Limestone can almost call Baltimore home

S.C.-based Div. II champ has many area players



March 21, 2001|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

Limestone College will hold an impromptu homecoming in Chestertown Saturday, 520 miles from the Saints' campus in Gaffney, S.C.

Limestone made history last May, when it earned its first NCAA tournament bid and ruled Division II to become the southernmost school to win a title. The school has just 500 students, and it only seems that half are lacrosse players from Baltimore. Limestone will hold a social for area alumni in Glen Burnie on Friday night, and most will cross the Bay Bridge and take in Saturday's game at Washington College, as close as the Saints will get to Baltimore this spring.

The Division II field has doubled to four teams, and Limestone anticipates coming out of the South and returning to the NCAA championship game at Rutgers on May 27. First-year coach Bill Milone's team outscored its first five opponents 101-22, and its toughest regular-season games should be a May 5 date at Washington & Lee, which is ranked No. 2 in Division III, and Saturday's showdown with the Shoremen.

Limestone has won 14 straight since last year's loss at Washington.

"If we do make the [Division II] championship game, one of the games that will get us ready is Washington," Milone, 27, said. "We really haven't been tested, and I can't tell what kind of team we are yet. This is a good challenge for our kids. We're playing at Washington again because it's a great atmosphere, and it's good for our fans."

Limestone relies on more than two dozen players from the area. Arundel grad Matt Malloy is back in the goal after a fine freshman campaign. The defense includes St. Mary's Josh Rudder and McDonogh's Tim Cober. Dylan Hooker (St. Mary's) has won 81 of his faceoffs, and Jon Riley (Glen Burnie) and Chris Campbell (Queen Anne's) have combined for 24 goals.

Poll vaulting

It's a wild five days in March when 1999 NCAA titlist Virginia, defending champion Syracuse and Loyola, which hadn't lost a regular-season game at Curley Field since March 1998, all drop home games.

Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala knows how to beat Syracuse, which he did with Cornell last season and the Blue Jays last Saturday. The more amazing accomplishment was Notre Dame winning at Virginia last Wednesday and Loyola on Sunday. Coach Kevin Corrigan's team jumped to No. 2 in the STX/USILA coaches' poll, and the Fighting Irish are in position to claim an opening-round bye in the NCAA tournament for the first time.

"It's two wins in March," Corrigan said. "I don't want to belittle what we just did, but it's not May."

Notre Dame returned nearly all of the pieces from the team that in last year's tournament beat Loyola but got whipped by Hopkins in the second round. The Fighting Irish listed five goals in the preseason. The last is to win the NCAA title. The first is to get better today, and they will try to stay focused on the present Saturday, when their road show takes them to winless and restless Hofstra.

Player of the Week

Eric Wedin, Johns Hopkins. The senior faceoff specialist from Levittown, N.Y., began the season with five career goals. That's how many he had in the Blue Jays' 11-10 win at Syracuse, where he ran a regular midfield shift and stayed on in some man-down situations.

Game of the Week

No. 1 Princeton at No. 6 Syracuse, Saturday. It's a rematch of last year's NCAA final. The Tigers are 3-0, and the Orangemen are coming off the one-goal loss to Hopkins. Has Syracuse ever lost consecutive games at the Carrier Dome? Yes, it fell to Virginia and Johns Hopkins in a five-day span in 1995. That was the year the Orangemen got Roy Simmons Jr. the last of his record six NCAA titles.

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