xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Part 2 of Q&A with ESPN men's lacrosse analyst Paul Carcaterra

Navy's Patrick Keena attempts a shot in the second quarter as he is hit by Colgate's Jackson Patterson. The Navy Midshipmen played the visiting Colgate Raiders in men's NCAA lacrosse Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Navy's Patrick Keena attempts a shot in the second quarter as he is hit by Colgate's Jackson Patterson. The Navy Midshipmen played the visiting Colgate Raiders in men's NCAA lacrosse Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. (By Paul W. Gillespie / Capital Gazette)

Paul Carcaterra, who called No. 8 Syracuse's 13-7 win against No. 13 North Carolina on Saturday, will provide color commentary for ESPN's coverage of another Atlantic Coast Conference showdown between No. 1 Notre Dame and the Tar Heels on Saturday. The former Syracuse midfielder, who can be followed on Twitter via @paulcarcaterra, talked up Tuesday night's tilt between No. 5 Maryland and No. 7 Navy, No. 12 Towson's surprising loss to Delaware, and the one area team not getting enough attention.

How wild is it to see No. 7 Navy and No. 9 Air Force representing service academies in the Top 10?

Advertisement

I think it's awesome. I've watched both of them a few times now, and I really like the way they play. They don't hold back, and they have athletes in the middle of the field. I watched the Air Force-Duke game and if you took the jerseys off those guys, you'd be hard-pressed to figure out which team was more athletic. Air Force is a really athletic team, and I think [coach] Eric Seremet and his staff have done an incredible job of recruiting over the last two years. … And then with Navy, I have a ton of respect for [coach] Ricky Sowell. The last few years, he's been dragged around. If you had asked me two years ago, I wouldn't have known if he was the guy for the job, which just goes to show you that in this world, if you're patient, things sometimes pop, and we've seen that lot of times with coaches. A guy these days needs four or five years to really rebuild it and make it his system, and Ricky Sowell has proved a lot of people wrong, including me. He's gone out and built a system and a program that's been really strong the past couple years. They've held up against some heavyweights. And what makes Navy different is the same thing that makes [No. 3] Brown different. They have tremendous poles. That team with [junior long-stick midfielder Matt] Rees and [junior defenseman Chris] Fennell are as good of a 1-2 punch in all of college lacrosse. Rees is just a complete game-changer. Along with [junior long-stick midfielder] Larken Kemp and [junior defenseman] Alec Tulett at Brown, [Rees] can bring the ball up, he can press, he covers so much ground, and he changes the middle of the field as much as any player in college lacrosse.

Navy is at No. 5 Maryland tonight. Is this game more important to one team than the other?

Advertisement

Let me first say this. This is where scheduling February lacrosse bothers me. This is a game that for so many years was incredible. The fans would come out, it was one of the bigger rivalries in college lacrosse. Now it's played in February and you have weather and you're playing it in the middle of the week in April. This is a Saturday game more than 95 percent of the games in college lacrosse. This has got to be a Saturday game. It bothers me that this isn't a Saturday game. I think of Hopkins-Syracuse, I think of Hopkins-Maryland, I think of Maryland-Navy. Those are the games that to me have always defined spring lacrosse. It's got to be a Saturday game. But for these teams, it's interesting. Both are playing really solid lacrosse, and they have the resume to hang at-large. There's so much to be said conference-wise, too, that it's the type of game where the loser has a little more pressure to get it done in conference play. The winner to me is stamped for an at-large regardless of what happens in conference play. Both of these teams have played tremendous defense. I think the key in this game is dealing with Maryland's offense. I think they changed a lot when they put [junior] Colin Heacock at attack. He's kind of changed the dynamic of that team. I think he might be their most valuable guy on the offensive end now. So I look at that matchup and could see Fennell on him. That would be one of the better matchups in the coming weeks if they decide to go that way. But if Maryland loses this game and wins the Big Ten, I could still see them sneaking into the Final Four and making a run. I think if Navy wins, this would be a defining win for Ricky Sowell. You'd win two of your biggest rivalry games back-to-back. You're moving in a total upward trajectory to beat Army and Maryland in consecutive games in a short week.

How much did Saturday's 10-7 loss to Delaware hurt Towson?

I think it hurts them a lot. That was a big-time loss for Towson because Towson was in a position where if they won out and got upset in the [Colonial Athletic Association tournament] final, they could still be in position for an at-large. I think Towson now has to win their conference. That puts a lot of pressure on that team. You've got to win those types of games – bottom line.

Is there a team flying under the radar?

[No. 11] Loyola [Maryland]. I think Loyola is kind of flying under the radar. They were a little nicked up earlier in the year. That freshman attackman that they have, Pat Spencer, is the best freshman in college lacrosse. Awesome. Look at his numbers. His game is complete. Total quarterback. Basketball player in high school. Sees the field. That is a kid that if you're [coach] Charley Toomey, you have the guy for the next three-and-a-half years that you can build your offense around, and that's pretty comforting. In this day and age where quarterbacks are a dying breed, Loyola's got the best freshman quarterback in the country, and I don't even think it's close.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement