Maryland men's lacrosse was set to open its season with a high-profile match against backyard rival Navy, but after inclement weather postponed the game, the Terps had to settle for opening the season a week later against High Point. Head coach John Tillman said that keeping his players focused despite the delay was like trying to contain "a bunch of caged animals."
When the game-ready Terps took the field against High Point, it's possible they let that pent up anticipation behind the scenes deter them from what was happening on the field.
Maryland's offense looked stagnant, while their traditionally suffocating defense let up two early goals. Once their nerves settled down, the Terps slid into a rhythm reminiscent of the squad that travelled to the NCAA Championship game just a season ago.
"It's our first game, were going to have some ups and downs," goalie Kyle Bernlohr said before practice Wednesday. "We went back to the game plan, got the early feels out of our way. It's always good to get the first one out of the way."
Bernlohr chalked up their improved effort to just what "being a Terp" is about.
"We want to be tough, we want to be physical, we want to be the most impressive team out there," Bernlohr said.
Maryland figured out a way to win in its season opener, but the most important thing for the team is to keep up that higher level of play and passion. Expectations are high for this championship-caliber team, but the Terps won't reach their potential if comebacks become a necessary facet for every game.
The Terps are fully capable of getting back to the season finale; they certainly have the tools and pedigree to do so. The High Point victory was a great "character" building win, giving them their first taste of having to come from behind. However, Maryland will need to bring more than that to get through a tough slate of non-conference games.
Especially this weekend, with the Terps traveling to New Haven to matchup with the Yale team they downed in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last year.
"Were not thinking about the past or the future," junior attacker Matt Rambo said.
Time will tell with this Maryland team, but if it can bring the same energy it brought in the second half against High Point, there shouldn't be a problem.
"I'm not going to bluff and say we're going to be a ‘blah blah blah' team," Rambo said. "I can't tell you how the future looks for us, all I know is that we're focused on Yale."