Looney to be honored at Navy-Maryland game

Midshipmen's Warner could return; Blye shakes off accolades

April 07, 2011|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

Prior to Navy's home game against No. 6 Maryland on Friday night, there will be a brief ceremony honoring the memory of Brendan Looney.

Looney, a Silver Spring native who played midfield for the Midshipmen, was one of nine U.S. military personnel killed in a helicopter crash in September in southern Afghanistan. He was a lieutenant in the Navy SEALs and a 2004 Naval Academy graduate.

Looney's alma mater, DeMatha Catholic, will meet La Salle College High, the alma mater of Looney's academy roommate, Travis Manion (who was also killed in the line of duty), at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis at 3 p.m. Then before the scheduled 7 p.m. start of the contest between Navy and the Terps, the Navy SEAL Foundation will present the American flag to the Looney family.

"Brendan sacrificed his life in defense of our country," Midshipmen coach Richie Meade said Wednesday. "He was an unbelievable kid, a great man, and he had a great future in front of him. We can all remember him and honor him by the way we live our lives."

Maryland coach John Tillman, who spent 12 seasons at the academy and grew close to the Looney family, said witnessing the ceremony will be emotional.

"It is very well deserved, but emotionally, knowing that he's gone, that will require a lot of mental toughness and discipline to stay composed because he is a hero," Tillman said. "He was one of the finest young people I ever had the chance to be around, and it'll bring up some great memories of being around him."

Warner to return

Senior midfielder Andy Warner, who sat out the Navy's 9-8 loss to Georgetown last Friday due to a concussion, is expected to play for the Midshipmen Friday night. Meade said barring any unforeseen setbacks, Warner will return to the starting midfield with junior Nikk Davis and sophomore Jay Mann.

"He's going to be fine," Meade said. "He's been practicing. He probably was OK to play Friday against Georgetown, but we held him out because he was still within the parameters of where he still might not have been cleared. His symptoms were gone and everything. But he'll be fine."

Blye shrugs off accolades

Opposing coaches, including Navy's Meade, are beginning to notice Maryland sophomore attackman Owen Blye, who compiled six goals and six assists in four starts for injured senior Travis Reed.

Blye, however, declined to take all of the credit for his performances, saying, "I was the beneficiary of a lot of the work that my teammates did for me. I've finished a couple shots, but I've gotten a couple outlets from Niko [Amato] and Jesse [Bernhardt], who is great at pushing transition and finding the open guy. Everybody's success is a product of everyone's hard work."

No change in Hopkins midfield yet

Despite a two-week performance that included his first career hat trick against then-No. 2 Virginia and the game-winning goal against No. 5 North Carolina, Johns Hopkins sophomore midfielder Lee Coppersmith wouldn't say whether he deserved to start.

"I can't say that," Coppersmith said after his goal with 1:52 remaining in the fourth quarter lifted the No. 4 Blue Jays to a 10-9 decision against the Tar Heels at the Konica Minolta Big City Classic at The New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday. "All I can say is I'm going to work as hard as I can to do what I can do and be the best that I can be. I can only control what I can control and let the chips fall where they may."

A pair of UMBC starters nursing injuries

UMBC redshirt freshman attackman Matt Gregoire and sophomore midfielder Scott Hopmann are dealing with an eye and hamstring injury, respectively, and their status for the rest of the season is unclear.

Retrievers coach Don Zimmerman said the school's medical staff is closely monitoring the duo and won't accelerate their return. "We're never going to rush kids back," Zimmerman said. "So what you do is you prepare as if they can't play, and if they can, that's a bonus."

Injury bug finds home at Princeton

Princeton lost its fifth player — and third starter — to a season-ending injury when it announced last Friday that senior attackman Jack McBride would be shelved after playing in just two games due to a groin injury.

"You can't control it, so I can't dwell on it," coach Chris Bates said as the Tigers prepare to play host to top-ranked Syracuse on Saturday. "The focus is on getting guys ready. Nobody else cares. Internally, we're pulling our hair out, but you've got a game on Saturday, so you better get guys ready. Syracuse doesn't care who's hurt. They just want to win the game on Saturday. Everybody's got to deal with injuries, so we don't feel sorry for ourselves and we haven't let our guys use that as an excuse. It is what it is."

Donohoe aims for Carolina record

When the No. 5 North Carolina women take the field Saturday at No. 1 Maryland, their offensive leader, North Harford graduate Corey Donohoe, will be poised to set the Tar Heels' all-time scoring record.

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