By Bob Blatchley
Washington College Shoremen
They don't call it the "War on the Shore" for nothing when the Washington College Shoremen face the Salisbury University Seagulls. The lacrosse equivalent to Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg was won last year by Salisbury, 8-4.
Unfortunately for Washington College, that loss was in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament, ending the season for the Shoremen.
This year the traditional battle will take place April 28 and for the first time, will be played under the lights at Washington College's new field.
Coach J.B. Clarke feels he's not only well fortified for that one, but for every squad his team will play this year in the Centennial Conference which includes perennial powerhouse Gettysburg, Dickinson, Franklin & Marshall, the Rochester Institute of Technology, Swarthmore, Haverford and Ursinus.
"We have back all but two starters from last year's team," Clarke said. "In addition to them, we have two players who have transferred in, both of them seasoned veterans." Clarke was referring to senior defenseman Joe Sabasteanski, who played at Syracuse and was a starting midfielder on the Orangemen's national championship team in 2004 and junior Kolyn Kirby, who was a top scorer for McDaniel College last year.
In addition, Clarke will start a number of Baltimore players including attackman Chris Read (Boys' Latin), Jimmy Kielek (Archbishop Curley) and Mike Sutter (Mount St. Joseph).
The midfield will include Mike Hughes (Mount St. Joe) Andrew Ostrusky (Severna Park) and seniors Jason Hull and Anthony Hidell. Defensively, Baltimore is also represented by Matt Sparks (Mount St. Joe), who will play along with fellow seniors Jon Kenney and Dan MacDonald. In the goal, the Shoremen will start either Gordon Cohen or J. Graham Fadden.
St. Mary's College Seahawks
It is perhaps the longest trip anyone in Maryland can make to see a college lacrosse game, and its location is soaked in history at St. Mary's College in southern Maryland, on the St. Mary's River, birthplace of the state of Maryland.
The Seahawks posted a 13-4 record last season, but even that wasn't enough to make the NCAA Division III playoffs. Block is in his sixth year at St. Mary's and is no stranger to championship-caliber teams as he was an assistant coach at Salisbury when the Seagulls were routinely winning Division III titles.
Hope is a constant with Block and it's certainly present this year at St. Mary's with the Seahawks facing not only Salisbury, but Roanoke, Dickinson and other mainstays such as Messiah College, Goucher, Catholic University and Villa Julie.
Two of the returning Seahawks are Honorable Mention All-American midfielder Cyrus Albertson and defenseman Mike Alcamo. Joining Albertson on this year's midfield are Marc DiPasquale (Boys' Latin) a veteran face-off specialist, and Ryan Alexander (St. Vincent Palotti).
The St. Mary's goal will be occupied by Rich Barr, a veteran from Worcester Prep, near Ocean City. On defense joining Alcamo, will be senior Ryan DiPasquale and sophomores Reid Featherstone and A.J. Armstrong. Veteran attackman Kyle Patton leads a quartet of shooters that includes juniors Pat Oliphant, John Oliver and Stu Wright.
St. Mary's opens its season next week against Hood College of Frederick.
Villa Julie Mustangs
Years ago, it was a two-year college for women wanting to be paralegals and medical and dental technicians. Now Villa Julie College is a four-year school that is slowly building an NCAA Division III lacrosse contender.
Three years ago, Villa Julie hired Paul Cantabene, one of the top college and Major League Lacrosse face-off specialists, to coach its Mustangs team. The designation "powerhouse" is still a few years away but Cantabene, a Syracuse product who played his college lacrosse at Loyola, is working toward that status.
Last year his team was 10-8 and this year he certainly won't back away from the tough guys, with a schedule featuring Cortland State, last year's Division III National Champion, Salisbury University, a perennial crown-wearer, Lynchburg, Washington College and McDaniel.
With 32 players returning, Cantabene said he expects this year to be better than last. Attackman Andrew White, who prepped at Loyola, seems ready to better last year's output of 35 goals and 25 assists. He'll run along with two other promising goal scorers, freshman Jimmy Dailey and senior Matt Miller, who pumped in 27 goals last year.
In the midfield, Cantabene expects scoring strength from junior Nicola Bevacqua, sophomore Greg Furshman and junior Chris Baldwin. Furshman and junior Brandon Hastings are Villa Julie's face-off specialists.
On defense, Cantabene looks to sophomores Mike Simon and Austin Hale and junior Zach Clark. He feels confident in the stopping ability of returning goalie Jason Woodford, a senior voted the Mustangs' most valuable player last season.
"We have good team chemistry and a deep midfield," Cantabene said. "We'll be competitors."
Salisbury University Seagulls
It's almost automatic. Set aside a spot in the NCAA Division III Championship game each year for Salisbury's Seagulls. They're loaded again, returning a strong midfield and defense for coach Jim Berkman's 19th year and a run for his seventh national championship. Last year Salisbury lost the title to Cortland State by one goal in the championship game in Philadelphia.
Given the strength of his returning midfield, plus All-American goalie Max Zarchin and All-American defenseman Chris Heier, the Gulls are a safer bet to be on the field at M&T Bank Stadium come Memorial Day weekend in this year's championship contest.
Salisbury's roster is often peppered with players who have gained experience playing at Division I schools and have transferred in or have made their way to the campus through junior colleges.
In addition to the returning All-Americans, Berkman said he's counting on several others, including last year's leading scorer, attackman Eric Bishop and Berkman's son, middie Kylor Berkman, a sophomore who led the team in assists last season.
Berkman will be running on the same midfield with senior Matt Dasinger of Franklin High School and junior Brett Yoder of Hereford High School. Two returning long stick midfielders are Luis Gonzalez, a 2006 All-American, and senior Michael Edwards, the team captain.
Berkman's defense is comprised of Heier and seniors Matt Hittinger and Chase Caruso. Among the Seagulls' opponents this year are Eastern Shore rival Washington College, Gettysburg, Lynchburg, Roanoke, Ohio Wesleyan, Denison and Widener College.
With a team name like "Gophers," there's an inclination to believe Goucher College's team functions below or just near the surface in the NCAA Division III ranks. Actually, they're climbing, with a record last year of 7-10.
"This year we're very excited," coach Kyle Hannan said. "We have a veteran group on the offense and a young and very athletic defense."
Hannan, who played and coached at Salisbury and Hobart, is in his sixth year at the Dulaney Valley Road campus and has his team in the Capital Athletic Conference, along with Salisbury, York College, Villa Julie and St. Mary's College. The Gophers are comprised of players from 14 different states, five of them from Denver, the new hotbed of college lacrosse.
"Our guys are coming from a lot of states across the country because of the academic reputation of the school," Hannan said.
This year the scoring is expected to come from his midfield of Brent Shea, David Duff and Alan Tiet. Dan Flamholz leads the attack along with Sam Fitzpatrick and Ross Nochumowitz. Three veterans return on defense in Mike Gardner, Andrew Nielsen and Max Walters. Austin Main returns in goal.
Issue 2.7: February 15, 2007