Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics
After getting their first win of the season at Navy this past weekend, No. 3 Maryland (1-0) is back on the road again this week to take on Saint Joseph’s Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m. in Philadelphia.
This will be Saint Joseph’s first game of the season and Maryland head coach John Tillman is not overlooking a team that was one win away from the NCAA tournament last year. SJU lost to Hobart in the NEC Championship game last season that would’ve sent them to the tournament.
“That’s a tough team that was essentially a game away from being in the NCAA tournament,” Tillman said. “Most of their team is back, they have a really good goalie and a really good faceoff guy, so that concerns you.”
SJU will be without 2016 NEC Player of the Year and NEC Offensive Player of the Year Mike Rastivo, a senior attackman who will miss all of the 2017 season with a knee injury suffered during fall practice. Rastivo led the Hawks in points (57) last season and was also an honorable mention of the USILA/Nike All-American team last season.
Tillman acknowledged that SJU has a great faceoff specialist, senior Mike Lanham, and that is something the Terps and Austin Henningsen need to work on before Tuesday’s game, Tillman said. Lanham is considered the best faceoff specialist in the NEC, winning 63.1 percent of his faceoffs last season.
SJU is also returning their goalie, T.J. Jones, and he’ll be a tough challenge for the Terps this week. Jones was third in the nation in goals allowed per game (7.47) and save percentage (57.9).
Maryland senior attackman Matt Rambo has been on fire since the end of last season, scoring 40 points in his last seven games (5.7 points per game) and he is only 56 points away from breaking the school’s all-time point total record.
After opening the season with a win against Navy, the Terps know that SJU will be ready to play and that they cannot be caught off-guard.
“Taylor Wray has done a great job with that program so that’s not going to be an easy game at all,” Tillman said.