Maryland men’s lacrosse will be playing its second consecutive road game Saturday as it heads up north to face Albany.
The No. 7 Terps enter this game following their first loss of the season at Notre Dame, falling to the Irish 14-13 in overtime. Fourteen goals is the most this Maryland defense has surrendered so far this season, but senior defenseman Curtis Corley believes there’s a lot to take away and improve on.
“That film that we just got from the Notre Dame game, there’s a lot of positives and some negatives that we have to fix for sure, but we’re getting better each week,” Corley said. “It was all-around good film for all of us, even if it takes a loss. We’re going in the right direction; we just gotta put our head down and go back to practice.”
On the offensive side, sophomore attack Logan Wisnauskas paced the Terps’ offense against the Irish, scoring three goals and dishing two assists, one of those being on Anthony DeMaio’s game-tying goal to send the game into overtime. Although the Terps didn’t get the result they were looking for, Wisnauskas credits his team’s unselfishness as the reason for their success in coming back from a two-goal deficit with just two minutes left in regulation.
“We’re all unselfish guys, we don’t really care who gets the points,” Wisnauskas said. “Bubba [Fairman] gets the big ground ball in the middle of the field, he gets the hockey assist. It just shows what kind of kid he is and what kind of player he is; he doesn’t really care who gets the points or anything. Neither does Jared, neither do I, neither does [DeMaio]—nobody really cares as long as we’re doing well.”
Wisnauskas realizes there’s always room for improvement, citing that the opportunities were there, but the Terps just need their shots to start falling.
“We just need to can some shots,” he said. “It’s just kinda hitting [the goalie], you know, just hitting him in the legs or hitting unfortunate bounces and not making shots that we need to make, so kinda focus on that this week.”
The Terps now look ahead to Albany, a team that spent most of last season as one of the higher-ranked squads in the country, but now sits outside of the top 20 at 1-3 so far in 2019. Maryland leads the all-time series between the two teams 3-1, but fell to Albany last season in College Park 11-10 after allowing five fourth quarter goals by the Great Danes.
“Kinda looking at that one, I think that’s the first time we lost to Albany, so playing them in this game again it kinda has a little bit extra,” Corley said. “We gotta out there, we gotta get back to the Maryland way of being tough and everything.”
The game begins at 1 p.m. ET and can be streamed on ualbanysports.com.
Albany Great Danes (1-3)
2018 record: 16-3, 5-1 America East
Head coach Scott Marr made headlines earlier this week with his critical comments toward the NCAA regarding Tehoka Nanticoke’s suspension, causing Albany’s athletic director to publicly renounce Marr’s comments two days afterward. Nevertheless, Marr enters his 19th season as the first and only head coach of the Danes in their Division I era, touting a 179-114 career record, 10 NCAA Tournament appearances and six tournament wins during his tenure.
Players to know
Sophomore attack Tehoka Nanticoke (No. 1) finished 2018 as one of the best freshmen in the country, notching 50 goals and 32 assists. At 6’1, 248 pounds, Nanticoke is a big-bodied, Matt Rambo-esque attackman that will likely be followed around by the 225-pound Corley, who mentioned this week he may call upon some of his experience on scout team guarding Rambo into this matchup with Nanticoke.
Junior attack Jakub Patterson (No. 17) currently leads the Danes in scoring thus far in 2019, following up his 42 goal total from last season with nine goals through the first four games. Patterson has had success against the Terps in the past, scoring four goals in last year’s meeting in College Park, two of those goals coming during Albany’s 5-0 run to close the game.
Sophomore faceoff specialist Austin Jones (No. 46) had his work cut out for him coming into this season, having to fill the void left by TD Ierlan, the NCAA leader in faceoff percentage last season. He’s filled in reasonably well so far, going 41-of-69 (.594) through the first three games, putting him right around the same level as Austin Henningsen (.641) and Justin Shockey (.593) for this season. Ierlan got the better of Shockey last year, but the playing field at the faceoff X should be more level this time around.
Attack. Although Albany lost its points leader from last season in Connor Fields, Marr has had the luxury of having three attacks who are capable of creating their own shot. With Nanticoke, Patterson, and Davis Diamond each totaling over six goals to lead the team in scoring, the Danes can score against anyone.
Defense. Albany’s defense has been relatively porous so far this season, playing a significant role in many of the early losses. In four games, the Danes have allowed 13, 12, 17, and 14 goals. That averages out to 14 goals allowed per game, putting them 62nd in Division I in that category. The Terp offense shouldn’t have too much trouble scoring on Saturday.
Three things to watch
1. Can Maryland redeem its loss to Albany last season? When these teams met last season, Maryland and Albany were ranked No. 2 and No. 1. The squads are in different positions this time around, but the Terps definitely will be looking to avenge last season’s loss and rebound from their loss last week.
2. Will Albany be well-rested enough? Much like the position Maryland was in earlier this season, Albany will be playing two games in five days after losing to UMass on Tuesday and having to play again on Saturday. It helps that both of their games will be played at home, but having to play an opponent like Maryland on short rest is a difficult task.
3. Can the Danes turn their season around? Albany was one of the best teams in the country last season but hasn’t got off to the start it was hoping for in 2019. With an opportunity to play against a top-10 team at home, it could be an opportunity for the Danes to get a big win and start working their way back to the national picture.