Chances for revenge and a national championship await the Anne Arundel Community College men's lacrosse team at Corning (N.Y.) Community College this weekend.
The home-grown Pioneers (10-3, 4-0 in region) -- with 24 of their 35 players from Anne Arundel County -- won the Region XX championship Sunday by 16-14 over Catonsville to gain the No. 3 seed in the National Junior College tournament set for Corning.
Long Island's Nassau, the No. 2 seed, will be the Pioneers' opponent at 3 p.m. Saturday in the semifinals. Defending champion and top seed Herkimer (12-1), also from Long Island, faces No. 4 seed Catonsville (9-3) at noon.
The winners play 2 p.m. Sunday for the national championship, something Anne Arundel has never won. AACC lost earlier this season by 10-9 at Nassau (9-4) and second-year coach Bill Gorrow expects that loss to give his team added incentive.
"I like the matchup and we expect to get a fair shake this time from the officials," said Gorrow.
"We didn't get any help from the officials. We had 13 penalties to their three and one official called 12 of ours. Different officials work the national, so we expect it to be fair."
The Pioneers take a high-powered offense into the nationals with Queen Anne's High product Scott Walstrum leading the way with 42 goals and 14 assists. Walstrum, who had three goals in Sunday's win, is joined on the first attack by North County's Andy Mocarsky and Canadian Bruce Alexander.
Mocarsky and Alexander have 27 goals and 21 assists each. Alexander, a 22-year-old from Victoria, Canada, is an imposing 6 feet 5 and 235 pounds.
Carl Bochau of Mount Hebron in Howard County paces the midfield with 20 goals and 10 assists. And the first defense of Kevin Grizzle (Severna Park), Ryan Sanalitro (Arundel) and Eric Ransome (Episcopal Academy, Philadelphia) has been superb.
Chesapeake's Eric Distin has been outstanding in the goal with a save percentage of .689.
The team also has depth, which could play a major part in a legitimate shot at the title.
"If we get past Nassau, I think our chances are good against Herkimer," said Gorrow. "We need to stay out of the penalty box and control their attack to have a shot. We match up well and I expect a dogfight.
Gorrow says Herkimer's reputation as a national power is deserved, but the coach believes it may not be as strong as in years gone by.
"They've come back to the pack and the main thing about them is their kids are ready to live and die for their program," Gorrow said. "This year our kids are ready to go to war for everybody on our team. We won't be intimidated."
Last night's baseball and softball county championship games were rescheduled for tonight at Northeast High because of wet fields. Top-ranked Arundel (17-3) meets No. 2 Old Mill (18-2) 7 p.m. in the baseball championship.
Second-ranked Arundel (16-4) plays No. 3 Glen Burnie (14-4) for the softball championship at 5 p.m.
If weather prevents the games from being played tonight, co-champions will be declared.
"The county athletic directors intend to revisit the idea of having county championship games after the spring season," said Bernie Walter, Arundel athletic director and baseball coach.
"Some like the county championships and the way it has gone all year and some don't. We just need to work out the kinks and I think we can do that."
One of the kinks, of course, was the timing of the spring sport championships in baseball and softball. The last day of the season in both sports was to be Monday with the championships scheduled for Tuesday, but teams were still making up games on Tuesday and the championship games were moved to Wednesday.
Baseball needs a dry field and rested pitchers, and everything should have been finished Saturday with the county championships set for Monday. It would have been over by now and there would have been four days (Monday to Thursday) to play with instead of two.
With the state playoffs set for tomorrow, the county did not allow enough time in case of bad weather and the county may end up with co-champs.
Arundel first baseman/outfielder Andy Vermillion has 41 RBIs going into his next game. The county and state record for a season is 45 by Donnie Shump of Northeast in 1991.
Pub Date: 5/09/96