- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 12, 2005

Plenty of teams travel during their spring breaks, with Florida a popular destination. Just ask Maryland and Navy, which will be playing there in coming weeks.

West Coast swings, though, are a bit rarer. Nevertheless, Division I lacrosse makes a rare appearance on the Pacific Coast with a doubleheader tonight at Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Dubbed the “First Four,” the twin-bill will feature No.9 North Carolina (1-1) and No.14 Notre Dame in the opener, followed by a game between No.8 Georgetown (1-1) and No.4 Syracuse (1-1).

Such travel isn’t new for the Hoyas. Georgetown defeated Hobart in San Antonio two seasons ago in the first Division I game in Texas since 1971.

This also marks the third straight season Georgetown hasn’t visited the Carrier Dome, even though the Hoyas have continued their long-running series with Syracuse. The teams’ 2003 regular-season finale was played as scheduled at Georgetown, and last year’s game was moved out of the Dome because of Syracuse’s graduation.

Dog days

If there were an award for the nation’s best 0-3 team, Maryland-Baltimore County would have a decent claim to it.

That may seem like faint praise, but the Retrievers put a legitimate scare into top-ranked Johns Hopkins on Tuesday at frigid Homewood Field before allowing two goals (the second an empty-netter) in the final four minutes of a 9-6 loss. The close call followed a two-goal loss at Duke to open the season and a double-overtime setback to Ohio State. After a date with Canisius today, UMBC will visit No.6 Maryland next Saturday.

“I’m the one who set the schedule for this team, and I hate to lose and this team hates to lose,” UMBC coach Don Zimmerman said. “We’re disappointed, but all I look for is effort. I told them the only person who has to worry about being 0-3 is me. That’s my worry. What they have to do is keep playing hard, keep scrapping, keep getting better and everything will take care of itself.”

Hop on top … for now

Hopkins was the only top-four team to emerge unscathed from a tumultuous Saturday last week, building a big lead before holding off Princeton 9-6. The victory over UMBC on Tuesday, in which the Retrievers controlled most of the faceoffs and dictated the game’s tempo, suggested a vulnerability that hasn’t been associated with the Hopkins juggernaut for several seasons.

The Blue Jays (2-0) remain in the top spot in the rankings but should be challenged by a trip to the Carrier Dome on Friday and a home date with Virginia on March26.

“We’re not a great team right now,” Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala said. “We’re a good, solid team that’s getting better.”

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