College lacrosse notebook: Positive vibes for Hopkins men

March 03, 2011|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

Everything appears to be trending upward for the Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse team. The No. 9 Blue Jays are tied for second in Division I in scoring margin (9.0), fourth in offense (14.7 goals per game) and ninth in defense (5.7).

Yet as Johns Hopkins puts its 3-0 record on the line against No. 8 Princeton, coach Dave Pietramala is cautioning against getting too crazy about the team's beginning.

"While we're pleased that we're 3-0 and probably most excited that we were able to go on the road and get two wins, we walk into this game against Princeton with our eyes wide open," he said. "We're well aware that we're still young. We're well aware that we've made a lot of mistakes and have not been punished for them. And as you get further along into the meat of our schedule, teams are going to do that. As the season progresses when skills are sharper and defense are more attuned to one another, things are going to become more challenging."

Indeed, the Tigers are the first top-10 opponent on the Blue Jays' schedule, which is littered with potential land mines in teams such as No. 1 Syracuse, No. 2 Virginia, No. 3 Maryland, No. 11 Loyola and No. 16 North Carolina.

Princeton dropped its season opener against No. 7 Hofstra, and coach Chris Bates said Tuesday that senior attackmen Jack and Chris McBride were questionable for Saturday's contest at Homewood Field due to unspecified injuries.

Pietramala said he has no doubt that the McBrides, who are cousins, will play Saturday.

"Don't even think about it," Pietramala said as he cut off a question about the McBrides' availability. "You know they're both playing. If Chris McBride is practicing [as Bates disclosed], he's playing. … They'll both be playing against us, and we've spent time preparing for the both of them."

Showing respect

No. 19 Duke is off to a less-than-thrilling start, having dropped its past two decisions and hoping to avoid its first 1-3 start since 1985. But Saturday's opponent, No. 3 Maryland (2-0), is still deferential to the 2010 NCAA champion.

"We certainly have been very mindful that they are the defending national champions," Terps coach John Tillman said. "They do have a Who's Who of Under Armour All-Americans. Their backs are probably against the wall a little bit, and they're feeling a little ornery, and that will probably inspire them to play their very best game of the year."

Loyola grad helping Penn

Penn's first 2-0 start since 2007 has been fueled, in part, by the play of sophomore attackman Rob Fitzpatrick, who paced the Quakers with two goals in their 7-3 upset of then-No. 10 Duke last Saturday.

The Towson native and Loyola graduate credited his development to playing in 13 games last spring, which included five starts. "This year, I don't really have to get used to starting and playing," said Fitzpatrick, who is tied for third on the team with three points. "You already have a base, and you're used to the movement of the game and playing in big games."

Bratton twins slated to suit up

Barring an unforeseen setback, Shamel and Rhamel Bratton — who sat out No. 2 Virginia's 11-10 overtime win against No. 5 Stony Brook last Saturday for a violation of team rules — are expected to join their teammates in tonight's clash with No. 1 Syracuse.

"Kids are kids, and the situation resolved itself, and they were back playing," Cavaliers coach Dom Starsia said. "They played Monday night against VMI, and they're doing fine."

Exhibition keeps Loyola sharp

The No. 7 Loyola women's team's decision to add an exhibition game against England's national team between its impressive 15-8 upset of then-No. 7 Virginia and Saturday's game at Towson paid dividends.

"Having an exhibition game in the middle there was beneficial for us," said coach Jen Adams, whose Greyhounds beat England, 14-9, on Feb. 24. "It was huge just to get a run and have a different look."

Timely goals fuel UMBC upset

Erika Braerman's team-high three goals came in a timely fashion for UMBC's 10-9 upset of No. 15 Towson Wednesday night. The Fallston graduate twice stopped two-goal runs by the Tigers and also tied the game at 5-5 early in the second half, after which the Retrievers never trailed again.

"Erika definitely had a big impact on the win," UMBC coach Kelly Berger said. "Her goals were huge, but it couldn't have been done without the entire attack doing what they had to do as well. She recognizes that."

Justin DunnBryce CarsonPaul TaylorConnor Mishaw

Ralph BilottaTim BrashearStephen PattersonKyle Hannan

Baltimore Sun writer Katherine Dunn contributed to this article.

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