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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.

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April 28, 2011

Stevenson's Dailey named CAC Player of the Year

Attackman Jimmy Dailey headlined a group of seven Stevenson players to be named to the Capital Athletic Conference first and second teams, the league announced Wednesday.

Dailey, a senior from Westminster who graduated from Winters Mill, is the first Mustang to capture the Player of the Year honors, breaking Salisbury’s 16-year stranglehold on the award. Dailey, who leads Division III in points per game (5.9) and total assists (51), is a four-time first-team selection and a former Rookie of the Year in 2007.

Freshman long-stick midfielder Ryan Rubenstein shares the Rookie of the Year award with Frostburg State attackman Ryan Serio. Hood coach Jeremy Mattoon shares Coach of the Year honors with Mary Washington’s Kurt Glaeser. Mattoon guided the Blazers to their first berth in the CAC tournament.

Joining Dailey on the first team are senior attackman Neal Barthelme, senior midfielder Kyle Moffitt, senior defenseman Evan Douglass and senior faceoff specialist Ray Witte.

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April 15, 2011

Hood enjoying fruits of its labor

Hood’s reversal from doormat to contender in the Capital Athletic Conference required an investment from both the players and coach Jeremy Mattoon.

Mattoon, who left Hussoon after guiding that program to a 14-7 record in two seasons, is an energetic, relentless mentor who had no trepidation about changing the culture surrounding the Blazers, who had never defeated a CAC opponent since joining the conference prior to the 2007 season.

Mattoon scheduled morning practices that were no longer glorified walkthroughs for the the players. He publicized his expectations to the players and expected them to feel just as committed to reaching those goals.

For the players, Mattoon took some getting used to.

“We had to make adjustments because the coaches before him weren’t as intense or didn’t give you the drive to do things that you hadn’t done before,” acknowledged senior attackman Domonique Shorter, a Baltimore native and Lansdowne graduate. “It was a transition for me because he’s a hard-nosed coach, and I never had a coach like that. A lot of people on the team never had a coach like him. So it was hard to get the vibe down and get the relationship between player and coach. It was up and down, but I like it. I think it’s awesome, and I think it’s good for the program.”

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March 8, 2011

1-1 start "monumentally significant" for Hood

After absorbing a 19-goal loss to Stevenson, which is ranked No. 2 in the latest United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll, in the season opener, Hood rebounded with a 6-4 win against Randolph on Saturday.

The decision helped the Blazers record their second 1-1 start in the last three seasons – an accomplishment that did not escape coach Jeremy Mattoon’s attention.

“What we have to remember is, that was only our eighth win in seven years,” he said Monday. “So is it significant? It’s monumentally significant. Whether it’s our first game, second game or 16th game, any win we get is significant. It’s positive, and we feel good about it. And I think our boys felt really good after the win.”

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February 14, 2011

Hood review

This entry kicks off 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 Hood’s turn.

Overview: The Blazers achieved a plethora of goals, including a school record six wins last spring. But the team is still searching for its first victory in the Capital Athletic Conference, and that task now belongs to Jeremy Mattoon, who succeeds Curt Foxx who resigned in June to take the same position at Hendrix College in Conway, Ark. Mattoon guided Hussoon to a 14-7 record in two seasons. Can he achieve a similar level of success at Hood?

Reason for optimism: The Blazers lost just one starter to graduation, and the returning nine starters have experienced the highs and lows of the program. Mattoon said he will lean on those veterans to set an example for the younger players. “The luxury is we’re going to put guys on the field who know exactly what they’re getting themselves into,” he said. “We are top-heavy. We have seven seniors – six will play a significant amount of time. We’ll play another five or six juniors. We are an experienced team. We are a team that is used to winning, but they aren’t used to playing at a level that we need to win games. … We will be driven by our seniors. Our seniors will lead us. Our seniors will take us where we need to go because they have a tremendous constitution.”

Reason for pessimism: Mattoon is the third different head coach for the senior class, and he acknowledged that his first objective was convincing the players to buy into his philosophy. Indications are that Mattoon will install a fast-paced scheme that will seek to take advantage of the transition game, and Mattoon said the players have bought into the change. “The challenge was to win over 35 players that, if I was a guy on the team, I would have some skepticism about bringing in another guy, another staff, another idea, another game plan,” he said. “And oh by the way, you have to play in the toughest conference in the country. Not only do we have to prepare them for what we’re trying to do, but we also have to get them ready to say, ‘OK, we don’t want to be a doormat anymore.’ We think we can be good if we work hard, so we kind of have to mentally convince them of that. It’s tough.”

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June 16, 2010

Review & preview: Hood

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 give a glimpse into the future. The series will unfold with teams appearing according to the chronological order in which their seasons ended. Wednesday begins with a visit with Hood.

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March 8, 2010

Hood achieves another first in school history

Last season, Hood, a Division III school, snapped a 47-game losing streak and captured the team’s first win since the program’s inception in 2005. This year, the Blazers are raising the bar.

After dropping the first two games, Hood has reeled off three consecutive wins, which is another first in school history. The optimism is growing, according to coach Curt Foxx.

"It really helps the program," Foxx said. "I think it helps the young guys get some confidence. … I told them we have the ability to be in every game this year. In years past, we had been blown out horribly, but through recruiting, developing some of these guys and the hard work they put in, we have the ability to be in every game. So we’ve tried to get them focusing on the fundamentals because when you win a game by one or two goals ort lose a game by one or two goals, then you can look at every possession and every mistake and really work on being a better team."

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February 15, 2010

Hood 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 second 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 McDaniel, but today is Hood’s turn.

Overview: Last season included a watershed moment for the Blazers, who snapped a 47-game losing streak with a 12-7 win against Gwynedd-Mercy on Feb. 24. Although the team proceeded to end the campaign with a nine-game skid, the goal is to use that victory as a springboard towards bigger and better things. "We want to keep the program going," coach Curt Foxx said. "It was good to get that monkey off our back, and as a team, the guys have come along. … That’s the biggest thing, getting the guys to believe in themselves. Once you get them to believe in themselves, you can do anything."

Reason for optimism: Hood did not graduate a single starter, returning all 10 for this season. Junior attackman Kris Miner, who led the team in goals (19) and assists (8), is back, as is sophomore midfielder Troy Hubbard, who registered 19 goals and five assists. All three starting defensemen – senior Jeff Tarleton, junior James Larrimore and sophomore Jon Butterfield – are a year older and well-versed in the schemes. "That’s great, but we also have a lot of competition," Foxx said. "We brought in a strong freshman class, and it’s competitive at every position."

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March 2, 2009

Hood's drought is over

After 47 consecutive losses, the Blazers corralled their first victory since the program's inception in 2005 with a 12-7 win against Gwynedd-Mercy last Tuesday.

Although Hood (1-2) couldn't extend the streak on Friday, dropping a 13-10 decision to Shenandoah. coach Curt Foxx said the team's confidence has been evident.

"These kids feel like they have been in every game this season," said Foxx, a first-year coach who succeeded Eric Dummann. "They feel like they've been competitive whereas last year when we only had about 17 players on the team, we were completely blown out in probably 12 of the games. The kids feel like, 'Hey, we're in it.' ... There's a big improvement even if it's not showing in the record."

Junior attackman Sofiane Lazar paced the Blazers' victory over Gwynedd-Mercy with three goals, and he ranks second on the team with six points on five goals and one assist. But seven of the the team's top-nine point producers are either sophomores or freshmen.

"They're feeling their way, and they're learning the game," Foxx said of his squad, which consists of 13 freshmen, 10 sophomores, three juniors and zero seniors. "We're just trying to be competitive and recruit and get better. In the last two years, we've had the same coaching staff and now we can actually sit down and bring kids in. ... That's part of the process, too."

Foxx said he has noticed a renewed sense of dedication among the players. "These kids get up at 6 a.m., and they're doing workouts in the gym," he said. "They're lifting, they're running, they're doing wall work, they're doing all kinds of drills on their own, and there's just great leadership from them. They're just a great group of student-athletes."

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:51 AM | | Comments (0)
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Faceoff is The Baltimore Sun's blog devoted to college and high school lacrosse. Faceoff contributors include Sun reporters Edward Lee, Mike Preston and Katherine Dunn.
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