For the No. 1 Maryland men’s lacrosse team, it’s all about the adjustments.
Head coach John Tillman wasn’t happy with the way the Terps came out during the first and third quarters for the latter part of the season. Yet, in Maryland’s first two postseason games, it was the third quarter that was been key to their success.
After an unexpected 6-3 halftime deficit to the No. 16-seeded Robert Morris, the Terps exploded in the third quarter to outscore the Colonials 6-1 in the third frame. Similarly, in the quarterfinals the Terps used a 5-0 third quarter run to regain all the momentum from Cornell, after they scored two quick goals to cut Maryland’s lead to 6-4.
Once Big Red sophomore longstick midfielder Brandon Salvatore replaced the ailing Paul Rasimowicz to put pressure on freshman faceoff specialist Justin Shockey and Cornell began to win possessions, the offense got into enough of a rhythm to score those two goals at the end of the half, making Terps fans worried.
The second half was all Maryland, however.
Offense – the inverts
The inverts were working all quarter long, especially with freshman midfielder Bubba Fairman. Fairman tallied a game-high five points (three goals, two assists) through constant dodging from behind the goal on favorable short stick matchups.
Here, after over a minute of pressure on the goal from dodgers like attackmen sophomore Jared Bernhardt and redshirt freshman Logan Wisnauskas, Fairman finally unlocks the Big Red defense. Keep an eye on the off ball movement from Wisnauskas too.
Defense – no Teat, no problem
Tillman opted to shut off Tewaaraton finalist Jeff Teat off with sophomore defenseman Jack Welding. Interim head coach Peter Milliman decided playing five-on-five was the best option for the offense, but the rest of the offense didn’t step up before the game got out of hand.
Still, the Big Red got Teat involved as he was the one to restart with the ball when shots went out of bounds. Tillman’s best two defenders, senior Bryce Young and junior Curtis Corley, played great on ball defense, just like this possession where he was forced to move it along. Later in the possession, Teat turned it over.
Faceoffs – Shockey steps up
Shockey finished the contest going 13-for-19 from the faceoff X, often winning the clamp himself and running to safety. There was no need for adjustments from Austin Henningsen.
His wings stepped up too, as senior longstick midfielder Matt Neudfelt scooped up four groundballs, while the other five wing players grabbed six total. Redshirt junior LSM Nick Brozowski didn’t pick up any groundballs during limited action in his return, meanwhile his replacement, senior Michael Adler, took advantage of his opportunities.
If the Terps can execute in all three phases of the game Saturday against Duke in Gillette Stadium, they’ll have the chance to defend their title.
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