The Week Ahead

Destination College Lacrosse

March 22, 2006|By GARY LAMBRECHT

No. 4 Maryland (5-1)

Schedule -- at North Carolina, Saturday, 1 p.m.

Skinny -- Defense has carried the Terps through the season's first month, especially junior defenseman Steve Whittenberg and junior goalie Harry Alford. It's time for the offense to start getting into double figures, and it's time for someone other than Xander Ritz and Joe Walters to score. That should happen against another disappointing Tar Heels team, which already is fighting for its playoff life.

No. 7 Navy (5-1)

Schedule -- vs. Lehigh, Friday, 4 p.m.; vs. Holy Cross, Sunday, noon.

Skinny -- With Saturday's stunning, 6-3 loss at Colgate, the Midshipmen have lost twice in Patriot League play since joining the league three years ago. In back-to-back seasons, the Mids have lost to unranked conference opponents while ranked in the top five. Lehigh is a much-improved Patriot League program, but it's a safe bet Navy will regroup, and that its attack will not go scoreless for a second straight game.

No. 10 Johns Hopkins (3-2)

Schedule -- at No. 1 Virginia, Saturday, 1 p.m.

Skinny -- The Blue Jays haven't won in Charlottesville since 1998. Virginia is stacked on offense, starting with attackmen Matt Ward and Ben Rubeor and midfielders Kyle Dixon and Matt Poskay, and the Cavaliers have an ideal blend of proven upperclassmen and talented freshmen. Hopkins needs exceptional games from senior faceoff man Greg Peyser and sophomore goalie Jesse Schwartzman, and must limit its turnovers, as it did in whipping Syracuse.

No. 17 Loyola (3-2)

Schedule -- at No. 8 Massachusetts, Saturday, noon.

Skinny -- Senior goalie Michael Fretwell literally saved the Greyhounds from a damaging loss at St. John's on Saturday and won ECAC Defensive Player of the Week honors. Loyola, which upset UMass in Baltimore last year, probably needs a similar effort from Fretwell to beat the Minutemen on the road. Behind Jordan Rabidou, the Greyhounds have won 59.8 percent of their faceoffs, which also gives Loyola hope.

No. 20 Towson (3-3)

Schedule -- vs. No. 13 Delaware, Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Skinny -- The Tigers have won the Colonial Athletic Association title for three straight years, and with Delaware and sixth-ranked Hofstra on the rise, that streak is in jeopardy. Losing the team's best feeder in senior attackman Steve Mull to a sprained ankle sets a struggling offense back even more. And goalies Mark DeGroat and Matt Antol have done little to pick up the defense. If Towson's Matt Eckerl fails to neutralize Delaware faceoff star Alex Smith, this could be a long night for the Tigers.

UMBC (2-3)

Schedule -- vs. No. 11 Denver, Saturday, 1 p.m.

Skinny -- This will be the Retrievers' final tuneup before their America East schedule kicks in, and the offense needs a serious jump-start. Senior attackman Brendan Mundorf, the reigning conference Player of the Year, has three goals and eight assists, which helps explain why UMBC is averaging just 7.3 goals. And after the third quarter, the Retrievers have been out-scored 20-4 and outshot 57-26. Ouch.

Mount St. Mary's (0-5)

Schedule -- vs. Manhattan, Saturday, 1 p.m.; at No. 2 Duke, Tuesday, 3 p.m.

Skinny -- The Mount dropped its conference opener to Siena in triple overtime and could use a shot of confidence by winning at home on Saturday before going to Durham to take another beating. Offensive leaders Matt Warner and Jason Werner have combined to score just nine goals. The Mount has only won 31.8 percent of its faceoff attempts. That has to improve for the offense to follow.

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