Campbell's long road finally at a high point

Towson reaps rewards

Navy earns its stripes

Notebook

College Lacrosse

April 04, 2001|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Towson scoring hotshot Kyle Campbell and a bunch of Navy Midshipmen are the toast of the college lacrosse world this week after leading their teams to major upsets last weekend.

Campbell became a legitimate big-game performer by scoring seven goals in a 19-14 victory over then ninth-ranked Loyola on Saturday. It was the culmination of a long and sometimes tortuous journey from Mount Hebron High to a starring role for the Tigers (5-2 and 11th-ranked) for Campbell.

The sophomore attackman went from Mount Hebron to Loyola College to Howard Community College to Towson, where he has found a home. He became ineligible academically to play lacrosse at Loyola after the first semester, so he enrolled at Howard, where he didn't play, but received a degree, and the next stop was Towson.

"Kyle had to learn a whole new system here after sitting out of lacrosse a year and a half," said Towson's third-year coach, Tony Seaman. "But he came from a tremendous high school program and played on the under-19 world team. He's a wonderful dodger, plays as well without the ball as he does with it and he finishes well."

Seaman said one game does not make a player great.

"I said in the beginning this would be an adjustment for Kyle," the coach said. "I just hope he continues to improve and we keep on playing like we did Saturday. We sure were close to several big wins the first two years, but we just didn't make the big play we needed."

For Navy, there is sudden euphoria at a school that doesn't allow much time for savoring wins.

The Mids broke out of a pattern of beating up on lower-echelon teams and losing close games to the top teams by trouncing then third-ranked Georgetown, 11-4, at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on Sunday. Now, it's time for 12th-ranked Navy (5-3) to get ready for Maryland.

"We have a lot of things to do at the academy this week before we play Maryland Saturday," said Navy coach Richie Meade. "We have 12-week exams and many other activities going on. But athletics is part of your education here. It would be easier for our guys just to hang out in the afternoon instead of playing lacrosse. They don't have to play lacrosse."

One Mid who is playing very well is junior goalkeeper Jon Higdon, who made 15 saves against a stunned Hoyas team and was named Eastern College Athletic Conference Player of theWeek.

"I thought Jon stepped out of the shadows of Mickey Jarboe [graduated Navy goalie who was considered the best in the nation last year] against Georgetown," Meade said. "It's difficult enough be good in the goal, but when you're playing with a sprained left thumb like Jon is, it takes even more hard work and determination."

Georgetown came to Annapolis averaging 13.7 goals a game before Higdon (South River) played the game of his collegiate life. He went from a nearly unheard-of goalie to the ECAC's leading keeper this week with a 7.05 goals-against-average. Higdon played just 29 minutes in five games as a sophomore.

"We're mostly a vanilla team, with everybody except [Adam] Borcz on the same level," said Meade. "Adam stands out on this team. These guys are just going to keep practicing and just worry about ourselves instead of the school we're playing. We all know that Maryland-Navy has been big for decades."

Stonewalled

Previously unbeaten Maryland ran into the nation's hottest goalkeeper, Virginia freshman Tillman Johnson, Saturday in Charlottesville, and emerged with a meager two goals in a shocking, 7-2 loss to the then No. 7 Cavaliers, who now reside in the No. 4 spot.

It was thought to be Maryland's lowest-scoring game since 1948, when Army shut the Terps down, 10-1. Johnson made 16 saves in frustrating Andrew "Buggs" Combs and Maryland.

Combs entered the game as the nation's leading scorer with 30 goals and called his performance "my fault" because of "poor shooting."

"I thought there would be a carryover from the Hopkins game [a 9-8 Virginia victory in four overtimes] the week before," said Virginia coach Dom Starsia. "I was a little worried there might be more of a hangover than a carryover."

Game of week

Maryland against Navy in Annapolis on Saturday at noon.

This game needs no hype.

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