Hit the pause button on replay


March 26, 2009|By MIKE PRESTON

College lacrosse has grown rapidly through the years, but it's not ready for the big time yet.

The NCAA rules committee on lacrosse met recently to determine whether instant replay is needed. A few members thought it is time for a change, but upon further review, it isn't.

There are instances when it would help, like on the last shot before time expires. Navy coach Richie Meade has seen games decided by whether a player has stepped into the crease, resulting in a goal being taken away.

But before college lacrosse goes to instant replay, there have to be more games on television and more cameras. For that to happen, the sport has to generate more revenue for the colleges and the networks, the way football and basketball do.

"I'm on the NCAA rules committee," Meade said. "We've talked about instant replay in the NCAA playoff games. I think a lot of it depends on what the capability is at the particular field you're playing at in terms of an in-season game.

"In terms of the NCAA tournament, all of those games are on television, so the quality of the film and the angle of the camera may be beneficial to look back at some things."

UMBC coach Don Zimmerman doesn't care to second-guess officials.

"There are tough calls to make," Zimmerman said. "Some go your way and some don't, and not all of them are always correct. But that's the way it is. You know that going in, and you live with it. You win some, and you're going to lose some."

Maybe trying it in the postseason is the way to go, he said.

"It may be a good way to experiment and see if it will work," Zimmerman said. "However, you've just gone through an entire season, and now when the championship is on the line, you're going to do something that no one has been used to. Normally, they like to experiment with new rules in the fall and see how they play out and then the following year the rules committee can discuss them."

Can Cavs be stopped?

The question of the lacrosse season is whether any team can measure up to Virginia's offensive firepower.

Between the Cavaliers' starting attack of Danny Glading (14 goals, 18 assists), Garrett Billings (26, 14) and Steele Stanwick (21, 11) and their two midfield units, there might not be a better nine players in lacrosse. Virginia is so ridiculously talented offensively that Stanwick, a freshman and already one of the best ball-handlers in the game, doesn't have to direct the offense.

Virginia gets great movement from its first midfield of Steve Giannone, Brian Carroll and Shamel Bratton, but the second unit is just as talented with George Huguely, John Haldy and Nick Elsmo.

"They throw the ball harder than most teams shoot it," Towson coach Tony Seaman said.

Conservative approach

Speaking of offense, Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala might have to open his up after the Blue Jays lost to Virginia, 16-15, on Saturday night. Hopkins trailed 12-6 in the second quarter but fought back to make it close.

Hopkins is known for its defense and ugly, conservative offense. But after Saturday night, Pietramala might have to consider a change with standouts such as attackmen Steven Boyle, Chris Boland, Kyle Wharton and midfielder Brian Christopher.

Come on, Dave, loosen that tie up a little.

Growing up

Towson played a difficult early-season schedule that included losses to good teams such as Loyola, Maryland and Virginia. But the inexperienced Tigers (3-4) have won two straight, including an 8-7 win over Bucknell on Tuesday.

"The little puppies are getting older," Seaman said of his young team. "We're starting to see some results. We're looking a little better because our kids are getting used to playing together. But the real answer might come after next week.

"We have Drexel Saturday, UMBC Tuesday, followed by Sacred Heart the following Saturday. That's a pretty tough stretch."

Soft schedule

Notre Dame is ranked highly in just about every poll, but the Fighting Irish won't get any respect until the end of the season, when they will play St. John's and Ohio State, if both teams have winning records.

Let's face it: Notre Dame's schedule is soft, though it's not all the Fighting Irish's fault. Many teams don't want to pay to go to the Midwest just to play a lacrosse game, and Notre Dame's travel budget has to be limited, as well.

But if Notre Dame beats St. John's and Ohio State, after already defeating Loyola and North Carolina, the Fighting Irish might be something special.

Listen to Mike Preston on Mondays from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Fox Sports (1370 AM).

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