Questions fatigue Gvozden, not shots

The Baltimore Sun

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Michael Gvozden had little to say. And no one could blame him.

The normally chatty sophomore goalkeeper for the No. 5 seed Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse team had just made 20 saves in a 13-10 loss to No. 3 Syracuse in the NCAA tournament final at Gillette Stadium, and he might have been a little tired of getting peppered with shots -- and questions.

But as has been his habit since he was anointed the Blue Jays' starter at the beginning of the season, Gvozden declined to lean on excuses.

"I just think they took some good shots," the Severna Park graduate said, dismissing questions about his being tired. "They moved the ball really well today. They got off some good shots."

It's difficult to dispute Gvozden, but he did turn away the most shots in a title game since Maryland's Brian Dougherty stopped a record 23 shots in a 13-9 loss to Syracuse in 1995. Johns Hopkins was outshot 46-38 yesterday.

Gvozden made 14 saves in the first half -- including a stop on a shot by Orange freshman attackman Stephen Keogh alone in front of the cage that led to a goal by Blue Jays freshman attackman Kyle Wharton.

That gave Johns Hopkins a 5-3 lead with 7:59 left in the second quarter.

"I thought Michael was terrific," Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said. "He made quite a few that he probably shouldn't have, and he made some that he's supposed to."

After rallying to take a 6-5 lead into halftime, Syracuse opened the third quarter with two goals on its first two shots, and Gvozden appeared to be reeling.

He said the Blue Jays were forced to spend a lot of time on defense.

"When you play that much defense, it gets pretty tiring," Gvozden said. "But once again, I think that was to their credit. They kept the ball a lot."

Pietramala also dismissed the notion of fatigue, saying that the number of shots actually helped Gvozden, who was the subject of much criticism during the team's five-game skid earlier in the season.

"On a really difficult day, I take some solace in knowing that I've got that young man in the cage for us for the next two years," Pietramala said. "The young man really stepped up. He's going to be a wonderful player for this program."

Orange tint

Orange seemed to be the dominant color yesterday.

With an announced attendance of 48,970 eclipsing the record of 48,443 set at M&T; Bank Stadium last spring as the largest crowd to watch an outdoor NCAA championship game, many Syracuse fans made Gillette Stadium seem like the Carrier Dome.

"Our families and our fans have been supporting us all year," Orange junior attackman Kenny Nims said. "To hear them roar every time we make a play, it just feels good to have them behind us."

The overall attendance of 145,828 for the weekend also eclipsed the previous record of 145,577 set last year.

Tourney honors

Senior attackman Mike Leveille became the eighth Syracuse player to be selected as the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. Leveille, a finalist for the Tewaaraton Trophy that is awarded to the nation's top player, led the Orange in goals (11), assists (eight) and points (19).

He was joined on the all-tournament team by three teammates: senior faceoff specialist Danny Brennan, junior midfielder Dan Hardy and junior defenseman Sid Smith.

The Blue Jays placed four players -- senior midfielder Paul Rabil, senior attackman Kevin Huntley (Calvert Hall), junior defenseman Michael Evans (South River) and Gvozden -- on the all-tournament team.

Duke senior attackman Zack Greer and Virginia junior attackman Danny Glading filled the other two spots.

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