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August 16, 2011

ESPN's Kessenich previews 2012 MLL Draft

ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins All-American goalkeeper Quint Kessenich has been intently following the current Major League Lacrosse season as it unfolds.

But Kessenich has also been keeping an eye on the upcoming senior class, which will make up the incoming rookie class for next summer’s MLL campaign. With that in mind, Kessenich, writing for Inside Lacrosse, listed his top 10 players in the MLL Draft, which is scheduled to take place on Jan. 13 in Philadelphia.

At the top of the list is Cornell attackman Rob Pannell, a Tewaaraton Award finalist and the reigning United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Player of the Year who led the nation in points per game (5.2).

Kessenich put Virginia attackman Steele Stanwick at No. 2. Stanwick, a Baltimore native and Loyola graduate, paced the Cavaliers to the national championship en route to being named the Tewaaraton Award winner.

Duke defenseman Mike Manley sits at No. 3 despite missing last season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee.

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland
        

July 15, 2011

ESPN’s Kessenich eyes a pair of area recruits from “non hot-bed” spots

In the second of two reports for Inside Lacrosse, ESPN analyst Quint Kessenich highlighted seven recruits who participated in the Warrior 40 at Harvard University from what he described as areas not traditionally known as fertile soil for lacrosse.

Kessenich, a contributor to The Sun, singled out Johns Hopkins recruit and goalkeeper Ahmed Iftikhar, who just wrapped up his junior season at Detroit Country Day School. According to Inside Lacrosse, the 5-foot-9 and 160-pound Iftikhar considered Penn, Yale and Harvard before agreeing to join the Blue Jays. This is what Kessenich wrote of Iftikhar:

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland
        

July 13, 2011

Several area recruits catch attention of ESPN's Kessenich

Forty underclassmen from around the country took part in the Warrior 40 at Harvard University last week, and ESPN analyst Quint Kessenich singled out several players who have verbally committed to some area programs.

In the first of two reports for Inside Lacrosse, Kessenich, a contributor to The Sun, selected Navy recruit and midfielder Danny Simonetti as the second player who impressed him. Although a little undersized at 5-foot-8 and 165 pounds, Simonetti, who will graduate next spring, is a two-way player who should fit in with the Midshipmen’s work ethic. “Simonetti is a do-it-all type midfielder who can get ground balls, play defense, carry the pill in transition and possesses flawless stick with both hands,” Kessenich wrote. “He scored 17 goals and added 19 assists for Cold Spring Harbor [in New York] last spring. He will be the ideal complimentary midfielder on a well balanced line.”

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Navy
        

July 12, 2011

Maryland gets a few representatives on national Under 19 team

After four days of tryouts at UMBC between July 7-10, US Lacrosse announced the 23-man roster that will seek to capture the 2012 Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) U19 Men’s World Championships in Turku, Finland.

The state has a few representatives on the team. They include defenseman Robert Enright, an incoming freshman at Johns Hopkins; midfielder Charles Raffa, an incoming freshman at Maryland; and midfielder Robert Zoppo, a soon-to-be sophomore at Towson.

Midfielder Stephen Kelly, who recently wrapped up his sophomore year at Calvert Hall, was selected to the U19 team. Midfielder Ryan Tucker, a Gilman graduate who will play for 2011 national champion Virginia, was also chosen.

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Towson
        

July 7, 2011

ESPN’s Mark Dixon delves further into Division I coaching changes

Thursday’s edition of The Sun included an article on the spate of head coaching changes in Division I this year. The article included a few quotes from ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins midfielder Mark Dixon and a thumbnail look at a few selected schools that had hired new coaches or were in the process of doing so.

Dixon surmised that the impetus to win immediately and frequently that administrations are putting on head coaches has resonated on the youth and high school levels of lacrosse.

"I think if you look at the landscape of the sport and when you take it down to the cellular level, the intense involvement of parents and the existence of club teams for kids who are 10 years old, the behavior at games of coaches toward referees, parents toward coaches, parents and coaches toward players -- these are things that youth football and club soccer have endured, and now we face these things in lacrosse," Dixon said. "I think as the game grows, more and more athletes are picking it up, and I think the biggest thing is that the majority of parents haven’t played the game.”

Dixon said university officials can point to Villanova as a case study. The Wildcats went 11-5 this past spring and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the second time in three years despite not fielding a full-time coach.

“That team has not been fully funded with scholarships and the coaching staff has not been a full-time group,” Dixon said. “That’s when really established programs start taking a look at themselves and say, ‘Why can Villanova accomplish this, but we can’t?'”

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Navy, Towson
        

July 5, 2011

Review & preview: Premature 2012 poll part 2

Here is the second installment of an attempt at a preseason and premature poll for next season.

The top 20 will be broken up into four installments with Tuesday’s post involving teams ranked from Nos. 15 to 11. Monday featured Nos. 20 to 16. Wednesday will highlight teams ranked Nos. 10 to 6 and Thursday Nos. 5 to 1. Friday will include three schools not mentioned in the poll that could make some waves.

Unless there are confirmed reports about certain players planning to use fifth years of eligibility, this space will assume that seniors in 2010 will not return next year. Unannounced fifth-year seniors and potential transfers will affect the rankings that come out next February, but here’s a spin anyway.

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Categories: Maryland
        

July 1, 2011

What ESPN's Mark Dixon intends to look for in Saturday's All-America game

On Saturday night, 44 of the nation’s top prep lacrosse players will descend upon Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium to take part in the sixth annual Under Armour All-America Classic, and ESPN analyst Mark Dixon will have a front-row view of the action.

The former Johns Hopkins midfielder will provide commentary for ESPNU’s broadcast of the game, which he said must be treated as an all-star game.

“So you can’t base how a person is going to fare on the collegiate level based on one game,” Dixon said Thursday afternoon. “Last year, Nicky Galasso, playing for the North [team], scored one goal. He was the No. 1 recruit coming in, and people were wondering, ‘Wow, is he not that good?’ And then he’s just dynamite as a freshman at Carolina where he becomes a first-team All American. So you can’t put too much stock into it. But I get excited just to see what we can look forward to in college lacrosse the next four years.”

Dixon said the group of attackmen headlined by North Carolina recruit Jimmy Bitter, Maryland’s David Solomon and Johns Hopkins’ Mike Daniello has the potential to be “special.”

Dixon said he’s also intrigued by the corps of midfielders led by Virginia recruit and The Sun’s All-Metro Player of the Year Ryan Tucker and Albany’s Lyle Thompson.

“The midfield seems to be the position that doesn’t have as many marquee guys anymore,” Dixon said. “It just so happens that the attack has had the dominant collegiate players over the last few years. So I’m interested to see how some of these midfielders can do.”

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland
        

June 23, 2011

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.

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Navy
        

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.”

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Categories: Maryland, Review & preview
        

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.”

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Categories: Maryland
        

May 31, 2011

Attendance for championship weekend lags

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

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

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

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

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Categories: Maryland
        

Postscript from Maryland vs. Virginia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other notes:

Continue reading "Postscript from Maryland vs. Virginia" »

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Categories: Maryland, Postscript
        

May 30, 2011

Maryland vs. Virginia: Halftime thoughts

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

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

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

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

Other notes:

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Categories: Halftime thoughts, Maryland
        

Virginia's Briggs won't start in NCAA final

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

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

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Categories: Maryland
        

Maryland vs. Virginia: Three things to watch

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

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

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Categories: Maryland, Three things to watch
        

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

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

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

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

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Categories: Maryland
        

May 29, 2011

Briggs expected to return for Virginia

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

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

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

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

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Categories: Maryland
        

Postscript from Maryland vs. Duke

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

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

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

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

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

Other notes:

Continue reading "Postscript from Maryland vs. Duke" »

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Categories: Maryland, Postscript
        

May 28, 2011

Maryland vs. Duke: Halftime thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

Other notes:

Continue reading "Maryland vs. Duke: Halftime thoughts" »

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Categories: Halftime thoughts, Maryland
        

Maryland vs. Duke: Three things to watch

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

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

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Categories: Maryland, Three things to watch
        

May 27, 2011

Guarded optimism over this weekend's attendance abounds

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

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

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

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

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland
        

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

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

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

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

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

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Categories: Maryland
        

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

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

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

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Q&A with ESPN's Paul Carcaterra

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

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

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

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

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

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May 26, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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Back injury nearly derailed season for Maryland's Burns

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

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

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

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

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May 25, 2011

Duke remains calm about third meeting vs. Maryland

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

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

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

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Being unseeded -- and unnoticed -- suits Maryland

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

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

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

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May 24, 2011

Duke's Costabile might not face off vs. Maryland

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

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

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

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

Danowski called Costabile a game-time decision for faceoffs.

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

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

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

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

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Q&A with ESPN's Mark Dixon

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

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

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

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May 23, 2011

Three points on Maryland's win over Syracuse

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

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

Here are some thoughts on Sunday’s game:

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May 22, 2011

Maryland vs. Syracuse: Three things to watch

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

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

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May 20, 2011

Q&A with CBS Sports Network's Steve Panarelli

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

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

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

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May 19, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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May 18, 2011

Cummings, Catalino "good to go" for Maryland

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

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

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

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Q&A with ESPN's Matt Ward

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

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

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

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

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May 16, 2011

Maryland's Catalino, Cummings underwent operations

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

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

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Q&A with ESPN's Quint Kessenich

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

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

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

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

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Tewaaraton Award finalists announced

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

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

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

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

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May 15, 2011

Quarterfinals set for Johns Hopkins, Maryland

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

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

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

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

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

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Maryland at North Carolina: Three things to watch

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

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

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May 13, 2011

Coaching changes signal potential, pitfalls of college lacrosse

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

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

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

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

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May 12, 2011

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

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

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

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

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Q&A with CBS Sports Network's Matt Danowski

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

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

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

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland
        

May 10, 2011

Q&A with ESPN's Paul Carcaterra

ESPN analyst and former Syracuse All-American midfielder Paul Carcaterra provided commentary for the network when the bracket was unveiled Sunday night. Carcaterra discussed Maryland going unseeded, the teams with the easiest and most difficult paths to the Final Four and the one team that poses the biggest threat to the seeded teams.

What’s your take on Maryland being unseeded and having to travel to meet North Carolina for the third time this season?
I think Maryland is in a situation with winning the ACC, which is lacrosse’s toughest conference, to go on the road for the first round, that’s definitely a difficult draw for them. And if they win, they could potentially play Syracuse, the No. 1 team. So you’re playing your arch rival in North Carolina, a conference opponent whom you’ve played twice already. So if you look at Maryland and their potential path at getting to the Final Four, it’s harder than anyone else’s. That Colgate loss certainly did them in, in terms of not getting seeded. But I still felt that Maryland had played their way into a top-8 seed. If you look at Denver, they didn’t lose to anyone as their only two losses were to Syracuse and Notre Dame. That Duke victory is huge for them, but outside of that, they didn’t have to go through the ACC or play the type of schedule that Maryland has. Denver’s schedule, I thought, was much softer than Maryland’s.

So was Denver worthy of getting a home game?
I think there are a lot of things in consideration. I think from the outside looking in, people don’t realize all of the intricacies of how the seeding is done. There’s travel, conference opponents. They don’t want to pit ACC teams against each other. It’s been many years since a first round with ACC teams has been done. So they’re conscious of that, and they take all of that into consideration. But I think Denver is going to be a travel team regardless, and let’s be honest. The sport is growing in leaps and bounds out West. It’s made great strides from a popularity standpoint. I think it’s good for a sport, to take a playoff team to Denver and to that facility. That city is becoming a big-time lacrosse city. So I think it’s an opportunity where you have a team like Denver which certainly had a good year. You can argue that they deserved a top-8 seed. So I don’t think anything was outlandish regarding that.

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Former Army coach rips Navy's decision to part ways with Meade

About an hour after Navy had made official Richie Meade’s departure as head coach, former Army coach Jack Emmer called to confirm a rumor he had heard about the move.

Then, unprompted, Emmer took the academy to task for what he saw as a forced resignation.

“What I see here is, graduates from the ‘60s when Navy dominated lacrosse using their status now as guys who have earned their fortune and bringing some pressure on that situation,” said Emmer, who retired in 2005 as the winningest coach in college lacrosse history. “I can’t believe that it had anything to do with the guys who played for Richie because they have universal respect for him. But these old timers, who are probably still wondering why you don’t bring football players out to play lacrosse like they did in the ‘60s, are calling for his head, and that’s very, very fortunate. I think [athletic director] Chet Gladchuk should know better. He’s not going to find a better guy, and he’s going to get a lot of negative feedback on this decision from former players. They’re going to be appalled and shocked. … I’m kind of shocked and upset by it because it’s a poor decision.”

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Categories: Maryland, Navy, Towson
        

May 9, 2011

Q&A with ESPN's Mark Dixon

ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins midfielder Mark Dixon will assist coverage of this weekend’s slate of first-round games in the NCAA tournament. Until then, Dixon sounded off on Maryland going on the road, Denver getting a higher seed than he had anticipated and Penn limping its way to the tournament.

It would appear that the NCAA selection committee emphasized RPI more than strength of schedule and quality wins this season. Did you come to the same conclusion?
I think it was two years ago when it was more strength of schedule and RPI that got people in. Last year, it was quality wins. So it seems like the scales get tipped in a different direction every year because I think there’s eight or nine criteria altogether, but it’s not necessarily ranked in any order. So if you have a particular team with a lot of wins or an incredibly strong strength of schedule, you can see things go in different ways. But I definitely think that the numbers played a huge role – they usually do – and I think it was pretty cut and dry with the 16 teams that got in. the team that were left out, you could make arguments very positively for the teams that got in versus why teams didn’t get in. I think the biggest controversy – if you want to call it that – is Denver getting a home game at [the No.] 6 [seed]. When you look at their strength of schedule, I think it was 29 with an RPI of six. And then you’ve got a team like Maryland that has to travel, and they had a better of strength of schedule. Even though their RPI wasn’t as strong, you could argue that they had more quality wins. There’s always going to be those discussions, but I think for the most part, the committee did a good job using the numbers.

So it sounds like you didn’t quibble with the bubble teams that got in and the bubble teams that were left out.
Stony Brook, for selfish reasons, I would have loved to see them play again because I would have liked to have seen [senior midfielder] Kevin Crowley roll out his career. But we’ve been saying it all year that Stony Brook was going to have to win the America East to get the automatic qualifier because they lost to Virginia, they lost to Cornell, and they even lost to Towson. So that’s going to drag down your numbers. They did beat Delaware, but of course Delaware won the automatic qualifier for the CAA [Colonial Athletic Association], so that was a non-issue. But at the end of the day, when you lose your automatic qualifier and your strength of schedule was 30 and your RPI was 13, that’s not going to get the job done. So I have no argument there. Harvard and Colgate, you certainly could have made arguments for them, but then you have Hofstra, who beat them both head-to-head, and that’s where that head-to-head criteria comes in.

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No decision yet on Maryland's Catalino and Cummings

No. 6 Maryland’s 10-8 loss to No. 14 Colgate on Saturday – and subsequent fall from a top-eight seed and a home contest in the first round of the NCAA tournament – was influenced by the absence of senior attackman Grant Catalino and junior midfielder Joe Cummings.

The Sun’s Mike Preston reported that Catalino is dealing with a broken bone in his hand, while Cummings injured his right arm when he was slashed by the Duke defender in the Terps’ 11-9 win against No. 7 Duke in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament final on April 24.

Catalino and Cummings are tied for the team lead in goals with 24, but coach John Tillman did not have anything conclusive on their availability for Sunday’s first-round road game at No. 8 North Carolina in the NCAA tournament.

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NCAA selection chair's brief chat on ESPNU

Dermot Coll, an associate athletic director at Air Force, also chairs the NCAA selection committee for Division I lacrosse, and he spoke late Sunday night on ESPNU about the reasoning behind some of the decisions the group made regarding the 16-team field.

Dermot Coll on which teams were left out: “It really did come down to seven teams for those last three or four spots, and the last three teams we struggled with and ultimately couldn’t get into the field were Stony Brook, Harvard and Colgate. We weighed all the selection criteria, we used everything to try and differentiate those last three teams and make sure that we got the right 16 into the field.”

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May 7, 2011

Catalino to sit out Maryland's regular-season home finale

Barring a last-minute change, Maryland senior attackman Grant Catalino will not play Saturday when the No. 6 Terps (10-3) play host to No. 14 Colgate (9-4) at 3 p.m. at Byrd Stadium in College Park. 

According to a team source, Catalino has a broken bone in his hand and will be held out of the game. Catalino is tied with junior midfielder Joe Cummings for the team lead in goals (24) and ranks third in points (32).

Catalino, however, will play in the postseason for the Terps, who are expected to get an at-large bid and possibly one of the top eight seeds in the NCAA tournament. The 16-team field will be unveiled Sunday night.

--Mike Preston

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Colgate at Maryland: Three things to watch

Saturday’s contest is the second meeting between these teams with Maryland cruising to an 18-10 throttling last year. No. 14 Colgate (9-4) lost to No. 12 Bucknell in the championship game of the Patriot League tournament last Sunday and needs to beat the Terps to remain in the conversation for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. At 10-3 and as the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament champion, Maryland is assured of a spot in the NCAA tournament, but the team could use a victory to cement a top-eight seed and the right to host a first-round contest. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at Byrd Stadium in College Park on Saturday.

1) Peter Baum vs. Brett Schmidt. The Terps have the luxury of starting senior defenseman Brett Schmidt, who leads the team in caused turnovers (20) and ranks second in ground balls (45). Schmidt’s athleticism and understanding of the defense allows the coaches to put him on close defense or at long-stick midfielder. That flexibility could mean that Schmidt will shadow Raiders sophomore midfielder Peter Baum, who is averaging 2.1 goal and 3.1 points per game this season. “If you talk to anybody in that league or anybody that’s played them, you know that everybody raves about him and that everybody has a ton of respect for him,” Maryland coach John Tillman said. “He’s a really good player. And if people haven’t seen him, they’ll be really impressed.”

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May 5, 2011

Bye weekend came at good time for Maryland

No. 6 Maryland has not played since defeating No. 7 Duke, 11-9, in the championship game of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament on April 24.

But rather than being concerned about rust, Terps coach John Tillman said it was clear that the layoff was a welcomed visitor for the players and coaches.

“We got to Saturday, and I’m not sure we would’ve given our best effort, focus,” Tillman said Tuesday. “With everything that we’ve been through together, I just felt like it’s been a long year and having that week off gave us a chance to step back and just focus on school and rest up a little bit. We were able to go up on Saturday and work with a group called Charm City Lacrosse in inner-city Baltimore and do something fun together without the pressure of playing a game. So all in all, it seemed like a good week for us.”

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May 4, 2011

Colgate pinning postseason hopes on upsetting Maryland

Colgate coach Jim Nagle understands what’s at stake when the No. 14 Red Raiders visit No. 6 Maryland at Byrd Stadium in College Park on Saturday.

A victory, and Colgate (10-5) will likely be in the conversation for an at-large berth in the NCAA tournament. A loss, and the Terps (10-3) will move on while the Red Raiders stay home.

“I think if we win, we have a very strong case of getting into the tournament,” Nagle said Monday. “I think a lot depends on what the other leagues do. But I feel like we’re going down to play the ACC [Atlantic Coast Conference] champs. So that should be motivation enough. But I do think that’s true.”

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May 2, 2011

Q&A with ESPN's Mark Dixon

ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins midfielder Mark Dixon will provide commentary for the next installment of the “War on the Shore” series between No. 1 Salisbury and Washington on Saturday at 1 p.m. Dixon discussed his candidate for the top seed in the NCAA tournament, Virginia’s performance on the heels of a major personnel shakeup, and Maryland’s bid for a top-eight seed and a home game.

With No. 1 Notre Dame falling to No. 3 Syracuse, 11-8, on Saturday, who is your candidate with the inside track for the top seed in the NCAA tournament?
I think the No. 1 seed right now is Syracuse. The reason is when you look at the three main criteria for the NCAA selection committee, it’s RPI, strength of schedule and quality wins, and I think Syracuse has all of those wrapped up. Their RPI was already No. 1 going into this weekend. The SOS hasn’t been put out yet, but I’d be shocked if they weren’t in the top three. And when you look at their quality wins, you’re talking about [No. 4] Johns Hopkins, Notre Dame, [No. 9] Virginia, [No. 7] Duke, [No. 5] Denver and [No. 13] Villanova. They just have all three of those wrapped up. They play St. John’s in their final and minus any catastrophe there, Syracuse will be the No. 1 seed.

What did you think of Virginia’s 11-2 win against No. 16 Penn in light of the program’s decision to dismiss senior midfielder Shamel Bratton and suspend indefinitely his twin brother Rhamel Bratton?
I wasn’t surprised, to be honest with you. [ESPN analyst] Quint Kessenich and I did a segment a couple weeks ago for Inside Lacrosse called “Quint vs. Dixon: Buy or sell Virginia?” and I said sell. The main reason was the team chemistry. You could just tell that things weren’t right with the team chemistry. So the players stepped up, voted to have Rhamel suspended and Shamel dismissed from the team, and that’s huge. When you’re looking around the locker room, those are the guys you go to battle with in terms of the lacrosse field every single day in practice and then on gameday against other schools, and they made the decision that they didn’t want them there. Virginia has problems in addition to the Brattons with the defense being very suspect. But they did a tremendous job [Saturday]. They made some adjustments. [Senior long-stick midfielder] Bray Malphrus played down at the close, and [redshirt junior defenseman] Chris Clements went up to long-stick midfield. I like [sophomore] Harry Prevas back there. [Senior] Adam Ghitelman is a good goalie who can make saves when given the opportunity. To beat Penn, 11-2, at home, I thought it was a statement win, and I liked the way this offense still has weapons. They still have [junior attackmen] Steele Stanwick and Chris Bocklet and [junior] Colin Briggs in the midfield. So this team still has an explosive offense. It’s just a question of whether or not this defense can pull it together. But I think for this team – in terms of the off-field distractions – the soap opera is done and the drama is finished. Shamel Bratton has been dismissed from the team. Sure, they’ll miss him on the field in terms of his ability and what he brought to the table as an electric offensive lacrosse player. But they don’t have to put up with all of the other stuff, and they can really just focus on winning games now and doing the best that they can without the whole sideshow.

What was the most surprising result of the weekend?
Two things stood out to me. One was the Syracuse offense and how they were able to pick apart the Notre Dame defense. I was really impressed with them being able to penetrate that Irish defense, and I think the big key to that from where I was sitting was [junior attackman] Tom Palasek. His ability to dodge off the corner, get about goal-line extended, create slides, create defensive rotations really opened up a lot of things for the Syracuse offense. And when you can get the ball into [senior attackman] Stephen Keogh, forget about it. That guy’s going to finish. He’s a tremendous goal scorer, and that’s what they were able to do. I was impressed with the play of the second midfield unit, [redshirt sophomore] Steve Ianzito in particular. I think the second biggest surprise wasn’t that [No. 12] Bucknell won the Patriot League championship, but how they did it in such dominating fashion. This is a team right now that is really gelling, and I think they’re peaking at the time that you want a team to peak. I just really love that trio that they have on the offensive end in [senior attackman Mike] Danylyshyn, [senior midfielder Ryan] Klipstein and [junior midfielder] Charlie Streep.

I’ve seen a few projected brackets that don’t have No. 6 Maryland getting a top-eight seed and a home game in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Agree or disagree?
I think Maryland is a top-eight seed and that they will get a home game. When you look at their body of work, their RPI is a little low right now at 11. Their strength of schedule is probably going to be anywhere between eight and 13, but if you look at their wins – the win over Duke in the ACC championship, the win over North Carolina in the ACC tournament – in my opinion, they’re going to get the home game. The RPI and the SOS are a little bit low, but when I look at my top eight, I’ve got Villanova, Bucknell and maybe Penn on the outside looking in. If I compare the resumes of those teams to Maryland’s, I guess Villanova would be the one that would be the most problematic with an RPI of four. But I think their strength of schedule is going to be much lower than Maryland’s. I see the Terps getting seeded anywhere between six and eight. And remember, they still have to play [No. 14] Colgate at home next weekend. That’s going to be a huge game for Colgate because if they can win, that would keep them alive. For Maryland, that’s a good win. Not an eye-popping win, but a good win.

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April 29, 2011

Maryland looking forward to brief respite

No. 6 Maryland will have 13 days between capturing its first Atlantic Coast Conference tournament crown since 2005 last Sunday and wrapping up the regular-season finale against Colgate on May 7.

Normally, that kind of layoff would concern coach John Tillman, but he said the time off could benefit the Terps.

“We hate to get out of rhythm,” he acknowledged Wednesday. “You kind of get into a routine, you kind of get into a rhythm, I think the kids have some confidence, and maybe we can continue going on that. But I think given how hard we’ve been going and the fact that we had two games [last weekend], Ryan’s situation and that we’re hitting exams in a week-and-a-half, we kind of feel like this is coming at the right time for us. This allows us to take a little bit of a deep breath and step away a little bit. … We’re going to rest up a little bit, get our legs back and kind of get mentally refreshed and recharged, and I think we need that right now.”

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April 28, 2011

Unproductive stretch never worried Maryland's Catalino

Grant Catalino broke out of what some might consider a mini-slump at the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament last weekend, but the Maryland senior attackman said he never considered that he was mired in a slump.

“Not at all,” he said. “The way our team is playing right now, anybody can have a big game. We’re not a one player-dominated team. I don’t necessarily have to score four goals in a game or have five points for our team to win. Players like [junior midfielder] Joe Cummings and [senior attackman] Ryan Young have been playing pretty big, and they’ve taken the pressure off of me to have a huge game in every game for us to win.”

Catalino scored the game-winning goal in the No. 6 Terps’ 7-6 win against No. 8 North Carolina on Friday and three goals in an 11-9 victory over No. 7 Duke on Sunday. He is now tied with Cummings for the team lead in goals (24) and ranks second in points (32).

Prior to the ACC tournament, Catalino had totaled just two goals and one assist in three contests. Opposing defenses have taken great pains to monitor Catalino, the team’s leading scorer in each of the three previous seasons.

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April 22, 2011

Maryland's Catalino in a little bit of a rut

This season, No. 8 Maryland has demonstrated a diversified offense capable of milking goals from a multitude of players.

But over the last three contests, the Terps’ biggest weapon – both literally and figuratively – has largely been silent.

Senior attackman Grant Catalino has registered just two goals and one assist in his last three games. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Catalino, who has led the team in scoring in each of the previous three years, still ranks second among Maryland players in points with 28, but his quiet outings have been noticeable, especially in last Saturday’s 12-11 overtime loss to No. 4 Johns Hopkins where he was limited to a single goal by sophomore defenseman Chris Lightner.

Terps coach John Tillman, however, asserted that Catalino is playing within the team’s offensive system and contributing in ways that may not show up in the final statistics.

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April 21, 2011

Tewaaraton whittled down to 25

The Tewaaraton watch list was whittled down to 25 players earlier in the week and three Maryland players are among the nominees for the aaward given annually to the top collegiate player.

Senior attackmen Grant Catalino and Ryan Young and long-stick midfielder Brian Farrell represent the Terps on that list.

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All-ACC team announced

Three Maryland players are among the honorees on the all-conference team, the Atlantic Coast Conference announced Thursday morning.

Senior defenseman Brett Schmidt, junior midfielder Joe Cummings and redshirt freshman goalie Niko Amato represented the Terps on the team.

Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia each boasted three players on the All-ACC team. Duke, which won the regular-season title, had just two players on the team.

Virginia junior attackman Steele Stanwick, a Baltimore native and Loyola graduate, was named the Player of the Year. North Carolina attackman Nicky Galasso won Rookie of the Year, and Duke’s John Danowski was selected as the Coach of the Year.

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April 18, 2011

Tragedy hits home for Maryland's Young

The mother of Maryland senior attackman Ryan Young has passed away after a long battle against pancreatic cancer, according to a tweet by MDTerpsLacrosse on Monday.

Maria Young was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the winter of 2008, which was her son’s freshman year. This season, Ryan Young has worn his helmet with the word “MOM” etched on a piece of paper taped on the bottom part, near his left jawline.

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Q&A with CBS Sports Network's Steve Panarelli

CBS Sports Network analyst and former Syracuse All-American defenseman Steve Panarelli will provide commentary on Saturday’s Patriot League showdown between No. 12 Bucknell and No. 14 Colgate. On Sunday, he discussed his choice to replace Syracuse as the country’s No. 1 team, Johns Hopkins’ odds to win the national title and his favorite to win the Tewaaraton Award.

Were you surprised that top-ranked Syracuse was upset by No. 9 Cornell, 11-6, on Tuesday night?
A little bit surprised. I was fortunate to see Cornell play against Harvard that previous Saturday, and they looked good. Harvard did some stuff to lock up Pannell, and it kind of kept them in the game. But I knew Syracuse wouldn’t do. they weren’t going to lock up someone because they’ve got too much pride on defensive end to do that. And when [senior] John Lade went out of the game, that’s a match-up problem for anybody when you lose your best defenseman. And Syracuse has played in a lot of close games, but they haven’t really taken that next step, especially offensively, to where they put people away. So did it surprise me? No. I still thought they would’ve won at home, but Cornell’s definitely a good team, and Syracuse has been kind of up and down, wining some close games, but not being as oimpressive as they should have been by now.

If Lade, who did not play in Saturday's 13-3 win against Providence, is out for an extended period of time, how will his absence impact the Orange?
I think that would be huge for them because right now, they’re not dominating the faceoffs. So they’re playing a little more defense than usual, and they’re not putting up the goals that Syracuse is accustomed to. I think if they’re going to make a run and win it this year, they’re going to do it from the defensive end, which is kind of different for them in years past. They used to ride their offense and win close games, 16-15, or something like that. So if he’s out for an extended period, I think that’s going to have a huge impact, especially when they play these teams that have a dominant attackman. That’s when he needs to be playing.

So with Syracuse losing, who is the No. 1 team in the country in your opinion?
I think you have to go with Notre Dame. At the same time, I think it’s a tough call because right now, there are at least eight or nine teams that you could make an argument for that can make a run and win the whole thing. I don’t think there’s been a clear-cut No. 1 where one team is 100 times better than everybody. The parity this year has been unbelievable. I was talking about this with somebody recently, but I think the quarterfinals [of the NCAA tournament] are going to be the best we’ve ever seen because there are eight or nine teams that can legitimately win the whole thing. So when you get down to the quarterfinals, you’re looking at Final Four-type match-ups in that round, which is going to be interesting.

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April 17, 2011

Postscript from Johns Hopkins at Maryland

Maryland did it again, squandering an early sizable lead and falling to a longtime rival.

But unlike that 11-6 loss to North Carolina on March 26, the No. 7 Terps said the 12-11 overtime setback to No. 3 Johns Hopkins at Byrd Stadium in College Park felt differently Saturday night.

“We kind of just put that game in the past,” senior attackman Ryan Young said of the loss to the Tar Heels, who roared back from a 4-0 deficit in the first quarter. “It’s not like we completely collapsed – like we were scared to make plays. It’s Hopkins-Maryland, and today was a completely different game, a completely different atmosphere. We went on our run, they went on their run.”

The Terps (8-3) owned a 7-2 advantage at halftime, but looked helpless as the Blue Jays (9-2) went on a 9-2 run spanning the third and fourth quarters. Maryland coach John Tillman pointed out that rather than wilting, the team scored two goals in a 62-second span to send the contest into overtime.

“They could’ve packed it in,” he said. “The other team had the momentum, and it shows a lot about our guys. When things went poorly, I was very impressed with just the body language, the attitude, the calmness, the poise, the leadership that we had on the sideline. We get back in it, we have a chance to win it late in regulation and overtime. … I think what we showed is we’re making progress. A lot is going to happen in the next six weeks, and hopefully, we can continue to improve and grow and work on some things so that we can poise ourselves for a big run here.”

The first step is the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament where the Terps will face – guess who? – North Carolina (8-4) in the first semifinal on Friday at 5 p.m. in Durham, N.C.

“We’re just going to come back on Monday fired up like we always are and get ready for our first ACC game,” Young said. “Our goal is ACC championship. We’re not dwelling on this game.”

Other notes:

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April 16, 2011

Johns Hopkins at Maryland: Halftime thoughts

No. 7 Maryland has jumped out to a 7-2 advantage at halftime over No. 3 Johns Hopkins at Byrd Stadium in College Park, and the Terps have done so in stunning fashion on Saturday night.

None of the seven of the team’s goals have come from the vaunted attack of seniors Ryan Young and Grant Catalino and sophomore Owen Blye. Midfielders have scored six times, and sophomore long-stick midfielder Jesse Bernhardt got the other tally.

That’s not to suggest that the attack’s impact has been minimal. Young has been a non-stop dervish behind the net, and he has assisted on two of junior Joe Cummings’ three goals. Catalino hasn’t put a shot on net, but he has drawn sophomore defenseman Tucker Durkin Chris Lightner out of the middle of the box.

But if Maryland (8-2) is having this kind of success without goals from its attack, it could be a long evening for the Blue Jays (8-2).

Other notes:

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Johns Hopkins-Maryland to start as planned

A Maryland spokesman just announced that Saturday’s showdown between No. 3 Johns Hopkins and No. 7 Maryland at Byrd Stadium in College Park will begin at 8:03 p.m.

Halftime will be trimmed from 12 to 10 minutes, but the game should start as scheduled – barring any unexpected hiccups.

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Johns Hopkins at Maryland: Three things to watch

Bragging rights aren’t the only thing at stake when No. 3 Johns Hopkins visits No. 7 Maryland in a series that spans 116 years. The Blue Jays (8-2) have avenged last year’s losses to Virginia and North Carolina and would love to do the same against the Terps. Maryland (8-2) has won six of its last seven contests and is aiming for its first winning streak against Johns Hopkins since the 1995-96 campaigns. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at Byrd Stadium in College Park on Saturday.

1) Durkin and Reilly vs. Catalino and Young. Talk of the Terps offense usually begins with senior attackmen Grant Catalino and Ryan Young, each of whom recorded three points in Maryland’s 10-9 win in this rivalry last season. Young is pacing the Terps in both assists (15) and points (28) and Catalino is second in both goals (19) and points (27). That duo, which could get marked by freshman defenseman Jack Reilly and sophomore defenseman Tucker Durkin, respectively, certainly got the attention of Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala. “There’s not a better guy in transition than Grant Catalino,” Pietramala said. “He can score from 16-plus. He’s a threat. People don’t recognize that he’s a big, strong, physical kid, and I’m watching him dodge people for some goals. So he’s extremely dangerous and difficult to match up with at times because of his size. Then you go to Ryan, and Ryan’s a different player. He’s a quarterback who is a tremendous feeder. He’s great in their big-little pick game. He can create slides, which makes things easier for Grant Catalino because now you have a defense that’s rotating and that frees his hands.”

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April 15, 2011

No time change for Johns Hopkins-Maryland showdown

Despite forecasts predicting some turbulent weather for Saturday, the annual contest between No. 3 Johns Hopkins and No. 7 Maryland at Byrd Stadium in College Park will begin at 8 p.m. as originally scheduled, according to a Maryland spokesman.

However, two games have been moved in a pre-emptive strike. The Atlantic Coast Conference showdown between No. 8 Virginia and No. 5 Duke in Durham, N.C., has been moved up one hour to 11 a.m. And the game between No. 20 Loyola and Georgetown in Washington, D.C., has been shifted from its 7 p.m. start to 3:15 p.m.

Forecasts are predicting thunderstorms and wind on Saturday with the heaviest rains projected to fall between 4 and 8 p.m.

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April 14, 2011

Maryland's Reed may (or may not) start Saturday

Slowly, Travis Reed has been the recipient of more playing time, but there’s no consensus on whether the senior attackman (left shoulder) will start Saturday night when No. 7 Maryland plays host to No. 3 Johns Hopkins.

“We’re still looking,” coach John Tillman said Wednesday. “He’s definitely going to play. He’s getting better and better. I’m not sure who will start on Saturday night, but Travis will play. He’ll be an important part of our game plan, and we’re excited about getting him healthy.”

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Johns Hopkins' Bassett, Maryland's Amato buoy respective defenses

Among the plethora of storylines seeping from Saturday’s showdown between No. 3 Johns Hopkins and No. 7 Maryland is the play of their respective goalkeepers.

Blue Jays sophomore Pierce Bassett ranks third in Division I in save percentage (.622) and fourth in goals-against average (6.16), making him one of three goalies ranked in the top five in both categories. (Notre Dame sophomore John Kemp and Hofstra junior Andrew Gvozden are the others.)

Terps redshirt freshman Niko Amato isn’t far behind, ranking second in goals-against average (6.12) and seventh in save percentage (.599). Fifth-year senior long-stick midfielder Brian Farrell said Amato has meshed easily with a defense that starts five seniors in close defensemen Brett and Max Schmidt (no relation) and Ryder Bohlander, short-stick defensive midfielder Dan Burns and Farrell himself.

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April 13, 2011

Maryland's Tillman to see a familiar face on Johns Hopkins sideline

Turns out that coaches haven’t monopolized the market on leaving one program for another.

Maryland’s success at wooing coach John Tillman away from Harvard dominated college lacrosse news in the offseason. A couple of Crimson players soon followed Tillman out the door.

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April 9, 2011

Postscript from Maryland at Navy

In retrospect, maybe that loss to North Carolina two weeks ago wasn’t such a bad thing after all. 

Since that setback – which entailed Maryland failing to protect a 4-0 advantage in the first quarter en route to an 11-6 decision on March 26 – the Terps have beaten No. 7 Virginia and Navy by respective scores of 12-7 and 10-6.

No. 6 Maryland, which improved to 8-2 after thrashing the Midshipmen Friday night, has looked sharper and crisper in those two victories, and sophomore attackman Owen Blye said the team has used the loss to the Tar Heels as a sort of rallying point.

“Everything that happens in the season has to be taken as a learning experience – whether it’s positive or negative,” said Blye, who has registered four goals and three assists since the North Carolina contest. “A lot of times, you can learn more from negative things that happen to you throughout the year, and you have to look at it that way. Obviously, we’re disappointed with what happened in the Carolina game. Nobody ever wants to go up four goals and lose the game, but after it happens, you have to use it as a learning experience and not let it happen to you again.”

Terps coach John Tillman seemed to suggest that several players took the Tar Heels for granted.

“There were a lot of guys that had to look at themselves in the mirror,” he said. “I’ve told a number of guys this: there’s no handbook to deal with expectations for a season. These guys, not a lot was expected of them the last three or four years and then with so many experienced guys coming back, everybody was telling them – it was either family members or friends or alums or media – ‘You’re going to be great, you’re going to be great, you’re going to be great.’ I think some of the greatest kids on our team – when we met after Carolina – were like, ‘Well, we just of thought it would happen.’ As new guys, we would tell them all the time that it’s the little details. It’s your approach, it’s your attitude, and I think they listened, but they were kind of like,’ Yeah, but we were good last year, and we have all these guys back.’ And what they didn’t realize was that Carolina was bringing in the best freshman class in the country, and those kids were talented and ready to play. Just because they were freshman doesn’t mean they can’t hurt you.

“I think it was a little bit of a wake-up call,” Tillman continued. “I don’t think there was any arrogance. I don’t think there were guys that didn’t care, that thought they were above anything. I think they had to step back and go, ‘Wow, what we’re doing is not good enough. Maybe we need to be a little more critical of ourselves.’ And that’s really helped us because we’re not doing a ton different, but we are doing better.”

The loss to the Tar Heels served as a reminder for Maryland against Navy. After taking a commanding 6-1 advantage after the first quarter, the Terps players revived memories of their inability to protect the 4-0 lead.

“I think we were talking about the Carolina game when they were able to come back on us,” senior long-stick midfielder Brian Farrell said. “We were like, ‘Hey, let’s stay mentally focused and keep this going.’ I think we did a good job of doing that.”

Other notes:

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April 8, 2011

Maryland at Navy: Halftime thoughts

Torrential downpours and a hostile environment haven’t slowed Maryland as the Terps have taken a commanding 7-2 advantage over Navy into halftime at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis on Friday night.

Maryland (7-2), which entered the contest ranked sixth in Division I in scoring with a 12.0 goals-per-game average, scored the first two goals of the game in a 63-second span, added a second pair in a 48-second stretch, and then notched a third pair in a 12-second span – all in the first quarter. It’s the first time this season that the Terps scored six goals in the opening frame.

Meanwhile, the Midshipmen have not possessed the ball long enough to attempt to stage a comeback – a problem that plagued them in a 9-8 loss to Georgetown a week ago. Navy has cleared the ball just 8-of-13 times and has taken just eight shots to Maryland’s 21.

Other notes:

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Maryland at Navy: Three things to watch

While Navy and No. 6 Maryland appear to be heading in opposing directions, this contest is critical for both teams. The Midshipmen (4-6) may have just one road to the NCAA tournament in capturing the Patriot League tournament, but a victory over the Terps would propel Navy through the remainder of the regular season. Maryland (7-2) is coming off of a decisive 12-7 win against No. 7 Virginia, but a loss to the Midshipmen would likely take the wind out of the Terps’ sails. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis on Friday night.

1) Stop the run. Echoing the sentiment of many opposing coaches, Navy coach Richie Meade stressed the need to handcuff – or at least slow down – Maryland’s transition game. The Terps scored four in transition in the team’s decision against the Cavaliers. For the Midshipmen, it’s a strategy that they are familiar with. “It was the same theme against Georgetown, it’ll be the same theme against Army, the same theme against Hopkins,” Meade said. “To be honest with you, the best way to stop that is when you shoot the ball, it needs to go in. I think he [redshirt freshman goalie Niko Amato] does a very good job of stopping the ball and then getting it out. I think you’ve got to be aware of [senior long-stick midfielder] Brian Farrell and you’ve got to be aware of [sophomore long-stick midfielder] Jesse Bernhardt. They get out very, very well, and you’ve just got to protect your backcourt and make sure that the off-side guy away from the ball is going to get back deep. The other thing you’ve got to do is get in the goalie’s face and hope that he throws it to the side and not a straight outlet pass.”

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April 7, 2011

Maryland feeling better after win vs. Virginia

Maryland coach John Tillman is conceding what he couldn’t say last week: Saturday’s 12-7 victory over No. 7 Virginia was quite significant.

“Knowing that we were 0-2 in the [Atlantic Coast Conference], that became an even more important league game just so we could win one,” Tillman said Wednesday. “I think it was important for us to try and play our best game of the year, and I thought it was a little bit of character game for us because everybody was so critical of us after the loss [to North Carolina on March 26]. Listen, we gave plenty of ammo, but we just wanted to get back to playing more like Maryland and play tough, play hard, and play together. I felt like we got closer to doing that.”

The atmosphere has changed considerably around the team’s practice facility, too.

“I think their body language is certainly better,” Tillman said. “I think having some success can give you confidence, and we want our kids to always be confident. But we also want our kids to recognize who we are and how we have to play. … Instead of getting into a lull, we had our hardest practice of the season on Monday to remind the guys that it’s time to move on. We know what we’re dealing with Friday night. It’s going to be a really, really tough and hostile environment, and our guys have to be ready for it.”

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UPDATED: Navy, Maryland to honor fallen lacrosse player

Prior to Navy’s home game against No. 6 Maryland, there will be a brief ceremony honoring the memory of Brendan Looney.

Looney, a Silver Spring native who played midfield for the Midshipmen, was one of nine U.S. military personnel killed in a helicopter crash in September in southern Afghanistan. He was a lieutenant in the Navy SEALs and a 2004 Naval Academy graduate.

Looney’s alma mater, DeMatha Catholic, will meet La Salle College High, the alma mater of Looney’s academy roommate Travis Manion, at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis at 3 p.m. Then before the scheduled 7 p.m. start of the contest between Navy and the Terps, the Navy SEAL Foundation will present the American flag to the Looney family.

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April 6, 2011

Maryland's Young plays on despite personal turmoil

With six points on two goals and four assists in Saturday’s 12-7 victory over No. 7 Virginia, Ryan Young leads No. 6 Maryland in both assists (15) and points (27) this season.

And he’s thriving despite turmoil in his personal life.

The senior attackman’s mother, Maria, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the winter of 2008, his freshman year. This season, the Manhasset, N.Y., native wears his helmet with the word “MOM” etched on a piece of paper taped on the bottom part, near his left jawline.

Young told The Diamondback, the campus newspaper, that his mother is never far from his thoughts. “I wear this little thing on my helmet,” Young told the paper's Jacob Engelke in an article published in Wednesday's editions. “I think about her every time before I go out there. It motivates me and helps me play my hardest.”

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Maryland, Navy players earn weekly honors

Maryland swept the Atlantic Coast Conference weekly honors as junior midfielder Joe Cummings and senior defenseman Brett Schmidt were named the Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week, respectively.

Cummings scored four goals in the No. 6 Terps’ 12-7 victory over No. 7 Virginia last Saturday. All four of the Towson native and Loyola graduate’s goal occurred during Maryland’s 7-0 run that helped turn a 5-3 deficit into a 10-5 advantage.

A week after shutting out North Carolina senior attackman Billy Bitter, Schmidt limited Cavaliers junior attackman Steele Stanwick to a single goal on three shots. Schmidt and the rest of the defense held Virginia, which had entered the contest with the most prolific offense in Division I, to a season-low seven goals.

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April 4, 2011

Tillman gives edge to ACC over Ivy League

Maryland coach John Tillman has spent time in the Ivy League as well as the Atlantic Coast Conference, but when it comes to rivalries, Tillman says the ACC is much more intense than the Ivy League.

 "I would say the ACC is definitely more intense because everything happens so much faster," Tillman said. "In the Ivy League, every player is recruited by the same schools. They know you and you know them. They scheme because they have really smart kids, and they take away a lot of your strengths. You're always trying to adjust and everyone is well prepared. Here, so many plays are spontaneous plays. When the ball is on the ground, you never know what is going to happen because the players and the game are so much faster."

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Maryland's Travis Reed to see more time vs. Navy

Maryland attackman Travis Reed is expected to see more playing time this week against Navy.

Reed, recovering from an injured shoulder, has played sparingly the past two weeks in extra-man situations after missing the previous three games.

Terps coach John Tillman thought about using Reed more against Virginia on Saturday, but decided not to risk it. The Terps had always circled the Navy game as the date for Reed's return.

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April 2, 2011

Maryland at Virginia: Three things to watch

Both Maryland and Virginia enter this Atlantic Coast Conference showdown looking to bounce back from disappointing setbacks. The No. 9 Terps (6-2) dropped an 11-6 decision to No. 5 North Carolina despite owning a 4-1 lead after the first quarter. The No. 7 Cavaliers (7-2) overcame a four-goal deficit in the third quarter before losing, 12-11, to No. 6 Johns Hopkins. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday.

1) Patrol the “paint.” The area in front of the cage is called the “paint” by Maryland coaches and players, and that patch of territory was exposed by the Tar Heels, who frequently converted easy goals from there. It was quite a surprise considering that the Terps’ starting three defensemen and long-stick midfielder are seniors. Maryland coach John Tillman said the team went back to stressing fundamentals this week. “We always want to protect the paint,” he said. “Sometimes when you try to focus on the better players, there are some other opportunities that presented themselves. It was a good, teachable moment for us, just to remember that we want to make sure that we take away some of the better players, but we can’t compromise the integrity of our defense. We’ve got to play our team defense regardless of the people out there. With a lot of the talented players that Virginia has, we’ve got to use that lesson and use it wisely.”

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April 1, 2011

Maryland still confident after disappointing loss

Maryland is still 6-2 and, barring an unforeseen collapse, is still considered a favorite to earn an at-large berth in the NCAA tournament.

But could an 11-6 loss to No. 5 North Carolina last Saturday during which the Terps squandered a 4-1 lead after the first quarter haunt the team?

“Confidence is kind of a tricky thing,” coach John Tillman said Thursday. “Giving up a lead was disappointing and how we did it was disappointing, but like any season, you’re going to go through ups and downs and you’re going to have to deal with that.”

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March 31, 2011

Maryland's Reed expected to play Saturday vs. Virginia

Travis Reed, the senior attackman who has sat out the last three games, is expected to play Saturday when No. 9 Maryland visits No. 7 Virginia in an Atlantic Coast Conference showdown.

Terps coach John Tillman said Reed has been taking part in practice despite a left shoulder injury suffered in the team’s 8-4 victory over Towson on March 12.

“He’s doing pretty well,” Tillman said Thursday. “I’m optimistic that he’s going to play in some capacity on Saturday. He was in practice yesterday, he was in his full equipment at practice. He was doing some stick work and some shooting drills. He’s been out there. We’re allowed to take 32 people, and he will be one of those 32 people. Because we can only take 32, I wouldn’t take anybody that had no chance of playing.”

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Perseverance pays off for North Carolina

Trailing 4-1 at the end of the first quarter against an energized rival and in a hostile environment might have been the death knell for North Carolina a few years ago.

But rather than fold, the Tar Heels rallied to convincingly beat then-No. Maryland, 11-6, on Saturday at Byrd Stadium in College Park.

“I think for our young guys to go up there at this point in the season and just play with the confidence that they had, just staying the course was the biggest thing,” recalled North Carolina coach Joe Breschi, who burned through his two first-half timeouts within the first nine minutes of the contest. “Now they’re looking at you with both eyes instead of one in the huddle, saying, ‘You know what? You’re right. If we stay the course, maybe good things will happen.’ Not that we’ll win every game, but we’ll have a chance to win every game, and that’s all we asked our guys. … I think for us, it was a game that we matured in and got better. It didn’t start off the way everybody anticipated on our end. They took it to us, but we were able to withhold and stay in it long enough to get our own act together.”

The Tar Heels, who improved to 7-2 and moved to No. 5 in The Sun’s latest rankings, get another test Sunday at the Konica Minolta Big City Classic when they meet No. 6 Johns Hopkins (6-2) at The New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

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March 30, 2011

No cause for alarm around Virginia

Losing is a rarity for Virginia, which has lost just 19 times since 2005. Which is why the No. 7 Cavaliers were itching to return to the practice field Monday and Tuesday after Saturday’s 12-11 loss to No. 6 Johns Hopkins.

“I think we were anxious to get back on the practice field,” coach Dom Starsia said Tuesday. “That’s usually how it works. When you come off a loss, everybody’s anxious to get to it. I know for me, you kind of sit around and stew a little bit on Sunday, and you’re always glad to be back with the team on the practice field. And we had a spirited workout. So it was good.”

Virginia may have fallen in the rankings after the setback on Saturday, but the team is still 7-2 with victories over high-quality opponents like No. 8 Cornell, No. 11 Delaware and No. 18 Drexel. And with upcoming contests against No. 4 Duke, No. 5 North Carolina, No. 9 Maryland and No. 16 Penn, the Cavaliers are assured of running through a schedule that will earn points with the NCAA tournament selection committee in early May.

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March 28, 2011

Q&A with ESPN's Mark Dixon

ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins midfielder Mark Dixon will provide commentary on Saturday’s contest between Colonial Athletic Association rivals Towson and Hofstra at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson on Saturday. Prior to then, Dixon was kind enough to discuss why he thinks Notre Dame could be the last undefeated team left in Division I, whether 1-5 Princeton can still make the NCAA tournament, and how Duke has reeled off six consecutive wins since a 1-2 start.

Question: Of the two remaining undefeated teams in Division I, does top-ranked Syracuse (7-0) or No. 3 Notre Dame (6-0) have a better chance of staying that way before these two meet on April 30?
Answer: I think both of them have the best defenses in the country. I think Notre Dame probably plays – on paper – the “easier” schedule. They did beat Rutgers [Sunday], 8-3, and they continue to lean on that defense and cobble goals together. Syracuse is a team that has shown that it can play any style that’s necessary to win. They can run or they can play slow-down. They didn’t shoot particularly well [Saturday] night against Villanova. Notre Dame still has to play Villanova [on Saturday], which should be a great game. Probably in my heart of hearts, I’d say that Notre Dame may have a better chance of being undefeated, but if both of them are undefeated on April 30 when they play one another, I won’t be surprised at all.

Q: What was the most surprising result of the weekend?
A: Obviously, Hopkins beating Virginia was surprising. I thought the game would be close, but I didn’t necessarily think that Hopkins was going to beat Virginia just based on the offensive firepower that the Cavaliers possess. I guess the second surprise would be North Carolina beating Maryland. I thought Maryland would win that game maybe by three or four goals. And not only that Maryland lost, but the fact that it was freshmen from North Carolina that led the charge offensively. I think the freshmen combined for 14 points in that game – seven goals and seven assists. So that surprised me as well.

Q: What does the 12-11 win against No. 2 Virginia mean for No. 9 Johns Hopkins?
A: One, it gives them a marquee victory. It gives them a win that when you couple it with their strength of schedule – and last year, the argument was, who did Hopkins beat? – it’s a quality win. It also gives those kids a lot of excitement and a lot of personal satisfaction. I was at the game [Saturday], and I was sitting with my family at the scoreboard end [of Homewood Field in Baltimore], and when the game ended, these guys were running onto the field and jumping on one another. I was thinking to myself, “Wow, that’s kind of unusual for a Dave Pietramala team to be celebrating like that.” But when you consider what that senior class has been through, they haven’t beaten Syracuse, they haven’t beaten North Carolina, and they hadn’t beaten Virginia until [Saturday]. So to have that victory and to be able to savor that and enjoy it, I think it means a lot to them. It means a lot for their confidence, it means a marquee win that will go a long way on Selection Sunday should they be able to handle their business in relatively decent fashion from here on out. But I’m sure that Dave Pietramala is already hitting on this theme, that one win and one game does not make a season. They’ve got North Carolina up next, a team they haven’t beaten in three seasons. Then they’ve got a tough Albany squad, which has shown the ability to beat anybody when healthy and when they execute. And then of course, they’ve got Maryland. So it doesn’t get any easier, but I think this gives this group a lot to build on, a lot of confidence, and a lot to be proud of.

Q: On the flipside, what does the 11-6 loss to No. 7 North Carolina mean for No. 6 Maryland?
A: That’s such a senior-laden team, and to get beat at home after being up, 4-1, by essentially a bunch of freshmen, I think that’s got to be disheartening. Everyone has pointed to that [senior attackman] Ryan Young stick penalty as the turning point of the game, but if you remember, near the end of that first quarter when Maryland was up 4-1, they had a goal disallowed after a player was pushed into the crease prior to the shot being released, and once a player enters the crease in any way, shape or form, the play is blown dead immediately if the offense is still in possession of the ball. And on the next play, they hit a pipe. So instead of being up – potentially – 5-1 going into that second quarter, it’s only 4-1. So you had three things that didn’t go their way and kind of stole their momentum. If I’m Maryland, I’m looking at a couple of things. One, I’m looking at the team defense overall. I think teams are getting way too many inside looks against Maryland. [Goalkeeper] Niko Amato was great against Towson, he was terrific against UMBC, and he wasn’t that great [Saturday]. That’s going to happen. Everybody has on off day. And he’s a redshirt freshman who is fronted by all seniors – [defenseman] Ryder Bohlander, the Schmidts [Brett and Max], [long-stick midfielder Brian] Farrell, [short-stick defensive midfielder] Danny Burns. So I think Maryland’s defense has to do a better job of not giving up shots inside. And two, I think the offense has to do a better job of finishing. When you win 15-of-20 faceoffs and you win the ground balls, you’ve got to shoot the ball better. Right now, [senior attackman Grant] Catalino is the only outside threat. This team desperately misses [senior attackman] Travis Reed. He was having a nice 2011, and he’s got that heavy left-handed shot. You put Catalino on the right, Reed on the left, and that really opens a lot of things up. Now teams are keying on Catalino or playing zone and daring other players to beat them from the outside, and it’s just not happening for Maryland. But Maryland’s got Virginia, Navy, Johns Hopkins, so Maryland has a lot of opportunity in front of them.

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March 26, 2011

North Carolina at Maryland: Three things to watch

No. 6 Maryland and No. 7 North Carolina enter Saturday’s contests with 12 combined wins and just three losses. But both teams are 0-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference and jockeying with each other to avoid meeting league-leading Duke in the conference tournament semifinals. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at Byrd Stadium in College Park.

1) Reviewing Rastivo. The Tar Heels (6-2) started two different defensemen in senior Emmit Kellar and freshman Jordan Smith in Tuesday night’s 12-7 victory over Dartmouth, but Terps coach John Tillman pointed out that the players they replaced, junior Charlie McComas and senior Kevin Piegare, were inserted five minutes into the game and played extensively. The biggest change involved sophomore Steven Rastivo starting in place of redshirt senior Chris Madalon. “We’re still going to generate the same types of shots, quality shots – at least in our opinion – and we’ve just got to stick those shots,” Tillman said. “Madalon was a veteran guy, a big guy [at 6 feet, 3 inches and 210 pounds] which posed some problems. Rastivo seems to be very, very quick. He was really good in high school. He looked great the other night. So we’ve still got to finish shots, get good shots, make the most of them, and make them earn saves.”

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March 24, 2011

Maryland on the mend

Maryland’s defense is tied with Rutgers as the second-stingiest unit in Division I, surrendering just 6.1 goals per game thus far despite the absence of senior Dan Burns.

Burns, widely regarded as one of the top short-stick defensive midfielders in the country, is inching closer to making his 2011 debut on Saturday when the No. 6 Terps welcome No. 7 North Carolina to Byrd Stadium in College Park.

“I’m pretty optimistic that he could be out there on Saturday, but I don’t know what his conditioning situation is,” coach John Tillman said Thursday, confirming a Lacrosse Magazine report about Burns’ potential return. “But we’re certainly excited about trying to get him out there. If everything looks good tomorrow, we’ll give him a go. If he’s not quite ready, we’ll wait another week. But I’m excited for him.”

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Maryland's B.Schmidt tight-lipped about North Carolina's Bitter

Few opposing defensemen have rattled North Carolina senior attackman Billy Bitter the way Brett Schmidt has.

The Maryland senior held Bitter without a point and caused four turnovers in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament on April 23, 2010. The only other time Schmidt and Bitter have tangled occurred on April 24, 2009. Bitter registered three goals and two assists, but he also committed four turnovers – three of which were credited to Schmidt.

But Schmidt took the diplomatic approach when talking about potentially shadowing Bitter again when the No. 7 Tar Heels visit the No. 6 Terps on Saturday at Byrd Stadium in College Park.

“We’ve always had a great team defense that knows how to play against UNC’s offense,” Schmidt said Tuesday. “I think we just stick to our game plan. We did that last year, and we had pretty good success. So we’ll see.”

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March 19, 2011

Postscript from UMBC at Maryland

Travis Reed sat out Maryland’s 15-6 rout of UMBC Friday night and is not expected to play Sunday when St. Joseph’s visits Byrd Stadium.

But the No. 8 Terps could really use Reed when No. 9 North Carolina pays a visit next Saturday.
Sophomore Owen Blye, who started in Reed’s place with seniors Grant Catalino and Ryan Young, wasn’t a liability against the Retrievers, but he shot 0-for-3 and put just one shot on net.

But it sounded like Maryland was in no hurry to rush Reed back after he suffered a shoulder injury in the team’s 8-4 win against Towson a week ago.

“He’s got a little bit of a unique injury,” coach John Tillman said. “To be honest with you, I couldn’t even tell you the name of it. And they say it’s a little more common to car accidents and things like that. So it’s not a broken collarbone, it’s not a separated shoulder. It’s something a little bit different. With range of motion being so important, we were like, ‘Listen, let’s make sure we’re careful with it.’”

Reed is not the most mobile guy on the field, but his accuracy and shot velocity force defenses to pay attention to him. Catalino acknowledged that Reed’s absence was felt.

“Travis plays a big role in our offense, but our team plays in a system, and when one guy goes down, another picks it up,” he said. “So we just moved Owen Blye in there, and the engine runs. Obviously, we miss Travis, but Owen did a great job today.”

Other notes:

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March 18, 2011

UMBC at Maryland: Halftime thoughts

It appears that UMBC’s search for a turning-point win will continue as Maryland has taken a commanding 10-2 lead into halftime at Byrd Stadium in College Park Friday night.

Any hope the Retrievers (1-3) had of potentially upending the No. 8 Terps were extinguished as the hosts scored two goals within the first 3 minutes, 38 seconds of the game en route to a 4-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Sophomore Scott Jones, who started at attack instead of his customary midfield position, ended the drought 2:17 into the second quarter when he banged home a pass from junior attackman Rob Grimm to make it 4-1, but Maryland scored five consecutive times  before both sides exchanged goals in the final 33 seconds of the second quarter.

Other notes:

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Maryland's Reed ruled out for game vs. UMBC

No. 8 Maryland will play host to UMBC Friday night without senior attackman Travis Reed.

Reed, who injured his shoulder in the Terps’ 8-4 win against Towson last Saturday, will be on the sideline at Byrd Stadium.

Reed, who has registered seven goals and six assists in four starts thus far, will be replaced by sophomore Owen Blye, who has posted three goals and three assists in five starts in the midfield.

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UMBC at Maryland: Three things to watch

UMBC has won three of the last four meetings between these rivals, but the Retrievers limp into Friday night’s contest with three consecutive losses after opening the season with a win against Presbyterian. Maryland (4-1) has won two straight, but might be forced to play without senior attackman Travis Reed (shoulder). Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at Byrd Stadium in College Park.

1) Fury Factor. UMBC coach Don Zimmerman delivered a strong message after the team’s 16-5 loss to Johns Hopkins last Saturday, and the players have reportedly responded in practice. An injured adversary is usually a dangerous one, and Terps coach John Tillman is making sure that his players don’t overlook the Retrievers. “I think they’ll be excited to show that last week was really not them,” Tillman said. “They’re going to try to prove to everybody, especially Maryland, that they’re better than that and that they can beat anybody in the country. … So we have to be very prepared and very disciplined and very smart on Friday. We’re going through exams right now, so there’s another thing going against us. I expect UMBC to play very, very well on Friday night, and I’m hopeful that we play very well, too.”

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March 16, 2011

UPDATED: Maryland's Reed doubtful to play vs. UMBC Friday night

Maryland senior attackman Travis Reed is “not likely” to play when UMBC visits the Terps at Byrd Stadium Friday night.

A team source confirmed that Reed suffered an unspecified injury in Maryland’s 8-4 win against Towson last Saturday. Reed has not practiced the past two days and is scheduled to see a doctor on Wednesday or Thursday. If he cannot practice Thursday, it’s doubtful that coach John Tillman would allow him to play against the Retrievers (1-3).

Reed ranks third on the Terps (4-1) in goals (seven) and points (13) thus far. If he is unavailable, junior Joe Cummings (eight goals and zero assists) could shift from midfield or perhaps freshman Sean McGuire (1, 1).

UPDATE: Sun freelancer Rich Scherr, who covered Maryland’s win against the Tigers, reported that Reed had injured his shoulder. The extent of that injury is unknown at this point.

According to Scherr, Reed briefly re-entered the game in the third quarter before removing himself for the remainder of the contest. “He tried to go again, so to me, that makes me a little bit optimistic,” Terps coach John Tillman said afterwards. “If it was something that was extremely serious, I think they would have prevented him from going back in.”

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March 14, 2011

Lower-than-anticipated attendance doesn't fluster Face-Off Classic organizer

The announced attendance of 17,057 at the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Saturday was the second-smallest crowd to watch the event since its debut in 2007.

It was also the smallest crowd to attend the Face-Off Classic since it began offering three contests in 2010. Inside Lacrosse, which organizes the event, has already locked in a date and teams for next year’s Face-Off Classic, but what about 2013?

Andy Bilello, director of business development for Inside Lacrosse, said that for now, the company is committed to another installment two years from now.

“It doesn’t make me question whether we should do the Face-Off Classic in 2013,” he said during the third contest between No. 14 Johns Hopkins and UMBC. “It makes me pause to consider how we should do it. Are there things we can improve about the event, how we promote it, how we present it to fans?”

Next year’s Face-Off Classic is already scheduled for March 10 and pits Cornell against Virginia and Princeton against North Carolina. The addition of a third game is still up in the air, Bilello said.

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March 12, 2011

Attendance announced

It was just announced that the attendance for Saturday’s Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic was 17,057. That’s a somewhat surprising number considering the lineup of No. 1 Syracuse vs. No. 15 Georgetown, No. 2 Virginia vs. No. 13 Cornell and No. 14 Johns Hopkins vs. UMBC.

That’s the second-smallest crowd to watch the Face-Off Classic since its debut in 2007. The smallest crowd to attend the event was 17,000 in 2009, and that was just a doubleheader involving Maryland against Duke and Princeton against Johns Hopkins.

Last March, an announced attendance of 19,742 watched the Face-Off Classic’s first foray into three games.

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland, UMBC
        

March 9, 2011

Maryland happy to put Duke loss in rearview mirror

In the NFL, a loss usually resonates for a week and sometimes can last as long as eight days. Fortunately for Maryland, the memory of Saturday’s 9-8 overtime setback to Duke came to merciful end Monday when the No. 12 Terps defeated visiting Bellarmine, 12-8.

“We felt like getting back on the field was the most important thing,” coach John Tillman said Tuesday. “Getting back out there, running around, being at Byrd [Stadium], everybody being back together because we could only travel with 32 guys, I think that got us back a little bit. We’ll never forget the outcome [on Saturday], but we can learn some lessons from that experience, and we can grow from it and come together because of it. But being out there was a good thing.”

The contests against the Knights may have been particularly emancipating for senior attackmen Ryan Young and Travis Reed, both of whom recorded three goals and one assist on Monday. Young had compiled five goals and four assists in three previous starts, while Reed had posted just two goals and three assists over the same span.

Tillman speculated that as seniors, Young and Reed may have been pressing themselves.

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March 8, 2011

Duke taking upset of Maryland in stride

One might figure that Duke’s 9-8 overtime defeat of then-No. 3 Maryland might be an occasion for coach John Danowski to gloat – or at least sound off on the folks who jumped off the bandwagon.

But that’s not Danowski’s style, and the coach of the No. 11 Blue Devils laughed at the idea of being content with Saturday’s win.

“We’re still young, and we’re 2-2,” he said Monday. “It was one game, one day. Who knows how you respond from this as a team? I’ve been around enough teams to know that over the long haul, by April 1, you know what kind of team you have – after you’ve played a bunch of games and have had a chance to be in a bunch of different situations. I just think it was one game – as much as [losing to] Penn was just one game and [losing to] Notre Dame was just one game. Where do you go from week-to-week? That’s the exciting part about coaching.”

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March 7, 2011

Q&A with ESPN's Quint Kessenich

ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins All-American goalie Quint Kessenich covered top-ranked Syracuse’s 12-10 win against No. 2 Virginia on Friday night, watched No. 8 Princeton’s 8-3 demolition of No. 9 Johns Hopkins in person on Saturday afternoon, and will be part of the sports network’s coverage of the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday. Kessenich offered his perspective on the gap between Syracuse and the rest of the Division I, Saturday’s upsets, and the most impressive individual performance.

Question: You watched Syracuse’s win against Virginia in person. Is it fair to say those two teams have separated themselves from the rest of the pack?
Answer: I think the gap is between everybody and Syracuse. With Maryland’s loss to Duke, I think it’s fair to say that Syracuse is a step ahead. Virginia would be No. 2 and then I’ve got Notre Dame and Hofstra at [Nos.] 3 and 4. So it is fair to say that visually, it looks like Syracuse is No. 1. Virginia’s got to clean up some defensive issues. I put Virginia in the pack. Virginia played to 9-9 against Drexel late in their game. Virginia played an overtime game at Stony Brook. They have not shown to be dominant.

Q: What impressed you about the Orange?
A: Overall balance of their roster. Great defense and goaltending. A really strong faceoff and ground ball play. And then senior leadership. Having spent about a day-and-half around that program, I really got the sense that these seniors are absolutely committed.

Q: There whispers about nepotism when Syracuse coach John Desko put his son Tim on the team. Now that Tim scored a game- and career-high five goals in the win against the Cavaliers and leads the offense with 10 goals in three games, do you think he has proven his father’s decision was the correct one?
A: He’s gotten so much better. Last year, he only had 12 goals. The other day, he had five. He’s really improved. I think the kids on the team really like him a lot. He’s a no-nonsense, hard worker, and he’s shown that he belongs. It’s pretty obvious that he’s well-respected there.

Q: What was the biggest surprise of the weekend?
A: Princeton’s domination of Hopkins surprised me. I watched the game in person, and then I think Army beating Cornell and Duke beating Maryland were the three things that surprised me most.

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March 5, 2011

Four Maryland players dot Tewaaraton Watch List

The Tewaaraton Watch List was released Friday, and four players from No. 3 Maryland are on the list.

Attackmen Grant Catalino and Ryan Young, defenseman Brett Schmidt and long-stick midfielder Brian Farrell – all seniors – are among the early hopefuls to claim the Tewaaraton, which is given annually to the top player in college lacrosse.

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Towson
        

March 2, 2011

Maryland's Holmes, Navy's Jones, Boys' Latin grad Lyons get weekly honors

Maryland sophomore faceoff specialist Curtis Holmes was recognized by the Atlantic Coast Conference as the Defensive Player of the Week.

The Marriottsville native and McDonogh graduate won 20-of-31 faceoffs in the No. 3 Terps’ 18-5 rout of No. 14 Georgetown. Holmes, who also chipped in one goal and two assists, has won 37of-52 draws (.712) thus far.

Navy freshman attackman Sam Jones was named an honorable mention for the Patriot League’s Offensive Player of the Week award.

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February 28, 2011

Q&A with ESPN's Paul Carcaterra

ESPN analyst and former All-American Syracuse midfielder Paul Carcaterra will have a front-row view of Friday night’s tilt between No. 1 Syracuse and No. 2 Virginia as he provides commentary for ESPN. Carcaterra discussed two surprises of the weekend, a team that may have done itself a huge favor, and the wish for a delete button on Loyola’s 3-2 win against Towson.

Question: What was the most surprising result of the weekend?
Answer: I think it would have to be two. Duke [ranked No. 10 by The Sun] only putting up three goals against Penn, that was shocking to me. Duke is a team right now searching for an offensive identity. They don’t have the dodgers and playmakers that can really create and give some of their shooters an opportunity. Guys like [senior attackman] Zach Howell, who’s a fabulous shooter, they don’t have those other pieces to the offense to get him the ball. Putting up three goals against Penn, a team that towards the bottom of the Ivy [League] last year, in a loss, that was pretty shocking to me – regardless of the deficiencies of Duke, they have a ton of talent still in Durham. It’s just that they’re very young and obviously, it’s going to take longer to develop that talent than expected. And then the other piece was [No. 14] Georgetown getting blown out by [No. 3] Maryland. Maryland was a team that I picked in the preseason to go to the Final Four. After watching Georgetown against Jacksonville last week, I thought, ‘This offense is for real. They’re crafty, they’ve got good dodgers and finishers.’ I thought it was an offense ready to take Georgetown over the hump that they’ve been traveling on the last few years, but apparently not. Maryland just lit them up. I expected Maryland to be a great team, but I didn’t expect Georgetown to be in a position where they wouldn’t be able to compete in that game. They didn’t, so maybe it’s the same old Georgetown.

Q: What team registered the most impressive performance of the weekend?
A: I’d have to go back and probably say Maryland. They dominated all facets of that game and just forced their will on Georgetown. They dictated the tempo of the game, they defeated Georgetown in every facet – ground balls, physical play. They really came out, ands they made a statement yesterday. They didn’t beat a team that doesn’t have talent. Georgetown’s a team that has talent year in and year out. They just completely blew them out. So that was, to me, the most impressive team performance of the weekend.

Q: Was there an individual who stood out with his showing over the weekend?
A: I would say that the most impressive player performance over the weekend was either [Maryland senior] Grant Catalino’s five goals in that game. He’s a fabulous player. He’s big, strong and has the skills of an elite attackman. He’s not a guy that uses his size and strength to create offense all the time, but he’s just skilled. He’s a great shooter and a fabulous offensive player. His performance [Saturday] was just great as well as [Virginia junior attackman] Steele Stanwick’s. Five goals and three assists in a tough game against Stony Brook minus the Brattons, he really put his team on his shoulders. Eight points in a one-goal, overtime game including the game-winner, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better performance than his.

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Q&A, Towson
        

February 26, 2011

Postscript from Georgetown at Maryland

With six seniors and two juniors in the starting lineup, Maryland is a veteran-laden team well-equipped to handle adversity and avoid getting too high about wins.

Still, senior attackman Grant Catalino called the No. 3 Terps’ 20-8 throttling of No. 14 Georgetown at Byrd Stadium in College Park Saturday afternoon “awesome.”

“This starts our long road of playing top-25 teams,” Catalino said. “So coming off of a win is huge. It gives us a lot of confidence, but we’ll stay hungry. We’re not going to be overconfident. Going into playing Duke, we’re going to be hungry.”

Maryland has upcoming contests against ranked opponents in No. 10 Duke (on Saturday), No. 16 North Carolina (March 26), No. 2 Virginia (April 2) and No. 9 Johns Hopkins (April 16), and that doesn’t include the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in late April.

Maybe that’s why coach John Tillman, who was unaware of the Blue Devils’ stunning 7-3 loss to Penn after the Terps’ win, was somewhat more reserved than his team’s leading scorer.

“It’s hard to tell,” he said. “It’s so early in the season. I think it will definitely help our guys’ confidence, but I think our guys realize it’s a long season, and there are a lot of good teams out there. We have to go down next week, it’s our first road trip as a group, we can only take a certain number of guys. Duke is a very talented team. I don’t care what you say. They are the defending national champions. We have a lot of respect for them. I saw them play last week. Notre Dame’s terrific, but Duke’s not too far behind them. We can’t let up and think that we’re any better than we are. We’re just a work in progress. Today, for about two-and-a-half quarters, I thought we did a nice job, but we’ve really got to learn to play 60 minutes and learn to do that consistently in practice.”

Other notes:

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Georgetown at Maryland: Halftime thoughts

Maryland owns a 6-4 lead over Georgetown here at Byrd Stadium in College Park, and it could have been a lot worse – for the Terps.

No. 3 Maryland looked lethargic in the first half and the vaunted starting attack of seniors Grant Catalino, Ryan Young and Travis Reed were pretty much locked up by the Hoyas’ senior trio of Barney Ehrmann, Dan Hostetler and Bobby Boyle.

No. 14 Georgetown won 3-of-4 faceoffs in the first quarter and five of the first eight, but the Hoyas were stymied by redshirt freshman goalie Niko Amato, who made four saves in the first 4 minutes, 3 seconds.

Senior midfielder Max Seligmann’s second goal of the contest gave Georgetown a 3-1 lead with 9:49 remaining in the second quarter, but the Terps responded with a 5-1 run, which included three goals in a 1:54 span.

Other notes:

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Georgetown at Maryland: Three things to watch

The respective basketball teams may not play against each other, but the lacrosse teams have made this local rivalry an annual tradition. The Terps own an 8-2 advantage in this series, but they haven’t beaten the Hoyas in College Park since 2005. Here are a few factors that could play a role in the outcome in the contest.

1) Holmes vs. Tabb. Sophomore Curtis Holmes won 17-of-21 faceoffs in his debut as Maryland’s primary specialist, but he gets a stiffer test in senior Brian Tabb, who went 18-of-28 in Georgetown’s season-opening 15-12 win against Jacksonville on Sunday. Although coach Dave Urick said nine of those wins occurred because the Dolphins player moved early, Terps coach John Tillman said Holmes will have his hands full. “It’ll be interesting,” Tillman said. “This is probably his biggest challenge to date, and I know he’s excited about it. He’s a competitive guy, but Tabb has logged a lot of miles, and he did a terrific job against us last year [when he went 15-of-28 in a 13-12 win against Tillman’s former Harvard squad]. So we’re going to have to see how we do here and make sure that the 10-man group does a great job.”

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February 25, 2011

Maryland's Max Schmidt poses (slight) injury concern

When No. 3 Maryland opened the season last Saturday against Detroit Mercy, Max Schmidt was not in his customary starter’s position.

The senior defenseman missed some time in the preseason due to an unspecified injury, and the coaching staff elected to start senior Shane Hall to run with seniors Brett Schmidt and Ryder Bohlander on the first defense.

“Max had missed a little bit of time early in the season, and we felt like it was a great reward [for Hall],” coach John Tillman said. “Shane had never started a game before, and it was a terrific opportunity for him to look back and say, ‘I got a chance to start.’ And I thought that was great for him.”

Tillman was non-committal about whether Max Schmidt, who registered 39 ground balls and 21 caused turnovers last season, would come off the bench again this Saturday against No. 14 Georgetown.

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February 21, 2011

Q&A with ESPN's Mark Dixon

ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins midfielder Mark Dixon will provide commentary for WMAR and ESPN3 during Saturday’s game between No. 13 Loyola and No. 20 Towson. Dixon discussed No. 5 North Carolina’s 13-8 loss to Ohio State, the most impressive showing by a team and individual and the need to implement instant replay.

Question: What was the most surprising result of the weekend?
Answer: It’s a surprise and not a surprise in talking about North Carolina [ranked No. 5 by The Sun] getting run off the field by Ohio State. It’s not that they lost, but the fashion in which it happened. One point from the midfield? A lot of us had been pointing to the fact that North Carolina really didn’t have a whole lot of depth in the midfield. One goal came from the midfield and that was [junior] Jimmy Dunster early in the game.

Q: Could this be a precursor to what could be a rough season for the Tar Heels? Or is it merely an early-season hiccup?

A: I don’t know. I’m not really sure. Again, the depth at midfield is not really there for North Carolina. I’m looking at that attack, and they’re putting out four guys that can score, and I think there’s one who can really open things up for you in the midfield. That’s [freshman] Nicky Galasso. Whether [coach] Joe Breschi elects to move him to the midfield remains to be seen,  but I think [senior goalkeeper] Chris Madalon didn’t look sharp [Saturday], and the defense was giving up some shots that they were doing at the end of last season. Carolina beat Ohio State late in the season last year, 19-13, and that was almost the beginning of the end for North Carolina’s season in terms of that defense just collapsing. That was late in the season, and now, it’s early in the season. So do you hit the panic button? I don’t think so. Not in the third weekend of February. But I think there are some addressable situations that need to take place in Chapel Hill. And remember, this team was ranked as high as No. 3 in a lot of preseason polls, and that stock was losing a lot of value because of some injuries and some other players leaving the team or being dismissed from the team. But I think it’s too early to say, ‘OK, they’re going to have a horrible season.’ They still may make the NCAAs. Again, it’s very, very early, but people were expecting them to make it to Baltimore on Memorial Day weekend, which would be Carolina’s first visit to the national semifinals since 1993. Right now, it looks like that is not going to happen.

Q: Most impressive showing by a team or individual?

A: By an individual, Notre Dame’s Zach Brenneman [a senior midfielder]. Hands down. Three goals and two assists. To me, he’s the East Hampton express. He’s from East Hampton, New York, and he dodges like a freight train. When he gets a head of steam, no one can stop him. And then in the latter stages of the game, he’s the one who established the breathing room between Notre Dame and Duke. So individually, I was really, really impressed with Zach Brenneman. From a team perspective, probably [No. 1] Syracuse. They handled a pretty strong [No. 17] Denver team at home [the Carrier Dome in Syracuse]. They were up 4-0 early in the contest, and they played like a team that was ticked off and had lost on that very same field for only the second time in that program’s history in the NCAA tournament. They came out with a lot of fire in their belly and handled a pretty good Denver team.

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Q&A, Towson
        

February 16, 2011

Amato takes lead, but race to start as Maryland's goalie not over yet

Redshirt freshman Niko Amato has the edge over junior Mark White in the race to start in the net when Maryland opens the season against Detroit Mercy this Saturday, but nothing has been settled just yet, according to coach John Tillman.

“Niko is in the lead right now,” Tillman said Wednesday afternoon. “Have we made a final decision? No. But I can tell you that Niko got the majority of the minutes against Syracuse [in last Saturday’s scrimmage], and he is in the lead. In the first scrimmage, we alternated exactly the same, and we felt like Niko was playing a little bit more consistently and we said, ‘OK. If we give him a longer duration, let’s see what happens.’ He fared very well. … I don’t think it’s over, but we do have a leader in the clubhouse.”

It was just two years ago that former coach Dave Cottle elected to rotate Jason Carter and Brian Phipps in the cage, alternating the pair by halves. While Tillman isn’t convinced that a similar strategy involving Amato and White would work, he said he’d consider it.

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February 14, 2011

Question in net places burden on Maryland defensemen

As of last week, Maryland was still mulling whether to go with junior Mark White or redshirt freshman Niko Amato as the starting goalkeeper when Detroit Mercy visits College Park Saturday for the Terps’ season opener.

Neither White nor Amato is experienced at the college level, which would seem to place a great deal of pressure on starting defensemen Brett and Max Schmidt (no relation) and Ryder Bohlander, all of whom return this year.

Brett Schmidt said the defense’s responsibilities don’t change whether they were playing with a four-year starter or a rookie.

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February 13, 2011

Maryland preview

Sunday’s entry is the final installment of a week-long series taking a look at each of the seven Division I 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 Maryland’s turn.

Overview: The Terps enjoyed one of their finest regular seasons, winning 11 of 14 games and beating eventual national champion Duke, North Carolina, Johns Hopkins and Navy. But the team ended up being a footnote in Notre Dame’s historic run to the NCAA Tournament championship game, and the quarterfinal loss cost Dave Cottle his job as head coach. John Tillman, who left Harvard for College Park, brings enthusiasm and discipline to the program, but can he renew a program that hasn’t won a national title since 1975, been to the championship final since 1998, or advanced to the Final Four since 2006?

Reason for optimism: Maryland returns a wealth of experience and much of it comes from the senior class. Six of the 15 seniors on the roster are starters, including the entire attack and the entire defense. Add long-stick midfielder Brian Farrell and short-stick defensive midfielder Dan Burns, and the team can rely on players who have played in significant contests. Attackman Grant Catalino, one of those seniors, said he and his classmates are fully aware that this is the last time their window of opportunity is open. “This is our last shot,” he said. “There’s no next year, there’s no next season. So we’re doing everything we can – making sacrifices, putting in extra time, extra film, extra shooting, whatever it is – to be the best we can be this year because there is no next year.”

Reason for pessimism: The return of seniors Brett Schmidt, Max Schmidt (no relation to Brett) and Ryder Bohlander solidifies a stingy defense, but they must help out an inexperienced goalkeeper in either junior Mark White or redshirt freshman Niko Amato. Tillman said White and Amato present contrasting styles in the net. “Niko is a little bigger, a little wider,” Tillman said. “Mark is a little bit wiry, and he’s a little bit more animated in the goal whereas Niko is a little bit more efficient with his movement. He doesn’t stray too far from the goal whereas Mark will go out and run around all over the place. … I think both of them do a very good job, but just in different ways. I feel comfortable with either guy right now.”

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Categories: Maryland
        

February 11, 2011

Q&A with former Army coach Jack Emmer

When Jack Emmer retired as Army’s head coach after the 2005 season, he left as college lacrosse all-time winningest coach with 326 victories. That mark has since been surpassed by Salisbury’s Jim Berkman, but Emmer continues to monitor the game from the stands. Emmer, whose job status with ESPN is in the air, shared his perspective on the upcoming season.

Question: Many analysts have picked Syracuse as the favorite to win the NCAA championship. What team poses the biggest challenge for Syracuse?

Jack Emmer: “Well, you’ve got to come and play every game, and last year in the first round of the tournament when everything was at stake, Army beat them at home. So they certainly can be beaten. Will Army do that again? I don’t know. But Syracuse, they’re the best team in the country. But they’re a little unproven on their attack, I think. They’re going to rely on a guy who was hurt last year in [sophomore] JoJo Marasco and [senior] Stephen Keogh. They’re good, and Marasco has a lot of talent, but he doesn’t have a lot of experience. So they don’t have that great offensive player to go to, but they’re excellent at the defensive end, particularly with [senior goalkeeper John] Galloway. So they’re going to be real tough to beat. But UVA, they’ve got a lot of offensive talent. They’re a little shy on the defensive end, I think, so they’ve got to put together a defense. But they’re right there. I tell you, the most talented team in the country might be Maryland. Unfortunately, this is Dave Cottle’s team. This was supposed to be his best team. They’re a very veteran team, very solid. [Senior long-stick midfielder Brian] Farrell is a horse, and they’ve got a couple guys like that. I think Maryland, if they can get their act together, could be very, very good. So they look like the three best teams to me. And then there’s a whole bunch packed together after that.”

Q: Is there an underrated team that you think will be poised to make an impression in May?

JE: “I think there’s a big-time sleeper that nobody talks about, and it’s their first year of being eligible for the Division I tournament, and that’s Bryant University, coached by Mike Pressler. They’re not going to get much publicity in the Baltimore area, but I’ve seen them play quite a bit, and I’ve got great respect for Mike. He’s an outstanding coach, as he was at Duke, and they’ve got some outstanding players. They have a junior goalie named Jameson Love, and he’s as good as anybody I’ve seen. They have a face-off guy who transferred in as a fifth-year student from Notre Dame [Trever Sipperly] who was Notre Dame’s face-off guy last year. They have a defenseman named [sophomore] Mason Poli, and he is going to be as good as any close defenseman around. They’ve got a good attack. They’re very balanced. They just need to score enough goals, but they’re going to be very good. Last year, they beat Army, they beat Yale, lost to UNC by a goal, but they might be on the cusp of getting there. I think Lehigh has gotten a lot better. That’s another sleeper. UMass is going to be pretty good. They’re always on the cusp. Siena, who knows about them? They play Duke in the first game, and they’ll give them a good game."

Q: Which coaching move will have the biggest impact in the game?

JE: “I would say the most immediate impact is probably going to come down to Maryland because I think the talent is there and they might respond well to a new approach and then that talent might step up to a new level. I think John Tillman is stepping into a pretty good situation in his first year there. I think they’ll be very receptive to him, and I think he could have a very positive impact because they’re good. I think Harvard [with Chris Wojcik] is in the mix with teams like Yale and Brown. They’re going to be pretty good, too. I still think Cornell and Princeton are the class of the Ivy League. Ben DeLuca being the new guy there [at Cornell], he’s a real protégé of Jeff Tambroni. So he’s going to keep that program focused and going in the right direction. And they’ve got a great player in [junior attackman] Rob Pannell. He’s as good as anybody in the country.”

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Q&A
        

February 8, 2011

Q&A with ESPN's Quint Kessenich

ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins All-American goalkeeper Quint Kessenich is juggling his responsibilities covering both college basketball and lacrosse, but he was kind enough to share his thoughts on the upcoming lacrosse season.

Question: It seems that unlike previous years, there is no clear-cut favorite to capture the NCAA championship. Is that a fair assessment?

Quint Kessenich: “That’s a great point. In my eyes, this is a very strong year. There are almost about 10 really good teams. Teams that played on championship weekend, teams that made the quarterfinals last year who appear to be strong on paper this year. But of those top nine or 10 teams, there’s not a team that, from A to Z, has great balance. They all have their strengths and they all have a weakness. And so I think this year is going to be outstanding. I look at teams like Cornell, which returns its whole team; Notre Dame, which returns the majority of its team; Stony Brook, which returns tons of talent; Hofstra, which returns tons of talent; Maryland, which returns tons of talent. There are some team from last year that can take the next step this year, and there’s going to be some great lacrosse.”

Q: Which team got your No. 1 vote in preseason polls?

QK: “I have Syracuse up top. Even though they lost to Hofstra in a scrimmage the other day, I still think Syracuse, because of their defense and their experience, I give them a 1. I gave Virginia a 2, but I’ve got Maryland at 3, and Maryland’s right on the heels of Virginia. I think this Maryland team is a team that can give Virginia fits this year. And then at 4, I have Notre Dame, which is much higher than most, but I got to see them in person down in Florida and they return their whole team minus the goalie. And then I’ve got Stony Brook at 5.”

Q: Since you watched Notre Dame lose to the U.S. National team, 11-7, in Florida a couple weeks ago, what was your impression of last spring’s tournament finalist?

QK: “Exceptional defense. As they were last year, they continue to ramp that up. They’re going to play defense regardless of what happens. That’s a known quantity, and that’s the framework that Coach [Kevin] Corrigan is going to build on, and that’s going to keep them in every ballgame. Improved attack play. [Sophomore] Ryan Foley and [junior] Sean Rogers look like they’re a little better, and they really won last year without having an attack. And then you have the two midfielders in [seniors] Zach Brenneman and David Earl, who are elite. But the other guys – there are three sophomores – are really going to have to play well if Notre Dame is going to make some noise. Pat Cotter, Tyler Kimball and Steven Murphy, they’re good athletes. They’re just not goal scorers yet. So their question marks will be on offense again, but I really like them. I thought even losing to Team USA, they played good defense, they have a formula, and I think that’s a good team this year.”

Continue reading "Q&A with ESPN's Quint Kessenich" »

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Categories: Maryland, Q&A
        

February 3, 2011

Albany's Marr "disappointed" by lack of interest from Maryland

When Maryland unceremoniously parted ways with Dave Cottle after the team’s surprising loss to Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals, several names were thrown onto the short list of candidates to fill the vacancy.

One of those names was Albany coach Scott Marr, who served as assistant coach and offensive coordinator under former Terps coach Dick Edell for six seasons.

But Marr was never contacted by Maryland’s search committee, which eventually offered the job to Harvard coach John Tillman.

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Categories: Maryland
        

January 26, 2011

An unofficial stab at 2011's preseason poll (Part 4)

Here is the fourth installment of the 2011 poll compiled after last year's national championship. These rankings could – and probably will – change based on transfers and seniors granted fifth years of eligibility, so please take this with a grain of salt.

 

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Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Maryland
        

December 20, 2010

Johnson, Terps women No. 1 in Lacrosse mag preview

Maryland junior Karri Ellen Johnson is Lacrosse Magazine's selection as the NCAA Division I Preseason Player of the Year while the defending national champion Terrapins are the preseason No. 1 team.

Johnson, a Broadneck graduate,  is a two-time first-team All-American and has been named to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament team twice. She has scored 143 career goals and needs just six to crack the Terps' Top 10 all-time scorers list. In last season's national championship game, she scored three goals in the 13-11 win over Northwestern.

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Posted by Katherine Dunn at 3:31 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland
        

October 5, 2010

Pair of Johns Hopkins rivalries return to campus

Johns Hopkins will participate in two lacrosse tripleheaders at professional venues next spring, meeting local rival UMBC at the Konicia Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on March 12 and North Carolina at the Konica Minolta Big City Classic at The New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on April 3.

But two staples that had been played in NFL stadiums – the annual showdowns with Princeton and Maryland – have been returned back to campus at the request of all three programs.

Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala said the coaches and players looked forward to playing in front of larger crowds at professional venues and showcasing the school to a more expansive fanbase.

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland
        

September 29, 2010

Lineups for Face-Off Classic and Big City Classic announced

The lineup for next year’s Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic and the Konica Minolta Big City Classic has been set.

The Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore is scheduled for Saturday, March 12 and will feature the return of Syracuse and Virginia, two programs that have captured a combined 14 NCAA championships but hadn’t participated in the event since 2008.

Syracuse, which has collected 10 national titles including in 2008 and 2009, will open the tripleheader with a contest against Big East Conference rival Georgetown at 11 a.m. Virginia, a Final Four team last season, will meet another 2010 national semifinalist in Cornell at 1:30 p.m. And Johns Hopkins and UMBC will meet in a clash of local rivals at 4 p.m.

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

July 1, 2010

Longtime Maryland assistant will not be retained

When Maryland returns for the 2011 season, another familiar face will not be standing on the sideline.

Defensive coordinator Dave Slafkosky confirmed Wednesday that he has not been retained by incoming head coach John Tillman. Slafkosky, who has spent the last 26 years under former Terps coaches Dick Edell and Dave Cottle, said Tillman is bringing Kevin Warne, Tillman’s defensive coordinator at Harvard for the past three years.

"So I’m out the door," Slafkosky said. "In fact, today is my last day. I’m out there looking for another job. It could be interesting. I haven’t done this in a long time. I had a pretty long career at Maryland. I was hoping to end it there, but I guess those plans won’t work out that way."

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Categories: Maryland
        

Review & preview: Premature 2011 poll part 4

Here is the fourth installment of an attempt at a preseason and premature poll for next season.

The top 20 was broken up into four installments with Thursday’s post involving teams ranked from Nos. 5 to 1. Monday featured Nos. 20 to 16, Tuesday Nos. 15 to 11 and Wednesday Nos. 10 to 6. Friday will include three schools not mentioned in the poll that could make some waves.

Unless there are confirmed reports about certain players planning to use fifth years of eligibility, this space will assume that seniors in 2010 will not return next year. Unannounced fifth-year seniors and potential transfers will affect the rankings that come out next February, but here’s a spin anyway.

Continue reading "Review & preview: Premature 2011 poll part 4" »

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Categories: Maryland, Review & preview
        

June 29, 2010

Former Maryland coach meets with Harvard officials

Former Maryland coach Dave Cottle has met with Harvard’s search committee for the head coaching vacancy there.

First reported by Lacrosse Magazine, Cottle confirmed via text message that he paid a visit with Crimson officials. However, he declined to elaborate on the tenor of the visit and his interest in the position.

Cottle is a candidate to succeed John Tillman, who – interestingly enough – was hired away by the Terps to replace Cottle on June 16.

In nine seasons at Maryland, Cottle compiled a 99-45 record and a 280-115 overall mark, guided the team to seven consecutive seasons of 10 wins or more, and eight straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

Since stepping down as the Terps head coach on May 16 – one day after the team dropped a 7-5 decision to unseeded Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals, Cottle interviewed for the vacancy at Penn State. The Nittany Lions eventually hired former Cornell coach Jeff Tambroni.

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:43 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland
        

June 23, 2010

Junior commits sticking with Maryland

The news that Maryland had convinced John Tillman last Tuesday to succeed Dave Cottle as the team’s ninth head coach ended 3023 days of uncertainty surrounding the program. It also provided enormous comfort to high schooler Cory Dobyns.

Dobyns, a soon-to-be senior attackman at Georgetown Prep in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area who orally committed to the Terps as a junior, said Tillman’s hiring fills a void at summer tournaments.

"I’ve been going to the lacrosse tournaments and I hadn’t seen Maryland [coaches in the stands] because they didn’t have anyone," Dobyns said. "Now, we’ll see Maryland represented."

Dobyns is one of five highly-publicized juniors who verballed to the Terps during the past academic year. The other four are: St. Paul’s attackman Jay Carlson, Delbarton (N.J.) midfielder John Barney, St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) midfielder Joe LoCascio and Haverford (Pa.) long-stick midfielder Goran Murray.

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Categories: Maryland
        

June 18, 2010

Huh? Penn State job over Maryland's?

Penn State announced Thursday the hiring of Cornell's Jeff Tambroni as its new men's lacrosse coach replacing Glenn Thiel, who retired after 33 years.

Tim Curley, athletic director at Penn State, released the following statement: "Jeff has established himself as one of the premier coaches in the country and his success at Cornell speaks for itself. He is the perfect person to take our lacrosse program to the next level and establish Penn State as a national presence in one of the country's fastest growing sports."

For Tambroni, this is an odd move. He's taken Cornell to three of the past four Final Fours and established the Big Red as a national power. He's 109-40 in his 10 years at Cornell.

Can Tambroni turn around the Nittany Lions? Of course. Penn State is coming off a 2-11 season. There is no place to go but up. The campus is perfectly located to recruit and the athletic facilities are among the finest in the nation.

But the bigger question is why Penn State over Maryland? Tambroni told a local paper in Elmira, N.Y., in early June that he declined to interview for the Terps job. But he then takes the Nittany Lions job?

Huh?

It remains to be seen if Harvard's John Tillman was the right choice for Maryland. But with Tambroni taking over at Penn State after declining to interview at Maryland, Tillman clearly looks like the second choice.

Would you rather have the guy who led his team to eight straight Ivy League championships or co-championships, or the guy who spent the last three years chasing him?

Posted by Ron Fritz at 8:44 AM | | Comments (15)
Categories: Maryland
        

June 16, 2010

One Maryland player looking forward to working with Tillman

When Harvard head coach John Tillman on Tuesday accepted Maryland’s offer to coach the Terps program, many of the players received a text message from former goalkeeper Brian Phipps.

"He just told us that we’ve got a new member to the family and he’s going to be a great coach and a great friend and a great leader," soon-to-be senior defenseman Max Schmidt said. "That’s how we’re going to welcome him – as a member of the family."

The hiring of Tillman ended a 3023-day search for a successor to Dave Cottle, who stepped down the day after the team’s 7-5 loss to unseeded Notre Dame in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament on May 22.

During that time, Cornell head coach Jeff Tambroni, Bryant head coach Mike Pressler and Syracuse women’s head coach Gary Gait – who was an assistant coach for the Terps women’s lacrosse team prior to the hiring of Cottle in 2001 – each pulled their names from consideration for the vacancy.

While that might normally be alarming, Schmidt said he wasn’t overly worried.

Continue reading "One Maryland player looking forward to working with Tillman" »

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Categories: Maryland
        

June 15, 2010

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. Wednesday will begin a series checking in on the Division III schools in the state. But on Tuesday, we take a visit with Maryland.

Continue reading "Review & preview: Maryland" »

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Categories: Maryland, Review & preview
        

June 14, 2010

Stevenson coach has not been contacted by Maryland

Stevenson coach Paul Cantabene said Monday evening that Maryland has not contacted him about the program’s head coaching vacancy.

In six seasons with the Mustangs, Cantabene has guided the team to a 79-27 record and back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Division III tournament semifinals.

Cantabene was an assistant coach with the Terps in 2003 and 2004, serving with Dave Cottle, who stepped down after the team’s loss to Notre Dame in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals May 1522.

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:45 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland
        

Maryland reaches out to Harvard coach

Harvard coach John Tillman has been contacted by Maryland’s search committee for the team’s head coaching vacancy, according to a school official. He is believed to be one of the university’s top candidates for the position.

Tillman has guided the Crimson to a 20-19 overall record in three years. In 2009, the team won eight games, which was the most in the program’s history since 2002.

Prior to Harvard, Tillman spent 12 seasons at Navy, including the last six as that team’s head assistant coach. In charge of the offense, he helped the Midshipmen earn four consecutive berths between 2004 to 2007 in the NCAA tournament.

Virginia associate head coach Marc Van Arsdale is believed to be the only candidate to have interviewed for the Terps position previously held by Dave Cottle, who stepped down after the team’s loss to Notre Dame in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals May 1522.

Tillman did not return a phone message seeking comment. Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow did not reply to an e-mail also seeking comment.

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:40 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Maryland
        

Virginia assistant confirms interview with Maryland

Virginia associate head coach Marc Van Arsdale confirmed Monday that he did interview with Maryland about its head coaching vacancy last week.

"I would certainly say that they have contacted me and I have spoken with them," Van Arsdale said. "I certainly have a reasonable amount of interest in the position there."

Asked if he and the school had agreed to a date for an interview, Van Arsdale said, "I have interviewed with them, and that’s where we are right now."

Van Arsdale said no offer was given and that the search committee did not reveal timetable by which it would like to announce the hiring of a new head coach. Citing the ongoing nature of the search, Van Arsdale declined to characterize the tone or direction of the interview.

Under Van Arsdale, who also serves as the team's offensive coordinator, the Cavaliers finished the 2010 season ranked third in Division I in scoring, averaging 13.44 goals per game. They trailed only Robert Morris (15.33) and national champion Duke (13.45). The offense led the nation in scoring in 2009 and 2006. 

Van Arsdale, who recently completed his ninth year with head coach Dom Starsia, was the head coach at Pennsylvania, compiling a 27-39 record between 1997 and 2001. His son Owen, a senior at St. Anne's-Belfied, signed a letter of intent to play at Virginia next season.

News of communication between the school and Van Arsdale was first reported by The Washington Post.

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:45 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland
        

June 11, 2010

Maryland contacts Virginia assistant coach

Maryland has contacted Virginia associate head coach Marc Van Arsdale about its head coaching vacancy, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Under Van Arsdale, who also serves as the team's offensive coordinator, the Cavaliers finished the 2010 season ranked third in Division I in scoring, averaging 13.44 goals per game. They trailed only Robert Morris (15.33) and national champion Duke (13.45). The offense led the nation in scoring in 2009 and 2006. 

Van Arsdale, who recently completed his ninth year with head coach Dom Starsia, was the head coach at Pennsylvania, compiling a 27-39 record between 1997 and 2001. His son Owen, a senior at St. Anne's-Belfied, signed a letter of intent to play at Virginia next season.

News of communication between the school and Van Arsdale was first reported by The Washington Post.

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:52 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland
        

Maryland has yet to contact Notre Dame's Corrigan

Kevin Corrigan, who guided unseeded Notre Dame to the championship final of the NCAA Tournament on Memorial Day, said he has not been in contact with Maryland officials regarding the head coaching vacancy there.

"I'm not in any position," Corrigan said Friday. "I've got a job and I haven't talked to anybody. I'm in the same position I'm in every day."

After Dave Cottle stepped down on May 1623 after the No. 3 seed Terps were upset, 7-5, by the Fighting Irish, Corrigan's name was included in a short list of potential successors that included Cornell coach Jeff Tambroni, Bryant coach Mike Pressler and Syracuse women's lacrosse coach Gary Gait.

However, Tambroni, Pressler and Gait -- a former assistant coach for the Maryland women's lacrosse team -- have since withdrawn from consideration. It is believed that the school's search committee is reviewing a pool of candidates that includes Corrigan, Albany coach Scott Marr and Stevenson coach Paul Cantabene.

Corrigan, who just returned with his team from a 10-day stay in Japan, declined to say whether he would be interested in the Terps job. "I'm not going to speculate about anything," he said. "There's no future in geting into hypothetical conversations."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:20 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Maryland
        

June 7, 2010

Report: Cornell coach turns down interview with Maryland

I am way late to the party on this one, but Cornell coach Jeff Tambroni has turned down the opportunity to interview for the head coaching vacancy at Maryland, according to Brian Delaney of the Ithaca Journal.

You can find the article here.

Tambroni has compiled a 109-40 record in 10 seasons with the Big Red and has guided the program to at least a share of eight consecutive Ivy League championships. Cornell has also advanced to the final four in three of the past four seasons.

Tambroni told Delaney that his roots in the Ithaca community and the upstate New York area proved too strong to ignore.

"It’s a great tradition down there, a great package with the compensation and coaching an extremely talented group of kids," Tambroni said. "When it came to Maryland versus Cornell, and this is no disrespect to Maryland, I think I’m in a good place here. There’s lots to be said for employee satisfaction. Our administration does a great job of taking care of our program. For me personally and my family, I think Maryland versus Cornell was made a little bit easier on our enjoyment of Ithaca and the people at Cornell."

With Syracuse women’s lacrosse coach and former Maryland women’s assistant coach Gary Gait pulling his name from consideration and Inside Lacrosse reporting that Bryant coach Mike Pressler has also opted out of the selection process, three of the Terps’ top choices are no longer on the board.

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:45 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Maryland
        

Locals dot Major Lacrosse League draft

The Major Lacrosse League draft took place Sunday night, and a multitude of players with ties to the Baltimore metropolitan area were selected in the six-team draft.

Johns Hopkins midfielder Michael Kimmel was selected with the second overall pick by the Chesapeake Bayhawks, who capped the first round by taking Virginia midfielder Brian Carroll, a Baltimore native and Gilman graduate, with the sixth overall choice.

The last pick of the second round belonged to the Boston Cannons, who grabbed Johns Hopkins attackman Steven Boyle at No. 12.

Chesapeake had two picks in the fourth round and used No. 19 on UMBC midfielder Kyle Wimer and No. 23 on Maryland goalkeeper Brian Phipps.

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Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Navy, UMBC
        

Stevenson's Cantabene hasn't heard from Maryland

Despite rumors to the contrary, Stevenson coach Paul Cantabene has not been contracted by University of Maryland officials for the vacant Terrapins job.

Every year, Cantabene appears to be on a lot of short lists for possible replacements because of his success with the Mustangs, but he hasn't heard a thing from Maryland or athletic director Debbie Yow.

Posted by Mike Preston at 9:31 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Maryland, Stevenson
        

June 4, 2010

Cottle interviews at Penn State

Former University of Maryland men's lacrosse coach Dave Cottle interviewed with Penn State officials Tuesday and Wednesday about the Nittany Lions' vacant head coaching position.
 
Cottle met with the university's president, which is a good sign, but was not offered the position during the interview.
 
Cottle is one of the leading candidates for the job. He resigned at Maryland after his No. 3 seeded Terps were upset by unseeded Notre Dame in the NCAA mens' Division I quarterfinals.
Posted by Mike Preston at 7:45 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland
        

Mount St. Mary's Gravante not yet a candidate for Penn State or Maryland

Speculation regarding the successor to former Maryland coach Dave Cottle has been rampant, and as mentioned Thursday, Syracuse women’s lacrosse coach and former Maryland women’s assistant coach Gary Gait took himself out of the running for the Terps job.

Another Division I opening is at Penn State, and one rumor floated has been the candidacy of current Mount St. Mary’s coach Tom Gravante, who guided the Mountaineers to their first Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament crown and NCAA Tournament appearance since 2003.

Gravante chuckled when asked about the Penn State rumor.

"I heard that, too, from a couple people, which is kind of funny," he said. "But I haven’t seen anything regarding that. … I heard that I was a candidate, and I don’t know how that information evolved into the lacrosse world."

Would he participate in an interview if Penn State or Maryland inquired?

"If they called, I would go and speak with those schools, but I’m really hopeful that we’re going to move the sport at Mount St. Mary’s forward," Gravante said.

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

June 3, 2010

Gait no longer in the running for Maryland vacancy

When Dick Edell stepped down as head coach after the 2001 season, a good number of Maryland alumni lobbied athletic director Debbie Yow to hire Gary Gait, the former Syracuse All-American attackman and assistant coach for the women’s lacrosse team.

The disappointment was palpable when Yow went with former Loyola coach Dave Cottle.

That emotion repeated itself Thursday when Gait took his name out of the running for the current Terps head coaching vacancy.

According to a press release distributed by Syracuse where Gait is the head coach of the women’s lacrosse team, Gait told Maryland’s search committee that he will remain with the Orange.

Continue reading "Gait no longer in the running for Maryland vacancy" »

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:06 PM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Maryland
        

June 1, 2010

Maryland vacancy furthest thing from Notre Dame coach's mind

After guiding unseeded Notre Dame to its first national title contest and its second Final Four appearance in 10 years, Kevin Corrigan might just be the hottest coaching commodity in the nation.

And with vacancies at Maryland and Penn State, Corrigan might have enough ammunition to call his shot.

But Corrigan wasn’t in the mood to talk about his immediate future after the Fighting Irish’s 6-5 overtime loss to No. 5 seed Duke on Monday.

"I have no comment whatsoever," Corrigan said. "I haven’t talked to anybody, and I have no comment."

Corrigan, who just wrapped up his 22nd season at Notre Dame and his 24th year overall, has compiled a career coaching record of 216-118. The Fighting Irish have qualified for five consecutive NCAA Tournaments.

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Maryland
        

May 29, 2010

Cottle dismissal doesn't sit well with area coaches

More than just being a sympathetic ear, Tony Seaman may understand what Dave Cottle is enduring.

After the 1998 season, Seaman was forced to resign by Johns Hopkins despite a 77-33 record (.700), four seasons of 10 wins or more and four Final Four appearances in eight seasons.

So when Seaman heard on Sunday from Cottle himself that he had decided to take himself out of consideration after Maryland told him it was unlikely to sign him to a new contract, Seaman felt like he was thrown into a time warp.

"I was fortunate enough to start that trend in 1998 when my resume at Hopkins looked very similar to Dave’s," Seaman, the coach at Towson, said with tongue firmly planted in cheek. "When I wasn’t renewed, we were 10-4 and we had gone to the Final Four four out of eight years. You wonder sometimes. And they went seven more years before winning a championship. So sometimes it’s not about changing the program or the leadership. You’ve just got to have a bunch of kids and have a little luck and be good and do a good job of recruiting and it’s all got to mesh and the chemistry has to come together. That’s why only five [active coaches] have ever done it."

The debate over the Terps’ decision to part ways with Cottle has raged since news broke on Sunday, one day after Maryland, as the No. 3 seed, fell to Notre Dame, 7-5, in a NCAA Tournament quarterfinal.

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May 27, 2010

Johns Hopkins' Kimmel named first-team All American

Johns Hopkins senior midfielder Michael Kimmel earned a spot on the All-American first team, the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association announced Thursday.

The Towson native and Loyola graduate ranked second among the Blue Jays in both assists (16) and points (39). Kimmel joined Paul Rabil and Del Dressel as the only midfielders in school history to record at least 30 points in each of his four seasons.

Syracuse led all programs with three players on the first team. They are junior long-stick midfielder and Tewaaraton Award finalist Joel White, junior defenseman John Lade and junior goalkeeper John Galloway.

Virginia and North Carolina each placed two players on the first team. Senior defenseman and Tewaaraton Award finalist Ken Clausen and junior midfielder Shamel Bratton represented the Cavaliers, while junior attackman Billy Bitter and junior defenseman Ryan Flanagan stood in for the Tar Heels.

Two other Tewaaraton finalists in Duke fifth-year senior attackman Ned Crotty and Stony Brook junior midfielder Kevin Crowley made the first team. Cornell sophomore attackman Rob Pannell was the final member of the first team.

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Mount St. Mary's, Navy, Towson, UMBC
        

May 26, 2010

Local players dot All-Star game

The United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association announced the rosters for the Division I/II North-South All-Star Game on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Goucher.

UMBC led the state programs with three players on the South team. They are midfielders Kyle Wimer and Maxx Davis and long-stick midfielder Mike Camardo.

Maryland is represented by goalkeeper Brian Phipps and midfielder Adam Sear. Attackmen Collin Finnerty and Cooper MacDonnell were chosen from Loyola, while defensemen Matt Nealis and Russell Moncure were selected for Mount St. Mary’s. Towson midfielder Will Harrington will also play for the South.

The team will also include three players with high school ties to the Baltimore metropolitan area. They are North Carolina midfielder and St. Paul’s graduate Cryder DiPietro, Limestone midfielder and Annapolis graduate Mike Poerstel and Mercyhurst defenseman and Calvert Hall graduate Chris Eline.

The South team will be coached by Mount St. Mary's coach Tom Gravante.

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Categories: Loyola, Maryland, Mount St. Mary's, Towson, UMBC
        

May 25, 2010

Q&A with ESPN's Quint Kessenich

ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins All-American goalkeeper Quint Kessenich will provide commentary for the NCAA Division I Tournament semifinals and final at M&T Bank Stadium this weekend. Kessenich offered his thoughts on Notre Dame’s first trip to the Final Four since 2001, the Virginia-Duke semifinal and the head coaching vacancy at Maryland.

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May 24, 2010

Former Maryland coach defined by numbers

It goes without saying that Maryland’s 7-5 loss to unseeded Notre Dame in a NCAA Tournament quarterfinal likely doomed coach Dave Cottle from getting a new contract from the school.

The university and the program’s backers have hungered for a national championship to return to College Park for the first time since 1975, and Cottle annually welcomed recruiting classes ranked among the top five in the country.

Just by the numbers, Cottle achieved considerable success since joining the Terps from Loyola prior to the 2002 season. The team went to eight consecutive NCAA Tournaments – the second-longest active streak behind Johns Hopkins’ streak of 39 – and three Final Fours.

Cottle compiled a 99-45 record with the school (280-115 overall), posted seven straight years of 10 wins or more, and helped Maryland capture two Atlantic Coast Conference titles.

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May 22, 2010

Notre Dame vs. Maryland: Three things to watch

Maryland and Notre Dame meet for the second year in the NCAA Tournament with the Terps winning last year’s first-round showdown, 7-3. Maryland, the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, has been bounced from the quarterfinals in two consecutive springs, but a victory would guarantee the Terps their fourth Final Four appearance under coach Dave Cottle. The Fighting Irish are 1-2 in the quarterfinals, advancing to the national semifinals in 2001. The winner of Saturday’s contest at 12 p.m. at Princeton Stadium in Princeton, N.J., will move on and face either No. 7 seed Cornell (11-5) or Army (11-5) on Saturday, May 29 at either 4 or 6:30 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

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May 21, 2010

Terps tidbits

Just a few notes before No. 3 seed Maryland’s contest against Notre Dame in a NCAA tournament quarterfinal Saturday:

*Last year’s quarterfinal loss to Syracuse was punctuated by the loss of goalkeeper Brian Phipps, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee late in the first quarter of that 11-6 setback. Since then, the Annapolis native and Severn graduate has started every game for the Terps (12-3) and is a major reason they are one victory away from their fourth Final Four appearance under Dave Cottle. "He’s made all of the important saves," Cottle said of Phipps, who had recorded a .549 save percentage and a 8.27 goals-against average. "When we’ve gotten to the end, when we’ve needed a save or a stop, he’s made all the important plays, and that’s what you’re hoping for."

*Since moving to the midfield as a starter before the team’s game against Virginia on April 3, sophomore Joe Cummings has compiled nine goals and three assists. The Towson native and Loyola graduate said moving from attack required an adjustment. "It was definitely more of a physical change at first because it involves a different kind of running," he said. "But it’s also been a mental change because your perspective of the game is different. On attack, you’re dodging mostly from behind the goal, and in the midfield, you’re going from up top and you see things differently. And then you also have to worry about getting back on defense. So going to defensive studies and reviewing defensive film, I’m trying to catch up on 10 years of lost defensive knowledge and condensing it into a few weeks. It’s been fun."

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Notre Dame not taking time to enjoy the silence

Notre Dame’s 8-5 upset of No. 6 seed Princeton in the first round of the NCAA tournament went a long way toward silencing its critics, many of whom cast doubt and aspersions on the team’s 7-6 record and late collapse, which still earned the school an at-large bid to the tournament.

But if coach Kevin Corrigan is feeling a certain sense to gloat, he’s avoiding taking that road.

"I don’t know that anything’s going to satisfy that feeling of the people who are concerned about that," he said. "I can’t worry about that. I’ve been on both sides of that one, and people who are disappointed about not getting in probably feel like that could’ve been them when they see that win. They’re disappointed, and understandably so, but I’m not too worried about that."

Which is why Corrigan is funneling all of his focus on the Fighting Irish’s next opponent, No. 3 seed Maryland, in the quarterfinals Saturday at Princeton. It’s a rematch of last year’s NCAA tournament first-round contest that the Terps won, 7-3, in South Bend, Ind.

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Q&A with ESPN's Paul Carcaterra

ESPN analyst and former Syracuse All-America midfielder Paul Carcaterra will be providing commentary for the Toronto Nationals home opener on Saturday against the Chesapeake Bayhawks in the Major Lacrosse League. But Carcaterra will certainly keep track of the NCAA tournament quarterfinal results this weekend. Carcaterra took a look at the impact of Syracuse’s absence in the tournament, Virginia’s first game outside of Charlottesville since the tragic death of women’s lacrosse player Yeardley Love, and the most intriguing game of the quarterfinals.

Question: What does the absence of Syracuse do to the rest of the NCAA tournament bracket?

Paul Carcaterra: "If you look at the bracket and you just look at the hype going into the tournament, it’s really heavy on one side. If you look at the Viriginia side of the bracket, you have Duke, Carolina and Stony Brook. If you look at the other side, you have a couple upsets with Army squeaking in there and Notre Dame. Just looking at it quickly, you’d think it’s all on one side of the bracket. I think Syracuse losing changes the complexity of a potential Virginia-Syracuse national championship matchup, whereas now I think the typical lacrosse fan thinks that Maryland is going to walk into the final. But I don’t see that being the case. Maryland’s a really good team, and I think they’re balanced on offense with very prolific attackmen and a midfield that’s almost a midfield by committee. But an Army team or a Cornell team will scrap, and those are the types of teams that even if they lose, they don’t get blown out – other than Army getting blown out earlier in the season by Hofstra [17-2 on March 30, which is the Black Knights’ last loss]. So I think people need to give a little more credit to those other teams on the other side of the bracket with Maryland, Notre Dame, Cornell and Army. Being an ex-Syracuse player, this might sound a little biased, but it’s always exciting when Syracuse goes deep into the playoffs just because their style of play is exciting to watch. I think they bring the best out in lacrosse, and I think they also bring the best out of their opponents."

Q: Coach Dave Pietramala has been catching some flak after Johns Hopkins bowed out of the first round against No. 5 seed Duke. Is coach John Desko getting similar treatment after Syracuse’s loss?

PC: "No. You have to look at what Coach Desko has done. In a 12-year span, he’s had the most successful coaching run in modern-day lacrosse. He’s won five national championships. He’s not the guy at the end of the game who is shooting low-to-low. He’s not the guy who’s leaving his defenseman on a premature slide. These guys were doing all these things right throughout the year, and they picked the wrong time to make some mental mistakes. But I don’t put one bit of that game on him. He’s done one of his best coaching job this year. Here’s a team that had lost five of its top six midfielders, lost its top attackman, lost its top defenseman, and he put them in a position to threepeat. They were 13-1 heading into the playoffs and a solid No. 2 seed."

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May 20, 2010

Maryland trying to avoid thinking of Syracuse-less bracket

When the 16-team field for the NCAA tournament was unveiled May 9, many observers thought No. 3 seed Maryland’s path to the national championship game would be blocked by No. 2 seed and 11-time national champion Syracuse.

That hurdle, however, was cleared Sunday, when Army stunned the Orange, 9-8, in double overtime. That doesn’t mean that the Terps (12-3) are a lock to make it to the tournament final. They still have to beat Notre Dame in the quarterfinal Saturday and then either No. 7 seed Cornell or the aforementioned Black Knights in the semifinal.

But a couple of Maryland players were candid in their realization that perhaps the team’s biggest impediment has been removed.

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Q&A with ESPN's Mark Dixon

ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins midfielder Mark Dixon will be monitoring the quarterfinals from the ESPNU studio in Charlotte, N.C., this weekend. Dixon assessed the impact of Syracuse’s upset loss on the sport, Maryland’s contest against Notre Dame and the one game with the most potential for another surprise.

Question: What’s the impact of Syracuse’s double-overtime loss to Army in the first round of the NCAA tournament, particularly as it pertains to the landscape of lacrosse?

Mark Dixon: "I think it shows the value of automatic qualifiers. A lot of people hem and haw about AQs, and the MAAC [Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference] and the Patriot League, in particular, are two conferences that get dumped on in terms of automatic qualifiers. People say that they’re not that strong and that if they didn’t have the automatic qualifiers, they wouldn’t make the tournament field. But I think that fuels recruiting and brings kids to the table that might sit on the bench for a Maryand or a Syracuse. Now they can play right away for some of these schools that have automatic qualifiers. Army, being a service academy, is a different animal and gets a different type of student-athlete. But still, I think it speaks to the value of automatic qualifiers. I think to the more immediate future, unfortunately, Syracuse being knocked out is going to hurt the attendance of the championships in Baltimore. Syracuse always brings down a large and unique fan base, and I think attendance will probably be hurt at M&T Bank Stadium. I could be wrong, but any records that we were hoping to be broken this Memorial Day weekend have probably gone out the window. You’re still going to get a very good crowd and great games and tremendous competition."

Q: So Syracuse’s absence has a negative impact on the sport?

MD: "I think it has a negative impact on attendance, but I think it’s better for the sport when you have some fresh blood in there. Now you’ve got Army and Cornell. You’ve got a service academy possibly getting into the national semifinals for the first time since Navy did it in 2004. Cornell’s a team looking to go back for the third time in four years. You look at Maryland and Notre Dame. Maryland’s a team looking for a little redemption perhaps after a disappointing ’09. Now they come in and they can make a run at the championship. Notre Dame is an underdog. A lot of people thought they didn’t belong in the tournament, but they pulled off the upset of Princeton. Duke-Carolina, what a great match-up there. Can North Carolina return to the national semifinals for the first time since 1993? If Duke gets there, is this the year they get over the hump and can they win the national championship? Stony Brook is an intriguing team. First quarterfinal appearance ever, and they would make history if the they could make the national semifinals. And of course, Virginia, the No. 1 seed, all the drama and focus surrounding that team because of the tragedy in Charlottesville. Can they weather the storm of not only being the No. 1 seed, but also all of the off-field incidents that have taken place? So there are still many, many storylines, many subplots. With Syracuse, the storyline there was: Can they win their third straight national championship? It’s a program rich in tradition. But without them there, I don’t think it hurts the landscape. I think it makes the tournament a little wide open right now."

Q: You wrote an insightful column for Inside Lacrosse about how Mount St. Mary’s qualifying for the NCAA Tournament actually helped Army. Could you elaborate on that?

MD: "The MAAC tournament can always be a wild card, and what I mean by that is the AQ from that conference typically gets placed based on geography. So you’ve got Siena in the north and Mount St. Mary’s in the south. Had Siena won that game against Mount St. Mary’s in the MAAC championship, they would have gone to Syracuse. I can’t speak with 110 percent, but if past history is any indication, they would have gone north to play Syracuse, and that would have created a little bit of a domino effect. Maybe Loyola would have gone to Virginia with Army going to Cornell. It would have completely changed the landscape of the tournament. Look, Army still had to go out on the field and beat Syracuse, but I think Mount St. Mary’s beating Siena, that gave Army the opportunity to do what they did on Sunday, and that was upset Syracuse."

Q: Will Army’s ride in the NCAA tournament continue?

MD: "I did a quick version of Quint [Kessenich]-vs.-Dixon thing for Inside Lacrosse, and we each picked our upset special, and mine is Army over Cornell. When you look at the two teams and their personalities, they’re very similar. The attack leads the way offensively, they like to play 6-on-6 offense, half-field. Decent goaltending, good, strong defenses, teams that don’t beat themselves often. But right now, the interesting thing is the way they’re getting it done on the field is going in different directions. Army has shown an ability to come back, and they exemplify all of the things you see in a service academy. Discipline, patience, perseverance. Cornell is a heck of a team. They’re extremely well-coached, and they’re a very disciplined bunch, too. But they have had problems putting teams away. Three games ago, they almost gave up a late lead to Princeton. In the Ivy League championship game of that tournament, they gave up the late lead and lost in overtime [to Princeton]. And after being up seven goals to Loyola on Saturday, they allowed the Greyhounds to come back. And that’s how Army got back into the Syracuse game. I think Army is playing great, and they’re going to have fan support. Not that anybody dislikes Cornell, but anytime you have a service academy making a run at the national semifinals, people get behind service academies. This is a team that hasn’t been to the quarterfinals since 1993. [Coach] Joe Alberici has done a tremendous job up there with a dangerous attack in [junior Jeremy] Boltus and [freshman Garrett] Thul, a good 1-2 punch. A good goaltender in [junior] Tom Palesky. The Henderson brothers [on defense] are tremendous. [Senior] Bill Henderson did a great job on [Syracuse senior attackman Chris] Daniello this past weekend. He’ll probably get the assignment against [Cornell sophomore attackman Rob] Pannell. And then [sophomore] Tim Henderson at the long-stick midfield position will probably match up with guys like [sophomore midfielder] Roy Lang. So it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Army could continue this run and pull the second upset."

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Categories: Maryland, Q&A
        

May 19, 2010

Maryland figures to get the Fighting from the Irish

Friday’s edition of The Sun will include a feature on the depth of Maryland’s midfield, but here is the first of a few posts on the No. 3 seed Terps’ path to the Final Four at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Memorial Day weekend.

To get there for the first time since 2006, Maryland (12-3) will have to get past Notre Dame (8-6), which upended No. 6 seed Princeton, 8-5, in the first round this past Sunday. Saturday’s quarterfinal contest at Princeton is a re-match of last year’s first-round meeting when the unseeded Terps travel to South Bend, Ind., and knocked off a Fighting Irish squad that had earned the No. 7 seed despite compiling a 15-0 record in the regular season.

Maryland coach Dave Cottle said Tuesday he fully expects Notre Dame to use the memory of that loss as motivation.

"We took a 15-0 team and upset them at their home place. You don’t think they’re going to take great pleasure and great enhusiasm in trying to reverse the favor to us?" he asked rhetorically. "They’re going to have the cause in this thing a little bit, and we’ve got to make sure that we’re going to have our reasons why we’re going to play really well. We’re going to focus in on Maryland. We’re not going to play the what-if game. We’re going to play the what-is game, and what is next for us is this practice."

Terps sophomore attackman Joe Cummings echoed that sentiment, saying, "They want to come and get us this year because that was a disappointing loss for their team. They’re going to come out firing against us. So we’re definitely going to have to bring our ‘A’ game."

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May 18, 2010

Q&A with ESPN's Quint Kessenich

ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins All-American goalkeeper Quint Kessenich will ditch the studio this weekend and provide commentary for all four quarterfinal contests at Princeton on Saturday and Stony Brook on Sunday. Kessenich revealed his thoughts on ranking Army's win against Syracuse, Maryland's chances against Notre Dame and the worst surprise of the quarterfinal round.

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Categories: Maryland, Q&A
        

May 16, 2010

Postscript from Hofstra at Maryland

Maryland’s attack gets a lot of attention and rightfully so. That unit has helped the offense rank 10th in Division I with an 11.8 average entering Saturday’s first-round game against Hofstra in the NCAA Tournament.

But the defense deserves a few headlines, too. That unit, which ranked 10th after surrendering 8.5 goals per game prior to Saturday, limited the No. 19 Pride to a season-low eight goals in a three-goal victory for the No. 3 Terps.

Junior defenseman Ryder Bohlander shut out Hofstra junior attackman Jamie Lincoln, the team’s leader in goals (33) and points (53), and junior attackman Stephen Bentz didn’t register a point against junior Max Schmidt.

"I thought Ryder Bohlander did a really good job on Jamie Lincoln," Maryland coach Dave Cottle said. "He stayed in front of him, and when he dipped under, he didn’t let him get anything. I think he had one under shot. If he got by us, we wanted him to take us top-side a little bit."

Pride junior attackman Jay Card scored four goals on junior defenseman Brett Schmidt, but two of those goals occurred in the final 71 seconds of regulation.

"They did a great job of getting in our hands and pressuring the ball," Card said. "I know our whole attack found it difficult to kind of get in a groove because they were always in our hands. It was just hard to operate and get into our sets with that happening."

Hofstra coach Seth Tierney said the team ran plays to persuade the Terps to slide, but Bohlander would not budge from Lincoln, and the other defensemen mostly stayed true to their assignments.

"I thought we had a lot of opportunities," Tierney said. "If it’s not one guy, it’s another on their defense that steps up and makes a play. Or their goalie will come up and make a save on a lay-up-type look. … They keep coming at you. They’re tough. They’re a tough lacrosse team."

Other notes:

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May 15, 2010

Hofstra at Maryland: Halftime thoughts

No. 3 Maryland leads No. 19 Hofstra 4-3 in an NCAA tournament first-round contest at Byrd Stadium in College Park, and the only reason the Terps, the No. 3 seed in the tournament, aren’t enjoying a larger advantage is because of Andrew Gvozden.

The Pride’s sophomore goalkeeper has been simply amazing, turning away 10 of Maryland’s shots in the first half. Gvozden, a Severna Park native and graduate, was especially mesmerizing in the second quarter, when he denied the Terps six times.

He blocked away shots by senior attackman Will Yeatman and sophomore mifielder Drew Snider in the slot, stopped a blast from freshman long-stick midfielder Jesse Bernhardt off of a faceoff, and swallowed an offering from junior midfielder Dan Hart, who was allowed to run uninhibited down the right alley.

Hofstra's season high in saves by a player is 11 by Gvozden against Delaware and freshman Rob Bellairs against St. John's. Maryland has got to figure out Gvozden, who had surrendered 42 goals in his previous four games.

Other notes:

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Categories: Halftime thoughts, Maryland
        

Hofstra at Maryland: Three things to watch

Maryland and Hofstra haven’t met since 2000 with the Terps winning eight of nine meetings. Maryland, the No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, has been bounced from the first round only once since 1995, but that took place in 2007. The winner of Saturday’s contest at 12 p.m. at Byrd Stadium in College Park will move onto a quarterfinal game against either No. 6 seed Princeton (11-4) or Notre Dame (7-6) on Saturday, May 22 at either 12 or 2:30 p.m. at Princeton.

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May 14, 2010

Terps women take the big three ACC honors

Maryland won all three Atlantic Coast Conference women's lacrosse individual honors as Catilyn McFadden was named Player of the Year, Katie Schwarzmann, Freshman of the Year, and Cathy Reese shared Coach of the Year.

McFadden snared Player of the Year honors for a second straight season, adding to a superb resume that also includes national Midfielder of the Year in 2009 and two selections each as a Tewaaraton Trophy finalist, an All-American and the ACC Tournament MVP. The Notre Dame Prep graduate, a senior midfielder who played on the gold-medal winning U.S. World Cup team last summer, has scored at least one point in 44 straight games, the nation's 11th longest active streak.

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May 13, 2010

Q&A with ESPN's Mark Dixon

ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins midfielder Mark Dixon is pulling double duty this weekend, providing commentary for No. 5 seed Duke’s first-round game against Johns Hopkins at Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C., this Saturday at 12 p.m. and for No. 4 seed North Carolina’s showdown with Delaware at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill, N.C., this Sunday at 5 p.m Dixon addressed the possibility of shifting criteria, the disadvantages of conference tournaments and the one player missing from the list of five finalists for the Tewaaraton Award.

Question: Were there any glaring omissions in the make-up of the 16-team field?

Mark Dixon: "I think every Monday, there’s always great discussion. The bottom line is, there’s only 60 men’s lacrosse teams playing Division I ball, and you’re going to have some hurt feelings. As it is, with 16 teams, I think the ratio is already out of proportion with what the NCAA wants. I think for the most part, they got it right. It looked like the criteria was a little inconsistent. In other words, Hopkins with their strength of schedule and their RPI seemed to really benefit, whereas Georgetown didn’t get the same luxury. I think they applied some different criteria when they looked at Georgetown and – let’s say – Notre Dame. Georgetown had a better strength of schedule and a better RPI than Notre Dame, also a better win-loss record, and they beat them head-to-head. But the criteria applied looked more at significant wins – Notre Dame’s significant wins coming against Duke, Loyola and Denver, while Georgetown didn’t possess those same wins with oomph. They didn’t have a win over Duke. They had a win over Delaware, but they lost to Loyola. What’s frustrating for lacrosse fans is the criteria seemed to be on an as-needed basis. There is uniform criteria, but they’re not used in a particular order. It just seems like this year, the criteria was split, whereas in years past, the strict criteria was strength of schedule and RPI. This year, the strict criteria appeared to be quality wins. But it’s a monumental task, being on the NCAA selection committee. I feel for Georgetown. I think they should have gotten a bid into the NCAA Tournament, but at the end, if you look at the criteria and you look at the metrics that are used, Notre Dame is in."

Q: Did the loss to Delaware in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament hurt Drexel, while Hofstra failing to qualify for the CAA Tournament help the Pride get into the NCAA Tournament?

MD: "I actually wrote about this in a piece for Inside Lacrosse this week. I thought the conference tournament hurt both UMass and Drexel. It’s a double-edged sword. It can help you or it can hurt you. Had Drexel beaten Delaware and reached the CAA final, we could be talking about Drexel being in the tournament as opposed to Notre Dame because Drexel beat Notre Dame head-to-head. The conference tournament are built to give teams incentives because if you didn’t have a post-league tournament like they did in the Ivy League, teams like Harvard and Yale have been eliminated in mid-April. Hofstra perhaps did benefit from not making their tournament, but they also had some quality wins outside of the conference, and they were helped out in some other conference tournaments. For example, Army winning the Patriot League. Hofstra had a resounding win over the Black Knights. So that definitely hurt Drexel, but it would have gone in the other direction if Drexel had beaten Delaware and gotten to the CAA final."

Q: Any argument with the top eight seeds?

MD: "I have no beef with the top-8 seeds. I thought they got it right. You could have looked at Denver as maybe being a potential first-round site, but when you look at their numbers compared to Stony Brook, it’s virtually dead even. And even though Denver did beat Stony Brook head-to-head, Stony Brook, I believe, had a better strength of schedule. I think they got it right."

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Mount St. Mary's, Q&A
        

May 12, 2010

Women's Tewaaraton finalists announced

Two local women were among the five finalists named Wednesday for the 2010 Tewaaraton Award for women's lacrosse -- Maryland's Caitlyn McFadden, a Notre Dame Prep graduate, and Virginia's Brittany Kalkstein, a Roland Park graduate.

The other finalists were Penn's Ali DeLuca, Northwestern's Katrina Dowd and North Carolina's Jenn Russell.

McFadden, a repeat finalist and last year's national midfielder of the year, is a versatile senior ranking in the top three on a balanced No. 1 Terrapins team in goals, assists, points, ground balls, draw controls and caused turnovers. The two-time Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, she is also a two-time ACC tournament Most Valuable Player. The Phoenix resident has the 11th-longest point-scoring streak in the nation at 44 games.

Kalkstein, an All-ACC selection this spring, is also a versatile senior midfielder, but she is perhaps best known for her ability to control the draws. She won 90 this season, breaking her own single-season school record and moving into third nationally. She also holds the school and conference career records with 280, fourth in NCAA history. Kalkstein leads the No. 6 Cavaliers in goals and is second in points, ground balls and caused turnovers.

The Tewaaraton Award, the premier award in college women's lacrosse, will be presented June 3 at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

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Categories: Maryland, Women's lacrosse
        

Q&A with ESPN's Paul Carcaterra

ESPN analyst and former Syracuse All-American midfielder Paul Carcaterra will provide commentary for No. 1 seed Virginia’s first-round game at Klockner Stadium in Charlottesville, Va., against Mount St. Mary’s this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Carcaterra offered his opinion on the omission of Georgetown, the seed with the easiest road to the Final Four, and the local team with the best chance to reach the Final Four.

Question: How would you evaluate the selection committee’s decisions regarding the make-up of the 16-team field?

Paul Carcaterra: "One interesting team that popped out at me was Georgetown. It’s almost unfair to put them head-to-head with another team, but when you look at the Georgetown-Notre Dame situation, it doesn’t make complete sense unless you were in that committee. Georgetown had the better record, a better strength of schedule, a better RPI, and they beat Notre Dame head-to-head. So to me, there’s some kind of discrepancy there. Look, it’s not an easy job because this year – more than ever – so many teams beat each other. For example, Loyola beat Georgetown, Georgetown beat Notre Dame, and Notre Dame beat Loyola. That’s just one example of how it’s so cyclical with all of these teams beating each other. I think there was probably a lot of tension on who should be in and who should be out. If Georgetown got in and Loyola didn’t, then people would be barking that Loyola beat them head-to-head, and something similar could be said for a lot of these situations. It was not an easy situation to be in if you’re on the committee, but that was one team that possibly got a raw deal."

Q: So it sounds like you had Georgetown pegged for the tournament. If that’s the case, which team did you think was out?

PC: "I was kind of debating between four teams for the last two spots, and they were Hopkins, Loyola, Hofstra and Drexel. I thought Drexel had a pretty nice body of work. Drexel beat Notre Dame, beat Hofstra. The other situation that I thought was kind of interesting was that Drexel was almost penalized – in my mind – for going to the conference tournament. Hofstra doesn’t make the conference tournament, but gets in the NCAA Tournament, and Drexel stays home because they lost to Delaware again. When you think about it, Drexel hurt themselves by going to the conference tournament and losing again, whereas Hofstra stayed idle and got to the NCAA Tournament. So those were my four teams, and I felt like it came down to either Hofstra or Drexel and Hopkins or Loyola. I had Georgetown in and Notre Dame in, so it wasn’t necessarily about Georgetown getting in over Notre Dame. Hopkins beat Loyola last weekend, and even though they had a worse record, they also played a much tougher schedule than Loyola. So I thought that Hopkins and Drexel should have gotten in. I think Hofstra’s a better team – top to bottom – than Drexel, but they just didn’t take care of business when they should have. And not making your conference tournament – although that’s not a pre-requisite – to me, that just didn’t add up."

Q: What were your thoughts on Stony Brook getting the No. 8 seed and a home game in the first round?

PC: "I was surprised because when you think of Stony Brook and their body of work – although they have two of the most explosive offensive players in [junior midfielder] Kevin Crowley and [junior attackman] Jordan McBride – what’s their top win? I looked at their schedule, and they had no big wins on that entire schedule. They beat Towson, but Towson’s at home and they’re 7-8. Delaware’s their best win, but you don’t get a No. 8 seed when Delaware’s your best win. I would have given the No. 8 seed to – as crazy as it sounds – Georgetown. Georgetown beat Notre Dame, they played a very difficult schedule, and they didn’t have any bad losses. Georgetown had a top-10 RPI and their strength of schedule was ninth. That’s why when Georgetown didn’t get in, it was like, whoa. With that said, I think Stony Brook can beat Denver because Denver is traveling all the way to the East, and it’s at Stony Brook."

Q: Would you agree or disagree that Virginia has the easist path to the Final Four at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Memorial Day weekend?

PC: "Absolutely. Virginia’s path to the Final Four is drastically easier than the other top seeds. They’re playing a Mount St. Mary’s team that is actually pretty good this year. They’re not a poor team by any stretch, but for the No. 1 team in the country, they will be heavily favored and should win that game without too much trouble. And that quarterfinal game, when you think about it, is normally a bear of a game for every top seed. It’s usually a difficult game more times than not. But to face either Stony Brook or Denver as opposed to [No. 4 seed] North Carolina and [No. 5 seed] Duke potentially squaring off, [No. 2 seed] Syracuse possibly playing [No. 7 seed] Cornell, and [No. 6 seed] Princeton playing [No. 3 seed] Maryland, those are much tougher games than Virginia’s. Unless North Carolina gets healthy, I think Duke is a few goals better than North Carolina right now. Syracuse and Cornell, the last two times those teams have played, it’s come down to the last second, so you can’t tell me that’s an easy game."

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Mount St. Mary's, Q&A
        

May 11, 2010

Q&A with ESPN's Quint Kessenich

ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins All-American goalkeeper Quint Kessenich will occupy a spot in ESPNU’s studio in Charlotte, N.C., offering commentary on all eight NCAA Tournament first-round games this weekend. Kessenich broke down his thoughts on the snub of Georgetown, the challenge for Virginia and seed with the toughest path to the Final Four.

Question: What is your assessment of the selection committee’s decisions regarding the make-up of the 16-team field?

Quint Kessenich: "I think in the end, the two teams that were left out were Georgetown and Drexel. I can make a case for both of those teams, and I can make a case for the teams that were selected. So for me, just getting clarity on the selection process – what the mindset was, what the reasoning was – and if the fans are OK with what they’re hearing from [committee chair] Tim Pavlechko and the committee, then I can’t really argue. I thought Georgetown was in. In my mock bracket which we did on Saturday in the studio, I had Georgetown not only in, but I thought they had just as strong a resume as Stony Brook, and I gave them the eighth seed and had them hosting a game. That’s how tight it was in terms of being in and out. There’s not much difference between teams 8 through 16 this year."

Q: So the exclusion of Georgetown was the biggest surprise of Sunday night?

QK: "Yes, that’s the team that has the most to complain about given what they accomplished. One thing that surprised me looking at it this morning is that Mount St. Mary’s moved to 16 in RPI. So Georgetown gets a lot more credit for that Mount St. Mary’s win than I anticipated. I thought their RPI and strength of schedule were tough. They played teams ranked Nos. 2, 3 and 5, so I was surprised when the brackets initially came out. And I thought the Big East was a better conference than the ECAC [Eastern College Athletic Conference]. I think Loyola’s in-conference wins are unimpressive, to say the least. I thought the Big East and the CAA [Colonial Athletic Association] had better years and are much stronger conferences than the ECAC."

Q: So in your mock bracket, which team was out?

QK: "I did not have Loyola in the tournament. Otherwise, the field was the same. The top seven seeds were the same. Most of my match-ups were on. But I had Georgetown in and Loyola not in."

Q: So you had Hofstra in?

QK: "I did. Hofstra and Notre Dame, I thought, were very solid. And if Johns Hopkins got in, I thought Georgetown would get in also."

Q: With Virginia getting the top seed, can returning to lacrosse be cathartic for the Cavaliers?

QK: "I think it is. When we spoke to [coach] Dom Starsia last night, he mentioned meeting with the captains and making sure that they were on board and really willing to do this. I think Dom sat them down and really went over what they’re going to encounter over the next 20 or so days. This is going to be quite a journey for them. The issue is not going to go away. So they’re going to be confronted with it on a daily basis, especially as they near games. Playing lacrosse will be great therapy and will return their lives to – at least for 2½ hours – a little bit of normalcy. When they’re out on the lacrosse field, that will be an oasis away from the off-the-field troubles. That will help get them back to normalcy. They will be surrounded by friends and their teammates in the locker room, traveling to games, through the practices and schedule of their week. I can’t argue with [athletic director] Craig Littlepage and Dom Starsia saying that lacrosse is a vital part of the healing process."

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Q&A
        

May 10, 2010

Maryland not surprised by Hofstra's presence in NCAA tournament

One of the hot topics on Monday will center on the selection committee’s decision to invite Hofstra – a team that didn’t even qualify for its own conference tournament – to the NCAA Tournament.

But don’t count Maryland coach Dave Cottle as one of those questioning the committee’s reasoning.

"Am I surprised that they made the NCAA Tournament field? No," said Cottle, whose Terps play host to the Pride on Saturday at 12 p.m. "Making your conference tournament is not a criteria. When you looked at it, they had some good wins."

"Am I surprised that they made the NCAA Tournament field? No," said Cottle, whose Terps play host to the Pride on Saturday at 12 p.m. "Making your conference tournament is not a criteria. When you looked at it, they had some good wins."

Cottle referred to Hofstra’s wins against three tournament teams in Johns Hopkins (14-6 on March 13), Patriot League regular-season and tournament champion Army (17-2 on March 30) and Colonial Athletic Association tournament titlist Delaware (12-11 on April 10).

Cottle, who will spend the week conferring with his coaches on trying to limit junior attackmen Jamie Lincoln (33 goals and 20 assists) and Jay Card (27, 22), was buoyed by the return of senior Will Yeatman, who had missed the previous two games because of a concussion before scoring two goals in the team’s 18-10 rout of Colgate last Saturday. (Yeatman also has been dealing with a broken right thumb.)

"We thought we had to get him back," Cottle said. "He had two weeks off, and he did a good job. He needed to play, and that was a positive. It was going to take two or three weeks for his thumb to feel a little bit better, and that was a positive. He gives us a little more depth at that position. He gives us a different look than we’re used to seeing."

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:30 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Maryland
        

May 6, 2010

Maryland eager to play rather than take weekend off

No. 3 Maryland figures to get a high seed when the field for the NCAA Tournament is unveiled Sunday night. But those hopes could take a slight fall if the Terps (10-3) drop the regular-season finale to Colgate (3-9) on Saturday.

Still, Maryland coach Dave Cottle said he had no regrets about scheduling a game against the Red Raiders rather than taking a week off.

"No, I’d rather play," Cottle said. "It’s a great opportunity for us to keep playing and keep improving. No one’s yet figured out how to take two weeks off and still keep playing well. So this just keeps us going. This gives us an opportunity to play on Long Island, and we have some guys from Long Island on our team. So they get to play in front of their houses and their parents and their friends. So I think it’s a tremendous opportunity, and our kids are looking forward to it."

Colgate’s season is over after Saturday, but the things might have been different had the team reversed the trend on five one-goal losses – three of which were decided in overtime. Which is why the Terps are taking the Red Raiders seriously.

"That’s a team that went to the NCAA Tournament two years in a row," Cottle said. "You can’t be afraid to play games. As you know, we’re playing a lot of younger guys, and it’s another opportunity for us to play our guys and to get better. I think the kids are looking forward to playing."

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Categories: Maryland
        

May 3, 2010

Second RPI list is in

The NCAA released its second Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) list on Monday, and top of the list remains the same.

Virginia (14-1), Maryland (10-3), North Carolina (11-2), Syracuse (12-1) and Duke (11-4) are Nos. 1-5 as they were last week.

Cornell (9-4), Princeton (9-4), Loyola (9-3), Stony Brook (10-3) and Georgetown (8-5) round out the top 10. Princeton and Loyola each dropped a spot, while Cornell vaulted over them from No. 8.

Locally, Johns Hopkins (6-7) jumped two places to No. 14, Towson (6-7) fell four spots to No. 14, Mount St. Mary's (10-4) dropped one place to No. 24, and UMBC (4-8) moved down four spots to No. 38.

Navy (7-8) fell two places to No. 26, but since the season is over and the team has a sub-.500 record, the Midshipmen are mathematically eliminated from postseason consideration.

The RPI, a rating that accounts for record and strength of schedule in that stronger opponents yield higher RPIs, is one tool that the NCAA selection committee will evaluate prior to finalizing the field for the NCAA Tournament. The 16-team bracket will be unveiled on Sunday, May 9 at 9 p.m.

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:15 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Mount St. Mary's, Towson, UMBC
        

April 28, 2010

Q&A with ESPN's Paul Carcaterra

ESPN analyst Paul Carcaterra is a former All-American midfielder at Syracuse. In the first of a two-part question-and-answer session, Carcaterra discussed Virginia’s chances for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, Loyola’s resume for an at-large bid, and Johns Hopkins’ diminishing hopes for a tournament berth.

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland
        

April 26, 2010

NCAA releases first RPI list

The NCAA released its first Ratings Percentage Index -- aka RPI -- and four of the top five spots are occupied by teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Virginia (13-1), North Carolina (11-2), Maryland (9-3) and Duke (11-4) are Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 5 on the list. Only Syracuse (11-1) at No. 4 breaks up the monopoly.

Princeton (9-3), Loyola (9-2), Cornell (8-4), Stony Brook (9-3) and Towson (6-5) round out the top 10. Locally, Johns Hopkins (5-7) sits at No. 14, Mount St. Mary's (8-4) at No. 23,  Navy (6-7) at No. 24 and UMBC (4-7) at No. 34.

The RPI, a rating that accounts for record and strength of schedule in that stronger opponents yield higher RPIs, is one tool that the NCAA selection committee will evaluate prior to finalizing the field for the NCAA Tournament. The 16-team bracket will be unveiled on Sunday, May 9 at 9 p.m.

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:55 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Mount St. Mary's, Navy, Towson, UMBC
        

Postscript from Maryland vs. Virginia

When the topic of top goalkeepers in Division I is brought up, names including those of Syracuse junior John Galloway, Princeton sophomore Tyler Fiorito and Notre Dame senior Scott Rodgers are usually mixed in the conversation.

Curiously, Adam Ghitelman’s is left out, and that’s somewhat surprising considering that the junior has anchored No. 2 Virginia’s defense for the last three seasons. But if Ghitelman is upset about being overlooked, he’s not letting on.

"I can’t say that," he said minutes after his 16-save performance propelled the Cavaliers to their sixth Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament championship with a 10-6 dismantling of No. 5 Maryland in College Park on Sunday. "I think a lot of the goalie position is looked at based on save percentage and whatnot, and I think I bring a lot more to our team than just stopping the ball. But I’ve worked on that, and hopefully, my game is ready for the playoffs. Those guys are phenomenal. They deserve the credit that they get. If I’m overlooked, I don’t care. All I really care about are wins and losses and hopefully, getting the win in the final one."

Ghitelman’s numbers have, admittedly, not been impressive. He began his freshman year as the starter, but eventually gave way to Bud Petit, who carried the team to the NCAA Tournament semifinals. Last year, Ghitelman ranked 19th among Division I goalies in goals-against average (8.39) and 30th in save percentage (.538).

This spring, his numbers are up. Entering Sunday’s contest, he ranked seventh in goals-against average (7.91) and 25th in save percentage (.538).

Ghitelman has registered spectacular outings against some of the more explosive offenses in the country. Cornell managed just four goals, which is a season low, and the Terps’ output on Sunday is also a season low. Both North Carolina (in a 7-5 loss) and Stony Brook (in a 13-8 setback) tied their season worsts against Virginia.

"He’s got an incredible record, but he doesn’t get a lot of credit," Cavaliers coach Dom Starsia said of Ghitelman, who is 35-5 in his career. "He’s had his up-and-down moments a little bit, but he brings us a lot of poise in the goal, and he’s very good out of the goal. He does a lot of the other things for us. He’s always been a good leader for us back there on the defensive end. His ball-stopping has begun to become more consistent, and today was close to spectacular. I feel like that end of the field is in good hands with him down there."

Other notes:

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Categories: Maryland, Postscript
        

April 25, 2010

Maryland vs. Virginia: Halftime thoughts

Virginia’s remedy for a slow start? A hot goalie.

Junior Adam Ghitelman has been superb in the first half and is a big reason why the No. 2 Cavaliers lead No. 5 Maryland, 5-4, at halftime of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament final here at Byrd Stadium in College Park.

Ghitelman has made eight saves in the half, and many of them have been of the spectacular variety. He’s turned away Terps junior attackman Grant Catalino three times, used his stick to block a behind-the-head offering from sophomore midfielder jake Bernhardt in the slot, and made back-to-back saves on junior attackmen Ryan Young and Travis Reed during one sequence.

Ghitelman has pretty much allowed Virginia to settle into the contest after Maryland opened with a 3-0 run over a span of 3 minutes, 18 seconds in the first quarter.

After sophomore midfielder Michael Shakespeare’s goal gave the Terps a 3-0 advantage with 7:34 left in the first period, the Cavaliers responded 45 seconds later with a tally from senior midfielder Brian Carroll (Gilman) , and they proceeded to reel off three more unanswered goals to assume a 4-3 lead with 2:02 left in the second quarter.

Twenty-two seconds later, Maryland knotted the score at four when junior long-stick midfielder Brian Farrell (Boys’ Latin) found Reed (Boys’ Latin) alone on the crease. But freshman long-stick midfielder Jesse Bernhardt threw a lazy pass on an attempted clear that was intercepted by junior midfielder Rhamel Bratton, and he found sophomore attackman Steele Stanwick (Loyola) alone at the left post to give Virginia the 5-4 lead with 13 seconds left.

Other notes:

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Categories: Halftime thoughts, Maryland
        

Virginia vs. Maryland: Three things to watch

It’s been a while since a team other than Duke has won the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament, but it just so happens that Virginia captured the crown in 2006 and Maryland picked up the hardware the year before. So there’s quite a lot at stake when the No. 2 Cavaliers and the No. 5 Terps meet Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at Byrd Stadium in College Park in the tournament final.

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Categories: Maryland, Three things to watch
        

April 23, 2010

Four from Maryland make All-ACC team

Led by two-time selection Ryan Young, Maryland placed four players on the All-Atlantic Coast Conference team, which was the most among the four conference schools that play lacrosse.

Young, a junior attackman who earned All-ACC honors last year, leads the No. 5 Terps in assists (20) and ranks second in points (31). He is also fourth in groundballs (25).

Young is joined by three first-timers in junior attackman Grant Catalino, senior goalkeeper Brian Phipps and junior defenseman Brett Schmidt. 

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Categories: Maryland
        

North Carolina vs. Maryland: Three things to watch

There likely won’t be too many surprises when No. 3 North Carolina and No. 5 Maryland meet Friday night in the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament at Byrd Stadium in College Park. A date in the championship final on Sunday with either No. 2 Virginia or No. 6 Duke awaits the victor.

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Categories: Maryland, Three things to watch
        

Schmidt is the Terps' Top Chef?

Friday’s edition of The Sun included an article on junior defenseman Brett Schmidt, who leads No. 5 Maryland’s defense this season.

Schmidt, who likes to get into the hands and heads of his opponents, apparently is quite good with his hands when it comes to cooking. Schmidt, a self-described "health freak," said he tends to cook most of his meals at the house that he shares with fellow defensmen Max Schmidt (no relation) and Ryder Bohlander.

"Since I got to college, I’ve loved cooking for myself," Brett Schmidt said. "I just like eating healthy, so I can make whatever I want."

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Categories: Maryland
        

April 22, 2010

Maryland's Cottle addresses ending to win vs. Johns Hopkins

There’s a lot to be happy about if you’re a Terp or a supporter. Maryland is ranked fifth in The Sun’s latest poll, owns an 8-2 record, and is routinely cited by experts as one of the favorites to advance to the Final Four at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Memorial Day weekend.

But coach Dave Cottle took a minute to address the team’s tactic of holding the ball and playing keep-away in the final minutes of Saturday’s 10-9 victory over No. 15 Johns Hopkins in the second game of the Smartlink Day of Rivals doubleheader at M&T Bank Stadium.

While refraining from second-guessing that strategy, Cottle said the coaching staff may have been too conservative in directing the players not to shoot the ball even when opportunities to score presented themselves.

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland
        

April 21, 2010

North Carolina close to returning to full strength

When No. 3 North Carolina and No. 5 Maryland tangle Friday night in the semifinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament at Byrd Stadium in College Park, the Tar Heels could almost be back at full strength.

Sophomore attackman Thomas Wood and sophomore defenseman Charlie McComas are close to returning in time for Friday’s contest. Wood, who is tied for third on the team in goals (19) and ranks third in points (28), has missed the last three games due to a fractured finger. McComas, a Parkton native and Boys’ Latin graduate who is tied for third in groundballs (34) and caused turnovers (12), did not play in North Carolina’s 17-14 shootout with Robert Morris last Saturday due to an injured shoulder.

"We’re hoping that they all come back for Friday night," coach Joe Breschi said.

The news is less optimistic with regards to senior midfielder Sean DeLaney, who has not played since suffering a left shoulder injury in the third quarter of a 9-7 victory over the Terps on March 27. Despite missing three contests, DeLaney is still tied for the team lead in goals (20), but Breschi didn’t sound hopeful that DeLaney would suit up against Maryland.

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Categories: Maryland
        

April 20, 2010

Q&A with ESPN's Matt Ward

Matt Ward is a former All-American attackman who helped Virginia capture NCAA championships in 2003 and 2006 and won the Tewaaraton Trophy in 2006 as the sport’s top player. In the first of a two-part interview, Ward, an analyst for ESPN, discusses – among other topics – No. 5 Maryland’s shelf life, No. 7 Loyola’s at-large resume and No. 20 Towson’s postseason chances.

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Mount St. Mary's, Navy, Towson, UMBC
        

April 19, 2010

ACC Tournament schedule set

The bracket for the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament is set, and play opens this Friday at Byrd Stadium in College Park.

Top-seeded Virginia (11-1 overall and 2-1 in the league) will meet No. 4 seed Duke (11-3, 1-2) in the first semifinal at 5 p.m. The Blue Devils tagged the Cavaliers with their firest loss of the season on Saturday night. The 13-9 decision was Duke's eight straight win in the series.

Maryland, the No. 3 seed (8-2, 1-2), will tangle with No. 2 seed North Carolina (11-1, 2-1) in the second semifinal at 7:30 p.m. The Terps had won seven consecutive games in this series, but the Tar Heels have triumphed in the last two meetings, including a 9-7 victory on March 27.

The championship final will take place on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

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Categories: Maryland
        

April 18, 2010

Postscript from Maryland vs. Johns Hopkins

No. 15 Johns Hopkins' 10-9 loss to No. 5 Maryland at the Smartlink Day of Rivals event at M&T Bank Stadium Saturday night begs the question: where does this leave the Blue Jays (5-6) in terms of making their 39th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament?

Johns Hopkins hasn’t absorbed six losses in the regular season since 1971 when that squad went 3-7. That was also the last time the school did not play in the NCAA Tournament.

With just three games left on the schedule before Selection Sunday on May 9, it would seem that the Blue Jays must win all three, which would entail beating Navy next Saturday, Towson on April 28 and No. 7 Loyola on May 8.

A defiant Dave Pietramala vowed that this team would aim at making the postseason.

"We’re going to make a run at this," the head coach said. "There are no ifs, ands or buts. We’re going to do everything we can to make a run at this. This isn’t over yet."

Senior midfielder Michael Kimmel echoed Pietramala’s feelings.

"Obviously, we’re not happy with the loss," the Towson native and Loyola graduate said. "But like Coach said, this thing’s not over yet. We’ve played the toughest schedule in the country and we obviously have to win out now, but we just have to learn from our mistakes. … Obviously, everyone’s down right now, but I’m a captain, and [attackman] Steve [Boyle] is a senior leader, and we’ve got to have our heads up and tell the guys that this thing isn’t over yet."

Other notes:

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Postscript
        

April 17, 2010

Maryland vs. Johns Hopkins: Halftime thoughts

Maryland’s start was a lot worse than its finish as the No. 5 Terps trail No. 15 Johns Hopkins, 4-3, at halftime in the second game of the Smartlink Day of Rivals doubleheader at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore Saturday night.

Maryland (7-2), which has dropped the last three meetings and 12 of the last 15, got off to a lethargic start, killing possessions with costly turnovers.

Meanwhile, the Blue Jays (5-5) took advantage by scoring three unanswered goals. The first two came from freshmen midfielders as John Greeley scored with 12:13 left in the first quarter and Greeley connected with John Ranagan with 6:53 left. Senior attackman Steven Boyle capped the run by converting a pass from senior midfielder Michael Kimmel with 4:54 left.

After both teams traded goals, junior attackman Ryan Young converted a feed from sophomore midfielder Jake Bernhardt, and senior midfielder Adam Sear scored on a two-man advantage as the Terps closed to within one before halftime.

If Maryland harbors any hope of ending its recent hex against Johns Hopkins, the team will need a hotter start in the third quarter. The good news is that the Blue Jays have surrendered 28 goals in the third period – the most of any quarter this season.

Other notes:

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Categories: Halftime thoughts, Johns Hopkins, Maryland
        

April 16, 2010

Where's the love for long-stick midfielders?

Despite the position’s importance, there is no designated spot on All-American teams for long-stick midfielders. They’re usually grouped with close defensemen even tough many people would agree that their responsibilities are somewhat different.

Here’s what each of the four long-stick midfielders participating in the Smartlink Day of Rivals doubleheader at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday had to say about the lack of recognition.

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

Long-stick midfielders try their hands at scoring

Friday’s edition of The Sun included an article highlighting each of the long-stick midfielders playing for the four teams involved in Saturday’s Smartlink Day of Rivals doubleheader at M&T Bank Stadium.

A significant task associated with playing the long-stick midfielder position is helping the team move the ball from defense to offense. The dilemma for these players is what to do if the opposing defense doesn’t try to stop the ball carrier.

Ever since he scored two goals in his first game as a freshman in 2007, Maryland redshirt junior Brian Farrell has had the green light to shoot the ball if necessary.

"I was scared in the beginning because I never knew what the reaction was going to be from Coach [Dave] Cottle," recalled Farrell, who has scored 17 goals and assisted on 12 others in his career. "But the first game I ever played in, I scored two goals, and I was like, ‘OK, I don’t think he cares as long as I score.’ There’s been times when I’ve gotten yelled at for shooting. For example, last week [in an 11-9 victory over then-No. 20 Navy], I got yelled at for taking – I don’t think it was a bad shot – what they thought was a bad shot. Not the right time, I guess. … It’s part of the game. You need transition in order to win games."

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Navy
        

April 15, 2010

Maryland's Farrell has a new appreciation for practice

Brian Farrell is no Allen Iverson.

No, this is not a comparison of Farrell’s cross-over dribble with that of the former Philadelphia 76er’s nor is it a commentary on Farrell’s pull-up jumper.

Rather, the Maryland redshirt junior long-stick midfielder is not like Iverson in that Farrell actually enjoys going to practice. It’s an appreciation gained when his 2009 season was cut short after three games by an unusual injury.

In the second game of the season against Air Force, Farrell absorbed a stick check to the right side of his chest. The pain was tremendous and did not subside during the team’s flight back from Florida.

He played against Georgetown, but during a practice prior to Duke, Farrell said he almost passed out trying to complete a sprinting drill. Further examination revealed that he was suffereing from a cracked rib that that pierced a muscle near his lung. The punctured muscle released two liters of blood internally.

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Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (1)
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