Final four ready for two-year stay in Baltimore

NCAA Lacrosse Final Four

Notebook

May 26, 2002|By Paul McMullen and Jeff Zrebiec | Paul McMullen and Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - The NCAA men's lacrosse championship isn't coming back to Baltimore and Maryland, but the final four is.

Nine of the first 17 NCAA titles - seven for Johns Hopkins and two by Maryland - were won by state schools, but the local drought reached 15 seasons yesterday, when the Blue Jays were eliminated by Princeton in the semifinals. They were already talking about next year, when the game's biggest weekend begins a two-season run at Ravens Stadium.

"There are going to be tremendous opportunities, and tremendous challenges," said Phil Buttafuoco, the chairman of the NCAA men's lacrosse committee. "There are the video screens and hospitality possibilities that we don't have at other venues, but tailgating isn't going to be the same. Some people who stay at the Inner Harbor aren't going to drive over."

Hopkins, Loyola, Towson and UMBC are co-sponsors of a joint venture that will also receive manpower from the Ravens and the Maryland Stadium Authority. Last week, the group hired Marty Schwartz as tournament manager. A former associate athletic director at UMBC, Schwartz ran the NCAA basketball sub-regional that was staged at the Baltimore Arena in 1995.

"We had an organizational meeting yesterday [Friday]," said Schwartz, who will continue his full-time job running a local nonprofit organization. "My job is just to make sure that everything gets done. A division of labor has already been made, and each school has its own responsibilities."

Access to Rutgers was a headache for thousands yesterday. The crowd of 23,123 was a record for Rutgers, but well below the crowds of more than 30,000 that attended the 1995 and 1997 semifinals at Byrd Stadium at the University of Maryland.

Deep depth

Saddled with a 2-4 record at the start of April, Princeton turned its season around by going deeper into its bench. Coach Bill Tierney's moves included moving his son, Brendan, from the fourth attack spot to midfield, and shifting Owen Daly to some shifts on defensive midfield.

Its depth extended to the long-pole position, where junior Joe Rosenbaum and sophomore Ricky Schultz shared the task of slowing Blue Jays force Adam Doneger.

"We know Adam so well and respect him so much," Tierney said. "We were going to put the pole on him. We asked Rosenbaum and Schultz to do the best they can, and planned to slide quickly. We felt that if we were going to get beat, we weren't going to let somebody like Adam do it."

Brad Dumont and Rosenbaum prepped together at McDonogh. Schultz went to Loyola High.

One-on-one

Virginia All-American Conor Gill said that when he looks back on his college career, which ended yesterday in a 12-11 double-overtime loss to Syracuse, one of the things he'll remember most is his rivalry with Orangeman All-America defender John Glatzel.

The most-discussed battles were the ones dating to when Gill was at St. Paul's and Glatzel at Boys' Latin. But Gill pointed out that the two have been going at it since recreational ball.

"It's been a great experience," Gill said. "We've had some great games, but this one was probably the best one we've ever had."

Glatzel and Gill battled all afternoon. Coming off a one-goal, record nine-assist effort last weekend against Cornell, Gill was held to one goal and one assist, being marked almost exclusively by Glatzel, who applied much more pressure on the attackman than the Big Red did.

Meanwhile, the Syracuse star and likely Defender of the Year was all over the place on defense, and even fired a brilliant full-field outlet pass, which started a fast break that resulted in a Michael Springer goal and a 10-8 Orangemen lead in the fourth.

Cheer in defeat

Virginia freshman John Christmas finished a tremendous first season with a three-goal effort against Syracuse.

Junior Sol Bliss started on Christmas and was beaten badly for two early goals before leaving in the third quarter with an ankle injury. Syracuse coach John Desko was unsure of Bliss' availability for the title game.

Meanwhile, Desko switched senior Billy St. George on Christmas in the second half. Christmas looked dangerous throughout, but scored only once in the half.

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