Maryland men’s lacrosse will be playing its annual game against Navy on Saturday in Annapolis, marking the 94th meeting between the two programs.
These teams have played each other each year since 1924, with the Terps leading the all-time series 59-33-1. Maryland hasn’t lost to Navy since 2009, when the Midshipmen defeated the Terps 10-4 in Annapolis. This is the first time since 2015 that the Terps’ matchup with Navy has not been their season opener.
Maryland is also coming off of having just played a game four days before, something that Tillman kept in mind during the Colgate game on Tuesday.
“We got up [in the game], and the hope was, ‘OK, we don’t wanna turn this into a track meet and then just get exhausted knowing that we got another game on Saturday,’” Tillman said. “You gotta finish this game, but with 80 seconds, that’s a lot of time, and so getting the ball and killing the time and kinda getting into the flow I thought was important, and you try to substitute some guys so that Jared [Bernhardt] and some other guys just wouldn’t get gassed.”
The game begins at noon ET and the stream will be available of the Patriot League Network.
Navy Midshipmen (2-0)
Head coach Rich Sowell has his Navy squad out on the right foot so far in 2019, winning both of their first two games this season. Sowell and the Midshipmen are looking to build on last season’s 9-5 mark and take his team back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2016.
Players to know
Senior midfielder Greyson Torain (No. 6) is one of several senior leaders that Sowell is returning this season and should figure to have a busy day against a relatively inexperienced Maryland midfield group. Torain finished tied for the team lead in points last season as a scorer/facilitator, earning him a spot on the preseason All-Patriot League team.
Senior midfielder Ryan Wade (No. 8) joins Torain on the preseason All-Patriot League team after being one of the three players to tie for the team lead in points, finishing 2018 with nine goals and a team-high 24 assists. He also has an assist in each of the last 21 games, so look for him to be setting up a lot of Navy’s offensive actions.
Sophomore attack Daniel Christian (No. 17) lacks in age compared to Wade and Torain, but more than makes up for it with his ability to score. Christian is following up his 21 goals and 10 assists last season with seven goals and three assists through the first two games, putting him at the top of the roster in points to this point.
Defense. Albeit against Vermont and UMBC, Navy’s defense currently sits near the top of Division I in opponents’ goals per game. Maryland’s offense will be the best Navy has faced this season, so whether or not the Midshipmen belong where they are statistically will be tested on Saturday.
Turnovers. Although Maryland hasn’t excelled at forcing other teams to turn the ball over, it could be able to do so against Navy. Through two games, the Midshipmen have turned it over 43 total times; for comparison, Maryland turns it over just 14.75 times per game. It’s a small sample size to pull from, given Navy averaged 15 turnovers a game last year, but Maryland could be able to take advantage of Navy’s carelessness with the ball.
Three things to watch
1. Can the Terps put together a complete performance? After what many would call a shaky first few games, Maryland played its best half of the season against Colgate, taking a 9-3 lead before the break. But the Terps scored just two goals in the second half, consistent with other poor second-half performances they’ve had this season. Tillman stating that he let off the gas late against Colgate explains some of that, but a strong second-half performance from the Terps would be a marked sign of improvement.
2. Will we see any of Justin Shockey? Following an 0-for-7 day at the X against Penn, Shockey didn’t get a single run at faceoff against Colgate on Tuesday, a departure from the split playing time between him and Austin Henningsen that Tillman was rolling with through the first three games. Shockey was top-25 in the country last season in faceoff percentage as a freshman, so seeing him relegated to the bench would be a surprise.
3. Can Maryland continue its success against the Patriot League? Navy will be the third team that the Terps have played from the conference this season, winning their first two games against Colgate and Bucknell. Maryland also beat Navy and High Point last season. However, this matchup won’t be as easy on the road, where the Terps struggled against Penn last weekend.