Pierce Bassett is diving into one of the most scrutinized positions for one of the most storied programs in college lacrosse, and the freshman goalkeeper is rolling with the punches.
"There's definitely expectations put on the starting goalie for Johns Hopkins, but I just try to take it as a game and put all my effort into preparing for the next opponent," Bassett said. "I'm not really worried about what's going on in terms of the media and anything outside of our team."
Bassett, who will earn his second career start Saturday against visiting Albany, became only the fifth true freshman to start in the net for the Blue Jays since 1972. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Arizona native finished with six saves in last Saturday's 11-7 loss to No. 3 North Carolina and said there's plenty of room for improvement.
"I think I played all right," Bassett said. "Letting up 11 goals is something I can work on. I think I could have played a little bit better. Hopefully, this weekend I can prove that against Albany."
Coach Dave Pietramala said Bassett deserves another shot after excelling with his outlet passes against the Tar Heels; he kick-started the team's 10-for-12 effort on clears. "Pierce did a solid job," Pietramala said. "I'm sure if you asked him, he'd probably say, 'Gosh, I wish I had a couple of those back.'... I thought he showed some poise and composure, and he did a good job. Can he play better? I absolutely think Pierce is capable of playing better. But was he the reason why we lost? No, absolutely not. I thought he did a solid job."
Greyhounds seeking bid
Saturday's game against Fairfield is no ordinary contest for No. 7 Loyola.
Not only do the visiting Greyhounds clash with another Eastern College Athletic Conference rival, but they also put their 4-0 record in the league against the Stags' 3-0 mark. Loyola coach Charley Toomey said he would not be shy about using both teams' unbeaten records as a motivational tool.
"We're going to talk about it all week, and we'll have something hanging in their locker room," Toomey said. "We're going to get them excited about this lacrosse game. They need to hear it because this definitely gives the winner the leg up in the conference, and we need to make sure that it's Loyola."
A victory would go a long way toward further securing the team's bid for the NCAA tournament. The Greyhounds (6-2 overall) captured the 2008 conference title and shared last year's crown with Massachusetts. But because the league does not have a season-ending tournament and the Minutemen owned the tiebreaker, Loyola had to hope to receive an at-large bid.
Instead, the Greyhounds were shut out of the field and missed what would have been their third consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament.
Like Loyola, Fairfield is also 6-2 overall, outscoring opponents 17-6 in the first quarter and 43-18 in the first half. Toomey said the Greyhounds must match the Stags' fast starts. "We've always talked about winning the first five minutes, and over the years, we've done a good job of coming out and playing with a lot of energy -- whether it's Fairfield or anyone," he said. "That's definitely going to be a talking point for us this week. We need to challenge our guys to always win the first five minutes, but in particular, this weekend."
Douglass has bruised lung
Stevenson starting defenseman Evan Douglass was diagnosed with bruised ribs and a bruised lung after having to leave Saturday's game against Salisbury with 7:26 left in the first quarter because a shot struck him in the stomach and caused him to bleed from the mouth. The senior could return in a couple of weeks.
Mustangs coach Paul Cantabene said the earliest Douglass might return is for Tuesday's game against Capital Athletic Conference foe St. Mary's. But there is some consideration to holding him back until the CAC tournament begins five days later.
"We've got to be very careful," Cantabene said. "If we bring him back too early, it could be a season-ending injury. ... We've got to think about health first because that was a scary scene."
Cantabene said that freshman Kyle Finley will likely replace Douglass in the starting lineup and that sophomores Dan O'Donnell, Brooks DiFiore and Mathew Schenck could get some playing time.
Lum done for season
Salisbury's 16-10 victory over Stevenson and subsequent rise to No. 1 in the Division III rankings was tempered by the season-ending injury to sophomore midfielder Tim Lum, who broke his leg midway through the first quarter on Saturday. Lum, who ran on the second midfield, was seventh on the team in goals (six) and ninth in points (seven). His presence will be missed, coach Jim Berkman said.
"Tim is a big, athletic, physical kid," Berkman said. "Tim Lum is 190 pounds and 6-foot-1, and he's one of the fastest guys on our team. He was just coming into his own." Berkman said Lum will likely be replaced by junior Perry Craz with senior Ryan Finch getting some work, too.