Look Out For Penn

Quakers look like cream of the crop in Ivy League

March 24, 2008

By Paul Carcaterra

Special to CSTV.com


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.

Offensive Player of the Week-Anthony Muscarella (Hofstra)


The junior midfielder led the Pride to a 13-8 victory over Towson with a career high five goal and two assists.  Muscarella has the ability to separate from defenders with his speed and quick first step. Generating shots has never been an issue for the third year gritty player. However, hitting the cage consistently has hampered Muscarella from reaching his full potential. On Friday night, Muscarella was lights out and showed those in attendance his full repertoire, which included dodging, shooting on the run, and getting his teammates involved. 


Defensive Player of the Week-Tommy Phelan (Navy)


On Easter Sunday, CBS College Sports traveled to upstate New York for a Patriot League battle between Navy and host Colgate. Making thirteen saves in his first collegiate start, junior goalie Tommy Phelan led a Navy defense that held Colgate scoreless for nearly 54 minutes. Phelan was making the start for an injured Matt Coughlin. Phelan made the most of his opportunity, shunning the Raiders offense time after time with fundamental and acrobatic saves. He provided energy throughout the contest for a defense that entered the last minute of the game up 8-1. Navy enters the tough stretch of it schedule with consecutive Top 20 matchups against Georgetown, Maryland, Army, and Johns Hopkins. If Navy gets goalie play in these games anything like it did on Sunday, the Mids will be a force to be reckoned with.


Rookie of the Week-Corey Winkoff (Penn)


Freshman attackman Corey Winkoff showed tremendous vision in Saturday's 12-10 win over Harvard. The first year player from Long Island powerhouse Cold Spring Harbor put on a feeding frenzy with six assists, many with pinpoint passes to his fellow attack line mates. Winkoff was one of the stronger attackmen on Long Island over the course of his last two high school seasons. However, at 5-foot-10 and only 155 pounds his physical stature came into question. Winkoff's game continues to grow, as he has adjusted admirably to the college game and looks to be one of the best young set-up men in the Ivy League. Credit coach Brian Voelker for doing a tremendous job evaluating young talent. 


Quick Hits


-Penn looks to be in the mix after back-to-back Ivy League wins over Yale and Harvard.  The Quakers ran their overall record to 4-2 (two losses each by one goal), and 2-0 in Ivy play. The starting attack of Craig Andrzejewski, Alex Weber, and Corey Winkoff combined for nine goals and six assists against the Crimson.  These three attackmen complement each other with a strong dodger in Andrzejewski, a lefty shooter in Weber, and a feeder in the freshman Winkoff.  Coach Voelker is one of the best defensive minds in the game and he has a shutdown defender in senior captain Max Mauro. Look for the Quakers to contend for the Ivy League Championship with no team establishing itself as real front-runner with one week remaining in March. 


-Credit Albany and coach Scott Marr for not throwing in the towel after a 0-5 start. On Friday they embarrassed Princeton 10-2. Four out of Albany's five losses are by one goal. This can be very draining emotionally for a team, and responding the way the Great Danes did shows the lacrosse world they are head strong, well prepared, and have talent.  They have yet to drop a league game and looking at their schedule, they can conceivably go 8-6 (will not be favored against Syracuse). Do not be surprised if the Great Danes find themselves back in the NCAA Tournament. Their attack unit consists of two new starters (one converted middie and a freshman) and is the least experienced unit on the field. If they can get production from its front-line, Albany will be dangerous. Teams often times build off of close losses. Albany certainly has had its fair share this season.  The question is if the hole they dug themselves into in February and the first half of March is one that is too big to crawl out of? As for Princeton, it was the lowest scoring output for the Tigers since 1989. Coach Bill Tierney's offense has been lethargic since the post Ryan Boyle era (2005) and has lacked a dodging presence who can break down a defense. Granted Mark Kovler is a great shooter, however, to compete week in and week out against the nation's elite, players need to initiate offense from an individual standpoint. Without a dodging threat, the way that squads play team oriented defense makes methodical type offenses like Princeton ripe for the picking. 


-While on the topic of bouncing back, Hofstra showed resilience on Friday night beating up on conference foe Towson by the score of 13-8. Hofstra has now beaten Towson for the third time in the last four meetings.  This spells trouble for the Tigers as the drop to 1-4 on the season. The only hope they have for continuing play in May is if they get the automatic qualifier for winning its conference, and starting 0-1 in the league after inconsistent play against non-conference teams is not what coach Tony Seaman had in mind. Credit Hofstra for a solid four-quarter performance, in which it came on the heels of a poor outing against Princeton one week ago. Hard to put a finger on what type of team Hofstra really is capable of becoming.  They looked great in wins against Johns Hopkins and Towson, and less than average in losses to UMass and Princeton.  That is typical of team that is young and searching for an identity. In the long run, count on coach Seth Tierney making Hofstra a formidable Division I team year in and year out.


-Georgetown routinely locks up a top four recruiting class each year. Although they have some of the nation's best preps on its roster, they have only reached the quarterfinals each of the last eight seasons (they have not made an NCAA Final four since 1999, their only trip). They have top talent and depth at each position, most notably the midfield. On Saturday, against top ranked Duke they entered the fourth quarter tied at six with the Blue Devils. They outscored what many believed an unbeatable team 5-1 in the last stanza. Hoya goalie Miles Kass was spectacular; stopping 18 Duke shots and senior Brendan Cannon paced the offense with two goals and three assists.  Duke may have exposed its Achilles heel, which is a lack of a second midfield. Brad Ross and Ned Crotty bring explosive scoring power to the Blue Devil offense, and are two of the best one two punches from the midfield in college lacrosse.  Outside of Ross and Crotty, Duke does not have gangbusters roaming the middle of the field.  Georgetown held the attack trio of Danowski, Greer, and Quinzanni to 6 goals and two assists.  It may come as a surprise, but that is a season low in points for the three scorers.   One goal came from the Blue Devil midfield, and depth was obviously an issue based on the fourth quarter score.  When the Blue Devils are hitting on all cylinders, no team in the country is beating them.  When its attack line is contained, midfielders need to emerge as playmakers.  No Duke midfielder in nine games has more than ten points other than Ross and Crotty. A third and fourth scorer from the group when the game is on the line will have to emerge. 


-Many people felt North Carolina was going through a lacrosse rebirth over the past season and a half. They certainly have talent. For a team that won four national titles from 1981-1991, there is obviously a tradition to uphold. The Tar Heels are not back, not at least until they win an ACC game. They have not been on the winning side of a conference game since April 2004, and that was a meaningless win against a Virginia team that had its worst season in over 20 years (5-8 record). Granted the ACC is the best conference in the country, but good teams find ways to pull out a victory more than once in a four-year span. UNC has also not won an ACC tournament game since 1996. Tick-tock.   


-As I mentioned last week, I will feature the school that has produced the best at each position from the past fifteen years. The school that has produced the top defensemen over the past fifteen years is Maryland.  For starters, legendary Terps coach Dick Edell brought with him from West Point (coached the Cadets prior to his arrival to Maryland in 1984) a smash mouth mentality to the defensive side of the field.  When he arrived in College Park he quickly began to generate outstanding punishing defenders.  The 80's featured players such as Dan Tracy, Brain Jackson, and Bill Ralph (all All-Americans). The early 90's Brian Burlace was the enforcer at Byrd Stadium. These players paved the way and created a certain mentality, one that rarely saw the Terps on the receiving end of punishment.  Over the last fifteen years Maryland has had four first team All-American defensemen.  In 1995 it was Dan Radebaugh, 2003 saw Mike Howley, and Chris Passavia as well as Lee Zink in 2004.  Radebaugh, Howley, and Zink were the very best at their positions during their AA campaigns (all National Defenders of the Year).  

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