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Previewing the 2020 Maryland men’s lacrosse season

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The Terps will look to avenge their heartbreaking finish to last year’s campaign.

Maryland men’s lacrosse vs. Bucknell Lila Bromberg / Testudo Times

After suffering a heartbreaking loss at the hands of Virginia in the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals, Maryland men’s lacrosse is gearing up for action with the 2020 season starting Saturday against High Point.

The Terps, who led that quarterfinal game against the Cavaliers by five goals, return their top four scorers amongst an experienced roster that is looking to bring a championship back to College Park for the first time since 2017.

Here’s how the Terps shape up.

Key players lost

Defensively, head coach John Tillman will have to adjust after losing two staples of his program. Defenseman Curtis Corley graduated after a stellar senior season, as did goalie Danny Dolan, who started for Maryland last year.

Corley started every game his final three seasons for the Terps, earning plenty of honors. Last season was his best as he scooped 19 ground balls while forcing eight turnovers on his way to First Team All-Big Ten honors. Replacing Corley will be no easy task, but senior Jack Welding and sophomore Brett Makar will have the opportunity to pick up the slack.

Dolan made the most of his one year in goal, starting all 17 games and finishing with a 12-5 record. He saved 191 shots and had a 51.5 save percentage. Though there has been no early indications, junior Drew Morris is viewed as the favorite to replace Dolan. Morris — the second ranked goalie in the class of 2017 — appeared in five games last year and registered three saves.

Also departed is midfielder Nick Brozowski. The long stick midfielder led the team in forced turnovers with nine, while scooping 32 ground balls. Tillman’s squad will also miss Brozowski’s outspokenness and veteran leadership.

On the offensive end, the Terps will have to replace Louis Dubick. Dubick was exceptional playing off of Logan Wisnauskas and Jared Bernhardt, tallying 30 goals and eight assists. Those can be replaced, but his ability to find the middle of the defense and make the right pass will be needed.

Top players returning

Maryland should have no trouble finding the back of the net this season as leading scorers Anthony DeMaio, Bubba Fairman, Wisnauskas and Bernhardt all return.

Wisnauskas had a standout redshirt sophomore season, racking up a team-high 35 assists as he was named a Second Team All-Big Ten selection. Bernhardt is looking to cap an incredible career at Maryland with another strong season. The three-time USILA All-American scored 51 goals for the Terps last season, which is second in program history.

Defensively, the aforementioned Welding and Makar will anchor the Terps on that side of the field with Morris likely protecting the goal. Given the offensive potential of the group, the defense’s ability to lock teams down will be crucial.

Wisnauskas and Fairman are the best returning midfielders, but keep an eye on Roman Puglise. As a sophomore, Puglise appeared in every game and was the team’s best short stick defensive midfielder, winning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week twice.

Newcomers

In the offseason, the Terps added four transfers who all have some experience and should compete for minutes. Jake Higgins (Cleveland State) will add depth in the midfield, while Michael Ubriaco (Villanova) can provide a spark as a long stick midfielder.

Chris Brandau, a transfer from Georgetown, will compete for minutes in net and junior Joel Trucksess, a Lehigh transfer, has some experience as a faceoff specialist.

In addition to the transfers, Tillman also brought in another strong recruiting class which includes four top-50 players. Faceoff specialist Conor Calderone leads the group as the No. 16 recruit in the country and a two-time All-American. After winning a ridiculous 93 percent of his face-offs his senior year to lead all of Long Island, Calderone will likely get the opportunity to duplicate that success for the Terps this year.

Logan McNaney is the other top-25 recruit, coming in as the No. 22 player in the country after a terrific senior year in net. While it’s rare for a true freshman to see time at goalie, McNaney was named Under Armour All-American MVP after recording a game-record 16 saves in 28 attempts in the first half of the game.

Dylan Pallonetti and Jack Sawyer are the other two top-50 recruits. Pallonetti started every game of his high school career, racking up 227 points, and could see time at attack or midfield. Sawyer, an Ellicott City, Maryland, native, also played in the Under Armour All-American game and could spend time at attack or midfield.

Looking ahead

After its home opener against High Point Saturday, Maryland will face Richmond — a team that almost erased a six goal lead to upset the Terps — and Penn — a team that could have gone a lot differently if it wasn’t for Dolan.

The month of March will be a telling one for the Terps. They’ll get a chance to avenge their loss to Virginia when the Cavaliers come to College Park March 14. Then a few weeks later, they’ll travel to Penn State. Both opponents are expected to be two of the top teams in college lacrosse.

Maryland will then continue on with Big Ten play in April. Ohio State has a promising squad that’ll be put to the test when they come to College Park. And the regular season concludes with a trip up to Homewood Field to battle the always formidable Johns Hopkins.