Can McGeeney, Loyola silence Carrier Dome?

April 19, 1994|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Sun Staff Writer

A men's lacrosse capsule in yesterday's Sun incorrectly reported the best start in Loyola College history. The 1989 team went 10-0 in the regular season.

The Sun regrets the errors.

Tim McGeeney is walking into a goalie's nightmare.

He can't wait.

McGeeney is the last line of defense for Loyola, which is in Syracuse, N.Y., tonight for its stiffest challenge since it was first voted No. 1 in men's college lacrosse on April 11.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

Since losing to Loyola at Curley Field in March 1993, Syracuse has won an NCAA title and gone 19-1, the only setback coming at Johns Hopkins a month ago. The third-ranked Orangemen are nearly unbeatable at the Carrier Dome, where the crescendo of the crowd accompanies their relentless transition game, a combination that buries all but a few visitors.

"I've had this date circled on my schedule for a long time," McGeeney said. "From what I understand, the atmosphere in the Carrier Dome is great. I've never been there, but I've heard about the place since I was in junior high. What have they lost there, two games in the last 10 years?"

For the record, Syracuse has dropped three games in the Carrier Dome since 1982. Given McGeeney's membership in a sizable, successful lacrosse clan, it's surprising that it took him this long to get there.

McGeeney's father helped get the Andover Apaches youth program rolling, and it was there that Tim began taking shots from his three older brothers. George, 33, and John, 29, played for UMBC, and Mike, 32, for the Air Force Academy. When George played for the Maryland Lacrosse Club, one of his teammates was Dave Cottle, the Loyola coach.

"I used to threaten Tim that if he had a bad game, he'd have to go home and deal with his brothers instead of me," said Cottle. "Seriously, you know what you're getting when you get a McGeeney. A coach doesn't have to say anything to those guys. Tim tells us when he makes a mistake."

Actually, Cottle's staff had plenty to say to McGeeney when he pTC came out of North County High three years ago.

He twice led North County to championship games in the state tournament. In 1992, as a Loyola freshman, he was good enough to beat out a senior for the starting job, earn honorable mention All-America and then make the U.S. Junior team that won a world championship. Still, McGeeney's game wasn't without flaws.

"We liked Tim's aggressiveness and communication skills, but he was playing more on feeling than technique," Cottle said. "Even to this day, he's all over the place in the goal. That's his strength, and his weakness. He comes out of nowhere on some saves."

Some feel that this Loyola team has come from nowhere, but the defense is deep and experienced. McGeeney and junior classmate Jason Foley are three-year starters, and Bill Wilson, Brendan Fry and long-stick Dan Ross were all part of the rotation last year.

Loyola's average of 7.9 goals allowed per game and McGeeney's save percentage of .646 rank among the national leaders. The goalie has shown few aftereffects from the recurring shoulder injury that idled him for most of February.

"That might have been the best thing to happen to my career," McGeeney said. "The goalie has to be an extension of the coaches, and I watched practice from their perspective and picked up on things I can pass on to my teammates. I live for igniting a fast break, but before that, a goalie has to communicate with guys in front of him."

To communicate at the Carrier Dome tonight, McGeeney will have to make plenty of noise.

TODAY'S GAME

No. 1 Loyola (8-0) vs. No. 3 Syracuse (8-1)

Site: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Outlook: Loyola has never had a 9-0 record, and the Greyhounds have never played at the Carrier Dome, where Syracuse is 83-5 thanks to a 16-game win streak. The Orangemen have won six in a row since losing, 19-14, at Johns Hopkins on March 19. There also were defensive gaps in a 17-16 overtime victory at Towson State, but the offense remains potent, with All-America midfielders Charlie Lockwood (24 goals, 11 assists), Roy Colsey (26, 8) and Dom Fin (15, 9). Sean Heffernan (12, 24) leads Loyola. Faceoffs will be crucial.

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