Future final four at Ravens' home?

NCAA panel's Boylan, Starsia applaud proposal

May 29, 1999|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK -- Maybe PSINet Stadium will hold lacrosse fans instead of a mosh pit one Memorial Day weekend.

The Ravens' home will be invaded by 80,000 rock-and-rollers for the HFStival today, the first non-football event at the Baltimore stadium, which is less than a year old. The NCAA hasn't discussed the prospect with the Maryland Stadium Authority recently, but the chairman of the men's lacrosse committee endorsed a final four in Baltimore.

"I think it would be great for lacrosse," said Joe Boylan, who's the athletic director at Loyola. "I'm not sure what the political issues would be, but I think Baltimore, even for one year, is something to think about."

Virginia coach Dom Starsia, another member of the committee, alluded to the recruiting advantage that host schools have gained as a reason to try something like an NFL venue.

"When I came on to the committee, I thought that one of our concerns was finding a truly neutral site," Starsia said. "Moving to a site like that [PSINet Stadium] would be a major step for the game."

The NCAA, which first brought the four semifinalists together in a final four format in 1986, has always held the event at a campus site, but its better-attended championships are typically held off campus.

The final four will return to Byrd Stadium next year and will be held at Rutgers in 2001 and 2002, with future sites to be determined. The tournament's final weekend has always been a hit at Byrd Stadium, and despite Maryland's not even making the 12-team field, attendance marks could be eclipsed.

With the Terps one of the four participants in 1995 and '97, the semifinals drew record crowds of, respectively, 30,392 and 30,580. Advance sales have been comparable to those years, and the weather forecast is favorable for a walk-up crowd.

Next year's first-round doubleheaders will be played at UMBC and Hobart the weekend of May 13-14, with the quarterfinal doubleheaders at Johns Hopkins and Rutgers May 20-21.

Payback Part I

A Syracuse-Johns Hopkins championship game would mean symmetry for the Orangemen, who are halfway through their postseason revenge tour.

Syracuse lost four times in the regular season -- at Hopkins, Loyola and Georgetown, and at the Carrier Dome to Princeton. First-year coach John Desko's team unseated three-time champion Princeton in the first round, and handed top-seeded Loyola its first loss in the quarterfinals. Today's opponent is Georgetown.

What are the Orangemen doing differently in the postseason?

"All aspects of our game are clicking right now," said ace attackman Ryan Powell, who then singled out the transition game. "In our first game against Georgetown, we gave up a lot of unsettled situations. We gave up 12 second-half goals, and that's pretty uncharacteristic for us."

Desko said he asked the Orangemen to be more patient.

"In the losses we had, when we looked at the film, the thing we were doing wrong was giving up a lot of unsettled goals," Desko said. "We used to be the team that did that, but when we saw that Georgetown scored 10 unsettled goals, we knew we would have to come back and improve that."

Payback Part II

When Hopkins beat Virginia on March 27, the Cavaliers surrendered a season-high 16 goals. Dylan Schlott scored five goals for the Blue Jays, and Virginia defenseman Doug Davies said he can't allow the senior from Gilman to set up shop on the doorstep like that again.

"He's a big guy, and he had a very good game against us," Davies said. "He's probably the reason they were successful."

Starsia yanked freshman goalie Derek Kenney with nine minutes left at Homewood Field, but came back with him the following week against Maryland.

"I didn't know until after the game that he [Kenney] told one of my assistants, `Put me back in there.' That told me something." said Starsia, who still has trepidation about the goalie matchup. "Before Delaware, I had flashes of nausea. It's the wild-card factor. You've got the Goalkeeper of the Year [Brian Carcaterra] at one end, and a rookie at the other."

Pub Date: 5/29/99

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