Champ Loyola Not Likely To Be Snubbed In Future
By Steve Jones
On May 28, 1990, Loyola's Charley Toomey and Syracuse's Matt Palumb were in opposite goals as the Greyhounds and Orangemen met for the NCAA men's lacrosse championship at Rutgers Stadium.
Exactly 22 years to the day after Syracuse's 21-9 victory completed an undefeated season, the two goaltenders were together again at the NCAA title game in Foxborough, Mass. This time, Palumb worked the sidelines as a game official and watched Toomey, now the Greyhounds' coach, celebrate the school's first Division I national championship.
During Loyola's first men's title-game appearance since that 1990 loss to Syracuse, the top-seeded Greyhounds shut down Maryland, 9-3.
The Terrapins had seemed primed to win their first championship since 1975 after their 16-10 semifinal rout of third-seeded Duke. Loyola wasn't even mentioned in most preseason top 20 rankings, but the Greyhounds used their exclusion as a motivational tool.
"When our guys saw the preseason rankings, they took it to heart," said Toomey, one of a small group of coaches that have both played and coached in an NCAA championship lacrosse game. "But what really motivated our team was last year. We were 8-5, and that wasn't indicative of this program. We needed to generate more shots on offense, and we were able to do that this year."
When those shots came from the sticks of graduate student Eric Lusby and junior Mike Sawyer, they usually went in. The duo each passed the 50-goal mark, and Lusby set an NCAA tournament record with 17 goals during four games. The Severna Park High graduate had five goals during the semifinal win against Notre Dame, then added four against Maryland.
As the Loyola offense blossomed, its defense became a force. Sophomore goalie Jack Runkel, with support from All-American Scott Ratliff and the close defense, came up with great efforts during the Final Four, surrendering just eight goals during the two games.
"He saved the best for last," Toomey said of Runkel. "For a goalie to save 70 percent in the Final Four is phenomenal."
The Greyhounds pounded Duke in March, then rolled through the ECAC to earn the conference's automatic NCAA bid. A 10-9 overtime loss to Johns Hopkins in late April represented the only loss of Loyola's 18-1 campaign.
"At the end of the year, we were the one seed for a reason: we prepared the right way," said Toomey, who will lose just three starters to graduation. "I thought we had the makings of a special team. When we beat Denver in the quarterfinals, it hit me that we had an opportunity to win the whole thing."
After reaching the NCAA title game last season, Maryland was hit hard by graduation and wasn't expected to contend for a national crown. When the Terrapins lost their regular-season finale at Colgate, they went into the tournament as an unseeded team for the second consecutive year.
But coach John Tillman's squad persevered, beating Lehigh, Johns Hopkins and Duke to reach the title game. Despite the loss to Loyola, the young Terrapins overachieved all season and should be one of the top three teams heading into 2013.
While Loyola won its first national championship, Salisbury continued its dominance in the Division III men's tournament. The Sea Gulls won their second straight national title and 10th overall, holding off SUNY-Cortland during a tight championship game between two unbeaten teams. Senior midfielder Sam Bradman was the difference against SUNY-Cortland, contributing six goals and one assist during Salisbury's 14-10 triumph.
Stevenson reached the men's semifinals for the third time in four years before falling at Salisbury, but the Mustangs' best days may lie ahead. Stevenson loses standout goalie Ian Bolland and its first midfield unit to graduation, but the entire close defense and starting attack unit will return.
Stevenson finished with an 18-5 record against the nation's toughest schedule, which included eight games against the top eight teams in Division III, and coach Paul Cantabene said he was optimistic about next season.
"We have to figure out a way to win that semifinal game," Cantabene said. "But we beat a lot of quality teams. Ian Bolland had one of the best seasons a Stevenson goalie has ever had, and was the anchor of a very good defense. I thought Kyle Holechek was the best defenseman in the country."
The Maryland women's team should share that optimism. During what was expected to be a transitional season, the Terrapins reached the NCAA Final Four for the fourth straight year. A 9-7 semifinal loss to eventual champion Northwestern ended Maryland's season at 19-4, but coach Cathy Reese's team returns nine starters and has an impressive recruiting class, led by McDonogh's Taylor Cummings.
In Division III, it was a heartbreaking ending for the Salisbury women's team, which carried a perfect 22-0 mark into the NCAA championship game. A slow start hurt coach Jim Nestor's team and an 8-7 loss to Trinity dashed the Sea Gulls' title hopes.
The Very Best
Katie Schwarzmann earned 12 varsity letters at Century High, a distinction that earned the three-sport athlete recognition as one of the best high schoolers in the state. Now she has been honored as the nation's best women's college lacrosse player.
On May 31, the rising senior at the University of Maryland was named the winner of the 12th annual Tewaaraton Award, given to the top men's and women's players in college lacrosse. Peter Baum of Colgate University, a first-time Tewaaraton nominee, was the men's winner.
Schwarzmann, who also earned ACC Offensive Player of the Year honors, led the speedy Terrapins to a 19-4 record and a fourth consecutive berth in the NCAA Final Four. Maryland lost to Northwestern during the semifinals, but that didn't prevent Schwarzmann from beating out former John Carroll standout Brittany Dashiell of Florida, Taylor Thornton of Northwestern, Becky Lynch of North Carolina and Michelle Tumulo of Syracuse.
Schwarzmann, a Sykesville native, led Maryland with 72 goals, and her 94 points were good for second on the team. A three-time All-American, she was the third Maryland player to earn the most prestigious award in college lacrosse. Jen Adams, now coach at Loyola, was the first Tewaaraton winner, in 2001. Two years ago, current Florida assistant coach Caitlyn McFadden was the recipient.
More than ever before, freshmen are making an impact at the collegiate level. Caroline Brehm hadn't thrown a pitch for the McDaniel softball team until this March, yet ended up being a leader on a Green Terror squad that finished with a 30-14 record and earned its first postseason bid since 2002. McDaniel placed third in a tough NCAA East Region bracket and ended just two wins short of the Division III College World Series.
The freshman right-hander rewrote the record book this spring. Brehm led all NCAA Division III pitchers with 377 strikeouts, which ranked sixth all-time in D-III history, and also set school and Centennial Conference season records. The conference's Pitcher of the Year also set a McDaniel single-game mark with 20 strikeouts during a 14-inning NCAA victory against Ferrum.
The McDaniel freshman also threw two no-hitters, and set school records for wins (24), complete games (30) and shutouts (11).
Navy's John Dowd was a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award last fall. He didn't bring home that honor, but was a winner earlier this year.
The recent Acadamy graduate was one of 29 male student-athletes nationally to earn an NCAA postgraduate scholarship. Dowd, the first Navy football player to be named a first-team Academic All-American twice, received a grant of $7,500.
To be considered for the NCAA scholarship, student-athletes must excel academically, carry at least a 3.2 grade point average and be in their final year of eligibility.
Dowd graduated with a 3.91 grade point average in mechanical engineering. A native of Staten Island, N.Y., who started at both guard and tackle, Dowd earned a perfect 4.0 GPA during four different semesters.
Dowd was also a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, and received an $18,000 postgraduate award from the National Football Foundation.
Issue 174: June 2012