Only a nit-picker could fault Dave Klarmann's record as he nears the end of his second year as North Carolina's coach.
Willie Scroggs' successor had an NCAA championship and a 16-0 record in his first season. Now the Tar Heels are 12-2, with losses to Syracuse and Loyola, as they await Saturday's NCAA tournament semifinal against Princeton in Philadelphia. Make Klarmann 28-2, lifetime.
Klarmann's start as a head coach brings to mind Don Zimmerman, who had 14-0 and 13-1 records and successive NCAA championships in his first two years as Johns Hopkins' coach in 1984-85.
Clearly, Baltimore is Carolina's most productive recruiting ground. Sixteen players on the roster are from metro Baltimore, including Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year Alex Martin and two other first team All-ACC choices, John Webster and Jim Buczek. Hopkins has only 14 metro Baltimore players, plus one from Chestertown and another from Deale.
* PICCOLA NO. 1: Brian Piccola supplanted Terry Riordan as Hopkins' points leader with his six goals and two assists in the quarterfinal victory over Towson State. He has 56 points to 52 for Riordan and Jeff Wills. Riordan, with a team-high 36 goals, is only two shy of the record for a Hopkins freshman. Mike O'Neill scored 38 in 1975.
* IVY CONNECTION: North Carolina was confronted last week in the quarterfinals by Brown senior Darren Lowe, the Ivy League Player of the Year. He had two goals and four assists. In Saturday's semifinals, the Tar Heels get Lowe's brother, Kevin, a sophomore attackman who is Princeton's leading scorer (49 points) for the second straight year.
Another Princeton soph, Taylor Simmers, the team's No. 3 scorer, has an older brother, Clayton, who was Yale's leading scorer this season.
Midfielder Andrew Moe is the only player remaining from Princeton's abysmal 1988 season (2-13, 0-6 in the Ivy League). He played in 1989 as a sophomore, took a year off to travel in the United States and Europe and returned in 1990 to play on the first of three straight Tigers teams to reach the NCAA tournament. He is 10th on the school's all-time goals chart with 63.
* GOOD CHEMISTRY: In Syracuse's second season without Gary and Paul Gait, Syracuse coach Roy Simmons thinks he has a team that rivals the ones featuring the peerless midfielders.
"In terms of chemistry and attitude, this is the best group of kids I've had," said Simmons, who has the Orange in the semifinals for the 10th straight year. "We have no big heroes, no Gaits, but it's a decent team. Some people think it's better than the 1989 and '90 teams."
The Orange does have one big hero: Tom Marechek. The senior attackman had five goals in the quarterfinal win over Yale, leaving him second only to Gary Gait on the school's all-time goals list. With two games at most remaining, Marechek needs 14 goals to tie Gait at 192.
Marechek, who scored only once in the Orange's 15-14 loss to Johns Hopkins in March, will get one last shot at the Blue Jays in Saturday's semifinals.
"We were fortunate he didn't have his usual day of four or five goals," said Hopkins coach Tony Seaman. "I guess our goalie [Scott Giardina, 19 saves, including two spectacular stops on Marechek] had his stick in the right position. But that was a long time ago."
* NOT UNTIL JUNE: CBS will air an edited version of Monday's championship game on a delayed basis on June 7 at 1:30 p.m.