As this site gets going and the 2011 lacrosse season gets under way, it is my duty to give you the best lacrosse coverage out there. With help from current players, former players, broadcasters and analysts, I feel we are on the right track to covering the sport like no other.
With that being said, Quint Kessenich, who covers lacrosse for the ESPN family of networks and writes for Inside Lacrosse, joined College Crosse for the first time and was nice enough to give me a few minutes out of his busy schedule to answer a couple of questions. Kessenich, who made a name for himself as an All-American goalie at Johns Hopkins, is now best known for his analysis during many college and professional lacrosse games, especially on Memorial Day weekend.
Kessenich talked about everything from the new M.L.L. draft date to his take on who the four teams will be playing on Memorial Day weekend.
College Crosse: First off, can you talk about the new MLL draft format and what that will to do both the MLL and the future NCAA seasons?
Quint Kessenich: The new MLL draft format has it's plusses and minuses. MLL general managers are forced to judge potential draft picks on three years of college work, not four. Senior year injuries could render a draft pick worthless. Career-wise it may help the players, if I got drafted by Denver, then I can try to get a job in that city in my chosen field. But it also will backfire in many cases as players will accept work opportunities in cities far from where they were drafted, leading to travel complications, and trade requests. The biggest upside will be for senior players who get shut out of the NCAA tournament or make a week one departure, they will be available to their MLL franchise right after their college eligibility is exhausted.
QK: Maryland's John Tillman has the most challenging new assignment for a few reasons. He takes over for Dave Cottle, who I believe fully maximized the Terps last year. Aside from their playoff loss in May, Maryland had a terrific season. They played hard for Cottle, the players connected with their coach and developed great chemistry. Time ran out on Cottle, a year too soon in my opinion. Now, time is running out for Maryland's senior class. Tillman must manage change and the burden of unfulfilled expectations. He is bright, honest, hard working and demanding.
At Penn State Jeff Tambroni is quickly creating a new culture, making huge strides in recruiting and player accountability. Sooner than later, the Nittany Lions will be in the playoff hunt. Tambroni will put his stamp on the program and will energize their future.
CC: We know you were a top goalie at a top university. Can you briefly talk about what a goalie means to a team and how important guys like John Galloway and Adam Ghitelman are to the success of their teams?
QK: A strong goalie is just one aspect of a successful team. Syracuse will be one of the favorites to win the national title and they have an elite goalie in John Galloway, a senior who has won 2 NCAA titles as a starter. He is experienced, has improved his game each year and throws accurate and aggressive outlet passes. Meanwhile goalie Adam Ghitelman is ringless in Charlottesville. On his best days Ghitelman is superb. He must play with more consistency, which quite honestly can be difficult when you are playing behind an erratic defense.
CC: Is Hopkins ready to get back to their Memorial Day weekend ways? What do you expect out of them in 2011?
QK: I expect Hopkins to win around 9 games in 2011. Pre-season I will be ranking them somewhere between #10 and #14 in the nation.
CC: Lastly, can you give us your very early picks for the four teams who will still be playing during Memorial Day weekend and why?
QK: 2011 will be a spectacular year in Division I college lacrosse because of a star studded senior class. Team-wise, Syracuse can go undefeated this spring, they are that good. Virginia should have a ridiculous offense. Maryland returns all sorts of talent. The final slot is anyones guess - teams like Stony Brook, North Carolina, Hofstra, and Army all have a legitimate chance to be special in 2011.