In its first scrimmage against another opponent, the Maryland men’s lacrosse team did not keep score or even wear the right-numbered jerseys. It may have been difficult to see who was who, but it was easy to know which number Connor Kelly wore.
Kelly, coming off the highest-scoring season for a midfielder in Maryland history, effortlessly launched three goals into the back of the net against rivals Georgetown on Saturday afternoon.
Kelly’s first goal came against a mismatch against a Hoya short stick defender, pinging his shot on the run off the inside of the post and in. The second goal came off some great Terps ball movement that led to Kelly’s accurate left-handed wrist shot off a well-executed split dodge. He completed the hat-trick with his patented roll doge, shooting quickly off the turn before the Hoyas goalie knew it was coming.
Aside from Kelly’s scoring prowess on the day, there were some other interesting things to take note of in Maryland’s opening exhibition.
First, the new-look attack will be led by Jared Bernhardt. Bernhardt’s freshman season at midfield was productive, but the change of position will see him become more of a focal point of the attack. Bernhardt had two goals against the Hoyas.
Joining Bernhardt in the attack are two redshirt freshman. Anthony Demaio redshirted behind the leadership of Matt Rambo and Colin Heacock last season, whereas Logan Wisnauskas served his redshirt season at Syracuse.
Senior midfielder Tim Rotanz looked in midseason form with some very sharp shooting on the day. While Adam DiMillo will be looking for more time on the first line midfield, top-recruit and Utah native Bubba Fairman will compete for that third spot.
Also competing for time on the field are faceoff specialists Austin Henningsen and Will Bonaparte. Faceoff success was a major factor in the Terps’ 2017 NCAA Championship run.
The backup to senior Dan Morris in goal will also be up for battle before the season starts. Last year’s backup, Cameron Brosh, will vie with talented freshman Drew Morris for the second spot in the depth chart.
Defenseman Curtis Corley, Bryce Young, Matt Neufeldt and Nick Brozowski showed again why Maryland was one of the top defenses last season. That core group of long poles will be key to the team’s championship defense, as well as short stick defensive midfielder Thomas O’Connell.
The Georgetown matchup was just one of two scrimmages head coach John Tillman and company will face this preseason. The Terps head down to Charlottesville to take on historic rivals Virginia as the final tuneup game before the Feb. 10 season-opener against Navy in College Park.
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