Matt Danowski is a former four-time All-American attackman at Duke who won the 2007 Tewaaraton Trophy. The newest lacrosse analyst for CBS College Sports, Danowski shared his opinion on a variety of topics. Here is the first of a two-part interview.
Question: What would you say are No. 5 Maryland’s chances of making the Final Four?
Matt Danowski: “I think they have a really strong chance to do that. Coming back against arguably the best team in the country [against No. 1 Virginia Saturday night] is a good sign. I think it’s a win without getting the win against that team. They’re very talented offensively with [senior attackman Will] Yeatman, [junior attackman Ryan] Young, [junior attackman Travis] Reed, [junior attackman Grant] Catalino, and some pretty good middies. Defensively, they’re always good. Now it’s just mentally getting over that hump.”
Q: What’s the one thing Maryland could improve to be a stronger candidate?
MD: “It’s hard to say. Each match-up brings a different mindset. But if anything, I think they should be more aggressive offensively. Sometimes, they kind of slow down the ball a bit. They have a ton of playmakers, but sometimes they’re not aggressive enough in going to the cage, going on the fly, and playing offense.”
Q: What’s your impression of No. 7 Loyola?
MD: “I haven’t had a chance to watch much of Loyola this year, but from what I know from watching them last year and from what I’ve read, they have a great shooter in [senior attackman] Cooper [MacDonnell] and a playmaker in [senior attackman] Collin Finnerty. With them, I think it comes down to whether they have enough horses in the midfield. When it comes down to the playoffs and the Final Four, your midfield can take you and lead you to that championship game.”
Q: In your opinion, what’s been plaguing No. 15 Johns Hopkins?
MD: “To me, it just seems like defensively – which I always think they’re unbelievable at – they’re just not on the same page. But to me, I never count Johns Hopkins out. Coach Petro [Dave Pietramala] has proven himself to be one of the best coaches in the game, and he can make adjustments with the best of them and figure out how to get that team above .500 and into the playoffs.”
Q: Johns Hopkins has scored just 26 goals in the last four games. Have opponents figured out how to contain the Blue Jays offense?
MD: “I don’t know if I would say that. I think they have some very capable freshmen in [midfielders John] Greeley and [John] Ranagan. I just think they need time to develop. [Senior] Michael Kimmel is one of the best middies in the country, [junior attackman] Kyle Wharton’s a great shooter, and [senior attackman] Steven Boyle is a dynamic dodger from behind the cage. So I think they have all the components there. They just have to get on the same page, and you never know what that can take. Maybe one day, it just clicks. But I think they have all the components to be a playoff team, and once you get into the playoffs, it’s only a couple of wins before you get to the Final Four.”