County welcomes crowd of fresh faces to sidelines BOYS LACROSSE PREVIEW


The old baseball saying about not being able to tell the players without a scorecard has a new twist in Anne Arundel County boys lacrosse.

Now you can't tell the coaches without one.

Oh, plenty of the mainstays are still around, the Jim Moorheads, Dan Harts, Clint Gosnells, Clay Whites and Greg Carrolls.

But look at all the rookies. Six of 15 schools have new coaches:

* Archbishop Spalding: Jay Trainor for Dave Kraft. This is the first head job for Trainor, a former St. Mary's and Johns Hopkins goalie who is still playing club lacrosse at 38. A computer scientist with the Department of Defense, Trainor said he had "the greatest lacrosse education money can buy" as a backup for three years at Johns Hopkins.

* Chesapeake: Brien McMurray for Bob Connor. McMurray has been coaching for 15 years, but this is his first head position. He was an assistant at Severna Park for five years, an assistant at Broadneck for five years before that and the JV coach at Brooklyn Park in the late 1970s.

* Northeast: Carl Donski for Kevin Buckley. Donski has coached a men's club team and youth teams, but this is his first job in the county school system. "I'll take my lumps," Donski said, noting that Northeast was 4-10 last year and lost three games by one goal and three by two. "It'll be a learning year, but I expect we'll be competitive."

* Old Mill: Fran Duffy for Chip Robertson. Although Duffy is somewhat unfamiliar with lacrosse in the county, he brings with him three years as an assistant at Towson Catholic. Having inherited a 3-9 team, he aims simply "to have a winning season."

* Severna Park: Greg Manley for Ed Ulrich. Manley was a junior college All-America at Anne Arundel CC, Loyola's first Division I All-America midfielder and a member of two Maryland Lacrosse Club championship teams and two Philadelphia Wings Major Indoor Lacrosse League championship teams. He spent the past four years as an assistant under Dave Cottle at Loyola College.

* Meade: Jon Putt for Lou Norbeck. Also the girls soccer coach at Meade, his alma mater, Putt played lacrosse there, graduating in 1987. This is his first stab at coaching lacrosse.

A new player who has caught Putt's eye is junior Peter Lindquist, an exchange student from Sweden, who had never seen a lacrosse stick until a few days before practice started.

"He picked up the game in seven or eight days," Putt said. "He won't start, but he'll be on the third midfield."

The veteran coaches can tell the newcomers all about the strength of lacrosse in Anne Arundel County lacrosse.

Annapolis won the state Class 3A-4A championship last season and Broadneck won two straight years before that. And then there is perennial private school power St. Mary's, No. 2 behind Gilman in The Baltimore Sun's final 1994 poll. Annapolis was No. 8, Arundel No. 12, while Severna Park and North County received mention in the voting.

"Other than the MSA, our county's lacrosse is the toughest in the state," said Annapolis' Hart, referring to the old Maryland Scholastic Association, which is now the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association. "Any one of five teams -- Arundel, Broadneck, Severna Park, North County and us -- could win it all."

Paul Shea, who's in his fifth season at North County, said: "The lacrosse in the county is much stronger than it was eight, 10 years ago. It's the strongest public school league in the state, no question. The good youth leagues are feeding the high schools."

Coaches with extensive experience in the county have watched the quality of their game improve. It's more competitive now, they say. Coaches are more innovative. There are so many good young players that some can be lured away by the Gilmans and Loyolas without severely diluting the talent pool.

"When I started," said Gosnell, who's in his 18th year at Arundel, "teams were often a conglomerate of football and lacrosse players, which could be a mess. More kids here are playing year round now. The game has become more sophisticated. Coaches go to clinics, do their homework and don't get outcoached."

White, in his 10th year at Broadneck, said that players didn't used to adjust to changes on the field until their coaches called a timeout and issued instructions.

"Coaches teach players to read and react during the course of the game now," White said. "They don't sit in a man-to-man defense until they're told to get out of it. They switch on their own when the situation dictates."

Hank Schorreck, who coached the freshmen and sophomores at Severn for 10 seasons before switching to Glen Burnie two years ago, thinks the top teams in the county "can play with anybody -- including the [MIAA]."

Until 1986, when St. Mary's joined the MSA, the Saints used to play the county schools regularly. Moorhead misses those long-standing rivalries. The Saints' only exposure to the public school teams this season will be in a tournament that will include Annapolis and Broadneck.

"Lacrosse has mushroomed in the county," Moorhead said. "There are more players here than there were even five years ago. Some are leaving to go to Gilman, Calvert Hall, Mount St. Joe."

Although one of Annapolis' two losses was to St. Mary's, Hart relishes the idea of meeting the Saints in a tournament. That might give him the true measure of his team. It might relieve his small concern of whether junior Brian McNew can successfully replace Morgan Hurt as the faceoff specialist.

Asked to name the Panthers' weakness, Hart said, "I don't know if we have one. The potential, the ability, is there to win the states again."

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