Lacrosse notebook: Spindler, Jacksonville enjoy early success

March 12, 2010|By Edward Lee |

No one would accuse Stephen Spindler of not thinking outside the box.

Rather than staying close to home, the Baltimore native and Mount St. Joseph graduate decided to play for Jacksonville, a program playing its first season of Division I lacrosse. "I wanted to come to a program that was just getting started so that I could be a part of the beginning of something and be remembered," said Spindler, a freshman long-stick midfielder. "I wanted to be a part of that first team and make history."

The Dolphins, 3-3, are doing just that. They've already beaten established programs such as Denver, Mount St. Mary's and Providence and suffered one-goal losses to Virginia Military Institute and Bellarmine.

Coach Matt Kerwick was optimistic about his team's chances, but even he was slightly taken aback by the squad's early success. "I wasn't sure coming into the year how we were going to be, but once they arrived on campus in the fall and we put some work [in] in the weight room, I could tell that this was a pretty talented and confident group," said Kerwick, who earned his 100th career win when Jacksonville defeated Providence, 9-4, a week ago. "If you had asked me in September what I thought we would do, this has definitely been a pleasant surprise because the guys are playing a pretty high level of lacrosse right now."

The Dolphins are populated with underclassmen (39 of whom are freshmen) and have been riding the hot hands of freshman attackman Ryan Serville (13 goals, 10 assists) and freshman midfielder Cameron Mann (10, 5). Defensively, the team is relying on senior goalkeeper Brad Hester, a transfer from Hobart, and sophomore defenseman Jake Ziegler, a transfer from Le Moyne.

Aside from the ability to play in warm weather and being the first Division I program in Florida, Jacksonville can point out to recruits that its first victory came against a Denver squad coached by Hall of Famer Bill Tierney.

"That win against Denver was huge," Spindler said. "I think that showed us that we could play with anyone in the nation. Ever since Denver, we've just had our heads high and we think to ourselves, 'OK, we can do this. We can compete with the best in the nation.' "

Optimism at Hood
Last season, Hood ended a 47-game losing streak, capturing the team's first win since the program's inception in 2005.

This year, the Blazers are raising the bar.

After dropping the first two games, Hood reeled off three consecutive wins, which is another first in school history. The optimism is growing, according to coach Curt Foxx.

"I think it helps the young guys get some confidence," Foxx said before the team's 13-12 loss to Neumann on Wednesday. "In years past, we had been blown out horribly, but through recruiting, developing some of these guys and the hard work they put in, we have the ability to be in every game. So we've tried to get them focusing on the fundamentals because when you win a game by one or two goals or lose a game by one or two goals, then you can look at every possession and every mistake and really work on being a better team."

McCullough to start for UMBC
Just like his predecessor, freshman Adam Cohen, Brian McCullough will get another chance to cement his status as UMBC's starting goalie.

The sophomore, who started in the No. 19 Retrievers' 16-10 loss to No. 7 Johns Hopkins on Tuesday night, will start in the net Saturday when UMBC (1-3) travels to New Jersey to tangle with No. 5 Princeton, coach Don Zimmerman confirmed Thursday morning.

"We're going to go with Brian McCullough again," Zimmerman said. "I think he gave us a good, solid game, and we want to give him another opportunity."

Et cetera
Towson sophomore attackman Matt Lamon, who has missed the team's first two games after undergoing an emergency appendectomy, is questionable for Saturday's game against No. 6 Maryland at Byrd Stadium in College Park. "He's running around and starting to shoot the ball a little bit, but that's a big difference from walking into a game," Tigers coach Tony Seaman said. "But we're hoping that he's going to be there on Saturday." … No. 12 Navy, winner of five of the past six Patriot League regular-season titles and five of the past six Patriot League tournament crowns, takes on a Lafayette team today that is 4-0 and has outscored its opponents by a combined 56-32. "It's going to be a big game for Lafayette, but it's also going to be a big game for us," Midshipmen coach Richie Meade said. "Tommy Perini [a junior attackman who has 16 goals and three assists] is as good a shooter and lacrosse player as we're going to play against this year. He's very dangerous, and I think what they have done at Lafayette is, [coach] Terry [Mangan] has changed the culture there. I'm sure they expect to win, and they're going to be very tough for us to play at their place."

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