By Thomas Pullano
A grin appeared on Matt Rambo’s face as he shook his head. The senior Maryland attack man, who had just broken the school’s all-time record for points, had just been asked if this was what he envisioned when he signed with Maryland years ago. Rambo, almost in awe of what he had just achieved, answered, “No. I never really thought this day would come.”
The day did come though in the final regular season game of Rambo’s historic Maryland career. Before the opening faceoff in the Terps’ big top-ten matchup versus longtime rival Johns Hopkins, Rambo sat in third place on the school’s all-time points list with 226. He needed six points to break Bob Boneillo’s record and move atop the list. Boneillo had tallied 231 points in his career with the Terps—a mark that had claimed the top spot in the Maryland record books since 1980.
They say records are meant to be broken though. While it took a while—37 years to be exact—for this record to fall, it didn’t take Rambo very long in the game to capture it. Less than three minutes into the second quarter, Rambo came across the middle of the box and fired a bouncer that beat Hopkins goalie Brock Turnbaugh and found the top of the cage. It was the eighth goal of the night for the Terps. It was the second of the day for Rambo. And it was his illustrious 232nd point. The record was now his all alone.
Acknowledging the amazing feat after the game, the humble Rambo made sure to thank the people who helped get him to this point.
“It’s special to me, but I gotta thank all the teammates that I’ve played with over the last four years, the scout guys, all the coaches for just developing me as a player,” Rambo said.
Johns Hopkins head coach Dave Pietramala had high praise for the new Maryland all-time leading scorer.
“He’s a terrific player,” Pietramala said. “He’s the most unsung player in the country in my opinion.”
Maryland head coach John Tillman also gave Rambo praise but emphasized that individual records don’t mean all that much in the grand scheme of things.
“Obviously it says that Matt’s been doing a good job for all four years,” Rambo. “He’s been very consistent. But I think Matt would be the first one to tell you that a big part of what has made this program successful is guys don’t really talk about or focus on records. So like I said it’s something that is, you know you look at all the great players that have come through, what they all probably have in common is that they just wanted to win. They wanted to be the best that they could be. Whoever got the points, no one really cares. I think Matt’s one of those guys too. As long as we’re winning, it doesn’t really matter.”
And win is exactly what the Terps did Saturday night, and they did it easily. Behind Rambo’s six early points and four Connor Kelly goals, Maryland raced out to an 8-0 start in front of a huge Maryland Stadium crowd, and the Terps never looked back. Despite the Blue Jays doubling up the Terps in faceoff wins, their offense was unable to get much going against Maryland’s steady defense. The Terps would only score four goals after Rambo’s record breaking point, but they still won by a wide margin, 12-5.
Pietramala was candid when discussing Maryland’s hot start.
“I would tell you in the first quarter we got overwhelmed,” Pietramala said. “You know I thought number one you give credit to them. They are an outstanding…that’s the best team we’ve played this year, bar none.”
He added, “That was the most complete team we’ve played, and the most balanced team we’ve played.”
With the win and Ohio State’s loss earlier in the day to Rutgers, the Terps won the Big Ten regular season title outright and clinched the number one overall seed for the Big Ten tournament next weekend in Columbus.
Rambo, who added one more goal later in the day to finish with a hat trick, could also become Maryland’s all-time leader in goals as he now sits only seven behind Joe Walters. He’ll have however long Maryland’s postseason lasts to vault himself to the top. Listening to Tillman after the game though, one gets the sense Rambo and this Terps team have other more important goals on their mind.