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The weather shaped up this week at least here down south.  Playing in snow two weeks ago, we saw 60’s and 70’s at least here in the Old Line State.

The biggest story this season so far has to be the two early huge losses that Gettysburg has suffered.  Losing to Stevenson and the 2008 runners up Cortland State isn’t a bad thing, but they way that they got massacred on the battle field is what’s alarming.  The Bullets were able to bounce back with a win against OWU on 3/11.  They have two big match ups this week against Haverford and Cabrini.  Favored so high coming into the season, we’ll see what they have.

Stevenson has made it’s mark early this season with two more wins this week over Ursinus and St. Mary’s.  They look like a team that can put up some points but really haven’t been tested by an offensive heavy unit just yet.  It will be interesting to see how they handle it when the time comes.

There was some preseason hype about Endicott and they’ve started up 4-0.  Some folks are beginning to take notice.  Their offense hasn’t been rolling opponents as predicted, but their defense has been holding teams to low digits.  They face Stevens Tech on Wed 3/18.  This battle should give either team a lift.

Salisbury kept it business as usual by taking one against OWU and Marymount this past week.  The win over Marymount brings their CAC streak to 103 games.  By the time the 4/4 match up against Stevenson comes around, they should be at 105 with an 80+ home and 50+ game winning streaks on the line.  I’m just trying to build the hype up for this one!  Barring any mishaps, this could be the biggest ‘regular season’ CAC game in the history of the conference.  The biggest CAC game to date was the 2001 battle where St. Mary’s took Salisbury to overtime for the second time in the same season only to fall short.   (Salsibury must’ve had some great defenseman to hold off the Seahawks!!!)

This week is kind of quiet in big matchups, but we do have a few key games to keep an eye on.  And by the way it’s tougher than you think to come up with these little slogans for the games!

The Game of the Week
#8 Endicott @ #20 Stevens Tech 7:00 - *3/18

Centennial War:  #11 Gettysburg @ #14 Haverford 3:00
NESCAC Battle:  #4 Middlebury @ #17 Wesleyan 1:00
A Nor’easter:  #15 Western New England @ #16 Bowdoin 1:00 *3/16
A PAFrat Party: #7 Cabrini @ #11 Gettysburg 3:30 - *3/18

Two good ones in Dallas:   St Lawrence either comes out blazin’ saddles or yellow
#18 Saint Lawrence @ #13 Nazareth 7:30 -  *3/16
#18 Saint Lawrence @ #16 Bowdoin 5:00 - *3/18

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Saturday March 14, 1:00pm St. John’s at Loyola

St. John’s is 4-0 with a win over #11 Georgetown.
Loyola is 4-2 with no ranked wins and losses to Notre Dame and Duke.

I have to be honest. I have not seen either of these teams in action yet for myself, however this game intrigues me.
Upstart St. John’s wants to prove that their win over Georgetown was no fluke. They also beat Drexel, while unranked is yearly a decent team.

Loyola on the other hand will play up or down to their opponents. Loyola only lost to Notre Dame by 1, and by 2 to Duke. However they only beat lowly Sienna by 2.

St. John’s is winning the FO battle with 63%, and I can safely say that their shot on goal differential is due to this control of play.  They have out shot opponents an average of 43 shots vs 26 shots per game. When an opponent is only getting a limited number of shots, it is easy to win games when your keeper (Gavin Buckley) is saving 61% of the shots he does face. Loyola is winning about half their face offs, and is averaging about 35 shots per game.

I think St. John’s has a chance in this one. They need to play their style of game, and not be intimidated by Loyola. I am going with them for my upset pick of the week. Either way it should be an entertaining game to watch.

Saturday March 14, 1:00pm UMBC at Maryland

UMBC is 3-2 with no ranked wins, and losses to Hopkins and Princeton.
Maryland is 4-1 with a win over #10 Duke, and a loss to Georgetown.

UMBC’s offense took a backseat in their loss last week to Princeton, but they are still a potent scoring team. The Retrievers are led by Peet Poillon (8 Goals,13 Assists), Kyle Wimer (12,5), Alex Hopmann (13,1), and Rob Grimm (3,7).

Aside from their scoring ability, goalkeeper Jeremy Blevins is playing very solid in net. He has a 9.17 GAA and a save percentage of 56%. Blevins was a big part in keeping UMBC in the game as he made 11 saves against Princeton and only let in 6 goals.

UMBC’s weaknesses are face offs and hustle. No one has won even 40% of their face offs on the team, and as a whole unit, they are only at 33% (and that’s rounding up).  On ground balls, they are averaging 8 less per game than their opponents. Without possession (FO) and control (GBs) the Retrievers make their games that much harder on themselves.  Their defense has to play longer, and harder, and each shot becomes that more crucial on offense.

Maryland last week surprisingly played Towson close…a little too close.  I have said earlier this is one of the best attack units, and they proved it by scoring all of the goals in the Towson win. Not 1 goal was recorded by a midfielder.  They need to get their act together when they face UMBC this week.

Maryland’s top scorers are Grant Catalino (11,10), Will Yeatman (6,8), Ryan Young (9,4), and Dan Groot (5,6).

In goal for this game should be Brian Phipps, as each goalie shares the starts. Phipps has been slightly better statistically speaking with a 7.38 GAA and a save percentage of 61%.

Maryland’s FO unit couldn’t be more different than UMBC’s. No one has won less than 45% of their FOs taken, and as a unit combine for a win percentage of 62%. On GBs, Maryland is averaging 8 more per game than their opponents.

These are the keys to the game.  Maryland needs to continue their FO/GB dominance and control the time of possession.   Their middies need to step up the offensive contributions to give them some breathing room.  For UMBC, they need to take MD’s midfield out of the equation.   Make Maryland beat them with just their attack. If they can do this and start winning FOs (even 50%), they have a chance.

Maryland will win in a surprisingly close one.

Saturday March 14, 2:00pm Hopkins at Syracuse

Syracuse is 3-1 with a win over #11 Georgetown, and a loss to Virginia.
Hopkins is 3-1 with wins over #9UMBC and #12Hofstra, and a loss to Princeton.

Kyle Wharton was a one man show against Hofstra tallying 5 goals and padding his stats. Wharton now leads Hopkins in scoring (11,3), then comes Mike Kimmel (8,6), Steve Boyle (9,4), and Brian Christopher (4,4).

Hopkins needs someone to step up to an injury riddled FO spot. If you take out Mike Powers’ 68% FO wins, the rest of the team is sub-50%. The other weakness is still Mike Gvozden.  Heading into the Hofstra game his save% was below 50%.  Hofstra made him look good by shooting at his body. Every game I watch him, I keep thinking, “Is this the turn around game where he wakes up and turns it on the rest of the year?”

Syracuse has 9 players with 3 or more goals, and is led on offense by Kenny Nims (10,9), Steve Keogh (13,4), and Dan Hardy(6,5).

An area they are suffering this year compared to last is at face offs. Syracuse’s FO unit is winning 46% of the time.

Two shining underrated stars have been John Galloway who has stood on his head in goal saving 62% of the shots he faced, and Joel White. White needs his own stat of intercepted passes. He has an uncanny ability to time and snatch the opponents passes and create turnovers without taking his opponents arm off with a check.

I think the injury to Powers is a huge benefit to Syracuse. I would have to think FOs will be about even in this game now.  The other thing to watch in this game is EMO.  Syracuse EMO unit is scoring 64% of their chances. Syracuse did struggle against UVA only converting 1 out of 4 chances.  With Hopkins getting an average of 6 penalties per game, Syracuse needs to be able to convert near their season average.

I’m going to be a homer and pick Cuse by 4.

We are “FULLY” underway now!  This marks the first full week of complete D3 action and there are too many games on the calendar I don’t know where to begin.

Some Key Games This Week:
Do We Got It?: #5 Cabrini @ #11 Lynchburg
The Battle of George: #19 Washington And Lee @ #6 Washington College
First Big Test Up North:  #10 Endicott @ #15 Williams - TUES

Game of the Week: #2 Gettysburg @ #3 Cortland State

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This game will be played on Long Island and not in the frigid Upstate New York air.  Gettysburg has to put Wednesday behind them and focus on the task at had; the 2008 Runners Up.  Its one thing to get beat, it’s another to get a beat down.  I’m sure that Coach Janzyk will have the boys fired up for Saturday.  If not, they could be due for a 5 or so loss season.

On the other side of the ball, Cortland has to prove that they just reloaded and are not going to take a year or two off to rebuild like some expected they would. They have opened up putting up big numbers and it looks as if their offense is running on all cylinders and it’s only March.

Regardless it should be a high scoring battle.  The Bullets pull this one out over the Dragons  and save some face and maybe their season 14-12.

Although it’s quite early here’s a little recap what’s been going on.

1.  The first Major Upset took place on 3/5.
2.  Salisbury is crushing opponents early on…again.
3.  The north is shoveling off the fields and getting started.
4.  The points for the top players have been coming in by the bucket load.

On a side note, with all the hits that Kylor Berkman’s E-Lacrose blog has been getting, it makes me wonder how popular my blog would’ve been back in my days.  But then again weblogs, Myspace and deep fried Snickers weren’t invented yet so I would’ve been writing my posts on locker room walls in hieroglyphics.

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If the season continues like it has the first couple of weeks, we are in for a wild ride. Upsets and let downs have appeared in most big games so far. This week will hopefully shake the lacrosse world back into alignment.

Friday March 6, 8:00pm: Princeton at UMBC
UMBC is 3-1 with no wins over ranked teams and one loss to Hopkins.
Princeton is 2-0 with a win over #10 Hopkins.

UMBC has been putting up a lot of points this year averaging 13.8 goals per game. The Retrievers are led by Peet Poillon (8,10), Kyle Wimmer (11,4), and Alex Hopmann (11,1). Wimmer has stood out not only putting up 15 points, but also winning 6 of 9 face offs and scooping up the most 19GBs. If only the rest of the team had as much effort as Wimmer. The Retrievers are picking up less GBs and winning a lot less face offs than their opponents (36%).

Princeton is enjoying a year with not only their signature stingy defense but also an offense putting up 14 goals per game. As one would expect, the Tigers’ defense and clock management have been superb. Opponents are averaging 25 shots per game…that’s not on goal, but overall. Only 17 shots per game are getting through to the goalie.

On the hustle aspect, Princeton has picked up 20 more GBs (10 per game) than their opponents. Their face off abilities are just slightly over the 52% mark. One other interesting fact about their discipline…they have successfully cleared the ball 32 of 34 times.
On offense, opponents don’t know who to cover, as Princeton has 7 players with 3 or more points. Jack McBride leads the way with (8,1) followed by Tommy Davis (3,2) and Rich Sgalardi (1,4). On the flip side, both goalies are putting up great numbers. Ashra has 6GA and save percent of 63%, and Fiorito has 7.3GA and a save percent of 58%.

While UMBC plays opponents tight, and has made great progress in recent years, I have never seen a Retriever beat a Tiger in a fight. Princeton is too well oiled of a machine of discipline, time management, and now add in scoring this year. Princeton will take this one. I’m going out on a limb and saying the Tigers score 14…again.

Saturday March 7, Noon: Hofstra at Johns Hopkins
The Flying Dutchmen (aka Pride) of Hofstra will travel into Blue Jay territory. This is a rivalry that has heated up in recent years. Hofstra has actually won in 2006 & 2008. Hopkins won in 2007. Two of the three games(07/08) were 1 goal games.

Before I get into the breakdown of the teams, I’ll tell you neither of these goalkeepers has impressed me so far.

My favorite whipping boy from last year, Mike Gvozden has gone back to his sieve like self. Maybe he just doesn’t get good until 5 or 6 games into the season. Either that or the second half of last year was a fluke. I’ll concede that he didn’t get much help last week against Princeton, as Princeton took advantage of early disillusioned slides.

For the Dutchmen, we have Danny Orlando. Sure he’s got a suave name, but can he stop shots? The jury is deliberating. Every season he gets worse. Freshman year he had 7.2Goals Against and 56.3 save%. Soph year slid to 8.6GA and 49.1%. So far this year he has 9.4GA and 41.2%.

If Hofstra wants to beat Hopkins and improve to 3-0, they need more input besides Jay Card. Forget his 7Goals and 3Assists, he has been the saviour scoring both game winning goals in their two 1 goal wins. Card’s fellow attackman, Kevin Ford has taken more shots than a spaghetti western, but is having trouble raking in goals (24shots/3G). At midfield Anthony Muscarella is drawing opponents top defenders after a stellar year last year. While his production is down, it is freeing up Mike Colleluori to make things happen at midfield putting up 4G and 7A. Hofstra’s defence has faired well causing turnovers, limiting penalties, and limiting opponents shots. They just need to get Danny O’s head back into the game.

For Hopkins, they need to win at the face off X. If Powers can continue the success he had against UMBC (17 of 24), Hopkins should be able to win this one. The Blue Jays also need to keep their penalties in check. 19 penalties so far is not helping a goalie that is struggling as opponents are converting on 43% of their EMO chances. Continuing with their defense, if they can nullify Card, and let Ford keep firing blanks, Gvozden might…just might…start to build himself back to last year.

I think this game goes to the Blue Jays. Why? I think Hofstra’s offense right now is too 1 dimensional and their goalie is 0 dimensional.

Saturday March 7, Noon: Syracuse at Georgetown
Syracuse is 2-1 with their only loss to #1 Virginia.
Georgetown is 1-1 with a win over #8Maryland and a loss to unranked St. Johns.

No…that is not a typo.

Last week was a mirror image for these two teams. Both teams are coming off losses. One goal losses that each team really could have won. Both Georgetown and Syracuse played sloppy and made unforced errors early. Both also were trailing early and made nice comebacks that just fell short. Georgetown looked very good against Maryland, and quite honestly not too bad against St. Johns. When a goalie stops 15 of 24 shots on goal (63%) as Gavin Buckley did for St Johns, any team could lose. Their sub-par hustle performance didn’t help as they lost the GB war, and turned the ball over more. Georgetown’s attack is a smooth confident unit with Mirabito (8,1), Shuler (3,1), and Dowd (2,5). But don’t be fooled as they have a one two punch at midfield with Kocis (3,2), and Brancaccio (3,1). Even their goalie Jack Davis is doing well with a save percentage of over 51%.

Syracuse as usual is a scoring machine averaging 17goals per game. What they need to improve on before facing the Hoyas turning the ball over. Against UVA, many passes were errant. Syracuse defense also needs to stand up against confident attack units. In the games I saw last year, the Cuse defense let bodies fly and made attack units think twice about moving in for a close shot. Against Virginia, it looked as though they were timid. Many of the early goals against Syracuse were not their goalie’s fault but bad slides or miscommunication letting the shooter in on the doorstep.

If Georgetown can pull of the upset here, we might see them in Boston. If I erase what happened last week I would say they have a chance at pulling off the upset. Unfortunately we can’t ignore that loss to St. Johns. I think the Orange is pissed. Not so much about losing to UVA by a goal, but the way in which they played. I can see them coming out and being more physical on D like they need to be against a deceivingly good attack. Syracuse by a couple.

The players wouldn’t call the victory an upset but the rest of the Division 3 community just might.

This afternoon, the #8 Stevenson Mustangs faced the #2 team in D3 land, the Gettysburg Bullets and were once again considered huge underdogs against Hank Janczyk’s squad.  However on this chilly day in Owings Mills, MD, Paul Cantabene’s Mustangs trounced the Bullets 16-6 and left Gettysburg headed back home on the bus shaking their heads.

Stevenson opened up scoring only 53 seconds into the game.  Gettysburg would answer back quickly tallying off the next two goals to take a 2-1 lead and never see it again the rest of the afternoon.  Trailing 2-1 in the first quarter, the Mustangs went on to a 9 goal first half run (7 assisted) and led 10-2 at the half.  But they weren’t done with the goal streak as it would extend to 10 in the 3rd until Gettysburg was finally able to net one.

The second half was no different from the first as Stevenson won the head to head 6-4 and dominated all over the field.

Stevenson’s attack ran wild in today’s win as  Jimmy Dailey led all scorers with 4 goals and 3 assists.  Richie Ford tallied 4 and 1 and Steve Kazimer went a respectable 2 and 2.   Gettysburg’s defense was said to be their strength coming into the 2009 season, but they may have to go back and fine tune that machine.

The Mustangs beat the Bullets all over the field.  The unofficial stats had them winning in Shots 44-36, Groundballs 27-18, Face offs 15-9 (Greg Furshman 11 wins) and even in saves 11-10.

This weekend, Gettysburg takes on 2008 runners up #3 Cortland State up on Long Island and Stevenson plays at Ursinus.

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We can almost say the season is fully underway.  Once the NESCAC gets going sometime next week, we’ll have ourselves a season here in D3 land.  The action thus far has been kind of slow but games should kick into high gear moving forward.

The game of this past week had to be Stevenson holding onto beat Widener 7-6.  I attended that game and I thought it was kind of sloppy, even in the 2nd half when it all was on the line.  Stevenson relied heavily on holding the ball and playing the clock game.  It worked in their favor but Widener showed some great defensive play in the second half.  I attended the Mustangs tailgate after and that may lead into a new series of blog posts where I review and cover tailgates!  Look for a post about it within a day or two.

The upset or at least a shocker so far this season has to be Mary Washington ousting Hampden-Sydney 9-7.  I don’t think anyone saw that coming after HS had had some hype coming into the season.

Salisbury has answered its critics with vigor by opening up 3-0 and by putting a stamp on their victory over Lynchburg.  This was the first test for the Gulls on their road to 3-peat.  Kylor Berkman looks unstoppable.  I know he put up big numbers against some lower talent, but putting in 4-3 against the Hornets is never an easy task.

This week we have some great match ups.

The Game of the Week: #12 Haverford @ #5 Cabrini
Better Bring Your Mittens:  #18 Western New England @ #3 Cortland State
The Haves or the Have Nots:  #8 Stevenson @ #15 Stevens Tech
Make or Break It Early:  Ohio Wesleyan @ #10 Lynchburg

And don’t forget #2 Gettysburg finally opens up to make their own Championship run at home against Hampden-Sydney on Saturday.

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The Mustang Blog - Part 1

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This week there is a double header at M&T Stadium that is billed as a great day of lacrosse. However, Maryland vs. Duke, and Princeton vs. Hopkins just is not as exciting as it once was. A Maryland vs. Hopkins game would have been better.

Maryland plays Duke at 2:30 at M&T Stadium.

Maryland is 2-1. No wins over ranked teams, and 1 loss to #5 Georgetown.

Maryland’s scoring against Georgetown was a big surprise. Their attack which I think so highly of, did not produce (3goals). It was their midfield that showed up. Not only did their midfield unit score most of the goals, they also won 17 of 26 face offs. Maryland is still a team to be reckoned with.

Duke is 2-1. They beat #17 Colgate by just 1 goal, and lost to #14 Harvard. Duke is not waiting until the post season to choke. The Blue Devils just can’t seem to find a rhythm either on offense or defense. The once feared Duke scoring machine only got off 29 shots against Harvard. Their EMO is 2 for 7 on the whole year. Duke is relying too heavily on their midfield lines as their top three scorers are Ned Crotty (4G, 8A), Brad Ross (6G, 2A), and Steve Schoeffel (5G, 0A). Max Quinzani (4G, 1A) has not been able to do much without Greer or Danowski by his side.

On the other side of the field, goalie Rob Schroeder is letting in more than 50% of the shots he faces (24 Goals Against, 22 Saves).

Duke is also below 50% on face-offs.

The Blue Devils should fear the turtle. Maryland should be able to get their midfield and attack firing on Schroeder. Couple that with winning most of the face-offs, Duke will lose and fall into lacrosse mediocrity…Just like Hofstra used to be.

Princeton faces Johns Hopkins at 6:00pm at M&T Stadium.

This game should be better than the beating Duke will take.

Hopkins is 1-0 after a thorough thrashing of Siena last week. While this was expected, there were two key stats in the game that should be examined before this game. The 1st is that Hopkins EMO unit was blanked (0 for 3). The 2nd is that Hopkins was thoroughly beat on face-offs (7 of 18). The Jays need to shore these parts of their game up before facing Princeton. The main highlight was the play of Mike Gvozden and the defense. Yes, I was a hater in the first half of last year, as Gvozden looked like a black hole, but then he turned his season around and was saving everything that was thrown at him. It was nice to see the defense only let Siena take 26 shots on cage, and Gvozden start off with a 73% save percentage (3GA, 23SV).

Hopkins has enough depth that if Princeton can shut down leader Steve Boyle (4G, 2A), Kyle Wharton (3G, 0A), Brian Christopher (1G, 2A), or Mike Kimmel (1G, 1A) can step it up.

Princeton is 1-0 after beating Canisius 14-6.

Interesting to point out, at the half, Princeton was actually losing by 1 to Canisius. That changed in the 3rd quarter, as the Tigers unleashed a barrage of shots and netted 8 goals. Jack McBride led the way (4G, 1A), followed by Tommy Davis (3G, 0A), Chris McBride (2G, 0A), and Rob Engelke (2G, 0A). Key stats for this game were that of the 14 Princeton goals, only 5 were assisted. The Tigers had 6 chances on EMO and converted on half of them. Princeton only allowed 22 shots on goal.

While Princeton’s style of play should guarantee Hopkins doesn’t run away with it, Hopkins defense should smother the Tigers’ attack. This should be a low scoring game with Hopkins winning it on their defense/goalie and midfield scoring.

Syracuse vs. Virginia - Photo by Getty Images North America

Photo by Getty Images North America

The game of the week, if not year is UVA at Syracuse on Friday at 7pm.

This should be a great rematch of last year’s quarterfinal game. Both teams have similar styles of hard defense, and lots of firepower.

Syracuse is 2-0 with no wins against ranked teams.

Their offense is averaging 53 shots per game and 19.5 goals per game. Their main threats are Kenny Nims (6G, 8A), Steve Keogh (8G, 3A), Dan hardy (3G, 3A), Chris Daniello (5G, 0A), and Tim Desko (3G, 2A). Between Nims and Keogh they have picked up any slack left by Leveille’s graduation. The third attack spot has seen Daniello, Desko, and Niewieroski round out the 1-2 punch. The Midfield is led by Hardy, and transfer Kahoe, however Abbott needs to contribute more.

Their defense keeping opponents to 18 shots per game, 4.5 goals per game. Even though they lost Evan Brady and Kyle Guadagnolo, Sid “Vicious” Smith is back, bringing back the physical style of play. He is joined by Matt Tierney and John Lade at close D. In net for Syracuse is John Galloway who has started this season off with a 56% save percentage.

Where Syracuse really excels is their special teams. Their EMO is 8 of 9 (89%), and their man-down unit is a perfect 100% (0-10).

UVA is 4-0 with no wins over ranked teams. Their offense is averaging 53.5 shots per game and 13.25 goals per game. The top guns for UVA are Garrett Billings (14G, 8A), Steele Stanwick (7G, 6A), Brian Carroll (10G, 1A), and Danny Glading (2G, 8A).

Their defense is allowing 5.75 goals per game and 23.5 shots per game. Close D is led by Ken Clausen who plays a fun style of D to watch. His flashiness is complemented by the physical play of Matt Kelly. In between the pipes is Sophomore Adam Ghitelman, a solid goalie who has put up a 62% save percentage this season.

UVA’s special teams is a possible weakness. Their EMO is only 25% (3 for 12), and their man-down unit is 58% (5-12).

I think both attack units will witn the battles against their opponents’ defenses. Glading, and Bilings proved it in last year’s game, and their attack unit only got better with the addition of Steele Stanwick. For Syracuse, while Leveille put on a one-man show against Virginia’s D, I think both Nims and Keogh have stepped it up, and now Syracuse actually has more threats on attack than UVA can cover.

At midfield Syracuse’s defensive middies should be able to hold Carroll from having a huge game, although no one can stop him completely. The question will be can UVA stop Hardy. I think Hardy is one possible deciding factor. The other as stated before will be special teams. If UVA racks up penalties (averaging 3 per game), Syracuse can, and will take advantage. In a close 1 or at the max 2 goal game, Syracuse edges out UVA.

This is my first experience into blogging and I hope that you will be checking in weekly to follow what it’s like in the life of an Associate AD and Head Lacrosse Coach on the DIII level. I hope you will understand and appreciate the principles of academic and athletic excellence and feel my experiences will be worth following.

My personal coaching philosophy can be summed up in two words: passion and integrity. I love the sport of lacrosse. Everyday, I am excited by the fact that there is a career that enables me to be intricately involved with the sport of lacrosse. The passion that I have for the sport is contagious. My enthusiasm and spirit for my position as a coach and love of the game is unavoidable. I have worked hard to instill this passion in my teams and have had the opportunity to watch it grow both collectively and individually.

I have had the privilege to work under two of the most recognized coaches in the game, Tony Seaman at Towson University and Dave Cottle at the University of Maryland. In my short time at Stevenson University (formerly Villa Julie College) I have lead the team that only had a varsity team for 9 years in DIII to a 43-24 record including three 10 win seasons. Highlighted by a school record 13 wins in 2008, 3 conference championship games in four years, I am also an Associate AD at the university in charge of all male sports and all athletic facilities.

My coaching ability has been enhanced by my experiences as a professional player. I played 6 years in the MLL along with 11 years in the NLL. I also played 7 years in the USCLA for the Mt. Washington Lacrosse Club after I graduated from Loyola in 1993.

We have just completed our first week of practice and it was a great week of practice. The boys all came back in shape and ready to take on the challenge that the 2009 season will bring. We do a few different things at Stevenson University to bring the team together also reward individuals for their good deeds that I have learn from travels as an DI assistant coach for 10 years.

We try to have an inspirational quote each week to start the practice off with. This weeks “Quote Private” was Freshman Andrew McCrumb who quoted the Baltimore Ravens All Pro Linebacker Ray Lewis.

If you can go into battle 100% confident that your teammate is willing to fight until he has nothing left in order to achieve the common goal of the team then nothing is impossible.”

This week’s “Senior story” time was senior Chris Baldwin who talked about his time at the United States Naval Academy. He talked about how the Navy made him understand that being part of a team means not only doing your part but also helping a teammate who may be struggling to do his part “Because a team is only as strong as its weakest member.”

One of the things we try to highlight during the season is the play in practice and reward the guys who play the best. This weeks weekly award winners are:

  • The best Assist or most unselfish player of the week - Junior Dave Cougler
  • The best Goalie of the week - Junior Andrew Harrington
  • The best Hit of the week - Senior Austin Hale
  • The best Overall player of the week - Sophomores Jake Stocksdale and Ian Hart
  • I look forward to sharing the experience and adventures of the 2009 Stevenson University season. If you have any ideas or things you would like to know please shoot me an email.

    In the mean time keep living the dream!

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    Friday Night Army visits the Carrier Dome of Syracuse at 7:00pm. 
    After winning the Championship last year, and the beat-down Syracuse handed to Providence last week, Army SHOULD be little more than 3rd gear for the Orange.   However, this gets my vote for 3rd game to watch this week as Army always seems to play Cuse very tight. 

    Army Syracuse

    Georgetown at Maryland Saturday at 1:00pm
    Many think this is THE game to watch this week.  I say its #2 on my list. Maryland is 2-0 after easily beating both Presbyterian and Air Force.  This is Georgetown’s season opener. 

    If you got sick of the term “by committee” while watching the NFL this year, don’t watch any Maryland games.  In my opinion, they have the best attack unit in the country.  Why?  The last season Yeatman played (freshman) he put up over 40 points.  Last year, (all freshmen) Catalino had over 40 points, Reed had over 30, and Young had just shy of 30 with 27.  Yeatman and Catalino have started both games; Reed and Young each got 1 start.  11 Maryland players have 2 or more goals, and no one has more than 3.  In fact another 7 players have 1 goal.  Maryland likes to shoot.  They have out shot opponents 121-50. 

    FYI in case you forgot, there are 60 minutes per game…so Maryland has shot more shots than minutes they’ve played.  Want more committees, try goalie by committee.  We knew that coming into this season as Phipps and Carter split time fairly evenly last season.  This season time is right down the middle.  Statistically speaking Phipps has a slightly better track record with a save percentage of 61 for his career compared to Carter’s 58, and that doesn’t include this year’s stats yet (77% and 69% respectively). 

    Georgetown has a very capable attack unit in Craig Dowd, who just keeps getting better, Ricky Mirabito who should be at 100% after suffering an injury in fall ball, and Maryland transfer Brett Weiss.  Georgetown’s advantage may lie in their midfield unit.  Andrew Branaccio has a cannon of a shot. Scott Kocis returns after an injury sidelined him last year. He showed promise as a freshman scoring 7 goals against good teams. 

    The question mark for Georgetown will be their goalie situation.  In the preseason it looked like Jack Davis would get the nod, however none of the 4 goalies the Hoyas are carrying has more than a few minutes experience.

    While all the preseason hype puts this as the game of the week, I don’t think it will be that close.  Most teams schedule an easy opponent the first week or so to wipe the rust off.  Georgetown might have bitten off more than they can chew for their season opener…especially with an inexperienced goalie in the pipes.  Maryland will pepper Davis with tons of shots…and from everywhere.  How he reacts will determine the outcome of the game.  If he can make some saves and keep his composure under fire, this could be a great match up.  If MD gets a few in early, I can see the floodgates opening in the second half.  MD by 6.

    Georgetown Maryland

    Navy visits UNC Friday night at 7:30:  This is my personal pick for game of the week.
    UNC is 2-0 this season with an easy victory over Robert Morris (16-4) and a victory over Denver by an even wider margin of victory (20-7).   Navy is 2-0 as well.  They also have one easy win over VMI (13-5) and a hard win over Ohio State (8-6). 

    UNC out shot Robert Morris but had trouble finding the net in their first week.  Coach Breschi focused on improving their shooting, and UNC responded by scoring on 20 of 40 shots against Denver for an unheard of scoring percentage.  This week UNC focused on special teams, clears and rides, and is looking for a scrappy tough game against Navy. 

    As predicted, Petracca and Bitter are the two top guns on UNC, each with 8 Goals and 5 assists (13points).  Sean Burke is ready to break out as he has yet to tally a goal this season (4 assists).  On the defensive side of the field, UNC has caused 23 turnovers, and keeper Zimmerman has posted a 5.44 GAA but more importantly a save percentage of 64.3%.

    Navy wins with their defense.  In two games, they have only had 24 shots on goal against them, only had 6 penalties, and 11 goals against.  Navy is also outstanding on special teams.  Their EMO is over 83% (5-6), and their man-down is a perfect 100% (0-5). 
    Navy’s offense is spread around as 3 players all have 4 goals a piece (Paul, Conners, Nechanicky).  Navy’s weakness is between the boxes.  They have only won 46% of their face-offs. 

    The key to this game will be Navy’s special teams, and UNC’s shooting.  If  UNC can get off to a fast start, its all over.  Navy can’t compete in a shootout.  If UNC does not get that early jump start, or shoots poorly, Navy’s special teams could prove to be the upset factor.  I am going with UNC on this one by 4.

    Navy UNC

    The 2009 season is finally getting underway.  After a long winter of over 10 feet of snow, it is time to get the boathouse jacket out, the grill cleaned off, and head out to watch some great lacrosse. 

    This valentine’s weekend tell her you lover her with tickets to the UMBC/Delaware game.
    It is my game of the week pick, and will be a great challenge to both teams right from the gate.

    UMBC at Delaware
    Saturday 1:00pm

    UMBC is carrying a heavy load of expectation this year. The Retrievers had their best season ever last year posting a 12-4 record (undefeated in conference play), and falling just 1 goal short against UVA in the 1st round of the NCAA playoffs.

    They look to continue their success this year and go even farther, as they returned 9 of 10 starters…that was until top defenseman Bobby Atwell went down with an ACL injury, and their top attackman Smith is rehabbing his knee.  Smith might not be as effective due to his injury, however, his supporting cast should be able to pick up any slack.  Linemates Matt Latham, and either Chris Jones scored 38 goals last year, and are joined by a very promising freshman in Rob Grimm.  UMBC’s first midfield looks solid with Wimer, Hopmann, and transfer Poillon who combined for 64 goals last season.  UMBC’s starting defense and goalie all return this year, looking stronger than before. 

    The only weakness for UMBC is mental.  They have a habit of playing up or down to their opponents.  Last year, UMBC looked a bit overrated as they were blown out by Delaware (7-15), and Rutgers (4-13).  They also struggled against teams they should have easily handled in close wins over Yale (11-9), Binghamton (6-5 in OT), and Vermont (8-6).   On the flipside, they beat Maryland, OSU, Albany twice, and lost to Hopkins by 2 and UVA by 1. 

    The Blue Hens of Delaware return 19 players from last years squad including standout attackman Curtis Dickson who posted 46 goals last season.  Dickson will need to lead an inexperienced unit that aside from his numbers, combined for 5 goals last season.  Delaware also has the ability to score from midfield with Martin Cahill and Beau Davis a duo that put up 52 points last year.  On Defense, the hens have a very strong close unit  with Pat Dowling and Tim Langmaid.  What hurts their defense is the loss of goalie Tommy Scherr.  Noah Fossner steps between the pipes this season.  In his first start last week against St. Josephs, he allowed only 2 goals on 11 shots.
    It is this unknown of Fossner that is Delaware’s weakness this year.  If he can step in seamlessly to the vacancy between the pipes, Delaware looks to have a solid year.

    This game should be an excellent match up with no blowout this year.  It is going to come down to UMBC’s defense.  Can they stop the Hens’ figure out how to stop Dickson and Cahill who single-handedly scored more than all of UMBC last year?

    I think UMBC is a solid team this year, but I think Delaware still pulls out a marginal win 10-8.

    Tell me what you think?  Who is going to win this game?  What is YOUR pick for the best game to watch?

    Every Thursday night I will be posting previews of the best games to watch.  Stay tuned and follow me through the season.

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