Terps to face No. 1 Cavs

Georgetown heads to Navy, awaits NCAA ruling on Duke game

Men's Notebook

College lacrosse

April 01, 2006|By GARY LAMBRECHT | GARY LAMBRECHT,SUN REPORTER

Maryland men's lacrosse coach Dave Cottle has a proven defense and an impressive stable of athletes overall, and he probably will need both elements to shine today for the No. 3 Terrapins to upset the No. 1 team in the country.

As midseason approaches, the Virginia Cavaliers (9-0) look like the class of the NCAA.

With an array of scoring threats led by attackmen Matt Ward and Ben Rubeor and midfielders Kyle Dixon and Matt Poskay, Virginia averages 15 goals and 52 shots a game, and revels in making the extra pass. With a big, athletic defense led by senior Michael Culver and junior Ricky Smith, and featuring freshmen Mike Timms and Matt Kelly the Cavs can hunker down in a six-on-six game or extend their pressure to wreak havoc and ignite their transition game. Virginia is allowing just 6.8 goals a game.

"They are the only team I've seen out there that can outscore you and stop you [equally well]," Cottle said. "They've really dominated ground balls. They've owned the middle of the field. They throw the hardest skip pass in lacrosse."

Although the Terps (6-1) have some dynamic scorers, led by senior attackman Joe Walters and senior midfielder/attackman Xander Ritz, Maryland's bread and butter is its defense. With junior goalie Harry Alford, junior defenseman Steve Whittenberg and an excellent defensive midfield rotation setting the tone, Maryland has allowed just five goals a game.

"We've got to win some individual battles [on defense]," Cottle said. "We can't slide to a hundred different guys. We have to limit their transition and make them earn every goal."

A shootout does not favor Maryland, which edged the Cavs, 8-7, in overtime in last year's ACC tournament semifinals and will not be intimidated by Virginia, a familiar opponent.

But Maryland, which averages nine goals and has sputtered for lengthy stretches on offense this year, may need to reach double digits to hand Virginia its first loss. That probably means the Terps can't afford another quiet scoring day from the likes of sophomore attackman Max Ritz (six goals) or senior midfielders Brendan Healy (five goals) and Bill McGlone (nine goals).

Physical exam

When No. 6 Navy and No. 5 Georgetown meet for the 16th time today at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, expect a few body checks to mark the action. Georgetown (5-1) might be the most physical team in Division I. The Midshipmen (7-1) are still smarting from last year's 11-6 shellacking by the Hoyas.

"It was like a fight we had on the playground, and we didn't fight back," Navy coach Richie Meade said. "When you play Georgetown, the bottom line is you've got to handle pressure. "

Georgetown, which has won three of its last four games against Navy, relies on its defense. It figures to have a different look today. Fifth-year senior Rich D'Andrea, who moved from goalie to defensive midfield this year, could be back in the net to replace sophomore Miles Kass. He suffered a knee injury earlier this week in practice.

The Mids, who have overwhelmed most of their weak, early-season competition, are coming off a 17-3 victory over Holy Cross.

Record question

The Hoyas have a 5-1 record, unless the NCAA ultimately rules otherwise.

Initially, Georgetown thought it had beaten Duke via forfeit last Saturday. The Blue Devils decided to call off the game about two hours before the scheduled start, the day after it was learned that its lacrosse team was under investigation due to an alleged sexual assault that occurred at an off-campus party on March 13.

Earlier this week, the NCAA declared the Duke-Georgetown game to be a "no contest" game. NCAA rules stipulate "there is no forfeit of a contest until all participating teams are present and the referee has assumed jurisdiction in accordance with the applicable playing rules."

While the NCAA reviews its original decision, the Hoyas are claiming the victory. Georgetown coach Dave Urick said the team was at Duke going through the pre-game motions. The majority of players were getting taped and dressed in the locker room. Some were outside shooting around.

"We were there, ready to play, and the referees were there," Urick said. "If we were supposed to be all together standing around on the field in our uniforms [in order to be awarded the forfeit], that's a little ridiculous."

gary.lambrecht@baltsun.com

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