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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.

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May 26, 2011

Three area players earn national distinction

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

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

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

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

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

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Categories: Goucher, McDaniel, Salisbury, St. Mary's, Stevenson
        

May 5, 2011

Postscript from Susquehanna at Goucher

A decent portion of Goucher’s success has stemmed from an opportunistic offense led by the three-headed monster of junior attackman Rory Averett and Kyle Boncaro and junior midfielder Matt Lynch.

But the Gophers have also been buoyed lately by the play of sophomore goalkeeper Connor Mishaw, who has posted double-digit saves in each of the team’s last seven contests en route to a 6.92 goals-against average and a .618 save percentage. He registered 19 saves in Goucher’s 11-3 rout of Susquehanna in a Landmark Conference tournament semifinal at Gopher Stadium in Towson on Wednesday.

Mishaw, who succeeded Chris Stricklin as the starter, said he found his comfort zone prior to a game against Christopher Newport on March 26.

“Before the Christopher Newport game, I just started to relax and our defense really came together,” Mishaw recalled. “I felt like we were working together, and that benefited me. They know what I can save and what I can’t.”

Mishaw has turned aside 115 shots in his last seven games, averaging more than 16 stops. While that could be perceived as Mishaw playing behind a porous defense, Mishaw asserted that those saves are the result of the defensive game plan.

“The majority of those saves, my defense is forcing shots that I like to see,” he said. “So it’s repetition. And the defense has been playing great lately.”

Coach Kyle Hannan said Mishaw has been phenomenal, especially in the latter half of the season.

“I think he was feeling everything out through the first half of the season and then the light went on,” Hannan said. “… He’s kept us in close games. And even today, we won by a lot of goals, but his play was a big part of us winning the way that we did. I think his confidence is high right now, and his teammates have a lot of confidence in him, which helps the entire defense.”

Other notes:

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May 4, 2011

Susquehanna at Goucher: Three things to watch

Goucher has never lost to Susquehanna since joining the Landmark Conference for the 2008 season. The Crusaders (11-5 overall and 3-2 in the conference) are riding a six-game winning streak en route to their first appearance in the Landmark tournament. The Gophers (10-5, 4-1) are the top seed in the tournament for the third consecutive year. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at Gophers Stadium in Towson on Wednesday.

1) Faceoffs. Goucher has been on the winning end of many categories thus far, but if there is one problematic area, it’s faceoffs. The Gophers have been dreadful, winning just 35.6 percent (116-of-326) of draws, and that rate dips to 28.1 percent (32-of-114) in conference play. Four players have taken at least 40 faceoffs, and the best is junior defenseman D.J. Shelton (42-of-97 for 43.3 percent). After winning just 7-of-19 draws in the 10-6 win against Susquehanna on April 2, Goucher would doing itself a huge favor by reaching that 50 percent mark on Wednesday.

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April 27, 2011

Familiar territory within reach for Goucher

Goucher is on the cusp of cementing its third consecutive year as the top seed with home-field advantage in the Landmark Conference tournament. It’s all part of a master plan laid out by the players and coach Kyle Hannan.

“I think the big thing is, that’s a goal that we’ve set,” Hannan said Tuesday. “At the beginning of the year, we said that we wanted to win 10 games, and Saturday [vs. Drew] would be our 10th win. We want to be the No. 1 seed in the Landmark playoffs, and we can accomplish that goal on Saturday. And then we want to win the Landmark championship. That’s a little bit further down the road if we’re able to win on Saturday.”

The Gophers, who are 9-5 overall, have the same 3-1 mark in the Landmark as Catholic, but Goucher own the tiebreaker after edging the Cardinals, 11-9, on April 17. The Gophers could have clinched top seed and home-field advantage last Saturday, but they were surprised by Scranton in a 9-8 decision in overtime.

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March 29, 2011

Goucher bouncing back at right time

Coach Kyle Hannan is philosophical about Goucher’s 1-4 start.

The way he sees it, the lethargic beginning was just the first third of the season. The second third entailed a 5-0 run that has the Gophers sitting at 6-4 and poised to undertake the final stretch with five opponents from the Landmark Conference.

“We were 1-4 in our first season and then 5-0 in that middle third,” Hannan said Monday. “So that’s what we’ve been harping on. And now we have our third season, and the goal is to be 5-0. We just did it, so anything less would be disappointing. I think the guys are confident, but also understand that we need to continue to get better if we want to accomplish the goals that we have this year.”

Hannan said the program spent a lot of time poring over its strengths and weaknesses after a shocking 13-12 loss to Randolph-Macon on March 5 that dropped the team to 0-3. Since that setback, freshman Max Roach has replaced freshman George Skelos in the starting attack, and the first midfield has moved from junior Pat Peddicord to sophomore John Curry to freshman Pierce Ingram, who has started the last two contests.

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March 18, 2011

Q&A with former D-III National Player of the Year Tommy Kehoe

Tommy Kehoe was named the Division III National Player of the Year after the long-stick midfielder helped guide Gettysburg to the NCAA tournament final in 2009. A contributor to Inside Lacrosse who shared his thoughts on Stevenson senior attackman Jimmy Dailey for Saturday’s edition, Kehoe also offered his perspective on a few area topics of interest.

Question: What’s going to be the key for No. 2 Stevenson to beat No. 4 Cortland on Saturday? Can the Mustangs pierce Cortland’s defense, which is allowing just 2.5 goals per game thus far?
Answer: More than any other factor, you’ll see a lot of this game play out in the faceoff battle. [Senior Chris] Deluca of Cortland, the reigning National Player of the Year, is a threat off the draw, but really finds ways to contribute in every facet, starting with transition, then into settled offense, and then back onto defense. Stevenson, for obvious reasons, has always been great at facing off, and [senior] Ray Witte can do all the things Deluca can, but is complemented with a more fluid attack in transition. I have the distinct pleasure of knowing [Stevenson volunteer assistant and former faceoff specialist] Gregory Furshman, who handles the faceoff instruction up there, and his knowledge pertaining to digging one out is as humbling as it is inspiring. So I’d suspect him to come up with a plan of attack detailing the exact angle and velocity Witte is to clamp. It’ll be interesting to see if these guys get into stalemates or if it turns into a home-run derby with both guys getting 50/50 shots at pushing it forward cleanly. I’d say the stalemates would favor Stevenson because Cortland’s offense isn’t as dynamic. So they’d benefit more than Stevenson from the high-percentage looks in transition. As to Cortland’s defense, I know they’re good because I’ve seen them play and I have a lot of respect for their coach [Steve Beville], who has what I wish was my [2009] national championship ring somewhere in his house. But I would not put much weight into their goals-allowed average at this point in the season. The 2.5 goals a game means they're executing, but I’d expect any top-four defense to execute against their schedule thus far. The impressive Gettysburg win should be the feather in that defense’s hat, but as much as it pains me to say, Gettysburg’s offense has been sputtering all season. So it’s not as commanding as a statement as it would of been in years past. This game will tell the tale, which is why it’s on the schedule.

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March 3, 2011

Postscript from Gettysburg at Goucher

Life on the Goucher campus could be better, but there are two encouraging signs despite the Gophers’ 0-2 start.

The defense has surrendered just 13 goals in both losses, including just six in a two-goal loss to No. 12 Gettysburg on Wednesday at Beldon Field in Towson.

Senior Justin Dunn has been living up to his honorable-mention All-American status from a year ago, but the Gophers have been buoyed by the emergence of sophomore defensemen Bryce Carson and Paul Taylor and sophomore goalie Connor Mishaw.

Add freshman long-stick midfielder Ralph Bilotta and a pair of short-stick defensive midfielders in sophomore Tim Brashear and freshman Stephen Patterson, and it’s easy to see why coach Kyle Hannan is cautiously optimistic about that unit.

“I think our defense is playing really well right now,” he said. “Obviously, the numbers show that. And the good thing is that it’s still a very young defense. So there’s a lot of room to grow at that end of the field. We’re playing a sophomore goalie in his first year of starting, two sophomore defensemen, an all-freshmen defensive midfield. The youngest group on our team through two games has been the most successful group on the field. I’m excited about the way that they’re playing and if they continue to play like that and the offense picks it up, we’re going to be in pretty good shape.”

Goucher isn’t feeling so great about being mired in an 0-2 hole, but this program got off to the same start last season before ending the regular season on a 14-1 run.

“We were in this predicament last year,” junior attackman Rory Averett noted. “But it would be nice to have a win instead of being 0-2. We’ve just got to play well on Saturday [against Randolph-Macon] and hope for a win.”

Other notes:

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March 2, 2011

Gettysburg at Goucher: Three things to watch

Both teams enter the contest reeling from stunning season-opening losses. The visiting Bullets dropped six spots to No. 12 in the latest United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll after falling to unranked Hampden-Sydney, 7-6. The Gophers also absorbed a 7-6 overtime setback to Washington College, a team that had won four games last season. Here are some factors that could play into the outcome of Wednesday’s meeting.

1) The value of possessions. Goucher entered the fourth quarter against the Shoremen with a two-goal lead, but Washington collected six more ground balls in that final frame. Coach Kyle Hannan said the Gophers must protect the ball and be more opportunistic during 50-50 ground balls against Gettysburg. “I think we’re really going to have to value our possessions,” he said. “We’re going to have to be able to at least try to match possessions with Gettysburg. We can’t let them get a time-of-possession advantage on us. And I think we’re going to have to shoot the ball well to be able to score enough to stay with them, and I think our defense is going to have to play the way it did this past weekend. Very controlled, organized and well. If our goalie can save at 60 percent and we can shoot at 30 percent, we’ll be in this game.”

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March 1, 2011

Goucher not panicking yet

For a team that qualified for its first NCAA tournament last year, Saturday’s season-opening 7-6 overtime loss to Washington College was a less-than-ideal beginning for Goucher.

But before Gophers fans start hyperventilating, understand that Goucher lost to the Shoremen by the same score in the last February’s season opener.

“We’re definitely not pressing the panic button yet,” coach Kyle Hannan said confidently Monday. “There were some very good things that we got out of that Washington game, and we also saw some areas that we really have to focus on and get better. But I think there are a lot of teams in our position right now. When you’re playing games in February, there are going to be some things that you need to improve on, and I think we will. I’m still excited about our group. I think we’re going to win a lot of lacrosse games this year. It’s just a matter of getting that chemistry, finding an identity and understanding who we are. The more we play, I think we’re going to be in good shape.”

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February 16, 2011

Goucher preview

This entry is the fifth in a series taking a look at each of the seven Division III programs in this state according to their order of finish from last season. The Sun’s lacrosse preview is slated to be published on Thursday, Feb. 17. Today is Goucher’s turn.

Overview: The Gophers enjoyed one of their more successful seasons last spring when they captured the Landmark Conference Tournament and earned the school’s first berth in the NCAA Tournament. Goucher lost in the first round to Middlebury, but emotions run high that the team can make another repeat appearance in the NCAA tourney. Landmines litter the schedule, but coach Kyle Hannan & Co. are eager to test the waters.

Reason for optimism: Don’t be surprised if the offense barely skips a beat. Thanks to the return of a trio of 30-goal scorers in junior attackmen Rory Averett (48 goals and eight assists) and Kyle Boncaro (38, 28) and junior midfielder Matt Lynch (34, 24) and eight of the squad’s top nine midfielders from last season, the Gophers are overflowing with talent on the offensive end. “It’s a luxury. It’s pretty nice,” Hannan said.” We return all those offensive guys, but it’s different. We’re still feeling ourselves out, figuring out what’s going to be the best routines. You’d think that we would just jump right into it and do exactly what we did last year, but we are going to change some things and add a little bit more to what we did offensively with our plays and our concepts.”

Reason for pessimism: The biggest question mark is in the cage, which had been manned by Chris Stricklin (6.13 goals-against average and .653 save percentage). But with his graduation, sophomores Connor Mishaw and J.J. Sagl are battling for the right to start. Hannan said he’s considering a rotation. “I’ve never been a big goalie-rotation or play-halves kind of coach,” he said. “I like to lock in on one guy and have the defense believe in him. But at the same time, every year is different, and if that helps our team and keeps everybody motivated, that’s something I won’t close the door on. But I’d prefer to choose a goalie and let it be his job.”

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June 22, 2010

Review & preview: Goucher

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

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May 25, 2010

Stevenson, Salisbury top All-American list

The United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association released its All-American list for the 2010 season, and three players from Stevenson and Salisbury made the first team.

Senior attackman Steve Kazimer and junior attackman Jimmy Dailey represented the Mustangs. Kazimer led the team in assists (49) and points (95) and ranked second in goals (46). Kazimer ranked 12th in the nation in points per game (4.57) and 11 in assists per game (2.38). Dailey was second among Stevenson players in assists (37) and third in goals (44) and points (81).

The Sea Gulls, who will meet Tufts on Sunday for the national championship, were represented on the first team by sophomore midfielder Sam Bradman, who led the team in goals (58) and points (85).

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Categories: Goucher, McDaniel, Salisbury, St. Mary's, Stevenson
        

May 5, 2010

Goucher hoping past doesn't repeat itself

For the second consecutive year, Goucher earned the top seed in the Landmark Conference Tournament. But coach Kyle Hannan is hoping the result is much different when the Gophers (12-3 overall and 6-0 in the conference) play host to the United States Merchant Marine Academy (7-7, 3-3) in a tournament semifinal at Goucher on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Last season, the top-seeded Gophers were upended by Scranton in the semifinals and did not advance to the NCAA Tournament. While the memory of that loss is still fresh, Hannan said the players and coaches aren't harping on that game.

"No, we're not talking much about last year, to be honest with you," he said. "It's a different team and a different year. It's just more about our team at this point and the guys being ready and focused on the 2010 Landmark Tournament against a team that we've already played."

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April 27, 2010

Goucher's six-game winning streak ties school record

Goucher coach Kyle Hannan said he had no idea that his team had tied a school record with six consecutive wins until a reporter called him to comment on the streak.

Really?

"To be honest, until I got your message, I didn’t realize we had won six in a row," Hannan said. "That’s how wrapped up you get. But it is neat to do that."

The Gophers’ 17-6 rout of Moravian on Saturday capped six straight victories, which is the third time in the school’s 19-year history that the team has reeled off six consecutive triumphs.

"It’s always tough to win college lacrosse games," Hannan said. "But it’s not a surprise in the aspect that our guys are working really hard, and they’re taking pride at getting better. When your team’s doing that and buying into what’s going on, you’re in a position to win. We’ve beaten some pretty good teams, and we’ve had some pretty good performances."

Hannan said the team has been strengthened by its balance. The top three scorers – attackmen Kyle Boncaro (29 goals and 26 assists) and Rory Averett (41, 6) and midfielder Matt Lynch (30, 17) – are sophomores, while the defense is anchored by senior Ben Veldman and junior Justin Dunn and senior goalkeeper Chris Stricklin.

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March 24, 2010

Goucher misses school record of six consecutive wins by one

After a 0-2 start, Goucher had reeled off five straight victories, which was one short of a school record. Tuesday night, the Gophers had a chance to tie the mark, but surrendered a 13-12 decision to Eastern Connecticut State.

Still, the run did wonders for team morale, according to coach Kyle Hannan.

"I don’t think they’re really wrapped up thinking that we’re a great team right now, but it’s always nice to win lacrosse games," he said. "I think what they’re really sensing – and something that I’m really stressing to them – is to look at the big picture and look how we’re growing as a team, and I think that’s what they feel the best about. Every day, we get out there and they’re working on different things and they’re working on becoming more experience and becoming better. I know that’s a little bit of a cliché, but I really believe with this team that you can see a difference."

The Gophers opened the season with back-to-back losses to Washington College (7-6) and No. 1 Gettysburg (16-6). While no one likes to lose, Hannan said he thought the team absorbed some valuable lessons from the setbacks.

"I feel like we played pretty well against Washington College," Hannan said. "We let a lead go and ended up playing a one-goal game. Just a couple days later, we had to go to Gettysburg, and they’re the No. 1 team in the country. They scored early on us and once we settled down, it was really a good game in the second and third quarters. So coming out of those two losses, we felt like, ‘Hey, we want to win lacrosse games.’ But at the same time, we felt like it was a pretty good experience to kind of get in those game situations. And then we were able to get it together. … As young as we are, every day we’re together, we’re getting a little bit better. And once we won the first game and the young guys got confident, that kind of led to the second game. From day to day, you can see an improvement, especially offensively. We have a long way to go, but at the same time, I feel like we’re on the right track."

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February 14, 2010

Goucher preview

After taking a look at the Division I schools in Maryland, let's take a spin with the Division III teams. Today’s entry is the first of a week-long series taking a look at each of the seven Division III programs in this state according to alphabetical order. Tomorrow's subject will be Hood, but today is Goucher's turn.

Overview: The Gophers have won at least 10 games in each of the last two seasons, reaching the Landmark Conference tournament both times. But each time, the team has fallen short of coming away with its first conference title. The Gophers fell to Drew, 8-5, in the conference tournament final in 2008 and got upset by Scranton, 10-9, in a tournament semifinal last season. "Our goal is to win the Landmark championship," coach Kyle Hannan said. "We've been in a position to win that tournament, and we haven't done it. We need to be one goal better than we have been in the last two years." Capturing the tournament championship this spring would yield even greater benefits: this is the first year the winner of the conference tournament earns an automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament.

Reason for optimism: Despite graduating a pair of starters in Alex Walters (53 groundballs) and Andy Nielsen (45 groundballs), the defense could be the foundation for this team. Junior Justin Dunn (39 groundballs) is back, and senior David Jadin is a solid long-stick midfielder. Senior Ben Veldman and freshmen R.J. Lucas and Paul Taylor each have a shot at starting. "That's a pretty good group of long-stick defenders," Hannan said. "I think our defense is playing extremely well, which is nice because that can help you early in the season." 

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