Towson's Engelke plays family style, not freshman style

Deep knowledge of game comes from dad, uncles

Men's notebook

College Lacrosse

April 08, 2004|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

Towson attackman Jonathan Engelke doesn't play like a freshman, but that has hardly surprised Tigers coach Tony Seaman.

When Seaman was recruiting Engelke out of Farmingdale High School in lacrosse-rich Massapequa Park, N.Y., he saw an ace finisher with lacrosse instincts beyond his age. It easily can be attributed to Engelke's lacrosse genes.

Engelke's father, Norman, was a two-time All-Ivy League selection at Cornell. His uncles, Tom and Rob, starred at Virginia and Adelphi, respectively. All have coached at varying levels.

"Coaches' sons are great to recruit because their understanding and knowledge of the game is so much more," said Seaman, who has known the Engelke family for years and used to frequent the restaurant owned by Jonathan's grandmother in Lynbrook, N.Y., where Seaman was a high school coach.

"[Jonathan] just knows where to be. And then, he's got that gift of being able to put it past the goalie."

That was evident Saturday as Engelke, who leads the Tigers with 18 goals, set a school freshman record with eight goals in the Tigers' 20-11 drubbing of Villanova.

The eight goals, which helped Engelke earn Inside Lacrosse Player of the Week honors, are a Division I single-game high this season. Seaman said Engelke's total could've easily been 10 or 12. Engelke took 16 shots and leads the Tigers (4-3) in shots with 49, 19 more than midfielder Brian Myers.

"One of the reasons I wanted to come here is I felt really comfortable with their style of play," said Engelke, who also considered Syracuse, Hofstra and Massachusetts. "The [run-and-gun], that's the way I love to play. If I am open for a good shot, coach just tells me to let it go."

Engelke had 81 goals and 31 assists last season to complete his high school career with 183 goals. And that was on a team that included eight players currently on Division I rosters.

Engelke, who has been joined at Towson by fellow Farmingdale graduate Keith Obloj - said he still talks to his former high school teammates - Steve Panarelli and Danny Brennan (Syracuse), Will Presti (Princeton), Matt Danowski (Duke), Brendan Skakandi (Johns Hopkins) and Jerry Lambe (Georgetown) - nearly every day. But even they needed non-verbal proof of his eight-goal performance.

"They didn't believe me at first," said Engelke, "but I told them to go on the Web site and they saw it there."

Gulls still rolling

Even after Salisbury all-world attackman Josh Bergey graduated, one could argue that the Sea Gulls are better - or at least more dominant - than last year's team, which won a Division III national championship.

En route to a 12-0 start (6-0 in the Capital Athletic Conference), the top-ranked Sea Gulls, who overpowered No. 5 Gettysburg Saturday, are averaging more than 20 goals a game and have outscored their opponents, 243-70.

Eleven players have 10 points or more, with attackmen Corey O'Neil (57 points), Andy Arnold (55 points) and Scott Simmons leading the way. Centennial alum Andy Murray, the reigning national Player of the Year, also has 30 points and has controlled 70 percent of faceoffs.

Senior Eric Martin and junior Jeff Bigas are perhaps the two best Division III defensemen in the country.

"Sometimes you win a championship and you rest on your laurels, but all of our best players came back even better," said Sea Gulls coach Jim Berkman, whose team appears to be on collision course with No. 3 and undefeated Washington College. They meet May 1 at Salisbury in the annual War on the Shore.

Ground balls

Though Johns Hopkins is sold out of tickets for its 100th game with Maryland at Homewood Field on April 17, Maryland still has some available. They can be purchased by calling the Maryland ticket office. ... Towson midfielder Ben DeFelice set a school record by scooping up 22 ground balls against Villanova last week. He also won 21 of 26 faceoffs against the Wildcats' Chris Colliniates, who came in ranked third nationally with a .650 faceoff winning percentage.

The week ahead

No. 2 J. Hopkins (6-1)

Schedule: at No. 10 Duke, Saturday, 1 p.m.

Skinny: The Blue Jays have won just 49 percent of their faceoffs the past two weeks after winning 68 percent through their first five games. Midfielder Matt Rewkowski will face his old Blue Devils teammates on Saturday.

No. 20 Loyola (3-3)

Schedule: at No. 3 Syracuse, Saturday, 1 p.m.

Skinny: If the Greyhounds have any chance this weekend in the Carrier Dome, they will need stability in net. Three different goalies have started, all with mixed -- and inconsistent -- results.

No. 1 Maryland (8-0)

Schedule: vs. No. 4 Navy, Saturday, 1 p.m.

Skinny: Tim McGinnis is saving 68 percent of shots at him. People knew McGinnis was good, but few predicted he'd unseat Virginia's Tillman Johnson as a first-team All-American, which is looking likely.

Mount St. Mary's (2-6)

Schedule: at VMI, Saturday, 1 p.m.

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