A new season and a new era of Maryland lacrosse began on Saturday, as the Terps traveled to Annapolis to take on long-time rival Navy. It was snowy, physical, and not always the prettiest of games. The Terps came away with the victory however, downing the Mids 8-1.
Maryland opened the game playing defense, and showed the defending we've gotten used too under John Tillman, not letting Navy get any clear chances. Maryland's first offensive possession of the season resulted in a goal, with Joe LoCascio netting one of his usual powerful shots to make it 1-0 Terps.
Maryland had a few other offensive chances over the next few minutes, with Henry West, Jay Carlson, and LoCascio featuring most prominently in the attack. John Connors was repeatedly there to deny Maryland, however, and had a fantastic first quarter for the Midshipmen.
With six or so minutes left in the 1Q, we saw Matt Rambo enter the contest for the first time. He played a heavy part in Maryland's offense for the rest of the quarter and the game. Maryland had two Extra Man Opportunities (EMO), but generated nothing from them.
Kyle Bernlohr got the start in goal for Maryland, made a few saves and looked very sharp.
The beginning of the second quarter was much like the first. Maryland was in control, playing large stretches in Navy's 3rd, but unable to beat Connors in the cage.
Carlson had an opportunity after he beat his man from goal line extended (GLE) and tested Connors on the wrap-round, but the Navy goaltender was there to make the save.
A few minutes later the Terps finally got their 2nd goal, with Henry West beating his man from the top of the box and ripping one past Connors. It was 2-0 Maryland with 8:36 left. Navy had their best spell of the game to that point after West's goal, as they hit a pipe and TJ Hanzsche somehow missed an empty net off of a terrific jump shot by Gabe Voumard that was saved by Bernlohr.
The Mids had a few more extended possessions towards the end of the half, but Maryland's defense was continually stout and forced repeated stall warnings and shot clock violations. This defense paid off, as Henry West added another tally soon after, beating his man off a roll dodge and firing past Connors in the cage. With 2 minutes left in the half Maryland led 3-0.
Navy's first EMO of the half came with under a minute to go in the 2Q, but more stifling Terps defense preserved the first half shutout.
Halftime: Maryland 3-0 Navy
Navy opened the half on offense and once again was hit with a stall warning due to Maryland's strong defense preventing any clear openings. Patrick Keena forced a big save from Bernlohr on a turnaround jump shot with the shot clock running down, but that would be the lone chance of the Mids opening possession.
Maryland's opening possession was an extended one, and Rambo tested Connors with a great swim dodge and drive to the net. A few minutes later Maryland got their 3rd EMO chance of the game and it was indeed the charm. After getting his hands free and in yards of space, Matt Rambo launched a bullet low into the corner and got his first of the season. 4-0 Terps with 8 minutes left.
Off an unsportsmanlike penalty on Bryan Cole, Navy had their own EMO immediately after, yet mustered just one shot. Soon after the Mids finally got on the board as Hanzsche uncorked a low to high shot past Bernlohr.
Maryland restored the lead with 3:48 left as Colin Heacock wriggled his way past the Navy defense, switched to his left hand and fired home to make it 5-1.
It was 6-1 soon after, with LoCascio making a nice swim dodge from the top of the circle and bouncing one in. It was Joe's second goal of the afternoon.
Maryland was called on a delay of game for not getting out fast enough for the start of the 4th Quarter. This led to Navy getting the opening possession. Gabe Voumard hit the bar and Navy proceeded to control the first 5 minutes of the 4th, forcing Bernlohr into quite a few high quality saves.
Maryland took advantage of their first big opportunity however, with nice ball movement from LoCascio to West to Rambo setting up Matt for an easy shot from 10 yards out. 7-1 Maryland with 9:55 to go.
The Terps' efficient ball movement set up another goal late in the game as Jay Carlson received a nice feed from Rambo and scored off an overhead shot from inside 10 yards out.
The rest of the time trickled down without incident, sealing a W for the Terps in their season opener.
Final: Maryland 8-1 Navy
There were a couple really strong performances today from the Terps, along with a very solid team performance. Isaiah Davis-Allen was incredible at short stick midfield, making clear after clear and even was involved in a few offensive sets. Kyle Bernlohr faced some tough shots at time and made many very good saves. It looks like he'll be the guy this year for Maryland. LoCascio, Rambo, and West led UMD with 2 goals each.
Maryland returns next Saturday, going on the road to face off with Yale at 1:00 PM ET.