Division I Outlook

Ncaa Men's Preview -- Lacrosse

February 16, 2007|By GARY LAMBRECHT

STATE SCHOOLS

MARYLAND

Coach -- Dave Cottle (sixth season, 57-22; 25th season overall, 238-92)

2006 record -- 12-5, NCAA tournament semifinals

Conference -- Atlantic Coast

Top returning scorer -- Max Ritz, junior attackman (20 goals, 11 assists)

Also back -- Michael Phipps, senior A (7, 14); Dan Groot, sophomore midfielder; Ryan Clarke, senior long-stick midfielder; Steve Whittenberg, senior defender; Ray Megill, senior D; Harry Alford, senior G.

Key additions -- Brian Farrell, freshman D; Casey Creaney, freshman M; Brian Phipps, freshman G.

The Sun's take -- The best team in College Park under Cottle lost for the third time in four seasons in last year's final four. Then, the Terps said goodbye to A Joe Walters, the leader of a senior group that scored 113 of Maryland's 164 goals. That leaves Maryland leaning more than ever on a strong defense, which starts with Whittenberg and Alford, who is recovering from shoulder surgery and might miss several games and defer to Phipps. Cottle thinks Maryland can average at least eight goals with a revamped, motion offense.

NAVY

Coach -- Richie Meade (13th season, 99-65; 17th season overall, 126-88)

2006 record -- 11-4, NCAA tournament first round

Conference -- Patriot League

Top returning scorer -- Ian Dingman, senior A (33, 11)

Also back -- Nick Mirabito, junior A (23, 12); Billy Looney, senior M (18, 4); Andrew Dow, senior D; William Wallace, senior M; Tommy Wallin, senior M.

Key additions -- Evan Sullivan, freshman A; Basil Daratsos, freshman M; Tim Paul, freshmanM.

The Sun's take -- Replacing A Jon Birsner, M Steve Looney and G Matt Russell are tall orders, but the Midshipmen have an established system under Meade that is based on smart, fundamentally sound defense. The big question is whether senior Colin Finnegan or sophomore Matt Coughlin can maintain stability at goalie. Navy should win the Patriot League again, although it might have trouble advancing beyond the first round of the NCAAs again.

TOWSON

Coach -- Tony Seaman (ninth season, 68-49; 26th season overall, 232-122)

2006 record -- 8-6

Conference -- Colonial Athletic Association

Top returning scorer -- Bobby Griebe, senior A (18, 7)

Also back -- Brian Vetter, junior M (18, 3);Adam Hagelin, junior M; Nick Williams, senior M; Jonathan Engelke, junior A; Matthew Mehrer, senior D; Matt Eckerl, senior M; Matt Antol, junior G.

Key additions -- Brock Armour, freshman M; Rob Wheeler, freshman G; Cryder DiPietro, freshman M.

The Sun's take -- After narrowly missing the NCAA tournament last year, the Tigers get Engelke back after he was declared academically ineligible in 2006. But they lost M Oliver Bacon for the same reason this spring. The Tigers also will miss their best feeder in Steve Mull and M Casey Cittadino who was strong on defense. Engleke, Vetter and Griebe, along with emerging A Kyle Batton are keys to an offense searching for a go-to guy. Antol or Wheeler must solve a major question mark in goal

LOYOLA

Coach -- Charley Toomey (second season, 6-6)

2006 record -- 6-6

Conference -- Eastern College Athletic

Top returning scorer -- Dan Bauers, senior A (22, 11)

Also back -- Andrew Spack, senior M (11, 15); Ryan Rabidou, senior A (18, 6); Patrick Kennedy, senior A (12, 8); Steven Hess, senior LSM; Michael Graham, senior D; Jordan Rabidou, senior M.

Key additions -- Daniel Mortell, freshman A; Michael Haight, freshman M; Kyle Cottrell, freshman D.

The Sun's take -- Five seasons have passed since the Greyhounds last made the NCAA tournament, and the growing pains appear to be over for a team that figured out how to win in 2006, which included a huge victory over Georgetown. Loyola has speed, scoring balance and toughness, and if an unsettled goalie situation plays out well between sophomores Alex Peaty and Connor Locke, the Greyhounds should challenge for the ECAC title and an automatic NCAAs bid.

UMBC

Coach -- Don Zimmerman (14th season, 90-84; 21st season overall, 163-98)

2006 record -- 10-5, NCAA tournament first round

Conference -- America East

Top returning scorer -- Drew Westervelt, senior A (27, 20)

Also back -- Terry Kimener, junior M (24, 17); Andy Gallagher, senior A (24, 8); Josh Porcell, senior M; Travis Begay, senior D; Jeremy Blevins, sophomore G; Taylor Marino, junior M.

Key additions -- J.D. Harkey, freshman M; Chris Jones, freshman A/M; Cayle Ratcliff, freshman A.

The Sun's take -- A year after making the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1999 by winning its first America East title, the Retrievers will face strong league competition. But, despite losing five starters, including top goal scorer Brendan Mundorf and midfielder Evan Kay, an academics casualty, UMBC isn't going away without a fight. Westervelt leads an attack unit that is experienced and productive, Kimener is a throw-back, do-it-all player, and Blevins might be the best goalie in the conference.

MOUNT ST. MARY'S

Coach -- Tom Gravante (12th season, 83-94)

2006 record -- 6-10

Conference -- Metro Atlantic Athletic

Top returning scorer -- Benjamin Mundorf, senior A (21, 13)

Also back -- Dave Orban, junior A (11, 5); Eric Seifert, senior M (12, 2); Peter Kerwin, senior M; Patrick Hanigan, senior D; Joe Zolezzi, senior G.

Key additions -- Matt Nealis, freshman LSM; Phil Thomas, junior D; Michael Sciulli, freshman A.

The Sun's take -- With 15 freshman on their 38-man roster, the Mount is depending heavily on its senior leadership to challenge for the MAAC title, which it narrowly missed in 2006. Mundorf might need to double his scoring output to make it happen.

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