Postgame Quotes - #7 Maryland 8, Cornell 7

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Postgame quotes following No. 7 seed Maryland’s 8-7 win over Cornell in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Maryland Head Coach John Tillman
Opening Statement:
“First, I just want to say hats off to Cornell. That team is as advertised. They are very tough, they fight you, they play great defense, and they are very skilled. We knew we were going to be in for a battle, and we certainly had one tonight. I am very proud of our players. We did not start very well, and we played very rushed in the first half. I loved our energy, our poise, and our fight, but the game was a little fast for us and we were trying to do things that really weren’t there. That break at halftime was just what we needed to settle down. What I love about this team is really how they have gone about their business since August; their unselfish nature, the work ethic they have shown, and their ability to stick together. Niko [Amato] was stout in goal for us tonight, and Michael Ehrhardt, Brian Cooper, and Charlie Raffa were outstanding in the middle of the field. Because of their energy and their groundball play, we got the ball to the offensive end. Michael Chanenchuk showed so much courage today. It wasn’t an easy matchup for him and he has been hobbled a little bit, but to come out and pick up that tough groundball with nine seconds left and fittingly get the last goal, it is just so much of what this team is – grind and fight and try to get and make the most of second chance opportunities.”

On the plan coming out of the last timeout:
“We looked and knew we didn’t have a lot of time, and we knew we were either going to have to dodge either that top-middle or righty-alley. Because they had not taken away that righty-alley we carried it up. We just ran a simple exchange on the backside with Henry West. If they didn’t slide, Henry was going to shoot it, but we had multiple options, and we thought we had some good people in good sports. Jay Carlson was inside and Michael Chanenchuk is obviously a good shooter, so we just knew we had to do something that was going to be a short-time play.”

On what was said at halftime to inspire the comeback:
“I think everyone was just a little frustrated. We just felt like we didn’t play our best half, but a lot of that had to do with Cornell. We gave up some opportunities, and thank goodness Niko [Amato] played as well as he did in that first half or it could have been worse. We felt like we weren’t getting great looks on net, and when we got them we thought we shot to the goalie’s strength. We told them it’s a game of runs. Just like Cornell’s game last week with Penn. We told them that they have plenty of time and they just have to believe and have to get back to just doing the little things so that eventually enough little things become big things. It is a momentum game, and I felt like those first two goals gave us momentum.

Tyler Adelsberger gave a speech [at halftime]. I thought it was great. He talked about ‘you have 30 minutes left, how are you going to approach it? Is this going to be your last 30 minutes, and is this how you’ll go out?’ or something to that effect. I think it was passionate and I think it came from the heart.”

On what they did differently in the second half to try to stop Matt Donovan:
Goran Murray is one of the best. I wouldn’t trade him. There are a couple of fundamental things I think he could have done better, and he chose some tough moments to throw some checks, but when he just sits down and is disciplined he is a tough guy to beat. But Donovan is a great player, and we knew that coming in. We had to pick our poison with them, and we knew if you slide to him some of their guys like [Dan] Lintner and some other guys might get some opportunities and if you don’t slide and he beats you, he can get some opportunities. We said today if we can hold them to seven we would win, but we have to improve.”

Freshman Attackman Matt Rambo
On if it felt like goals were hard to come by in the first half:
“During halftime and during timeouts, the older guys had the younger guys’ backs, just saying things like ‘don’t worry about, they are going to fall’.”

On the halftime speech by senior Tyler Adelsberger:
“It affected me a lot because he was saying that this could be our last 30 minutes as a team for the rest of your life. I want to go for another three games, so it really affected all of us.”

Senior Goalie Niko Amato
On his first-half performance and Charlie Raffa’s performance on faceoffs:
“We didn’t come out and play our best in the first half. Give Cornell credit, they played a good first half. At halftime, we really looked around and challenged each other. Everyone stepped up and answered the call in the second half. Charlie not only played phenomenally at the faceoff X, but played great toward the end. You could tell [their offense was] getting frustrated, trying to find a balance of when to attack and when to slow it down. Our coaches gave us a great second-half game plan. I’m just so happy to be alive right now.”

Senior Midfielder Mike Chanenchuk
On the game-winning shot:
“I just knew that the clock was winding down. For a goalie it is most difficult when the ball is swinging all the way across, so I just thought if I can catch it and get it off quick I can have the advantage on the goalie, and I guess I just got a little lucky there.”

On if it felt like goals were hard to come by in the first half:
“They are a great defense. We definitely had some great opportunities in the first half, and at halftime we had more shots than they did. We didn’t really look too into the score at that point in the game, because we knew there was so much time left. When you have a goalie like Niko [Amato] and a defense and a faceoff guy like Charlie [Raffa] you will be in the game no matter what the score is. I am really proud of those guys and really proud of how we just stuck together. Matt [Rambo] and Connor [Cannizzaro] grew up before our eyes and became leaders out there today, which was just awesome to see.”

 Cornell Interim Head Coach Matt Kerwick
Opening Statement:
“Well it played out similar to what we thought it would be; we anticipated the game to be a hard fought game until the very end. We knew the groundball play was going to be a huge part of it, it always is. We figured that this would be the type of game that was going to come down to who is playing better defense at the end and who is finishing their chances; there were two very good goalies out there. I thought the keys to things turning around for [Maryland] in the second half were the faceoffs, they did a great job; it was a scrap there. Doug [Tesoriero] was doing a great job for us, but they just seemed to come out with some of those 50-50 groundballs and unfortunately we had a couple turnovers down the stretch that came back to bit us. Love this team; love what they’ve done for Cornell University. They represent it so very well and we’re sorry to see this come to an end for this group because it’s an outstanding group of young men and the senior class did so much for our program, so you can’t say enough about this group. I wish all the luck to Maryland moving forward; they’re an excellent team, they play hard, and they’re very well coached. We have a lot of respect for Maryland.”

On what the possession strategy was in the second half
“Well, you always want to protect the lead, but I don’t think we really changed our game plan. We were still going, I just don’t think we had the ball that much. They did a good job getting it off the ground and it seemed like a lot of the calls were going their direction and was creating opportunities for them and that just gave them more time with the ball. They are a very patient offensive group, so I don’t know what the time of possession was but I’m sure it was heavily favored in their direction the second half. You just can’t let a team like that play so much offense. Again, we had a couple of untimely turnovers that I think really hurt us, but again it was exactly what we expected in terms of the pace of the game, the intensity of the game, and unfortunately they got the last possession and were able to capitalize.”

Junior Attack Matt Donovan
On what he was seeing from Maryland defender Goran Murray:
“Goran is a great defender. We watch a lot of film, Coach K watches a lot of film; our whole coaching staff watches a lot of film since I’ve been at Cornell. They tell me things that Goran does and throughout practice last week we just prepared very well. The way you practice is the way you’re going to play in these types of games. I just felt that I got a step on him; I’m a little quicker I thought. He’s a little stronger, but this game is a quickness game and I felt pretty good. I had a pretty good day but I would trade zero goals and zero assists for a win.”

Freshman Goalie Christian Knight
On the success Maryland had in the second half:
“A couple times they would pick behind the goal and just get a step around and that worked in their favor. We did a very good job playing defense, but they shot pretty well off the screen too, around defenders, especially on the last one. I’m not really sure what they did to change it up. They were getting closer shots; just playing well.”

On what he attributes his success to today:
“I felt pretty good about seeing the ball, but our defense was phenomenal, holding them to a lot of outside shots and really good on the checks inside. If they fed it inside they wouldn’t allow them to shoot many other places other than high, which is good to see from a goalie.”

Senior Defenseman Tom Freshour
On what he takes away from this season:
“It was an up and down ride. We started off real hot and dropped three in the middle of the season. We kind of got it back together, we had the opportunity here and I think we let it slip through our fingers. We played really well in the first half. I think the discipline in the second half and kind of throughout the game slowed us down a little, but a couple too many penalties I think really hurt us and just a couple mental errors there that usually we don’t usually do. That’s really what hurt us and gave them the momentum. All their guys getting up and cheering, it’s tough to see that; kind of tough going on the groundballs in the second half and they kind of just stole the momentum and that’s where it goes. As a senior, it’s just tough to see how it ends. My career is over here, but I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of this program and this team for the past year.”