For the third time in the four weeks since the Maryland men's lacrosse team opened its season, a Terrapin has earned the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honor. Senior Casey Ikeda joined teammates Matt Neufeldt and Kyle Bernlohr as Terps honorees.
The individual statistics that led to Ikeda's award are not particularly overwhelming. He picked up one ground ball, caused one turnover and garnered his first assist of the season on the first Matt Rambo's two goals in the game. However, Ikeda led a Terps' defense that limited Princeton to just four goals after the Tigers had scored 44 times in their first three games.
After five games, Maryland's defense leads the country allowing only five goals per game. The unit has held Terrapins' opponents to fewer than 10 goals in four of Maryland's five games - all wins. Not only did the Terps hold Princeton's offense nearly 11 goals below their per game average, but the Terps also shut down offensive powerhouse Kip Orban. The Tigers' senior midfielder had scored in 30 consecutive games before being shutout by the Terrapins' defense.
The fact that Ikeda became the third different Terp honored is fitting for Maryland. Anyone who has spoken with head coach John Tillman or any of the individuals on the defensive unit knows that the talk is always about Maryland's defensive system and not about individual play. Thus, it is unsurprising not to be awed by any one individual's stat line. However, since the award is for the player of the week, one individual must be singled out from the unit.
So, congratulations to Maryland's Casey Ikeda for his outstanding efforts.