Each week during the 2013-14 season a Maryland student-athlete, who has shown excellence on and off the playing field, will be selected as the Solomon Eye Associates Terp of the Week. This week's Solomon Eye Associates Terp of the Week is junior Charlie Raffa of the Maryland men’s lacrosse team.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Men's lacrosse faceoff specialist Charlie Raffa was the catalyst for the Terps in their break-away, 16-8, victory at No. 2 Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. The junior won a career best 19 faceoffs in 26 attempts (an amazing .731 winning percentage) to spark Maryland to its first win ever over the Orange in the Dome.
“Charlie got into a pretty good groove," Maryland coach John Tillman said after the game. "Any time you can get possessions, it just allows you to get into a rhythm offensively.”
Raffa not only controlled the game for the Terps at the faceoff X, he was also a threat when the ball was in his stick as he scored a career-best two goals, both of which came in Maryland’s 10-goal second quarter.
“It was amazing,” said midfielder Mike Chanenchuk, one of nine Terps to score in the victory, told the Diamondback. “Everyone on our team knows the potential that Charlie has each game, so seeing him get a few goals, it really lifts the whole team up.”
Raffa also tied his career-best with 11 groundballs vs. the Orange, which was nearly one-third of Maryland’s total of 36 for the game. Overall, the Terps dominated Syracuse on the ground, 36-17.
His brilliance at the faceoff X can also be directly seen in the disparity in shots. For the game, Maryland outshot Syracuse 55-32.
"Every time I went out there I was thinking, 'I can't jump the whistle this time,' but at the same time you're trying to get on the whistle," Raffa told LaxMagazine.com.
Raffa will have another challenge this Saturday when the No. 2 Terrapins host No. 1 Duke at noon at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium. For most of the afternoon he will look across the midfield stripe and see Blue Devil senior Brendan Fowler, who set an NCAA record last season for faceoffs won.
But the two are hardly strangers since they faced off against each other in high school, with Raffa's St. Anthony's (N.Y.) team annually competing with Fowler's Chaminade (N.Y.) team in the Long Island Catholic league rivalry and the two even worked with the same faceoff instructor, Matt Schomburg.
Raffa summed up this week’s challenge by simply stating, “It will be a fun faceoff battle.”