Decent weather could mean record crowd at Face-off Classic

March 10, 2011|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

An appealing lineup and decent weather might help the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic draw a record-setting crowd Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium.

Andy Bilello, the director of business development for Inside Lacrosse, said ticket sales for Saturday's tripleheader involving No. 1 Syracuse against No. 15 Georgetown, No. 2 Virginia against No. 13 Cornell and No. 14 Johns Hopkins against UMBC have mirrored last year's figures, which resulted in 19,742 fans for the event.

"I'd say that things are going OK," Bilello said Thursday. "We've been pacing the last few weeks approximately the same on our ticket sales as we did a year ago. As of yesterday, we were over 11,000 tickets and closing in on 12,000."

Fair weather could attract more people and perhaps help the Face-Off Classic exceed the event's record attendance of 20,130 that watched the first Classic in 2007. According to weather.com, the forecast for Saturday is partly cloudy with the temperature rising to a high of 55 degrees.

"There's no question that weather impacts — in a positive way — your walk-up sales," Bilello said. "I think there are many people who have an interest, and how comfortable they think they're going to be when they're looking at the weather a day or two ahead of time or when they wake up on Saturday morning will influence them. And that can be a pretty big swing."

Another factor could be the opportunity to see a potential future NCAA champion. Three of the past four national titlists have participated in the Face-Off Classic, and two of the past three finalists have also played in the event.

John Desko, who guided the Orange to an NCAA crown after taking part in the Face-Off Classic in 2008, said the coaches and players have enjoyed playing on a national stage and in front of large crowds.

"It's a fun venue," he said. "They do it right. I think it's very well done from the players' perspective. Very professionally done, and now that you mention it, I guess it doesn't hurt anything."

Health a question mark for UMBC

UMBC could tangle with Johns Hopkins without junior goalie Brian McCullough, who suffered a thumb injury in the Retrievers' 13-9 loss to No. 17 North Carolina last Saturday. Coach Don Zimmerman called McCullough — who has posted an 11.60 goals-against average and a .431 save percentage in three starts this season — a "game-time decision" and said sophomore Adam Cohen was getting more reps in practice.

"I think the fact that Adam did have a bunch of starts for us last year, this isn't going to be a case where all of a sudden we don't have a kid who's never started and he's hopping into the net," Zimmerman said of Cohen, who registered an 8.76 goals-against average and a .427 save percentage in nine games — eight of which were starts last season. "He's been there, and we're pleased with our goalkeepers' improvement that we're seeing. So I think it certainly is a benefit that he has had experience as a starter."

Cornell planning on playing without three starters

Three starters — senior defenseman Max Feely, sophomore attackman Steve Mock and senior midfielder David Lau could miss Cornell's game against Virginia at the Face-Off Classic.

"Still undetermined at this point in time," Big Red coach Ben DeLuca said Tuesday of the trio who missed the past two contests with unspecified injuries. "I can't really comment on that. That's not my prerogative, to talk about those guys. I'm just waiting for our sports medicine people and trainers to tell us what to expect there. But at this point, we're preparing to play without them."

No Guy for Georgetown

Georgetown will meet Syracuse in the Face-Off Classic without sophomore attackman Zach Guy, who has sat out three straight contests since breaking his thumb in the team's season opener against Jacksonville on Feb. 20.

"He won't be back this week," Hoyas coach Dave Urick said Wednesday. "He did go back to the doctor and have it re-examined today. They got a new cast for it, and they liked what they saw, but he won't be back this week. And I don't know if he'll be back the following week, but I think he'll be back pretty soon."

Defense rules

The No. 7 Loyola women's lacrosse team (4-0) is ranked No. 1 in Division I in scoring defense, allowing just five goals per game. No. 1 Maryland (6-0) ranks sixth, giving up only 6.8. Maryland is No. 1 in scoring margin (10 goals) and Loyola ranks second (8.5).

Loyola junior goalie Kerry Stoothoff has not allowed more than nine goals in a game and held Towson to two goals Saturday, earning Big East Defensive Player of the Week honors for the second time in three weeks.

Terps goalie Brittany Dipper held George Mason to two goals on Tuesday. The junior gave up 11 to Duke but no more than eight to any other team and was this week's Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Week.

Baltimore Sun writer Katherine Dunn contributed to this article.

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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