Princeton's Davis is up for one more test

Freshman defenseman called on to slow Syracuse's Powell

NCAA notebook

May 29, 2000|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - If Princeton is to climb one more mountain today and sit on top of the lacrosse world, freshman defenseman Damien Davis knows he will have to stop the nation's most feared attackman, Ryan Powell.

Davis has advanced so far in his first season for the Tigers that he is certain to be asked to take on the three-time Syracuse All-American when the game is on the line. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound former Gilman three-sport standout has the physical gifts to take Powell in what figures to be a classic battle of skills.

Davis was asked yesterday if had any ideas on how to prevent Powell from dominating today's 10:55 a.m. NCAA championship game at Byrd Stadium, "I'm not sure what will stop him. He's a great player. No one has found an answer yet for him. We just hope to slow him down and take the other guys out of the game."

Powell has scored seven goals and handed out six assists in the last two games to usher the top-seeded Orangemen into the title game and the senior admits to being driven to capture the one big collegiate lacrosse prize that has eluded him so far.

That is not good news for Davis and the Tigers. But Davis has already come out on top once against a superstar, Virginia midfielder Jay Jalbert, in a bang-bang play that helped save Saturday's 12-11 victory over the Cavaliers in the semifinals.

Virginia was trailing Princeton, 12-11, in that game with five seconds left and the Cavaliers called timeout to set up a play. No one was surprised when Virginia gave the ball to Jalbert, who dashed toward the goal.

From about 12 yards out, Davis went shoulder-to-shoulder with Jalbert and forced him away from the net for the potential game-tying shot that soared wide left and prevented the game from going into overtime.

Princeton coach Bill Tierney said, "There was never any doubt, Damien was covering the ball with five seconds left. We felt he could stay with anybody for five seconds. We didn't call for any slides and put it in Damien's hands for five seconds. He has done a fabulous job for us all year long."

Davis was a two-time all-state choice in lacrosse and wrestling at Gilman and he lettered in football.

"It was nerve-wracking going into our first game against Johns Hopkins [15-11 victory]," said Davis.

"But I've been trying to get better and learn the defense. Just making the final four has been an experience in itself and now we've taken another big step and now we have to be ready for Syracuse no matter what we've accomplished. This is the national championship game."

Baltimore North

Eleven Baltimore-area lacrosse players play for Princeton.

In addition to Davis, they are senior midfielder Josh Sims (Severn), who leads the Tigers in scoring with 34 goals and 14 assists (48 points), outstanding junior defenseman Ryan Mollett (Boys' Latin), senior longstick midfielder and captain Chris Berrier (St. Paul's), freshman first midfielder Owen Daly (McDonogh), junior midfielder Winship Ross (Harwood, Md. and St. Alban's), freshman attackman Josh White (St. Mary's), freshman midfielder Brad Dumont (McDonogh), senior goalkeeper Willis Wu (Severn), senior attackman Billy Whitridge (Gilman) and freshman defenseman Joe Rosenbaum.

Tierney doesn't believe there is any big hidden secret to the Baltimore-Princeton lacrosse pipeline.

"I'm certainly not performing any miracles. When you think about it, the schools we get these players from are similar to Princeton. They are the private schools who play the best lacrosse and stress getting an education. A lot of those kids feel great about Princeton and when they visit here, they run across other kids who are striving for the same thing."

Although Syracuse can't come close to matching Princeton, the Orangemen do have four players who were schooled in the game at Baltimore-area high schools. They are junior All-America candidate John Glatzel (Boys' Latin), junior defenseman Tom Nee (Boys' Latin), freshman goalkeeper Nick Fleischer (Perry Hall), and freshman midfielder Mike Thomas (Boys' Latin).

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