Destination College Lacrosse

April 05, 2006|By GARY LAMBRECHT

THE WEEK AHEAD

No. 4 MARYLAND (6-2)

Schedule -- vs. Navy, Friday, 8 p.m.

Skinny -- The Terps' defense should bounce back strong after joining the line of units that have been abused by top-ranked Virginia. Junior goalie Harry Alford, coming off his first rough outing of the season, has had previous trouble in night games. Maryland is shooting just 23.9 percent, and its offense has come to depend too much on seniors Joe Walters and Xander Ritz. Navy's defense will likely force someone else to come up big.

No. 7 JOHNS HOPKINS (5-3)

Schedule -- Saturday's game at Duke postponed; next game vs. Maryland, April 15

Skinny -- For the first time in 2006, the Blue Jays are enjoying a two-game winning streak, although it did happen at the expense of Mount St. Mary's on Monday night. Hopkins' defense and junior goalie Jesse Schwartzman pretty much have carried the Blue Jays so far, and they should be able to neutralize an inconsistent Maryland offense. The offense is getting healthier with the return of freshman attackman Tom Duerr. Sophomore midfielder Stephen Peyser might not be far behind.

No. 8 NAVY (7-2)

Schedule -- at Maryland, Friday, 8 p.m.

Skinny -- After getting hammered by No. 2 Georgetown once again, the Midshipmen need a quality win to make a statement to the NCAA tournament selection committee after playing its weak March schedule. Junior midfielder William Wallace leads an excellent faceoff crew that has won 59 percent of its chances, but the offense is sputtering. The Looney brothers, midfielders Steve and Billy, have combined for just 16 goals on 11 percent shooting. Senior goalie Matt Russell and the defense can't do it all.

No. 12 TOWSON (4-4)

Schedule -- at UMBC, tonight, 7:30; vs. Drexel, Saturday, 1 p.m.

Skinny -- Senior goalie Mark DeGroat finally has stepped up to make some key saves to spark the Tigers, who came so close to posting a three-game winning streak before falling in overtime at No. 3 Hofstra on Friday. The Tigers oddly have become more dangerous and balanced on offense since losing senior attackman and top feeder Steve Mull, who could return from a knee injury to get limited playing time at UMBC. Senior faceoff specialist Matt Eckerl is on a roll. So are attackmen Kyle Batton and Phil Grillo.

No. 13 UMBC (4-3)

Schedule -- vs. Towson, tonight, 7:30; vs. Hartford, Saturday, 1 p.m.

Skinny -- Suddenly, there is life again in Catonsville. With 22 goals in their last two games, the Retrievers are alive offensively and in position to beat their third ranked opponent in a row, which could help them secure an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they falter in the America East tournament. Senior attackman Brendan Mundorf doubled his season output with three goals in Sunday's win over Albany. On a squad getting very little help from its backups on offense, that's a good sign.

LOYOLA (3-4)

Schedule -- vs. Rutgers, Saturday, 1 p.m.

Skinny -- If the Greyhounds want to entertain any realistic hopes of making their first NCAA tournament since 2001, they can't afford to lose this game, which is Loyola's first home game since March 7. Rutgers, at 4-3, is in a similar must-win situation, with a nasty schedule down the stretch. After losing leading scorer Patrick Kennedy to a knee injury, Loyola will be hard-pressed to crack Rutgers senior goalie Greg Havalchak, who has kept the Scarlet Knights in games consistently.

MOUNT ST. MARY'S (1-7)

Schedule -- at Marist, Saturday, 1 p.m.

Skinny -- After getting pounded by a combined score of 36-13 in back-to-back losses to top-level, non-conference opponents Georgetown and Johns Hopkins, the Mount can train its sights on building confidence with its Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference schedule, then winning the MAAC tournament to gain an automatic NCAA bid. Senior attackman Matt Warner (10 goals, 14 points) is the only player who has produced double-digit scoring. Junior goalie Joe Zolezzi (.583 save percentage) already has seen 247 shots.

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