- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 24, 2007

The news came suddenly on a Friday late last month, a simple announcement at a team meeting that caught former Butler lacrosse player Jeremy Sieverts off guard.

The school was disbanding the program in June, marking the end for one of the few Division I programs west of the Appalachians. And it left Sieverts, a sophomore midfielder, and his teammates with an understandable question: What’s next?

Sieverts quickly found an answer after a whirlwind week, transferring to Maryland in time to be eligible for this season. He already has scored two goals and added an assist for the No. 5 Terrapins (2-0), who play host to No. 4 Georgetown (0-0) at Maryland’s Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex this afternoon.

“It was definitely an emotional roller coaster,” Sieverts said. “I feel like I almost had it easy. For my friends out there, it’s kind of tough.”

Sieverts was one of the most promising players in the Bulldogs’ rebuilding program and had scored 16 goals as a freshman. But within a day of learning the program’s fate — and receiving an immediate release — he was in touch with Maryland coach Dave Cottle, who recruited Sieverts out of Baltimore’s McDonogh School.

NCAA rules stipulate a player can transfer to a school and retain immediate eligibility, if the transfer is within 12 days of the start of a semester. Maryland, which began its spring semester Jan. 24 to accommodate a winter term, fit nicely into the rule.

Within a week, Sieverts applied to and was accepted at Maryland. While Butler’s players were voting to not play this season, Sieverts was preparing for his first practice in College Park.

“Jeremy’s a heck of a player,” Butler coach Stan Ross said. “When I got him, I kind of felt like I stole him from some of the big guys and I was kind of building the program around Jeremy and a couple other guys thought he could play for any team in the country. I guess I’m right since he’s at Maryland.”

Ross, who played and coached under Cottle at Loyola, was transformed from program-builder to a one-man placement agency by Butler’s cost-cutting decision. He has spent this month trying to find new homes for his players and recruits.

“An hour after we had that meeting, Coach Ross told me I could transfer right away,” Sieverts said. “At first, it wasn’t something I was interested in, leaving all my friends. But after talking to the seniors, it was the best thing for me.”

The same is true for Maryland, which graduated its entire first midfield line and was hit with injuries throughout the preseason. Sieverts quickly slid into a spot on the second midfield and scored in games against Bellarmine and Vermont.

At 6-foot-3 and nearly 200 pounds, Sieverts had the go-ahead to dodge a pole at nearly any time last season, though he won’t have as much freedom in Maryland’s motion offense. He should be even better this season after improving his left-handed shot over the summer.

That combination could be vital for the Terps, who graduated their top four scorers and will need to develop some consistent midfield options to have a chance at reaching the final four for the fourth time in five years.

“You get a guy like that halfway through the year it’s like ‘Cool. It’s like free money,’” junior attackman Max Ritz said. “It opens things up a lot and it opens our second line up. It will help in the long run.”

It already has helped a team that only managed 12 goals from the players who finished the season on the second line last year. Maryland has seven second-line goals in two games, and Sieverts should become even more potent as he acclimates to the Terps’ offense.

“We don’t feel like we’ve had a chance to develop him enough,” Cottle said. “We haven’t had the individual work with him, so I think you’ll see a big jump in his play as the season goes along.”

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