ESPN analyst Paul Carcaterra participated in a Q&A Monday. The former Syracuse All-American midfielder, who can be followed on Twitter via @paulcarcaterra, also offered parting commentary on the three programs from Maryland that were in the NCAA tournament – sixth-seeded Maryland, Loyola and Towson.
After Maryland’s 16-8 loss to Cornell Sunday, senior long-stick midfielder Jesse Bernhardt and senior midfielder John Haus said the setback would not define a senior class that had advanced to back-to-back NCAA title games without winning the championship. How will you remember that senior class?
I’ll remember these guys as great student-athletes, hard workers, and kids that I would take on my team any day of the week. I say that because they were really respectful, driven and dedicated student-athletes. I’ll define their careers by their character, and that’s something that I think very highly of with regards to this group. Some people can question that they never won a national title, but I can find a lot of senior classes throughout the country in college lacrosse that didn’t even get to championship weekend, and they brought their teams not only to championship weekend but to the last game of the past two seasons. So these guys are champions in my mind by the way they approached the game and the respect they have for the game.
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Many folks are training the spotlight on coach Charley Toomey’s decision to call a timeout just before sophomore Blake Burkhart scored a goal off a faceoff win with less than a minute left in regulation in Loyola’s eventual 12-11 double-overtime loss to seventh-seeded Duke on Sunday. Is that fair or unfair?
First and foremost, I’m not going to question Charley Toomey’s call. He’s a great coach. Anytime you’re in the pressure situation, the ball is so important and you have to have the approach that you might never get it back. So if there’s an uncertain situation where you think there might be a player under pressure, you can’t really challenge. Now you saw what ended up happening and the kid scored, and everyone thinks the wrong call was made. What if the kid went one way, got stripped, Duke went down and scored a goal, and Charley Toomey had a timeout? People would be criticizing that he didn’t use the timeout. I just think that late in games, the ball is such a premium that when in doubt, you call a timeout. Hindsight is 20/20, and we can hit here today as Monday morning quarterbacks and say he should have let him go, but I trust this guy’s judgment. He won a national title last year, and it wasn’t a fluke. He’s one of the great lacrosse coaches in this country. He might be second-guessing himself, but he’s be second-guessing himself if that kid lost the ball and Duke went down and scored. Charley knows his personnel, and he knows that Burkhart typically isn’t a goal scorer.
Towson absorbed a 16-6 loss to third-seeded Ohio State on Sunday. Does that ending diminish the Tigers’ regular season?
When I think of Towson of 2013, I think of perseverance. I personally owe them an apology because I thought they were a joke after a 0-3 start and losing to a first-year High Point team. I have a lot of respect for that High Point program and coach Jon Torpey, but Towson is a tradition-rich program that has been around for decades. Losing to a first-year program was unacceptable. So I never even in my farthest dream thought that they would be a playoff-type team that would win the [Colonial Athletic Association tournament]. So it just tells you that as an athlete, you don’t quit, and as a coaching staff, you keep instilling a belief in your team, and things can turn around as it did for Coach [Shawn] Nadelen. It was one of the best coaching jobs of 2013, and once these kids continued to get after it in practice and believe, they also showed that they have some talent on that team, and they played better. They made some key adjustments and putting the [Thomas] DeNapoli kid down on attack and putting [senior Andrew] Wascavage in the goal, they have a lot to be proud of.