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Maryland men’s lacrosse vs. Marist preview

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The Terps will look to build off a strong defensive effort in their season opener.

2017 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images

The new-look Maryland men’s lacrosse team is coming off a successful start to its 2018 campaign, conceding just four goals while goalkeeper Dan Morris made 11 saves against Navy.

With senior captain Bryce Young sidelined with an undisclosed injury, Maryland’s first-line defense featured two relatively unproven faces: sophomore Jack Welding and senior Michael Adler. They played in a combined 13 games last season, but embracing the “next man up” mentality that head coach John Tillman preaches, inexperience wasn’t evident in Saturday’s 10-4 victory against the Midshipmen. Adler caused a team-high two turnovers, and as a defensive unit, the Terps forced the Midshipmen into taking tough shots that created easy saves for Morris in net.

Now that multiple new faces are off to good starts, including a hat trick from freshman Bubba Fairman and two points from Syracuse transfer Logan Wisnauskas, the Terps will look for consistency from them alongside their veterans when they host Marist on Tuesday.

Maryland and Marist have played just one previous time, a 17-4 Terps victory in 2012. Tuesday’s meeting will start at 5 p.m. ET and can be streamed with a BTN+ subscription.

Marist Red Foxes (0-2)

2017 record: 10-6, 4-2 MAAC

Head coach Keegan Wilkinson has accomplished several noteworthy feats since becoming Marist’s head coach in 2012, becoming the fastest coach in the MAAC to reach 50 wins and leading the Red Foxes to their first-ever NCAA Tournament win in 2015. He also has helped Marist to four straight conference championship games.

Players to know

Senior attackman Gannon Morrison, No. 12. Morrison’s a two-time first team All-MAAC selection and has recorded 68 goals and 57 assists in his career. He has scored just twice in the first two games this season, but has a team-high five assists. Morrison led the Red Foxes with 29 goals last year.

Sophomore attackman Joe Tierney, No. 6. In his first year of college lacrosse, Tierney was on the MAAC all-rookie team after a 32-point season. His 20 assists ranked second on the team and he recorded at least one point in every game last year. Tierney has taken just two shots this season, but has four assists already.

Redshirt senior long-stick midfielder Nick Nye, No. 44. Nye played in all 16 games last season for the Red Foxes. He finished fourth on the team with 38 ground balls and through two games this season has collected a team-high eight ground balls and caused a team-high two turnovers.

Strength

Man-up offense. In their first two games, the Red Foxes have somehow already created 12 man-up opportunities, cashing in on five of those chances. Marist’s conversion rate was just 35 percent last year, but it has shown improvement in a small sample size this season. The Terps only had one penalty Saturday against Navy, but if more opportunities arise, Marist will need to take advantage of those mistakes to keep up with a strong Maryland offense.

Weakness

Defense. The Red Foxes have given up 29 goals in their first two games, including 18 this past weekend against Colgate. Most possession has been on the Marist side of the field early on this season, and the defense hasn’t been able to contain its opponents. The Red Foxes have faced 86 shots already, not making it easy on their goalkeepers by any means. They’ll now have to try to handle a plethora of skillful Maryland attackers and midfielders.

Three things to watch

  1. Will Bryce Young and Nick Brozowski play? The Terps found out just 24 hours before their first game that senior captain Bryce Young would be unable to play with an undisclosed injury. Coach Tillman said he is “week-to-week.” It seems unlikely that he’ll play given that “day-to-day” would’ve sounded a little less concerning. As for Brozowski, he banged knees with someone during Saturday’s game and did not return, which could’ve just been a decision based on the poor weather conditions and large Terps lead. Time will tell when Maryland will be at full strength.
  2. Who will score the goals this game? Bubba Fairman and Tim Rotanz combined for six of Maryland’s 10 goals on Saturday, while Connor Kelly and Jared Bernhardt each had one. With what looks like a team that can turn to nearly anyone to score goals, it’ll be interesting to see over the first few games if a different set of Terps carries the scoring load each time out. Kelly also had three assists in the opener, so we’ll have to track how much more of a facilitator he’s going to be than last year.
  3. Can the Terps take control of the X? The one glaring flaw that jumps out in the statistics through one game is how unsuccessful Maryland was at faceoffs against Navy. Austin Henningson went 6-for-14, Justin Shockey went 0-for-3 and Will Bonaparte went 0-for-1, totaling a 6-for-18 (33 percent) afternoon. They’ll be able to get away with that against weaker teams, but that’s something to keep an eye on going forward.