Junior attackman Pat Spencer’s program record-setting 12-point performance in the No. 6 Loyola Maryland men’s lacrosse team’s 15-9 victory over Patriot League rival Navy included a backhand flip to Aidan Olmstead for one of the freshman attackman’s four goals and an inside roll to avoid a double team highlighted by a backhand shot for one of his own four goals.
Spencer elicited amazement from many corners on social media, but the Davidsonville resident and Boys’ Latin graduate’s showing did not surprise Greyhounds coach Charley Toomey.
“I really see it every day in practice,” he said. “And Pat doesn’t really care. He’s more about team wins and making the people around him better. It was fun to be on a sideline and watch that type of game by a player. He did it a lot of different ways — backhand, looking through the defense, dodging, inside roll. He just did a lot of what we see every day in practice. So I’m glad it was on display for a lot of people through television and many of the people who were down there.”
Maryland tops at tightening up turnovers
The No. 2 Terps commit the fewest turnovers per game in Division I this season at 9.86. The reigning NCAA champions had 12 giveaways in Saturday’s 13-11 win at No. 8 Villanova, ending a three-game run in which they surrendered less than 10 in each, but coach John Tillman said the players have been cognizant about protecting the ball.
“They realize that silly turnovers will kill you, and we had a few of those on Saturday,” he said. “If you watch that Villanova game, in the second quarter, we had a couple turnovers and Villanova made us pay on that. So we’re still working on some of those things, but I feel like we’re moving in a good direction.”
Johns Hopkins clearing well
The No. 9 Blue Jays rank third in the country in clearing, having succeeded at a 92.2 percent rate (94 of 102). Coach Dave Pietramala credited the improvement to better play and decision-making from senior goalkeeper Brock Turnbaugh and other defensive players, but noted that the team’s proficiency will be tested against No. 10 Virginia, which uses a 10-man ride and ranks 16th in caused turnovers at 8.11 per game.
“They 10-man ride, they hustle in the ride, they play a number of attackmen which means they’re fresh, they play a number of short-sticks,” he said. “So we’re anticipating going down there and them trying to put pressure on us in the riding game.”
Slow starts hampering Mount St. Mary’s
The Mountaineers’ 5-1 deficit after the first quarter of Saturday’s 20-11 loss at Northeast Conference foe Bryant was the latest example of their lethargic starts. In five losses, Mount St. Mary’s has been outscored 23-10 in the opening quarter, but has an 8-5 advantage after first quarters in three wins.
“I think it bothers any coach when you allow a team to jump on you and then you have to play catch-up,” coach Tom Gravante said. “It’s tough to win in this sport, coming from behind, especially when you give up early offense. … When you make some of the mistakes that we made early on, it’s something that gives a lot of value to the other team, to gain opportunities for their early offense.”
Shooting inaccuracy troubling Navy
The Midshipmen outshot Loyola Maryland 44-33 on Saturday but converted only 20.5 percent of those attempts. For the season, the offense is tied for 61st in Division I in shooting percentage at .249 (68 of 273), and coach Rick Sowell knows the team must be more efficient against No. 12 Lehigh, which ranks sixth nationally in scoring defense (8.11 goals per game) and uses a zone about 80 percent of the time.
“We’ve got to be on-point with our medium-range [shots] and the ones that are a little further out,” he said. “I don’t want the ones that are way too far out. We don’t want to take those. So we’ll keep working at it, and hopefully, we’ll get things straightened out. We know what we’re capable of doing.”
Towson’s faceoff matchup
The Tigers’ road game Saturday against No. 5 Denver includes a highly anticipated faceoff specialist matchup between Towson junior Alex Woodall and Pioneers senior Trevor Baptiste. Woodall, an Annapolis resident and St. Mary’s graduate, and Baptiste rank in the top 10 in the nation in faceoff percentage, but Baptiste dominated last year’s meeting, winning 76.9 percent (20 of 26) at the X and scooping up eight ground balls.
“I felt like Alex last year did a good job of earning the clamp, but we didn’t do a good job of controlling it after that,” Towson coach Shawn Nadelen said. “That’s where hopefully we’re a little bit older and a little bit more experienced and more poised to do that if we do put ourselves in a position to earn the clamp.”
Haldeman returns for UMBC
Senior midfielder Max Haldeman made his 2018 debut in the Retrievers’ 7-6 loss to America East foe Stony Brook on Sunday. Although he did not record a goal on two shots or an assist and turned the ball over once, Haldeman — who scored 25 goals and added seven assists in the past two seasons — did not suffer a setback after undergoing surgery on his knee in the fall.
“He’s been hustling his butt off to get back on the field,” coach Ryan Moran said. “Last week was his first game back, and he’s a welcomed presence. He’s someone with experience, he’s someone who has had multi-goal seasons, and we definitely need some of that experience on that side of the field and some of that leadership and some of that confidence.”