Notebook: Terps' Miller, brother took long path to final four

Harvard assistant coach Finlay leaves team

  • David Miller and his brother Matt began playing lacrosse in their backyard in Virginia, with their mother teaching them using wooden women's sticks from her college career.
David Miller and his brother Matt began playing lacrosse in… (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore…)
May 24, 2012|Courtesy of Inside Lacrosse magazine

•There were no youth leagues in their native Warrenton, Va., when David and Matt Miller wanted to begin playing lacrosse.

And a journey that began in the backyard with their mother teaching them how to play while using the wooden women's sticks from her college days continues this weekend, with both brothers playing in the Division I men's semifinals.

David Miller is a senior at Maryland and a starting short-stick defensive midfielder. Matt Miller, a junior, is starting defenseman for Notre Dame, the top-ranked defense in the nation. He has 27 ground balls and a team-high 15 caused turnovers. Both played for Middleburg Academy, a coed private school roughly 50 miles west of Washington. The boys enrollment is 85.

"I know some of the powerhouse high school programs, and some of the hotbed programs up north boast multiple players in championship weekend. But for a small prep school in Virginia," said Middleburg coach Rob Horne, "it's an enormous deal for us."

•Offseason coaching changes continue in Division I lacrosse with an opening at the assistant level at Harvard.

Harvard assistant coach Jim Finlay is no longer with the team. Finlay served as the Crimson's defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator for two seasons. Prior to Harvard, he served as head coach at Division III Trinity. Finlay said he has decided to leave coaching to pursue a new career.

•Thirty states were represented by the 16 men's D-I NCAA tournament teams this year.

In last weekend's NCAA quarterfinals, there were high-impact players from Florida (Maryland's top long-stick midfielder Jesse Bernhardt and Johns Hopkins first-line midfielder Lee Coppersmith), Kentucky (Denver top faceoff man Chase Carraro), Minnesota (Denver starting defenseman Carson Cannon), Missouri (Denver defensive midfielder Terry Ellis), Georgia (Loyola long-stick midfielder Scott Ratliff), Oregon (Colgate attackman and Tewaaraton Award finalist Peter Baum), North Carolina (Loyola attackman and Tewaaraton finalist Mike Sawyer, Maryland first-line midfielder John Haus), California (Virginia first-line midfielder Rob Emery), Arizona (Hopkins starting goalie Pierce Bassett) and Washington (Maryland first-line midfielder Drew Snider and defensive midfielder Landon Carr).

"Every time I go into a game I look across the sideline and say, 'He didn't recruit me,' " Ratliff said about the difficulty getting recruited because of playing his high school ball in Georgia.

•With all the talk of shot clocks and stalling in college lacrosse — particularly after Maryland's 10-9 win over Hopkins in the NCAA quarterfinals — a patient offense is nothing new. The Terrapins won the 1973 national title with a 10-9 overtime victory over Johns Hopkins, which used a stall offense to keep the game close.

The Sports Illustrated account of the game mentioned a possession by the Blue Jays that lasted 11 minutes and drew boos from the crowd.

This year, Johns Hopkins finished with 16 shots, the second-lowest total in its NCAA tournament history, which spans 40 years and 99 games. It also was the lowest total for the Blue Jays against Maryland since at least 1974, a span of 47 games.

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