In its first major test of the season, No. 9 Massachusetts failed. And failed horribly.
After allowing just 30 goals in their first five games, the Minutemen's defense collapsed, giving up half that total in a 15-4 loss to Duke last Saturday. Tomorrow, Massachusetts (6-1) must match up against No. 5 Loyola (7-1), which outgunned No. 3 Syracuse last week.
"We certainly need intensity and effort off the bat," Massachusetts coach Greg Cannella said. "Loyola will come out on fire just like Duke and we need to protect ourselves from that. And our offense plays off of our defense."
The Minutemen, who have slipped to third in scoring defense, has possibly the best combination of talent defensively in goalkeeper John Kasselakis, defenseman Harold Drumm and shortstick defensive midfielder P. G. Massey. As Massachusetts jumped out to its best start in 11 years by winning its first six games, Drumm didn't allow his defensive assignment to score.
But that strong early run might have given some Minutemen a reason to become overconfident, which factored heavily in their poor performance against Duke.
"We're getting back to basics this week," Drumm said. "The last week and a half, I think a lot of guys got a little complacent. But that has had to stop. Instead of thinking now we're good, we have to go out there and prove it."
Dragons on fire
This year's vote for the turnaround team of the year goes to Drexel. The Dragons (9-0), who lost their last four games last season by an average of 10.5 goals, are one of three undefeated teams remaining in Division I.
However, many coaches have said Drexel might be shunned by the NCAA tournament committee even with a perfect regular season due to a weak schedule. Two years ago, Bucknell went unbeaten and did not receive a bid.
The Dragons, who have wins over Yale and Towson, have to make their case on April 25, when they play host to No. 8 Hofstra.
Navy's Meade still hopeful
Soon after watching No. 15 Navy get routed by top-ranked Maryland, 21-7, Mids coach Richie Meade warned fans not to write off the academy for the playoffs. Navy (5-4), which hasn't made the NCAA tournament in four years, plays at No. 8 Hofstra tonight and has remaining games with No. 4 Johns Hopkins and Army.
"I feel very good about our team," Meade said. "It may sound stupid to say this but you run into something like this, you have to play as hard as you can and hope for the best. But Hofstra is little different team than these guys."
Terp women climb back
Riding a nine-game winning streak, the Maryland women moved up to No. 2 in this week's Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association poll.
Ranked first in preseason, the Terps (9-2) had fallen as far as sixth after opening losses to North Carolina and Duke. Since then, young players have emerged as scoring threats and a new defensive unit has tightened up.
The freshman class has scored a third of Maryland's goals and accounted for 37 percent of the points. Meredith Egan, Jen Adams, Quinn Carney and Allison Comito rank in the top eight on the Terps' scoring chart.
Defensively, Kathleen Lund (John Carroll), Helena Herrmann, Tonia Porras and goalie Alex Kahoe lead a unit that has allowed just 8.6 goals a game.
Two coming games between local teams feature sisters on opposing sides.
Tomorrow's America East conference showdown between Towson and Delaware pits Amy and Christy Buck (Mount de Sales) against each other.
The game is a bit of a grudge match for Amy's Tigers, who swept the regular-season title last year only to be upset by Christy's Blue Hens in the conference title game. Each ranks among her team's top scorers -- Amy with 17 goals and one assist and Christy with 15 and three assists.
When Johns Hopkins heads to UMBC Wednesday, Blue Jays coach Janine Tucker will have to figure out how to stop her sister Heather Kormanik (Loch Raven).
Kormanik, a UMBC senior, ranks third in the nation in points per game. With 33 goals and 17 assists in 10 games, she already has doubled the offensive output of her first three years combined.
More sibling rivalry
Notre Dame freshman Maura Doyle (Maryvale) scored a career-high five goals in a 10-9 Irish win at Ohio State on Saturday. That wasn't quite enough, however, to outdo her sister. Meghan Doyle, a Villanova junior, scored a career-high seven goals in a 13-11 victory at UMBC on March 22.
Virginia's Peggy Boutilier (Roland Park) was named Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Week after scoring a career-high five goals in the No. 3 Cavaliers' 9-4 upset of unbeaten and No. 2 Princeton last Friday. Last year's national Defensive Player of the Year had eight goals for the week and helped the Cavaliers limit three opponents to six total goals.
Pub Date: 4/10/98