The makeover at Maryland is nearly complete.
Any day now, coach Dave Cottle expects the NCAA to complete the paperwork that will make Joe Parker eligible to play lacrosse for the Terps. Then comes the hard part, fitting Parker into an offense that has undergone a unique transformation since last spring.
Maryland averaged eight goals in four games last season against Atlantic Coast Conference competition. The low output resulted in three of the four one-goal losses that kept the Terps out of the NCAA tournament, but a number of talented players capable of increasing goal production showed up on Cottle's doorstep in the offseason.
Justin Smith was UMBC's top point-getter in 2002, but last June the DeMatha grad notified Cottle that he was transferring to Maryland.
A month later, recent Yale graduate Brian Hunt inquired if he could use his final season of eligibility with the Terps. Hunt led the Bulldogs in scoring in 2001, but his final year in the Ivy League never got off the ground because he broke an ankle just before their 2002 opener. Ivy League rules don't provide for post-grads, and Hunt is enrolled in a business management graduate program at Maryland.
December brought Parker, an Arundel High grad who collected 29 goals and 19 assists in his only season at Colgate, which recruited him for football. He worked for an engineering firm in Prince George's County last fall, then enrolled in Maryland's graduate program in criminology. Parker could be added to the roster before Saturday, when Maryland plays at Towson in the Channel 2 Game of the Week.
"Missing fall practice hurt Joe," Cottle said, "but he's a versatile player who could help us in a couple of different spots."
The Terps didn't need Parker in Sunday's 13-7 whipping of Duke, which twice beat Maryland by a goal last year. Hunt, who is starting on attack with junior Dan LaMonica and freshman Joe Walters, had three goals. Smith ran on the second midfield. That unit includes redshirt freshman Ian Healy, a highly regarded recruit out of Landon who missed all of last season after wrist surgery.
It has been five years since Maryland scored more than 13 goals against an ACC foe.
"We're deeper and quicker than we were last season," Cottle said. "In some ways, with all of the new guys, it was like starting over again, but the players we have back seem a lot less tentative."
Maryland shares the No. 3 spot in The Sun/Channel 2 rankings with defending NCAA champion Syracuse.
Loyola staying put
The aim of Navy and UMBC to leave the Eastern College Athletic Conference means that league must find two new members if it wants to hold on to its automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
One likely candidate for the ECAC is Hobart, which will be bounced out of the Patriot League by the impending ban on associate members that sent Towson football in search of a new league. Loyola, which is back as an independent after one season in the Colonial Athletic Association, does not sound interested.
"The ECAC is a much more attractive possibility with UMBC and Navy in it," Greyhounds athletic director Joe Boylan said. "Without them, the dynamics change."
Until the weather improves in South Bend, the Fighting Irish will train and play at the Loftus Sports Center, where the foul-weather tenants include the football program that pays the bills.
"We open with Penn State every year," coach Kevin Corrigan said. "Both of us have indoor facilities, so there's never a question about weather affecting that game."
Notre Dame's game at No. 2 Virginia on Tuesday has been moved from an Alexandria high school to Charlottesville.
In other relocation news, Mount St. Mary's home opener against Delaware today has been shifted to Loyola College's Curley Field.
The week ahead
Team (W-L) Schedule The skinny
Johns Hopkins (2-0) Penn, Saturday, 2 p.m. The Blue Jays beat Princeton in the past two season openers; they are 0-2 all time against the Tigers in the NCAA tournament.
Loyola (3-0) at Duke, Saturday, 1 p.m. The forecast called for 86 degrees today in Deerfield Beach, Fla., where the Greyhounds are spending spring break.
Maryland (1-0) at Towson, Saturday, 1 p.m. Despite its new offensive firepower, the Terps want to lead the nation in scoring Bucknell, Tuesday, 3 p.m. defense again. They allowed 7.0 goals per game last season.
Mount St. Mary's (0-2) Delaware at Loyola, today, noon Senior goalie Dave Lambour made 36 saves to keep things respectable against Marist, Saturday, 2 p.m. UMBC and Loyola. at Penn, Tuesday, 3 p.m.
Navy (3-0) at Massachusetts, Saturday, noon Senior Chris Dingman struggled in the big win over North Carolina, but he's the Mids' all-time leader in faceoffs controlled (192).
Towson (1-1) Maryland, Saturday, 1 p.m. The Tigers struggled to beat Sacred Heart in finale to dismal 2002 season; on Saturday, they led the Pioneers 13-2 at the half.
UMBC (1-0) at Stony Brook, Sunday, noon With snow plows forbidden at UMBC Stadium and its Ohio State game shifted to April 30, the Retrievers will be idle for 16 days.- Paul McMullen