Virginia, Duke fight for top-4 seed ACC regular-season title is also at stake Saturday

April 08, 1997|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,CONTRIBUTING WRITER Sun staff writer Katherine Dunn contributed to this article.

It's the biggest game outside of College Park this Saturday: No. 2 Virginia at No. 3 Duke.

While the Johns Hopkins-at-Maryland game will draw the crowd, the Cavaliers and Blue Devils will be vying for the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title and the inside track for a top-four seed in the NCAA tournament. The top four seeds automatically advance to the NCAA quarterfinals, receiving first-round byes.

"This game is real important," Virginia coach Dom Starsia said. "I think the winner will probably get one of the top four seeds no matter what they do in the ACC tournament; the loser probably not."

The game hinges on whether the Blue Devils' defense can contain the Cavaliers' explosive attack.

In its past two games, Virginia has scored 51 goals. Duke has allowed only 58 goals in eight games.

"I hear lots of things up north like this is the best defense or they are the best defense," Blue Devils coach Mike Pressler said. "I won't get into that. All I know is when you have two fifth-year seniors and a total of five seniors together back there, something good forms between them. If we have to outscore someone to win, we're not going to be successful."

Winning respect

Hartford doesn't want to be this year's Bucknell.

Last year, Bucknell went 12-0 but did not receive an NCAA tournament bid. But if the No. 14 Hawks upset visiting No. 9 Hofstra today, Hartford says it should be considered a legitimate NCAA tournament contender.

"It's the biggest game ever to be played here," said Hartford coach Jack McGetrick, who also works part-time as a high school teacher. "We have nothing to lose. They are all fired up.

"I think Bucknell was an icebreaker, and I'm hoping it will not happen again. I think if we run the table, reating teams like Hofstra and Towson State, I don't know how they can keep us out."

Hartford (5-1), which wasn't considered one of the top 30 teams in the nation at the start of the season, has won five in a row since a three-goal, season-opening loss to No. 12 Massachusetts. The Hawks have nine games remaining, but Hofstra, Stony Brook and Towson State are the only major threats.

Hartford is the typical overachieving small program. The Hawks have only 4 1/2 scholarships set aside for men's lacrosse and have had to work out in a small gym at times this season when their practice field has been flooded for days.

"I have a hungry group of kids," McGetrick said. "I have been able to bring in a little bit of talent. But what I really have is 18 players playing extremely hard."

The stopper

Brown's Greg Cattrano has proved why he is the leading candidate for Goalkeeper of the Year.

After allowing a career-worst 18 goals against Loyola on March 22, Cattrano has stymied Syracuse and Princeton the past two weeks.

He recorded 11 of his career-best 22 saves in the fourth quarter of a 20-12 upset of Syracuse on March 29 in the Carrier Dome. Cattrano then stopped 20 of Princeton's 27 shots on goal in the second half as Brown lost, 8-5, to the Tigers.

He set a Class of 1952 Stadium record with 20 saves as Princeton was held below 15 goals for the first time in 11 Ivy League contests.

"Cattrano was his usual fantastic self," Brown coach Peter Lasagna said. "The rest of the defense played unbelievably well.

"It would have been nice to win and beat the No. 1 team in the country. But we need to look back and see how far we've come the last two weeks. It's pretty amazing."

Getting up there

Loyola women's lacrosse coach Diane Aikens notched her 100th career victory with Thursday's 14-7 win over Delaware.

In her ninth season, Aikens has a 101-43 record for a .697 winning percentage. She has spent her entire coaching career with the No. 2 Greyhounds (7-0) and was last year's Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association Coach of the Year.

Not far behind is Maryland coach Cindy Timchal, two wins shy of her 100th victory with the No. 1 Terrapins (10-0). Saturday's 15-9 victory over James Madison raised Timchal's Terps record to 98-7 in seven years for a .933 winning percentage.

Timchal, who spent nine years at Northwestern before coming to Maryland, has a career record of 174-47 and ranks fourth all-time in victories and third in winning percentage in Division I.

Her .787 career winning percentage places her first among active coaches and third all-time behind former Penn State coaches Gillian Rattray (.869 from 1979 to 1985) and Sue Delaney-Scheetz (.882 from 1986 to 1989). North Carolina lost to Virginia, 20-5, on Saturday, its worst margin of defeat in 30 years. The Tar Heels, the defending ACC regular-season and tournament champions, head into this year's tournament with an 0-3 league record.

"They definitely outplayed us and they've out-recruited us," North Carolina coach Dave Klarrman said after the Virginia game, the Tar Heels' fifth consecutive defeat. "They've done a great job here."

Pub Date: 4/08/97

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