April 14, 2007|By GARY LAMBRECHT

Beginning today, I, along with colleagues who cover the sport at the college and high school levels, will be offering our thoughts and insights into the game of lacrosse.

Our observations will include event coverage, such as upcoming or recently played big games. We'll focus on the players, coaches and other characters surrounding the competition - maybe an official who made a controversial call, maybe a particular fan or a group of fans who added some spice from the stands, maybe one crucial moment that affected an entire game. We'll look to address what's happening on the field, such as who's hot or who's going in the opposite direction, and why that is.

We'll also have an eye on off-the-field issues. It could be a rules-change discussion at the NCAA level, an injury problem, or a behind-the-scenes moment that explains something that took place on the field.

At the NCAA Division I level, several local teams are playing important contests tomorrow. The biggest will be at 8 p.m. at Byrd Stadium, where struggling 10th-ranked Johns Hopkins will take on Maryland in the 103rd edition of college lacrosse's greatest rivalry. And the story here is 4-4 Hopkins, which is in the midst of its first three-game losing streak since 1990 and soon could be flirting with its first losing season since 1971.

That was the year the NCAA men's lacrosse tournament began. The Blue Jays have been to all 35 tournaments since. During a season in which Syracuse is treading water at 3-6 and is in serious danger of missing its first NCAA tournament since 1982, could Hopkins be next?


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