Ohio State has flavor of Loyola, Calvert Hall

Baltimore talent helps Breschi build Buckeyes

Men's notebook

College Lacrosse

April 10, 2002|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

"Notre Dame is still the team to beat."

That's not entirely blarney, but Joe Breschi is sandbagging a bit with his handicapping of the Great Western Lacrosse League.

Yes, the Fighting Irish became the first team from their neck of the woods to reach the final four last season and they have rebuilt their way to a 3-0 start in the GWLL, but Breschi has constructed quite an upstart at Ohio State.

A 1986 graduate of Loyola High, Breschi was a star defenseman for North Carolina and began his coaching career as a graduate assistant with the Tar Heels in '91, when they claimed their last NCAA title.

He assisted at Brown in 1993-97, then went to work in Columbus for Andy Geiger, the former Maryland athletic director who upgraded a nonrevenue sport when major-conference schools around the nation sought to drop them.

"We started giving scholarships in 1999," Breschi said. "We're fully funded at the NCAA maximum of 12.6. I got a second full-time assistant coach this year. We play at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. It's got 10,000 seats and a grass field."

The first Ohio high school state championships will conclude there next month. The visitor last week was No. 3 Johns Hopkins. The Blue Jays raced to a 7-0 lead, sweated as it shrunk to 10-9, then managed a 12-9 win.

It was another dose of frustration for a team that opened with a triple-overtime loss at No. 7 North Carolina, and dropped a 10-8 decision at No. 4 Georgetown.

The 6-3 Buckeyes are the only team in the GWLL with an overall winning record, but Notre Dame (4-5) is a perfect 3-0 in league play. Four of the Fighting Irish losses have come by a total of five goals, with two of those close calls coming against No. 2 Virginia and No. 6 Loyola.

No. 13 Ohio State opens league play at Fairfield Saturday, when it begins a make-or-break stretch that will conclude May 4 at Notre Dame. If they can win them all, the Buckeyes will gain their first NCAA tournament.

For a guy from Loyola High, Breschi is leaning an awful lot on Calvert Hall. Seven of his regulars are from Baltimore, and three played for his old Thanksgiving Day rival.

Sophomore goalie Tony Russo has improved his numbers to 8.25 goals allowed and a save percentage of .615. Tom Randisi isn't playing like a freshman in the midfield, and attackman Mike Norton has 10 goals and 19 assists.

Two seniors from St. Paul's front Russo. Toby Mink marks the opponent's best attackman, and John DiCamillo is the long-stick midfielder.

Player of the week

Steve Dusseau, Georgetown.

Dusseau was a finalist for the Tewaaraton Trophy last season, given to the nation's top player by the University Club of Washington, and is mounting another strong campaign.

The senior midfielder collected nine goals against Bucknell, and his 33 are one-third of the total for the Hoyas, who are off to their best start ever at 8-0.

A member of the national team that will go to Australia for the world championships, Dusseau has produced in the big games, as his two fourth-quarter goals sealed Georgetown's best win to date, over Duke.

Game of the week

No. 5 Maryland at No. 3 Johns Hopkins, Saturday, 3 p.m.

Need we say more? We must. The Terps' best win is over North Carolina, and they are not out of the at-large woods yet. Maryland still has the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, and it needs at least one more quality win to get in the NCAAs. The Terps last won at Homewood Field in 1996.

Pick a number

All-ACC wide receiver Guilian Gary joined Maryland last week and became the Terps' first football-lacrosse player in at least two decades. Gary will wear No. 11 instead of the 21 he donned when he became the first to lead Maryland in both receptions and punt returns three straight years.

No. 21 was retired in 1976, along with Frank Urso, a four-time first-team All-American.

Gary is no stranger to lacrosse, having starred at Horseheads High, near Elmira, N.Y., with fellow midfielder Nate Watkins.

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