- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Virginia lacrosse team wasn’t deep into its season opener against Drexel when coach Dom Starsia noticed a trend he knew would be repeated throughout the spring.

Senior attackman Danny Glading was shut off, a tactic that neutralized him for much of the time the Cavaliers played offense in settled situations. About the only way to offset that is a reliable midfielder who can generate offense on his own.

Enter Shamel Bratton, who scored four goals in last week’s victory at Syracuse and should play a vital role when the No. 1 Cavaliers (6-0) meet No. 4 Cornell (2-0) on Sunday at Klockner Stadium.

“I think it’s going to make all the difference for our team if we can do that on a consistent basis,” Starsia said. “Brian Carroll has demonstrated he’ll play game in and game out, but he’s not quite the initiator that Shamel or Steve Giannone or Rhamel [Bratton] is. These are the guys we need to get to a more consistent place.”

Shamel Bratton’s outside presence could open up some space closer to the goal for Virginia, which generates much of its offense from its attack. Unsurprisingly, as Bratton enjoyed his fine night, Glading scored three goals after he collected only two in Virginia’s first four games.

Early lesson for Hoyas

Georgetown’s season-opening victory at Maryland was an encouraging accomplishment for a fired-up team still disappointed about missing the postseason last year.

Then the Hoyas followed it up with a shocking loss at St. John’s, a school that just revived its program a few years ago.

“We’ve gone from the penthouse to the outhouse in one week,” coach Dave Urick said. “It’s an interesting development.”

It also makes Saturday’s visit from No. 2 Syracuse even more curious for the No. 11 Hoyas (1-1). The defending national champs are capable of exploiting more than just about everyone, and will also give Georgetown a chance to demonstrate its resilience in the first few weeks of the season.

“Let’s see exactly what we have in that regard,” Urick said. “It’s an intangible to a certain extent. How well we play and how we react is going to be something that will send a message to us as coaches and as a team as far as how this team matures and develops.”

Injuries played a factor last week - and could again Saturday. Urick said junior defenseman Barney Ehrmann is questionable with an ankle injury. Meanwhile, defenseman Chris Nixon (concussion) and defensive midfielder Chris Schuville (hamstring) are expected to return after missing the St. John’s game.

Catalino’s strong start

It’s hard for Maryland attackman Grant Catalino to get overlooked. Yet with the hubbub accompanying Will Yeatman’s arrival, the 6-foot-5, 240-pound sophomore slid to the periphery of some discussions about the No. 6 Terrapins (3-1).

That’s probably no longer the case after Catalino had two goals and four assists last week against Duke to continue a strong start.

“He has benefited from playing with Will,” said coach Dave Cottle, whose team seeks its 14th straight regular-season victory against Towson (1-2) on Saturday. “He’s getting the third cover guy. Grant has done a good job dodging in the Georgetown game and playing transition in the Duke game. Grant’s best days are ahead of him. He’s just scratching the surface of what he can do.”

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