The week ahead

March 01, 2006|By GARY LAMBRECHT

No. 2 Maryland (1-0)

Schedule -- At No. 1 Duke, Saturday, 2 p.m.

Skinny -- Even though they were whipped by nine goals by Duke in last year's NCAA tournament semifinals, the Terps have had enough recent success against their ACC rival to be relaxed this weekend. And after manhandling Georgetown without Joe Walters scoring a goal, Maryland is brimming with confidence. A big game from junior goalie Harry Alford could leave the Terps as the top-ranked team.

No. 4 Johns Hopkins (1-0)

Schedule -- vs. No. 7 Princeton, Saturday, 2 p.m; vs. UMBC, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.

Skinny -- Blessed by a fine freshman class, Princeton is a more talented team than a year ago. Hopkins lost four starters from its championship team, but seven of its 10 goals were scored by underclassmen in last week's season-opening, 10-8 win over Albany. With a victory, the Blue Jays will set an NCAA record with 38 consecutive wins at home.

No. 6 Navy (2-0)

Schedule -- At No. 17 North Carolina, Saturday, 1 p.m.

Skinny -- Navy's young defense has allowed five goals in lopsided victories over Saint Joseph's and Ohio State. Its offense appears to be loaded, especially with the return of Ian Dingman. The Mids are strong in the faceoff game with William Wallace and have Matt Russell in goal. It could be a long day for the Tar Heels.

No. 11 Towson (1-0)

Schedule -- vs. Binghamton, Saturday, noon.

Skinny -- The Tigers have never played this America East opponent before, and they should control the Bearcats with the athleticism they used to edge Loyola in their season opener. Towson faceoff man Matt Eckerl is coming off a 9-for-22 showing. The chances of that happening twice in a row are pretty slim. The Tigers will guard against looking ahead to a trip to Maryland on March 11.

Loyola (0-1)

Schedule -- vs. No. 16 Penn State, Saturday, 1 p.m; vs. Wagner, Tuesday, noon.

Skinny -- The Greyhounds may have a find in faceoff man Jordan Rabidou, who dominated Towson's Matt Eckerl in Saturday's 11-10 loss at Towson. And Loyola's offense was encouraging with some explosive moments. But the defense has to tighten up its coverages against a dangerous Penn State team.

UMBC (1-0)

Schedule -- vs. Air Force, Saturday, 1 p.m.; at No. 4 Johns Hopkins, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.

Skinny -- It's hard to imagine UMBC senior attackman and reigning America East Player of the Year Brendan Mundorf being shut out for two straight games. He shot 0-for-5 and did not produce a point in Saturday's 6-4 victory at Brown. The Retrievers are 1-0 for the first time since 2003.

MOUNT ST. MARY'S (0-1)

Schedule -- At No. 13 Delaware, Tuesday, 5 p.m.

Skinny -- The Mount, 16-9 loser at Bucknell yesterday, has enough weapons to make a run at a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title and an automatic NCAA tournament bid, but most likely not enough to handle a Delaware team that will challenge Towson for the Colonial Athletic Association crown.

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