomplished. Although we didn’t win the championship game, to extend it as far as we could extend it and maximize our time together was, to me, really important. We just enjoyed being around each other so much.” … The team excelled despite a plethora of obstacles that threatened to tear apart the inner fabric. The departure of head coach Dave Cottle and defensive coordinator Dave Slafkosky, the death of Maria Young, the mother of senior attackman Ryan Young, and injuries to senior attackman Grant Catalino, junior midfielder Joe Cummings and senior short-stick defensive midfielder Dan Burns loomed as potential emotional hazards, but Maryland dodged those pitfalls and continued on. “It was pretty inspiring to be able to do what we did with some of the things that we had going against us,” Tillman said. “… We just always kept plugging along regardless of what the setbacks were. When things got the hardest for us or when the challenges got their biggest, the guys responded pretty well.” … Questions in the preseason about the lack of experience in the net and on faceoffs were answered resoundingly by the emergence of redshirt freshman goalie Niko Amato and sophomore Curtis Holmes, respectively. Amato finished the season fourth in Division I with a 6.78 goals-against average and eighth with a .583 save percentage, while Holmes ranked seventh with a .626 faceoff percentage. “I think everybody pointed to those two areas as points of weakness,” Tillman said. “We really never felt that way – partially because we knew we had good, raw material there. We also had very strong competition in both of those areas, and that was really helpful. … I think having those guys have to compete and prove themselves and having that mindset got them ready for the challenging schedule that we play.”

The bad: For all of the team’s success, Tillman said he felt he was limited in introducing his entire plan to the team. Hired on June 15 from Harvard, Tillman said there wasn’t enough time for him to implement his system. “I felt like we were playing catch-up all year long with getting to know our players’ strengths and getting to know our opponents because I hadn’t seen these teams,” he said. “This year was a lot harder than I think anybody expected. Ryan Young would not be there sometimes on Mondays and Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and he really was the quarterback of our offense. We really felt that it was important that he be with his family, but it also limits how complicated you can get because you can’t have one of your more important cogs in the wheel. Yet, I wouldn’t do it any other way.” … With many players rooted in the previous staff’s schemes, Tillman said the current coaches learned that refraining from rocking the boat with too many changes was the best path. “One of the things we really had to take into consideration was, how much did we want to change?” Tillman said. “Having this group and trying to install a lot of different things in the fall, what we learned as the year went on was, we need to keep it simple. Sometimes less is more.” … Two of the Terps’ poorest showings occurred against teams that threw zone defenses at Maryland’s offense. It’s telling that two of the offense’s three least productive displays in both goals and shooting percentage came against North Carolina on March 26 and Virginia in the championship final. Still, Tillman said the Terps have and will continue to solve zone defenses. “If people want to continue to do that, I think that bodes well for us because it allows us to possess the ball, give our defense a rest, wait for the right shot, and manage the game,” he said. “We had our moments when we struggled against man-to-man or zone. The Carolina game early in the year, a lot of people made a lot about the zone, but we saw that zone in the playoffs, and it didn’t seem to be a problem there.”

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: The graduation of Young and Catalino leaves a few holes on attack. Sophomore Owen Blye figures to be a starter, and junior Joe Cummings could return to the position which he played as a prep standout at Loyola. “We’ll certainly try that out in the fall,” Tillman said. “Owen looks like he’ll be a mainstay down there. … We’ll try Joe down there.” … The third attackman spot could be competition between freshmen Sean McGuire, Rustin Bryant, Quinn Haley and Brendan Saylor. “Fall will be a little bit of a laboratory for us to try guys out in different spots,” Tillman said. “We’ve asked a number of the guys to play multiple positions in the summer for us just so that they would get a little more experience and that if we asked them to play in a different spot, they might feel a little more comfortable. So we’re going to have to grow up quickly, and we’re going to have to get a sense of who are more quickly than last year.” … The other big gaping hole is on defense. Sophomore Jesse Bernhardt is poised to succeed Brian Farrell at long-stick midfielder, and junior Michael Shakespeare will likely join sophomore Landon Carr as the starting short-stick defensive midfielders. In terms of the three close defensemen spots, freshman Casey Ikeda and Michael Ehrhardt could fill the void created by the graduation of Brett Schmidt, Ryder Bohlander and Max Schmidt. “Individually, we’re not going to be able to make up the experience that they had, the strength they had, some of the intangibles they brought to the table,” Tillman said. “But luckily for us, we do have some good pieces that are there, and a lot of people don’t know who they are yet. But we also have a great system. The good news for us is the system is what makes us successful. It’s the sum of the parts working together on offense and defense. … We’re a team defense. It’s how well those parts work together.” … Maryland will lead all Division I programs with six recruits in the upcoming Under Armour All-American game. Citing North Carolina’s success with its freshmen this past spring, Tillman said the incoming freshmen will have an opportunity to compete for playing time. “If they can come in and play well and be consistent, we’re certainly not going to penalize them for being freshmen,” he said. “If they earn the right to be out there, we owe it to the team to put the best players out on the field. Based on what they’ve done in high school, they’ve proven that they can be successful. So I don’t see any reason why they couldn’t be successful at our level. It’s just going to be a matter of how quickly they can make that transition.”

Forecast for 2011: Partly cloudy. This season’s success exceeded the expectations of many, who had become accustomed to the Terps underperforming. The experience of playing on Memorial Day and the mental toughness acquired throughout the spring should pay dividends for the returning players. But there are some issues to address next season. Cummings could be the finisher that Catalino was, but who will coordinate the offense as Young did? Amato was brilliant, but will he continue his torrid play without three, experienced close defensemen in front of him? Maryland won’t get any sympathy from ACC rivals Duke, North Carolina and 2011 national champion Virginia – all of whom are eager to beat the upstart Terps.

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

June 14, 2011

Review & preview: Johns Hopkins

Here is the sixth installment of a series that checks in with the seven Division I programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Tuesday’s visit takes us to Johns Hopkins.

REVIEW

The good: After the compiling the program’s first losing record since 1971, the Blue Jays bounced back in convincing fashion, going 13-3 and earning the No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament. Coach Dave Pietramala, the subject of intense scrutiny during the offseason, said the seeds of reversal were planted in the fall. “Coming out of the fall, we felt like we had a good nucleus, we felt like we were getting good leadership, and it was just a matter of putting people in the right places,” Pietramala said. “So we weren’t surprised that we had a good year. We believed that the things we set forth to be better at, we were obviously much better at.” … One of the facets that Pietramala stressed was improving the team’s athleticism with regards to ground balls and faceoffs. After collecting 404 ground balls to opponents’ 448 last season, Johns Hopkins turned that around, scooping up 518 ground balls to opponents’ 433. And after winning only 47 percent (162-of-345) of their face-offs in 2010, the team won 64.9 percent (227-of-350) of draws this past spring. Those numbers resulted from the team being faster overall. “I think we did accomplish that,” Pietramala said. “We were better off the wings, we were better defensively, and we were better off the ground. All of that isn’t due to us just being bad ground ball players. Part of it is athleticism. So I think our athleticism helped us there.” … The Blue Jays returned to their traditional strength – defense. That unit surrendered 7.3 goals per game (sixth-lowest average in Division I) after allowing 9.6 goals last season. “This group was far more committed to the defensive end of the field,” Pietramala said. “They were far more committed to preparation, to film, to doing the little things, and that’s a credit to that young group. So were we surprised? We were hopeful that we would get back to playing the way we were capable.”

The bad: As much improved as the team was after 2010, Johns Hopkins’ season ended in a surprising 14-9 loss to No. 6 seed Denver in the NCAA quarterfinals. The Pioneers became the first school west of the Mississippi River to advance to the Final Four, but Pietramala knows the Blue Jays let an opportunity slip from their grasp. “We have to finish at the end of the year,” Pietramala said. “We have to take the next step. I do believe that this year, we took a lot of steps. We beat Virginia, we beat Carolina, we won on the road. We did a good job. We didn’t do a great job, we did a good job. The goal in the end is to finish the drill and to finish the season the right way.” … One factor in the loss to Denver was the Pioneers’ ability to keep Johns Hopkins’ midfielders – not short-stick defensive midfielder – on the field and attack those matchups. Pietramala said a good portion of workout in the fall will concentrate on improving every midfielder’s defensive play. “I think the play of our midfielders defensively – and I don’t just mean our defensive midfielders – has to improve,” he said. “So one of the things we’re going to do in the fall is we’re not going to run a defensive midfield. We’re just going to play midfields.” … Pietramala wants the players to take pride in what they accomplished this past spring, but he also wants them to refrain from being content with what they did. “I think the most critical thing is that we approach this offseason and this fall just like we did last year,” he said. “We don’t feel comfortable, we don’t look at it like, ‘Hey, we did this,’ or ‘We improved here.’ We have to stay hungry and keep improving those areas, and that was probably the best part about this team. As the year unfolded, it kept improving.”

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: The Blue Jays graduate just one starter, but the team will miss the ridiculously fast and hard left-handed shot of attackman Kyle Wharton (34 goals and 8 assists). A pair of incoming freshmen in Wells Stanwick, a Baltimore native and Boys’ Latin graduate, and Mike Daniello are Under Armour All Americans, but freshman Brandon Benn (5, 1) might be poised to insert himself into the starting lineup. “Brandon is a guy that late in the year, kind of came on and got a couple of goals on the extra man,” Pietramala said. “He got two nice goals against Army and kind of started to find his comfort zone. So the hope is that he’ll continue to grow and develop over the summer and take the next step that the [John] Ranagans and [John] Greeleys took.” … Matt Dolente wasn’t a starter, but it could be argued that his graduation could have the most impact. He won 66.7 percent of faceoffs (194-of-291) and gave the offense multiple possessions and opposing offenses fewer opportunities. Junior Marshall Burkhart could return to faceoffs, and sophomore Grady Stevens, freshman Mike Faby and incoming freshman Drew Kenney could compete for time, but the leading candidate to take over is sophomore Mike Poppleton. “There’s no question that he can help us,” Pietramala said. “He’s a guy for whom this will be a very important summer. He and I have been in close contact with each other. We’ve been back and forth over the phone, and we had a meeting at the end of the year to explain where we are” … Burkhart might also join freshman Phil Castronova as the starting short-stick defensive midfielders, but as mentioned previously, Pietramala wants all of the midfielders to improve their defense. Freshman Tobias Armour is poised to start at long-stick midfielder for Ben Smith and Orry Michael, both of whom graduate. “We think Toby’s a talent,” Pietramala said. “We think that Toby just needs to get in a little bit better shape physically. At the end of the year, he came on, and we feel like he had the ability. And we bring in some freshmen who have a chance to compete for some playing time as well.”

Forecast for 2011: Sunny. The presence of just one senior in the starting lineup means the Blue Jays will return an experience and hungry crew. Attackman Chris Boland returning for his final season provides a steadying presence, and the first midfield of Ranagan, Greeley and freshman Rob Guida could further its chemistry. Faceoffs and defense will be the most pressing concerns. But with the entire starting close defense intact in sophomores Tucker Durkin and Chris Lightner (if his back injury doesn’t continue to be an issue) and freshman Jack Reilly and sophomore Pierce Bassett in the cage, Johns Hopkins should be poised to challenge the top teams next season.

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Review & preview
        

June 13, 2011

Review & preview: Mount St. Mary's

Here’s the fifth installment of a series that checks in with the seven Division I programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Monday’s visit takes us to Mount St. Mary’s.

REVIEW

The good: The Mountaineers’ 0-2 start mirrored a similar beginning last year, and as in 2010, coach Tom Gravante benched some starters and made changes in practice regimen in an effort to shake the team out of its doldrums. Mount St. Mary’s responded by winning nine of the remaining 13 contests on the schedule. “They grew from that, which I was very happy about,” Gravante said. “And we saw a different team against Loyola [in a 14-10 loss]. I think if our guys had played that game versus Towson [in an 11-3 loss], we might’ve played a better game and possibly beaten Towson that day. But they showed tremendous perseverance and showed an ability to get better every day.” … After capturing the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament championship and advancing to the NCAA tournament last season, the Mountaineers moved to the Northeast Conference, where an automatic qualifier won’t be in place until 2013. Despite that knowledge, the team went 5-1 in the league, grabbed the top seed in the conference tournament, and posted identical 14-9 scores to claim the crown. “They knew that part [about the absence of an automatic qualifier] going into the season, and they set the bar high with trying to beat some out-of-conference teams to maybe get that at-large bid,” Gravante said. “But it was still the goal to win the inaugural NEC – whether we were going to get into the NCAA tournament or not. I don’t think they were upset about that. They accomplished the goal they set out to do.” … An offense that exploded for 10.59 goals per game last spring got even better this season, improving its average to 12.07. A unit that finished as the seventh-most proIific offense in Division I returns all six starters. “These guys kept trucking through and persevering,” Gravante said. “It was great to see that and have that. We’re going to have some seniors in the lineup next year, but we’re still not going to be a dominated by seniors.”

The bad: Mount St. Mary’s isn’t shy about scheduling early-season contests against tough non-conference opponents like Virginia, Maryland, Navy and Bucknell, but that has yet to yield victories. Gravante vowed to make changes, some of which will center on getting the team to embark on a faster start. “I think we’re going to make some changes early on next year and learn from our mistakes so that our kids are hopefully better equipped to play early on,” he said. “For that Towson game, I don’t think we were ready yet. So I think we need to make a change in our practice plans to get them more organized so that they’re ready.” … The Mountaineers’ prowess on offense disguised some problems in transition. After clearing the ball 78.9 percent (255-of-323) of the time last year, the team went just 76.6 percent (190-of-248) this past spring. Gravante said the transition game needs some re-tooling. “I think we could’ve cleared the ball better,” he said. “I think we cleaned that up at the end of the season, but we had some issues at the beginning of the season that really hurt us. Teams could cut the field in half and get transition to the cage, and that really pops your balloon.”

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: The deepest impact of graduation is felt on defense, especially in the cage where goalie T.C. DiBartolo leaves after four years as the undisputed starter. DiBartolo, a Bowie native and Archbishop Spalding graduate, will stay on staff as a graduate assistant where he will aid freshman Chris Klaiber. “We believe in Chris Klaiber,” Gravante said. “We’ve got a couple of promising young men coming in, but I think Chris has the work ethic that T.C. had, and he’s confident that Chris will be able to do the job for us.” … That side of the field also bids farewell to starting defensemen Justin Schmidt and Andrew Miller. Junior Brendan Rooney is poised to join sophomore Kevin Downs as two of the three starters, but there will be an open competition for the third spot. “We have some depth in some youngsters, and we’ve got some good freshmen that are coming in,” Gravante said. “Again, these kids are going to be asked to sink or swim, and I think they’re going to get on board quickly in the fall and realize, ‘Hey, I’ve got a great opportunity here.’ So either they handle the pressure or they don’t. Some may and some may not.” … Ben Trapp wasn’t a starter, but he was gifted at facing off, winning 58.2 percent (210-of-361) of his draws. Sophomore Jonathan Marsalese is the frontrunner to succeed Trapp, but Gravante said there’s nothing set in stone at this point. “We’ll see,” he said. “They’re going to have sink or swim quick. And if I was in their shoes, I would like that. These kids are all going to be young, but there’s not much time to turn and look over their shoulders. It’s got to be done on their parts. … But we do have a young man in Jonathan Marsalese, who will be the returning big dog on the block, and it’s up to these youngsters if they can match up with him.”

Forecast for 2011: Partly cloudy. Mount St. Mary’s returns a wealth of options on offense, which is potent enough to carry the team again next year. But the losses on defense are substantial. DiBartolo was a rock for that unit, and Schmidt and Miller aided DiBartolo. The Mountaineers overtook Robert Morris and Bryant as the preseason 1-2 to capture the Northeast Conferece, but those rivals will take aim at Mount St. Mary’s. There’s nothing the team can do about the absence of the automatic qualifier in the conference next season. So unless the team scores some victories over non-conference foes, upcoming seniors like attackmen Brett Schmidt and Cody Lehrer and midfielders Bryant Schmidt and Eric Ososki are in danger of finishing their careers with just one NCAA tournament appearance. Is the motivation still there to be successful?

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Categories: Mount St. Mary's, Review & preview
        

June 12, 2011

Life without Meade still an adjustment for Navy players

For the previous 17 years, Navy’s lacrosse program and Richie Meade were almost synonymous with each other.

But when the academy dismissed Meade on May 9 after back-to-back seasons with no NCAA tournament appearances, that relationship came to a sudden end.

It was just as swift for the players. Junior attackman Taylor Reynolds said he was caught off-guard by the institution’s decision.

“I was really surprised because he’s been there for so long,” Reynolds said Friday of Meade, who compiled a 142-97 record with the Midshipmen, 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. “It’s really odd to think that he’s not our coach anymore. Anyone who has followed Navy lacrosse, it’s been Coach Meade. I was very surprised, but it happens. There’s nothing we could have done about it.”

Junior faceoff specialist Logan West said he isn’t sure what kind of feelings will surface when the players take the field for their first practice, fall scrimmage and regular-season contest without seeing Meade on the sideline.

“I think it’ll be a little strange, but I think we’ll get over it once things start going,” West said. “But for now, it might be a little weird because for the last three years, I’ve been playing for him. So it’s going to be different.”

Reynolds agreed, but said the players can’t be distracted away from their primary objective of helping the program reverse last year’s 4-9 record.

“Last year, with the close games that we had and the youth of our team, it really came down to a few goals here and there and we would’ve been competing in the tournament. So I think everyone is very excited for next year,” he said. “There will be changes to overcome, but just because we were so young and with the amount of young guys that played and the playing time that they had, it’s going to be a little different. So I think everyone’s real excited to come back because they know we’re better than what our record showed this past year.”

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Categories: Navy
        

Sowell to immerse himself in Army-Navy rivalry

New Navy coach Rick Sowell’s plate figures to be crowded as he attempts to analyze the roster he inherits, isolate areas for improvement, and install schemes to take advantage of the team’s strengths.

Add understanding the importance of the Army-Navy rivalry to his “to do” list.

“I’m excited to be a part of that tradition,” Sowell said Thursday afternoon. “Again, looking at it from afar, Army-Navy in any sport is just a special, special rivalry, and it’s no different in lacrosse. My good friend [Joe Alberici] is the head coach at Army, so that’s going to be different. He’s going to want to knock my head off, and I’m going to want to knock his head off, and afterwards, we’ll hopefully resume our friendship. And I think we will. I know we will. But it’s one of those things where if you’re on the outside, you probably don’t even know half of it. So I’m looking forward to being on the sidelines for that first game in April, and I’m sure it’s going to be much more intense than what I’m anticipating at this point in time. That’s one of those things where you only find out when you’re smack dab in the middle of it, and that time will come.”

The Midshipmen lead the overall series, 57-30-3, but they have dropped three straight contests to the Black Knights, matching the program’s longest losing skid to its arch-nemesis.

Alberici chuckled when asked about meeting Sowell on a yearly basis.

“I would never make it about him or I,” Alberici said. “It’s something that is always much bigger than the coaches. It’s about our kids having four years for the opportunity to compete against either Army or Navy. So I’m happy for Rick and his family, and I’m sure he’ll do great things at the Naval Academy.”

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Categories: Navy
        

June 11, 2011

Sowell to get acclimated with Navy's recruiting standards

One of the arguments supporters of Richie Meade made in their defense of the former Navy coach when he was forced to resign on May 9 as that he was handcuffed from recruiting the upper-echelon players due to the academy’s rigorous academic and physical requirements.

New Midshipmen coach Rick Sowell is about to delve into those same restrictions, but he said he doesn’t feel limited by the academy’s standards. In fact, Sowell said his experience as an assistant coach at Georgetown for nine years and as the head coach at Dartmouth for five years.

“It is a little bit different than here at Stony Brook,” Sowell said Thursday afternoon as he was cleaning out his office at Stony Brook’s campus on Long Island, N.Y. “But I liken it a bit to recruiting at Georgetown and recruiting in the Ivy Leagues. You are recruiting a different type of kid. Maybe the recruiting pool shrinks because of academic requirements and those sorts of things. I think with the process at Navy, recruiting is a little longer where certain qualifications have to be met like getting a letter from your congressman and stuff like that. So that’s certainly much different than here at Stony Brook. We could get someone in today if that person came along. But Navy’s been playing a lot of lacrosse and has had a lot of success. There are Midshipmen out there. We just have to find them.”

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Categories: Navy
        

Succeeding Meade on Sowell's mind

As the eighth coach in the 104-year history of Navy lacrosse, Rick Sowell is beginning to understand the tradition associated with the Midshipmen.

First and foremost, Sowell knows many eyes will be trained to see how he mirrors and differs from his predecessor Richie Meade, who compiled a 142-97 record 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.

“It’s not going to be easy,” Sowell conceded Thursday afternoon. “Coach Meade is certainly an outstanding coach, but an even better person. I’ve enjoyed being in his company, and he left quite a legacy at Navy. So I’m walking in with some big shoes to fill. I do feel that I have some things to offer to Navy, and I do feel that we’re a good fit for each other. So I’m looking forward to the challenge. I understand what I’m getting myself into. I do think that Navy is bigger than any one person. Individuals have a tremendous impact wherever you are, but at Navy, it’s all in. So I’ll have a very good support network around me to help me get this done. It won’t totally be on Rick Sowell. We’re going to have our challenges – me adjusting to Navy and Navy adjusting to me. But ultimately, I think it’s a good fit for the both of us.”

Junior faceoff specialist Logan West empathized with Sowell.

“It’s really hard to replace Coach Meade,” West said. “He’s such a great person and a great mentor and a great coach. He’s been here for so long, and I know everybody at the academy respects him. Those shoes will be hard to fill, but if anybody can do it, it’ll be Coach Sowell.”

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Categories: Navy
        

June 10, 2011

Cottle talks to Rutgers

Former University of Maryland coach Dave Cottle has interviewed for the vacant head coaching job at Rutgers, and is the leading candidate, according to a source. Cottle interviewed with Rutgers officials Wednesday, and asked school officials to upgrade in three areas before he would take the job, according to the source. School officials plan to get back to Cottle soon once they find out if they can meet his requests.

Former Navy coach Richie Meade was also interested in the job, but withdrew his name because he isn't sure if he wants to return to coaching right now after being dismissed from the academy after the season ended.

 

Posted by Mike Preston at 10:15 AM | | Comments (2)
        

Offensive makeover in store for Navy?

Navy’s successful wooing away of coach Rick Sowell from Stony Brook might suggest a change in philosophy for the men’s lacrosse program.

Where Richie Meade was considered a defensive-minded coach who built the Midshipmen’s strength on defense, Sowell is generally regarded as an offensive guru. In the last four of his five-year tenure with the Seawolves, that offense averaged more than 11 goals each season.

Junior faceoff specialist Logan West said Sowell could provide the kind of lift the team has been hungering for.

“We had a lot of success on offense in the beginning of the year, but then towards the end, we couldn’t put it together,” West said. “So having an offensive mindset should really help us out.”

But before you get the impression that Sowell was free-wheeling when it came to defense, Stony Brook dropped its yearly average in each of its last two years.

“He’s adapted, and he’s been a coordinator at both ends,” Army coach Joe Alberici said. “I’m not sure exactly what he did at Stony Brook, but he has put together some very good offensive teams, and those teams have been sound defensively. If you look back at his Dartmouth teams, they were very good defensively in the year they went to the NCAA tournament. He’s also done a great job of finding some diamonds in the rough like Kevin Crowley and Jordan McBride. Those guys are obviously now household names, but they certainly weren’t that during the recruiting process. So he does a great job of finding talent.”

In the Midshipmen, Sowell inherits a team that slipped on both offense (9.08 goals a game in 2011 after averaging 9.13 in 2010) and defense (9.62 goals in 2011 after allowing 8.7 in 2010). But Sowell said he wouldn’t make any judgments about the roster until he had an opportunity to fully review film and schemes.

“Don’t know much about them,” he said. “But they’re young on offense and experienced on defense. A good [freshmen] group coming in, I remember hearing. … I don’t know a ton about the team, but at this point, I do know that there are some awfully talented kids coming back and that there are some pretty good ones coming in. So I feel like the cupboard’s not bare. Yeah, maybe they didn’t win as many games as they wanted to a year ago, and hopefully, there’s a taste in their mouth that they want to get rid of. Hopefully, I can come in and help them get where they want to be.”

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Categories: Navy
        

Sowell explains decision to leave Stony Brook for Navy

The 2011 campaign ended disappointingly for Rick Sowell and Stony Brook, a preseason favorite to make the Final Four that fell to Hartford in the America East tournament final and missed the NCAA tournament altogether.

Still, the Seawolves went 10-4 and captured the league’s regular-season crown for the second straight year. So why would Sowell leave a Stony Brook program that arguably was the team to beat in the America East for a Navy program that went 4-9 and finished outside of the top four in the Patriot League?

“That’s a good question,” Sowell said Thursday afternoon with a chuckle. “Certainly, I’ve had a wonderful five years here at Stony Brook, but the Naval Academy is a special place. The tradition that lacrosse has, yes, it’s been a little down the last couple years, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t crank it back up with some blood and some sweat and probably some tears. It’s just a great opportunity to work with young men who are someday going to go off and serve our country. And to have hopefully a positive impact in their development as they become leaders is just a wonderful opportunity not only for myself but also for my family. While it was very difficult to leave Stony Brook, the decision to work at Navy and be around that environment was a relatively easy one.”

Stony Brook graduated 11 players, including seven starters and the team’s primary faceoff specialist. But Sowell said those losses weren’t factors in his decision.

“I certainly think the cupboard is not bare here at Stony Brook,” said Sowell, who was cleaning out his office at the school’s campus on Long Island, N.Y. “Yes, we’ve lost an outstanding class, one that will have a legacy that will stand here for long, long time. But we think the program is set up to continue to have success and I certainly feel good about the roster that I’m leaving for whoever the next coach is.”

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Categories: Navy
        

June 9, 2011

Report: Navy close to agreement with Stony Brook's Sowell

The Annapolis Capital has reported Thursday morning that Navy could name Stony Brook coach Rick Sowell as the eighth head coach in school history as early as Thursday.

Adam Gutes, a spokesman who works in Stony Brook’s sports information office as the primary contact for men’s lacrosse, confirmed the Midshipmen’s wish to interview Sowell.

“I know there was some interest from Navy, but I don’t know if Coach has accepted the offer or not,” Gutes said Thursday morning. “But I do know there was interest.”

Efforts to reach Sowell have been unsuccessful, and Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk has not returned requests for comment. Stacie Michaud, a spokeswoman who works in the academy’s sports information office as the primary contact for men’s lacrosse, said there would be no comment until the coaching search is completed.

The Capital reported that Sowell met with Gladchuk on campus on Wednesday, ate lunch at an area restaurant, and toured the lacrosse facilities. The newspaper also reported that the academy has offered the job to Sowell, who could make as much as $300,000 a year, putting him in a tax bracket with the likes of Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala and Syracuse coach John Desko.

In five seasons at Stony Brook, Sowell guided the Seawolves to a 47-26 record, America East regular-season championships in each of the last two years and the conference tournament crown and an NCAA tournament appearance in the quarterfinals in 2010.

Sowell is 86-81 as a head coach after stays at Dartmouth and St. John’s. In 2003, Dartmouth went 11-3 to capture the program’s first Ivy League title and first trip to the NCAA tournament.

Sowell has established ties to Maryland. He was a two-time All American and the Division III National Midfielder of the Year at Washington College, helping the Shoremen reach the title game in both 1984 and 1985. He played five seasons with the Baltimore Thunder of Major Indoor Lacrosse League.

Sowell’s coaching path began at Washington College, where was an assistant for two seasons. He then served three years as the head coach of the boys’ lacrosse program at St. Albans in Washington, D.C., and nine years as an assistant coach at Georgetown before making the leap to head coach at Dartmouth for the 1999 season.

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:28 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Navy
        

Review & preview: Loyola

Here’s the fourth installment of a series that checks in with the seven Division I programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Thursday’s visit takes us to Loyola.

REVIEW

The good: After bidding farewell to Collin Finnerty and Cooper MacDonnell and losing Eric Lusby to a season-ending knee injury, the Greyhounds needed to replenish the attack. In stepped sophomore Mike Sawyer, who recorded 31 goals and 5 assists. “We needed him to,” coach Charley Toomey said of Sawyer, the Eastern College Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year in 2009 who returned after withdrawing from school last year. “With injuries and graduation, we lost 90 goals. So we knew we needed to have a presence on that right-hand side. I think going into the year, we might’ve hoped that Michael could play some attack and maybe some midfield, but we just needed him down low. He did surprise the coaches with the velocity at which he could shoot the ball.” … A defense that graduated defensemen Steve Layne and Kyle Cottrell didn’t miss much of a beat after inserting junior Dylan Grimm and sophomore Reid Acton into starting roles. This year’s unit surrendered 8.1 goals per game after allowing a 7.9 average last season. “We certainly had [senior] Jake Hagelin back in the cage but with Kyle Cottrell and Steve Layne gone, we had put up good numbers on the board,” Toomey said. “We were real happy with our defensive production in being able to hold teams to the number we’re always shooting for. That was something that we felt very, very good about. With the core of the group coming back, we’re excited about the possibilities of next year.” … Towards the latter half of the season, sophomore midfielder Davis Butts began to assert himself as an initiator. His numbers (10 goals and 5 assists) were modest, but he consistently drew opponents’ long-stick midfielder. “I thought Davis Butts really grew up as the season went on,” Toomey said. “Every team’s got a guy like [Johns Hopkins sophomore John] Ranagan, a guy that you really depend on to start the offense. He became that guy in the midfield for us. He really put it on his shoulders to take that next step, and we saw him grow up as the year went on. So we’re excited now. He did that as a sophomore, so we’ve got him for two more years. That’s something that we’re really happy about.”

The bad: After capturing the ECAC championship in 2008 and a share of the title in 2009, Loyola hasn’t reached the promised land in the last two seasons, falling to Denver in the conference tournament final in 2010 and losing to Fairfield in the semifinals this past spring. The Pioneers have clearly established themselves as the team to beat, but that doesn’t concern Toomey. “People said the same thing about Georgetown in this league,” said Toomey, who has guided the team to four consecutive wins against the Hoyas. “The stakes have been raised, and we know it.” … After senior attackman Matt Langan and midfielder Chris Basler combined for 33 assists, no other player had more than five assists. Toomey said he’d like to see Sawyer develop as a playmaker. “Now the challenge is to become a little more dynamic, and that’s what our parting shot with Mike was,” Toomey said. “He’s going to need to lead now as opposed to sitting back at the corner and letting Matt Langan do all of the work. He’s going to have to really step his game to another level.” … After Sawyer and Langan, the attack missed a consistent third starter for the first half of the season until senior Chris Palmer was shifted from the midfield. Sawyer and Lusby are expected to start at attack, but who among a pool that includes sophomore Patrick Fanshaw and freshmen Justin Ward and Matt Sawyer will emerge? “We’ve got some guys in the hopper that we think are going to lead us, but that’s definitely going to be a challenge,” Toomey said. “We need to have a third attackman that’s ready to carry the ball and distribute it at the Division I level.”

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: For the first time in four seasons, goaltending will be a question mark for the Greyhounds. Senior Jake Hagelin was a steady presence in the cage and veteran voice on defense. Incoming freshman Pat McEnerney could surprise, but junior Michael Bonitatibus and freshman Jack Runkel have the inside track. “Right now, I’d be looking at Michael Bonitatibus and Jack Runkel,” Toomey said. “Each week this season, we would say, ‘OK, Michael, you’re the backup,’ and then, ‘Jack, you’re the backup.’ That’s a credit to them, but we need one of those guys to separate. That was the message when they went home. I can’t have two goalies. I’m not playing halves. I don’t feel comfortable doing that. I want one of them to separate and come back and take this spot over.” … In addition to Hagelin, the defense loses senior defenseman Steve Dircks, who ranked second on the team in caused turnovers. Moving junior long-stick midfielder Kevin Moriarty to close defense is an option, but Toomey said freshman Joe Fletcher is a candidate to moving into the starting lineup. “We really felt that Fletcher really came on as the season progressed,” Toomey said. “He may have been one of our best ground ball guys. So we’re very happy with Grimm, we’re very happy with Acton, and replacing Steve Dircks with Joe Fletcher is a possibility. But we know we’ve got a strong and capable athlete in Kevin Moriarty who can create some competition there. And there are guys behind them that are ready to step in and help us, too. Guys like [freshman Pete] Bowes and [freshman Derek] Zook and [junior] Alex Yackery.” … The starting midfield is wide open. Aside from Butts, the other two starting roles are up for grabs between junior Pat Byrnes, sophomore Phil Dobson, freshman Austin Rogusky, North Carolina transfer and junior Chris Layne and even incoming freshman Jeff Chase of Boys’ Latin. “It’s going to be a year where there’s going to be not only tryouts, but competition in that spot,” Toomey said.

Forecast for 2011: Partly cloudy. Graduation will not be kind with Loyola, which must find a new quarterback on offense, a third attackman, a top defenseman and a goalie. The hits on defense are especially turbulent, but Toomey sounds hopeful the right replacements are on the roster. An influx of new talent in Layne, Chase and McEnerney could give the Greyhounds an injection of adrenaline, but will it be enough to catch Denver, which reached the Final Four for the first time in school history?

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

June 8, 2011

Washington College announces changes to coaching staff

Washington College announced Wednesday the addition of three new assistant coaches to join head coach Jeff Shirk’s staff. They are Corey Bulken, Larry Kline and Shayne Lynch.

“I am very excited to have these three young coaches join the staff,” Shirk said in the written statement distributed by the school. “All of them bring impressive backgrounds, great work ethic, and specific skill sets that will be instrumental in helping us reach our goals.”

Bulken completed his senior season at Le Moyne where he led Division II in faceoff percentage (69.2%) and was named the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Division II Specialty Player of the Year. A two-time All-American, he paced the team in faceoff percentage for three consecutive years and in ground balls for two straight campaigns and played in three consecutive NCAA tournament finals.

Kline spent last season as an assistant coach at Binghamton, his alma mater. He was a goalie and four-year team captain, helping lead the Bearcats to America East championships in 2007 and 2009.

Lynch completed an internship under athletic director Bryan Matthews this past winter and spring.  Lynch was a four-year letterwinner at Wesley College, serving as a team captain as both a junior and senior.

The trio joins Shirk and returning assistant coach J.L. Reppert on the Shoremen’s staff. Andrew Delaney left after the end of the 2011 season to become the first head men’s coach at Arcadia University.

Washington went 5-9 overall and 2-6 in the Centennial Conference. The team improved one game from last season’s 4-10 mark.

Posted by Edward Lee at 4:06 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Washington
        

Review & preview: UMBC

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

REVIEW

The good: The first half of the Retrievers’ season was mired in disappointment as they opened the campaign with a 1-4 record, including a four-game losing skid. A 16-5 setback to Stony Brook in the America East opener for both teams made things worse, but a 10-9 win against Towson kicked off a four-game winning streak and a berth in the America East tournament. “That game up in Stony Brook couldn’t have gone much worse, and this team showed a lot of guts and character by coming back three days later and beating Towson, a team that had beaten Stony Brook,” coach Don Zimmerman said. “I think that was the turning point of our season. But there’s still plenty to work on, and I think the key is, in my interview exits with the team, everyone seemed positive, encouraged, hungry and determined to keep it going in that direction.” … One bright spot was the play of sophomore Scott Jones, especially after he was moved from midfield to attack. Since moving to attack in a 15-6 setback to Maryland on March 18, Jones recorded 15 of 23 goals and six of 10 assists at that position. “Scott Jones, putting him back on attack and letting him play mainly off-ball attack inside, I thought Scott really blossomed and had a breakout year considering that he didn’t do much his freshmen year,” Zimmerman said. “I’m anticipating him coming back as a junior and really building on the progress that he made.” … After going with sophomore Adam Cohen as the primary goalkeeper in eight of 13 games last season, UMBC turned starting duties over to junior Brian McCullough, who posted a 10.29 goals-against average and a .473 save percentage in 11 starts. “Coming into the season, we had two goalkeepers in Brian and Adam Cohen,” Zimmerman said. “Both had their opportunities, and they knew they were going to be competing for that starting slot. Both worked very hard, but I just felt like Brian played well enough to start. He started off well, he broke his thumb and had to miss a few games, but he came back and played injured and gave us, I thought, a nice, consistent performance throughout the year. So we were pleased with that because that was obviously an issue in 2010.”

The bad: The Retrievers return eight of 10 starters. So why is that a negative? It’s not, but Zimmerman said the onus is on the younger players to improve on their own during the summer and in the fall. “Everybody was saying that UMBC was young this year and that next year, they get a lot of guys back, and boy, that experience is going to help,” he said. “While I think that’s true, our guys have to seize the opportunity and go out this summer and work hard and stay in shape and be able to come back in the fall without skipping a beat as far as lacrosse is concerned.” … Jones and junior Rob Grimm (17 goals, 18 assists) anchored the attack, but sophomore Joe Lustgarten (5, 8) and freshmen Ryan Johnston (6, 0), Matt Gregoire (4, 2) and Greg Korvin (3, 0) also got involved. Jones, Grimm and Lustgarten ended the season as starters, but Zimmerman said he’s open to shaking up the lineup. “You’d like to settle in and have a unit that can start to work together, and as a coach, I would love for that to happen,” he said. “But we also want it to be competitive in practice, and I think guys who come to UMBC know that they’re going to get a fair shot at showing the coaches what they can do. And if they do it in practice, we’re going to find time for them on gameday.” … Stony Brook dominated the America East until falling to Hartford in the conference tournament final. The Hawks beat the Retrievers in both the regular-season finale and the America East tournament opener. So UMBC not only has to overtake Stony Brook, but also Hartford looms as a tough out. Zimmerman said winning the conference is the team’s objective. “That’s always going to be our goal,” he said. “It’s easy to set goals. It’s tougher to go after them.”

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: As mentioned previously, the team graduates just two starters. One is midfielder Jamie Kimbles, who registered 10 goals and eight assists despite missing a few games earlier in the season due to a hamstring injury. Freshman Zach Linkous (6, 4) made eight starts, sophomores Neill Lewnes and Jake Zimmerman could make the transition from defensive midfield, and Johnston could return to the midfield. “We’ve got some good candidates to come back and compete for those spots,” Zimmerman said. … The other starter is David Stock, who made the most starts of any defenseman. Sophomore Lucas Wood has the experience to fill the void, and redshirt freshman Ian Gray could return after a broken hand sidelined him for 2011. “We think he [Gray] has a very, very promising future,” Zimmerman said. “Here’s a guy who’s going to be a redshirt freshman who could come back and win a starting position. We’ve got some guys who are waiting in the wings.” … The incoming recruiting class includes a pair of defensemen in Jake Boliwar and Tom Gerwick and a midfielder in Avery Littlejohn. Zimmerman said he is not opposed to playing a freshman as a starter. “Sometimes freshmen will come in and are handed starting positions, and maybe they don’t appreciate what it is,” Zimmerman said. “I don’t think it’s bad that a freshman has to come in and pay his dues. But I’ve also never been a coach who doesn’t play a freshman because he’s a freshman. I’m going to put the best guys that we have on the field.”

Forecast for 2011: Cloudy. Grimm, Jones and Lustgarten should further their chemistry on attack, and sophomore midfielders Dave Brown and Scott Hopmann should complement the attack. Defense continues to be a priority as opponents averaged 11.1 goals against UMBC. McCullough must improve in the net, and he needs help from his teammates, including starting defensemen Aaron Verardi and Sam McKelvey. The Retrievers’ best shot at returning to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009 is going through the America East, but Stony Brook and Hartford are the teams to beat. And Albany and Vermont are on the rise.

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Categories: Review & preview, UMBC
        

June 7, 2011

JHU's Lightner to skip fall workouts

Johns Hopkins defenseman Chris Lightner will skip workouts in the fall to heal his ailing back.

This past spring, the sophomore successfully transitioned from long-stick midfielder to close defenseman, tying for fourth on the team in caused turnovers and collecting 21 ground balls. But the Timonium native and Calvert Hall graduate was saddled with a nagging back injury for much of the season.

“Chris has battled a back issue all year,” Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala said Tuesday morning. “We got him through the season, and now it’s just important that we rest him. He’s absolutely fine. He’ll be good to go [next spring]. There are no issues there.”

Pietramala compared the decision to rest Lightner in the fall to the one applied from senior attackman Chris Boland last year. The Jessup native and Boys’ Latin graduate did not play in the fall after undergoing surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, and he led the team in points (54) and finished tied for first in goals (34).

“This is more of playing things kind of smart,” Pietramala said. “… With a back, we just felt like we were very fortunate to get through the season, and Chris did a great job of toughing it out. So we feel like it’s going to be important that we give him some time to rest.”

Pietramala said the layoff in the fall likely won’t hurt Lightner, who is a two-year starter and well-versed in the team’s defensive schemes.

“It doesn’t affect him and it doesn’t affect his status on the team,” Pietramala said.

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:55 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins
        

Review & preview: Towson

Here’s the second installment of a series that checks in with the seven Division I programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Tuesday’s visit takes us to Towson.

REVIEW

The good: The Tigers’ 3-10 record overshadowed the play of the defense, which finished the season allowing an average of 8.2 goals, which ranks 15th in Division I. that unit’s leader was senior defenseman Marc Ingerman, who was the only player on the team to be named to the Colonial Athletic Association second team. “He’s a kid who we could put on their best player and know that the kid wasn’t going to have an awesome day, that Marc was going to do the job that he needed to do,” former coach Tony Seaman said. “He’s also a tough kid, and I thought he played well all year long.” … Another defensive standout was senior short-stick defensive midfielder Peter Mezzanotte, who broke Ted Turnblacer’s previous school record of 92 caused turnovers with 95 of his own. Mezzanotte also displayed some prowess on offense, adding four goals and 14 assists. “I was really impressed throughout the year by Peter Mezzanotte and what he was able to accomplish,” Seaman said. “He set the career record for caused turnovers. He’s only a short-stick middie, and he’s got more caused turnovers than any defenseman who has ever played here. That’s an amazing stat. … He was terrific all year long.” … Sophomore attackman Matt Hughes emerged as the team’s most potent playmaker, leading Towson in points (24) and goals (18). There’s room for Hughes to continue his development, according to Seaman. “He’s got things to work on,” Seaman said of Hughes. “He finished well for us, but he needs to finish better around the cage, and he needs to develop more as a dodger and feeder. I think that’s going to be a big emphasis for him over the next year.”

The bad: A Tigers offense that struggled to average 9.3 goals last season slowed to a crawl this past spring. The unit’s averaged just 7.9 goals and put less than 40 percent of its shots on net in two of its first four contests. “We do a chart of our shots every year, and it’s amazing how many good shots we got and how many times we missed the cage,” Seaman said. “The other thing is, nine of the teams that we played are in the top 15 in defense. … And we also hit 39 pipes, while the other teams had 17 throughout the course of the year. Usually, that balances out. That was pretty one-sided.” … After compiling 15 goals and 18 assists a year ago, senior attackman Tim Stratton regressed, finishing with eight goals and 12 assists. Stratton usually drew opponents’ best defensemen, but Seaman said the team really needed Stratton. “He was our third leading scorer last year, and we didn’t get the kind of production out of him that we really expected,” Seaman said. “… I think he hit more pipes than he had goals this year.” … Towson’s poor showing this season led to Seaman’s dismissal. Under Seaman, the Tigers made the Final Four in 2001 and four more NCAA tournament trips in the next six years, but those appearances disappeared over the last four seasons. Towson is 2-16 against Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Loyola, UMBC and Navy over that same span.

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: The Tigers graduate three starters in Stratton, Ingerman and midfielder Pat Britton (15 goals, 3 assists) and an everyday contributor in Mezzanotte. Finding an offensive quarterback to replace Stratton is a priority. “Somebody’s going to have to step up there – either [Hughes] or [junior attackmen Matt] Lamon or [Sean] Maguire,” Seaman said. “They all have their own little things that they do well and their own little things that they need to work on to become more of an all-around player.” … Losing Ingerman hurts, but Seaman thinks redshirt freshman John Fennessy has the tools to be the top defenseman. “I think John Fennessy really stepped up,” Seaman said. “He really did a good job. He’s a naturaI leader. He’s very intense. He’s more of a takeaway, aggressive guy than Marc Ingerman is. I think John will step up and take over that role.” … Senior goalkeeper Travis Love reportedly has another year of eligibility left. If he returns, Love, who recorded a 7.94 goals-against average and a .552 save percentage, could alleviate what otherwise would have been an unstable situation. That, however, doesn’t mean that redshirt sophomore Andrew Wascavage and redshirt freshman Jake Graves won’t compete for playing time.

Forecast for 2012: Stormy. The decision to promote associate head coach and defensive coordinator Shawn Nadelen to head coach offers continuity to the program, and Nadelen’s background and strong will could be a recipe for success. But Towson has a long hill to climb as the offense is in need of an injection of adrenaline, especially in the midfield. If Fennessy can step in for Ingerman on defense, that should help Love if he holds off Wascavage and Graves for the starting goalie position. It’ll be interesting to see if the Tigers – after watching Virginia capture the 2011 national championship on the strength of a zone defense – retains the same strategy for next season. Towson is well aware that it won’t get any sympathy from CAA rivals Delaware, Hofstra, Massachusetts, Penn State and Drexel.

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

June 6, 2011

Review & preview: Navy

The end of last season kicked off a new series that checked in with the seven Division I programs in the state to evaluate the past and give a glimpse into the future. The series resumes with teams appearing according to the chronological order in which their seasons ended. So Monday begins with a visit with Navy. (Former coach Richie Meade did not return requests for an interview.)

REVIEW

The good: One of the biggest questions the Midshipmen (4-9 overall and 2-4 in the Patriot League) had to answer in the preseason was replenishing an attack that graduated Brendan Connors and Tim Paul and lost junior Ryan O’Leary (9 goals, 8 assists in 2010) to a season-ending knee injury. That dilemma was quickly answered by the introduction of freshmen Tucker Hull and Sam Jones. Hull and Jones led the team in points (38) and goals (23), and Hull was named the Patriot League Rookie of the Year. … Faceoffs were an issue last season with Navy winning just 45 percent of draws. That percentage was marginally better this spring (46.9 percent on 137-of-292), but junior Logan West was much improved. After going 64-of-130 for 49.2 percent last year, West won 110-of-211 for 52.1 percent this season. … Jay Mann’s numbers weren’t eye-opening (11 goals and 2 assists), but he proved to be the playmaker from the midfield who could alleviate some of the pressure on Hull and Jones. The sophomore should anchor a midfield that graduates Andy Warner.

The bad: The defense continued its slide from last season. After surrendering 8.7 goals per game – the team’s highest average since 1998 when that squad allowed 10.2 goals – the unit permitted opponents to average 9.6 goals this spring. And that occurred despite the presence of senior defenseman Michael Hirsch, who was selected to the Patriot League first team. … While the attack thrived off of the additions of Hull and Jones, the overall offense took a small step back. After averaging 9.13 goals last year, the unit finished with a 9.08 goals-per-game average this past season. The Midshipmen registered seven games of eight goals or less. … For the first time since joining the Patriot League for the 2004 campaign, Navy finished out of the top four in the conference and failed to qualify for the season-ending Patriot League tournament. The team suffered one-goal losses to eventual conference tournament champion Bucknell and runner-up Colgate and surrendered a four-goal lead in an eventual 14-9 loss to Army on April 16. The Midshipmen have now dropped three straight contests to the Black Knights, matching the program’s longest losing skid to its No. 1 rival.

PREVIEW

Personnel changes: Navy graduates just two starters, but one is midfielder Andy Warner, who led the team in assists (21) and ranked third in points (33). It will be interesting to see if sophomore Cade Norris (1, 1) or freshman Pat Durkin – both of whom played on the second line – can earn a promotion to the starting unit. … In addition to graduating Hirsch, the defense also bids farewell to both starting short-stick midfielders in Marty Gallagher and Brian Striffler and a reserve long-stick midfielder in Tom Mansfield. Sophomore Jay Christopher could fill the void created by Hirsch, while sophomores Jordan Seivold and Brye French might be poised to start at short-stick defensive midfield.

Outlook for 2011: Stormy. The offense loses Warner, putting the onus on Mann and junior Nikk Davis (14, 4) to create from the midfield. Junior Taylor Reynolds posted 10 goals and 2 assists in 13 starts, but could freshman Harrison Chaires (11, 2) join classmates Hull and Jones on the starting attack? The key to the equation is the defense, which must improve and give junior goalkeeper R.J. Wickham (9.26 goals-against average, .491 save percentage) a chance to stop shots. The uncertainty of finding a successor to coach Richie Meade puts the program in an even murkier situation. And Navy trails Bucknell, Colgate, Army and even Lehigh in the race for Patriot League supremacy.

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Categories: Navy, Review & preview
        

June 3, 2011

Towson's Nadelen ends playing career

Towson coach Shawn Nadelen made it official Friday: his playing days are over.

Nadelen, who was promoted to head coach on Sunday after being the Tigers associate head coach and defensive coordinator since 2004, announced that he has retired from the Chesapeake Bayhawks of the Major Lacrosse League.

“The time was coming for me to retire,” Nadelen said in a written statement distributed by the Bayhawks. “I actually considered it after last season, but got the itch again in the spring. I have this great new opportunity to take advantage of. I know it’s time for me to move on and I am very happy about it.”

Said Chesapeake coach Brendan Kelly: “Shawn Nadelen has been a very important part of the Bayhawks franchise, not only from a talent perspective, but from a character standpoint also. His presence will be missed on and off the field, and we as an organization wish him nothing but the best at Towson.”

Nadelen spent his entire 11-year career in the MLL with the Bayhawks, helping that franchise capture league championships in 2002, 2005 and 2010. He is the club’s all-time leader in games played with 95 and ranks second in ground balls with 207.

“Over the years, the growth the league has undergone has been incredible,” Nadelen said. “Starting off in year one and being the young guy playing with a great group of veterans and then going and retiring as the longest tenured Bayhawk is so rewarding. The Bayhawks have always been highly regarded in the MLL and people like Brendan Kelly and Dave Cottle will help the league to grow that much more. I am excited to see the changes as the league continues to progress, and I am proud to hang my hat on my MLL career with the Bayhawks.”

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:41 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Towson
        

Towson's Nadelen talks about filling out his coaching staff

Since the 2004 season, Shawn Nadelen has been Towson’s defensive coordinator, shaping a unit that has allowed an average of nine goals or fewer in four years.

Promoted on Sunday to succeed Tony Seaman as the program’s seventh head coach, Nadelen said after his introductory press conference on Tuesday morning that he plans to remain the team’s defensive coordinator even after he hires a defensive-minded assistant.

“I think initially, it will be head coach and defensive coordinator,” Nadelen said of his plan. “I need to find out with whoever I hire as an assistant what that person brings to the table and what their experiences are and what their thoughts are. I’d like to keep my hands on it to start with and allow that person to see what I envision, and obviously, their input will be helpful and welcomed.”

The task may be even more difficult on the offensive side of the field. The Tigers didn’t even register among the top 50 offenses in Division I after averaging 7.8 goals, and they will lose their quarterback in Tim Stratton to graduation.

While Nadelen said he is not opposed to hiring a young, up-and-coming assistant, he conceded that he might prefer a veteran voice on offense.

“I’ve been talking to a few guys already,” he said. “There’s the veteran, a guy who’s been in coaching about the same time as I have. There’s going to be an understanding of what styles they’re going to bring in, if they fully understand what I expect and what I want this program to be about, if they want to engage in that and be a part of it. I always look for fresh ideas and fresh thoughts as long as I feel that they’re going to be beneficial. That’s something that I want from those guys, to have those ideas, and a more seasoned coach will allow that and help with that.”

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

Princeton goes "back to the drawing board"

For the second time in four years, Princeton did not qualify for the NCAA tournament, and the coaching staff isn’t sitting on its hands as the summer begins.

“We’re looking at everything that we do,” coach Chris Bates said Wednesday. “Princeton lacrosse is not accustomed to being 4-8. So we’re excited to kind of get back to the drawing board and get motivated.”

The loss of five players to season-ending injuries and 15 players dealing with aches and pains contributed to the Tigers going 4-8 overall and 2-4 in the Ivy League. The conference mark was the program’s worst since 1989 when that squad also finished 2-4.

Bates said the adversity of the season has resonated with the players and coaches.

“I think you have to humbled by the results of this year, and I think we all are,” he said. “At the end of the day, you want that to serve as some type of motivating memory. We want our guys to watch the championship, we want them to re-engage and understand why we do what we do. This group came here for a reason. The goals are to play at the very end of May. I think as coaches, you can’t put too much pressure and focus on that. You have to focus on the day-to-day efforts to get there, and I think we all learned some good lessons in terms of how to prepare and what to do. It’s a group that will remember this year and has pretty lofty goals.”

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

June 2, 2011

Two-horse race for Tewaaraton Award nearing finish line

The Tewaaraton Award will be handed out Thursday night, and it is believed that the race has come down to two players.

Virginia junior attackman Steele Stanwick and Cornell junior attackman Ron Pannell have separated themselves from a pack of finalists that includes Syracuse senior goalkeeper John Galloway and senior long-stick midfielder Joel White and Army senior attackman Jeremy Boltus.

Stanwick registered 21 points in powering the Cavaliers to their fourth NCAA championship. The Baltimore native and Loyola graduate finished the season ranked third in Division I in assists (38) and fourth in points per game (4.1). But Stanwick posted zero goals and a single assist in the 9-7 victory over Maryland in the title game.

Pannell led the country in points (89), assists (47) and points per game (5.2) and was the leading candidate prior to the postseason. But Pannell’s Big Red fell to Stanwick and Virginia in the quarterfinals, and Hofstra midfielder Doug Shanahan is the only player in the award’s 10-year history to claim the honor despite his team not advancing to NCAA tournament final.

The guess here is that Stanwick will take home the award. Yes, he struggled against Terps senior defenseman Brett Schmidt, but without Stanwick, the Cavaliers would have been hard-pressed to even reach championship weekend at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:00 AM | | Comments (1)
        

Towson's Nadelen may have to hang up stick and helmet

One of the attractions for Towson promoting associate head coach and defensive coordinator Shawn Nadelen to succeed Tony Seaman as the program’s seventh head coach was his continued involvement as a defenseman for the Chesapeake Bayhawks and his ability to connect with his players and recruits.

However, during his introductory press conference Tuesday morning, Nadelen, who helped the Bayhawks win Major Lacrosse League championships in 2002, 2005 and 2010, conceded that his playing days may be coming to an end.

“My No. 1 priority – and it has always been my No. 1 priority – is my duties at Towson,” Nadelen said. “I’ve never missed a Towson obligation for playing. I need to talk it over with my wife, and [athletic director] Mike [Waddell] and myself will figure out if it’s doable. But I need to figure what exactly needs to get done at Towson first, and if being able to play is in there, we’ll see. But I think first and foremost, Towson is my No. 1 priority.”

Chesapeake coach Brendan Kelly said he didn’t think it was possible for Nadelen to juggle coaching a Division I program and playing in the Major Lacrosse League.

“To focus on the Towson head coaching job, he’s going to have to really commit 100 percent of his time to that,” Kelly said during a conference call Wednesday morning. “We understand that, and we’ll miss Shawn. He’s won three championships – all three championships with the Bayhawks. Obviously, we’d love to have him back, but I respect what he’s doing and I wish him all the luck in the world. In order to get that program where he wants to get it to, he’ll have to spend every waking moment that he’s got to really get Towson going in the right direction, and I think he’ll get that done.”

Kelly predicted that Nadelen would revive the Tigers.

“I called him my anchor on the defense last year because he was a coach out there,” Kelly said. “Shawn brings an intangible piece of the pie when he’s coaching or playing. He just brings a presence when he steps onto the field. He’s not the most vocal, rah-rah-rah guy, but he knows what he’s very doing. Very intelligent, very tough, very consistent. You know where Shawn stands on every issue. He was a great addition for us last year, and that’s a great addition for Towson. I think he’ll do a great job there.”

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

Loyola's Toomey, UMBC's Zimmerman say they have not been contacted by Navy

With Navy still searching for a successor to Richie Meade, speculation about whom the Midshipmen have targeted to be the program’s eighth head coach is rampant.

At least two local coaches said the academy has not reached out to them.

Loyola coach Charley Toomey was the head coach of the Naval Academy Preparatory School in 1993 and an assistant coach with the Midshipmen in 1994 and 1995, but he said that he is happy coaching the Greyhounds.

“My focus is with Loyola right now,” Toomey said Wednesday. “I coached there, and I know that Navy is a special place. But you’ve got to remember that Richie is a mentor to me. I feel like I’ve been kicked in the teeth over the last couple of weeks with [former Towson coach] Tony Seaman and Richie Meade. I’m living my dream. I’m working at my alma mater here, and I think our facilities rival anybody’s facilities. Now it’s about taking the next step in this program and getting us back into playoff contention and taking that next step.”

UMBC coach Don Zimmerman doesn’t have a similar connection to Navy, but he is well respected for his knowledge of the game and his relationships with his players.

Despite a 6-7 record this past spring, Zimmerman said he isn’t looking elsewhere. “I’m happy here at UMBC,” he said Wednesday.

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

June 1, 2011

Princeton coach confirms Chanenchuk's intent to transfer

Princeton coach Chris Bates confirmed Wednesday morning that midfielder Mike Chanenchuk, the Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 2010, has been granted permission to transfer.

Inside Lacrosse reported last week that Chanenchuk, who has three years of eligibility remaining, was seeking to enroll at Maryland and join the Terps for the 2012 season. Per NCAA rules, coach John Tillman and other school officials are not permitted to talk about a potential transfer.

Bates said Princeton officials have been working with Chanenchuk to transfer since he left the university in the fall to rehabilitate a broken collarbone suffered during a scrimmage in October.

“We’ve worked with Mike throughout the whole process,” Bates said. “There’s a lot of contributing factors, but we were in close communication with him throughout.”

Bates also confirmed that senior attackman Jack McBride has one year of eligibility left and will play somewhere else while pursuing a degree in graduate school.

Lacrosse Magazine speculated that McBride – who played just two games this past spring because of a groin injury – could land at one of the following programs: Denver because of his connection to former Tigers coach and current Pioneers coach Bill Tierney, Duke because two sisters went there, and Georgetown because his father went to Georgetown Medical School.

Because McBride played in just two contests and Chanenchuk was absent for the entire campaign, Bates said Princeton is prepared to move forward with its current crop of players to bounce back from a 4-9 overall record and a 2-4 Ivy League mark.

“It’s nothing new,” Bates said. “We obviously moved beyond that with not having him and Jack for the whole year. We certainly suffered the effects of their absence, but going forward, there’s plenty of talent here. In essence, we’ve moved beyond it in our minds. [Chanenchuk] is a high-caliber player. He can shoot and put the ball in the back of the net. Any team would miss him. But there are other guys here who will rally to fill the void. There’s no ill will, and we wish him obviously the best.”

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:22 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Maryland
        

Preston: Stall warning lacks teeth

There needs to be a change as far as the stalling rule or warnings in NCAA men's lacrosse.

Numerous times this season, teams were repeatedly warned for stalling, but they were given more and more warnings throughout the game. Coaches whose teams built early leads used this to their advantage as they consumed time with a deliberate offense.

If I were a coach in the same situation, I would have done the same thing. I suggest NCAA officials award the ball to the other team every time a team has been hit with a warning call after three previous warnings during the game. It would be like NBA officials calling a technical after a team has been called several times for playing an illegal zone defense.

This past season, we saw a lot of boring games because teams slowed the pace of the game.  This is not how the game was meant to be played, and this strategy wasn't being used when someone dubbed lacrosse "the fastest game on two feet."

--Mike Preston

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:19 AM | | Comments (3)
        

UMBC defensive coordinator departs for High Point

Pat Tracy, an assistant coach at UMBC since the 2008 season and the defensive coordinator for the past three years, has left the school to join the staff at High Point.

Tracy, a Baltimore native and St. Paul’s graduate, joins Jon Torpey’s staff as the associate head coach, High Point announced Tuesday.

“I am absolutely thrilled to have Pat Tracy join our program,” Torpey said in a written statement provided by the university. “Having competed with and against Pat, I can honestly say that he is one of the most honest, competitive and hard-working people I have ever had the pleasure to be associated with.”

“Having spent the past four years under one of the best lacrosse coaches in the history of the game in Don Zimmerman, Pat has proven his success both on and off the field of play,” Torpey continued. “Pat is truly a great leader of young men and has a passion to develop guys on the field, in the classroom and in life. He will make for an unbelievable role model to all the young men fortunate enough to be a part our program. To bring Pat on board speaks volumes of High Point University’s commitment to men’s lacrosse.”

Tracy and Torpey have a long history with each other. Both were starters at Ohio State, and then Tracy transferred to Goucher for his final two years when Torpey was an assistant coach for the Gophers.

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

Nadelen aims to change culture around Towson locker room

In each of the last four years, Towson has compiled a sub-.500 record and failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament. A 3-10 mark this past spring contributed to the school and former head coach Tony Seaman parting ways on May 9.

Shawn Nadelen, who was introduced Tuesday morning as the program’s seventh head coach, said he’s already addressed the culture of losing that has seeped into the locker room.

“I’ve already set up a certain set of standards that these guys will hopefully engage in,” he said. “If they don’t, this is what I believe in and this is how I believe the program I want to run should operate. If you’re not willing to be a part of that, then they might have to seek becoming a student full-time and seek another program. I’m willing to do that. There’s great players out there and great people, and we can find both in the locker room. That will be the challenge. But I think the team is excited and understands what I bring, and they should be ready for it.”

Change can be positive, but it can also be met with resistance. Nadelen said he is hoping for more of the former.

“Regardless of who was coming in here, there was going to be change, and they knew that,” he said. “I talked about that with them in terms of my experience at Hopkins where I had three coaches in four years. So I’m used to change. I’m used to turnover with that. So I feel like that gives me a little bit of experience in how to handle that. Luckily, I know the guys already, I know all the recruits coming in. The changes might be dramatic to some, but not as dramatic to others and how they perceive it.”

Current players said they expect Nadelen to make alterations, and they welcome the changes.

“I do anticipate a lot of changes, and I think it’s going to be good for us,” redshirt sophomore midfielder Ian Mills said. “Coach Nadelen is a very, very strong individual, and I think that’s going to be reflected in our play, how we conduct ourselves in the classroom and in our outreach to the community. It’s a high level of intensity. We know what we expect out of Coach Nadelen because he’s been our coach for a long time. So I think it’s going to be great for our program.”

Redshirt junior midfielder Matt Hanzsche agreed, saying, “Everyone will be on board. If you’re committed to this team, you’re going to be on board with what Coach Nads said.”

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