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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.

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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