You always want to go into a game and come out victorious, but I think what we've seen in college lacrosse over the last two years is, it's about assessing where you are during the season, not your win-loss record. I think if you look at what
That being said, does one side need this win more than the other?
Johns Hopkins hasn't had a whole lot of competition at this point in the season. Syracuse is a good team, and Johns Hopkins came out and played great. Syracuse, to me, I'm not sure what they are as a team. So I think this is Hopkins' first game against a real quality opponent. So they'd like to come out and play great lacrosse, and especially with it being an away game, it's going to be very difficult for them, but if they can pull it off, this is a team with all kinds of talent and momentum. For me, I think Syracuse did the lacrosse community a disservice by short-sticking some of these Hopkins middies and letting them shoot. If [junior] John Ranagan and [junior] John Greeley and [sophomore] Rob Guida get their shots off and start shooting better, watch out because this will be a loaded team. The defense is always going to play great, but if that midfield is able to gain confidence and momentum, they're going to be tough to beat.
What did you take from No. 5 Notre Dame's 10-9 triple overtime win against No. 6 Denver Sunday?
Notre Dame's defense is unbelievable. They've finished in the top five in goals against for the last five years. So it's not just about the players they have there, but the system that's put in place. They know who they want to recruit, and they're going to be able to shut down some of the best offenses in the country. On the other side, Denver is going to be a team that's going to be there in the spring. I think a lot of this season is unfolding like it did last year where they may not necessarily have the best record, but their offense is special. The defense is getting better, and if that defense starts to click and can hold teams to seven, eight or nine goals, they're going to be able to outscore people.
With three wins last week, is No. 11 Duke back to its usual spring form?
To be honest, I never really thought that should have even been a question. When you look at Duke, you should just chalk up three losses early in the season against teams that they should beat. My sense of Coach Danowski's philosophy is, I'm not sure he even game-plans for those games early in the season. He just wants the kids to get out there and play and see who his horses are, and then as the season progresses, he identifies the right players in the right places, and then he starts to put things together. It's something that has worked for him, and this is the time of the season when they really start to roll. It's right about when the [
One of the teams Duke beat last week was No. 13 North Carolina, which has three of its last four contests. Should Tar Heels fans be worried?
I would say yes. I think they're a team that is very talented, but the pieces all seem the same to me. By that, I mean that North Carolina is basically throwing 11 attackmen out on the field throughout the course of the game and trying to get them to gel. I don't know if that necessarily works when you don't have a traditional middie out there. Yes, they have [senior] Jimmy Dunster and a couple of freshmen who have been going up and down the field, but the other day, they were trying to initiate all of their offense from the attack on the field, and it doesn't seem like the pieces are matching up with one another at this point. Does that mean it can't change? No. they've been battling injuries, which have affected one of the top attackman in the country [sophomore Nicky Galasso], and they're slowly bringing him along, but I guess my concern would be that the toughest part of the schedule is about to hit. If they lose to Virginia and lose to Johns Hopkins, then you have to begin thinking, 'OK, what is our win-loss record at the end of the year?' They definitely have the talent. They just have to figure out how to put the right people in the right places and stop turning the ball over carelessly. As a coaching staff, that has to be the most frustrating. They turn the ball over carelessly more than any other team I've ever seen, and that's simply a focus thing on the players' part. They need to clean that up. And if they do, their offense will be scary.
Can North Carolina beat No. 10 Maryland this Saturday?
I think they can, but I think Maryland is the better team. I think when you look at Maryland, I think they're one of the frontrunners. They face off very well, and they have a lot of depth in the midfield, and whenever you have that combination, you're going to be great. It comes down to [North Carolina sophomore R.G.] Keenan and [Maryland junior Curtis] Holmes at the faceoff X. they're two of the best in the country, and whoever can maintain possessions will certainly have the edge in that game. if I had to pick a team, I'd probably say that Maryland will win that game by two or three goals, but if North Carolina can get things going and Nicky Galasso comes along and [freshman attackmen Joey] Sankey and [Jimmy] Bitter get on the field a bit more, North Carolina can win.
Is there a team that has exceeded your expectations thus far?