Maryland’s offense has scored in a variety of ways this season including off transition, unsettled situations and methodical passing.
That multidimensional and versatile attack has brought Maryland (8-0, B1G) hordes of success this season, orchestrating at least a six-goal run nine times this season, including one in each game.
Last week against Michigan was the crown jewel of those runs as the Terps blitzed the Wolverines with 16 consecutive goals in route to a 18-12 victory. The run helped Maryland climb out of unfamiliar territory as it surrendered the first five goals of the contest and trailed 5-0 in the opening eight minutes.
However, the subsequent 36:33 showcased why the Terps are the top team in the country with a blend of suffocating defense and explosive offense.
Entering this weekend’s matchup against the Buckeyes, Maryland will look to avoid starting slow, although the offense’s prolonged goal-scoring capability is certainly a nice luxury to have.
“It’s something we’ve talked about with the guys, it’s great to go on those runs,” head coach John Tillman said. “I think what we’re trying to search for is just consistency during the game and really to play a full 60 minutes. So, it’s good to have, we just don’t want to get into a false sense of ‘hey it’s just going to happen,’. It’s so many things coming together when you get those runs.”
In the first meeting between the two teams, Maryland used one of its patented runs to build some separation. After the Buckeyes and Terps exchanged goals, Maryland put together a 6-0 run pushing its lead to 7-1 in the middle of the second quarter.
However, in that first matchup the Buckeyes were without midfielder Ryan Terefenko, one of the leaders of the team. Last week against Johns Hopkins, Terefenko notched a hat-trick adding another element to an already dangerous Ohio State offense.
“Ohio State now that Terefenko is back they get arguably the lightning rod of their team, kind of the heart and soul,” Tillman said. He does so many things, playing defense and then running transition. He’s a lot to account for and I know he means a lot to them.”
The attack tandem of Jack Myers and Trey LeClaire spearheads that unit. LeClaire has one of the most prolific outside shots in college lacrosse but was held in check in the first meeting with just one goal and one assist.
Maryland’s defense won’t be able to afford some of the early uncharacteristic miscommunications that allowed Michigan’s offense to have some early success offensively. However, the Terps quickly rectified those issues holding Michigan scoreless for the ensuing 36:33, as goalie Logan McNaney also found a rhythm.
Just like the offense, Maryland’s defense is still searching for a complete 60-minute effort, despite its immaculate record. Avoiding complacency has been a key mantra for Maryland down the stretch of this season and that doesn’t change against an Ohio State team that will be hungry to vanquish the Terps’ undefeated record and avoid a sweep in the regular season series.
“Just making sure that we’re doing the simple things, I think we’ve been focused on doing the simple things better,” Nick Grill said.
With a victory against the Buckeyes on Sunday the Terps will move one game closer to regular season perfection, clinching a 9-0 record for the first time since 1987. The opening faceoff begins at 5 p.m. and the game will air on the Big Ten Network.
“While it’s definitely an honor to be the No. 1 team in the country, we think we have a lot of extra work to do and a lot more things to improve on,” Grill said.