After dropping its first contest of the season, No. 7 Maryland men’s lacrosse expected to have a quick turnaround and face Navy only a few days later. But the game was postponed as some Navy players were suffering from the Norovirus.
Nine whole days after the loss, the Terps will have the chance to redeem themselves against No. 5 Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish beat the Terps 14-13 in an overtime thriller in South Bend last season.
“I do think playing that game made us better and revealed things we could do better,” head coach John Tillman said. “It gave certain guys some confidence that they could compete against a really good team.”
The Terps will look to get back into the win column on Saturday at 1 p.m. in College Park.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-0, 0-0 ACC)
2019 record: (9-7, 2-2 ACC)
Head coach Kevin Corrigan’s Notre Dame squad made waves in the 2019 NCAA Tournament after a disappointing regular season, beating Johns Hopkins before losing to Duke in OT. Corrigan is the longest tenured coach in college lacrosse, in his 32nd season with the program.
Players to know
Pat Kavanagh, freshman attack, 5’10, 165 lbs, No. 51. Kavanagh may only be a freshman, but he is the age of a sophomore after playing a postgraduate year at The Taft School. Kavanagh has been a stud in his first two games, totaling a team-high 12 points.
Kavanagh is around the net often, constantly peppering the opposing goalie with shots. He has a team-high seven goals, thanks to a team-high 20 shots.
The freshman comes from a prominent lacrosse family too; his brother Matt plays for the Redwoods of the Premier Lacrosse League, while Brendan is on the Outlaws of Major League Lacrosse.
Jack Kielty, senior defenseman, 6’2, 208 lbs, No. 10. Kielty is just one of many experienced members on this Notre Dame defense. A preseason All-American, Kilety has started every game since his sophomore season. As a junior, he scooped a career-high 50 ground balls and forced 10 turnovers.
In last season’s victory, Kielty played a crucial role in slowing down Terps offensive star Jared Bernhardt. He also scooped a team-high five ground balls in that game.
Liam Entenmann, freshman goalie, 6’3, 192 lbs, No. 44. Entenmann is also only a freshman, but don’t let his age fool you. The New York native is off to a great start in net for Notre Dame. In two games, he’s allowed just seven goals, while saving 16 shots.
Entenmann’s rise shouldn’t be too surprising. He was the No. 1 goalie in the class of 2019, according to Inside Lacrosse. Entenmann was selected to the Under Armour All-American Senior team as well as the U.S. Men’s U19 National Team.
The Terps will need their dynamic offense to play at their peak on Saturday against this elite goalkeeper.
Defense. Through Notre Dame’s first two games, opposing teams are having a brutal time scoring on the team. The aforementioned Kielty and Entenmann have been a big part of the Fighting Irish’s defensive success, but the group is a complete unit on that end.
Junior Arden Cohen is in his third season as a starter for the Irish on defense and was named a preseason All-American. Charlie Trense, a graduate student, is the third defensive starter and has plenty of experience.
The same Richmond team that allowed the Terps to score 13 goals could only scratch five against Notre Dame.
“Notre Dame’s a really athletic team. They play buttoned up as a group. You can tell they have very core principles,” junior attackman Anthony DeMaio said. “They stick to those principles and you kinda just gotta work them. You’re not gonna get it in the first five seconds of the possession.”
Big game experience. Notre Dame has some impressive young talent, but some of their young stars haven’t been tested yet.
The annual contest with Maryland is typically a higher level than some of the other nonconference games the team might play. While the Irish veterans will be ready, it remains to be seen how Kavanagh and Entenmann will respond to the intensity of the matchup. Maryland has played four games already this seen while Notre Dame has only played two, which could benefit the Terps.
Three Things to Watch
1. How does Maryland respond to the long layoff? Typically in college lacrosse, teams play every Saturday so there is a consistent rhythm. But the Terps went from playing on a Tuesday to waiting nine days for another contest
On top of that, Maryland suffered an upset loss at the hands of Villanova in its last time out. How the Terps respond to the loss and long wait will say a lot about this developing squad. Some veterans like DeMaio have experienced a loss, but it was the first career defeat for the freshmen.
“Just let it go. Villanova’s a good team. Midweek games are pretty weird,” DeMaio said. “No one needs to grab their stick tighter, none of that. We’re fine. I think that there’s things we could improve upon and guys have been good with that, recognizing that not everything’s gonna be perfect all the time.”
2. Does the Terps’ defense find its rhythm? Maryland’s offense has had no problems scoring early this season, but the defense has yet to really step up. They have allowed double-digit goals in every game. Saturday’s game should be no easier as the Fighting Irish average 15 goals per game.
Some of the Terps’ early defensive struggles could be because of some different players in the lineup. Sophomore Brett Makar is the only returning starter. Senior Nick Grill has some experience, but not as a Terp as he transferred in just this year.
“It’s always a work in progress. Obviously I think everyone knows we’re a new group , relatively new pieces everywhere,” senior defender Nick Grill said. “We’re still figuring out what we do best, figuring out everybody’s tendencies and that’s an ongoing process even late into the season.”
The extra practice time could have given the Terps defense time to gel and find that rhythm. They are going to need the best defensive outing from the Terps on Saturday.
3. Can Maryland avoid another slow start? The Terps have been trailing in at least the second quarter of every game and down multiple goals in the fourth quarter of the past three. Maryland was able to flip the switch in its first three games, but it caught up to them against Villanova.
Notre Dame is arguably the most talented team the Terps will have seen in the young season. Maryland will need to play a complete fourth quarter game on all ends. Winning faceoffs, scooping ground balls and forcing turnovers for 60 minutes will be needed if the Terps want to pick up their biggest win of the season.