Welcome to the Maryland Men's Lacrosse Blog for WMUC. My name is Daniel Baker and will do my best to give you a look at each upcoming game and provide some analysis after each contest. I had the pleasure of covering the Men's Lacrosse team last year during my freshman "season" and I hope to witness another great year in College Park.
Coming into the season, Maryland was picked to finish in 4th place in the ACC out of 4 teams. They were also the 7th ranked team in NCAA Men's Lacrosse. Although it is the smallest conference in the country, there is no doubt that the ACC is the best. With UVA, Duke, and UNC in the picture for a national championship, Maryland will be thoroughly tested with the 7th hardest schedule in 2010.
The Terps have responded in the early part of the season climbing to the #5 ranking in Men's Lacrosse after amassing a 5-0 record, including wins over then #13 Georgetown in a stunning 15-13 come-from-behind victory, and an 11-10 OT victory thriller against ACC rival, Duke at M&T Bank Stadium in the Face-Off Classic.
Grant Catalino has been the star of an extremely talented attack unit; one that Inside Lacrosse ranks as tops in the nation. Catalino has notched 10 goals and 12 assists in 2010 so far which ties him in Maryland history for the most points through five games. Ryan Young, Travis Reed, and Joe Cummings make up the rest of an attack group that has 54 points through 5 games, with 27 goals and 27 assists.
The Terps weakness was supposed to be in the midfield, however Will Yeatman moved back from his natural attacking position to help out the young crop of midfielders which includes sophomore stud, Jake Bernhardt out of Florida, who led the second-midfield last year. Even the middies have shown great depth in 2010, combining for 6 goals in the 12-8 March 13th win over Towson as the first midfield was shut down.
Bryn Holmes has dominated Face-Offs for the Terps this season and is a key ingredient to the potent transition attack. When the Terps can get out and run in the open field, they are almost unstoppable. They are converting over 64% of their EMOs[Extra-Man-Opportunities].
Brian Farrell returns to lead the defense after missing most of 2009 with a lung injury. He lines up alongside Max and Brett Schmidt (of no relation) and Ryder Bohlander is the other starting LSD for Maryland. Brian Phipps is coming of an ACL tear, suffered in the NCAA Quarterfinal loss to Syracuse. He has been shutting down the opposition at an impressive rate, with a 50.5 save percentage and blocking 9.2 shots per game.
The senior and Pre-Season All-ACC goalie has the ability to lead the Terps back to the Final Four, somewhere they have not been since 2006 and not nearly enough for fans in College Park since Dave Cottle took over in 2002. He has pressure to perform this year in a loaded conference, but has all the pieces to contend for a national title.
The Terrapins look to end a 3-game skid against their intrastate rivals from UMBC on Saturday. Maryland has dominated the all-time series versus UMBC, holding a 24-7 advantage, but their neighbors to the north have won the 3 most recent contests including their match-up in the 2008 NCAA tournament,.
Last year UMBC won the matchup with the Terps 9-7 in Baltimore. 2009 All-Americans Peet Poillon, Alex Hopmann, and Kyle Wimer led the Retrievers, as they represented the best midfield unit in the country. With 4-year starter and fellow All-American, Jeremy Blevins, in goal, UMBC was able to hold off a potent Maryland attack. However, this team looks much different. The only holdover from last years crop of top-tier talent is Wimer who tallied 24 goals and 18 assists last season. This year he has been limited to 5 goals and 10 assists and has been shadowed closely by the competition. UMBC is a mere 1-4 this year, not quite on pace to match the 12-4 record from last year which included the 3rd straight America East Title.
3 different players have tried to replace Blevins in goal, with Adam Cohen leading the way playing about 50% of the time for the Retrievers.
On paper this looks like a good chance for the Terps to end their losing streak against UMBC, but that means little. Grant Catalino and Ryan Young had hat-tricks against UMBC in the 9-7 loss last year and if they can have similar outings, Maryland should be able to improve to 6-0 on the season.