The Maryland men’s lacrosse team survived an early scare by erupting for 11 second-half goals in its season debut, a 15-10 victory over High Point Saturday at Maryland Stadium.
The No. 4-ranked Terps were led by a trio of hat tricks from senior midfielder Bryan Cole, junior attackman Dylan Maltz and junior midfielder Colin Heacock. Cole also contributed four assists to cap a career high seven-point day.
This game was supposed to be Maryland’s second of the 2016 campaign, but last weekend’s freezing weather forced the postponement of its scheduled game against Navy. Head coach John Tillman said his players were like “a bunch of caged animals” in anticipation for the delayed season opener.
“It’s tough for the guys because they live for game day, but I thought they handled it really well,” Tillman said. “The older guys really got us through the week and got us focused today.”
The Terps looked to be in control of the game early, jumping out to a 2-0 lead within the first five minutes. Junior attackman Matt Rambo opened the scoring just 33 seconds after the opening face-off, and sophomore defender Bryce Young registered his first career goal with 10:10 remaining in the first quarter.
From there, however, the team struggled to get into a rhythm, allowing the visiting Panthers to tie up the game by the end of the quarter with goals from junior attackman Michael LeClair and senior attackman Dan Lomas. High Point continued to have success offensively in the second quarter and took a 6-4 lead into halftime.
Despite the deficit, Tillman and Cole instilled confidence in the team as they waited to start the second half.
“They made sure everyone was calm,” Maltz said. “In the locker room, we were all calm, cool and positive throughout the whole entire halftime break.”
This attitude paid off in the third quarter, as Maryland’s offense finally found its form. Freshman attackman Louis Dubick’s first career goal along with Heacock’s first of the day tied up the game at 6 just over two minutes into the second half.
Each team added three goals apiece before Cole completed his hat trick to give the Terps the lead for good with 1:15 remaining in the third. They tacked on four goals in the fourth quarter while conceding only one to finish off the win.
Tillman praised his team for hanging tough in what proved to be a very difficult game.
“It obviously was a little bit of a struggle there from 2-0 on. Our guys could have panicked and could have felt sorry for themselves,” he said. “A lot of the seniors and juniors, they were very poised, they were very positive, and they kind of pulled us through, so credit to those guys.”
Cole agreed, saying that the attitudes of the upperclassmen on the team often play a role in motivating some of the less experienced players.
“It’s definitely a trickle-down effect,” he said. “The younger guys look to the older guys every day from September on, and they follow what the older guys do because that’s the only thing they know.”
Maltz credited much of the Terps’ success offensively to the work they do during the week, facing the reserve team as well as a stout defensive unit.
“We have tremendous scout players that are pushing us every single day,” he said. “We’re going against the No. 1 defense in the country every single day in practice, so I think that really helps.”
Tillman said that moving forward, he wants an up-tempo offense consisting of players who are not afraid to be unselfish. He believes the team will thrive if this system is effective.
“We’re trying to find that sweet spot between playing fast and capitalizing on opportunities but not pushing too hard and trying to create something that maybe isn’t there,” he said. “(The players) will make the extra pass, so for us to be successful, that’s going to be our formula.”
Photo by George Kubas/University of Maryland