Meade had feeling Navy had problem

Notebook

March 22, 2006|By GARY LAMBRECHT | GARY LAMBRECHT,SUN REPORTER

Navy men's lacrosse coach Richie Meade sounded like a man who could see another stunning loss coming.

A week ago, after watching his team play with a lackadaisical flavor throughout the second half of an 11-6 victory over Patriot League opponent Lafayette, Meade criticized the Mids.

"We're in a little bit of a concentration bout," Meade said. "There are a lot of good teams. In lacrosse, we've always had this automatic mentality, like a high school mentality. You're good, you're not good, so this is going to happen to you. But there's a lot of parity in college lacrosse."

Three days later on Saturday, and little more than a year after the Mids, then ranked in the top five, lost to unranked Bucknell, Navy learned that lesson again the hard way. In the cold, wind and snow of Hamilton, N.Y., Navy, then ranked No. 4, fell flat in a 6-3 loss to unranked Colgate.

It marked only the second Patriot League loss Navy (5-1) has suffered since joining the league three years ago, and it was a two-hour nightmare for Navy's offense. The Mids shot 3-for-33 and got an 0-for-17 showing from their starting attack of senior Jon Birsner, junior Ian Dingman and sophomore Nick Mirabito. Senior midfielder Steve Looney did not even attempt a shot.

And on a day when junior midfielder and backup faceoff specialist Tommy Wallin was unavailable because of a sprained ankle, junior William Wallace had a rare awful day by winning just four of 13 draws.

"In lacrosse, you don't gain any momentum unless you score," said Meade, who watched Navy outshoot Colgate in the third quarter 15-3 but only score once to take a 3-2 lead into the fourth period. Then, finally, the rock-solid Navy defense cracked, and it was back to Annapolis to contemplate what went wrong.

Please, don't tell Meade the loss was good for Navy - now ranked No. 7 - which will face Lehigh and Holy Cross on Friday and Sunday, respectively.

"Losing is not good for you, not right now. Maybe it will feel like it three years from now," he said. "I'm looking forward to having a great season. I'm not looking back on Colgate.

"Bad things can happen to you. The mark of a great organization is how you respond to it. Either it makes us better or it makes us worse. We're going to find out this weekend."

Hofstra real thing

With victories over Johns Hopkins and Princeton on its resume, Hofstra (4-1) has won four straight and surged to a No. 6 ranking. The Pride finished 8-8 a year ago and failed to make the NCAA tournament after losing to Delaware in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament.

Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala, who lost to the Pride for the first time since taking over at Homewood in 2000, watched his team fall way behind 11 days ago, then get knocked out, 11-6. Hopkins has usually found itself in a battle with the Pride in recent years, and given Hofstra's experience, Pietramala was not shocked by the outcome.

The Pride is loaded with talented upperclassmen and starts six seniors, led by midfielders John Keysor and Tim Treubig and attackman Chris Unterstein, each of whom has scored at least four goals. Goalie Matt Southard and defensemen Ryan Kelaher, Sean McCarthy and Brett Moyer lead a unit that is allowing just 6.2 goals a game.

"They've got good leadership, they're hungry and they're talented. They've always battled us tooth and nail up there," Pietramala said of Hofstra.

Syracuse in trouble

It's still early, but it's fair to wonder about the improbable. A year after missing its first NCAA tournament final four in 23 years, might Syracuse soon be in danger of missing the tournament?

After its 14-9 loss at Hopkins on Saturday, the Orange is 1-3 for the second straight year. Its defense is in shambles. Its faceoff game is shaky, at best. And season-ending injuries to Greg Rommel, Steven Brooks and Greg Niewieroski have gutted the midfield, which now relies on four freshmen on the top two lines.

"We have a lot of injuries, but we think we're a very good lacrosse team," Syracuse coach John Desko said.

With eight games left, the Orange probably will have to finish at least 6-6 to have a chance to get in, and with Hobart, Princeton, Cornell, Albany and UMass still on the schedule, we'll see.

Hard truth

The quote of the week comes from Towson coach Tony Seaman. Minutes after watching his Tigers get whipped by Virginia, 14-7, Seaman was asked how to get his team's confidence back.

"Don't play Virginia," he said. gary.lambrecht@baltsun.com

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