(1) Lacrosse Atmosphere: Upstate or Crabcake Country
Two of the best places to take in a college lacrosse game have got to be the annual opening day game between Johns Hopkins and Princeton at Homewood Field and/or a Syracuse home game upstate in the Carrier Dome. The annual season opener between the Blue Jays and Tigers in one of lacrosse's greatest hotbeds of Baltimore is one of best places to watch an outstanding lacrosse game. Princeton's coach Bill Tierney on his teams matchup against JHU, says that it is "always a war here at Hopkins." The Homewood opener matches up two of the top ranked teams in the country and is always the first game of both teams season, right off the bat we know that one of the top teams in the country is always going to have a loss after their first game of the season. A strong Princeton following combined with JHU's students and Baltimore's devout lacrosse fans tends to mount a strong fan base at the game with this year's contest including a streaker and a national television broadcast. After the traditional rededication of the commerative war flags(in honor of past Hopkins players who lost their lives in our country's wars) are hung in both goals and the national anthem is sung the anticipation is enormous with the first whistle of the game marking the start of two great lacrosse teams' seasons.
If one can dig up enough courage to face the bitter cold of upstate Syracuse, then head north on I-81 straight into Syracuse in order to watch the 'Cuse get it on in the Dome. This year's Friday night matchup between #1 Syracuse and #8 Hopkins on St. Patrick's day took place while the home team's students were on springbreak, but there was still 8,000 loud, orange-bleeding fans their to cheer their team on. It was loud and exciting throughout the entire game, especially when the refs declared Hopkins last second would-of- been- game-tying goal after the buzzer. The Dome was crazy during this game and I can only imagine what it would have been like if half of the thousands of co-ed Syracuse students were there to root their fellow lacrosee-playing classmates on. Outside of Baltimore, there is probably no larger hotbed for lacrosse then upstate New York and the upstate fans are just as or maybe more diehard then Baltimore's. The tradition of lacrosse at Syracuse doesn't even have to be explained, and with this year's team being an undefeated #1 in the country and stacked with offensive power a lacrosse matchup on the turf in the Carrier Dome is something that anyone claiming to be a lacrosse fan has got to see.
(2) #12-Delaware Lady Blue Hens 14-13 Upset Over the #2-JMU Dukes
When drawing the assignment for the game in Newark,DE this past Saturday the personal excitement was easily controlled due to the little knowledge and enthusiasm I have for the womens game of lacrosse. In order to quickly and easily sum up Saturday's matchup between Delaware and JMU, in the words of Tommy Boy "that was awwwwwwwwwwesome!!!" The first half was a scoring fest in which the underdog Blue Hens hung with the highly ranked Dukes from Virginia goal for goal. Everytime one team scored a goal or grabbed a lead, the other would almost instantly answer back. Somehow the hometeam Hens went into halftime with a two goal lead, then started the beginning of the second half building the lead up to five goals, and then watched what was left of the second half and their lead almost vanish into thin air. With little under three minutes left in the game, JMU's #6-Amy Brew finished off her hat trick by completely eliminating Delaware's lead and tying the game up at 13. Delaware's #16-Sarah Edwards (who should off been on the sideline exhausted form carrying her team almost all day) scurried up enough energy to score her sixth goal of the day and putting the Hens back on top with a 14-13 upset victory over the nation's second best team. The Delaware Lady Blue Hens, lead by stud midfielder Sarah Edwards 6 and 1 performance, upset of JMU was one of the most exciting games seen so far in 2000 and helped to create one new fan and supporter of womens lacrosse.
(3) Big Red Intensity
Anyone who has watched Cornell play this year will most likely agree that Coach Pietramala has got the Cornell program back on track and playing with the same great intensity that he himself used to bring to the field every Saturday as a player. The Big Red steps on to the field, puts the throttle down and goes full speed at you. Against Maryland these guys played one of the best halves of lacrosse this year, one in which they outhustled the Terps to groundballs, created goals off of tough rides, scored on controlled 6 on 6 situations, and knocked Maryland players on the ground every chance they got. While the first two quarters of play were a show of Cornell's great team intensity and potential, Maryland was able to counter in the second half putting enough goals together to go home with an 8-7 victory. Big fan of Cornell's midfielder #1-Chris Packard a senior midfielder whose individual play can not be measured through stats and is a small piece of the Cornell puzzle. The Big Red's endline to endline hustle and tenacity is built by players like Packard a typical all-around midfielder who is all over the place on faceoffs, drawing poles on offense, riding, and helping to lead his team in hustle. The Big Red's intensity in 2000 makes them an extremely dangerous team and if they can put together a complete game filled with four quarters of Big Red intensity then Cornell should be a tough team to reckon with in the second half of the season and down the road in the NCAA playoffs.
(4) Loyola Midfielders
Throughout this year's pre-season D1 polls the Greyhounds of Loyola were finding themselves buried deep in the top ten and sometimes even finding themselves just outside of it. After this weekend's 14-9 win over the Brown Bears, the Loyola Greyhounds are sitting pretty at #3 right behind Syracuse and Virginia. Loyola has started the 2000 season with an undefeated 6-0 record with six solid wins over Delaware, Hofstra, Duke, Notre Dame, Fairfield, and Brown all of whom are top 20 teams. How does a team who went a perfect 12-0 in 1999, then gets upset as the NCAA tournament's #1 seed by Syracuse in the quarterfinals, and then lose 57% of their offense through the graduation of Mark Frye, Tim O'Shea, Gwes Schindler and Todd Vizcarrondo still compete so highly? How is Loyola getting it done in 2000? Loyola doesn't have a bunch of greyhound dogs running midfield, they have got a bunch of old-fashion workhorses. Loyola has a got a solid all-around team this year, but their midfielders are flat out getting it done. The Loyola midfield is the best in the country right now with #4-Bobby Horsey, #44-Mike Battista, #23-Peter Haas being the players to really try and watch(if you can keep up with them). These guy are roadrunners who can shoot on the run and if you can't find them up at the top of the box trying looking behind since they invert quite often and very effectively.
(5) Shooters to Watch
Righty Shooter: Syracuse attackman Michael Springer has got a righty gun that everyone in D1 is more than aware of now that he has let it go a few times this spring. With fellow attackman Ryan Powell drawing a lot of defensive attention and slides Springer gets this shot of quick and very often.
Lefty Shooter: Holt Hopkins, Middlebury's star attackman has a lefty rocket which is quite dangerous when he gets it lined up and is especially troubling in the lefty shooting spot on the Panthers man-ups. Hopkins got Gettysburg's All-American goalie twice on this man-up shot in a 10-6 loss to Gettysburg.
2000 Monthly Report from March's Vacation
(1) Lacrosse Atmosphere: Upstate or Crabcake Country