Men's Lacrosse Blog: Under The Dome

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The Terps are off to a 2-0 start and have been impressive getting there, but the competition gets even tougher as Maryland opens its 2014 conference slate with its first trip to the Carrier Dome since 1983 to take on Syracuse on Saturday. We will take a look at the Orange in this week’s Maryland Men’s Lacrosse Blog, as well as delving further into the dominating performance of the Terrapin defense in the first two weeks and a look at some history with freshman hat tricks.

Let’s get to it …

Syracuse Preview
First up this week is the highly anticipated showdown in the dome vs. the Syracuse Orange on Saturday, Feb. 22. Faceoff is set for 1 p.m. and the game will be televised on the Time Warner Cable SportsChannel in the Syracuse and Albany/Hudson Valley areas.

Syracuse is 2-0 following an impressive season-opener vs. Siena and a thrilling overtime win over Albany on Sunday.

The Orange is averaging 18.0 goals per gamein their two games so far in 2014 and is allowing 11.5 goals per game. However, that goals allowed average is skewed a bit by the 17-16 overtime shootout vs. the Great Danes and the three fourth-quarter goals allowed to the Saints when that game was already decided.

Syracuse boasts a plethora of offensive weapons, beginning with sophomore attackman Dylan Donahue, junior attackman Kevin Rice and junior midfielder/attackman Randy Staats, who was the two-time NJCAA Offensive Player of the Year at Onondaga Community College.

All Donahue has done so far is score 11 goals, eight of which came in the season opening win vs. Siena, and add three assists. Donahue has been extremely accurate shooting the ball so far in 2014, putting 12 of his 15 shots on cage.

Rice is nearly the exact opposite of Donahue with 10 of his 11 points this season coming on assists. Six of those assists have come off of goals by Donahue.

Staats has adjusted to Division I quickly and led all players in the Albany game with seven points on five goals and two assists, the second of which came on Henry Schoonmaker’s game-winning goal. For the season he has totaled 10 points on six goals and four assists.

The Orange defense is replacing All-American Brian Megill, but have a trio of solid close defenders, including redshirt sophomore Brandon Mullins, who is returning after missing most of 2013 due to a knee injury. As a freshman in 2012, Mullins started the last 10 games of the season and finished with 27 groundballs and 13 caused turnovers.

Mullins has been joined in the starting lineup this season by junior Sean Young, who is in his second season as a starter after transferring in from Towson prior to the 2013 season, and sophomore Bobby Tait, who is a first-year starter after serving as Syracuse’s man-down specialist last year.

Dom Lamolinara, who was a freshman at Maryland in 2011 before transferring to Syracuse for the 2012 season, has started the first two games in net for the Orange, but was replaced at the start of the second half in both games by junior Bobby Wardwell. Lamolinara has a 13.00 goals-against average this season, compared to Wardwell’s 9.96. Wardwell also has the edge in save percentage with .591 compared to Lamolinar’s .519.

One other player for fans to take note of is senior faceoff specialist Chris Daddio. In the Orange’s first two games he has won 34-of-53 draws (.642) with 19 groundballs. An interesting note is also the fact that Syracuse has already picked up three faceoff violation penalties from its opponents, including three in the first half against Albany.

Under The Dome
While Maryland and Syracuse have scrimmaged fairly regularly in the Carrier Dome in recent years, Saturday’s game will be the first regular season game for the Terps in the Carrier Dome, which opened in 1980.

The last time the Terps played the Orange in the regular season was 1983 in the season opener in College Park. Syracuse would win that meeting, 16-13, and would go on to win 13 more en route to the school’s first NCAA title.

One of those victories was a 12-5 win over Maryland in the 1983 semifinals. This was before the combination of the semifinals and finals into a Final Four weekend (which didn’t happen until 1986). That semifinal game was the only other time the Terrapins have played an official game in the Carrier Dome. Among those on the sidelines for the Orange in 1983 was current SU head coach John Desko, who was in his fourth season as an assistant coach under the legendary Roy Simmons Jr.

Since then, the Terps and Orange have met five times – all of them coming in the NCAA tournament. Three of those five games were played in College Park with the most previous two being contested on neutral fields in Hempstead, N.Y. (2009 quarterfinals) and Foxborough, Mass. (2011 quarterfinals).

Overall, Maryland holds a 9-6 advantage in 15 meetings between the two schools.

ACC Opener
This Saturday’s game at the Orange is the earliest ACC opener in history for the Terps.

In fact, the only other times Maryland has opened conference play in February was 2009 when the Terrapins played Duke on Feb. 28 in Baltimore at the Face Off Classic and 1998 when Maryland played at Duke on Feb. 28. The Terps won each of those two games, beating the Blue Devils 11-8 in 2009 and 15-9 in 1998.

Saturday’s game will also make history of a sort for the Terrapins with Maryland facing a team other than Duke in its ACC opener. The last time Maryland opened ACC play vs. a team other than Duke was 1982 when the Terps played at NC State in the Wolfpack’s final season of men’s lacrosse. Maryland defeated NC State, 14-12, on March 13. Jim Wilkerson led the Terps with seven points on four goals and three assists vs. the Wolfpack.

Dominating Defense Part II
Last week we talked about the Terrapin defense’s impressive opener, allowing just three goals to Mount St. Mary’s. All Maryland did for an encore was limit UMBC to three goals in the second game of the season.

We told you last week that Maryland had only held opponents to three goals or less 38 times since 1971. Well, that number is now 39 in 590 total games.

Of the 37 times prior to this season only five times did Maryland hold opponents to three goals or less in consecutive games. The last time the Terps accomplished this feat was 1987 when the Terrapins won at Delaware, 20-3 on April 29, and vs. UMBC, 11-3 on May 2.

Here’s a look at the other four occasions:
1977: at Princeton (13-3, Mar. 17); at Duke (19-2, Mar. 27)
1972: at East Carolina (21-1, Apr. 8); Baltimore (19-3, Apr. 18)
1971: at North Carolina (15-3); at East Carolina (22-2)
1971: at Princeton (19-3); at Baltimore (15-2)

This season is the only time of the six pairs of games that the Terps have limited opponents to three goals or less at home.

Prior to these last two games, the last time the Terps even had two games of holding opponents to three goals or less in a season was 2009 when Maryland opened the season with an 18-3 win vs. Presbyterian in Jacksonville and then winning at Penn, 9-2, at Franklin Field.

Freshman Hat Tricks
Matt Rambo started his Maryland career with six points on four goals and two assists in the season opener vs. Mount St. Mary’s. He then followed that up with a hat trick in the 14-3 win over UMBC on Saturday.

That led to the question of when was the last time a Maryland freshman had consecutive hat tricks.

It wasn’t an overly hard question to find the answer to given the fact that the Terps have had a great deal of talented upperclassmen on the offensive end of the field dating back to 2008 when a trio of freshmen attackmen took the field for the Terrapins.

That season saw a pair of freshmen rack up hat tricks in at least two straight games, beginning with Grant Catalino, who had four goals at Georgetown (Feb. 23) in the season opener and followed that up with three goals and an assist at Mount St. Mary’s (Feb. 25).

But Travis Reed went one step further and netted hat tricks in three-straight games. He had four goals and an assist at the Mount, three goals at Duke (Mar. 1) and three goals vs. Providence (Mar. 3).

Reed would go on to have one more hat trick (three goals and two assists vs. Virginia on Mar. 29), while Catalino would also have one more hat trick in 2008 (four goals and three assists vs. Yale on May 3).

From Catalino’s seven-point outing vs. Yale in 2008 to Rambo’s six points vs. Mount St. Mary’s the only other Maryland freshmen to get a hat trick in a game was 2010 when John Haus had three goals vs. North Carolina in the ACC tournament semifinals.

Game-by-game stats haven’t been saved since the 1998 season, so the following list can only go back to then, but here’s a look at recent freshman hat tricks:

Andrew Combs (1 in 1998): 3-0=3 vs. Towson, Mar. 7
Mike LaMonica (1 in 1999): 3-0=3 vs. Penn State, Mar. 17
Mike Mollot (1 in 2000): 3-4=7 vs. Hofstra, May 14 (NCAA first round)
Dan LaMonica (3 in 2001): 3-1=4 vs. Duke, Mar. 4; 3-1=4 vs. Johns Hopkins, Apr. 14; 3-1=4 vs. Virginia, Apr. 20 (ACC semifinals)
Joe Walters (6 in 2003): 4-1=5 at Towson, Mar. 8; 4-2=6 vs. Bucknell, Mar. 11; 4-0=4 vs. Butler, Mar. 25; 3-1=4 at Virginia, Mar. 29; 4-0=4 at Navy, Apr. 5; 3-1=4 vs. UMBC, Apr. 25
Grant Catalino (3 in 2008): 4-0=4 at Georgetown, Feb. 23; 3-1=4 at Mount St. Mary’s, Feb. 26; 4-3=7 vs. Yale, May 3
Travis Reed (4 in 2008): 4-1=5 at Mount St. Mary’s, Feb. 26; 3-0=3 at Duke, Mar. 1; 3-0=3 vs. Providence, Mar. 3; 3-2=5 vs. Virginia, Mar. 29
John Haus (1 in 2010): 3-0=3 vs. North Carolina, Apr. 23 (ACC semifinals)
Matt Rambo (2 in 2014): 4-2=6 vs. Mount St. Mary's, Feb. 8; 3-0=3 vs. UMBC, Feb. 15

In case you’re wondering, Dan LaMonica’s hat tricks vs. Hopkins and Virginia came in back-to-back games, while Walters had two instances of consecutive hat tricks. His first two (Towson & Bucknell) in 2003 were in back-to-back games and the next three (Butler, Virginia & Navy) also came in successive games.

Wrapping Up
That does it for this week’s blog. We hope it gave you a good primer for this Saturday’s game at Syracuse, as well as some other interesting information.

If you’re not in an area that will get the game on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel (and that’s probably most of you), updated will be posted on the official Maryland Men’s Lacrosse accounts on Twitter and Facebook, so be sure to “Follow” and “Like”.

If you’re in the area or making the trip to Syracuse you can get tickets to the game through Ticketmaster by clicking here. We look forward to seeing you in the Carrier Dome.

As always – Be The Best!