Daily Archives: November 3, 2009

College Men’s Lacrosse: Notre Dame Men’s Lacrosse Is The Most Successful NCAA Division I Lacrosse Program West Of Ohio And A Model For Growth Of Western Lacrosse

Notre Dame lacrosse stadium Arolotta(From an InsideLacrosse blog article)  Last season Notre Dame rattled off 15 straight wins on their way to a #2 ranking nationally and a #7 seed in the NCAA notre dame logotournament. However, their perfect season came to an abrupt end in the first round of the NCAA tournament where they were upset by unseeded Maryland 7-3 at home. This year the Fighting Irish find themselves in a new conference playing in a new world-class stadium with many new faces. But a closer look at the team shows why even with all the ‘new’ they will be as competitive as ever.


There are plenty of losses, but Scotty Rogers is back after a breakout 2009
There are plenty of losses, but Scotty Rogers is back after a breakout 2009

With the departures of Ryan Hoff, Duncan Swezey and Peter Christman, Notre Dame also loses 40% of their goals and assists from a year ago (69 goals, 40 assists combined). Hoff had been a staple in the Irish offense over his four year career at ND, averaging over 30 goals per season as one of the premier finishers in the NCAA. Swezey led the team in points last season and was the primary initiator for the offense at attack. Conversely, Christman was the most dangerous dodging midfielder and served as the initiator from up top. The graduation of these players leaves a lot of questions to be answered on the offensive side of the ball.

While the majority of the staunch defense that limited opponents to an NCAA best 6.2 goals per game returns, the Irish do lose their leader Regis McDermott. McDermott was a third team All-America last year and key contributor on defense, handling much of the communication on defense and Notre Dame will surely miss their captain in the middle directing traffic.


With these losses also comes the addition of a number of talented freshmen. Touted as “one of the best classes we’ve ever signed” by Corrigan, many new players look to have an immediate impact this spring.  Among these players are Steven Murphy, Pat Cotter and Quinn Cully who will all compete for playing time at the midfield position.  All three bring a lot of size, strength and play-making ability to the field.  With their size and athleticism they have potential to be effective on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.  Additionally, Ryan Foley is another freshman who has impressed so far this fall but at attack instead of midfield.  With the holes left by Hoff and Swezey he could certainly find himself in a contributing role this year.


The battle for starting spots is far from over heading in to the winter. Due to the abundance of young talent at attack and midfield, it is still anyone’s guess who will start when they take the field for the first time in February. The front-runners in the competition to join returning starter Neal Hicks at attack look to be senior Matt Ciambella, sophomore Nick Beattie, redshirt freshman Sean Rogers and freshman Ryan Foley. Ciambella is a good inside finisher who might be able to fill the void left by Hoff on the crease and Beattie produced very well for the Irish late last year in limited playing time.

The midfield this year looks to be led by returning honorable mention All-American Grant Krebs and Zach Brenneman. Junior David Earl, who had 12 goals for Notre Dame last year, is also likely to see an increased role within the offense. A number of other midfielders, including the highly regarded freshman recruits, are all likely to see significant playing time in a number or roles at the midfield. Only time will tell what the top midfield lines will eventually look like.

On defense and at the faceoff X there is much more certainty. Even with some competition from younger players earlier this fall, it appears that Jake Marmul and Trever Sipperly are the clear favorites to take faceoffs for the Irish again this spring. Both players were used relatively evenly last year and won a solid 55% of their chances. At close defense the return of third team All-American Scott Rodgers and honorable mention All-American Sam Barnes headlines a unit also featuring returning starter Kevin Ridgway. Many players have noted how Ridgway and senior Mike Creighton have stepped up this fall and are very confident in their defense. One last player that should contribute is talented sophomore Kevin Randall. Randall started two games last year as a freshman and it appears is competing with Creighton for the last starting spot on defense.


Without question the strength of this Notre Dame team will be the same as it was a year ago:  defense.  The return of so much talent (including two All-Americans) at close defense along with addition of some very physically gifted midfielders should result in another solid defensive year. Notre Dame has always played with a disciplined team defense and the experience factor is definitely on their side again.

On the other side of the ball, if there is one big question mark/weakness coming into this season it is: how will the new attack unit perform?  Notre Dame has always employed a very balanced approach to offense by stressing ball movement and making all six players scoring threats.  As such, much of the focus this fall has been on developing chemistry between the new blood on offense.  With the work they have put in they have shown marked improvement over the course of the fall.  It remains to be seen how much they will miss players like Hoff but the fact that they have never relied on any one player to carry the team bodes well for the Irish. 

“Last year a lot of our goals ended with Ryan Hoff,” says sophomore attack Nick Beattie, “but they all started as part of our offense and many of the players that made that happen are still here.” 

Truly, Notre Dame’s success this season will ride largely on just how well these new players step up and execute against top-tier teams.  ND will face many more of the traditional ‘east coast elite’ this year and the players are excited for the opportunity to prove they can compete with anyone.


2010 USA Men’s National Lacrosse Team: Final Player Selections Position Team USA To Avenge 2006 World Games 15-10 Loss To Canada

US Lacrosse TeamThe 2010 USA men’s national lacrosse team was announced Monday, with 23 members were selected to represent the red, white and blue at the FIL World Championship in Manchester, England from July 14-24 next summer.

LaxPowerAfter falling short in the championship game of the 2006 World Games — the U.S. fell 15-10, with Canada’s Jeff Zywicki scoring five goals and Gary Gait netting four — the Americans will be looking to redeem themselves with a roster which contains five players from that ’06 squad. The 2010 team comes into the tournament as an underdog against Canada, according to head coach Mike Pressler.

The 2010 USA is a mix of young players and experienced veterans, and the coaching staff hopes it’s a good blend for conquering the Canadians. From the youngest member of the team in Ned Crotty (Duke ’09) to the oldest in Brian Dougherty (Maryland ’96), Pressler praised the player’s selflessness and seemed excited about the makeup of the squad.

“We picked the best player in that particular role who gives us the best chance to win,” said Pressler. “We have tremendous veterans at the top. We have great diversity, age, and experience.”

Ryan Powell — whom Pressler characterized as ‘the ultimate veteran’ — seemed to agree with the selection of the squad.

“I believe the coaching staff did an incredible job in selecting the 23 guys,” Powell said.

The biggest differences in this year’s team from 2006 are the addition of a face-off man in Alex Smith and the decision to go with six defensemen rather than seven. In 2006, Canada’s Geoff Snider was dominant facing off and earned Tournament MVP honors.

Despite all the big-name players and the impressive coaching staff, Pressler continued to acknowledge that Canada will be the favorite this time around. The Canadians are known for their unique style of play on the offensive end with many pick and rolls. Pressler also stated that a lot of the team’s makeup had to do with selecting players who would be able to defeat the Canadians.

Canada’s victory in 2006 ended Team USA’s 28-year, 38-game winning streak in ILF play. The U.S.’s last earlier also loss came to Canada, in the 1978 ILF final, 17-16 in overtime. The USA’s all-time record in ILF play now stands at 47-2, by far the best among ILF-member nations.


High School Lacrosse Profile: Foxboro (MA) High School Boys Lacrosse Goalie Greg Stamatov Creates “LAX General” To Provide Used And Donated Lacrosse Equipment To Communities In Need As He Begins His College Search


Greg Stamatov: “Renaissance Man”

By Tom Kovic

Over the past six months, I have had the privilege to work with a fine young man from Foxboro, Massachusetts as he prepares for the college quest. Greg Stamatov is a sophomore at Foxboro High School where he is a multi-sport athlete excelling at football, ice hockey and lacrosse. As a sophomore, Greg is at a crossroad in his high school athletic career and he feels the need to focus more energy into one sport in an effort to strongly develop the skill needed to play at the division 1 NCAA level.

As a highly touted goal tender (Greg was recently named to the 2009 Inside Lacrosse Rising Sophomore Watch list) with a keen eye in pursuing a true “student-athlete” experience, Greg is beginning to organize his personal college search plan. And with the help of his mom and dad, along with his lacrosse coaches, Greg is aiming high in an effort to attract attention from a number of the top college lacrosse programs.

Considering the level of competitiveness in the college recruiting arena, Greg shows great maturity and keen foresight for a young man. He realizes and accepts the fact that college coaches are looking to recruit strong student-athletes, but what Greg is beginning to equally embrace and appreciate is the fact that he offers even more to lacrosse programs and college coaches and “ups the ante” by just being the young man he is.

Greg recently launched a not for profit organization named LAX General that focuses on providing used and donated lacrosse equipment to communities and potential players who would normally not have the funds or budget to purchase equipment outright, or have the resources to begin a lacrosse program.

Greg’s mission statement is simple but compelling:

The aim of Lax General will be to entitle anyone to obtain equipment to play lacrosse. Lacrosse is a very expensive sport and it can be difficult to purchase all the necessary equipment to play. Although not everyone can meet the expenses to participate in lacrosse, everyone should have the opportunity to play.

Lax General will collect used and unwanted/unneeded lacrosse equipment for redistribution to those who can’t afford new equipment. This will provide young athletes that want to participate, but can’t afford it, a chance to play a great sport.”

I have played lacrosse for nine years now and I have received help, advice, and great coaching thanks to the fast growing lacrosse nation. There is an endless list to people I have to thank, but now, it’s time to give back to the lacrosse nation.” Greg continues: “Lax General is a non-profit organization that puts equipment in the hands of those in need of it. Lax General is also how I’m going to “give back” to the lacrosse nation I love the sport and I think that everyone that wants a shot at it deserves one. I can see Lax General being a productive and constructive program reaching out to multiple communities.”

With the help of John Stamatov, Greg’s dad, Greg hopes to plant the seed of his newly formed organization in the surrounding Boston area. Through these contacts, Greg hopes that LAX General will find a greater number of young boys and girls who want to explore the sport of lacrosse and at no additional cost to the families or the community.

I’m thrilled Greg has found a way to give back to the community and link it to something he is passionate about.” John says. “I believe too many kids get involved in community service projects simply to check a box on a college application. With Lax General, Greg is doing something that he really believes in – he’s already helped several families in town – and he can see how that has made a big difference in their lives!”

The next step may be daunting, but like any other meaningful goal, building momentum is a key component. Greg and his dad will begin soliciting local and regional lacrosse programs to determine their interest in donating used and unwanted equipment to Lax General. Once the foundational inventory is developed, Greg looks forward to begin searching the Boston area for kids who might want to take a whack at lacrosse.

With the anticipated equipment inventory driving upward and the popularity of the program growing, Greg and his dad will also begin to identify inner city high school athletic directors and recreation officials who would be interested in starting community lacrosse programs that will benefit from the generosity of Lax General.

No doubt this project will be a labor of love for Greg Stamatov, but one that will potentially impact many boys and girls who would normally not have the opportunity to play. As daunting a task as it may seem, Greg knows in his heart it’s just plain “right” and he has the courage and determination to add one more building block to the great sport of lacrosse.

Tom Kovic is a former Division I college coach and the current director of Victory Collegiate Consulting, where he provides individual advisement for families in the area of college recruiting. Tom is the author of Reaching for Excellence: An educational guide for college athletics recruiting. In addition, Kovic was recently invited to speak at the 2010 US Lacrosse National Convention in Baltimore. For further information visit: www.victoryrecruiting.com.