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NCAA Men's Lacrosse Tournament 2016: Matt Dunn's defense led Maryland to victory over Quinnipiac

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The senior defenseman committed his first penalty of the year Sunday as he led the Terrapins to victory.

Sammi Silber/Testudo Times

Going an entire year without committing a penalty takes a combination of discipline and great skill, but Maryland men's lacrosse senior defender Matt Dunn credits something else for his year-long clean streak:

"Luck, the officials," he said. "I'm sure there are a couple calls at some point where I may have gotten someone and the refs didn't call it."

The leader of the Terrapins' defense committed his first foul of the year Sunday in the First Round victory over Quinnipiac, but Dunn didn't seem to care. He had just helped No. 1 Maryland (15-2) shut down the Bobcats, holding them to only six goals on the game, well below Quinnipiac's season average of 10.

Maryland coach John Tillman warned his team about Quinnipiac's offense, and the defensive unit responded.

"We told the guys this is a fast group," Tillman said. "The first time we didn't slide when we needed to, it was like ‘whew, we better pick it up a little bit.' But I thought the guys really settled in..."

Dunn admitted to the defense's early struggles, but said the group's cohesion helped them remain strong.

"We got off to a little slow start as a unit defensively," he said. "[But] I think we just kind of got in the flow, and we pride ourselves in our short-stick play, winning on-ball matchups... I think a lot of those guys did a great job and we communicated well down the stretch."

One of the best defenders in the nation, Dunn's discipline has helped set him apart. He was a preseason second-team All-American, and was the leader of Maryland's top ranked defense last year. He's been excellent this year as well, and has led the Terrapins to the No. 7 defense in the nation.

He rarely thinks about his own stats, but his no penalty streak was pretty amazing even to him.

"Every once in a while I'd just kind of realize, ‘Woah, I haven't gotten a penalty this year.'"

The streak is gone, but the Terrapins move on. And the leader of the top-ranked team in the nation seemed to have no problems with that.