NCAA berth is in Navy's sights

Georgetown game Saturday looms as key to ECAC title

Notebook

College Lacrosse

March 29, 2000|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

The regular season has nearly reached its midpoint, and Navy soon faces a chance to clinch a berth in the NCAA tournament.

The Midshipmen, who should improve their record to 6-1 tonight against visiting Air Force, can win the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference title by beating No. 5 Georgetown on Saturday.

A victory at Georgetown would leave Navy in the driver's seat in the ECAC. Even if they lost to Penn State on April 15 in their sixth and final conference game, the Midshipmen would wrap up their league schedule with one loss, and they would have the edge over the Hoyas in a head-to-head tiebreaker.

Saturday's game will be refreshing for both squads. Georgetown (6-1), after playing five games in a 15-game stretch, including its defeat at Duke on Sunday, finally has a full week to prepare for an opponent.

Navy, after ripping through a less-than-imposing schedule during which it has held UMBC, Radford, UMass and Stony Brook to a combined 12 goals, will confront a bona-fide offense for a change.

In other words, Mickey Jarboe, the Midshipmen's All-America goalkeeper, figures to break a sweat. Jarboe has barely averaged nine saves. That's because three of Navy's opponents failed to record 20 shots. The Hoyas should approach that number in the first half.

"Georgetown is so skilled offensively. They're really good," Navy coach Richie Meade. "But we present some problems, too. The X factor is No. 4 [Jarboe]. Georgetown is going to shoot at him, we're counting on that. Our concern is that we don't give them too many shots in the paint. I'll take Mickey from 14 yards out."

Georgetown coach Dave Urick is counting on his explosive, balanced offense to solve Jarboe. The Hoyas were dominated on faceoffs by Duke 21-7 yet outshot the Blue Devils.

Attackmen Andy Flick, Scott Urick and Peter Velepec promise to test the Mids' close defense. They have combined for 57 assists, and Flick easily leads the team with 18 goals. Flick's 20 assists top his total from a year ago.

Navy's offense, led by Eddie McKinnon (13 goals, nine assists) and Adam Borcz (10, three), is looking to throw another new weapon at the Hoyas in the form of midfielder Jon Brianas. Brianas was the second-leading scorer among Navy midfielders last year.

Brianas, who has rebounded from testicular cancer, is practicing with the Midshipmen and expects to play on Saturday -- possibly as part of the extra-man team.

"Jon ran around and got whacked a few times good in practice on Monday, his first full practice," Meade said. "He's in good shape physically, and his stickwork is unbelieveable for a guy who hasn't even played. That just shows you how overrated coaching is."

Adjusting to life as No. 2

When Virginia dropped its season opener in overtime to visiting Syracuse, Cavaliers coach Dom Starsia said his team acted as if it didn't know how to handle being defending national champion.

Credit the Cavaliers with re-adjusting their game faces. With Saturday's 16-8 walloping of Johns Hopkins, No. 2 Virginia firmly re-established itself as a team that should keep chasing top-ranked Syracuse -- maybe all the way to the NCAA tournament finals at College Park on May 29.

"We've got a lot of pride," Starsia said. "I think we were properly embarrassed in that [Syracuse] game. After an off-season of everybody enjoying the spoils of victory, we needed to get smacked in the face."

Children's Center benefit

One dollar will be added to the price of all tickets at Saturday's Johns Hopkins-North Carolina game at Homewood Field, with all extra proceeds going to the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.

Since 1998, the year after losing teammate Chris Gardner to cancer, Hopkins has raised nearly $20,000 in donations to the American Cancer Society and the Children's Center, where Gardner received treatment.

Towson's rough schedule

Towson concludes a brutal part of its schedule on Saturday, when Loyola comes to Minnegan Stadium to renew a rivalry that typically produces a close game.

By Saturday, the unranked Tigers, with one of the younger teams in the game, will have played five opponents with a combined record of 26-5. The schedule has included three top 10 teams in the past four weeks, including top-ranked Syracuse last week.

The No. 3 Greyhounds are 6-0.

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