February 20, 2012

Weekend Extras: Post-Game Thoughts From LaxMagazine.com Writers

by LaxMagazine.com

Perhaps Denver faceoff man Chase Carraro will be counted on even more this season to give the Pioneers possessions. Ohio State provided a blueprint Sunday for teams that want limit Denver's offense: keep it away from them.
© Gray Quetti 

Each Monday, our writers from on-site at games across the country will bring you extra opinion, analysis and news that goes beyond what's written in their game stories.

Best Defense Against Denver is Patient Offense

Game Story: Ohio State Slows It Down, Upends Denver

After watching Ohio State upset fifth-ranked Denver 10-9 in the second annual Moe's Southwest Grill Classic in Jacksonville, Fla., on Sunday, one thing became very clear.

The game plan to stop the Pioneers high-powered offense, and to keep Mark Matthews, Alex Demopoulos, Cameron Flint, Jeremy Noble, Eric Law and Co. in check, is to not let them have the ball.

Ohio State slowed the game down and held the ball on most of its possessions, forcing the Pioneers to rush their sets and misfire on the offensive end of the field.

"Give OSU credit for having the players to run those sets and to be able to hold the ball for long periods of time," said Denver coach Bill Tierney, who needs one more win to reach 300 in his 27th coaching season.

The Pioneers -- who finished 15-2 overall and 6-0 in the ECAC in 2011, and reached the final four last season before losing to eventual champion Virginia, 14-8 -- will not have the luxury of surprising opponents this year.

"We will probably see a lot of teams try to slow the game down," said Tierney. "We will make adjustments and work on doubling the ball or pulling the goalie to force teams to play." – DENNIS BERGIN

Notre Dame's Defense Remains Strong

Game Story: Irish Take Down Duke in Early Season Again

Notre Dame, traditionally known for its strong defense, entered this season with a question mark about the unit after losing stalwarts Kevin Ridgway and Sam Barnes to graduation and Jake Brems to injury. After its 7-3 suffocation of then No. 3 Duke on Saturday, that question seems to have been answered.

Sophomore Stephen O'Hara and junior Matt Miller joined senior Kevin Randall in the starting line-up against the Blue Devils. Entering the game, O'Hara and Miller played a combined one game at the collegiate level. They stepped up big for the Irish in holding the talented Blue Devils to three goals while the defensive system put in place by Irish defensive coordinator Gerry Byrne held strong again.

Duke standouts Christian Walsh, Jordan Wolf (who left the game with a hip injury) and Justin Turri combined to score one goal on the afternoon, continuously frustrated by Irish junior goalie John Kemp, who finished with 14 saves.

Kemp's performance overshadowed a great one by Duke junior goalie Dan Wigrizer, who tallied seven saves in the first quarter and 16 for the game. – MATTHEW DeFRANKS

Redshirt Possible for Maryland's Bernhardt


Game Story: Holmes Dominates as Terps Beat Hawks

Maryland senior midfielder Jake Bernhardt is out for at least a month with a shoulder injury suffered in an early February scrimmage against Loyola, and the Terps hope to get the two-year starter back as soon as possible. But after Maryland's 12-6 win over Hartford on Saturday, coach John Tillman said if it Bernhardt's recovery takes longer than hoped, the team would consider redshirting him.

"We're in a weird spot where, if it goes too long, eventually we would have to make a decision," Tillman said. "Do we bring him back this year or do we just save him and have him back next year?

Jake's younger brother, Jesse, a starting defender, is a junior. "Having his brother here is kind of an interesting dynamic. He certainly would have no problem with that," Tillman said.

Tillman also suggested that Bernhardt's shoulder injury is a similar injury to what Johns Hopkins sixth-year senior attackman Chris Boland may have suffered on Friday night against Towson. "I think Boland may have had the same thing last night," Tillman said Saturday.

At Homewood Field Friday, at the tail end of a scoring play, Boland tumbled hard onto his left side to avoid contact at the top of the crease. He walked off gingerly and it appeared the Hopkins athletic staff was working on Boland's shoulder or collarbone area on the sideline, wrote LaxMagazine.com's Gary Lambrecht. – COREY McLAUGHLIN

Virginia Focused On Task at Hand

Game Story: Top-Ranked Virginia Holds Off Drexel, 9-8

On Saturday No. 1 Virginia didn't seem to be at all distracted by the ongoing George Huguely trial, now in its final stages as jury deliberations are set to begin on Wednesday.

The way No. 20 Drexel competed, the Dragons didn't give the Cavaliers much room to be focused on anything else.

Drexel had its chances and was one or two plays away from pulling off the upset, which would have been only its second victory ever against UVA.

Not long after Drexel took an 8-7 lead on Nick Trizano's second goal with just over 10 minutes left, the junior attackman left the game with a leg injury and his absence was quite noticeable as the Dragons' offense stalled in the final minutes.

The difference in the game came down to 50-50 plays.

Drexel's defense forced a lot of groundball opportunities, but UVA, which has a considerable athletic advantage, was able to scoop most of them, especially in the second half where the Cavaliers had a 21-12 advantage. – SIRAGE YASSIN 

John Strohsacker contributed to this story.


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