Photos: Brevard vs. Montreat

BREVARD, N.C. (May 30, 2018) – The men’s lacrosse season opened in the Asheville area back on February 7 when the Brevard College Tornados of the NCAA’s DIII hosted the Montreat College Cavaliers.

The Tornados, who are in the process of fully joining the USA South Conference, defeated the Cavs, 15-6, and went on to a 9-3 record on the spring. Montreat finished at 6-11 on the year and received votes in the NAIA national poll after playing one of the association’s strongest schedules. The two programs will likely square off again in early 2019.

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Furman Falls to UVM in NCAA Opener


GREENVILLE, S.C.Furman’s Richie Meade didn’t get the opener he’d hoped for in 2018 as the Paladins fell to the Vermont Catamounts, 12-6, in the 2018 NCAA DI Opener.

For Furman, David Williamson had four goals, but Vermont five goal outburst in the second quarter put them in command for the remainder of the contest. put up five goals in the second quarter to gain the winning margin. Due to its timing on the calendar, Williamson’s first score was also the first of the 2018 NCAA lacrosse season.

Ian MacKay had four goals for Vermont, and was followed by Liam Limoges with three. The Catmounts compete in the NCAA’s America East Conference in lacrosse.

In addition to Williamson’s four, the Paladins got scores from Carson Sorrells and Keegan Pearl. 

Furman travels to face UNC on February 10.

Pictured: Furman’s Lou Yovino (photo / Furman Athletics)

Furman Opens Men’s DI Lacrosse Slate


Furman Lacrosse 2018 Furman Lacrosse Home Opener NCAA DI V2

Greenville, S.C. – The NCAA Division I lacrosse season gets underway this evening when the Furman Paladins host the Vermont Catamounts at 6:00 p.m at Paladin Stadium. For the Paladins, under veteran head coach Richie Meade, they’ll enter their fifth season of competition as an NCAA program.

The 2017 squad was the best in Furman’s short history, going 7-8 overall but ending the season with consecutive losses to the Richmond Spiders of the Southern Conference. The first defeat was the regular season closer, and the second came in the SoCon tournament. Meade was named the 2017 SoCon Coach of the Year as the Paladins rebounded from a 2-11 2016 campaign.

The Paladins return four of their top five scorers from 2017, including Jonah Moore, William Holcomb (pictured), Lou Yovino, and David Williamson.

In cage, they return 2017 starter Alec Van de Bovenmap, and senior backup Reilly McDermott.

Vermont finished the 2017 campaign at 5-8 and 1-5 in the America East Conference.

Pictured: The Paladins’ junior midfielder William Holcomb facing Vermont last season. (Photo / Furman Athletics)



Another Western State Adds Varsity Lacrosse

For several years I’ve contributed lacrosse articles to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). This week I wrote up an entry on the movement of the College of Idaho‘s men’s lacrosse program from a club program within the MCLA to a full varsity program in the NAIA.

It’s a noteworthy development as it’s the first collegiate varsity program in the state’s history, roughly 135 years after the sport established itself at a handful of eastern colleges. Here’s a link to the article. – TF

Archives: MCLA National Champion, Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon’s Joe Balestrieri (Photo / GCU )

The American Sports Network has ceased operations in its present form, so I’m presenting here for posterity some of the articles that I contributed during my time there, before the site officially shutters. All content is copyright ASN & Tom Flynn

This story was written as a preview of the promising season ahead for the Grand Canyon University Lopes in 2017 and first appeared on January 25, 2017. 

On May 13, the Lopes captured their second national championship in three years when they defeated Chapman University, 12-8.

In the Northeast, the February start to the men’s college lacrosse season is as much a battle against the elements as it is against respective opponents. Once novel, snow-filled games are now so frequent as to draw into annual debate the decision to start the season in the midst of winter.

Not so in Phoenix, where the Grand Canyon University Lopes prepare for their 2017 start beneath typically clear skies.
GCU, under head coach Manny Rapkin, captured the Division I Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) national championship in 2015, going 16-1 and averaging 15 goals per game in the process. Last year, the Lopes bowed out in the national semifinals to Cal Poly.
The combination of lacrosse-friendly weather and GCU’s success is helping draw talent to the Arizona desert as part of the sport’s larger spread away from its traditional power hubs in the East. The same year the Lopes won the MCLA DI title, the Denver Pioneers defeated Maryland to become the first team west of the Mississippi to capture an NCAA lacrosse crown at any level.
Jeff Guy, a Connecticut transplant, is GCU’s assistant coach and defensive coordinator. The former midfielder first arrived at GCU in 2007 as an assistant after graduating from the University of Delaware in 2005. By 2012, he was on the staff at Princeton, where the Tigers went undefeated in Ivy League play and made the NCAA tournament.
Even though he was coaching future MLL standouts like Tom Schreiber and Tyler Fiorito, the Southwest hadn’t completely left his mind.
“I still missed living in Arizona, that was one of the main things,” said Guy of his decision to depart the University of Dallas – where he was the head coach for two years following Princeton – for GCU in the summer of 2014. In the Lopes’ championship season of 2015, with Guy directing the defense, GCU allowed double-digit goals just five times in their 17 games.
“It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, coming back.”
Rapkin is also an Eastern transplant, spending his undergraduate career playing football and lacrosse at New York’s NCAA Division I Siena College, and also serving as the head coach at New York’s Dominican College before arriving at GCU.
The two coaches, in addition to their work on the Lopes’ sideline, help sow lacrosse seeds in the desert at the youth level as part of Guy’s Accelerated Lacrosse Academy for middle school and high school players in the area.
Another critical part of the 2017 GCU squad arrived from far afield, in his case from the North. Senior Lucas de Jong is a Lopes midfielder hailing from Victoria, British Columbia.
Rapkin spotted de Jong when his club team, the Vancouver Island Seaspray, made trips south to tournaments in Seattle and San Diego. “He came and talked to our team and told us a little about GCU,” said de Jong. “My junior year I kind of shrugged it off because I wanted to keep looking. But the more recruiting letters, emails, and phone calls I received, nothing else was the full package for me.”
“I had a lot of good people telling me I had to pick a school based on the school first, lacrosse second. After visiting GCU, there was no question.”
The sports management major is also an RA, the president of the college’s local chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), and served an internship for the Phoenix Suns in 2016 that resulted in a job offer. “It was an amazing experience, something I’ll never forget and I learned a ton from,” said de Jong of interning for the Suns.
On the lacrosse field, de Jong describes himself as, “A pretty stereotypical Canadian – I grew up playing box lacrosse; I started in the third grade.” He added that like his fellow countrymen, his stick skills are centered on his dominant hand, honed in the tight confines of the indoor game.
“We [Canadians] play field lacrosse the way we play box lacrosse. We dodge hard, we get the ball to the net, and we set lots of picks.”
He was recruited as an attackman out of high school. “My first fall semester at attack at GCU, I was just awful,” said de Jong, laughing. “Coach called me in one morning and said he was switching me to defensive middie. I had a panic attack, but then I worked hard and got the starting position for my first game against Colorado State.” He scored a goal in the game and went on to earn All-Freshman accolades.
“You can really put Lucas anywhere on the field, and he’ll make the team better. You want to be better on face-offs and have your guy’s face-off percentage go up? Put Lucas on the wing,” said Guy, referring to one of the two players who – as with hockey draws – man the flanks or “wings” on the center faceoff. “You want a better clearing percentage? Put Lucas in on the clear. He’s a total team player.”
Senior attackman Joe Balestrieri began his college lacrosse career in Maryland, although he is a native of the San Diego area. His first stop was with perennial JUCO power CCBC-Essex, where he had 70 regular season points as a freshman, before moving to the state’s Stevenson University. While a Mustang, Balestrieri had 22 goals and four assists in 22 games as part of a 19-3 team.
“I think he’ll be the preseason MCLA Player of the Year,” said Rapkin in describing the senior’s talent. Balestrieri scored 56 goals and added 31 assists to lead the MCLA’s Top 10 Division I ranks in scoring in 2016. He also garnered first team All-American honors.
After deciding not to return to Stevenson, Balestrieri chose to look closer to home, somewhere where his family could watch him play. “I had a couple of buddies at GCU, and they told me it was a great environment, and a great team,” he said.
While he acknowledges GCU’s facilities, proximity, and weather as factors in his decision to come to Phoenix, he emphasizes that it was the coaching staff of Guy and Rapkin that sealed the decision.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to be part of this team,” said Balestrieri.
His coaches echo the sentiment.
“When he originally came here, we had him slotted as a middie,” said Guy. “Coach Rapkin quickly came to the conclusion, ‘We need this guy on the field all the time.’”
“Joe’s a great leader for our offense, another guy who also plays unselfish lacrosse and does a lot of great things for us,” he added. “He can shoot the ball outside, he can get to the goal on his own, and he can create goals. He can also be the finisher on the backside.”
Thanks to the influx of talent from across North America, GCU hopes to finish the 2017 campaign as it did 2015, with an MCLA Division I trophy in hand.

Cleveland State Lacrosse Gets Underway

CSU’s Nick Wendel moves past Duke’s Sean Cerrone (Photo / Andy Mead/YCJ/Iconsportwire)

Cleveland (February 27, 2017) 
Cleveland State is underway as an NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse program. The team, under head coach Dylan Sheridan, is 2-4. They’ve won two games against DIII opponents (as part of their first-year transition) and dropped games to Michigan, Duke, Denver, and Air Force. They play Canisius (1-2) this Saturday at home.

The Vikings, who formerly were a high-level MCLA team,  are independent in 2017 and play 15 games.

The last Division I program to begin play was Virginia’s Hampton University. The Pirates launched from the NCLL and played a five-game transitional schedule in year one. This year they bumped up to eight. They are led my former Morgan State alum,  Lloyd Carter.

Lacrosse: Johns Hopkins Defeats Loyola in Overtime Thriller

Johns Hopkins topped Loyola in men’s lacrosse on Saturday (Photo / T. Flynn/Instagram)

Johns Hopkins’ midfielder Joel Tinney buried the game-winner with time running out in the first overtime to defeat Loyola, 14-13, at Homewood Field. Tinney took a pass from Blue Jay Pat Fraser just inside the midfield stripe and sprinted cross-field, faking a ball flip back to Fraser before continuing to the right of the goal, squaring up on the run, and firing a left-handed shot from roughly 10 yards out to seal the victory.

With the goal, Hopkins moves to 3-0 on the season. All three of its victories are against Maryland foes (Navy, UMBC, Loyola). The Greyhounds drop to 0-2, with both losses coming in overtime. Despite yielding the game-winner, goalie Jacob Stover played well, making 14 stops for the Greyhounds. Hopkins’ attackman Shack Stanwick led all Blue Jay scorers with four goals and one assist.

Loyola hosts Lafayette (0-2) this Saturday, while Hopkins travels to Chapel Hill to take on the defending national champion Tar Heels (3-0) in a battle of unbeatens.

Books: Signing (2/18) at Barnes & Noble Before JHU vs. Loyola Lacrosse Game

The Loyola Greyhounds battle Johns Hopkins this Saturday (Photo / Tom Flynn)
Baltimore – For those in to see the Hopkins vs. Loyola game this Saturday (2/18), I’ll be at Barnes & Noble signing copies of Men’s Lacrosse in Maryland from 10-2 pm. Please stop by and say hello. 
The annual game between the two Baltimore rivals was played for years on the first weekend of May. When Hopkins joined the BIG-10 in 2015, the game took a one-year hiatus. In 2016, the game returned but in a new February time slot. The Greyhounds won, 9-8, and have captured the last three contests between the two.

The Blue Jays are out of the gate at 2-0 in 2017 with wins over Navy and UMBC, while Loyola lost their opener to Virginia and are 0-1. 

Lacrosse: Hopkins Defeats Navy in Season Opener

Johns Hopkins celebrated 15 goals in their opener against Navy (Photo / JHU Athletics)

BaltimoreJohns Hopkins took an early but important step in their annual bid for an NCAA berth when they defeated the 10th-ranked Navy Midshipmen, 15-8, on Tuesday night at Homewood Field. The game was the season opener for both squads.

Unseasonably warm weather in the low 60s greeted the teams and Navy responded in spring form with three scores to open the game. Colin Flounlacker, Ray Wardell, and Greyson Torain all scored for the Mids before Blue Jay attackman Wilkins Dismuke registered the first Hopkins goal of the season and the first of his three on the evening early in the second.

Hopkins midfielder Joel Tinney led all scorers with five points on two assists and three goals, including one following a “hidden-ball trick” that will be a fitting addition to Homewood’s lacrosse lore.

Navy freshman Ryan Kern began his career as the Mids’ goalkeeper with a dozen saves, while junior attackman Jack Ray started what is expected to be a prolific junior campaign with three points.

Both Hopkins and Navy continue their season with in-state games this weekend. The #8 Blue Jays host UMBC on Saturday, while Navy returns home to face #2 Maryland in Annapolis.

Books: Free Copy of Men’s Lacrosse in Maryland

(Photo Courtesy / The History Press/Tom Flynn)

– To celebrate the 2017 season getting underway, I wanted to run a small contest to add subscribers and give away a copy of Men’s Lacrosse in Maryland. The book came out at this time last year, and sales to date have been strong.

If you enjoy men’s lacrosse and you’d like a shot at a free copy of the book, enter your email in the sidebar at right for a free e-subscription to Fieldhouse Journal. Every 20th entrant will win. Good luck & thank you! – TF