April 25, 2008
Washington, DC -
By Christian Swezey Washington Post Staff WriterBrown lacrosse coach Lars Tiffany would rather not watch the school's club hockey team in the winter. For the past two years, one of the forwards on the team has been junior Jordan Burke, a two-time All-Met at Bullis.
Burke is better known as the starting goalie for the Bears' lacrosse team -- and as one of 20 finalists for the Tewaaraton Trophy, given to the top player in the college game.
Burke leads the nation with a .690 save percentage and is second in goals-against average (6.16) entering two vital Ivy League games. With victories over Cornell (9-4, 4-1) tomorrow and Princeton (7-4, 4-0) on May 3, Brown (10-2, 4-0) would win the league title for the first time since 1995 and clinch an NCAA tournament berth.
Fortunately for Brown, Burke has emerged unscathed from club hockey for the past two years.
"The philosophy that I've adopted as a coach is to let our men have fun with life. . . . We allow our guys to go skiing and we allow them to play club hockey," Tiffany said. "We want them to be athletes. Now, there are certain risks to doing that, and we do talk a lot about risk-taking -- not risking things with drugs and alcohol, for sure. But in sports, they're allowed some good risk-taking."
Brown's reliance on Burke was epitomized by its 8-5 victory over Pennsylvania on April 12. That day, the Bears were outshot 57-22. Burke finished with 19 saves.
"He is so outstanding in goal that he allows us to keep things simple on defense," Tiffany said. "What we say is, we'll take care of the inside and let Jordan take care of the outside. But what we find is that we lean on Jordan even more from 9-10 yards, when the outside is normally shots from 12 yards."
Burke is one of eight players at Brown from Washington area high schools. Seven are from Interstate Athletic Conference schools.
Thomas Muldoon, a sophomore who graduated from St. Albans, leads the team in scoring with 26 goals and seven assists. Junior Jack Walsh, also a St. Albans graduate, is third in scoring with 13 goals and 12 assists.
Meantime, Burke's housemates graduated from St. Albans, St. Stephen's/St. Agnes and Georgetown Prep.
"We talk about it a lot," Burke said of Washington area lacrosse. "When St. Albans won the IAC last year, I definitely heard about it."
Burke's younger brothers have followed in his footsteps of playing as a forward in hockey and as a goalie in lacrosse.
Steven Burke, a senior at Bullis, was an All-Met in hockey; he has committed to play lacrosse for Johns Hopkins. Brandon Burke is the starting goalie for the seventh-grade team at Bullis.
"Playing goalie didn't come as natural for Steven as it did for Jordan," their father, Glen Burke, said. "Steven is such a good athlete, we wanted him to play attack or midfield. But he wouldn't hear of it."