The waiting is over for Shane Walterhoefer.
Regarded in the preseason as one of the country's premier faceoff specialists for the North Carolina men's lacrosse team, Walterhoefer broke a monthlong absence caused by a hamstring strain and returned to the field in the Tar Heels' one-goal overtime loss to No. 2 Virginia on Saturday.
"The hamstring feels great," said Walterhoefer, an Ellicott City native and Boys' Latin graduate who won 14 of 23 faceoffs and collected nine groundballs against the Cavaliers. "It's not sore. In fact, my upper body feels more sore than my hamstring."
Before Saturday's 12-11 loss, Walterhoefer had sat out No. 9 North Carolina's previous three contests and five of six after suffering what he called a slight tear of his right hamstring. He said he felt a pull in his hamstring during practice Feb. 25 and re-injured it in a win against Cornell on March 2.
Although he has played in five games for the Tar Heels (7-3), Walterhoefer has won 61.4 percent (51 of 83) of his faceoffs and picked up 30 ground balls.
With just two more games left before the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament - including Saturday's contest against No. 19 Ohio State at Boys' Latin - Walterhoefer said he wants to polish his skills in time for the postseason.
"I felt like I was a little off," he said of his showing against Virginia. "Faceoffs are all about timing, and I have to gain a little more experience to feel good about it."
In addition to Walterhoefer, Boys' Latin will also welcome back Buckeyes junior defenseman Scott Matthews, who graduated in 2005.
Losing is never fun, but Villa Julie has gained some confidence from a 13-12 loss to No. 1 Salisbury on Saturday.
The No. 10 Mustangs (8-3, 4-1 Capital Athletic Conference) outscored the defending Division III national champion Sea Gulls 11-4 in the second and third quarters, and Salisbury (13-0, 6-0) needed to score three goals in the final quarter to escape with the victory.
"It's the type of confidence where we know we can beat anybody and that we can play with anybody in the country," said junior midfielder Greg Furshman, adding that Goucher lost a one-goal contest to No. 2 Gettysburg on March 5.
Sadtler digs in at Towson
Senior goalkeeper Billy Sadtler has appeared to earn Towson coach Tony Seaman's vote as the full-time starter.
Since senior Matt Antol started against Hofstra on March 21, Sadtler has started the next four contests, including Saturday's 10-7 upset of then-No. 16 Delaware. Although Seaman declined to fully commit to Sadtler after naming him as the starter for today's game at Sacred Heart, Sadtler said he understood.
"I don't blame him for not saying that I'm going to start the rest of the year because people have their ups and downs," said Sadtler, whose goals-against average is 11.1 and save percentage is .515. "I know that if I perform well in practice and like I should in games, I shouldn't have a problem remaining as the starter."
Brandau leads Bison
No. 12 Bucknell is back in the hunt for the top seed in the Patriot League thanks to a solid season by sophomore attackman Tim Brandau.
The Owings Mills native and McDonogh graduate leads the Bison (8-2, 3-1 Patriot League) with 20 goals and is second with 24 points.
"I've been able to capitalize on finishing opportunities this year," said Brandau, whose Bucknell squad is tied for second behind No. 7 Navy (9-2, 5-0). "We have a lot of guys who can create, and I've been the beneficiary of those open looks."