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June 13, 2011

Review & preview: Mount St. Mary's

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

REVIEW

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

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May 11, 2011

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

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

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

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May 6, 2011

Mount St. Mary's takes home two major NEC awards

Mount St. Mary’s goalkeeper T.C. DiBartolo and coach Tom Gravante were named the Northeast Conference Defensive Player and Coach of the Year, respectively, the league announced Thursday night.

DiBartolo, a Bowie native and Archbishop Spalding graduate who is the program’s all-time leaders in saves with 701, has registered a 10.87 goals-against average and a .520 save percentage this year. But in five conference games, DiBartolo’s numbers improved to an 8.53 goals-against average and a .571 save percentage.

Gravante repeated as Coach of the Year in the NEC. It’s the sixth such honor in his career, which includes being named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1997, 1999, 2003 and 2010.

In addition to DiBartolo, junior attackman Brett Schmidt, sophomore attackman Andrew Scalley and junior midfielder Bryant Schmidt made the conference first team.

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Gravante vows different Mount St. Mary's vs. Bryant

Six days after Mount St. Mary’s dropped a 9-8 decision in overtime to Bryant at Waldron Family Stadium in Emmittsburg, the Mountaineers get a re-match with the Bulldogs in one semifinal of the Northeast Conference tournament on Friday night.

That suits coach Tom Gravante just fine.

“In this case, I think my players understand they dropped one they should’ve won,” he said Thursday. “They weren’t playing at their best, and it was a 9-8 ballgame. So I’m very certain that we’re going to field a different team on Friday night than we saw last Saturday.”

Part of that has to do with a series of much improved practices this week compared last week's, which left Gravante less than impressed.

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April 28, 2011

Mount St. Mary's gets perfect performance from Trapp

En route to going a perfect 21-for-21 on faceoffs last Saturday, Mount St. Mary’s senior Ben Trapp didn’t treat his performance the way a pitcher might in the midst of throwing a no-hitter. In fact, Trapp said he was well aware of what he was on the cusp of achieving.

“We kind of keep track throughout the game,” he said Wednesday. “It’s kind of been one of our goals this year to win 55 percent. So we keep close track of statistics. … People on the sidelines will ask. They’ll be up-to-date on what’s going on. It’s not like I’m going to be jinxed or anything like that.”

The Timonium native and Dulaney graduate’s showing in the team’s 22-5 rout of Wagner edged the previous school record of 20 faceoffs wins shared by Kyle Daddio in 2007 and Steve Kelly in 2003. It also tied the second-best mark in NCAA history set by Delaware’s Alex Smith in 2006. (The NCAA record of 25-of-25 was set by Sacred Heart’s Zach Smith in 2007.)

While he was aware of his performance that day, Trapp said he didn’t know about the school or NCAA records until after the contest.

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April 27, 2011

Mount St. Mary's to host Northeast Conference tournament

Mount St. Mary’s season-long mission to capture the top seed and home-field advantage throughout the Northeast Conference tournament was accomplished last Saturday – and a measure of thanks goes to Bryant.

The Mountaineers’ 22-5 rout of Wagner coupled with the Bulldogs’ 16-15 loss to Robert Morris helped Mount St. Mary’s (7-5 overall and 4-0 in the NEC) clinch the top seed and home-field advantage in the conference tournament. Sports information director Mark Vandergrift informed the players and coach Tom Gravante of the development moments after the victory over Wagner.

“We thank them for that,” Gravante said Tuesday. “… That’s the first time in my career that something like that has ever happened. Usually, in the MAAC [Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference], it always went down to the final game. … It was wonderful to hear, and I just hope we keep their heads grounded as well as their feet because we still have a job to do.”

The Mountaineers will be able to express their gratitude to Bryant personally when the Bulldogs visit Waldron Family Stadium in Emmittsburg this Saturday. Bryant (7-8, 2-2) can cement a spot in the four-team NEC tournament with a win against Mount St. Mary’s or a loss by Sacred Heart (4-8, 1-3) to Robert Morris (8-5, 2-2) on Saturday.

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April 19, 2011

Mount St. Mary's enjoying the view from the top

Saturday’s 16-10 victory over host Quinnipiac vaulted Mount St. Mary’s to the top of the Northeast Conference, and the Mountaineers (6-5 overall and 3-0 in the conference) are enjoying sole possession of first place in the league.

“It’s a great, great feeling,” coach Tom Gravante said Monday. “I know that outside of the program, the alumni and parents are very, very happy, but again, the pressure is still on to maintain our status, to stay focused and stay humble.”

The Bobcats had entered Saturday’s contest with an unblemished 2-0 record in the Northeast Conference, but Mount St. Mary’s scored the first five goals en route to a 10-2 advantage at halftime.

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April 15, 2011

Mount St. Mary's looking to occupy penthouse in Northeast Conference

Less than a season removed from capturing the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament, Mount St. Mary’s finds itself in a similar position in the Northeast Conference.

With a 2-0 record in the league, the Mountaineers are locked in a first-place tie with Quinnipiac, and the Bobcats (2-0) play host to Mount St. Mary’s on Saturday.

Saturday’s winner will assume sole possession of first place and earn the inside track on hosting the four-team Northeast Conference tournament.

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April 6, 2011

DiBartolo climbs into Mount St. Mary's record books

Mount St. Mary’s dropped a 13-7 decision to Georgetown at home Tuesday night, but there was one bright spot.

Senior goalkeeper T.C. DiBartolo overtook Sean Elder to become the school’s all-time leader in saves. With 11 stops, DiBartolo now has 661 career saves, which is six more than Elder’s total.

DiBartolo, a Bowie native and Archbishop Spalding graduate, entered the contest ranked third all-time with a 9.82 goals-against average and 10th with a .571 save percentage.

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April 5, 2011

Mount St. Mary's opens conference play with "huge win"

Despite capturing the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament and qualifying for the NCAA tournament last season, Mount St. Mary’s was tabbed to finish third in the newly configured Northeast Conference – behind preseason favorite Robert Morris and No. 2 Bryant.

That’s why the Mountaineers’ 12-11 decision over Robert Morris on Saturday was what coach Tom Gravante called a “huge win.”

“I think we were confident going into that game,” Gravante said Monday. “I don’t think we played our best game, but we managed to persevere. … Overall, a step in the right direction with our athletic confidence, and certainly there’s more room to grow.”

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March 30, 2011

Mount St. Mary's eager to delve into conference play

Mount St. Mary’s was 10 minutes, 30 seconds away from potentially sending Loyola to its fourth consecutive loss on Saturday. Instead, the visiting Greyhounds snapped a 9-9 tie with a game-ending 5-1 run.

Being so close to a positive outcome only to come out on the losing end could devastate a young, emerging program, but coach Tom Gravante said he believes that the Mountaineers (3-4) won’t be bothered by a hangover effect.

“That could be the case,” he said Tuesday. “We told them after the game, ‘Gentlemen, we’re very proud of you and how you played, but the bottom line is, you can’t just play 55 out of 60 minutes.’ You’ve got to play a complete game, and that’s a tough one to take on the chin. But sometimes there’s more to learn by losing than winning, and hopefully, this makes them hungry and ready to focus on practice first as we move towards Saturday. I think they have responded. We had a good go this morning, and we’re looking for a good go on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I’d be a little concerned and nervous if they were gun-shy and licking their wounds and feeling sorry for themselves. But I think they know me well enough that I’m not going to allow them and this program to be like that.”

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March 25, 2011

Familiar face to return to starting lineup for Mount St. Mary's

Less than a year removed from a season in which he registered 17 goals and 21 assists in 17 starts, Brett Schmidt has been playing off the bench more this spring.

That’s about to change as the junior attackman will return to the starting lineup for Saturday’s home contest against Loyola, coach Tom Gravante said Friday morning.

“He’s back to playing the level of ball that we needed from him against Towson [on March 5],” Gravante said. “So he earned it back, and it’s time to get him in the game right from the start.”

Gravante said the decision to demote Schmidt was two-fold. First, the coaches wanted to give Schmidt, who had posted just one goal and one assist in his first two games, what Gravante called “a kick in the pants.” Second, the staff thought running Schmidt out of the box would pair him with an opponent’s short-stick defender, which would be a mismatch.

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Leftovers from Q&A with T.C. DiBartolo of Mount St. Mary's

Friday’s editions included a Q&A with Mount St. Mary’s senior goalie T.C. DiBartolo. Due to space constraints, here are some answers that didn’t make the cut.

Question: Why did you choose Mount St. Mary’s as your destination?
Answer: Well, actually, my mom really wanted me to go here. I wasn’t exactly a big fan of the school at first. But she asked me to try it out, and I thought, ‘Why not?’ And it grew on me a lot. It definitely helped that the coaches and players have been great here, and the people on campus have been great, too.

Q: Did you ask your mom why she was so insistent on you attending Mount St. Mary’s?
A: The recruiting process was really tough for me, and thing didn’t work out the way I wish they would’ve. My mom liked that it was close to home. And even though she doesn’t come to any of my games because she can’t stand to watch me play because it makes her too nervous, it allowed her to know that if there was any issue, she could come and be here quickly.

Q: Did you have a role model in sports when you were growing up?
A: As far as lacrosse, I guess it would be Mickey Jarboe, the goalie from Navy. I remember my dad taking me to watch him play, and he was the first real goalie that I saw. He is still, to this day, the best goalie I’ve ever seen. I try to base my stance [in the net] around him and my style of play. He was real athletic and just a great player.

Q: Who has the hardest shot you’ve ever had the pleasure of blocking?
A: The hardest shot I’ve ever faced is probably Andrew Brancaccio of Georgetown. He hit me in the hand last year, and the ball actually went into the goal, and it was the very first goal of the game. But I couldn’t feel my fingers until the second quarter. My fingers were numb. And it was a really hot day. It wasn’t because it was cold or anything. It just hurt. I’m glad he graduated last year.

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March 23, 2011

Loyola could meet Mount without key contributors

As Loyola tries to snap a two-game losing streak on Saturday at Mount St. Mary's, it might be missing two key contributors.

Senior faceoff specialist John Schiavone and fifth-year senior midfielder Chris Palmer suffered concussions in the Greyhounds’ 12-8 loss to No. 15 Denver a week ago, and both players did not make the trip to Colorado for the team’s 8-6 loss to Air Force on Saturday.

Schiavone, who has won 52-of-91 faceoffs for a 57.1 success rate, has not returned to the practice field yet, putting his status for Saturday’s game even further in doubt.

“It’s a concussion thing, so he has to go through a period of non contact and then he has to have a period of some non-contact workouts,” coach Charley Toomey said. “And when the trainer tells me that he’s good to go, he’ll be back out there for us.”

Similarly, Palmer, a transfer from Bucknell, is edging closer to being kept out on Saturday.

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March 10, 2011

More work for Towson's Mezzanotte

Peter Mezzanotte’s plate got much bigger.

A starter as a short-stick defensive midfielder, the Towson senior has been adding offensive responsibilities to his workload.

Mezzanotte assisted on two goals in the Tigers’ 11-3 victory over Mount St. Mary’s last Saturday and has already achieved a career high this season with three assists, which leads the team.

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Postscript from Detroit at Mount St. Mary's

Mount St. Mary’s may have banished some demons by capturing the team’s first win of the season with a 12-8 decision against visiting Detroit Wednesday afternoon at Waldron Family Stadium in Emmittsburg.

Perhaps just as significant is the momentum the Mountaineers (1-2) may have gained as they prepare to meet Jacksonville on Sunday.

Sophomore attackman Andrew Scalley conceded that although the team had been in a similar 0-2 hole last year, the pressure was rising to break the seal.

“We definitely came in, feeling like we had a monkey on our backs,” said Scalley, who leads the offense in goals (seven), assists (three) and points (10). “We were in the same situation last year, and so it definitely feels good to get the win. We got a lot of pressure from our coaches, but we came out and had a good week of practice, something we hadn’t been doing prior to the other games that we played this year. So coming out and getting the win really means a lot for us.”

Sunday’s opponent could present problems for Mount St. Mary’s. The Dolphins are 2-2 and only lost to No. 15 Georgetown by three on Feb. 20.

And then there’s the little matter of Jacksonville tagging the Mountaineers with a 14-7 setback that continues to resonate with the players.

“Jacksonville is a good team,” junior attackman Brett Schmidt said. “Last year, we lost to them, which is pretty bad. We’re ready for them.”

Other notes:

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March 9, 2011

Detroit at Mount St. Mary's: Halftime thoughts

What good vibes Mount St. Mary’s generated in the first six minutes have evaporated as the Mountaineers are clinging to a 4-3 lead over visiting Detroit at Waldron Family Stadium in Emmittsburg.

Mount St. Mary’s scored the game’s first four goals in a span of 5 minutes, 49 seconds – quite a reversal from the team’s first two games of the season when Virginia and Towson raced out to early advantages of 7-0 and 4-0, respectively.

But the Mountaineers (0-2) have gone dry over the final 24:11 of the first half, opening the door for the Titans to chip into the lead. Detroit scored twice in a span of 26 seconds to end the first quarter and added a man-up goal to trail only by one at halftime.

Mount St. Mary’s has been careless with the ball, turning it over 13 times to only seven times by Detroit. Possession will be key in the second half.

Other notes:

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Mount St. Mary's makes wholesale changes in starting lineup

No one can accuse Mount St. Mary’s coach Tom Gravante of being too fearful to shake things up.

Four days after a closed-door, team meeting following an 11-3 loss to Towson on Saturday, the Mountaineers will feature a much different starting lineup against Detroit for a rare Wednesday matinee.

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Detroit at Mount St. Mary's: Three things to watch

The surprising aspect of this matchup is that the Titans are the only team with a victory. Detroit is 1-5, but has lost three games by four goals or less, including a one-goal setback to No. 16 Ohio State. The Mountaineers limp into the contest after a 0-2 start, but they defeated the Titans, 12-9, last April. Here are some factors that could play into the outcome of Wednesday’s contest at Waldron Family Stadium in Emmitsburg.

1) Avoiding a slow start. Mount St. Mary’s spent about 15 minutes following their 11-3 loss to Towson on Saturday in a closed-door team meeting, and one of the themes emphasized was playing faster and with more focus from the first whistle. Coach Tom Gravante said he’s been pleased with the tenor and pace in practice over the last three days. “I expect to field a different team that’s going to get off to a better start,” he said. “Our starts against UVA and Towson were the same. We basically made it easy for both of those teams to hit the cage and get to our star goalie. So we’ve made some adjustments, and we’re pretty confident as a staff that we’re going to get off to a much better start tomorrow on both sides of the field.”

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March 6, 2011

Postscript from Towson at Mount St. Mary's

For all the troubles Towson has endured on offense, the Tigers have been buoyed by the play of their defense.

That unit has surrendered just 16 goals in three games thus far – which averages out to 5.3 goals. Towson, which had been tied with Penn State for 13th in Division I with a 6.5 goals-per-game average, is bound to move up the rankings after allowing just three goals in an eight-goal victory over Mount St. Mary’s Saturday.

Junior defenseman Michael Landy said the players are working in conjunction with associate head coach and defensive coordinator Shawn Nadelen.

“Everybody has to be together and on the same page – whether we’re playing zone or man,” said Landy, who shut out Mountaineers junior attackman Cody Lehrer, who scored 48 goals last spring. “Coach Nadelen does a great job of getting us prepared and giving us the perfect game plan. We know what’s coming at us every single week, and it’s also a testament to what we’re going against from our [offensive] guys every day in practice. They work us to the bone. They know our tendencies, they know what we’re bad at, and then they go at it. They really work us.”

The Tigers (1-2) have been rotating between a man-to-man defense and a zone scheme, which Landy said is being used more frequently this year than in his first two seasons.

“This year, you can definitely tell that we’ve all come together and that we definitely understand it,” Landy said of the zone defense. “It’s really about understanding how to play it. … It’s one of those zones where if you run it right and stick by the rules, it’s tough to beat.”

Coach Tony Seaman said the defense has been the anchor for the team as the offense tries to resolve its issues.

“We’re doing a good job and we’re getting where we’re supposed to be,” he said.

Other notes:

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March 5, 2011

Towson at Mount St. Mary's: Halftime thoughts

Towson has exploded for six goals -- by their standards -- and leads host Mount St. Mary’s by four at the Waldron Family Stadium in Emmitsburg this Saturday afternoon.

It took the visiting Tigers just 2 minutes, 39 seconds to match their output in a 3-2 loss to No. 11 Loyola a week ago. And the six goals match a season high as Towson scored six in a four-goal setback to No. 9 Johns Hopkins in their season opener two weeks ago.

The offense has apparently rediscovered its rhythm and found scoring opportunities in front of Mountaineers senior goalie T.C. DiBartolo (three saves).

The second half will be the key. The Tigers have been outscored 8-3 in the third and fourth quarters this season.

Other notes:

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Towson at Mount St. Mary's: Three things to watch

Both teams are chasing a win in the hope that a victory will turn their seasons around. The visiting Tigers are trying to avoid their second consecutive 0-3 start, while the Mountaineers have had 10 days to rebound from a season-opening loss to No. 2 Virginia. Here are some factors that could play into the outcome of Saturday’s game at Waldron Family Stadium in Emmittsburg.

1) Mount St. Mary’s midfield. The Mountaineers’ starting midfield was kept off the scoreboard by the Cavaliers. The return of junior Jake Willertz (hamstring) to the first line with juniors Bryant Schmidt and Eric Ososki is expected to help, but coach Tom Gravante said the first line must avoid committing a unit-high six turnovers as it did against Virginia. “We’ve really preached ball possession and making smart decisions, which will cut down on turnovers,” Gravante said. “We got a pretty good look at Towson, and we know they’re going to do some things defensively that we’re going to try to counter. So we’re asking our offense to make smarter decisions and cut down on turnovers.”

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March 4, 2011

Mount St. Mary's hopes layoff provides benefits

The last time Mount St. Mary’s had extensive downtime between games, the Mountaineers used a 12-day break after a stunning loss to Jacksonville to embark on a five-game winning streak last season.

Coach Tom Gravante is hoping that a 10-day layoff between the team’s season-opening 22-6 loss to No. 2 Virginia on Feb. 22 and Saturday’s home opener against Towson will provide similar results.

“We had two weeks to prepare for a very good Robert Morris team, and we got these kids organized, and they played well. So I’m going to look at it as, yes, the 10 days off did us good as we needed to work on some things to really get ready for Towson,” he said. “That is our hope, that we really benefit from these 10 days to be ready for three games this week.”

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February 14, 2011

Move to new conference benefits Mount St. Mary's off the field

Some observers might think that Mount St. Mary’s decision to leave the friendly confines of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference for the newly-formed Northeast Conference was a risky move.

But by joining Bryant, Quinnipiac, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart and Wagner, the Mountaineers earned increased funding for the program.

Coach Tom Gravante said until last year, he had four full scholarships with which to divide and offer to recruits. Now, he has nine scholarships and, for the first time, a full-time assistant coach in Travis Johnson.

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February 12, 2011

Mount St. Mary's preview

Saturday’s entry is the sixth 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. Check back on Sunday for a preview of Maryland, and The Sun’s lacrosse preview is slated to be published on Thursday, Feb. 17. Today is Mount St. Mary’s turn.

Overview: Despite back-to-back season-opening losses, the Mountaineers accomplished their goal of claiming their first berth in the NCAA Tournament since 2003. The team rode an improved, emerging offense, and although the defense surrendered more goals than the previous spring, both sides propelled the school to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament crown. Having made the move to the Northeast Conference, Mount St. Mary’s was picked to finish third behind leader Robert Morris and Bryant.

Reason for optimism: As mentioned previously, the offense paced the Mountaineers. After averaging almost six goals per game in 2009, the unit exploded to score 10.6 goals per contest last spring. Junior attackmen Cody Lehrer and Brett Schmidt and sophomore Andrew Scalley each scored at least 17 goals, and junior midfielders Bryant Schmidt and Jake Willertz each notched 21 goals. And all six starters return this season. Junior midfielder Mike Adkins, a starter last season, will likely be replaced by junior Eric Ososki (10 goals and three assists), who is moving from attack to midfield. “We have a pretty solid, a pretty powerful offense,” coach Tom Gravante said. “And they’re still pretty young. I’m really excited about them.”

Reason for pessimism: Graduation most impacted the defense, taking away starters Russell Moncure and Matt Nealis. Senior Andrew Miller is the lone returning starter, but senior Justin Schmidt, who started at long-stick midfielder, is making the move to close defense, and senior Kevin Downs is the leading candidate to be the third starter. A pair of freshmen in Shane Pierce and Tim Durkin will be part of the rotation. “We’re a little bit young down there,” Gravante said. “We still have our All-American goalie [in senior T.C. DiBartolo] coming back, but we have some kids down there that were coming in off the bench last year. They didn’t see a lot of solid playing time last year, and that’s going to be the question.”

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August 30, 2010

Northwestern's Munday named Mount St. Mary's women's coach

Lindsey Munday, a former standout player at Northwestern and a Wildcats assistant coach for the past four years, was named the head women's lacrosse coach at Mount St. Mary's on Monday.

After helping the Wildcats win the first two of their five straight NCAA Division I titles as a high-scoring attacker, Munday moved right into the coaching ranks. She helped head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller with an offense that ranked among the highest scoring in the nation during her four years as assistant coach.

"Lindsey's experience as an elite player and successful Division I coach perfectly position her to guide our program,"  Mount St. Mary's Director of Athletics Lynne P. Robinson said in a news release.

"She brings a national presence along with great talent and experience and exemplifies the formation of character we try to instill in our athletes," Dr. Thomas Powell, president of Mount St. Mary's said. "I am confident this dynamic coach will take us to the next level and bring home a national championship."

Munday is a veteran of the United States team that won the 2009 FIL Women's World Cup championship. She led the U.S. in scoring with 17 goals and 20 assists and was named to the All-World Cup team. In 2005, she had a hand in bouncing Mount St. Mary's from its last NCAA tournament when her two goals and four assists sparked the Wildcats to a 16-3 opening-round victory.

"Lindsey is a tremendous coaching talent," Amonte Hiller said in a news release. "It is exciting to see her get an opportunity like this."

Munday, who inherits a team that was 8-9 last season, is the seventh head coach in Mountaineers' women's lacrosse history. She succeeds Sonia LaMonica, who took the head coaching job at Towson University earlier this summer.

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Categories: Mount St. Mary's, Women's lacrosse
        

June 14, 2010

Review & preview: Mount St. Mary's

Here is the sixth installment of a series that checks in with the seven Division I programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Monday, we take a visit with Mount St. Mary’s.

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June 4, 2010

Loyola adds Mount St. Mary's to schedule

A year after adding Navy to the schedule, Loyola has agreed to play against another local school.

The Greyhounds will travel to Emmitsburg, Md., sometime in March and visit Mount St. Mary’s for the first time since 2003. Loyola has won eight of the previous 11 meetings, including the last seven.

The Mountaineers will replace Loyola’s previous game against Quinnipiac, which is leaving the Eastern College Athletic Conference to join the Northeast Conference – a new league that includes Mount St. Mary’s.

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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.

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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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May 21, 2010

New conference honors Mount St. Mary's

Next season, Mount St. Mary's will move from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference to the Northeast Conference, joining Bryant, Quinnipiac, Robert Morris, Sacred Heart and Wagner. On Friday, the Northeast Conference handed out its inaugural set of postseason awards, and the Mountaineers were well represented.

Freshman attackman Andrew Scalley was named the Rookie of the Year, and Tom Gravante was honored as the Coach of the Year. In addition, four players made the All-NEC first team, while two more made the second team.

In his 15th season, Gravante was the architect behind Mount St. Mary's school-record 12 wins and the program's first MAAC Tournament championship since 2003. That title also earned the Mountaineers their first berth in the NCAA Tournament since 2003. Gravante has compiled a career coaching record of 107-130.

Scalley, an Arnold native and Archbishop Spalding graduate, finished his rookie campaign with 32 goals and 17 assists. Scalley, who scored three goals in the team's 18-5 loss to No. 1 seed Virginia in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, scored 24 goals over his last nine contests. 

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May 17, 2010

Postscript from Mount St. Mary's at Virginia

Remember those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books where you, as the reader, would make choices for the main character and determine his/her outcome? Tom Gravante wishes he had had that option Saturday night when his Mount St. Mary’s team took on top seed and overwhelming favorite Virginia in a NCAA tournament first-round game.

Instead, the Cavaliers (15-1) crafted an 18-4 rout in dominating fashion and Gravante could only guess what might have been different if junior Ben Trapp had scored off the opening faceoff instead of getting his shot snuffed by junior goalkeeper Adam Ghitelman.

"That might have changed the course of the game a little bit," Gravante said. "You’re left wondering what might have been if we scored the first goal of the game like that."

Still, Gravante knew that one goal – as significant as it might have been – didn’t provide enough of a cushion against a Virginia squad blessed with talent and experience at nearly every position.

"To win that game, we had to be perfect," he said. "We had to be 50 percent better on faceoffs, we had to be 50 percent better on ground balls, we had to be 90 percent in clearing, and we could not give up any transition goals. … At the end of halftime, we were 0-for-4. We gave up transition goals, we were less than 90 percent clearing, we were less than 50 percent facing off, and we were less than 50 percent on ground balls. Against a team like UVA, which is so athletic, I’m sure that teams facing them next, their goals will have to be the same to be in a game with these kids."

Other notes:

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May 15, 2010

Mount St. Mary's at Virginia: Three things to watch

Mount St. Mary’s and Virginia have squared off every regular season for the past six years, and the Cavaliers have won each meeting. The Mountaineers’ first tournament victory depends on if they can up upset top-seeded Virginia. The winner of Saturday’s contest at 7:30 p.m. at Klockner Stadium in Charlottesville, Va., will move onto a quarterfinal game against either No. 8 seed Stony Brook (12-3) or Denver (12-4) on Sunday, May 23 at either 12 or 2:30 p.m. at Stony Brook.

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May 13, 2010

Mount St. Mary's getting prepped for wave of support behind Virginia

A cynic might say that two opponents await Mount St. Mary’s in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday night: top-seeded Virginia and public sentiment.

While the death of Cavaliers women’s lacrosse player and Cockeysville native Yeardley Love at the alleged hands of men’s lacrosse player George Huguely has opened discussion on the state of the sport, many lacrosse fans are openly rooting for Virginia to capture the national championship.

Mountaineers coach Tom Gravante is well aware of the public support behind the Cavaliers, but he said the team remains optimistic about its chances.

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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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May 12, 2010

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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May 10, 2010

Mount St. Mary's returns to top

Mount St. Mary’s first Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament crown and trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2003 wasn’t just a thrill for the players and coaches. It was validation for their determination to rebuild a program that suffered when head coach Tom Gravante was afflicted with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was forced to sit out the 2005 season.

"It’s a tremendous win for the program and an opportunity to be in the spotlight," Gravante said. "These kids have persevered through so much, especially my seniors, who, as freshmen, watched a coach fight to regain his health and fight to rebuild his program. And I made a promise to them that if they stayed with me, I would get this right for them. And I commend them and am so grateful to them for staying in there and believing in not only in me, but in themselves for turning this program around."

The Mountaineers, who set a single-season record for wins with 12, advanced courtesy of a 7-6 victory over Siena in the MAAC tournament final on Sunday. Freshman attackman Andrew Scalley scored with no time remaining in regulation to send Mount St. Mary’s to the postseason.

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May 5, 2010

Mount St. Mary's meets an old "friend"

Last year's Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament ended early as Mount St. Mary's was bounced by Manhattan in the semifinals. Guess which teams will play in the first semifinal on Friday at 4 p.m. at Marist?

"These kids know that this is the team that knocked us out last year from the playoffs," Mountaineers coach Tom Gravante said. "So they have an opportunity at redemption. I'm excited for them for Friday. But we play one game first. We focus on one game before we move on to whoever is the next opponent."

Mount St. Mary's (10-4 overall and 7-1 in the conference) earned the No. 2 seed in the tournament -- in part -- by defeating the Jaspers (7-8, 5-3) in the regular season. The Mountaineers won a 5-4 decision on April 17, but the offense was stymied over the final 26 minutes, 36 seconds.

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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.

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

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.

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Despite hiccup, Mount St. Mary's still in hunt

Mount St. Mary’s run through the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference hit a speed bump in Saturday’s 8-7 loss to Siena.

After freshman attackman Andrew Scalley gave the Mountaineers (8-4 overall and 5-1 in the MAAC) a 7-4 advantage with 9:29 left in the fourth quarter, the Saints (9-4, 6-0) scored four times in the final six minutes to move into first place in the conference.

Mount St. Mary’s coach Tom Gravante said he thought the team became overly cautious once it got that three-goal lead.

"The kids got a little bit stiff and tentative," Gravante said. "They didn’t have the killer instinct. … They played not to lose, and we’ve done that before. We did that against Sacred Heart when we were up 9-5 and we managed to hold them off defensively [and win, 9-8]. Against Manhattan, we were up 4-0 on them, and it looked like we could open up the game, but again, we didn’t manage the ball offensively, and we let them back in [before winning, 5-4]. We have to be tougher mentally."

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April 24, 2010

Mount St. Mary's prepared for huge game vs. Siena

Mount St. Mary’s is trying to toe the line between priority and pretension.

The Mountaineers play host to Siena Saturday at 1 p.m. at Waldron Family Stadium in Emmittsburg in what should be a critical game in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

Both teams enter the contest with identical 5-0 league marks and are in the hunt for the regular-season championship and the top seed in the conference tournament.

Mount St. Mary’s has already qualified for the tournament for the second consecutive season after missing the postseason in the previous two years. And while the Mountaineers are assured of falling no lower than the No. 3 seed in the tournament, coach Tom Gravante knows that the players are eager to capture the program’s first regular-season crown since 1999.

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April 21, 2010

No looking ahead for the Mount

Mount St. Mary’s, which is jockeying with Marist and Siena for first place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and top seed in the league tournament, has a highly-anticipated showdown with Siena on Saturday.

But the Mountaineers (7-3 overall and 4-0 in the conference) can’t overlook Wednesday night’s opponent, a St. Joseph’s team that is enjoying a two-game winning streak – both against MAAC opponents in VMI and Detroit Mercy.

"The staff and I are really focusing on one game at a time, but I know these young men would like to win the conference tournament," coach Tom Gravante said. "That’s the team goal, which is great. I’m very pleased that they have expectations, but winning comes one game at a time. So we’re going to keep them focused and stay the road and keep them humble and organized and get them ready for a good St. Joseph’s team."

While Mount St. Mary’s must deal with the Hawks, Siena (7-4, 4-0) plays host to Marist (7-3, 4-0) Wednesday afternoon. Then the Saints must travel to Emmittsburg to meet the Mountaineers at 1 p.m. at Waldron Family Stadium.

"So we have some advantages, and really, it’s a matter of how well these guys rebound from a Wednesday night game, practice Thursday and Friday, and get themselves poised to play a big game on Saturday," Gravante said. "It’s going to be a big game. There’s a few advantages in our favor. We’re home, it’s our senior day, we’re not traveling althought we’re still in the same hole [as Siena] in terms of playing a Wednesday game. … So if these kids can maintain themselves, it should be a good game."

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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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April 19, 2010

Mount St. Mary's DiBartolo cited by two leagues

T.C. DiBartolo of Mount St. Mary's was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and Northeast Conference Defensive Player of the Week.

The junior goalkeeper finished with 10 saves in the Mountaineers' 5-4 victory over MAAC opponent Manhattan Saturday. DiBartolo ranks eighth among Division I goalies with a .578 save percentage and 27th with a 9.79 goals-against average.

The Bowie native and Archbishop Spalding native boasts a 6.12 goals-against average and a .667 save percentage in four MAAC contests. DiBartolo was also recognized by the Northeast Conference, a league that Mount St. Mary's will join next season.

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Mount St. Mary's offense takes a brief hiatus

First, the good news: Mount St. Mary's edged Manhattan, 5-4, on Saturday, thereby remaining tied with Marist and Siena for first place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The Mountaineers (7-3), the Red Foxes (7-3) and the Saints (7-4) are 4-0 in the league.

The defense was especially strong as the unit shut out Manhattan over the final 20 minutes, 13 seconds to preserve the victory. After being challenged by coach Tom Gravante to not allow a goal in a quarter, the defense blanked the the Jaspers in the first and fourth quarters.

"They’re consistent," Gravante said of the defense. "We have to do a better job of clearing the ball [13 of 18 on Saturday]. We had some clearing issues, and that’s the job of the defense. [Junior goalkeeper] T.C. [DiBartolo] was again outstanding [with 10 saves], and I’m very happy and appreciative of his work. But I told the kids that we owe it to him to start and finish a game and not throw him under the bus where he has to make doorstep saves. And he did. They had two or three of those kinds of shots. … I think we’re going to face teams down the line that have more poise to take a better shot. That’s why we have to do a better job outside of that cage, on defense, on offense to limit the amount of shots that he sees, especially those shots."

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April 16, 2010

Mount St. Mary's opponents seeing double

Twin sophomores Brett and Bryant Schmidt have been welcome additions to a Mount St. Mary’s team battling with Marist and Siena for first place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and top seed in the league tournament.

Brett Schmidt, an attackman, ranks second on the team in points (24) and third in goals (11), while Bryant Schmidt, a midfielder, ranks third in points (22). Both Schmidts lead the Mountaineers in assists (13).

The Schmidt twins drew the interest of Johns Hopkins, Navy and Towson when they were playing for St. Mary’s-Ryken, but Brett Schmidt said they were influenced by their older brother Justin, a junior long-stick midfielder at Mount St. Mary’s.

"My older brother Justin was already at Mount St. Mary’s, and he loved Mount St. Mary’s, the lacrosse there and coach [Tom] Gravante," Brett Schmidt said. "Me, my dad and Bryant sat down and talked about it, and we decided to go to Mount St. Mary’s. We love Coach Gravante. He’s a great coach, and we thought that was the best place for us. I’ve loved it. I’m glad I made this decision. It’s perfect."

Gravante returned the love, saying, "They’ve just elevated the offense. They’re tremendous athletes who could play in the top 20. There were some nice schools interested in them, and they chose to follow their big brother Justin, who is our starting long-stick midfielder and a junior here. And it’s just a true blessing to have all three boys here."

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's
        

April 13, 2010

Three from Mount St. Mary's earn weekly awards

Sophomore attackman Cody Lehrer and Brett Schmidt and junior goalkeeper T.C. DiBartolo claimed weekly honors on Tuesday.

Lehrer, a Baltimore native and Dulaney graduate, was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week after he scored eight goals in two games last week. He scored twice in an 11-6 loss to No. 9 Georgetown and six times in a 12-9 victory over MAAC rival Detroit Mercy.

Lehrer, who has scored five or more goals in a game four times this season, leads the Mountaineers (6-3) in goals with 35 and ranks first in Division I in goals per game with 3.9.

Continue reading "Three from Mount St. Mary's earn weekly awards" »

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:25 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's
        

Mount St. Mary's getting on the offensive

Blessed with one of the more underrated defenses  in recent years, Mount St. Mary’s is beginning to feature an offense that is similarly flying under the radar.

The Mountaineers are tied for 18th in Division I this season in scoring, averaging 11 goals per game. That’s the same amount produced by No. 3 North Carolina and that’s more than No. 20 Yale (22nd at 10.9) and No. 15 Johns Hopkins (23rd at 10.8).

Mount St. Mary’s (6-3) has scored 10 or more goals in five contests this season and has only scored fewer than seven goals in one game. That’s a far cry from last year when the offense broke the 10-goal ceiling just twice and scored six or fewer goals nine times, losing all nine games.

Coach Tom Gravante, an All-American attackman during his playing days at Hobart, said the players understood the task at hand after getting bounced by Manhattan by a score of 5-3 in the semifinals of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

Continue reading "Mount St. Mary's getting on the offensive" »

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

April 9, 2010

Q&A with ESPN's Mark Dixon

ESPN analyst Mark Dixon, a former midfielder at Johns Hopkins, will provide commentary for Saturday's game between No. 20 Navy and No. 5 Maryland and Sunday's contest between No. 14 Notre Dame and No. 10 Georgetown. This is the first of a two-part interview with Dixon, who discussed Maryland's inconsistent midfield, Loyola’s big game against Eastern College Athletic Conference rival Fairfield, and Johns Hopkins’ and Navy’s NCAA Tournament chances.

Question: If you're Maryland coach Dave Cottle, what are you most pleased with about your No. 5 Terps at this point in the season?

Mark Dixon: If I'm Dave Cottle, the thing I'm most pleased with is their energy and level of intensity. I think Maryland is a team that really gets after it. They get up and down the field, they fight and contest every groundball, they fall behind 6-0 to Virginia, the No. 1 team in the country and they fight back.

Continue reading "Q&A with ESPN's Mark Dixon" »

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Mount St. Mary's, Navy, Q&A
        

April 2, 2010

Area teams involved in some significant games as well

While games involving No. 1 Virginia-No. 5 Maryland, No. 3 North Carolina-No. 12 Johns Hopkins, and No. 2 Salisbury-No. 1 Stevenson have garnered a significant amount of attention, there are several other significant contests involving area teams this weekend. Here’s a brief breakdown of those games according to the times of the games.

Continue reading "Area teams involved in some significant games as well" »

Posted by Edward Lee at 5:15 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Loyola, Mount St. Mary's, Towson, UMBC
        

March 31, 2010

Mount St. Mary's enjoying recent run

After opening the season with back-to-back losses, Mount St. Mary’s has won three consecutive games, marking the first time since 2005 that the program is enjoying a three-game winning streak.

The recent turn of success is surprising considering the Mountaineers’ losses to then-No. 3 Virginia and first-year Division I program Jacksonville – with the latter inciting some harsh criticism from coach Tom Gravante.

"They reacted as I hoped they would," Gravante said. "We put them under pressure to perform, earn back their spots, and bring more poise and maturity to practice. Some of that was asking them to play angry, and they responded, which I’m very happy and pleased about. I don’t think they were very focused up until that point. I think that Jacksonville game – unfortunately – demonstrated how they practiced, which was they were hot and cold. My comments weren’t pretty. … But that wasn’t what they were capable of doing. I stuck to my words, and I’m happy to say that they responded, and here we are."

Continue reading "Mount St. Mary's enjoying recent run" »

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:40 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's
        

March 17, 2010

Mount St. Mary's reverses course, nets first win of season

Hours before Towson picked itself out of the ranks of the winless with a 10-9 decision against No. 17 Navy Tuesday night, Mount St. Mary’s also secured its first victory of the season by shocking previously unbeaten Robert Morris, 19-13.

The Mountaineers had opened the season back-to-back losses to then-No. 3 Virginia (15-7) and Jacksonville (14-7). So Tuesday afternoon’s outcome was enormously pleasing to coach Tom Gravante.

"Outside of the fact that it’s the first time the program beat a ranked team, it’s an opportunity for the kids to get a taste of winning and learn how to win," Gravante said Wednesday morning. "It was a little bit of a see-saw battle."

Mount St. Mary’s actually trailed, 6-2, just 106 seconds into the second quarter, forcing Gravante to burn the team’s second and final time-out of the half.

"It wasn’t that Robert Morris was playing that much better than us," he said. "They were just making plays, and that’s what we have to do. We knew we were capable of playing better lacrosse, and they hadn’t done that. Then they re-organized themselves and peeled off eight straight. People were complimenting me on that timeout and asking me, ‘What did you tell them?’ Sometimes you don’t need to tell them what they need to do. You’ve got to tell them what they haven’t done. In our case, we hadn’t started playing yet, and they knew it. I was just very pleased that they fought back."

Continue reading "Mount St. Mary's reverses course, nets first win of season" »

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:30 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's
        

March 3, 2010

Gravante on Mount St. Mary's: "Maybe they think think they're better than they are"

Mount St. Mary’s is on spring break, but it’s no vacation for the Mountaineers.

After a listless performance in a 14-7 loss to a Jacksonville program in its first year of Division I lacrosse on Tuesday night, Mount St. Mary’s coach Tom Gravante expressed disappointment in his players and their 0-2 start.

"Maybe they think they’re better than they are, which appears to be the message that they’re sending with their body language and their effort," Gravante said Wednesday morning. "So we’re going to have to break them down in practice and build them back up because they’re not playing good lacrosse."

The Mountaineers’ struggles are surprising considering that the team was coming off a year in which it finished second in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and made the tournament championship game for the league’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament despite playing with 17 freshmen. Gravante vowed to bench starters and call up reserves to find the right mix of players.

Continue reading "Gravante on Mount St. Mary's: "Maybe they think think they're better than they are" " »

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's
        

February 18, 2010

Mount St. Mary's names its captains

The Mountaineers announced Thursday morning that senior defensemen Matt Nealis and Russell Moncure and junior goalkeeper T.C. DiBartolo will serve as team captains for the upcoming lacrosse season.

Nealis, a first-team Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference selection last season, scored twice while tying for the team lead with 14 caused turnovers. Moncure started all 15 games last spring, scooping up 25 groundballs and forcing 12 turnovers.

DiBartolo, an Archbishop Spalding graduate, ranks second in school history with a 9.44 goals-against average and sixth with 337 saves. He made 171 saves with a 7.81 goals-against average last year, earning first-team MAAC honors.

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's
        

February 5, 2010

Mount St. Mary's preview

Today's entry kicks off 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. Tune in Saturday for a preview of Towson, but today is Mount St. Mary's turn.

Overview: Two victories away from qualifying for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003, the Mountaineers return eight starters from last year's squad, and five of those starters are underclassmen. Seventeen freshman gained significant experience last season, and the entire team is hungry to win a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship and the league's automatic qualifier. 

Reason for optimism: Mount St. Mary's strength lies in its defense. Senior defenseman Matt Nealis, a first-team All-MAAC selection, teams up with fellow classmate Russell Moncure. Junior Andy Miller and sophomore Mark Burns are competing for the third starter's position and junior Justin Schmidt is slated to be the primary long-stick midfielder. And junior T.C. DiBartolo is one of the best goalies people outside of the MAAC have rarely seen. "Our core is our defense," coach Tom Gravante said. "We're expecting bigger things from them this year."

Reason for pessimism: Outside of sophomore attackman Christian Kellett and sophomore midfielder Cody Lehrer, no other offensive player reached double-digits in goals. Only twice did the Mountaineers score more than 10 goals in a game last season. The team will need more production from other sources to make an impact in the MAAC.

Keep an eye on: Gravante is high on a pair of twins in Brett and Bryant Schmidt, both of whom were recruited by Johns Hopkins, Navy and Towson, according to Gravante. Brett Schmidt is expected to join Kellett and Lehrer on the first attack line, while Bryant Schmidt is likely to start in the midfield. "These are two very good, talented, athletic young men," Gravante said. "They have really shaken up the team in terms of raising the bar. These two are very special."  

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's, Review & preview
        

May 26, 2009

Review & preview: Mount St. Mary's

In an effort to sum up the 2009 season and add a pinch of anticipation for the 2010 campaign, this space will periodically check in with the seven Division I programs in the state to provide a glimpse of the past and the future. Today, we kick off the series with Mount St. Mary’s.

Continue reading "Review & preview: Mount St. Mary's" »

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:43 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's, Review & preview
        

May 2, 2009

Mount St. Mary's puts T.C. DiBartolo and Matt Nealis on MAAC first team

Goalkeeper T.C. DiBartolo and defenseman Matt Nealis were named to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference first team.

DiBartolo, a sophomore who graduated from Archbishop Spalding, finished the regular season as the MAAC leader in save percentage (.613) and saves per game (11.9). His goals-against average of 8.03 ranks first on the school’s all-time single-season mark, and he recorded a career-high 21 saves in contests against Virginia and Siena. DiBartolo is the first Mountaineers goalie to make the first team since Dave Lambour in 2003.

Nealis, a second-team selection last season, has started every game as the Mountaineers' top shutdown defenseman. Nealis is tied for the team lead in caused turnovers (14), and he has posted two goals and 12 ground balls. He is the first Mount St. Mary's defenseman to earn first-team honors since Pat Farrell in 2006.

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's
        

May 1, 2009

Mount St. Mary's enjoying return to MAAC tournament

After failing to qualify for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament in the past two years, Mount St. Mary's coach Tom Gravante challenged his players to avoid a repeat.

Those players not only reached the MAAC tournament for the first time since 2006, but they also finished second, grabbing the No. 2 seed in the tournament, which begins Friday at Canisius. The Mountaineers (5-9 overall and 5-3 in the conference) meet No. 3 seed Manhattan (9-7, 5-3) at 4:30 p.m.

"I told them to get the No. 4 seed, and they did better than that," Gravante said. "... I think they’re capable of potentially winning this. We know there are some things that we need to clean up before Friday, but playoffs create certain types of character in players, and those players who handle the pressure will come out on top. A good example last year is when Johns Hopkins beat Duke. That was the unthinkable in my evaluation. I just didn’t think anyone was capable of beating them. But we all watched Hop pull that off. ... That was impressive, and that’s exactly what I’m talking about. Playoffs bring out character in kids that could either hurt the team or help the team. I’m asking my kids to get to the playoffs, handle the pressure, and then we’ll go from there."

The Mountaineers rank near the bottom of many offensive categories in the league, but they rank near the top in many defensive areas. While this current squad won’t remind anyone of the offensive-minded teams that won the 2001 and 2003 MAAC tournaments, Gravante has been impressed by his players.

Continue reading "Mount St. Mary's enjoying return to MAAC tournament" »

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Categories: Mount St. Mary's
        

April 25, 2009

Mount St. Mary's playoff picture updated a third time

Unless I’m mistaken, the Mountaineers have clinched the No. 2 seed in the four-team Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament next week at Canisius.

Manhattan edged Marist, 10-9, Saturday night, meaning that the Jaspers, Providence and Mount St. Mary’s finished the regular season with identical 5-3 records in the conference. If – as I suspect – head-to-head outcomes are the first tiebreaker, then the Mountaineers leapfrog both Manhattan and the Friars with wins against both teams.

The Jaspers would get the No. 3 seed by virtue of a 5-4 victory over Providence and a semifinal contest against Mount St. Mary’s on Friday at 1:30 p.m. The Friars get the No. 4 seed and a 4:30 p.m. matchup against top-seeded Siena, which finished with a 8-0 league mark.

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:29 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's
        

Mount St. Mary's playoff picture updated

The Mountaineers' convincing 13-3 victory over Wagner cemented a berth in the four-team Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament next week at Canisius.

Freshman midfielder Jake Willertz (Mount St. Joseph) scored the first hat trick of his career, and Mount St. Mary's sprinted to a 5-1 lead after the first quarter to improve to 5-3 in the MAAC.

At this time, the Mountaineers would be the No. 2 seed by virtue of their 7-5 win against Providence two weeks ago, and they would remain the No. 2 seed (and avoid a semifinal matchup against undefeated conference leader Siena) if Manhattan beats Marist later tonight.

If Marist wins, Mount St. Mary's, Providence and Marist would have identical 5-3 league records. Since Marist has beaten the Mountaineers and the Friars have beaten Marist, the three teams would have to go to another tiebreaker.

Posted by Edward Lee at 5:58 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's
        

April 23, 2009

Mount St. Mary's playoff picture updated

The Mountaineers are alive in the hunt for a berth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament after freshman Eric Ososki's game-winning goal with 1:59 left in overtime of Mount St. Mary's 8-7 victory over VMI Wednesday.

The Mountaineers improved to 4-8 overall, but more importantly, they are 4-3 in the MAAC. They are tied for third place in the conference with Manhattan and Marist, and Mount St. Mary's owns the head-to-head tiebreaker over Manhattan by virtue of a 12-9 win against the Jaspers on March 14.

On the flip side, Marist has the edge over the Mountaineers because the Red Foxes prevailed in their annual meeting, 7-4, on March 21. The silver lining for Mount St. Mary's is that Manhattan and Marist square off on Saturday in what essentially amounts to a playoff game to get into the conference tournament.

Ultimately, the Mountaineers control their destiny. If they beat Wagner at home on Saturday at 1 p.m., they're back in the MAAC Tournament for the first time since 2006.

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:26 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's
        

April 16, 2009

Mount St. Mary's playoff picture

With three games remaining against Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference opponents, the Mountaineers are still in the race for a berth in the four-team MAAC tournament, which begins May 1.

There are still a lot of games to be played and anything can happen between now and the final weekend, but here’s what we know:

Continue reading "Mount St. Mary's playoff picture" »

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:50 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's
        

April 8, 2009

Pivotal weekend matchups

A lot of attention has been devoted to Saturday’s Smartlink Days of Rivals, which features Army against No. 12 Navy at 11:30 a.m. and No. 11 Johns Hopkins against No. 15 Maryland at about 2 p.m.

But there are some critical games involving other local teams Saturday.

* Since UMBC joined the America East conference in 2004, the Retrievers and Albany have split the league titles with UMBC winning in 2006 and 2008. The two schools will tangle Saturday, and with both teams undefeated (2-0) in conference play, the winner will likely sit in the driver’s seat to host the season-ending league tournament. The No. 7 Retrievers are just 1-2 when playing the Great Danes on their home turf, but UMBC boasts one of the most prolific midfields in Peet Poillon, Kyle Wimer and Alex Hopmann. No. 17 Albany is hopeful that senior attackman Corey Small will play for the first time since undergoing leg surgery last month.

* Despite Georgetown’s troubles this season, Loyola coach Charley Toomey has consistently held to his theory that the road to the Eastern College Athletic Conference title runs through the Hoyas. The No. 19 Greyhounds are the reigning league champions and with a 3-1 record in the ECAC, they are a half-game behind current leader Massachusetts (3-0 in the conference). But Loyola is 0-3 at Georgetown, which has won seven ECAC championships since the league was formed in 2000. The Hoyas, who upset then-No. 20 Fairfield last Saturday to improve to 1-2 in the conference, would love to play spoiler again. The Greyhounds could use another big outing from attackman Shane Koppens, who has posted six goals and four assists in his past two games against Georgetown.

Continue reading "Pivotal weekend matchups" »

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:47 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Loyola, Mount St. Mary's, Towson, UMBC
        

March 20, 2009

Mount St. Mary's Christian Kellett honored

Christian Kellett was cited by the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference as its Rookie of the Week on Monday. The freshman attackman recorded a career-high six points in the Mountaineers' 12-9 victory over Manhattan last Saturday.

Kellett, who posted three goals and three assists against the Jaspers, leads the team in scoring with eight points on four goals and four assists.

Posted by Edward Lee at 4:45 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's
        

March 10, 2009

Mount St. Mary's seeking answers on offense

I'll broach the subject of Mount St. Mary's defense, which has not wilted against some heavy hitters in tomorrow's edition of The Baltimore Sun, but one topic that cropped up in my conversation with coach Tom Gravante was the sluggish start by the offense.

The Mountaineers have scored only 10 goals in their first three games, and a factor has to be the team's reliance on youth on offense. The first four attackmen are freshmen, and two of the three starting midfielders are also first-year players. Gravante is trying to toe the line between leaning on the freshmen and relieving some of that pressure.

"They’re making immature mistakes," he said. "... So we have to break things down to another level and take time to build them up to that level. We’re going to have to continue to be very patient and diligent. As a staff, we need to pick up the pace a little bit, lean on them a little bit more. They’re kids, and kids are resilient. They can take more than you expect."

Some might say that the offensive downturn is linked to Gravante's decision to give up the reins to newly hired offensive coordinator Cory Coffman, a 2007 graduate of Loyola College. But Gravante, who is focusing on coaching the goalkeepers and defensemen, said he has no intention of second-guessing Coffman.

"I knew I couldn’t be as effective as I wanted to be with this team if I didn’t get somebody here," Gravante said. "Thank God the light bulb went off, and I said [to Coffman], 'Take the offense. You’re going to be better down there.' And I really should sharpen my skills on [the defensive] side of the field. If you’ve learned how to beat the defense all of your life [Gravante was an attackman at Hobart], then you should understand how slides work. It was simple to make that transition."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:59 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Mount St. Mary's
        
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Faceoff is The Baltimore Sun's blog devoted to college and high school lacrosse. Faceoff contributors include Sun reporters Edward Lee, Mike Preston and Katherine Dunn.
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