- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 22, 2003

With the start of the college lacrosse season creeping into mid-February in recent years, it is all but inevitable that snow will cause disruption of practice schedules and games.

The impact of last weekend's storm varied throughout the area. Virginia missed one day outside, while Maryland was confined to half a field for much of the week but did get in a few outdoor practices.

Georgetown was not as fortunate. The Hoyas had their first outdoor practice in a week last night at Maryland, site of their game today against the Terps after spending much of the week indoors at a high school field house.

Area coaches agreed the snow was a distraction.

"We're going to play Ohio State [today] whether we can practice inside or outside," said Navy coach Richie Meade, whose season-opening victory over Marist last Saturday was called after three quarters because of snow. "This isn't Little League. We have to do what we can to get our team ready to play."

Fear the turtle?

Though Maryland missed last year's NCAA tournament, many in the sport think the Terps may be one of the nation's most dangerous teams.

"You're talking about a team that returns 12 seniors, and it's [coach] Dave Cottle's second year," Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said. "They had four losses, all by one goal. You can expect to see them be a boatload."

Virginia coach Dom Starsia, whose team has won six of its last seven meetings with Maryland, agrees.

"They're going to be a very dangerous animal as the season goes along," Starsia said. "They're sitting in the bushes at No. 5. I think they're going to be a team that's going to be reckoned with."

Key game

On a weekend with no intriguing matchups, today's game between No. 6 Georgetown and No. 5 Maryland stands out. The programs have never met in the regular season. Maryland won the only game between the teams 14-10 in the first round of the 1997 NCAA tournament.

"It's a game that I think will develop into a pretty intense rivalry right off the bat," Georgetown coach Dave Urick said. "We've scrimmaged them almost every year, and those have always been very interesting and competitive scrimmages, pretty intense with a lot of physical play."

The game also should help both teams when NCAA tournament selections are made in May. The tournament committee has made an effort to reward teams that play brutal schedules but pick up one or two impressive victories along the way.

"We have a bunch of great games, and I thought we had games that didn't help us one way or the other," Cottle said. "We added Notre Dame and Georgetown, and next year we'll add Hofstra. For us, strength of schedule is an important thing."

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