Daily Archives: March 27, 2010

Western College Men’s Lacrosse: Denver Men’s Lacrosse Defeats Air Force 9-6 With Top Scorers All Coming From The Western High Schools

The University of Denver men’s lacrosse team (5-4) defeated the Air Force Falcons (1-6) 9-6 on Saturday afternoon at the Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium. Sophomore Mark Matthews (Oshawa, Ontario) led the Pioneers with his second consecutive hat trick, while junior Todd Baxter (Eden Prairie, Minn.) and sophomore Patrick Rogers (Portland, Ore.) each added two goals.

“It was an up and down game for us offensively today,” said head coach Bill Tierney. “We were able to jump out early in the first and second quarters and create a build a little lead, but we really struggled a bit in the third quarter to find our offensive rhythm. A lot of credit goes to our defense today because they really played an outstanding game.”

Air Force took the early lead just minutes into the first quarter, but the Pioneers rallied with six unanswered goals, the first coming from junior Andrew Lay (Denver, Colo.) at 5:22 remaining in the opening stanza.

After Rogers scored his first of the game with 3:51 remaining in the first, senior Charley Dickenson (Dallas, Texas) teamed up with his identical twin brother John Dickenson (Dallas, Texas) to give DU a 3-1 lead in the closing seconds of the quarter.

Matthews opened the second quarter scoring back-to-back goals to bolster the Pioneers’ cushion to 5-1 as senior Cameron Kerr (Cherry Hills Village, Colo.) and John Dickenson provided the assists. Baxter provided the final goal of the quarter for Denver as he netted his eighth of the season with 4:55 remaining in the half.

Attempting to rally, the Falcons scored the next three goals of the game, closing out the half and providing the only score of the third period, to cut the Pioneers’ advantage 6-4.

The Pioneers responded as Rogers scored his second of the game, eighth of the season with 7:36 remaining in the game, ending Denver’s scoreless draught.

Baxter then added his second of the game, ninth of the season off a feed from sophomore Alex Demopoulos (Canton, Conn.) to give Denver a four-goal cushion.

Matthews provided the final goal for the Pioneers with 4:39 left in regulation as he drilled a shot from freshman Alejandro Brown (Amherst, Mass.) behind his back, past the Falcons’ keeper.

Air Force made one final attempt to rally back, scoring its final two goals of the game in the closing two minutes.

Senior Peter Lowell (Freeport, Maine) secured his second win of the season, making 10 saves and allowing only four goals.

Earlier in the day, the Pioneers also recognized former alumni of the DU men’s lacrosse program in a half-time ceremony.

Denver will open Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference action next Saturday, April 3 as it hosts Hobart at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium. Face-off is slated for 1 p.m.

NCAA Men’s Lacrosse: #3 North Carolina Men’s Lacrosse Defeats #4 Maryland 9-7 Behind Freshman Attacker Marcus Holman’s 4 Goals

Saturday’s men’s lacrosse game between Maryland and North Carolina was one of numbers. The No. 3 Tar Heels were without their No. 1 player while playing against the No. 4 Terrapins in a clash between two ACC foes.

But with the 9-7 UNC victory, the only number that still mattered was zero — symbolizing UNC’s undefeated 9-0 record.

The Tar Heels trumped their top-five opponent sans Billy Bitter, a junior All-American whom Breschi said is the most dynamic player in Division I lacrosse. He sustained a leg injury and the team doctor would not clear him to play just 20 minutes before the first faceoff.

Freshman attackman Marcus Holman (4 goals, 1 assist), a late addition to the starting lineup in lieu of Billy Bitter, led third-ranked North Carolina to a 9-7 win over fourth-ranked Maryland in a battle of unbeaten men's lacrosse team Saturday afternoon before a near sellout crowd of 4,542 fans at Fetzer Field.

Doing his best Bitter impression was freshman Marcus Holman, who made the fourth collegiate start of his career. Holman racked up a game-high four goals, tying his career high, and added an assist.

“Four goals in a game like this for a freshman? That’s just outstanding,” UNC head coach Joe Breschi said.

Bitter found out about the injury on Wednesday, and Breschi said there was a five percent chance he would play on Saturday. He said benching Bitter was the right thing to do for his health.

The All-American spoke to his replacement before the game to make sure he was prepared for rivalry game.

“I asked him ‘Are you nervous at all?’ He said he wasn’t,” Bitter said. “I just knew right away he was gonna have a big game and I’m just so happy for him.”

Maryland (6-1, 1-1 ACC) wasted no time getting on the board as senior midfielder Dean Hart scored the first goal of the game at the 13:49 mark to take the early advantage.

But UNC (9-0, 2-0) would rack up four consecutive goals to take a commanding three-point lead. Cryder DiPietro scored on an assist from Holman, who would go on to score the next goal for the Tar Heels.

Jimmy Dunster took a shot that was saved but Maryland could not collect, and Dunster tossed to Holman, who was one-on-one with goalie Brian Phipps. Holman scored his 11th goal of the year with a juke move high and went low.

But the 4-1 lead got too comfortable for the Tar Heels, and Maryland scored three straight off the sticks of Owen Blye, Adam Sear and Ryan Young to tie the game at half.

Again UNC scored in a three-point bunch, including a shot by co-captain Sean DeLaney at the 12:15 mark of the third quarter. On an assist from Thomas Wood, DeLaney found the back of the net just as he absorbed a hit from Max Schmidt. DeLaney did not return to the contest.

“DeLaney’s such a tough kid, he got up and said, ‘Did I score? Did I score?,’” Holman said. “Losing our two top scorers and probably our two best players, everyone had to dig deep and make the extra plays.”

Maryland still had some fight left and posted three goals in the final frame, but Holman’s final goal with 2:31 remaining sealed the match and sent the Terrapins back to College Park with their first loss of the season.

Maryland head coach Dave Cottle could only describe Holman’s play as “opportunistic.”

“They probably weren’t gonna get four goals out of Bitter, so give him credit,” Cottle said. “The kid stepped in.”


California High School Boys Lacrosse: La Costa Canyon Boys Lacrosse (5-0) Defeats St. Ignatius (3-2) 7-1 To Establish Team As Best In California


Steven Bogert, like his La Costa Canyon High boys lacrosse teammates, has lived with the heartache for a year now.

Being battered into submission by San Francisco St. Ignatius the last two seasons has haunted the Mavericks like a bad dream.

But La Costa Canyon players should sleep better now. Given a third chance at St. Ignatius, the Mavericks scored early and often to produce a 7-1 victory Friday night.

“That’s the best team we’ve seen in a long time,” said St. Ignatius coach Chris Packard, who graduated four players who are now playing at NCAA Division I schools, including three of last year’s attackers.

Date Opponent Result
3/12 DE LASALLE   W, 11-5
3/13 GRANITE HILLS   W, 16-1
3/17 CORONADO   W, 8-5
3/20 at Santa Margarita Cath   W, 10-3
3/31 WHEAT RIDGE    
4/10 vs. Amador Valley    
4/20 SAN MARCOS    
4/24 at Foothill-Santa Ana    
4/30 WESTVIEW    
5/04 at Poway    
5/07 at Fallbrook    
5/11 at Mount Carmel    
5/12 at Carlsbad    
5/14 at Torrey Pines    
Coach: Dallas Hartley

“They never let us get anything going this time.”

La Costa Canyon (5-0) scored the game’s first five goals and Bogert’s defense held St. Ignatius standout midfielder Rob Emery without a goal.

That was quite a turnaround from last year’s game, in which St. Ignatius (3-2) built a big lead and cruised to a 10-8 victory.

“They whipped us twice in a row,” LCC coach Dallas Hartley said. “All of these kids remember those two games.”

Bogert, who is close friends with Emery, couldn’t forget the beating St. Ignatius administered last year.

“I couldn’t sleep the night before, and I texted Rob a few times this week that I was going to be on him,” Bogert said. “I told him playing under the lights at LCC was a special thing.”

Tim Andrews opened the game’s scoring with a goal with 10:51 left in the first period. Brandan Gaughn added a second goal with 18 seconds left in the quarter.

Johnny Morgan opened the second quarter with a goal. Ian Hare made it 4-0 just before halftime, before Morgan’s second tally made it 5-0 early in the third quarter.

When Dax Cohan scored to break up the shutout, the Mavericks refused to let the visitors get started.

Michael Gennuso scored with 6:22 to go in the third period, and Hare added his second goal in the final quarter for the final margin.

“They’re a great program,” Bogert said. “We didn’t want this win against them, we needed this win.

“My role in this was to shadow Rob. We play together on the Under Armour All-American team, and I’ve stayed at his house a few times for tournaments.

“This game has been on all our minds for a year, but we played solid defense all night. Rob never got going, and they never got going.”

La Costa Canyon goalie Eric Sanschagrin and St. Ignatius netminder Keegan Finn each recorded nine saves.

The difference was St. Ignatius never got inside the Mavericks defense and was forced to take wild shots from outside.

“We will build off this game and carry that momentum along,” Bogert said.

“We’re going to ride the victory train the rest of the way, because it’s nice to be playing well now, but we want to be playing just as well in May.”


Central California High School Boys Lacrosse: Aptos Boys Lacrosse (9-1) Defeats Harbor 15-3 And Sets Sights On CIF Central Coast Playoffs

The Aptos High lacrosse team used a balanced scoring attack and suffocating defense in a 15-3 victory against visiting Harbor in a Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League game Friday night.

Zack Powell of Aptos dropes Harbor's Jack Cunniff in the first period of play Feiday night. Powell was charged with a one-minute penalty. (Bill Lovejoy/Sentinel)

Five players scored for the Mariners, including four goals apiece by Cooper Ashworth and Luke Murtha.

“I feel we played a solid game and we did everything 95 percent right, but we needed to pick up the other five percent,” said Aptos coach Paul Murtha. “We came out a little too fast and we made some mistakes early, but once we calmed down, things started to go our way.”

Aptos [9-1 overall, 5-0 SCCAL] led 3-2 after the first quarter. However, it piled up 11 unanswered goals before Harbor’s Trevor Van Dyk scored late in the fourth quarter.

Seniors Carson Evers and Zach Powell each added three goals for Aptos.

Date Opponent Result
2/25 PACIFIC GROVE   W, 8-2
3/02 at Carmel    
3/05 SARATOGA   W, 11-7
3/09 at Scotts Valley   W, 16-11
3/16 at Santa Cruz   W, 15-1
3/19 ROBERT L STEVENSON   L,  19-7
3/23 at Soquel   W, 13-5
3/26 HARBOR   W, 15-3
4/16 SANTA CRUZ    
4/20 at San Lorenzo Valley    
4/23 SOQUEL    
4/27 at Harbor    
5/04 at York School    
Coach: Paul Murtha

“We were able to get out on the break, and that was huge because we were very successful at finding the net off it,” said Evers. “Props to our defense. We played awesome tonight. We may not have led in time of possession, but we did a solid job at not giving them an open look.”

Luke Banke, Jack Cunniff and Van Dyk each scored for the Pirates. With the loss, Harbor falls to 1-4 overall, 1-3 in league play.

With Friday’s victory, coach Murtha feels his team is ready for its next two opponents, Mitty and Watsonville, both of whom are expected to make deep runs in the Central Coast Section playoffs.

“Mitty is a solid team and I know come Monday they will be ready,” said Murtha. “This is not going to be an easy week for us with Mitty and Watsonville, but I feel both games will be good momentum boosters for us as we enter the second half of league.”

 Aptos hosts Mitty on Monday night at 7 p.m.  Harbor will travel to face San Lorenzo Valley on Tuesday at 5 p.m.


NCAA Men’s Lacrosse: The Long Stick Midfielder (LSM) Position “Demands All The Skills That Make Lacrosse Exciting”

The athleticism it takes to be a shut down long stick midfielder is unworldly; it’s a position that demands all the skills that make lacrosse exciting and packages it into the most badass player on the field.

Alright, I want everyone to confirm they can blow off ten minutes of work because I need you with me; this is the most important piece of knowledge I will ever drop on the IL website; so read it.

Who’s you favorite super hero — Superman? The Silver Surfer? Chuck Norris? It doesn’t really matter, all three are genetic phenoms; the better question is what position would your favorite crusader play? And the answer is obvious, long stick midfield, which says a lot, because Chuck Norris waves in a stunt double for crying scenes.

The athleticism it takes to be a shut down long stick midfielder is unworldly; it’s a position that demands all the skills that make lacrosse exciting and packages it into the most badass player on the field.

Tall, fast and a gift for groundballs are the basic requirements, but to truly excel, you need to match each of those traits with precise instincts, just a pure knack for beating the play to the spot and doing something awesome when you get there.

I’m not talking about average long sticks; I’m referring to players that play the position to its complete potential. Guys that you can’t call the fourth pole, players that aren’t looking to “promote” themselves to the close defense, rolling back on the clear and throwing cross field passes.

I hate the idea of rolling back on the clear, just hate it, leave it to the muscle milked defenseman. I know coaches love it, but it’s a good thing George Washington didn’t roll-back when the Red Coats got the upper hand huh, otherwise the whole flow concept would stress powdered wigs and curtsy celebrations.

Do it for America kids, try to beat one more person on the clear, but anyways…

Dominant long stick middies do everything a quality defenseman does, except they do it at full speed where their mark can score at any time. They not only neutralize top offensive midfielders in an age where midfielders are birthed by fire trucks and sequoia trees, but they take it another step by outshining them.

It’s almost laughable to hear the position referred to as the product of specialization. Yes, it’s not a traditional position, but what exactly are they specialized in doing, everything? I’m not sure I would classify playing defense, stretching the clear, pinching the ride, running the wings and pushing transition offense as specialization, but maybe that’s just me and my crew of gangly long sticks.

It takes a lot of guts (I’d rather use another word) to throw take away checks on players who can score from fifteen and move as well as midfielders do today, you don’t have time to think about what your coach will/has said about it, you just have to throw it and know the ball will fall when your stick gets there.

(Photo: Pete Emerson; Bray Malphrus is UVA’s top LSM)

It’s a hit or miss lifestyle up-top, you want a risk adverse broker that’ll show you the market average all decade long, make sure he played close defense, you want a broker that’ll put you in a new house, be it a trailer or a mansion, get yourself a former LSM.

I never met a coach who felt comfortable green lighting moves he couldn’t name, but great long sticks can make big plays out of ordinary situations that energize the field, leaving coaches wondering if they could ever teach whatever they just witnessed.

To them I’d say, no, you couldn’t coach what makes these guys special. That’s why you see the same long stick midfielders year after year, doing the same things season after season that made them standout in the first place; pure play making ability.

Sure, they marginally improve their skills over time with great coaching and competition like anyone else, but it’s always the same production in ground balls, shut down defense and an ability to create offense. They’re the kind of players you can’t leave on the sidelines, even during their steepest learning curve years.

(Photo: Greg Wall; Joel White is one of the best LSMs in recent memory )

Lets take a look at the pre-season 1st team All American favorite Joel White.

To start, did you watch that Cuse v. Hopkins game and see White grin ear to ear at the opportunity to rip a low to high dagger in front of 6,000 fans on the road? That play pretty much summarized why he’s awesome, he even did a crank-shot power cradle to let the goalie know he was about to go Shooter McGavin on him, but we’ll get statistical with it, I know there’s a fellow Korean out there who isn’t sold without some data.

In White’s first two seasons, he put up eight goals, four assists and picked up 126 groundballs, never finishing below third in that statistic. This year, he’s already off with a goal and an assist, plus a team leading 27 groundballs.

Not bad for a guy who didn’t pick up a pole until his freshman year, but like I said, you don’t need to coach most of what those stats require, he adjusted his field sense and excelled from day one.

Another example, Brian Farrell, an absolute horse of a man and perhaps the jolliest giant I’ve come across this season; he always looks like he’s having fun out there. Farrell flushed with delight when I asked him what he likes about the position; he simply answered, “transition.” Nobody pushes the ball up field with short or long stick as well as Farrell.

After Phipps makes a save, Farrell is already writing a post-card from the midfield line asking for the ball. (Side note, he was an attackman until high school.)

Similar to White, Farrell had a big freshman debut, dropping five goals, four assists and snagging 31 ground balls. He followed that up with eights goal, three assists and 40 groundballs in his next season, once again finishing amongst the team leaders in that tell tale stat, groundballs.

This year’s been no different, as he leads the team in groundballs and has already pitched in two goals and an assist. He can also match White’s prime time performance against Hopkins with his own clutch play, a timely fast break in overtime against Duke, leading the charge on the eventual game winner.

(Photo: Larry French; Brian Farrell is the best in-between the lines)

That’s the beauty of having one of the top long stick middies in the land — even when you’re on defense, you’re on offense. A knack for transition and groundballs are two things opposing teams can’t counter, sure they run gimmicks to limit those factors, but it’s not as if the other team isn’t already focused on picking up groundballs and not giving up odd man breaks.

Again, great long sticks put up consistent stats because it’s a pure skill, there’s nothing fancy about being the most well-rounded and often best looking player on the field.

I could keep going on, talking about guys like Mike Timms, P.T. Ricci and Kyle Sweeney, but I think we can all agree, long stick middies are the ultimate warriors of lacrosse.

Just look back at the past six NCAA finals and appreciate some of the long sticks that were contributing to those title game appearances — Joel White, Brendan Skakandi, Mike Timms, Nick O’ Hara, Steve Panarelli, and Jake Deane were some of the most important players on their team, because if groundballs win games, these guys won games all season long.

Keep an eye on the face off wings next game out; you could be missing some great stuff.