Monday, April 2, 2012

weekend review

Sunday's baseball game was a marathon producing a very disappointing result.  But never mind that.  It was a good weekend because it's always a good weekend when we beat Maryland, which doesn't lose to Virginia, except for most of the time.  So yes, lacrosse is this week's top subject of conversation.

UVA looked great at either end of the game and not so good in the middle.  And I think I know why: they didn't listen when I said "patience" and then they did.  You might've noticed by now that this team is really good at finding open guys five feet from the net, because Steele Stanwick is good at finding open guys five feet from the net and Chris Bocklet is really good at being that open guy.  Sometimes these goals they score are just, things of beauty.

But sometimes they try and force the beauty into ugly spots.  And that's where the turnovers happen.  The defense isn't always screwed-up and out of position, and when the defense is nice and tight around the net, you can't force passes in there no matter your talent level.  Regardless, they try, sometimes, and that's one reason we lost the Hopkins game and why Maryland was up two goals midway through the third on Saturday.

That said, excluded from the forcing-it category is Stanwick's twisting, falling-down, double-teamed goal in the fourth, which is the kind of play that sticks in the mind of a Tewaaraton voter when it's time to fill out the ballot.  Oh yes, he's in the running again, there's no doubt about that.  Colgate's Peter Baum already has 42 goals and could finish the season with 60-some, but Colgate has to make the tourney - as we've seen, the voters care about your postseason exploits.  Stanwick leads the country in assists with 33 and has 14 goals as well, which lands him fourth in the country in PPG.  If Stanwick won, he'd be the first men's recipient to win the award two years in a row; Cuse's Mike Powell was the first to win two but sandwiched in between was our own Chris Rotelli.

Folks are also saying the fourth-quarter run was precipitated by inserting Matt White into the lineup and that hopefully it means White will get more playing time in favor of Owen Van Arsdale, whose hot start has cooled considerably.  And yeah they're not wrong, but then again White has started all ten games.  It's not like he's not out there.  He's just playing midfield, when his natural spot is really attack.  If you want a real suggestion: Move White to attack, OVA to the bench, and put Ryan Tucker on the first-line midfield.  Tucker's got a gun.  So does Rob Emery, and they'll be playing together in next year's midfield so might as well get them some quality time on the same field.

Next week is North Carolina, who I was rooting for last night against Hopkins so they'd be all fat, happy, and content this coming Saturday.  Two weeks from now is Duke, and then the ACC tourney, and by the way here are your tourney scenarios now that we've gotten past Maryland:

-- Beat both UNC and Duke: #1 seed (which would be appropriate and correct as we are the hosts), play either UNC or Duke, I don't know what the tiebreakers are past goal differential and those two teams would be #3 and #4 in some order.

-- Beat UNC, lose to Duke: #2 seed, play Carolina, which beat Maryland and would earn the tiebreaker over them.

-- Lose to UNC, beat Duke: #2 seed, play Maryland, who beat Duke and so would be the #3 seed.

-- Lose both games: #3 seed, play Carolina, who lost to Duke and so would be the #2 seed.


So baseball also happened.  What else happened is that UVA fans are officially going to sweat any lead in the late innings that's smaller than seven runs.  After taking a 3-0 lead on Sunday, the Hoos gradually pissed away the whole thing until they were down 5-3; a ninth-inning comeback made it 6-5, and then, one half-inning away from finally winning a series in Raleigh, UVA did not even register one out en route to handing the game back to the Wolfpack.  (OK, technically, they did.  It was a sacrifice bunt.  It's not like the pitching actually caused that to happen.)

I think it proved me rather prophetic, actually; these two teams are so closely matched it's unreal.  It just so happens NC State has a better bullpen.  As do most teams these days, unfortunately.

The best game - and not just because we won it - was definitely Saturday's, where the teams' two actual best pitchers matched up.  Carlos Rodon is gonna be scary.  He's scary now. And Branden Kline matched up pitch for pitch, except for a couple mistakes that ended up in the trees.  It was the State bullpen that collapsed on Saturday; they were handed a tie game after a lightning delay forced out the starters, and UVA came through.

Friday was really only notable for Brian O'Connor's ejection, which was a surprise because BOC always brings his indoor voice to umpire arguments.  It started off that way on Friday, too, until a button was pushed someway, somehow, and O'Connor went all Earl Weaver on the guy, except for the dust-kicking.  If it was an effort to fire up the team, it didn't work, but I haven't gotten the impression BOC is the kind of guy to resort to that kind of trick.  I think the umpire said something he didn't like.

So I had yet to see that happen, until this weekend, and I got to see something else I hadn't yet seen with my own eyes: Keith Werman behind the plate.  He's got kind of a Peter Rowen thing going on:

He's also a pretty natural-looking catcher (except for the build), although I didn't see his basestealer-nabbing skills.  NC State didn't run on him.  (They scurred.)

Next week is a home series against Wake Forest, which is a halfway decent team.  Even so, we should be disappointed with anything less than a series win.  No moral victories there.


In the world of basketball, it's a dead period right now until Thursday, so no contacting recruits, which also means no contacting all those potential transfers we're trying to bring in.  T.J. McConnell, formerly of Duquesne, is officially down to either Arizona or UVA, and will check out Tucson pretty soon.  The downside: McConnell's family supposedly knows Arizona's coach Sean Miller from small times.  The plus side: Arizona is located in Tucson.

McConnell would be a prize catch.  Another possibility: Rice transfer Dylan Ennis, who made the CUSA all-freshman team.  In the big-man theater, Anthony Gill will request his release** (or has done so) from South Carolina, and this is obviously a thing because of this line from his official bio at South Carolina: "Choose (sic) South Carolina over Virginia and Wake Forest."

**Pay no attention to the line about tampering; it's a throwin by a pissed-off SC fan angry that we might take one of their best players.

Edit: RRRGGHHHH DAMMMMITTT I completely forgot to even mention this, which is loooonnngg overdue.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've got to think that we've got an excellent chance to get Gill. He went to the same school as Akil Mitchell. Would be a nice get. Shame he couldn't play next year, though. Would at least add some bulk to the interior.