When Navy lacrosse coach Richie Meade looks at Maryland, he likes what he sees.
He sees Navy.
"They have a lot of solid parts and have shown a lot of character," said Meade, whose No. 12 Mids will face No. 3 Maryland tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium.
"They fight and scratch to create opportunities. Against North Carolina, they scored on a couple of loose balls in front of the goal because they were determined. They held off Duke to win late in the fourth quarter."
Navy doesn't have a load of talent, but the Mids have fought their way to a 6-1 record. An important matchup against Maryland will be Navy's attack of Rob Bailey (14 goals, 11 assists), Charles Bertrand (15, 8) and Matt Long (14, 8) against the Terps' big, physical defense paced by Dan Radebaugh, Paal Elfstrum, Dave LaChapelle and goalie Brian Dougherty, perhaps the best in the country.
Maryland (6-1) leads the series, 42-28-1.
Credit for incentive?
Maybe the MVP of Maryland's lacrosse season has been this newspaper. Ever since the Terps' program was selected as one on the decline in a poll by area coaches and members of this staff, the team has entered every game with a "Remember The Sun" attitude.
Maryland's results have been surprising this season, but not overwhelming. The Terps have beaten Towson State (2-4), 6-5; edged a mediocre Duke team, 8-6; and recorded a 13-12 win over a North Carolina squad that is below normal standards.
If the Terps really want to impress, how about an appearance in the Final Four instead of just being the gracious host for the third straight year?
Test time for Virginia
On March 25, No. 1 Virginia was dominated by then No. 2 Johns Hopkins, 22-13. Last Saturday, the Cavaliers barely beat Maryland, 12-11, in another sloppily played game.
The Cavaliers' offense continues to struggle.
"It's our tough time of the year where we're having midterms during the semester," said Virginia coach Dom Starsia. "If you take a look at some of the country's best college basketball teams, there seems to be a trend to when they struggle and exam time.
"Unless you're head and shoulders above everybody else, there are going to be days when you struggle," said Starsia. "I think we're going to get better with time. I'm still working on us having that lunch-pail work ethic."
North Carolina coach Dave Klarmann and Johns Hopkins attackman Brian Piccola had a brief altercation after the game last weekend. Neither the coach nor Hopkins personnel are strangers to these types of confrontations.
Last year, a Hopkins assistant went after Princeton goalie Scott Bacigalupo following a playoff loss to the Tigers, and earlier this year Blue Jays attackman Dave Marr briefly exposed his rear end in the direction of Princeton coach Bill Tierney during a game. Several Hopkins players also exchanged punches and cheap shots with Syracuse players earlier this season.
Two years ago, Klarmann had to be restrained by several assistant coaches from going after a couple of Virginia players.
"I think the officials and coaches need to cut down on the taunting after goals," said one coach, who did not want to be identified. "It's starting to get out of hand."
Nitty-gritty for Hobart
Hobart, the winner of 13 of 15 Division III titles since 1980, has joined Division I this season and will soon find out where it stands. The No. 18 Statesmen (3-1) will face Duke, Syracuse, Georgetown, Maryland, Princeton and Penn State during the remainder of the season.
Hobart has gotten great efforts from defenseman Jim Martin, midfielder Nathan Roost and attackman Eric Curry.
Making a difference
Two new coaches and a year of experience can do a lot for a defense.
Last year, the defense was Hopkins' Achilles' heel. This year, it's gaining par with the rest of the team.
Assistant coaches Dave Pietramala and Billy Daye have turned the group of Brian Kuczma, Aaron Van Horn, Todd Kearney and goalie Jonathan Marcus into a physical unit.
"Last year we had a lot of injuries, and this year we have stayed healthy with that group, knock on wood," said Hopkins coach Tony Seaman. "I think our goalie, Jonathan Marcus, has also played well. Hopefully, they will continue to make progress."
Daye, a former goalie at North Carolina, is the first "pure" goalie Seaman has had in five seasons at Hopkins. Marcus has a save percentage of .647.
Pietramala generally is regarded as one of the best defensemen to ever play the game. He joined the Hopkins staff after a year at Loyola. "He may be the best player ever," Hopkins attackman Terry Riordan said earlier this season. "So when he says run extra or do this, you just do it cause he knows what it takes."
Competition for Salisbury?
Salisbury State barely has been threatened during its 7-0 start. But the Sea Gulls, the top-ranked team in Division III, could have their hands full with visiting, unbeaten No. 2 Gettysburg tomorrow. Then again, maybe not.
Gettysburg has sprinted to a 7-0 start and has outscored its opponents 149-41. It has broken the 20-goal mark on four occasions.
The Sea Gulls, on the other hand, already have beaten three top 10 opponents and broken the 30-goal mark three times in outscoring their opponents 180-35.
No. 6 LOYOLA (6-1) at No. 13 HOFSTRA (4-1)
Site: Hofstra Stadium, Hempstead, N.Y.
Outlook: Loyola plays only its second away game. The Greyhounds are led by Brian Duffy (13 goals, 19 assists), who had a school Division I record seven assists in Saturday's win over Towson State. Loyola's Tim McGeeney made 24 saves, raising his save percentage to .710. Kevin Jacobs has 11 goals and 18 assists for the Flying Dutchmen, whose only loss was to Massachusetts on March 31.