Ex-Loyola stars take lead roles in ACC tourney

April 24, 1994|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Sun Staff Writer

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Chuck Breschi and Craig Ronald view today's Atlantic Coast Conference tournament title game from similar perspectives.

North Carolina's Breschi and Virginia's Ronald are senior defenseman, were honorable mention All-Americans in 1993 and are leaders in the back for the best teams in the ACC. They're both from the suburbs north of Baltimore, and in the late 1980s they teamed together to solidify Loyola High's status as one of the premier prep programs in the nation.

There's one other significant link: Both are driven by a hole in their lacrosse resumes, namely no NCAA championship.

"That's what bugs me the most," Ronald said. "We've had great individual players surrounded by great individual players, but we've got nothing to show for it. This team is different."

Ronald jumped on the crowded talent train from the Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference to the Cavaliers, but last season was the first since 1988 that Virginia got as far as the NCAA quarterfinals.

Breschi has an NCAA ring from the Tar Heels' perfect season in 1991, but it comes with an asterisk. Prior to the start of that season, Breschi was stabbed in the abdomen by someone who crashed a party near the North Carolina campus and underwent emergency surgery. He expected to be a top reserve, but watched the Tar Heels' run through the NCAAs from the sidelines.

At times over the last two seasons, Breschi has been overlooked. He was an honorable mention All-America last season, but fellow North Carolina defensemen Alex Martin and Greg Paradine were first-teamers. Both graduated, so Breschi is the only veteran in the back.

"He's the heart and brains of our defense," said coach Dave Klarmann.

A balanced attack and goalie James Ireland have received the bulk of the kudos at Virginia, but coach Dom Starsia said Ronald is his steadiest player.

"Craig hasn't played a bad game in the two years I've been here," Starsia said. "I don't know who the All-American defensemen are, but he's been our MVP back there [on defense] the last two years."

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