Tough stretch for Maryland, Virginia includes game with each other Saturday

March 28, 2011|Mike Preston

University of Virginia coach Dom Starsia noticed No. 9 Maryland's stretch run of games, which includes four of college lacrosse's best teams, and he pointed out how the No. 7 Cavaliers have to endure a similar stretch.

Unfortunately, both teams opened those stretch runs with losses, making this Saturday's game between Maryland (6-2) and Virginia (7-2) even more important. A tough stretch just became more intense.

Maryland lost to North Carolina, 11-6, at Byrd Stadium Saturday. The Terps had trouble beating the Tar Heels' zone defense even though they outshot North Carolina, 33-26, had a 27-20 advantage in ground balls and won 15 of 20 faceoffs.

They also allowed the Tar Heels to get off shots around the crease area.

It was the first big test of the season for Maryland, and the Terps failed. Now, they have Virginia, Navy and Hopkins.

"They fought back, which we knew they would do," said Maryland coach John Tillman, whose team blew a 4-0 first quarter lead. "The good news for us, and I told our team this, is if there was something that was a glaring weakness where they attacked us and we couldn't correct it, then we would be in big trouble.

"I'm a glass half full guy. There were just a lot of breakdowns. It's stuff where they got a back door cut or played that guy man down too far out. It's stuff we knew, we just got away from what we wanted to do. Give them credit, they had some opportunities and made the most of them, and they made us pay. Now, we got to make those corrections and go down there and beat Virginia."

Virginia lost to Hopkins, 12,-11, in overtime Saturday and now has Maryland, North Carolina and Duke before possibly meeting two of the same teams again in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.

"In our sport, the top teams all play each other," said Starsia. "People have been talking to me over the last couple of weeks that we've played some good teams to date — Cornell, Syracuse, Drexel, Stony Brook and some of these teams. And I keep saying, 'Look, we've got Hopkins, Maryland, Carolina, Duke, the ACC tournament coming up.' It's a neat characteristic of our sport that all the top teams play each other. And so there's going to be a lot of games like this over the next couple of weeks.

"We had a surprising lack of poise in the first 15 minutes of the Hopkins game, down 4-0 at the end of one and 8-3 midway through the third. I was pleased that we stayed after it and made a run late. It reminded me of an ACC game overall, physical, fast, both teams playing till the very end. We are going to need to play a more complete game against the Terps this coming weekend. They are a poised, talented, experienced team coming off a hard loss, and they will certainly be ready. I expect an inspired effort from my own team and this has the makings of a terrific conference clash."

Medical officials monitoring UNC's Keenan

North Carolina medical officials will continue to monitor freshman midfielder and faceoff specialist R.G. Keenan after the former Boys' Latin standout took two hard shots during Saturday's game against Maryland. Keenan didn't take the last faceoff and had swelling around a gash in the lower part of his mouth after the game.

The Tar Heels were checking to see if Keenan suffered a concussion. According to Tar Heels coach Joe Breschi, he spoke with Keenan Sunday morning and Keenan said he felt fine. Keenan was expected to undergo further tests Sunday evening.

"I'm under the assumption he will be OK, but we'll stay in touch and talk it over with our medical people," said Breschi.

Keenan can expect more rough treatment from the opposition in the future. He has been dominant this season in faceoffs, and some such as Maryland figure it's better to attack Keenan physically after he wins the ball instead of challenging him off the whistle.

Tough times for Princeton, Navy

Which campuses were the most unhappy over the weekend, Princeton or Navy?

Princeton (1-5 overall, 0-2 Ivy League) fell to Yale, 8-7, in overtime. Second-year coach Chris Bates, who went 11-5 last season, still has to face Syracuse and Cornell. Navy lost to Colgate, 5-4, to fall to 4-5 on the season.

With the loss, the little posse in Annapolis which attempts to get long time Navy coach Richie Meade fired every yea will be assembling. But for what Meade has done for Navy and what he gets out of his players, the academy should give him a lifetime contract.

With Edell, the quips keep coming

Former University of Maryland coach Dick Edell retired in 2001, but his sense of humor is still active.

While observing how much physically bigger Hopkins was than UMBC during the pregame handshake, Edell said: "Wow, UMBC just lost the handshake."

Edell, by the way, isn't very happy about college teams traveling and playing games on Easter weekend.

"I'm not this deeply religious guy, but come on, you can't find another time than that weekend to play a game," said Edell. "Plus, it's only a good Friday if you win."

Has Hopkins turned corner?

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