Princeton nearing first Ivy League lacrosse title in 25 years

The Inside Stuff

April 28, 1992|By Bill Tanton

This has been the craziest of college lacrosse seasons with major surprises every week. With the NCAA Division I playoffs beginning a week from Saturday, things should soon start making sense.

One of the few consistent teams in the country has been 9-2 Princeton, ranked No. 3 in the coaches' poll for the second straight week. No. 1 is Syracuse; No. 2 is North Carolina.

With a victory Saturday over Dartmouth, Princeton will win its first Ivy League lacrosse championship in 25 years. The Tigers' only losses came in their opening game at Johns Hopkins, 15-14, and at North Carolina, 9-8.

"It's so competitive this year and everybody has had a lull," says TC coach Bill Tierney, who came to Princeton five years ago from the Hopkins staff.

"Syracuse and North Carolina stand out above everybody else, but I see Hopkins and Loyola peaking in time for the playoffs."

Tierney says Syracuse has the "most athletic talent" in the country and certainly deserves its No. 1 ranking. The Orange beat North Carolina, 15-10, in the Carrier Dome in its opener.

"Syracuse," says Tierney, "is very good. They have a lot of tournament experience.

"But it's not like it was a couple years ago when the Gait twins [Gary and Paul] were at Syracuse and everybody else was playing for second place. Everybody's got a shot at it now."

North Carolina greatest strength, says Tierney, is midfield depth.

"Carolina is tough defensively," says the Princeton coach, "and they come at you with so many midfielders. Midfield depth was a big factor for Carolina in winning the championship last year, especially with those Saturday-Monday games."

Princeton is on a six-game winning streak with victories over Rutgers, Yale, Penn, Brown, Harvard and Cornell. Outstanding for the Tigers has been goalie Scott Bacigalupo, a Baltimorean who starred at St. Paul's School and was a second-team All-American last year as a freshman.

"Early in the year," says Tierney, "we didn't give Scott a lot of support. We had four or five kids out with injuries. They're all back now including Mike Mariano."

* Lacrosse's Final Four weekend this year at Penn will be a bigger extravaganza than ever. In addition to the Division I men's semifinals, May 23, and final on May 25, the Division III championship game will be held there on Sunday, May 24. For tickets call 215-898-6151. Better hurry. Franklin Field only seats 60,000.

* The women's lacrosse Final Four will be held May 16-17 at Lehigh, which is in Bethlehem, Pa. Maryland and Loyola are given a good chance to get there.

* Navy's football team has a coaching staff made up almost exclusively of men who played at small or little known colleges.

Third-year head coach George Chaump played at Bloomsburg University. Defensive coordinator Greg McMackin played at Southern Oregon College. Charlie Donnor went to Buffalo, Mike Drake to Western Michigan, Jake Gonos and Kevin Kiesel to Gettysburg, Ron Harris to California Lutheran, Frank Hickson to Tuskegee and Sam Shaffer to Temple. The one glaring exception is Dennis Murphy. He went to Notre Dame.

Navy will need all the help it can get this year. Gone from the schedule are the Ball States and Bowling Greens. Coming on are Virginia, North Carolina and Vanderbilt. Navy was only 1-10 with those Division I-AA schools on the schedule last year.

* John Seder, multi-millionaire Chicago businessman and Johns Hopkins graduate, makes this interesting comparison between

Oriole Park at Camden Yards and the new Comiskey Park in his own town:

"Baltimore did it right. You people have a real ballpark, a fantastic ballpark. Comiskey is a stadium. We had a great opportunity in Chicago and we blew it."

After the rave reviews in the national media over the new ballpark here, others in the planning stage are taking note and aiming to incorporate some older touches in their own parks. By 1997, new ballparks are expected to be in place in Texas, Milwaukee, Detroit and Cleveland.

* How soon they forget department: Somebody asked yesterday the name of the man who broadcast Oriole games last year with Jon Miller. That, of course, was Ken Levine, who's now doing Mariners' games in Seattle.

At that rate, there's not much chance people can remember who worked with Miller in '87. Give up? It was Jack Wiers. He's said to be working somewhere in Florida now, though no one around the Orioles seems to know where.

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