Attacks throw cloud over lacrosse world

Many former players worked in N.Y. area

Terrorism Strikes America

Lacrosse

September 14, 2001|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

Tuesday's terrorist attack on the United States could exact a heavy toll on the lacrosse community.

Towns on Long Island and along the Hudson River north of Manhattan are two of the more fertile recruiting areas for colleges. In comparison with other sports, a greater percentage of lacrosse players enter the world of finance.

In Baltimore and beyond, college lacrosse offices have forgotten about fall ball to focus on the whereabouts of former players and relatives of their current players.

"We've always told recruits that Wall Street is like a locker room for lacrosse," said Dom Starsia, the Virginia coach. "I've got 25 of my guys [former players] there. They sit next to Princeton guys. The Princeton guys sit next to Duke guys.

"Job interviews turn into lacrosse talk: `How are you connected?' You look down an athletic graph, and a disproportionate number of lacrosse players work in the New York financial markets. This is a real grave concern."

Among the more than 4,700 missing after the destruction of the two 110-story towers at the World Trade Center are Eamon McEneaney, a great attackman who led Cornell to the 1976 NCAA title, and Dennis Buckley, who lettered for Maryland in 1984 and '85. Coaches were aware of other missing players, but declined to name them.

"As horrific as the other day was, it's only going to get worse," said Joe Boylan, the athletic director at Loyola, one of the Baltimore colleges with a substantial number of students from New York and New Jersey.

Buckley captained Lynbrook High when Towson's Tony Seaman was the coach at that Long Island high school. While Seaman was dismayed about Buckley, he spoke with relief about Chris Anzalone, a Towson captain in 1999.

"Chris got a degree in finance here," Seaman said. "He works on the 80th floor of the second [World Trade Center] tower that was hit, and he got out all right. He had a pretty harrowing experience. He walked to his home in Freeport, 21 miles."

Dick Edell, the recently retired Maryland coach, had anxious moments before he heard from his son, Gregg. The Dartmouth grad evacuated his bond trading office a block from the World Trade Center after the first tower was hit.

"My son takes out his wallet and places it next to the computer when he works," Edell said. "It's still there. I told my wife not to worry about it, because they don't believe his building is there anymore.

"You're elated when you learn that your boy's fine, but as good as that feels, it's tempered by what I keep hearing about others, like Dennis [Buckley]. This is going to touch every phase of our lives."

Keat Crown, a defenseman who captained Duke in 2000, was evacuating the South Tower when it was hit. Blue Devils coach Mike Pressler reached Crown via cell phone at his hospital bed.

Navy coach Richie Meade was equally relieved to talk to Paul Basile, an honorable mention All-American for the Mids in 1989 who makes a living as a bond trader on Wall Street.

Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said that his wife Colleen's stepbrother is among the missing. Sophomore Michael Peyser, a long-stick midfielder for the Blue Jays, said that his sister narrowly escaped the destruction in the financial district.

"My sister, Tricia, works for Prudential, right next to the World Trade Center. She was outside her office and saw the first plane hit," said Peyser, who's from Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island.

"I had no clue what happened to her until late Tuesday. Tons of people from my hometown worked in those buildings. I can't even think of how many people I know who work there and are affected by this."

Pietramala grew up on Long Island. So did Starsia and Meade, whose fathers made a living as New York City policemen. With 259 police officers and firefighters among the missing, public servants also weighed on their minds.

"When we ask recruits to fill out forms, there's a space for what their parents do," Meade said. "For a lot of the public school players on Long Island, the response is police, firemen. There are some towns on the island that are going to be severely touched by this."

At Navy and the other service academies, there is the added anxiety of the hijacked jet that was crashed into the Pentagon, and alumni being placed in harm's way as the nation's leaders prepare a response.

"I talked to our team about this yesterday [Wednesday]," Meade said. "I told them that sometimes people are skeptical about our military and military service, but at the end of the day, you are the guys who are going to have to take care of business and defend this country.

"I feel less afraid than most Americans because I know the quality of people defending our country."

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