Postgame Quotes - #7 Maryland 12, Navy 6

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Postgame quotes following No. 7 Maryland's 12-6 victory over Navy at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium.

Maryland Head Coach John Tillman
Opening Statement:
“I’m very proud of and happy for our players to get a victory today on Senior Day. Every game is really important, but the last home game for a bunch of guys, especially for the guys who have invested a lot in this program is always special. I’m really proud of the whole team with the effort they put forth all week to get prepared, but also the effort today. Navy is such a hard-nosed, disciplined team, tough; they’re going to fight you and they certainly did today. That team doesn’t quit. We knew at halftime we would have to come out strong to try to get the W; they’re very well coached. I’m proud of how hard we played on the ground. The groundballs speak for themselves; to go 46-25 is a lot of effort. Jay Carlson with seven, and obviously Charlie [Raffa]’s day at the X, and Michael Ehrhardt’s play were great, but a lot of other guys were good too. A lot of things that we need to get better at and we will have to improve upon, but for 24 hours I want our kids to enjoy the moment and enjoy that they’ve done a lot of great things this season and there have been a lot of sacrifices, a lot of effort put forth. I’m happy for those guys to enjoy the moment today and really pay tribute to those young men.”

On what this year’s seniors have contributed
“It’s hard to put into words. I think for me what the senior class has meant to our program , it’s hard to put into words what they’ve meant to the coaches and myself personally, without me getting emotional, because these guys have all sacrificed so much. Mike Chanenchuk came in late and he’s done a lot on the offensive end. You look what these seniors have done, the way they carried themselves, the way they’ve handled their business off the field, in the classroom and the community service they’ve done, but the energy and the passion they play with can carry over to the younger guys. I think they’ve done a great job in terms of what people see when they look at our program. I think there are a lot of great things because of who we are and the way they’ve done their business.”

On if he wants to continue to play Navy next year:
“I think our goal is to keep it going. It is pretty important for a lot of people around here and I think these guys can understand just having been in it. We understand the importance and the history of the rivalry. We will do everything we can to try to do it.”

Senior Goalie Niko Amato
On playing on Senior Day
“Senior day is always weird, but I just have to give a lot of credit to my defense and the coaches and the game plan. The defense played awesome today in front of me. They really held Navy’s offense in check in terms of what we wanted to see and not giving up easy shots. Also, all week we got great looks from our scout team guys and seniors like Quinn Haley and some other guys who may have not stepped in the game as much, but it was a full team effort and I think it speaks a lot about our team to band together and get over that emotional hump, play a tough game, and come out with a win.”

On what playing with fellow Senior Brian Cooper has meant to him:
“Brian is like a brother to me. He brings intensity every practice, a chip on his shoulder every game, and he has a sense of swagger that comes to the defense. He’s just a high-energy guy and allows some of the other guys to feed off him. You see him in the middle of the field making plays, getting the ball on the ground. He takes a lot of pride in not getting beat and when you have great short-stick middies, it makes your defense a full unit.”

Junior Attackman Jay Carlson
On playing more in today’s game:
“Our team has a lot of talent, so game in and game out we can change up the personnel depending on who we are playing against and how they play defense. If I am going to be the fourth attack man and not go in as much as before, then whatever works I will do. Today Mike Chanenchuk was out so I had to start at attack again so I resumed my leadership role. I know the game and I know the game plan very well. There are a lot of younger guys out there and you need to teach them to play fast but still play smart and that is still something to improve on.”

Senior Midfielder Brian Cooper
On playing with fellow Senior Niko Amato:
“It gives our defense a lot of confidence and having a goalie like Niko. Even as good as we are or think we are, he’s always there to clean up every mistake we make and he’s very good at it. He allows us to get out in transition with his outlets and he’s just a great leader. He’s vocal and never down on himself. If a defenseman messes up and his guy scores, Niko is never the guy to call someone out. He’s always like, ‘Oh, I should have saved the ball’. That’s his mindset every time the ball comes at the net, so I think that’s a great approach and that mentality has spread through our defense where there’s accountability. But, having him there to clean up mistakes is awesome.”

Navy Head Coach Rick Sowell
On the rebound goals:
“That’s one of the things John [Connors] needs to work on in the offseason. He knows that and he understands that and I think [Niko Amato] is outstanding. He catches it and throws it out, and we want John to be like that someday. John made some very good stops, but that’s just what they were; they were stops. It’s tough, but he’ll get better.”

On their extra man offense struggles:
“It’s just small things, whether it’s a missed shot or a bad decision or poor execution. We tried to keep it as basic as we can. We had some opportunities, but it’s just one of those things. We are going to put it under a microscope during the offseason and we have to do much better next year. Offensively, we have to find a way to score more goals. Not just six on six, but also extra-man and transition. That was a goal this year, and we probably accomplish as much in that regard, but that’s something we will continue to work on.”

On his seniors:
“I can’t say enough about them. We were in a much different place a year ago at this time. They could have gone a number of different ways, but they were as committed as I was to getting this thing right. Save from our losses, everything we have accomplished in our last 365 days is because of our seniors. If you told me that we’d be here, in this place, a year ago, I probably wouldn’t have bet a lot of money on it. I told them, they are going to be wherever they are, leading our country and defending our country, and when we have success on the field next year and in the next couple of years, they are going to know that they were a big part of it, with building the foundation and setting the tone for this program. I can’t say enough good things about the seniors and the respect that I have for them.”

Senior Attackman Tucker Hull
On how it feels for this to have been his last game:
“We’re leaving the young guys in great hands with our coaches and assistant coaches. For us, as seniors, it’s clichéd, but it is pretty bittersweet. But at the same time, we are all pretty excited to get out there and do our job, which is what we came here to do. Lacrosse has always been on the backburner to academics and, of course, to the military aspect of our school. We have kids going out to Coronado, kids going out to Quantico, and kids going to fly jets, so we have a pretty impressive group of seniors and it was great to be part of it.”