The first day (and second by the time this is posted) of practice is in the books and the 2010 season has officially begun for the Maryland men's lacrosse team. National championships are not won on the 18th of January, but everything has to start somewhere.
So, how did 2010 start for the Terps? Early. There were no classes on Monday because of the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, so the Terps were able to get on the field at 1 p.m. The early start also made for great weather with temps in the mid 40s and sunshine throughout practice.
Here are some other observations:
• Maryland is a much more experienced team this season. The freshmen and sophomores from the past two years are now juniors and seniors. They have taken ownership of this team now and looked to have an ease about them during practice. They know the drills and the routines and are comfortable with everything that's going on.
• The team, as a whole, seems to be in good physical condition. No one seemed to struggle with the runs and the drills were run through at a brisk pace.
• No major injuries occurred on day one, but there were a few Terps nursing nagging injuries. As loyal readers know, we don't disclose specific injuries here, but we try to give a general idea of the team's health.
• The two injury concerns from 2009 -- Brian Farrell and Brian Phipps -- were both on the field and looked good. Farrell was terrific and during one full-field drill led a break off of a turnover and promptly scored a goal. As he took the outlet pass one unidentified freshman on the sideline was heard saying, "How did he get out there so fast?" Phipps was good during drills (many of which are not designed to make a goalie look good), looked to have good lateral movement and was sharp with his passes. Phipps did take one shot off of his leg and Adam Sear shouted from the sideline, "Welcome back Brian."
• The attack unit appeared very comfortable no matter who was on the field together. Grant Catalino had some good rips, one in particular coming off of a very short wind-up that beat MJ Leonard short-side high over his right shoulder. Travis Reed also had some great looks and got one past Phipps by shooting short-side at Phipps' hip.
• It was great to see Fran Gormley back at practice. The senior took the last two years off to concentrate on being a student, but is trying to earn a spot this spring.
• It's hard for freshmen to standout on day one (they are usually just trying to get in the right spot and not get yelled at), but Landon Carr had a great shot late in the session and Niko Amato made some good saves. Curtis Holmes looked quick at the face-off X.
• Two groundball-related bits: Dean Hart went after a groundball with a one-handed stab, but came up empty. That prompted Coach Cottle, from all the way across the field to shout, "Dean Hart, you are a two-handed scooper!" That didn't deter David Miller, who has been moved back to his more natural offensive midfield position after taking up a long pole midway through 2009, from attempting his own one-handed attempt during a full-field drill. The sophomore ran down a ball the appeared to be headed out of bounds and snagged it with one hand, triggering a fast break for the red team and getting a roar out of the guys on the sideline.
It was the first day, so there's nothing to say on things like starters or midfield lines (I'll have the usual don't read too much into the preseason rant soon enough). For now it was great to see the team on the field. The 2010 season is finally here.
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