One of the first lessons Tony Seaman learned about being the lacrosse coach at Johns Hopkins is that one doesn't celebrate victories very long.
"We beat Syracuse last week in the Carrier Dome, and I think the celebration ended 10 minutes later," said Seaman. "It's something I picked up from the kids here. The team you play the following week always seems to be better."
Johns Hopkins plays one of the toughest schedules in the country. The No. 6 Blue Jays (3-1) play top-ranked Virginia (6-0) tomorrow (2 p.m.) at Homewood Field, one week after defeating three-time national champion Syracuse.
The Blue Jays aren't the only local team playing nationally ranked competition tomorrow. No. 3 Loyola (4-1) is host to No. 8 Brown (3-0) at Curley Field (2 p.m.), and No. 2 North Carolina (5-0) plays at fourth-ranked Maryland (4-0) at 2 p.m.
Despite the No. 1 ranking, Virginia coach Jim "Ace" Adams said he has some concerns in bringing his team into Homewood. The Blue Jays' 18-12 win over Syracuse has been the talk of the lacrosse world this week, because Johns Hopkins became the third team to beat the Orangemen in the Carrier Dome.
The Blue Jays were expected to get better by the end of the season, but they have progressed quickly since losing to Princeton, 15-10, inthe season opener.
"That was a great, great win," said Adams. "Johns Hopkins is a well-coached team, and now they've got added confidence. Plus, when you have players like a Matt Panetta [attackman], a Brian Voelker [Gilman] and Billy Dwan [defenders] and an Adam Wright [midfielder], well, the other team is going to have to play a pretty good lacrosse game to beat them."
Seaman said he knows the Blue Jays almost will have to play a perfect game to win. Virginia's solid lineup is led by defenders Mike Schattner, George Glyphis and Craig Ronald.
Virginia also has sophomore attackman and Calvert Hall graduate Kevin Pehlke (26 goals, 13 assists), generally considered the best in the game. Andy Kraus complements Pehlke at the midfield with 11 goals and seven assists.
"I remember all those years in the preseason when everyone would say Virginia had the best team on paper. Well, now they have the best team on the field too," said Seaman. "They are very talented from top to bottom, and it's a well-disciplined group."
So, can Johns Hopkins get emotionally ready for another big game? "These kids know they are playing a real tough team Saturday, it's another orange jersey, but one with a V on it and No. 1 preceding it," said Seaman. "I've never been able to see how a kid can work his butt off six days a week and not get ready for the game. This is the No. 1 team we're playing. Yes, I expect us to be emotionally ready."
Emotions will be high at College Park, where Maryland plays Atlantic Coast Conference foe North Carolina.
This is perhaps the best Tar Heelsteam in recent years, paced by attackmen Dennis Goldstein (14 goals, 12 assists), Boys' Latin graduate Mike Thomas (13, 5) and Mike Acee (6, 7). If North Carolina has a weakness, it is at midfield, but its defense makes up for the midfield shortcomings. Senior defenders Graham Harden and Bryan Kelly (Calvert Hall) have helped goalkeeper Andy Piazza to a .700 save percentage. The closest North Carolina game this season was a 10-3 victory over Syracuse.
Maryland coach Dick Edell says he hasn't seen much change in the Tar Heels even though they have first-year coach Dave Klarman.
"He was a longtime assistant at North Carolina," said Edell. "They are still a team built on speed, and they keep coming at you with waves of personnel."
Maryland will counter with attackmen Rob Wurzburger (21, 5), Mark Douglas (Calvert Hall, 15, 15) and Chris Diahl (11, 7). The Terps hope to control the tempo, and one key is Andy Claxton (Broadneck), who has controlled 75 percent of his faceoffs this season.
Today's game with North Carolina starts an important stretch for Maryland that includes road games with Virginia and Navy and then
Johns Hopkins at home.
"I really like this team, their work ethic," said Edell. "We've gotten better every game, and we're going to have to turn it up a notch or two to beat North Carolina and then Virginia."
Brown sees its game with Loyola as a great opportunity. Thus far, the Bruins have beaten the likes of Boston College and
Providence, but have not played a team the caliber of Loyola.
Loyola has perhaps the best attack in the game, led by Kevin Beach (14, 14), Chris Colbeck (Calvert Hall, 14, 3) and Jim Blanding (6, 8). Brown also has some impressive scorers in attackman Darren Lowe (14, 17) and midfielder Andrew Towers (10, 6).
"This will be interesting and show us where we stand," said Brown coach Dom Starsia. "We've been able to score when we needed it, but not against a team the caliber of Loyola. And their attack is outstanding. They are a complete package, and this is a great opportunity for us."
Loyola coach Dave Cottle said: "They are a very explosive offensive team, and last year we didn't score a lot of goals against them. It should be a tough game."
Matchups of top-10 lacrosse teams tomorrow:
* No. 1 Virginia at No. 6 Johns Hopkins, 2 p.m. Comment: Hopkins has improved quicker than expected, but Virginia's lineup is solid from top to bottom.
* No. 2 North Carolina at No. 4 Maryland, 2 p.m. Comment: This is the first of a tough three-game stretch for the Terps. The Tar Heels have a new coach, but still play a speed game.
* No. 8 Brown at No. 3 Loyola, 2 p.m. Comment: Brown has yet to play a team of Loyola's quality this season.