In the sport of lacrosse, it is important for the ball to always be moving to setup the perfect shot. So far this season, the Maryland Terrapins men’s lacrosse team has nearly perfected this in the offensive zone with a balanced scoring attack in 2019.
So much has been written about the departure of former Terrapin star Connor Kelly and how much he meant to the Maryland lacrosse program. Without his presence, pressure is added to the many younger players including: Logan Wisnauskas, Jared Bernhardt, Anthony DeMaio and several others. These young players, however, have shown no signs of being afraid of the spotlight as they have all started 2019 with a bang.
“The guys that maybe hadn’t been household names, they have been working really hard since August,” Tillman said following a win against Bucknell. “We really felt when they got the opportunity, they were going to make the most of it.”
Maryland lacrosse is moving forward not trying to replace Connor Kelly, but trying to play their own game and be successful in that regard, according to Wisnauskas. With this ideology in place, Wisnauskas believes each player will shine under this mindset.
“It’s not on anyone, it’s not on me it’s not on Jared,” Wisnauskas said. “It’s 6-on-6 for a reason. We play as a group, we play as one unit.”
Eight different goal-scorers have already made an impact for the Terps through two games, a number that is both impressive for coach Tillman, but also reflective of how this team will operate the rest of the season. Moving forward, Maryland will be more dependent on these players to help carry the load for the team’s offensive output.
“If we are going to be successful you obviously have the knowns, and two of these guys and Logan are probably the three biggest knowns,” Tillman said. “But for us to be successful, we are going to need everybody to kind of chip in. With the way we’re built, I do think we have some guys that can step up and make those plays and score goals. If there’s a lot of attention being placed on these guys I think the other guys are capable.”
The trio of Wisnauskas, Bernhardt and DeMaio have tallied 15 of the team’s 21 goals throughout the early stages of the season, proving their major impact on Maryland’s scoring output. All three players combined for a whopping 82 goals and 119 points last season.
Another important factor surrounding the fast offensive start for the Terps is the rule changes that the NCAA has adopted surrounding the shot clock. With the new rule, an offensive possession revolves around an 80-second shot clock that only resets with a shot on goal. These new rules force players into firing crisper passes and finding a good look at the goal much faster. While these rule changes have been eye-opening to coach Tillman, he believes that his team will continue to make the necessary adjustments surrounding the rules.
“We’ve been fine with it all year,” Tillman said regarding the new rules. “The shot clock really hasn’t impacted us. It’s been great. With us, we’ve been working on it since August with clocks and practice and things like that.”
If the Terrapins want to redeem themselves after their brutal loss in the Final Four the following season, they will have to rely on the balance offensive scoring attack that fans have seen over the first two games of the season.