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Maryland men’s lacrosse brings a young, talented roster into 2019

A position-by-position breakdown of how the Terps should look this spring.

NCAA Lacrosse: Men’s Lacrosse Championship Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

A new season begins Saturday for Maryland men’s lacrosse, as the Terps open 2019 against Bucknell at Maryland Stadium. After his team finished 14-4 and reached the national semifinals last spring, head coach John Tillman will be looking to make another run this year.

Despite several high-profile seniors graduating, the Terps have some highly ranked recruits coming in which should make for a very interesting roster. Below, we’ll take a look at what’s changed since last season at each position, and how this year’s roster shapes up.

Attack

Last season proved to be a breakout year for Jared Bernhardt, putting up 40 goals and 16 assists as a sophomore and growing into one of the team’s leaders in the process. Donning the historic No. 1 for the Terps this season, Bernhardt will likely have another goal-heavy season and possibly get himself into the Tewaaraton discussion.

Joining Bernhardt in the attacking corps is redshirt sophomore Logan Wisnauskas. Wisnauskas, like Bernhardt, played a major role in the team’s success as a freshman, scoring 35 goals and picking up 15 assists in 18 starts. With a year of experience now under their belts, it’s possible the two could become one of the deadlier duos in the NCAA.

Redshirt sophomore Anthony DeMaio should see an extended role this season after scoring seven goals and dishing six assists in 2018, including three important goals in the NCAA tournament last season. Among the other returning attackmen are senior Louis Dubick (five goals in 17 games), sophomore Kyle Brickerd (zero goals in five games), sophomore James Avanzato (one goal in one game before suffering a season-ending injury) and sophomore Steven Schollenberger (injured in preseason).

The Terps will be welcoming 14 freshmen to this season’s squad, three of which are attackmen. Leading that group is Inside Lacrosse five-star recruit Kyle Long. Coming out of Philadelphia, Long was a multiple time All-American in high school and should have a chance to see the field in 2019. Another five-star freshman who could make an impact is Nicholas DeMaio (Anthony’s younger brother). The younger DeMaio finished his high school career as California’s second all-time leader in points, and flipped from Boston University to Maryland in December. He’s only enrolled this semester, but could provide more scoring depth if he adjusts to the college game quickly.

The lone senior attacker on last season’s roster was Colin Giblin, who appeared in all 17 games last season (starting five) and contributed six goals and three assists. The lefty was a steady presence for the Terps his senior season, helping play a role in easing the transition into the post-Matt Rambo era.

Midfield

Despite losing Connor Kelly and Tim Rotanz, the midfield position will likely still be a strong point for the team. Sophomore Bubba Fairman had a strong freshmen season, posting 26 goals and nine assists for the Terps in 2018. Fairman will be asked to do a lot in Kelly and Rotanz’s absence, a responsibility that he certainly appears up to task for based on his play last season.

In addition, the Terps return now-senior Will Snider. Snider saw limited action in 2018, appearing in 15 of the team’s 17 games (started 9) and scoring seven goals. After serving more so as a depth piece last season, expect Snider to get the opportunity to become one of the team’s leading midfielders.

Maryland will also be adding two high school All-Americans to the midfield in Chase Cope and Joshua Coffman, bolstering an already deep position group. In all, the Terps are gaining six freshmen midfielders this season, and it’ll be interesting to see how Tillman decides to implement them.

On the defensive side, sophomore Roman Puglise will try to continue his success as the team’s top short-stick defensive midfielder. Puglise grabbed 25 ground balls last season, good enough for sixth-best on the team, while adding three caused turnovers in the process. Senior Thomas O’Connell served as the team’s other primary short-stick defensive middie and put up 11 ground balls and three caused turnovers in 2018. Long-stick midfielder Nick Brozowski had a big junior season, winning 37 ground balls and forcing eight turnovers. With Matt Neufeldt transferring to Denver after the season, Brozowski will continue to be Tillman’s go-to LSM and should have a productive senior season.

In addition to Fairman and Wisnauskas, faceoff specialist Justin Shockey and his .551 faceoff percentage will also be returning for Maryland. Shockey finished last season among the top freshman FOGOs in the country, ranking second in faceoffs won and third in win percentage among freshmen. This season, Shockey will be looking to elevate his play towards to the top of the Big Ten and potentially grow into one of the better faceoff specialists in the country. If Shockey falters, senior Austin Henningsen is an experienced backup who’s taken faceoffs in all of his previous three seasons at Maryland.

Defense/Goalkeeping

Maryland has traditionally been solid defensively, and that trend should continue into 2019. Losing Bryce Young to MLL certainly hurts, but Tillman should be more than content having senior Curtis Corley and junior Jack Welding head up the close defense. Corley was one of the leading defenders on the team last season, totaling 14 caused turnovers and 13 ground balls, earning him a spot on the 2018 All-Big Ten second team. Welding also cemented himself as a starter on Tillman’s defense last season, forcing seven turnovers and nabbing seven ground balls en route to becoming a steady presence for the Terps.

To add to the starters already in place, Maryland has a stellar class of defenders coming in. Tillman will be adding five freshmen to the defensive fold, four of which were high school All-Americans. A third spot on close defense is seemingly up for grabs, look for freshmen Brett Makar (second-ranked defender in 2018 class) and Jack DeSantis (13th-ranked defender) to compete for that spot.

As for goalkeeping, the Terps will have to fill the void left by Dan Morris, the team’s starter for the last two seasons. Senior Danny Dolan and Andrew Morris are the leading candidates for the starting job, despite Dolan playing in relief of Dan Morris last season and Andrew Morris not even seeing the field. But, Morris was the second-ranked goalie in the Class of 2017 and was a two-time All-American. Although having no relation to Dan, Andrew Morris has clearly shown Tillman something, otherwise he wouldn’t be part of the conversation for the starting spot.