There's a critical new era beginning this weekend for the state's Division I men's lacrosse teams.
Five of the seven state teams will have a new starter in one of the most integral positions in the sport -- goalkeeper. And most of those jobs were won over the past few weeks.
"This is the year of the attackmen, because it seems like everyone has them coming back," Johns Hopkins coach Tony Seaman said last week. "Most teams, including us, don't even know who their goalkeeper is going to be."
Gone is the Terps' Brian Dougherty with his back-to-back awards as Goalkeeper of the Year. The Blue Jays are without Jonathan Marcus and his four school records. And the Tigers have lost Brian Whalen, who played a major role in advancing Towson into the national quarterfinals.
The three goalkeepers who are expected to fill these spots have a combined 80 career saves. That's the equivalent to half a season.
Maryland will start redshirt sophomore Sean Keenan, a backup last year, against No. 9 Duke. At Towson, senior Wyatt Shiflett, a three-year reserve, won a close battle with Andy Mulligan, the national junior college Player of the Year at Herkimer last year, to face No. 12 Hofstra.
"Wyatt's a very capable goalie," Towson coach Carl Runk said. "We wanted to give Andy a fair evaluation, which we did after our scrimmages. Wyatt will be our starter and will be leading our defense. We'll back him with as much support as we can."
The Blue Jays, however, still haven't made up their minds, heading into a showdown with defending national champion and high-scoring Princeton on Saturday. Through fall practice and the preseason scrimmages, Seaman said neither junior Eric Kuchner nor redshirt sophomore Brian Carcaterra has become a clear favorite.
Kuchner is the conservative and stronger stopper who plays best within the crease. Carcaterra is an athletic, energetic goalie who is willing to take more risks.
"It's never easy to have a new guy in goal, which is the most important position on the field," Seaman said. "And you must go up to Princeton and face the best attack in the country and their midfield, which might be the second-best attack in the country. It's a tough way to start out a career. All I can say is that you'll learn a lot about him and learn about his potential."
Drawing from Down Under
Australians Sarah Forbes and Sascha Newmarch have enjoyed so much success with two-time defending Division I women's champion Maryland that local coaches have kept the lines open to the Southern Hemisphere.
Forbes, a first-team All-American, and Newmarch, a second-team All-American, combined for 57 goals and 32 assists out of the Terps' midfield last season.
Now, they've added 5-6 attacker Trisha Adams and Loyola has imported 5-11 midfielder Chelsea Morley. Both played on the Australian national squad that beat the host United States in the 1995 Under-19 World Cup.
Diane Aikens, last year's Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association National Coach of the Year, has guided 18 All-Americans in eight years at Loyola, and has also turned out a couple of college head coaches.
Janine (Kormanik) Tucker, a second-team All-American in 1989, is 42-9 in three years at Johns Hopkins. Monica DiCandilo, a USWLA All-American in 1994, takes over at UMBC, where Kathy Zerrlaut retired after 24 seasons.
Loyola plays neither Hopkins nor UMBC this season.
New Terps territory
After two straight NCAA Division I titles and two straight unbeaten seasons, it might seem that the Maryland women's team has accomplished everything, but the Terrapins do have something new to shoot for this season -- an ACC championship.
The Terps will battle Virginia and second-year programs North Carolina and Duke in the inaugural ACC women's tournament April 18 and 19 in Charlottesville, Va.
Maryland coach Cindy Timchal said the ACC tournament, along with the increase from six to eight teams in the NCAA tournament field, could spark more growth for the sport.
Washington College (0-0) at Navy (1-0)
Time: 7 p.m.
Site: Rip Miller Field
Outlook: The Midshipmen have won 40 of the 42 games against the Shoremen, including last year's meeting, 12-4. It's the season-opener for Washington College, which lost by a goal to Nazareth in last year's Division III championship game.
Pub Date: 2/26/97