- The Washington Times - Friday, March 4, 2005

Navy began its surge toward the top of the college lacrosse rankings last season with what then was viewed as a surprising victory at North Carolina.

It’s difficult to guess whether the No. 5 Midshipmen (2-0) or the No. 7 Tar Heels (1-0) will win when the teams meet this afternoon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, but the game gives each an opportunity to collect a valuable quality victory.

“It’s obviously a big early season game, but there’s going to be life after this game for both teams,” Navy coach Richie Meade said. “At this time of year, you have to deal with peaks and valleys. Whoever wins gets a little bit of a peak, and whoever loses gets a valley. Emotionally, it’s going to be a pretty big game for both teams.”

And probably pretty tight as well. Each of the teams’ last five meetings has been decided by a goal. North Carolina captured the 2000, 2001 and 2002 meetings by 11-10 margins, with the 2002 game being decided in six overtimes. Navy then won in quadruple-overtime in 2003 and in overtime last season, when defensive midfielder Clipper Lennon scored to upend the then-No. 4 Tar Heels in Chapel Hill.

Navy-North Carolina is one of five games today between teams ranked in the top 12. Elsewhere, No. 12 Duke visits No. 3 Maryland in the ACC opener for both, and top-ranked Johns Hopkins travels to co-No. 3 Princeton as each team opens its season. No. 2 Syracuse (1-0) plays host to No. 6 Virginia (2-0), and No. 10 Cornell opens its season at home against No. 9 Notre Dame (1-0).

Terps have a shot

While Maryland’s defense earned plaudits for its work in the Terrapins’ season-opening rout of Georgetown, the offense was just as efficient. The Terps scored on 13 of their 30 shots while defeating the Hoyas for the third straight season.

“I say this all the time: If anybody will listen, the most important stat in lacrosse, by far, is shooting percentage,” Maryland coach Dave Cottle said. “If you shoot the ball at a high percentage, you’re in every game.”

A case could be made that 28 percent is a magic number for Maryland. The Terps are 24-1 during Cottle’s tenure when they reach that rate or better, the lone loss 13-10 at Johns Hopkins last season when the Terps trailed 8-1 at the end of the first quarter. Maryland is 11-10 under Cottle when it shoots less than 28 percent.

Odds and ends

Maryland has moved today’s meeting with Duke from Byrd Stadium to the school’s Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex. It is the second straight week field conditions have pushed the Terps out of Byrd, which now will be the site of only three games this season and none until Maryland-Baltimore County visits March 19. …

Virginia’s meeting with Denver was postponed Monday because of snow. The Cavaliers and Pioneers are tentatively set to play Sunday, April 17, in Charlottesville, but that could change. Both teams play the previous day — Virginia will be coming off a game at Duke, while Denver is at Yale. Moving the game to April 18 appears likely, assuming Denver’s athletic department permits the Pioneers to spend an extra day on the road.

“My first choice is to push it a day, but [Denver coach Jamie Munro] had to go back and talk to his administrators,” Virginia coach Dom Starsia said. “My first choice is realistically Monday, then maybe Sunday night. … As soon as possible, we’ll try to make that definite.” …

Georgetown faceoff ace Andy Corno, who was ejected last Saturday for shoving Maryland midfielder Travis Holmes three times after Holmes fouled him, will be suspended for the Hoyas’ game today at St. John’s. The NCAA mandates a one-game suspension for any ejected player.

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