By Paul Carcaterra
Special to CSTV.com
E-mail here! PAUL CARCATERRA
An analyst for CSTV, Paul was All-American on Syracuse's '95 title team. He is president of No Limit Lacrosse Camps, and developer for Maverik Lacrosse and of course, Yorktown Alumnus.
--- Column Archive --- MEN'S LACROSSE 3/12: Yale's Washabaugh Shows Dominance At First Four 3/5: Blue Devils Still In The Spotlight 2/26: Upsets From Great Coaching 2/19: On the Wall - Early Thoughts 2/13: The Race Is On 2/12: Syracuse's Midfield Trio Looks To Be Dominant In '07 2006 5/23: On the Wall - Down To Four 5/15: On the Wall - Tournament Edition 5/08: On the Wall - Bracket Breakdown 5/01: On the Wall - Making Their Mark 4/24: On the Wall - Another Good One 4/17: On the Wall - Hen Pecked 4/10: Turning Points 4/02: Duke Scandal and More 3/26: Duke is Talk of Lacrosse World 3/20: Parity Joins the Party 3/13: Movin' On Up 3/6: Two Extremes and Much More 2/27: Early Season Thoughts 2/13: Preseason Top Ten 2/10: Preseason All-Americans 2/10: Preseason Notables Offensive Player of the Week
Yale's Kyle Washabaugh showed his range at the First Four in San Diego this past weekend. The 6-foot-7 junior attackman scored four goals in the 12-9 victory over Air Force. The way he scored his goals is why he is the Offensive Player of the Week. Washabaugh has a blistering shot that reads over 100 mph. Air Force continually allowed Washabaugh to set his feet and take his time, allowing him to use his pinpoint accuracy, ultimately giving Falcon netminder Daniel Bellissimo little chance. A couple of things make Washabaugh a deadly outside shooter. One is his large frame. It is very difficult to read the release point if you are a goalie when the opposition is that big and gets his stick way behind his back because of his long arms. Another is the fact that Washabaugh changes levels when he shoots, going low and high from the same release point. A tip to the Ivy League: press out on No. 19.
Defensive Player of the Week
This week I have chosen to give the award to an entire unit. The Loyola defense had a masterful game plan against No. 1 Duke. Duke was coming off a game in which they put 14 goals on Maryland, a team that arguably has one of the best units in the nation. On Saturday, they held Duke's Zack Greer scoreless, and the entire Duke team to two goals at the start of the fourth quarter. Sophomore goalie Alex Peaty made numerous outstanding stops, but Loyola put the Blue Devils in poor-angle situations. The defense was the main factor in the 8-7 upset, a game that will give the Greyhounds much needed momentum after a couple of early season losses. Credit defensive coach Matt Dwan for a putting together an outstanding game plan.
Rookie of the Week
This is a no brainier. Last week I was kicking tires over who should be the Rookie of the Week, and the big issue was if Johns Hopkins attackman Steven Boyle was the call (Virginia's Ken Clausen ended up getting it). Boyle was big in last week's win over Princeton, netting a hat trick. This week he was back at it, scoring three goals and assisting on another in the Blue Jays' 9-8 win over Hofstra. Boyle was a huge recruit out of the state of New Hampshire - not exactly your typical lacrosse hotbed. Hopkins went after Boyle because of his versatility. Boyle can score, dodge and distribute. Hopkins has some very crafty attackman on its roster, but most do not have the complete game that Boyle possesses. Boyle is one more example of an impact freshman from a non-traditional lacrosse area.
Speaking of Recruiting
When breaking down matchups between teams, I try to stay away from the obvious keys to the game, which are goaltending and face-off play. Both positions are the biggest factors in championship runs. More and more with the controlled tempo of college lacrosse, often lending itself to a half field game, face-off play becomes the biggest factor. Loyola's Dan Kallaugher was brilliant against Duke, giving his team a huge time of possession advantage. This position is becoming possibly the biggest factor in the game because teams are playing a much more deliberate game and taking fewer chances with ball possession being the biggest priority.
You might not see it decide a game when Syracuse and Virginia play (both teams like to get up and down the field and do not value each position as much as other teams), but expect it to help decide the outcomes of the majority of the games in college lacrosse. My advice to any college coach is recruit the best possible face-off specialist that the high school game has to offer every few years. If you have scholarship money available, give it to him. It will be money much better spent than a one-dimensional dodging midfielder who plays on the second midfield.
Very rarely do you see a team playing in a must-win situation in only the second week of March. Penn State did this past weekend and dropped its fourth game of the season to Ohio State. This might have been the nail in the coffin as Penn State remains winless - a very disappointing start for a team that had four pre-season All-ECAC selections, more than any other team in the conference that is made up of quality teams such as Georgetown, Loyola, and UMass. This is a program that has the potential to be a giant in the sport. The state of Pennsylvania is the third-best high school lacrosse state behind New York and Maryland. The university has big time athletics and should be able to keep homegrown players in-state as well as attract elite out-of-state players.
Bringing Out The Best
This coming weekend, Hopkins will travel to Syracuse for a St. Patrick's Day matchup in the Carrier Dome. In all honesty, the college game often times is way too methodical, taking the creativity out of the game. Defensive packages are so regimented. I understand the purpose behind this is to win games and hold opponents to low numbers. However, watching it can be less rewarding as a result. Hopkins and Syracuse have some very talented players who at times are limited because of the way the opposition takes them out of the game. Because of the tempo Syracuse plays and their lack of prioritizing team defense, expect to see midfielders Paul Rabil and Stephen Peyser to have big games. This will also create opportunities for the Orange, which is a team that has been able to put up big numbers against Hopkins in the past. The Orange can take the Blue Jays out of their natural element (half-field lacrosse), which in turn allows the viewers to see some of the individual talent that both teams have. This game should provide some fireworks in the Dome.
Bottom line: Albany is for real. Many look at the win against Hopkins a few weeks back as a fluke. This is a team that has been playing with the elite teams in DI for the past few seasons. This year, their veteran leadership allowed them to get over the hump. They have a very emotional defensive leader in goalie Brett Queener, offensive snipers in Merrick Thomson and Frank Resetarits and workhorse midfielder like Jordan Levine (88 ground balls in 2006). Their recent 13-7 win against a good Delaware team shows me that they do not only get up for games against elite teams. This is a legitimate team who could give a top seed trouble if they were to square off in an early round playoff game in May.