Late start to long stick

Unlike his peers, Noble isn't an imposing physical presence for Cornell. But the 5-foot-10, 165-pound Canadian native is a ballhawk, collecting 144 ground balls (including a team-best 71 last year) and causing 67 turnovers in his career.

"I know that I don't have the size of some guys, so I have to take a different approach with who I'm guarding and what ways I can use," Noble said. "If I have a matchup against big guys like [6-3, 229-pound] Garrett Thul of Army, I have to think, 'What approach am I going to take?' I won't have the advantage of playing body against him as much as some of the other guys. But I think it does sort of give me an advantage because I can figure out what works best for me and what is best suited for the team."

Noble didn't pick up a long stick until his junior year at The Hill Academy in Concord, Ontario, where former Georgetown defensive standout Brodie Merrill converted Noble from short-stick defensive midfielder. That late start, however, didn't bother Big Red coach Ben DeLuca.

"We've had some success here at Cornell with guys who have moved to the long-stick position later in their careers," he said. "Guys like Mitch Belisle, who was a midfielder down at Severna Park High School, and we made him into a defenseman, and he turned out to be pretty good. I think it's more about attitude and work ethic. … The thing we loved about Jason right off the bat was his attitude and his motor. He plays so hard, he competes so hard in every situation that we knew pretty early on that he was going to be a guy who was going to be on the field for us."

'Like a cornerback'

Wiedmaier's credentials as one of the sport's best defenders are burnished by Cornell senior attackman Rob Pannell's output in five meetings with Wiedmaier: four goals on 44 shots.

"My own philosophy is that one-on-one defense is a personal thing," said Wiedmaier, named to the All-America second team in his first two seasons and the third team last year. "Every week before I have a matchup, I try to study and find out as many things as I can about the person and his style. So there is a personal sense of pride. If I do a good job with my matchup and can negate him from the game, yeah, there's a personal sense of pride. But at the end of the day, if we get a win, that's more important to me than anything else."

Coach Chris Bates compared Wiedmaier to a cornerback who can neutralize a wide receiver.

"His greatest attribute is the ability to cover the ball. He's our No. 1 cover guy," Bates said. "That changes the way you play defense because we don't think of having to slide to Chad much. So it's a luxury for us. That's not to say that he doesn't ever get beat, but we have great confidence that he's going to do a good job locking up our opponent's attackman."

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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