Blogs and Commentary

posted 03.05.2012 at 10.02 a.m. by Jac Coyne

Monday Notebook: NCAA Division III

When Brendan Gorman arrived in Wellesley, Mass., three years ago in hopes of resurrecting the somnambulant Babson program, it didn't take very long to realize he had his work cut out for him.

"There was a good core group of guys who wanted to get better and wanted to be held more accountable, but then there was a group of guys who just wanted to go out and play and not necessarily do the work you need to play well," said Gorman, who came to Babson after being an assistant at RIT. "There has definitely been a change in culture in that regard. It was getting the guys to buy into what we're trying to do and get a feel for what I'm looking for. We're starting to do that."

The players have reaped the dividends so far this season. They opened the season with an 8-6 upset of then-No. 20 Skidmore and followed it up this past weekend with a 16-11 road win over Hartwick. It has helped that the Beavers' best players are the ones who work the hardest.

Gorman speaks fondly of junior attackman Alex Patinkin, who has been the top scorer for Babson since he arrived two years ago and was the leading points man in the Pilgrim League in 2011. "After practice and I'm done with my work, he's still out shooting on the cage," said Gorman of Patinkin. "There's no secret why he is good."

Babson has guys like that all over the field. Midfielders Jamie Schmidt (who had four goals against Hartwick) and Cam Caruso are a potent one-two punch out of the midfield and LSMs Ryan Dawidjan and Christian Cattaruzza are take-away specialists. John Clausing is a bruising close defender.

The Beavers are going to need all of those guys to continue their strong start because Gorman has beefed up the schedule considerably since he has arrived. The tougher slate is to not only help Babson prepare to take on Springfield, the Pilgrim's top dog for years, but streamline the recruiting process a little bit.

"The Pilgrim League isn't the strongest conference in the country and some of our bottom teams aren't going to help us get better," Gorman said. "We also want to play teams that we recruit against. Not just good teams, but teams like Skidmore, Union and Tufts that are better academic schools. That's the type of student we attract as well. If you can beat a team you are recruiting against, it makes it easier in recruit."

Gorman does have to do some niche recruiting considering Babson's business-centric curriculum, but the coach has found it sells pretty well these days going up against the liberal arts schools.

"If they want engineering or they want to be a phys ed teacher, we can't help them," Gorman said. "Those kids who are looking at the NESCAC schools and the liberal arts programs, a business degree does everything a liberal degree can do for them. I lose some right off the top, but once we get that first wave, then it's not that limiting. Some kids will eventually say they want the liberal arts curriculum instead of the strict business one, but I think we win some of those battles, as well."

If they can build on their hot start, they'll be winning a lot more battles.

-The final score was 14-10 in favor of Skidmore, but, as I wrote about on Friday, Saturday's game between the Thoroughbreds and Bates meant a whole lot more than the final outcome. The two teams were playing for the memory of former Bobcats player Morgan McDuffee, with fundraising efforts procuring over $4,000 for "Morgan's Fund."

"The celebration for Morgan could not have gone better," Sandler said. "It stopped raining for the game, which allowed us to present Morgan's parents with a Bates game jersey signed by both teams. Pete [Lasagna, Bates head coach] made a few remarks about Morgan, which brought tears to many eyes. People came from Washington, D.C., New Jersey, New York City, Pennsylvania, Maine and more for the game. What a day that truly everyone won."

"My favorite memory is watching Morgan's mother, Lisa Freeman, receive his signed jersey," said Lasagna. "I will never forget that. Later in the evening, Lisa told my wife and I, 'This has been the most uplifting day I've had in ten years.'"

Congrats to the Skidmore and Bates players and coaches for thinking about more than just the final score.

- What should we take away from Salisbury's 11-6 win over Gettysburg? I've got two things. First, it's going to take a disciplined approach to beat the Gulls this year. Teams that stick to their run-and-gun philosophies like Roanoke are going to get waxed. There's just too wide of a gap between the talent and depth of Salisbury and the rest of the contenders. No one likes to be an advocate for taking the air out of the ball, but you have to be realistic.

Second, Gettysburg is much improved this season. The defense, as usual, is athletic and well-coached, and the offense is more dangerous, especially with the inspired play of sophomore attackman Martin Manilla. With what it had returning, I kind of ceded the Centennial to Dickinson, but Gettysburg (as usual) will have something to say about that.

- Congrats to Albright head coach Jake Plunket and the Lions for winning their first game in school history in the season opener. Albright knocked off Hood, 12-11, on the road. The Lions improved to 2-0 with a 22-0 win over Penn was too early in the week for a game ball, but a hat tip to Lycoming's Stephen Romano. The junior scored seven goals in the Warriors 10-9 victory over Geneseo...Richard Stockton is 2-0...Susquehanna beat King's, 4-2. Ugh...I watch a lot of online video productions. Franklin & Marshall's color guy is the best I've heard so about Vassar? The Brewers are now 2-0...congrats to Peter Tulk, who won the first game in his second stint as head coach at St. Vincent. The Bearcats beat Marywood, 8-7...No. 8 Stevens lived up to its ranking with the 11-5 win over No. 18 Springfield.