Maryland may have lost the faceoff battle in its season opening win against Navy Saturday afternoon, but the defense stepped up to hold the Midshipmen to just four goals on 12.5 percent shooting.
The No. 1 Terps (1-0) will look to once again clamp down defensively against the Marist Red Foxes (0-2) Tuesday afternoon. The Terps will be tasked with stopping the Red Foxes’ offense potentially without its captain, defenseman Bryce Young. Head coach John Tillman said Young’s injury situation would be looked at as “week to week.”
“Everyone knows Maryland has a lot of pride in defense,” senior goalie Dan Morris said. “We lose great players, but we have other players who develop into those roles and get better.”
Morris recorded 11 saves against Navy, but what made his performance more noteworthy was how he set up the defense vocally.
“I do think I need to take more of vocal kind of role,” Morris said. “I’m the goalie, I can see most things on the field. I really didn’t have to do that much early on because: one, I didn’t play for three years and last year Timmy Muller kind of took the reigns. But without Timmy, I can help out my defense with what I’m seeing out there on the field.”
Tillman praised the increased vocality of the redshirt senior captain on media day last week.
“With Danny being in his fifth year and in grad school, he’s a super bright kid,” Tillman said. “He’s calling out more offensive sets than maybe Kyle [Bernlohr] or Niko [Amato] did. That helps our defense when he’s calling out what we want to do and what they’re trying to do.”
Maryland will need that kind of communication from Morris and the defense to stop some dangerous Marist attackers. Senior midfielder Mitchell Standera scored two goals in both Marist losses so far this season, while sophomore midfielders Chris Schlappich and Michael Smith both notched hat tricks against Colgate.
Tillman also spoke of the need for improvement in the faceoffs department from last year on media day. The Terps lost 12-of-18 faceoff battles against Navy; Marist lost the majority of their faceoffs last gamet, going 14-for-32 against Colgate.
“Our [faceoff] numbers outside of Jon Garino weren’t great,” Tillman said. “So that’s a point of emphasis for us that we need to do better.”
The offensive ball movement was the bright spot on the offensive end. Six of Maryland’s 10 goals were assisted and the four other goals derived from great teamwork and offensive execution.
Freshman midfielder Bubba Fairman was the recipient of that ball movement, cashing in with three goals.
However, with two unassisted goals, senior midfielder Tim Rotanz showed that the Terrapin attackers aren’t just shooters . Navy head coach Rick Sowell said the game plan was to force Maryland’s offensive weapons towards the middle instead of down the alleys, but Rotanz and company took advantage.
“If I get to the middle, I’m going to try to get a shot off,” Rotanz said.
There were some new faces on the offensive end as well for the Terps. In the starting attack, redshirt freshman midfielder Logan Wisnauskas opened his Maryland goal-scoring account after transferring from Syracuse last offseason. Also, on the second-line midfield, two converted attackmen – senior Colin Giblin and redshirt freshman Anthony DeMaio – saw their first significant playing time of their career when Connor Kelly stayed on the field as an attackman.
Unfortunately, sophomore attackman Steven Shollenberger, who Tillman said played great in the fall and preseason, is out for the season with an undisclosed injury.
Still, Maryland’s offense will be primed to play a Marist defense who has gotten off to a rough start, giving up double-digit goals in its first two games. Marist’s defense finished last season ranked third in the nation but gave up an 8-2 run in the third quarter in the loss to Colgate, proving to be an insurmountable lead in its 18-12 loss.
The Terps will look for a similar run against the Red Foxes Tuesday afternoon in its second game at Capital One Stadium. Faceoff is set for 5 p.m.
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