Tag Archives: 1970’s

Lacrosse In The 1970’s: Johns Hopkins Men’s Lacrosse Defeated Maryland 15-9 To Win 1979 NCAA Lacrosse Championship For What Coach Henry (Chic) Ciccarone Called The “Best Hopkins Team Ever” (Sports Illustrated June 04, 1979)

According to its coach, the team that won Johns Hopkins' 35th national lacrosse title by mauling Maryland is the Blue Jays' best ever.

The only thing more impressive than the play of Johns Hopkins in last Saturday’s NCAA lacrosse championship was the acclaim that followed it. At the University of Maryland‘s Byrd Stadium the Blue Jays not only beat the Terrapins in the fine points of the game but outhustled and outmuscled them as well. When the 15-9 mauling was all over, the Maryland players gathered at midfield and paid tribute to their archrivals with a cheer, but the ultimate praise came from the Hopkins coach, Henry (Chic) Ciccarone. In an almost empty locker room an hour after the game, he summed up his team’s effort by saying, “I think you have to call this the greatest Johns Hopkins lacrosse team ever.”

The greatest Johns Hopkins lacrosse team ever? It might be easier to name the most beautiful Miss America. Hopkins is synonymous with lacrosse excellence. Saturday’s win gave the Blue Jays their second straight national championship but not their second overall, nor their fifth, nor 10th, nor even 20th. No, this was their 35th national title. Nevertheless, Ciccarone had logic to back up his boast.

Johns Hopkins Men's Lacrosse Head Coach Henry Ciccarone

“It’s much harder to win the national championship now than it was a few years ago,” he said. “There are so many more good players coming out of organized programs and so many more schools actively recruiting them that the competition has gotten much tougher. Yet, against the toughest schedule possible, this team went undefeated.”

Ciccarone methodically ticked off the highlights of Hopkins’ 13-0 season. The Blue Jays beat second-ranked Maryland and fifth-ranked Virginia twice each, while also defeating third-ranked Navy, fourth-ranked Cornell, and North Carolina State and Army, which finished tied for No. 6. “Despite that schedule, the defense allowed fewer than seven goals a game,” Ciccarone said. “That’s unheard of in today’s faster, higher-scoring lacrosse.” Ciccarone didn’t bother to add that the Hopkins offense more than doubled its opponents’ goal output and that his team’s average margin of victory was more than eight goals. In the context of this season, Saturday’s six-goal shellacking of Maryland was a squeaker.

But when the season began 10 weeks ago, the ’79 Blue Jays seemed destined to live in the shadow of last year’s squad. That team won its last six games before upsetting Cornell for the national championship. It didn’t seem possible the Blue Jays could be that good again, since three first-team All-Americas, including Mike O’Neill, probably the finest attackman ever to play at Hopkins, had graduated. “At the start of the year all we heard about was last year’s team and the players we had lost,” says Midfielder Dave Huntley, one of Hopkins’ co-captains. “Most of us were members of that team and played big roles in its success, so we didn’t resent the mention of it. But at the same time we were anxious to establish an identity for this year’s team.”

The trademark that the ’79 Blue Jays quickly established was an attack so evenly balanced that it made its individual members almost anonymous. Going into the title game, Maryland‘s top scorer, Attackman Bob Boneillo, had 74 points, 28 more than any other Terp. By contrast, the Blue Jays’ leading scorer had only 33 points. But there were six Hopkins players with at least 27 points, and the overall balance was best indicated by the fact that the man with 33, Attackman Jim Zaffuto, was a second-stringer. “What made this team so good was that we never had to rely on one individual to do the job for us,” Ciccarone says. “Whenever one player fell down, someone else picked up the slack.”

Ciccarone is a superstitious sort who can find dire portent in the happiest of circumstances. Over the last three years Maryland would have been undefeated—had it not had to play Johns Hopkins. Not counting this year’s championship, the Blue Jays had won five straight from the Terrapins, including semifinal victories in the NCAA tournament the past two seasons. Included in the streak was a 13-12 Blue Jay victory earlier this season. That record of prolonged success against Maryland would seem to have been ample reason for optimism last week, but not for Ciccarone. He couldn’t help thinking back to last season’s NCAA championship. Going into that game, defending champ Cornell had beaten Hopkins five in a row. “I just hope that wasn’t an omen,” Ciccarone said apprehensively.

Maryland Coach Bud Beardmore pinned his hopes for an upset on a new offense; he had moved his two top scorers, attackmen Boneillo and John Lamon, from their normal positions behind the cage to new spots in front of it. In the earlier Maryland-Hopkins game, Blue Jay defensemen had bottled up Boneillo and Lamon behind the goal. While they struggled to get free with the ball, the other Terrapins stood around and watched. Of Maryland‘s 12 goals that day, nine were unassisted. Beardmore hoped to get his offense moving by putting his two chief scoring threats where they had more room to maneuver.

He also planned to take advantage of the aggressiveness of the nation’s best defenseman, Hopkins junior Mark Greenberg. Greenberg had covered Boneillo in the earlier game but had frequently slid off him to double-team someone else. When Greenberg’s tactics let Boneillo get free behind the cage, it did Maryland little good. In front of the cage Boneillo would be in position to take a pass and shoot.

At first, Beardmore‘s strategy appeared to be working. Maryland took a 4-3 lead and might have opened up a wider margin had not Blue Jay Goalie Mike Federico made several extraordinary saves. Before long, however, the vaunted Hopkins defense came to Federico’s aid.

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Lacrosse In The 1970’s: Johns Hopkins Men’s Lacrosse Defeated Cornell 13-8 To Win 1978 NCAA Lacrosse National Championship And End Cornell’s 42-Game Winning Streak (Sports Illustrated June 05, 1978)

Taking 20 of 27 faceoffs, Johns Hopkins broke Cornell's 42-game winning streak to become the NCAA lacrosse champs.

With only seconds to play in last Saturday’s NCAA championship lacrosse game, Johns Hopkins fans burst out singing “Aaa-men, aaa-men, aaaaa-men, amen, amen!” For the Blue Jays the chant joyously proclaimed a new national champion. For rival Cornell it sounded a knell to one of the best teams and the longest winning streak in college lacrosse history. Going into the game with Hopkins, the Big Red had won a record 42 straight. None of the 15 seniors on the squad had ever lost at Cornell. But in its last game, in front of a crowd of 17,500 at Rutgers, this celebrated team finally came out on the short end of the lacrosse stick. When the singing ended, so had Cornell’s string by a score of 13-8.

In all likelihood the NCAA final also marked the end of a major component of the game of lacrosse—the faceoff. Hoping to speed up play, the lacrosse rules committee has recommended that a team that has been scored upon simply pass the ball in bounds in the manner of basketball. As the rules stand now, a faceoff is held at midfield following each goal. The NCAA will probably approve that recommendation in the near future. Tomorrow would not be soon enough for Cornell, which lost 20 of 27 faceoffs and, thereby, the NCAA title.

By coincidence, the only other time the Blue Jays won the 8-year-old NCAA tournament the site was also Rutgers and the winning margin was also five goals. Cornell Coach Richie Moran watched that 1974 championship game between Hopkins and Maryland from a grassy bank above the southeast end of Rutgers Stadium. If a smile flickered across his face that day, it was understandable. In the spring of 1974 Moran had completed his most successful recruiting year. No doubt he sensed that it was just a matter of time before he would return to the finals and regain the title he had won in 1971.

In 1975 Moran‘s recruits, playing on a freshman squad, quickly showed their mettle by putting together a 9-0 record. The next season they were the backbone of the first team to win an NCAA tournament while going undefeated. Last year the Big Red duplicated that feat. When they beat Hopkins 16-11 seven weeks ago, they stretched their winning streak to 34 to break the collegiate record of 33 straight set by Navy between 1964 and 1967.

The fact that Navy’s string had been broken by another Hopkins team was not viewed by anyone as an omen in the days before last week’s finals. Instead, lacrosse enthusiasts were busily likening Cornell to the great teams of the past. Comparisons were most frequently drawn with Coach Bill Bilderback’s Navy squads that won eight straight national championships between 1960 and 1967, when the title was decided by a vote of coaches. Or perhaps Cornell was more similar to the Hopkins team that did not lose a college game for four straight seasons between 1947 and 1950. If Cornell was not quite the equal of those clubs, it certainly ranked with the 1973 Maryland powerhouse that won the title and seemed on the verge of establishing a dynasty. Those were the Terps who were upset by Hopkins in the following year’s championship game at Rutgers. Surely, no one could overlook so obvious an omen.

But almost all the experts did and, as the final neared, the only ones who gave Hopkins a chance were the Blue Jays themselves. To their way of thinking, there have been not just one, but two great teams in lacrosse the past two seasons. Going into its game with the Big Red, Hopkins had its own NCC 24-game winning streak dating back to 1976. Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, NCC stands for “Not Counting Cornell,” because the Big Red had defeated Hopkins four straight times during that period.

Cornell’s domination was particularly painful for two Blue Jays. One was Coach Henry (Chic) Ciccarone, who succeeded the highly successful Bob Scott in 1975. All Scott did to ease the way for Ciccarone was bow out by winning the 1974 NCAA title. At Hopkins, which still considers itself the center of lacrosse, national titles are expected by everyone. Blue Jay coaches do not celebrate when they win a championship; they breathe sighs of relief. Ciccarone had never won one, and in each of the past two years his team had been eliminated by the Big Red. To make matters worse, Hopkins President Steven Muller had previously served as a Cornell vice-president. He considers losing to the Big Red an unpardonable sin.

Last week Ciccarone made sure that no Blue Jay forgot who his opponent was. The Lacrosse Hall of Fame is located at Hopkins, natch, and among its treasures is a mannequin decked out in the uniform of the previous year’s NCAA Division I champion. For the past two years, that dummy has worn carnelian and white. After Tuesday’s practice, Ciccarone treated his players to some of his wife Sue’s cheesecake, which he served up in the Hall of Fame so his players could get a good taste of the Cornell mannequin.

The other suffering Blue Jay was senior Attackman Mike O’Neill. Back in the spring of 1974, when Moran was rounding up his prize class, O’Neill was considered the best prospect in the country. Two of his teammates at Massapequa (N.Y.) High, Attackman Tom Marino and Midfielder Craig Jaeger, became stars at Cornell. Marino and O’Neill had planned to go to college together. Both were accepted at Hopkins and put on the waiting list at Cornell. O’Neill didn’t wait; Marino did. But when it came to a national championship, it was O’Neill who was left twiddling his thumbs.

O’Neill, a three-time All-America, is the undisputed leader of the Blue Jays, the sole captain of a team that had had at least two captains every season from 1952 to 1977. He is the consummate attackman, equally adept at shooting and feeding, tough on ground balls and relentless at riding on clears. “He is totally unselfish,” says Hopkins Assistant Coach Jerry Schnydman. “Some attackmen have to score their goals. Michael couldn’t care less.”

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Lacrosse In The 1970’s: Cornell Men’s Lacrosse Defeated Johns Hopkins 16-8 To Win 1977 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship Behind Attacker Eamon McEneaney (Sports Illustrated June 06, 1977)

As Richie Moran did the coaching and Eamon McEneaney the scoring, the Big Red built a 9-0 lead and went on to rout Johns Hopkins 16-8 for the NCAA crown.

Two days before playing his final lacrosse game for Cornell last week, Eamon McEneaney, the game’s finest attackman, described what it is like to play for Big Red Coach Richie Moran. In lacrosse circles McEneaney is known as a brash, immature wise guy with a hot temper. Despite his talent, many of Cornell’s rivals have wondered how Moran has managed to put up with McEneaney for four years. “Richie and I get upset with each other,” he said, “but there is a common bond between us—winning. Sure, I’m rebellious, but the one thing about me that Richie knows is, if he sends the team out on a three-mile run, I’ll be the first to finish. I think he sees a lot of himself in me. I love Richie. I love him because he made me a winner, and that’s what I wanted to be.”

Cornell Men's Lacrosse Attacker Eamon McEneaney driving in 1977 NCAA Championship Game against Johns Hopkins.

Indeed, the combination of Moran and McEneaney has been all-victorious for quite a time now, but as if to make sure that no one would ever forget what a winning pair they have been, they saved their most triumphant triumph for last Saturday’s NCAA championship game. Before 11,340 fans at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, McEneaney scored three goals and had five assists to lead Cornell in a 16-8 shellacking of a good Johns Hopkins team. The victory gave the Big Red its second straight national title, making it the first school to win consecutive championships since the NCAA inaugurated its tournament in 1971. And the victory, Cornell’s 29th in a row, capped a second straight undefeated season. That isn’t just winning, that’s rubbing it in.

Actually, the title game was not as close as the score indicates. Midway through the fourth quarter, before Moran gave everyone except himself a turn on the field, Cornell led 16-3. At that point, Mike O’Neill, Hopkins’ leading scorer, sat on the bench and admitted, “They’re just better than us. But I don’t think they’re that much better. This is embarrassing. Come on, clock,” he pleaded, ignoring his team’s futile rally, “run down.”

Despite Cornell’s overwhelming victory, there are some non-believers who challenge the Big Red‘s claim to be No. 1 in college lacrosse. The doubters tout Hobart College, the Division II title-holder and also a winner of two consecutive NCAA crowns. The Statesmen were 15-0 this season and outscored their opponents 352-106. They won some games by as many as 30 goals. If nothing else, the suggestion floating around Charlottesville that a Super Bowl should be played between the Division I and II champs served to point out that lacrosse is no longer the property of Maryland and Long Island. Hobart and Cornell are located within 50 miles of each other in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York.

In Moran‘s nine years high above Cayuga’s waters, he has won three national titles—including the first NCAA tournament in 1971—eight Ivy League championships and 106 of 120 games. He is a graying, rounded Irishman who deluges anyone who will listen with a torrent of blarney. A Hopkins assistant coach recently likened Moran‘s personality to a “freshly opened, well-shaken bottle of pop.” “He’s a conniver,” says McEneaney, “a fast-talking Mick. You can clown around with Richie, because he’s doing that with you. It’s all fun and games. Except at practice. Practice is like Parris Island.”

Moran prides himself on his ability to relate to his players. “In coaching you can’t have a double standard,” he says, “but you can’t handle all players the same.” Few have tried his patience as severely as McEneaney has. “Eamon’s got a fuse that would make a lot of people happy on the Fourth of July,” says Moran. “What we try to do is harness his emotions to make him become the player he’s capable of being.” In McEneaney’s first varsity game as a sophomore, Moran had to bench him for 10 minutes to calm him down after a questionable call by a referee. As recently as two weeks ago, in Cornell’s crushing 22-6 NCAA semifinal win over Navy, Moran had to pull McEneaney. “He was so mad that he was yelling at the ref, at the fans, at the stadium, at the airplanes in the sky,” says Moran. “He yells at me, too, but I let it go in one ear and out the other. He’s the only kid I know who yells and screams with affection. Did you ever see two Irishmen try to converse when the adrenaline is flowing?”

Obviously, Moran succeeded in harnessing McEneaney just enough. He was a first-team All-America the last two seasons, and surely will be again when the 1977 squad is announced this week. As a sophomore he was voted the top attackman in the nation, an honor he should regain this year. He also played two seasons of football as a wide receiver and was named to the All-Ivy team last fall. “His weight is only 156, but his heart must weigh 154,” says Moran. “At times I don’t understand Eamon, but I always make believe I understand him. One thing I do know for sure is that he badly wants to be a winner. He’ll drive you nuts, but he’ll get the team up.”

Dan Mackesey, the Cornell goalie, is the antithesis of McEneaney—cool, intellectual, articulate—but he sounds a familiar refrain when he says, “There is no question that during my four years at Cornell Moran has been the most influential person in my life. Last season my father got sick and then died. Richie was the one person whom I found I could open up to. He sensed it, and he made himself available.”

Mackesey was the nation’s outstanding goalie in 1976, but he had some indifferent games early this year until he went to an eye doctor and discovered that with his old contacts he could not read the second line on the chart. “My teammates said I should have been playing with a Seeing Eye dog,” he says. “They promised that if a shot was heading for the upper left corner of the cage they’d bark twice.” On the eve of the championship, Mackesey, whose play improved with new lenses, was still berating himself for his early-season performances. “If Dan hadn’t played well this year,” Moran scoffed, “I’d be up in Ithaca now cutting the lawn.”

Instead he was up early the morning of the championship game, inspecting the artificial turf at Scott Stadium. However, he was not up as early as McEneaney. Unable to sleep, McEneaney rose at 7:30 and went for a three-mile run to relieve his tension. No doubt Moran made believe he understood that. What was easier for him to comprehend was that the day would be hot and the surface temperature on Virginia‘s fake turf would be more than 100� by game time. Twenty minutes before the opening face-off, Moran decided on a gamble. In hopes of exhausting Hopkins, he ordered his team to run all out for the first period, pressing on defense and fastbreaking on offense, rather than setting up and working the ball patiently for shots. In short, he wanted to give the Blue Jays the old Parris Island treatment.

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Lacrosse “At The Crossroads”: NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Adopted A “No-Faceoff” Rule In 1979 To Shorten The Game And Increase Appeal To Network Television But Succeeded Only In Hurting The “Creator’s Game”

To the uninitiated, a lacrosse faceoff gives the appearance of a crude physical battle—two opposing players, their sticks pressed together at ground level, grunting and groaning over a ball that has been placed between their nets. To the aficionado, on the other hand, the faceoff is an art form complete with its own esoterica—mysterious things such as the rake and the clamp.

Traditionally, the faceoff puts the ball back in play following each goal and at the start of each quarter. But last May, in a move that caught the lacrosse world with its sticks down, the NCAA rules committee voted to eliminate faceoffs after goals. The team scored upon would simply be given the ball. No more pushing or shoving required. What’s more, the team would get the ball not near its own goal, but right out there at midfield where it could launch an all-out attack on the opponent’s goal. The main idea was to shorten the overall time it takes to play a game.

The Faceoff represents the essence of conflict at the heart of the Creator's Game. Photo by LaxBuzz.

How has this new rule been received? Well, at the moment it couldn’t win a popularity contest against radioactive fallout. Club teams, which accommodate lacrosse players after their college days, and high schools have refused to adopt it. College coaches evidenced their feelings in December by pleading with the NCAA committee to revoke the rule change. The committee refused.

Now the fans have spoken. Last Saturday afternoon in Baltimore, while undefeated and No. 1-ranked Johns Hopkins was rolling to a 13-8 win over previously unbeaten Virginia, a small contingent of Hopkins fans decided it was time to make a comment. After each Hopkins score the greater part of the partisan crowd would count off the number of Blue Jay goals, “One…two…three…four…” and greedily add, “We want more.” At that point the smaller group would quickly holler, “Faceoffs.”

“We’ve taken away the flow of lacrosse, the passing on the run, which was the good thing about the sport,” says Hopkins Coach Henry Ciccarone.

While the ruling seems to have succeeded in shortening the games, it has not speeded up their pace. With the no-faceoff rule automatically putting one team on offense after every goal, coaches are increasingly substituting defensive or offensive specialists for the old-style midfielders who had been capable of playing both ends of the field. Those midfielders dictated a fast-paced game by forcing turnovers on defense and then executing fast breaks on offense.

“The lacrosse faceoff was unique,” says Maryland Coach Bud Beardmore. He agrees with Cornell Coach Richie Moran, who says, “A good faceoff man could start fast breaks, and fast breaks are the beauty of the game.” Last year Maryland scored 47 times within 25 seconds of a faceoff. That brings up another coaching complaint. Without a chance to get the ball right back on a faceoff, how can a team trailing by a few goals hope to come back late in a game?

An example of the way the new rule has altered play arose late in the first quarter last Saturday. Cavalier Goalie Brian Gregory made a good save, but instead of looking for a fast break he simply held the ball while Virginia substituted offensive specialists. When they were finally in place, it took the Cavaliers just a few seconds and four quick passes to move the ball the length of the field and score. It was a beautiful display of passing, but only for those in the crowd who hadn’t wandered off for a hot dog while Gregory was stalling.

Other coaches hasten to point out the strategic importance of the faceoff. On the day after the NCAA decision was announced last May, Blue Jay freshman Ned Radebaugh controlled 20 of 22 faceoffs to lead Hopkins to a 13-8 upset of Cornell in the national championship. Facing off was all Radebaugh did that day.

In the case of the faceoff, absence indeed seems to have made the heart grow fonder. The truth is that the faceoff disappeared because of the coaches, not in spite of them. The NCAA committee originally acted on the recommendation of the rules and equipment committee of the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association. The USILA group had developed its recommendations from responses to questionnaires sent to coaches last spring. In recent years, games had been dragging on for about 2� hours. Coaches were asked if they wanted to do away with the faceoff and, if so, where did they want to put the ball into play?

Of the total number queried, 77% responded, and 62% of those, or approximately 48% of the total, recommended doing away with the faceoff. There was no clear-cut majority on the subject of where to put the ball in play, although the area behind the goal got the most votes and midfield the fewest. In a spirit of compromise, the USILA committee recommended the restraining line. The NCAA committee, fearing that weaker teams might not be able to clear the ball out of the shadow of their own goal, opted for midfield. “If the people who voted against the faceoff had known where the ball was going to be placed, most of them wouldn’t have voted the way they did,” says Beardmore.

Virginia Coach Jim Adams, who was chairman of the NCAA committee, hopes that speeding up the game will make lacrosse “more packageable for TV.” But television may be a pipe dream. A planned local telecast of last Saturday’s Hopkins-Virginia game was canceled; the problem was not lack of faceoff but lack of television interest in the game.

The day after the Blue Jays’ win, the USILA rules and equipment committee gathered at Johns Hopkins to plan the questionnaire it will send out this year concerning rules changes for 1980. Many lacrosse observers are already predicting that the results of that poll will mandate the return of the faceoff. Whatever the outcome, the faceoff fiasco has guaranteed one positive step. “In the past when the USILA questionnaire was sent out, no one paid much attention to it,” Ciccarone said last week. “You can bet that won’t be the case this year.”

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Lacrosse In The 1970’s: Johns Hopkins Men’s Lacrosse Defeated Maryland 17-12 To Win The 1974 NCAA National Championship For Retiring Head Coach Bob Scott (Sports Illustrated June 10, 1974)

Johns Hopkins won't beat you at most games. But lacrosse is the one they're sure they own, and with that spirit they went out to regain supremacy

Until four years ago the national lacrosse champion was chosen by a simple vote of the coaches. Under that system Johns Hopkins—a Baltimore institution with an enrollment of 2,000 and a medical school with an imposing reputation—had established, by its own modest admission, a lacrosse dominance “akin to that enjoyed by UCLA in basketball, Notre Dame in football and Indiana in swimming.” Hopkins did not just play lacrosse; it was lacrosse.

But in 1971 the NCAA came up with an eight-team elimination tournament to determine who was No. 1, and it was bye-bye Blue Jays. First Cornell, then Virginia, and then longtime rival Maryland won the title. Hopkins came close but never quite made it.

Prospects in Baltimore looked only so-so this year, too, as the Blue Jays dropped their opener to Virginia and later another game to Navy. Still, they qualified for the tournament, and there Washington and Lee almost bounced them out in the semifinals. The Blue Jays had to rally from 10-7 in the fourth quarter to beat the Generals 11-10. Finally, last Saturday, before 11,500 fans and one streaker in Rutgers University Stadium, the whole lacrosse picture fell back into what Hopkins considers proper perspective. With a lot of hustle and scrap, some sharp shooting and a few psychological advantages, Johns Hopkins finally brought the NCAA lacrosse championship home by thrashing the University of Maryland 17-12.

Johns Hopkins Lacrosse Coach Bob Scott coached seven National Championship Teams, winning those honors in 1957, 1959, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1974. Perhaps the 1974 title was the most cherished since it came in the year of his retirement.

No one relished the victory more than Bob Scott, Hopkins coach for 20 years. Scott had won almost 75% of his games and six national championships in that span and was three times Coach of the Year. He is a quiet operator, preferring the old-club atmosphere of lacrosse to any sort of limelight. “A nice, dedicated, hardworking, intense guy,” said one Baltimore observer of Scott, “but he’ll never say anything controversial.” The only prize missing in Scott‘s list of achievements was a title won under the new tournament system. When he announced this spring that he would retire at the end of the season to devote full time to his duties as athletic director, DO IT FOR SCOTTIE buttons began popping up all over the Hopkins campus. On the night before his players did do it for him, Henry Ciccarone, who will take over the Blue Jays next year, tried to explain Scott‘s accomplishments. Ciccarone was an All-America midfielder at Hopkins in the early ’60s, and this season, in a nice academic touch, he has borne the title of associate lacrosse coach to distinguish him from the four assistant coaches. “Besides being the most knowledgeable lacrosse man around,” he said, “Bob’s success stems from his ability to work with people. He has tremendous feelings for his players. Everyone here is almost like his own son. I think he’s the most respected coach in the game. He’s won titles with teams he shouldn’t have won with.”

Last Saturday, Maryland was favored to repeat as champion even though it had lost to Hopkins in the final game of the season, 17-13, the Terrapins‘ only regular-season defeat in two years. From last season’s powerful team Maryland had lost seven All-Americas. But Bud Beardmore, Maryland‘s coach, insisted before the championship that “this team is just as good as last year’s. You don’t have winning seasons because you have All-Americas. Winning seasons make All-Americas.” And though they performed sluggishly on occasion, the Terps proved often enough that they still had plenty of firepower. At midseason they demolished Virginia, then ranked No. 2, 25-13, after having built up an astonishing halftime lead of 17-6. In this year’s semifinals they tied a tournament record for most goals while obliterating Cornell 19-10.

Beardmore has coached at Maryland five years, but only his last two teams have truly carried his stamp. They have been fastbreaking, aggressive and deep with midfielders who can run opponents into the ground and score like attackmen. The best of these is sophomore Frank Urso, who last year became the first freshman in 25 years to gain first team All-America honors. “If Urso continues to work,” says Beardmore, “he has the potential, I would think, to be the best lacrosse player ever, although I don’t want to insult oldtimers I never saw.” This year Urso scored 40 goals to break Beardmore‘s own 1962 Maryland midfielder record of 34.

Going into the rematch with Hopkins, Maryland seemed supremely confident. Most of the Terrapins discounted the earlier loss to the Blue Jays because, they said, the game had been meaningless, both teams having already qualified for the tournament. Urso, for one, seemed less upset by that loss than by the fact that Maryland had managed to beat Hopkins by only one goal in the tournament final the year before. “We feel we’re much better than they are,” he said. “We were so much better than a 10-9 game. People who just read the papers think we were two even teams. We don’t like to hear that. We don’t think there’s a team that’s close to us when we play our best. If we play our game like we did against Cornell, we should win by between seven and 10.”

As he had before the wild rout of Cornell, Beardmore gave his team their freedom from Saturday until Wednesday. “I think they would rather be at the beach anyhow,” he said publicly. Privately, he had some reservations. “They’ve had too much lacrosse,” he said. “I don’t want to belittle the NCAA, but the tournament goes on too long. The boys are losing $500 to $600 to play in this, because they can’t get summer jobs.” ( Urso, for example, had his last exam at the end of April and had to wait a month to play his last game of lacrosse.) But Beardmore pooh-poohed the idea of having to get his team mentally ready. “If you have to get your men up for a championship, you don’t have the right type of men,” he said. Nevertheless, he carefully placed the 1973 NCAA trophy out in the middle of the locker room in College Park, where he could be sure no one would miss it.

Over in Baltimore there was no trophy, but no shortage of motivation, either. Lacrosse takes a back seat to nothing at Hopkins. The team’s high scorer, Attackman Jack Thomas, also quarterbacks the school’s football team, and this year ranked 10th in total yardage in NCAA Division III. But his friends claim Thomas plays football mainly to stay in shape for lacrosse. At Hopkins the lacrosse players are the campus jocks. All week Coach Scott kept insisting, “This game has no special significance. I’m not all fired up to win just because it’s my last game coaching.” But Thomas saw things differently. “You can see he wants it a little bit more than all the rest,” he said. ” Mr. Scott would never admit it, but you can see just a little bit more attention on his part.” ” Mr. Scott” is the way Hopkins players refer to their coach.

The low mark of Scott‘s coaching career came in 1971, the first year of the tournament, when Hopkins finished 3-7. But that year’s freshmen won all 16 of their games. As sophomores they reached the NCAA finals only to be upset by Virginia 13-12. As juniors they reached the finals again, and again lost by one goal, this time in double overtime, 10-9 to Maryland. The 11 seniors who remained needed no encouragement to stay around campus over Memorial Day, practicing. Bill Nolan, a 155-pound midfielder who spent last fall catching Jack Thomas‘s passes, said, “We’d like to win one for a change of pace.”

Scott thought that to beat Maryland his team would “have to have a real good day in the goal, have our share of face-offs and ground balls to minimize their fast-breaking and,” he added, “a little bit of luck.” Hopkins worked hard in the luck department. Thomas put on the same light-tan summer pants he had worn to games for three years. Defense-man Mike Siegert had his knuckles taped just so. Nolan promised he would wear his practice jersey with the nickname “Gnat” on it, “even though it smells terrible,” and insisted, “I have to put on my left shoe before my right one, or something goes wrong.”

Even Mr. Scott got into the act. He couldn’t help noticing, he said, that when Hopkins lost its two games it was wearing its light-blue jerseys. Maryland, the No. 1 seed, won the toss to be the home team and wear the home-team color, which in lacrosse is white. Alas, that would put Hopkins in light blue again and, what was worse, the Terrapins would not be in the red they wore when they lost to Hopkins. What Scott forgot was that in the NCAA final the home team can choose its color. Late in the week Beardmore chose to wear red. Hopkins would wear white. There was a greater contrast, Beardmore pointed out, between red and white than between white and light blue. Well, imagine that, said Bob Scott.

There must have been some magic in those white jerseys, for as soon as they put them on, the Blue Jays began to act like national champions. True, Maryland grabbed a 2-0 lead but only because its freshman goalie, Jake Reed, was able to stop several point-blank shots by the Blue Jays. Then, midway through the first quarter the Terrapins drew two penalties. Hopkins scored twice on extra-man goals and took control of the game. By the middle of the second quarter a throttling defense, excellent clearing by freshman Goalie Kevin Mahon, and crisp passing had opened a 9-3 lead for the Blue Jays. It was 10-4 at the half, and by late in the third quarter Hopkins was up 14-6, the largest margin ever in an NCAA final.

Lacrosse games are won and lost in the 40 yards in the middle of the field, in the area between the two restraining lines. The face-offs, which start play at the beginning of each quarter and after each goal, take place right at midfield and here, as in their previous game, Hopkins’ strategy was to neutralize Maryland‘s supposedly invincible Doug Radebaugh by having its face-off man, freshman Bob Maimone, clamp the ball to the ground and wait for help from his midfielders on the wings. More important, the area between the restraining lines is the scene of most struggles for ground balls, the loose balls of lacrosse. Coming up with them is as much a matter of desire as skill. “Ground balls are the mental aspect of the game,” Beardmore had said at midweek. On Saturday he must have been having second thoughts about how much psyching his team needed. Hopkins out-hustled, outran and outscrapped the Terrapins so badly that in the second quarter the Blue Jays managed to get off 22 shots to Maryland‘s seven, though the Terrapins had been outshot in only one game all season. Furthermore, Hopkins was shooting more accurately: 27 of Hopkins’ 33 shots were on goal, compared to only nine of Maryland‘s 22.

Late in the third quarter Maryland finally made a run at the game. Two goals by Attackman Ed Mullen closed the gap to 14-8, and when Hopkins’ Franz Wittelsberger was penalized for decking Roger Tuck in the last minute of the quarter, the Terrapins seemed ready to take over. Urso quickly scored an unassisted goal, his third, in the extra-man situation and fed Dave Dempsey for another to start the last quarter. When Maryland‘s Kevin Boland scored unassisted 40 seconds later, the Jays led by only 14-11. The Terrapins had scored five times in less than five minutes. But there the threat ended. “A thing like what happened to Tuck always gives a little bit of adrenaline to your players,” said Beardmore later. “But if you’re not playing well, it only goes so far.”

Less than 90 seconds after Boland’s goal, Hopkins Midfielder Rick Kowalchuk, who had sparked the Blue Jays’ come-from-behind rally against W & L, lazily circled the Terrapins‘ goal, hoping to draw a double team which would free a teammate. When he looked over his shoulder, he discovered he wasn’t even drawing a very good single team. So he drove in and scored his third goal. Just over a minute after that he passed to Wittelsberger, who scored the fourth of his five goals, and it was all over for Maryland. Hopkins fans drowned out most of the rest of the action chanting, “We’re No. 1.” They also sang “Amen,” presumably to mock Maryland fans who sing it in victory. Then again, perhaps it was to signify that lacrosse is indeed a religion at Johns Hopkins.

Afterward, Jack Thomas, who had scored three goals that afternoon, lounged on the grass, luxuriating in the outcome of his final college game. “Everybody knew Mr. Scott wanted it pretty bad,” he said. “He’s a heckuva guy to play for. We knew we were the hope after our freshman year but we never came through, not until this last one. And that makes it a little bit sweeter.”

Moments later Bob Scott closed the door to a jubilant dressing room. For a while there was silence, then a burst of cheering. When the door opened again Scott stood in the middle of the room dripping wet from an impromptu shower. Mike Siegert, one of the seniors, was smiling. “You know what he said?” Siegert asked. “From now on we can call him Scottie.”

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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.

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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.”

For more:  http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1135581/index.htm