Evolution of Dailey's game makes him one of the best in Division III

With added weight, Stevenson's fifth-year attackman is third in nation in scoring

March 18, 2011|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

Jimmy Dailey, a fifth-year senior attackman, has always had the speed, the stick and the skills. Evan Douglass, his teammate on the Stevenson men's lacrosse team, can attest to that.

But when Dailey began to add muscle to his lithe frame and get more physical in practice, Douglass realized that Dailey was evolving as a player.

"He'll lower his shoulder and get into me a little more, and that kind of catches me off guard because I'm not used to that from him," said Douglass, who is not exactly a wallflower at 6 feet and 185 pounds. "When he throws his weight around, that changes his game. So I'm trying to adapt to that now."

Dailey's final year of eligibility has been marked by improvements. In seven games thus far, he leads the undefeated Mustangs — who are ranked No. 2 in the latest United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll — into Saturday's showdown with No. 4 Cortland at Caves Athletic Center in Owings Mills with team highs in goals (24), assists (21) and points (45).

The Westminster native and Winters Mill graduate, who ranks third in Division III with an average of 6.5 points per game, is on pace to register 68 goals and 60 assists through 20 regular-season contests. He is just one of five Division III players on the watch list for the Tewaaraton, given to the country's top collegiate player.

"Dailey is — without question — among the premier attackman in D-III lacrosse," said 2009 Division III National Player of the Year Tommy Kehoe, who played against Dailey when Kehoe was a long-stick midfielder at Gettysburg. "As a returning first-team All American, he's a front-runner for the D-III Attackman of the Year, subsequently putting him on the radar for the overall Player of the Year as well."

With the exception of 2008 when he missed most of the season because of a shoulder injury, Dailey has improved on his numbers every year, moving from 60 points in 2007 to 66 points in 2009 to 81 points in 2010.

"He's steadily gotten better every year," Stevenson coach Paul Cantabene said. "As a freshman, I think he had a great year, but then he kind of hit that freshman wall three-fourths into the season and kind of tailed off a little bit. In his sophomore year, he got hurt in the preseason, so he didn't play that year. But the following year is when he really worked pretty hard and came back and got better in each of his last two years. This year has been different in that he's found the weight room, and it's really helped him a ton."

Said Dailey: "I think this is pretty ballpark to where I wanted to be. I really took the liberty this past offseason of going to the weight room and having my stick in my hand five to six days a week and working on my speed."

Kehoe said what sets Dailey apart from his peers is his athleticism.

"He has a well reputed change-of-direction dodge, but more importantly, he can feed and finish consistently from either side," Kehoe said. "Dailey's ability to change direction limits the defense's ability to control the flow of the offense, meaning they have to account for multiple slide packages — dependent on which way Dailey goes — causing a lot of confusion and ultimately distracting everyone from their primary assignments."

Dailey's contributions have been especially critical in the aftermath of the graduation of Steve Kazimer, a two-time National Attackman of the Year who led the Mustangs in scoring in 2009 and 2010.

"Any time a player of that caliber graduates, there's going to be a void to fill," Dailey acknowledged. "But luckily, [senior attackman] Richie [Ford] and I have been playing together since the beginning of time, it feels like. So I think him and I really have great chemistry as well as with [senior midfielder Kyle] Moffitt and a couple of other talented players on offense. This year, I think we've used each other really nicely, and I think you're seeing the product."

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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