Lacrosse: Quick hits

February 24, 2011|By Edward Lee and Katherine Dunn, The Baltimore Sun

No one is making this comparison yet, but No. 14 Georgetown's sophomore attack of Travis Comeau, Zac Guy and Davey Emala might remind some fans of a similar group that has grown up and played together.

But Emala said no one within the program has articulated the theory that their potential mirrors the production of No. 3 Maryland's attack unit of seniors Grant Catalino, Ryan Young and Travis Reed.

"I wouldn't say we're there yet," said Emala, a Baltimore native and Gilman graduate. "We're sort of trying to find our identity. Those Maryland guys are definitely great players, and since high school, I've sort of been following Travis Reed [a Boys' Latin graduate] through his college career. I think we're just looking forward to playing."

There are, however, similarities. Comeau is the finisher, a strong presence on the inside who can also score from the outside a la Catalino.

Like Young, Guy is the quarterback who feeds his teammates. And Emala comes off the bench to ignite the offense — much like Reed did when Will Yeatman was the Terps' third starter.

Georgetown coach Dave Urick said the trio gained valuable experience last season as Comeau started and Guy and Emala played as reserves. Urick said their careers will be determined by their ability to avoid injuries.

"Staying healthy is obviously a big part of that, and a little bit of their work ethic is going to enter into it, but that hasn't been a concern at all," Urick said. "But I would like to think [the trio could be as productive as Maryland's attack]. I hope so anyway."

The three sophomores are a tight-kint group. Comeau and Guy live in the same apartment, while Emala lives a few doors away.

"I definitely think that this being our second year, the guys are comfortable playing with each other," he said. "I think the coolest thing about it is we don't have to say much to each other. We're learning where each other is going to be. I know I'm getting used to playing with Zach when he's behind and Travis, who has our trust when he's inside. It's just fun playing with them every day."

Another NCAA tournament rematch

On Saturday, No. 2 Virginia visits No. 5 Stony Brook, which will revive memories of the Cavaliers' too-close-for-comfort 10-9 win in last year's NCAA tournament quarterfinal.

The irony of opening the season against the opponent that ended the Seawolves' season was not lost on coach Rick Sowell, who said, "The way the season ended and then to have them in the first game, I guess you couldn't make this up. Certainly, there's a story line there, and it's exciting from that perspective. But for us right now, we're worried about doing all of the little things."

On the flipside, Virginia coach Dom Starsia wasn't quite as eager about meeting Stony Brook on its home turf, saying, "The thought of going back to Stony Brook is going to produce some sleepless nights. That was a wild game last year in an unbelievable atmosphere."

Western uprising

Stanford's win over No. 5 Syracuse last weekend ranked as one of the biggest in the Cardinal's history and drew a lot of attention to women's lacrosse on the West Coast. In the next few years, a lot more heads may turn in that direction.

Not only has Stanford gotten off to a strong start, soaring to its highest ranking ever at No. 6, but its conference, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, will receive its first automatic bid to the NCAA Division I tournament this spring after having a spot in the play-in game last season. In addition, two more high-profile western athletics programs — the University of Southern California and San Diego State — will debut women's lacrosse next spring.

"It's going to be huge for our conference," Stanford coach Amy Bokker said. "Fresno State added lacrosse my first year here [2009]. I think when they picked up the program, 10 to 15 high schools in the Fresno area added high school lacrosse. It's really building. We're starting to get more kids coming out of high school and keep kids in the region. The L.A. and San Diego areas are already rich in high school lacrosse, but I think with the addition of those programs, it's only going to move forward tremendously."

Freshmen debuts point to bright futures

Three local women made their college debuts by leading their teams in scoring. Loyola's Marlee Paton, Johns Hopkins' Taylor D'Amore and Navy's Aimee Gennaro — all freshmen — scored four goals each in their teams' season openers.

Paton, a World Cup player from Seaholme, Australia, led the Greyhounds over Virginia, 15-8, on Saturday. D'Amore' Blue Jays and Gennaro's Midshipmen posted wins against George Mason and Mount St. Mary's, respectively.

edward.lee@baltsun.com

katherine.dunn@baltsun.com

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