Maryland men’s lacrosse sophomore attacker Danny Maltz can remember very clearly what it was like to be on the receiving end of countless shots while playing keeper for his older brothers, Derek and Dylan, in games of mini-lacrosse growing up.
Danny could barely stop a shot. The two future D1 attackmen took turns finding the back of the net on their younger brother after Danny begrudgingly took on the role as the siblings’ designated goaltender. And as his brothers practiced offense on their unwilling younger brother, Danny grew more frustrated at his role but ultimately inspired to be just like Dylan and Derek — an attacker.
“They would pepper me and it would just piss me off kind of,” Danny told Testudo Times. “And now it was just like, I just want to be [like] them — shooting. I want to play offense. And then I kind of was like, I’m never gonna play goalie, ever since then.”
The results? Danny has become the most efficient scorer on the nation’s best offense in just his second year of play. On the surface, his ascendence is a continuation of his efforts in his freshman year. Peel back a few layers, and much of his accomplishments have been aided by the guidance of his brother, Dylan.
While he was a Terp from 2015-17, Dylan provided meaningful counsel for Danny as he blossomed in high school. Film sessions, offensive pointers and the like became important fixtures in his high school career. He watched his brother play too. He’d take notes and watch Dylan perform in the crease, hoping to replicate his playstyle. And in the offseason, Dylan walked Danny through drills, looking to enhance his raw talent and develop second nature abilities.
“In the offseason every time I’m going out to shoot on the field, [Dylan] would come with me,” Danny said, “And he would run me through drills that he would do so I would just have those drills in the back of my head and always work on those and just kind of live up to what he did.”
Beyond taking away plenty of the on the field idiosyncrasies akin to Maryland lacrosse from his brother, Danny became familiar with the storied culture of the program — which his brother added to with the 2017 National Championship. And before officially tying the knot with the Terps, Danny quickly bought into Maryland’s trademark ‘Be the Best’ mantra. The stories and praise that Dylan had for the program proved indelible, making the final choice of which college to play for especially easy.
It was a decision Danny remembers well. Sitting on his couch mulling over his options with his brother beside him. After all of his school visits and a conversation with head coach John Tillman, he was sold.
“I was sitting on the couch with my brother and I looked at him and I was like, ‘I want to be a Terp, man,’” Danny said.
A proclamation Dylan responded with, “It’s the best decision you’ll ever make.”
In just his freshman year, despite being on the back end of a particularly stacked freshman class, Danny quickly found a role on Maryland’s hot offense. The small-bodied three-star prospect in the fall had turned into the, still scrawny, but proven underclassmen with loads of potential by the time Maryland’s 2020 campaign abruptly ended.
“If you had told me in the fall of 2019 that Danny would have been playing as much as he did in the spring of 2020, I’d give you an interesting look,” Tillman said. “In the offseason he was a guy we’d been on about (jokingly), ‘Go to the buffet a couple times, don’t be afraid to order a second portion, put on some weight.’”
Danny would heed the words of his coach and commit to a rigorous workout regimen — one involving lifting and shooting six days a week topped off with an unusual meal plan.
There were no buffets, but instead, late night face-stuffing sessions involving loaded peanut butter and jelly bagels chased with hearty glasses of milk became the norm during quarantine for Danny. And Dylan was once again, right by his side, making sure his younger brother ate enough and didn’t overwork himself.
“[Dylan] was definitely pushing me but I just wanted to keep pushing myself,” Danny said. “I got that competitive edge.”
Danny’s drive was evident over the summer, as his exhaustive lifting habits raised some eyes from his brother. Dylan responded by doing what he had done throughout Danny’s entire lacrosse journey: he provided guidance.
Of course, by virtue of his youth and his persistence to gain weight, Danny initially disregarded the advice of his brother, insisting his growth was more important than allowing his muscles to rest. Eventually, he gave in, chugged his milk and scarfed down peanut butter and jelly bagels to assist his weight gain journey.
Nearly 10 months and about 20 pounds later, Danny returned to College Park with a better filled frame and an improved skillset. Shortly thereafter, the culmination of his quarantine grind was on full display during Maryland’s 2021 season opener against Michigan.
Danny had put in the work in the offseason, now the offense worked for him. The attention was on Maryland’s more heralded, seasoned names, including the likes of Jared Bernhardt, Logan Wisnauskas and Anthony DeMaio — all Danny had to do was find his spots and finish. He did so with staggering success.
Danny found the back of the net five times that afternoon, and with each strike past Michigan’s goaltender, his role became clearer. Whether he was on the receiving end of a cut or the beneficiary of a man-up offense, Danny did one thing: he got the ball and scored efficiently. From range, in front of the crease or in stride — it didn’t matter. Dodging and moving with the ball, both strong units of his repertoire, weren’t necessary against Michigan or for the games that would follow.
Evidently, it wasn’t too much of a departure from what Dylan did just four years before. Colin Heacock and Matt Rambo were Dylan’s running mates, a three pronged attack the Terps took all the way to the national championship in 2017. It was also an attack that served to benefit Dylan’s production, allowing him to post 29 goals with a 45% shot percentage that season.
He finished his Maryland career with 69 goals and 89 points in three seasons, also named to the 2017 All-NCAA Tournament team, and now plays for the Whipsnakes in the Premier Lacrosse League.
But if you ask Dylan, he thinks his brother is better.
“Dan’s a sophomore, but he’s already far past me in terms of his skill,” Dylan told Testudo Times. “I mean, he’s got a lot softer hands, he can shoot the ball better, he’s probably a little smarter on the field. So comparing him to me, I think he’s a lot, a lot better than I was, and he’s a lot further past where I was at my senior year.”
And there is evidence to support the sentiment. Aside from being second on the team in goals with 21 and having the third most points at the season’s midpoint, Danny converts over 65% of his shots — enough for the second best shot percentage of the nation — while firing five a game and has shown a considerable ability to finish with both hands and stretch the field with his shot. He also has had a hat trick in five games.
“He has a really good knack for finding space inside,” DeMaio said, “His shot’s great … he communicates on the field ... and I think that’s something we feed off of.”
Still, there’s a long way to go. Even as Dan has garnered national attention, he still FaceTimes his older brother seeking the same counsel and loving kinship he has received all his life, hoping to further his skills on the field or just chat with his older brother.
“He just needs to stay the course, keep finishing the ball, and most importantly, have fun while he’s doing it,” Dylan said. “Because you work so hard in the offseason, you got to enjoy games because the season goes by quick, and before you know it you’re going to be graduated.”
Danny has every right to enjoy it; the mini-lacrosse days are over and he’s dominating on a massive stage. Danny Maltz is no longer the small guy between the posts, or in the front six — he’s a force on the attack. And he has his brother to thank for that.
“Without him I don’t know where I would be,” Danny said.