Feature photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics
The last time Maryland faced off against Yale, the Terrapins were held to five goals on a cold February day. It will be a different story this year when the No. 8 Bulldogs (1-0) come to College Park. No. 1 Maryland (3-0) boasts an offense that is averaging 16.7 goals per game this season while Yale is bringing in a defense that has lost much of last season’s experience.
While Maryland knocked Yale out of the 2015 NCAA Tournament, the Bulldogs have won the last two regular season meetings.
Yale has always prided themselves on their strong team defense that stops teams from doing what they do best.
“They are a team that plays traditionally strong defense,” Maryland head coach John Tillman said. “They have good people individually on the ball and we have to realize individual personnel and who we are going up against.”
The Bulldogs have lost a lot of key players from a defense that stifled the Terps last year but they are returning seniors Camyar Matini and captain Brian Pratt from last season’s unit that gave up only 8.09 goals per game. Yale’s leader in ground balls and caused turnovers, junior Chris Keating, is sidelined all year with an injury.
Slowing down the Maryland attack is no easy task though, even for the consistently strong Yale defense. No one has been able to stop the Terps’ three-headed attack of Matt Rambo, Colin Heacock and Dylan Maltz that has scored 23 goals through three games this season.
They aren’t just overloading each possession with tons of shots either. This offense is taking good shots and capitalizing on them, scoring on 42% of their attempts. Maryland is scoring more than they have in past years and that comes from the experience of three seniors starting on the attack.
“We all work really well together,” senior attackman Colin Heacock said. “Having some experience under our belt is definitely going to help us later this season.”
The Bulldogs won their season opener against Villanova 16-11 with freshman attackman Jackson Morrill scoring five goals for the Bulldogs in his first college game.
Yale’s offense is nothing to overlook either since they are returning all three starters from last season’s attack. Tillman knows that his defense will have a tough challenge this Saturday in slowing down Ben Reeves and the rest of the Bulldog offense.
“They have good athletes and six guys on the field that can attack you at all times,” Tillman said. “You have to be tight off the ball. They do a good job of moving off ball and finding each other.”
Reeves, who was fourth in the nation in scoring last season with 45 goals and 34 assists, will be a hard to slow down on Saturday. Reeves is exceptional at creating opportunities for his teammates as well as dodging and scoring for himself.
“They are more than just one guy,” Tillman said, “they share the ball well and play good team offense.”
This game will be nationally televised on ESPNews and the No. 2 Maryland women’s lacrosse team will have their rematch of last year’s national championship against No. 1 North Carolina at Maryland Stadium right after this game at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
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