March 24, 2016

MD3 Notes: Thompson's Brings UVa Lessons to Captains

by Shane Mettlen | | Twitter

Even after a 15-8 loss to Union (N.Y.) on Monday, Christopher Newport's interim head coach Mikey Thompson is having an impressive first season in charge of a college program. The Captains are 6-2 and 1-0 in the Capital Athletic Conference and jumped into the Nike/LM Division III Top 20 for the first time this season after knocking off No. 16 Roanoke last week.

Thompson is a former standout defensive player and assistant coach at Virginia and grew up in the Hampton Roads area. He went home to join the Christopher Newport staff in 2011, bringing lessons of how to run a top notch program from the Cavaliers legendary head coach Dom Starsia with him. Now he's able to put it all to use as the man in charge of the Captains.

"Dom prepares his players to be ready for whatever life throws at you after college," Thompson said. "He has always had great perspective on things, and he always handled wins and losses with consistency. It is natural to let your emotions jump to conclusions after a big win or a bad loss, but Dom taught me the importance of being consistent and level headed in all instances. Dom made me want to work as hard as I possibly could during my time with him at UVA, and that is exactly the culture I intend to continue developing here at CNU. And we wouldn't be in the position we are in right now without the tireless work and offensive mind of assistant coach, Zach Thomas. Coach Thomas has our offense playing unselfish team lacrosse, and he has also helped with our transition game."

After dropping its opener versus Washington and Lee, Christopher Newport won six straight, a streak Thompson attributes to the mindset of his veteran players.

"This team works extremely hard everyday in practice, and it starts with the upperclassman," he said. "We have a senior class who has been in the same systems for four years now, and they have done a great job leading by example. It hasn't come as any surprise, but the play of senior longstick midfielder and captain Brandon Moloney has been outstanding. He is leading the CAC in caused turnovers (22) as well as ground balls for non-FOGO's (41), and his leadership on and off the field has been tremendous."

Now the Captains are getting into the meat of the CAC schedule, and the league looks to be as competitive as just about any other this season, which means the challenges for the rookie head coach will only continue.

"There are no easy games in the CAC, and it always requires our best effort vs the teams at the top of the pack," Thompson said. "My biggest goal is to have us playing our best lacrosse by the time of the CAC tournament. We have been generating lots of high percentage shots all year, but we need to continue working on capitalizing on all of those opportunities to finish. Burying those shots is usually the difference between a win and a loss down the stretch."

Stevenson celebrates Tuesday's victory over previously unbeaten and NCAA defending champion Tufts at home. (John Strohsacker)

RELENTLESS: It was a bit of a rough start to the season for Stevenson, but the Mustangs pulled to 4-4 on the year after pulling off arguably the biggest upset in Division III so far when they knocked off No. 1 Tufts on Tuesday.

Stevenson got extremely balanced scoring in the 11-10 victory with no Mustang scoring more than two goals, but there were two Stevenson players who worked to put particularly high pressure on the Tufts defense. Wade Korvin and Matt Tompkins scored two goals each, but perhaps more importantly combined to take 23 shots and put 13 of them on goal.

In all the Mustangs outshot the Jumbos 56-34.

WILD WEST SHOW: There are some added challenges for a independent team without a conference such as Colorado College, but the Tigers are off to a solid start this season with a 6-3 record thanks to this weekend's 16-13 victory against Babson in Lakeland, Fla.

It was a culmination of a trip to Florida for the well-traveled team that returns home to face Colorado Mesa on Friday. The Tigers can attribute their nice start at least in part to the play of junior attackman Austin Davie, who has already surpassed his production from last year when he had 32 points in 15 games.

This season the Erie, Col., product leads the Tigers with 34 points, including 26 goals and eight assists.

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