No. 4 Maryland men’s lacrosse is back on the road this week as it travels to upstate New York for a game against the Albany Great Danes.
The Terps are fresh off a heartbreaking loss at the hands of No. 2 Notre Dame.
Maryland was down by one heading into halftime, but a five-goal third quarter, led by sophomore attackman Eric Spanos, who had two goals, put the Terps on top heading into the fourth.
However, Notre Dame regained the lead early in the fourth quarter after two quick goals.
With under 10 minutes remaining, the Terps got hot. Maryland went on a 3-0 scoring run with two of the goals belonging to senior attackman Daniel Maltz and one to Spanos.
The Terps were on pace to pull out the win with less than four minutes remaining and a two-goal lead, but the Fighting Irish kept fighting. Senior midfielder Reilly Gray cut the lead to one and then sophomore attackman Chris Kavanagh tied the game at 12 with an over-the-shoulder shot.
Senior attackman Pat Kavanagh ended the Terps’ day in the third overtime period as Maryland failed to score in nearly 15 minutes of action.
The Terps are eager for an opportunity to get back in the win column, which will come against Albany on Saturday. The game will begin at noon and can be streamed on ESPN Plus.
Albany Great Danes (1-3)
2022 record: 5-10 (3-3 America East)
Head coach Scott Marr has established a legacy throughout his 22 years at Albany, raking in six America East Coach of the Year’s, nine America East Tournament titles and 10 NCAA Tournament appearances. By the end of the 2022 season, Marr ranked ninth in career victories among active Division I coaches.
The Great Danes had a successful 2021 season, appearing in the America East championship game, but struggled last year. Albany got off to a 1-5 start in 2022 and finished the season on a three-game losing streak, resulting in a 5-10 record. The Great Danes lost three of their first four games this year, including a 12-10 loss to No. 3 Cornell, and are on pace to finish with a losing record yet again.
Players to watch
Jake Piseno, senior long-stick midfielder, No. 88 — This is Piseno’s first year as a consistent starter and he is already one of the best long-stick midfielders in the country. He is second in the nation in caused turnovers (3.50), while adding a team-high 18 ground balls and one assist. Piseno has a knack for forcing mistakes and will be a key player this Saturday.
Graydon Hogg, senior midfielder/attackman, No. 45 — Hogg is having a slow start to the 2023 season, scoring five goals on a .192 shot percentage after consecutive seasons as the Great Danes’ leading scorer. In 2022, Hogg put up 26 goals, 12 assists and a .289 shot percentage, a slight downgrade from his 29 goals and .426 shot percentage in 2021. Hogg has not found the back of the net much this year, but should still be near the top of Maryland’s radar.
Silas Richmond, freshman attackman, No. 15 — Richmond has taken over as the leading scorer in his first year with the Great Danes. He has nine goals on 50% shooting, but has yet to record an assist. Richmond is one of Albany’s biggest offensive threats and will most likely receive the defensive attention of either graduate Brett Makar or junior Ajax Zappitello.
Turnovers. The Great Danes excel at causing turnovers and taking care of the ball. Led by Piseno, Albany ranks 18th in the nation in both caused turnovers per game (9.25) and turnovers per game (14.75). The Terps are prone to throwing away possessions, averaging 18.4 turnovers per game, but will need to clean up their sloppy play against Albany.
Goalkeeping. The Great Danes have not been good in the cage this season, no matter who their starter is. Junior Jack Vanvalkenburgh, the most likely candidate to start against Maryland, averages 10.38 goals allowed per game and a .460 save percentage, and senior Tommy Heller averages 15.02 goals allowed per game and a .250 save percentage. The Terps have struggled with their shooting percentage this year, but should find some success against Albany.
Three things to watch
1. Has Eric Spanos arrived? Spanos scored his first career goal in Maryland’s season opener against Richmond, but tallied just one assist and zero goals over the next three games. With the Kavanagh brothers on the opposing sideline, the Terps needed more scoring to keep up with Notre Dame, and Spanos answered the call. The attackman recorded three goals last Saturday, good for second on the team, and a .600 shooting percentage. With Maryland’s frontline still finding its identity, Spanos could become a mainstay.
“It is still only game five in his college career,” head coach John Tillman said. “I’m super excited about what he could do going forward, and we’re going to need him to play well.”
2. The Terps have a turnover issue. In each of Maryland’s two losses, there is one glaring category that stands out on the stat sheet: turnovers. The Terps average 21 turnovers per game when they lose and currently have a minus 14 turnover margin this season. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Maryland is 11.5-goal favorites heading into Saturday’s game, but Albany has a puncher’s chance if the Terps play careless.
“It is something that if it’s not where you want it to be, it’s gotta be a point of emphasis,” Tillman said. “As you play more, hopefully the game slows down and the guys know the difference between an okay opportunity and a great opportunity.”
3. Can Maryland shake off last week’s loss? Whether Maryland won or lost, a third overtime game against the No. 2 ranked team in the nation is tough to move past. The Terps have an easier opponent this week with Albany, but will still have to be mentally prepared if they want to avoid falling to 3-3.
“That’s always a challenge,” Tillman said. “You can’t let the [last] week [negatively impact] the next week.”