Cottle foresaw Loyola's plight

Coach knew team was vulnerable against Irish

Men's notebook

May 17, 2000|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Dave Cottle could feel an upset brewing. In his eyes, the Greyhounds had won the hard way too often during another fine regular season.

They usually did not win enough faceoffs, make enough saves or take enough shots to make him comfortable. They lacked athleticism at the defensive end, forcing them to fall back on positioning and stickwork, rather than gamble by extending their unit to pressure the ball and force turnovers. They had relied too much on their extra-man unit to generate offense.

Throw in injured midfielder and backup faceoff man Mike Battista - who had suffered a separated shoulder a week earlier during a 16-12 loss to Johns Hopkins and would sit out three quarters on Sunday - and Cottle sensed how vulnerable the Greyhounds were against unseeded Notre Dame in the NCAA tournament.

The 15-13 victory by the Irish unfolded like the nightmare Cottle feared. The Greyhounds did not win a faceoff until nine minutes remained in the second quarter, by which time Loyola trailed 8-2. The first-half deficit would grow to 10-2. By that time, Cottle had pulled goalie Jason Born, Notre Dame's confidence had mushroomed, and the Greyhounds were scrambling.

Bad luck compounded Loyola's woes in the second half, which featured two goals by Notre Dame defensemen, one of which resulted from a carom off goalie Mike Bloomquist's heel. Greyhounds shooters also hit the pipe five times.

"We were pretty unlucky at times, but we also dug ourselves a pretty big hole," Cottle said. "Losing Mike took away a great athlete and left us with only five midfielders. I could see it coming. I'm still sick about it."

Cottle looks ahead and sees defensive improvement as the key to success Loyola hopes to enjoy in the postseason. In playoff losses dating to 1998, Loyola has surrendered 15, 17 and 19 goals.

"Look at Hobart. They scored one goal against Duke [on Sunday]. They scored 13 against us [on April 29]," Cottle said. "It doesn't take a genius as a coach to figure out we've got to get better defensively."

Other than senior attackman Tim Goettelmann, who scored 12 goals in losses to Johns Hopkins and Notre Dame, Loyola also fell silent on offense after ranking among the nation's top three teams in scoring.

Midfielder Gavin Prout, who had led the team in scoring for much of the year, scored twice in the final two games. Midfielder Mike Sullivan, who had five goals in a 17-13 victory over Hobart and is the Greyhounds' only left-handed presence, did not score a goal after that game. Nor did middie Peter Haas. Attackman David Fields had one goal in the last two games.

And Loyola's extra-man unit, which had led the nation for much of the regular season, converted just one of 10 chances in its last two games.

Corrigan wins notice

When asked if beating Loyola marked the biggest win in the program under him, Notre Dame coach Kevin Corrigan said it would be hard to top his first playoff victory in South Bend. That would be a 12-10 victory over Duke in the first round of the 1995 tournament."That '95 win was huge. I'm 2-8 in the tournament. I'm not the answer," said Corrigan, gesturing toward several of his players.

By beating Loyola, Corrigan surely did not hurt his chances to become the next head coach at North Carolina. He has been mentioned as a candidate to replace Dave Klarmann, along with Hopkins' John Haus and UMBC's Don Zimmerman. Georgetown coach Dave Urick recently denied that he is a Carolina candidate.

In 12 seasons at Notre Dame, Corrigan has a record of 104-58.

Baltimore connection

The Irish will bring quite a Baltimore contingent to face Hopkins at Homewood Field in Sunday's quarterfinals. Seven players hail from the area, including the team's top two scorers, each a junior attackman from Boys' Latin.

Tom Glatzel and David Ulrich form the heart of the Notre Dame offense. Glatzel leads the team with 37 goals and is second with 17 assists. Ulrich leads the team with 30 assists and ranks third with 17 goals.

Junior midfielder Todd Ulrich, the twin brother of David, has scored 15 points.

Et cetera

Homewood Field is not the place to face Hopkins in the playoffs. The Blue Jays are 32-4 in NCAA tournament games there. ... Hopkins senior attackman Dan Denihan needs nine points to become the eighth player in school history to hit the 200-point career mark. Denihan also will reach 100 career goals with his next score. ... Towson University played one of the tougher schedules in the country this season, and suffered through its worst finish ever at 3-10. The year included losses to Maryland, Syracuse, Loyola and Hopkins.

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