Monthly Archives: November 2010

Southern California Lacrosse Tournaments: Team Talon Boys Lacrosse Won The JV And Middle School Lacrosse Championships At The 2010 Palm Desert Lacrosse Classic

The Team Talon JV team, sponsored by Easton Lacrosse, won the 2010 Palm Desert Lacrosse Classic JV Division by playing a selfless, fast team oriented brand of lacrosse that has come to embody the team's approach. Over 5 games, the JV team scored 49 goals and allowed 5 goals. The JV team was made up of 16 freshmen and 3 sophomores, beating a talented sophomore loaded team from NorCal in the finals, 6-3. Photo by Richard Goss.

 The scores for the JV game were:   

Team Talon JV Lacrosse Middie Kodiak Adams in action against Lax West Snipers in the 2010 Palm Desert Lacrosse Classic. Photo by Richard Goss.


Team Talon 13, SoCal Crusaders 0
Team Talon 13, SoCal Tomahawks 0
Team Talon 11, OC Lax Club 0
Team Talon 9, Lax West Snipers 2
Team Talon 6, Norcal Golden Bears 3
The roster for the JV team was as follows:
Patrick Tracy
Frankie Hattler
Rick Emerson
Chris Hill
Steven Wilm
Sean Mayle
Joe Reid
Peter Tagliaferri
Mikie Schlosser
Kodiak Adams
Josh Wellman
Aran Roberts
Niko Souza
 Cole Steigerwald
James Harrison
Liam Bourke
Doug Strazza
Cyrus Scott
Will Ernst
The Team Talon Middle School Lacrosse team won the Middle School division by scoring 46 goals and while allowing just 12 goals. The scores for the Team Talon middle school team were:     

Team Talon Lacrosse Attacker Trenton Shore driving in the 2010 Palm Desert Lacrosse Classic. Photo by Richard Goss.

Team Talon 7, So Cal Red 0
Team Talon 11, OC Crush 2
Team Talon 9, La Paz Ligres 6
Team Talon 11, Lawless 2
Team Talon 8 Laz Paz Ligres 2




The roster for the Middle School team was:

Ben Knaus
Wiley Bonham
Trenton Shore
Ryan Clark
Nick Stinn
Peter Alimam
Colin Rutan
Tyler Mackin
Bailey Laolagi
Brook Rideau
Pat Ward
Mitch Olinger
Joey Carrington
Juan Carlos O’Neil
Greg Carroll
Austin Appleton
Phillip Goss

Team Talon Middle School Lacrosse goalie Austin Appleton in action at the 2010 Palm Desert Lacrosse Classic. Photo by Richard Goss.

Lacrosse Commercials: MLL Boston Cannons Middie Justin Smith Stars In “Code Blue Recovery Drink” Commercial (Video)

Code Blue Recovery Drink is perfect for all high intensity workouts. Professional Lacrosse player Justin Smith of the Boston Cannons (Official) works hard and plays hard, and knows the benefits of drinking Code Blue before and after his daily workouts and lacrosse games. Check out this video of Justin displaying his la…x moves & why Code Blue Recovery Drink “gets it done” in the world of tough workouts.

Arizona Girls Lacrosse: US Lacrosse Awards “2010 Excellence In Growing The Game” Award to Jessica Livingston Who Founded And Developed Girls Lacrosse In Northern Arizona And Phoenix Areas

US Lacrosse has announced Jessica Livingston (Scottsdale, Ariz.) as the winner of the 2010 Excellence in Growing the Game award. This award is for an individual who supports the US Lacrosse mission and vision, working effectively and tirelessly to develop lacrosse in a particular geographic area.

Livingston boasts a lengthy list of accomplishments and honors in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area and Northern Arizona lacrosse communities. Since 2002, she has held the head coach position of the two-time state champions, Chaparral Varsity Girls Lacrosse Club. She served as an umpire to the Arizona Girl’s Lacrosse Association (AGLA), a high school level league, from 2002 to 2004.

In 2004, she founded and still manages AZ Girls Lacrosse, LLC, a league for girls in grades K-9. To date, more than 1,000 girls have participated in the program. In addition to starting a program for the youth in 2004, she also founded and continues to play for the only women’s post-collegiate team in Arizona, the Arizona Storm.

She has received other formal recognition, including the Women’s Sports Association Community Leader of the Year Award for 2006-2007 and the YWCA Tribute to Women Sports Leader Award in 2007. From 2004 to 2008, she was on the Executive Committee of the AZGL. From 2008 to 2010 she was on the Arizona Chapter US Lacrosse Board of Directors and the US Lacrosse Board of Directors.

Additionally, she ran free clinics for girls; made presentations to many schools and organizations demonstrating lacrosse; and partook in Sports Explosion, the Governor’s Sports Clinic, Native Vision and Gamebreaker Camp. Livingston has helped coordinate local events surrounding the 2009 and 2010 US Lacrosse Women’s Division Intercollegiate Association Championships in Scottsdale. She also played an active role in the Youth Sports Summit and the City of Scottsdale’s Youth Sports Task Force.

“Knowing and working with Jessica reminds us why we do what we do at US Lacrosse,” said Mary Cate Slay, US Lacrosse manager of youth development. “She embodies the spirit, honor and growth of this game for young women and is a natural leader for all who are lucky enough to work directly or indirectly with her. She has volunteered countless hours at the local and national levels and we are proud to add her name to the past decade of Youth Award recipients.”

“I am continually amazed at her enthusiasm and commitment to growing the sport in Arizona,” said Marie Baca, US Lacrosse Arizona chapter president. “While Jessica’s love and commitment to the game is evidenced on paper, nothing beats seeing the amazing interaction she has with players, parents and fellow lacrosse coaches.”
About US Lacrosse

US Lacrosse, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, is the national governing body for men’s and women’s lacrosse. US Lacrosse has more than 300,000 members in 63 regional chapters around the country. Through responsive and effective leadership, US Lacrosse strives to provide programs and services to inspire participation while protecting the integrity of the game. To learn more about US Lacrosse, please visit

# # #


Emily Gibson

Public Relations Associate, US Lacrosse

(410) 235-6882 ext. 130

Lacrosse Stick Skills: IMG Lacrosse Academy Video Features Sean DeLaney (Video)

Lacrosse superstar Sean DeLaney performs some awesome lacrosse tricks and lacrosse stick tricks at the IMG Lacrosse Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

The IMG Lacrosse Academy is the premier lacrosse training facility in the world. Directed by Kevin Finneran, the IMG Lacrosse Academy has lacrosse camps for boys and girls throughout the year and during the summer.

Legends Of Lacrosse: Former Penn State Women’s Lacrosse Midfielder Mary McCarthy Stefano Led Nittany Lions To 1987 NCAA National Lacrosse Championship (Video)

Former Penn State coach Susan Delaney-Scheetz loved the scrappiness of now-Hall of Fame player Mary McCarthy Stefano.

Lacrosse In The 1970’s: Hobart Men’s Lacrosse Captured The 1972 USILA National Championship For Small Colleges And Highlighted The Emergence Of Central New York Lacrosse Programs (Sports Illustrated April 22 1974)

Foregoing traditional finesse in favor of the fast break and volume shooting, tiny Hobart is swamping opponents under a torrent of goals

The idea of Hobart College (enrollment 1,000) beating Syracuse University in anything other than Scrabble would appear to be ludicrous. Why, Hobart‘s very nickname, the Statesmen, suggests as much. The aims of the college, to quote its catalog, are simply “to civilize…to humanize…to liberate intellectually.” Well, last week on tiny Boswell Field, Hobart‘s lacrosse team civilized, humanized and intellectually liberated the Orangemen of Syracuse by the incredible score of 23-1.

Not that Hobart is a newcomer to the game of lacrosse. The college has been playing the sport since 1898 and prior to this season had won over 58% of its games. In 1972 the Statesmen won the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association tournament, the first national championship held for small colleges. This year they are 3-0, including a 28-3 rout of Clarkson that broke the Hobart scoring record, and are once again a strong contender for the title.

Hobart‘s eminence in lacrosse is further proof that the Finger Lakes region of central New York state is beginning to rank with Baltimore and Long Island as a hotbed of the sport. In 1971 Cornell, which is, of course, high above Cayuga’s waters, won the NCAA lacrosse title. Close by, on Seneca Lake in Geneva, N.Y., Hobart was, as noted, the small-college champion the next year while nearby Cortland State won the same title last year. Now recruiters from the even more traditional Southern powers are beginning to scout the area’s high schools for talent.

For 37 seasons the lacrosse coach at Hobart was a legendary gentleman named Francis L. (Babe) Kraus, who won 208 games and is now in the Lacrosse Hall of Fame. He was succeeded in 1967 by Buddy Beardmore, who stayed only one year before moving on to Virginia and then to Maryland, where last year he coached the Terrapins to the NCAA championship. Beardmore in turn was followed by the current coach, Jerry Schmidt, who seems determined to outdo both his predecessors. In seven years Schmidt‘s teams have won 75% of their games and have yet to lose in their league, the Independent College Athletic Conference.

Hobart‘s frenetic style of play, on the other hand, might best be compared to that of a fast-breaking basketball team. It is built around creating unsettled situations—anything less than the standard six-on-six—for Statesmen’s offense.

The 1972 Hobart Men's Lacrosse Team was 17-1-0 and won the USILA National Championship and featured five All-Americans in Dave Creighton ’72, Bob Raleigh ’73, Rick Gilbert ’74, Greg Hughan ’72, and Tom Gaggin ’72, and produced five current Hobart Hall of Fame members: Don Aleksiewicz ’73, B.J. O’Hara ’75, Creighton, Gilbert, and Raleigh. Together, the team recorded a +9.89 scoring margin and registered 17 wins, the most in the history of the program.

Schmidt was an All-America attackman at Johns Hopkins University in the early ’60s (SI cover, April 23, 1962), and at Hobart he has fostered a style of play that makes Baltimore traditionalists look askance. Lacrosse is generally divided into Northern and Southern styles of play, although the differences are rapidly merging. Southern lacrosse, epitomized by the play at Hopkins, emphasizes polished stickwork, maneuvering for the percentage shot and conservative defense in which the defenseman primarily concerns himself with maintaining position between his opponent and the goal. The Northern brand of the game lacks the finesse of the Southern but makes up for it in aggressiveness and contact, with a lot of body checking similar to that in hockey. Without sacrificing stickwork Hobart has carried aggressiveness and contact to new extremes.

Lacrosse teams are composed of three attackmen, three midfielders, three defensemen and a goalie. Attackmen almost always stay at their opponents’ end of the field while the defensemen and the goalie remain at their end. Normally a game consists of three attackmen and three midfielders maneuvering the ball for a score against three midfielders, three defensemen and the goalie. This is known as a settled situation.

To accomplish his aims Schmidt has introduced a pressing, double-teaming defense designed to steal the ball. In a Johns Hopkins-Virginia game two years ago Hopkins Attackman Jack Thomas stood near the corner with the ball for five minutes and the Cavaliers politely let him be. At Hobart, players would have been after him like Doberman pinschers sicced on a burglar. Instead of merely trying to stay between their opponent and the goal, Hobart defensemen constantly harass the opponent, double-teaming to get at the ball whenever possible. If it were as easy to pass a lacrosse ball under pressure from one stick to another as it is to diagram plays on paper, a double team would be an easy situation to beat, and in fact some of the goals scored off Hobart look embarrassingly easy. As Schmidt concedes, “Basketball teams that press get a lot of layups scored against them.” But more often than not Hobart ends up with the ball in an unsettled situation. And then what Schmidt calls his “well-legged kids” take off.

Unless they have a man advantage, as in a four-on-three, most teams slow the ball down and wait for their six-man offense to set up. Not so with Hobart, where Schmidt urges his team to rush the net. “We made a rule,” he says. “If a guy takes a shot, we never criticize him. We never say ‘bad shot.’ It’s easier to score in a three-on-three than in a six-on-six because there are fewer sticks to knock the ball down, there are fewer backup defenders if you get by your man and you can see an open man more clearly.” Schmidt also sees a distinct psychological advantage. “If you’re going to catch your breath in sports,” he points out, “you should do it on offense. Most players tend to do it on defense because they want to score. Hobart takes advantage of tired midfielders.”

Pity the opposing goaltender. Last year the Statesmen took 917 shots to their opponents’ 550. In the three games this year they have already outgunned opponents 178-69. Schmidt will admit that they were not all great shots but “what you lose in quality, you make up in volume.” This is particularly true in lacrosse because the ball can sometimes take awfully crazy bounces off the chewed up turf in front of the goal. Furthermore there is always the chance to knock in a rebound against a shell-shocked goaltender.

Understandably, attackmen gravitate to Hobart. “An attackman would want to come here just like a split end would want to go to a school that throws the ball a lot,” says Schmidt. “He knows he’s going to be a good goal scorer here.” Schmidt was a big goal scorer at Hopkins. In his senior year he scored 36 times to finish fourth in the nation. Two years ago his three starting attackmen each had 47 goals.

One of those attackmen, Rick Gilbert, then a sophomore, added 75 assists to total 122 points. Lacrosse records are surprisingly vague but Gilbert’s is probably the highest point total ever. Last year he added 114 more points while setting a single-season assist record of 88 feeds. Research at Hobart has turned up only one other instance of a 100-point season in all the history of collegiate lacrosse. With the 91 points he scored as a freshman, Gilbert is a cinch to pass the 400 mark for his career. In three games this season he has already rammed home 13 goals and had 17 assists to push his career total to 357 points.

At 5’8″, 160 pounds, with long, stringy hair and glasses, Gilbert hardly resembles the stereotype All-America. A political-science major who hopes to teach elementary school in Baltimore, he seems even less concerned than his coach about the professional contract he will never sign. “Athletics shouldn’t be utilized to make money,” Gilbert says. “They don’t have that much value in society.”

Schmidt‘s “well-legged kids” almost failed to get off to a good start this spring. In the first quarter of the opening game against Adelphi, the Statesmen played poorly and fell behind 5-2. Then Gilbert literally took matters into his own hands. In a stretch of just 84 seconds early in the second quarter he scored three unassisted goals to tie the game. At that point Schmidt rested his star, substituting a freshman, John Hayes. Hayes promptly raced down the field and on his very first shot as a collegian rifled home a goal to put his team ahead. For Hobart opponents there is no rest. These Statesmen never heard of a ceasefire.

For more:

Lacrosse Photography: Former Virginia Men’s Lacrosse Defenseman Zach Heffner Founded Verdict Photography In 2008 With An “Edgy And Artistic” Style That Is Winning A National Reputation

Southern California Boys Lacrosse Tournaments: Day 2 Photos From The 2010 Palm Desert Lacrosse Classic

Lawless (San Diego) defeated OC Crush in a Varsity Division semi-final of the 2010 Palm Desert Lacrosse Classic. Photo by LaxBuzz.

Day 2 of the 2010 Palm Desert Lacrosse Classic featured a "Braveheart" sudden death overtime victory by Lawless over NorCal Blue in the Middle School division where NorCal Blue had scored first but goal was nullified by a crease violation and Lawless scored on next possession. Photo by Laxbuzz.

Varsity Division Playoff action between Miramar Flyers and Golden Gate at the 2010 Palm Desert Lacrosse Classic. Photo by LaxBuzz

Lacrosse In The 1970’s: Maryland Men’s Lacrosse Defeated Johns Hopkins 10-9 In Overtime To Win The 1973 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship (Sports Illustrated June 11, 1973)

In the NCAA lacrosse championship, a stall by underdog Johns Hopkins held mighty Maryland for a while. But a cluster of All-Americas and a hot-shooting freshman named Urso saved the day in overtime

The University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins played another of those run-of-the-mill NCAA lacrosse championships last week in Philadelphia. There was the usual ho-hum stuff: a little overtime here, a couple of last-half come-from-behinds there. Also, a few touches of high strategy and a hundred or so low body checks. One crucial goal was scored when the shooter was not even looking at the net; another crucial goal was missed even though the shot was on target and the goalie was otherwise occupied a full 15 yards from his crease. In the end, Maryland won 10-9 when freshman Midfielder Frank Urso caromed a long shot off the back of a Hopkins defenseman and past the screened-out Blue Jay goaltender—an old-hat squeaker as far as title games go.

Maryland Midfielder Frank Urso (left) scored 127 goals and collected 206 points in four seasons. He is one of only four players in college history to be named a First-Team All-American (1973-76) and helped the Terps win national titles in 1973 and 1975. Urso, whose goal record still stands at Maryland, won the McLaughlin Award as the nation’s Most Outstanding Midfielder in 1974, 1975 and 1976. He also won the Enners Award in college in 1975, given to the nation’s top player.

NCAA  lacrosse championships are only three years old, but already they are one of the dandier events in sports. This year it seemed improbable that the championship game would be tight, despite Hopkins having another of its traditionally lopsided records: 11 victories and only one defeat. But Maryland came in at 11-0 (13-1 if an early season tournament is counted) and the Terrapins had been overpowering. In their 11 regular-season games they had averaged 17.6 points and held opponents to 5.5. They had trounced Hopkins 17-4 and destroyed the other members of lacrosse’s so-called Big Five: Army, Navy and Virginia. Even before Maryland won its title, enthusiasts were hailing it as the UCLA of the sport—that being today’s clich�.

The Terrapins‘ greatest strength is that they lack one. Eight Maryland players were among the 22 members of the Sun-papers All-America team announced last week: including the goaltender, two defensemen, four midfielders and an attackman. The team’s balance is evident at all positions. On defense, senior Mike Thearle is considered the best in the country. In consecutive games late in the season he held Hopkins’ Jack Thomas and Brown’s Steve Russo, two of the nation’s highest scorers, to a combined total of one goal and no assists. Meanwhile, Rich Avena, who plays crease defense, went relatively unnoticed although no crease attack man had scored on him this year until the semifinal playoff game with Washington & Lee.

Even good lacrosse teams traditionally have only one or two offensive players who accumulate large totals of goals and assists. This year Hopkins, for example, had Thomas with 72 points; its next highest scorer was a big freshman attack man, Franz Wittelsberger, with 39. But Maryland had four players with 48 or more points, led by Attackman Pat O’Meally’s 66. Coaches like to talk about balanced attacks; this season Coach Buddy Beardmore could say it and mean it.

Beardmore’s Terrapins run a high-gear fast-break offense to take advantage of both their depth and speed at midfield and also the excellence of their face-off men. The lacrosse face-off, in which two opponents crouch glowering at each other while the ball rests between the heads of their sticks, must be one of the more obscure athletic arts. The two face-off specialists on this year’s All-America team, Doug Radebaugh and Gary Besosa, are both from Maryland. Against Washington & Lee they combined to win 24 of 29 face-offs with a variety of moves called the flip, rake, clamp and rake-and-clamp. Twenty-one times this season Maryland scored a goal, won the ensuing face-off and scored again within 15 seconds, instilling in their opponents the feeling that they were playing the Boston Celtics. In the only game Maryland lost, face-offs had been eliminated as an experiment.

To prepare for the title game, Beardmore twice loaded his players on buses last week and hauled them to northern Virginia where they worked out on the Washington RedskinsAstroTurf practice field, a surface identical to the one at Franklin Field where the final game would be played. While miscellaneous Skins at preseason workouts yelled, “Hey, man, you guys oughta get your tennis rackets fixed,” and, “Is this a contact sport?” Beardmore consulted with George Allen to discuss proper footwear. The Terrapins had lost the championship to Cornell on AstroTurf two years before and had not played on it since, while Hopkins had held a practice, scrimmaged and played a game on artificial fields in recent weeks. On Allen‘s advice, Beardmore ordered Japanese-made ripple-soled shoes for his players. Almost as soon as Maryland began working out, the soles fell off. A few phone calls later the same company came up with the jazzy red basketball shoes that Maryland wore for the game.

After the Terrapins arrived in Philadelphia, Beardmore made one more preparatory move. The night before the game he called a team meeting, presented his players with several cases of beer and told them to relax. That suited perfectly the regimen of the one Maryland player whose performance this season transformed a potentially excellent team into an extraordinary one: soph Goalie Bill O’Donnell. His was the position at which Maryland was neither deep nor experienced when the season began. By the finals, he had become the second best goalie in college, behind Hopkins’ superb Les Matthews.

O’Donnell is unusually big for a goalie, in several different directions. He stands 6’2″, an advantage when one must guard a 6′ cage. He can use his head as well as his stick and hands to bat away the shots to the upper corners of the goal that the best shooters often take. He weighs 220 pounds, more than a few of them hanging around his midsection like an unbelted radial. His girth, which helps him stop up portions of the cage the way a cork seals the mouth of a bottle, is compounded of equal parts food and beer.

O’Donnell, who weighed 248 at Christmas and trimmed down to 210 to start the season, was no stranger to the goal when he became Maryland‘s starter. “I began playing lacrosse in the fifth grade in Baltimore,” he says. “I was a defenseman for my first few years, but in the eighth grade I told the coach I wanted to try goal. Basically I’m lazy, but I ain’t dumb. I had it all figured out that goalies don’t have to run very much.”

With a fat and happy young goalie to go with all that other talent, plus their earlier lopsided victory, Maryland was logically a clear favorite over Hopkins in the title game. But the Blue Jays had no inclination to be pushovers. The loss to the Terrapins had been the worst of Coach Bob Scott‘s 19-year career. “They obliterated us. They pulverized us in every area, the fast break, face-offs, riding, clearing, goaltending, everything,” Scott said after his team’s final practice. “I think we might have to be a bit more deliberate this time.”

“All we can do is control the tempo of the game more,” said Goalie Matthews a little later, sipping soda with his teammates. “It’s important for us not to get three or four goals behind.”

“That’s right, they get a little lead and they start to taste it. That’s when they really get going,” added All-America Defenseman Jim Ferguson.

“We’ve gotta play like the Knicks,” said Thomas. “We gotta work for the good, open shots.”

“We’re gonna play a slowdown,” concluded Matthews.

Maryland expected Hopkins to stall. Against Virginia in a game last year, the Blue Jays had frozen the ball for long periods. The tactics stirred controversy among lacrosse officials, who see their game beginning to gain popularity and are afraid the stall might turn off potential fans. There had even been some discussion of introducing a shot clock similar to pro basketball’s.

What did surprise the Terrapins, who had figured to see a slowdown only if Hopkins took a lead, was the timing of the Blue Jays’ stall. Ron Hall won the opening face-off from Besosa, Hopkins cleared into its offensive zone and then held onto the ball for almost 11 minutes. During that time the Blue Jays took two shots, recovering the ball easily after each. The freeze drew hearty boos from the Maryland fans, who comprised roughly half the crowd of 7,117.

But the tactic worked precisely as Scott had hoped. It forced Maryland into a pressing, double-teaming defense, against which Hopkins’ one clear edge—the fine stickwork and passing of such players as Thomas and Rick Kowalchuk—could be used to get the ball to shooters left uncovered. Although Hopkins did not again employ a full freeze, it retained enough patience on offense throughout the game to keep Maryland in its most aggressive defense.

The Terrapins, meanwhile, were showing signs of pressure during their rare offensive opportunities. They took only one shot in the first period. Throughout the opening half, their passing was erratic and their shots often inappropriate. Two-thirds of the way through the second quarter, Hopkins had a 5-1 lead. A Maryland goal six seconds before the half cut the lead to 5-2.

During the half Maryland made some subtle adjustments on defense and a big change on offense, switching to a slower pattern, too. From the press box, Scout Craig Hubbard had spotted several Hopkins players he considered incapable of keeping up with certain Maryland players, particularly Schreiber and the hard-shooting Urso. In the second half the Terrapins set up patiently on offense, passing the ball back and forth until Hubbard could call down and tell the coaches on the field who had the advantageous matchup.

With Radebaugh and Besosa winning the face-offs and their teammates taking shots with a little help from above, Maryland scored the first four goals in a 3�-minute span of the third period to take a 6-5 lead. The sixth came on the first of three scoring dashes down the middle by Urso.

Then Hopkins, taking advantage of penalties, replied with three straight goals to lead 8-6. The Terrapins cut the margin to one on a blind, over-the-shoulder heave by O’Meally as he cut in front of the crease guarded by Ferguson. Again Hopkins opened up a two-goal edge before first Urso and then Schreiber made rushes through the middle to tie the score.

Throughout the fourth period and into overtime, the goaltending on both sides was extraordinary, particularly by Matthews, who stopped nine Maryland shots in the last quarter, many of them from point-blank range. But the best save of the day was one that Bill O’Donnell did not make for Maryland. At 3:50 of the first overtime, he scrambled out against Hopkins’ Thomas for a missed shot behind his goal. Just as the ball was about to bounce out of bounds, Thomas grabbed it and tossed it blindly over his head. Midfielder Dale Kohler caught the ball in front of the goal and fired a shot at what would have been an open Maryland net if Ed Glatzel had not alertly stepped into the crease. “We have a deal where the defenseman away from the ball is supposed to cover the crease whenever the goalie leaves,” Glatzel explained. “I’ve had a few saves on plays like that this year, but that’s the first one on which I ever really saw the ball. This one came right at me and I was able to knock it away.”

All that remained then was for Urso to score the winning goal at 1:18 of the second overtime. It was a 15-yarder—a long shot under such critical circumstances—but in maneuvering, Urso discovered that he could not see Matthews. “I figured if I couldn’t see him, then he couldn’t see me, and I let it go.”

The ball deflected off the back of Hopkins’ Bob Barbera into the goal and that decided one more ho-hum championship.

For more:

Lacrosse In The 1970’s: The 1971-72 Virginia Men’s Lacrosse Team Featured Goalie Rodney “Roddy” Rullman Who Was “The Anchor” Of The Overachieving Cavaliers (Sports Illustrated April 16, 1973)

Virginia's Cavaliers, last year's national champions, could win again, mostly because of the spectacular reflexes of their sophomore goalie.

Rodney David Rullman’s room in the Zeta Psi house at the University of Virginia seems standard in all respects: unmade bunk beds, a cluttered desk, clothes strewn about and piled high on the floor of the closet. But hiding behind the curtains at the front window is a curious artifact. It is a statue of the head of a lacrosse player set in a heavy marble base and, although it says so nowhere on the award, it was presented to Rullman three weeks ago when the Cavaliers’ star goalie unanimously was voted the most valuable player in the Hero’s Invitational Lacrosse Tournament in Baltimore.

“I’ve got it there so no one will see it and steal it,” Rullman says with characteristic disregard for the hallowed honor code of Thomas Jefferson‘s university. Moments later, however, while locking his door, he admits, “I get a lot of grief about that thing.”

Notoriety can indeed be a burden to a 19-year-old sophomore, particularly one as outwardly unassuming as Rullman. Brief mention in one national magazine last spring was sufficient fuel for his fraternity brothers. They delight in embarrassing Rullman every time he enters a room by proclaiming in stentorian tones, “I’m Roddy Rullman.” Not even offering up his lacrosse stick for the late-night rat kills in the basement of Zeta Psi can redeem him. How distressing then that Virginia‘s surprising victory in the Hero’s tournament, which sent the Cavaliers into second place in the national rankings, has been attributed largely to goaltending. How exasperating that Virginia‘s chance of repeating as national champion appears to rest largely with its 5’9″ left-handed goaltender.

But if self-confidence is not allowed to blossom in the social world of Zeta Psi, it is carefully cultivated on the lacrosse field. “A goalie has to have self-confidence bordering on cockiness,” says senior Attackman Tom Duquette. “If you’re gonna get in there and let balls be thrown at you, you gotta be confident that you can stop them.”

Confidence grows as slowly in lacrosse goalies as it does elsewhere in life, yet no one at Virginia hesitates to pinpoint the moment when Roddy Rullman got CONFIDENCE.

Virginia opened the 1972 season as the favorite for the NCAA title, but the team developed an apparent Achilles’ heel in its two freshman goalies, Rullman and Scott Howe, whom Coach Glenn Thiel alternated with little success. The Cavaliers dropped all three of their divisional games—to Johns Hopkins, Navy and Maryland—and reached the final game of the regular season against Washington and Lee needing a victory to win an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. That day Thiel handed the starting job to Rullman.

Early in the second half W&L opened a 7-3 lead and moved in for the kill. Three times in a five-second span the Generals fired point-blank shots at Rullman. The first two he blocked, the third he held onto. “Otherwise we’d have been there all day,” he says, smiling now at the memory of his ordeal. He quickly cleared that save to put sudden life into Virginia, and the Cavaliers rallied for a 10-9 victory.

“I’ve watched a lot of goalies,” says senior Defenseman Bruce Mangels, “but that sequence was incredible. He’s the quickest person I ever saw.”

1972 National Champion Virginia Men's Lacrosse Team

Underdog Virginia drew Army in the first round of the NCAAs and routed the Cadets 10-3. Rullman shut them out for the final 29 minutes, and in the midst of that stretch Cavalier Defenseman Boo Smith was shocked to hear him taunting an Army midfielder. ” ‘Shoot, you sucker,’ he yelled,” says Smith, “and the guy got so irritated he did shoot. Roddy nonchalantly saved it and ran out of the crease laughing.”

With Rullman in the goal, the Cavaliers went on to win the NCAA tournament, taking the title game from Hopkins 13-12. This year, despite losing the majority of their offense, they have opened with six straight victories, following the Hero’s tournament with easy wins at Towson State and Duke. Since Rullman gained a starting role, the Cavaliers have won 10 straight.

“I was really disappointed in myself early last year,” Rullman says now. “I was getting bombed. If you let it get to you, you might as well get out of the net. You have two choices. You can walk in the locker room and say, ‘Bad day.’ Or you can mull it over. Last year I did a lot of mulling.”

Thiel understands the problem. “A goalie needs special treatment,” he says. “He’s the last line of defense. Last year Roddy relied too heavily on his reflexes. Positioning is still the weakest part of his game, but he moves so quickly that he can compensate. And last year he didn’t run the clears the way he does now. He’s really directing the defense for us.”

Roddy’s father, who never played the game but has watched it a lot, spotted his son’s potential for the position early. “Roddy had real quick hands as a little boy,” Charles Rullman said after the Towson State game.” He was a catcher in baseball and right from the start he never blinked. He was as much at home behind the plate as he was in the living room. That’s when I began to think he might make a good goalie.”

Most lacrosse players show understandable reluctance to play in the goal. The fact that a lacrosse ball is made of rubber is no solace to anyone who has ever been hit by one. As Mangels puts it, “If I played there, I’d have bruises all over my back. Goalies are sick.” Rullman broke an eardrum blocking a shot with the side of his head in high school and in the Hero’s tournament saved a 100-mph bad-bounce scoring attempt by getting his face in front of it. (An official had to call time and pry the ball out of his mask with his stick.)

In lacrosse the goalie operates in a theater-in-the-round. The playing field extends 15 yards beyond the goal, and the least defensible scoring shot in the game comes from an opponent cutting right in front of the goal mouth and taking a feed from the area behind the goal. Since defenses are usually man-for-man, the goalie must keep constant watch on the ball while shouting its location to teammates who anticipate their men setting picks and breaking for the goal. “Roddy has a lousy Long Island accent that we kid him about,” says Mangels, “but I love to hear it during a game.”

Once a save is made, the goalie becomes an offensive player, since the clear that he initiates is supposed to move the ball to the far end of the field. Against Maryland in the finals of the Hero’s tournament, Roddy made 22 saves, 10 of them in the fourth quarter, and Virginia successfully cleared the ball 20 of 29 times. On one clearing attempt, however, Roddy dashed all the way to mid-field where he got himself trapped and suffered a blow to the back that was still bothering him the following week at Towson State. One of these days, Roddy says, he is going to go all the way downfield and score a goal.

Roddy admits that he did not actively lobby for the job as goaltender. “I got sorta suckered into it. My brother [Charles, a second-team All-America midfielder at Virginia in 1970] used to practice shooting at me when I was a kid. Then he told the junior high school coach that’s the position I wanted to play. I never said that.”

But he played goalie anyhow—well enough to make All-America at Garden City High School on Long Island. “Goals scored on him were like a personal affront,” remembers his high school coach, Julio Silvestri. “In one losing game in his senior year he got so uptight that he came out of the cage with his stick flailing.” Here he might have done well to pay heed for a change to Thomas Jefferson, who said, “When angry, count ten…; if very angry, an hundred.” But alas, as anyone within hearing range of a Virginia game can attest, he lives instead by the words of Mark Twain: “When angry, count four; when very angry, swear.”

“He’s a real competitor,” says Duquette. “Like at paddle ball. He suggested we play once and all the week before he was trying to psych me up. He wanted to give me points or play a test game to see if I really wanted to take him on, you know, so I wouldn’t have to hurt my pride if he was too good. Anyhow I took him easily. But as far as he’s concerned, I never beat him, not at anything. He just let himself be beaten, that’s all. So I still have to put up with his grief. He says I’m lucky and it won’t happen again. I guess goalies have to be that way.”

Rullman is going to have to stop almost everything if Virginia wants to repeat as national champion. Graduation cost the Cavalier offense 122 goals-and 87 assists from last season’s totals of 213 and 145, and this season several other clubs boast excellent goalies, including No. 1-ranked Johns Hopkins, whose Les Matthews was last year’s All-America. Bill O’Donnell of Maryland, Mike Emmerich of Cornell, Peter Graham of Cortland State, Skeet Chadwick of W&L, Robert Bryan of Rutgers and Joe Zaffuto of Hofstra are all superior performers.

“A lot of people have already taken the pressure of defending our title off us,” says Duquette. “They say that even though we won it last year, we graduated all those guys and there’s no way we can do it again. People really don’t know what we have here.”

What they have is Rullman and some fine players who trust him. As Smith says, “I go after attackmen now when they step back to feed, knowing that if I’m over-aggressive and lose my man Roddy will be there.”

Roddy Rullman, in short, is the anchor for his team, no mean feat under Thiel’s relaxed rule at Virginia where the Cavaliers are their own people. “We have no strict training rules,” says Rullman. “There’s nothing rigid about the coach. He tells us, ‘It’s up to you—you know what we’re shooting for.’ Some of the coaches around this place are really strict. You’d think you’re playing for ROTC or something.”

Most days Roddy is one of the last to leave the locker room after practice. The excuse is always the same: a game of soap hockey in the shower with Boo Smith. And who won the last contest? “I did,” says Smith. “Of course Roddy says he did, but he didn’t.”

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