No, he didn't have a video camera, and no, he wasn't trying to steal Princeton's defensive signals. But yes, that was New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick on the Johns Hopkins sideline yesterday at the Face-Off Classic, attempting to look anonymous in a black Blue Jays hoodie sweatshirt and a head warmer.
Belichick, who grew up in Annapolis and is a big lacrosse fan, was a guest of Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala. The coaches have become friends in recent years, and Belichick pulled aside Blue Jays midfielder Paul Rabil last week for a pep talk on leadership.
"What can you say? The man is a winner and he's been a champion at the highest level," Pietramala said. "He's been awful nice to allow our staff to take a peek inside his house. He was here today as a friend, as a fan and as a supporter of lacrosse. When you're around [somebody] like that, you can't not draw from his experience. You hope if you touch him enough, maybe some of it will rub off on you."
Carroll on target
Brian Carroll has had "a few" sudden-death overtime goals in his lacrosse career. But the sophomore midfielder's goal that propelled No. 3 Virginia past No. 11 Syracuse, 14-13, was slightly different.
"They're all a little exciting, but this one is definitely a little bit more exciting just because of the atmosphere and playing in Baltimore in such a great rivalry," said Carroll, a Towson native and Gilman graduate. "I couldn't have asked for anything better. It was awesome."
Carroll wasn't the leading scorer for the Cavaliers -- that honor went to junior attackman Danny Glading (three goals) -- but his second goal with 1:29 left in overtime was the most significant and came on a play that he said was largely improvised.
"It wasn't drawn up," Carroll said of the call, which had freshman midfielder Shamel Bratton work on the left side of the box and Carroll stand on the weak side. "The backside had been open all day, but they had been knocking down some of the skip balls. Shamel was going to dodge and look for me across. If it was a little bit crowded in there, it probably would have gone to Danny and then one more up to me."
Carroll is second on the team in goals (nine) and third in points (11). He has scored on 56.3 percent of his 16 shots this season, which is why coach Dom Starsia was pleased to see Carroll take what would prove to be the last shot.
"He's gotten off to a great start," Starsia said. "You feel like if, at the end of the day, the ball winds up in Brian's hands from 15 yards out on the backside, you like your chances there."
Cavaliers senior attackman Ben Rubeor played a little longer than Starsia's liking, but the Towson native and Loyola graduate wasn't complaining.
Rubeor, who played in his first game since being forced to the sideline with a chronic right kneecap injury, got a goal and two assists for Virginia.
"Once you get into the game, you pretty much forget about anything going on," Rubeor said of his knee. "Today, I don't think I played my best game, but I hope that my presence in some way lifted the guys around me. I think the team played pretty well."
Starsia fretted a bit about giving Rubeor so many minutes.
"I held my breath for a bit," Starsia said. "He probably played more than I anticipated he would, but you're standing there on the sidelines and it's a close game and it's 'Sorry, you're not coming out.'"
In his past two games at M&T; Bank Stadium -- yesterday's 14-9 victory over Princeton and last year's national championship win over Duke -- Hopkins' Rabil has a combined four goals and nine assists. ... Yesterday's announced attendance of 19,165 fell short of last year's 20,180, which set an NCAA record for the largest crowd to watch a regular-season game. ... Syracuse coach John Desko thought the Orange should have been awarded an extra-man chance in overtime when junior midfielder Dan Hardy was slashed by a Cavaliers defender. "We were 4-for-4 on man-ups," Desko said. "That's why I was looking for a penalty at the end."
kevin.vanvalkenburg @baltsun.com firstname.lastname@example.org