Wow! Did anyone see that coming? Of course, I'm talking about the Terps blitzing the Hoyas in the second half en route to hanging 20 on Georgetown last Saturday.
We'll start with a look back to that game in this week's blog, but we'll also get into this weekend's big ACC showdown in Durham, N.C., take closer look at the Terps' dominating defense and we'll answer the question "What the heck is a Hard Shell?"
No one (and that's not overstating things) predicted what happened at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium on Saturday. No one thought that this rivalry game, which has become known as the "Battle of the Beltway," would turnout to be more blowout than battle. But that's one of the great things about sports - we never really know how things are going to turn out until the game is over.
The game started out well for the Terps with Drew Snider lacing a shot so hard that it ripped a hole in the net for a 1-0 Maryland lead. But that's about it for the good news in the first quarter. For the second straight game the Terps headed into the second quarter trailing 2-1.
That deficit grew to 3-1 when the Hoyas converted on an EMO. Maryland pulled to within a goal on a bouncer by Jake Bernhardt and it was the ensuing face-off that the track meet really began.
Curtis Holmes won the draw clean and raced down the right alley. Georgetown chose not to leave the Terrapin attackmen, fearing an open look for either Grant Catalino or Travis Reed. That didn't work out so well for the Hoyas as Holmes showed no fear, running down to within eight yards and burying his first career goal.
Six seconds + two Maryland goals = Tie ballgame and momentum firmly with the Terps.
Maryland regained the lead on a transition score by Landon Carr, but Georgetown wasn't going to concede and tied the game less than a minute after Carr's goal.
But that was just the beginning of the end. Maryland scored the last two goals of the half to take a 6-4 lead into the locker room and then came the third quarter.
Before getting to that wild, frenetic third quarter I wanted to give credit to two Terps who made the last two goals of the second possible, but their efforts are not seen by looking at the box score.
The stats show that Owen Blye scored an unassisted goal at the 3:49 mark. No one passed him the ball to get an assist, but Ryan Young deserved one on that goal. He set a terrific pick behind the goal that let Blye get what amounted to a free run to the left side of the goal. Young's pick set up that score just as much as any pass he's ever earned an assist for.
Young did earn the assist on the final goal of the half, slipping the ball to Catalino on the crease with 20 seconds remaining. But, just like Young on the previous goal, the play was made by a pick - this one set by Travis Reed. Catalino and Young got the points on the score, but Reed did the dirty work and deserves some credit.
These are just two examples of probably a hundred little things that go unnoticed during a game, but those little things are the difference between wins and losses.
The third quarter was the defining 15 minutes of the game and is chronicled in the game recap. If you don't want to click over to check the recap out, here's the Cliff Notes version: Catalino dominated the period on the offensive end with three goals and Holmes controlled the tempo and momentum by winning 9 of 11 face-offs in the third. Maryland also scored three times directly off of face-offs in the third with two of those coming after Hoya goals.
So what does this 20-8 win over Georgetown mean? Who knows? It was a game in late February. I can tell you that the Hoyas are a better team than they were on Saturday. This is the same Georgetown team that went toe-to-toe with Virginia in the preseason. My prediction is that this will be a good win for the Terps come tournament selection time in May.
Tracking The Firsts
First goals: Curtis Holmes, Brendan Saylor
First assists: Kevin Cooper, Curtis Holmes, Bob Kercher
What does it mean to score 20 in college lacrosse these days? I can't speak for all of college lacrosse, but I do know it's not all that common for the Terps.
Since men's lacrosse became an NCAA championship sport in 1971 Maryland has scored 20 or more goals 35 times in 540 games. That means that the Terps have scored 20 or more in just over six percent of its games since 1971. That's not very often.
If you break things down a little further it's apparent that scoring 20 is really rare.
While the Terps have scored 20 or more 35 times, 22 of those occurred from 1971-80. From 1981-90 Maryland had four 20+-goal games and seven from 1990-2000. Since 2000 the Terps have only hung 20 on an opponent twice.
Before Saturday, The last time Maryland scored 20 or more in a game was May 7, 2005. The Terps, who had just won the ACC championship the week before, travelled to Philadelphia to take on Penn at Lincoln Financial Field in the "test run" game for the 2005 Final Four that was going to be held there for the first time. Maryland won the game 21-6 over the Quakers with 16 different Terps scoring goals in the victory. Maryland led that game 11-3 at the half and four Terps scored their first collegiate goals in the win.
In case you're wondering; Maryland is 34-1 all-time in games that it scores 20 or more goals. The only time the Terps have lost a game when scoring 20 or more was May 14, 1977 when Johns Hopkins edged Maryland 21-20. That game is one of only five times since 1971 that the Terps have allowed 20 or more goals. Three of those came against the Blue Jays, while the other two were at the hands of Virginia.
This is Duke Week for the Terps, which is a big deal regardless of the sport at Maryland, but just it's even more important because it's the first ACC game of the season.
Because there are only four teams and just three conference games every game's importance is magnified. A win vaults a team into the race for the conference crown, while a loss has a team playing catch-up.
This year's game also marks the return of this rivalry to campus sites. The previous two meetings were held in M&T Bank Stadium as part of the Konica Minolta Face Off Classic. If you've forgotten what happened in last year's classic between these two schools, check out the highlights.
Going by the previous schedules, this game would be Maryland's home game, but the schedule was shifted, giving Duke the home game (Maryland will be home next year and then it just goes back and forth from there). There are good and bad points to this change.
First the good: The switch makes it so that Maryland does not have to travel to North Carolina twice every other year (and three times in certain years). Prior to this season Maryland played road games at Duke and North Carolina in the same season (during even years). Those games are just three weeks apart, which means that the Terps would make that trip down "Tobacco Road" twice (or four times if you consider the return trip back to College Park) in 22 days. With the new schedule Maryland will play at Duke and Virginia in odd years and have just one conference road trip (at UNC) in even years.
Now the bad: Because of the switch this year's seniors will never play Duke in Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium. While it's not the end of the world, it is a shame that this class won't have the opportunity to play one of its big rivals on its own field.
One final thought ... don't let Duke's 1-2 record so far fool you. This is a talented team. The Blue Devils would like nothing more than to jumpstart their season with a victory over an ACC rival.
More on the Blue Devils in this week's game notes, which will be posted on Thursday.
The Terps' average margin of victory over the first two weeks is 12. Sure, Maryland has scored a lot of goals, but that's only half of the equation. The defense, to put it mildly, has been dominant.
A closer look at the facts (or numbers) is all that's needed to backup that description.
Maryland has allowed 12 goals in its two games in 2011. That's an average of six goals per game. In and of itself, that's not bad, but its even more impressive when you see that five of those goals allowed were man-up goals and two more were given up by the reserves.
That means that Maryland's main defensive unit has allowed a grand total of five goals this season when the sides are all even and that's not even taking into account unsettled or transition situations.
A lot of the defense's success is due to the play of the close defense, which has held opposing starting attack units to just three goals and one assist so far in 2011. That's even more impressive when you take into consideration that one of those goals and the assist were tallied in extra-man situations.
It's a long season and there are a lot of quality offenses on the Terps' schedule, but so far this defense has been nothing short of dominating.
What The Heck Is A Hard Shell?
You may have noticed a new addition to some Terps' helmets this season - a turtle shell tickets, known as a Hard Shell. Here's a closer look, courtesy of our friends at Inside Lacrosse.
But, what the heck do they mean?
A Hard Shell is a reward sticker, which have been common for decades in college football (think of the Buckeyes on Ohio State's helmets). There are a few different ways to earn a Hard Shell. Here they are in a nut shell (which is different from a hard shell):
- Earn the Hard Hat in practice. The Hard Hat is given to the player who stood out positively to the coaches during a practice. Pretty simple and it is something these guys take pride in.
- Be named the offensive or defensive practice player of the week. These can be scout guys, starters or reserves. Whoever has the best week of practice, gets a Hard Shell.
- Earn a Game Ball. There's no set limit to the number of game balls for a given victory, so it could be one guy or multiple that earn Hard Shells. It shouldn't be hard to figure out that Curtis Holmes (who is the "model" in the above photo) earned a Hard Shell for his play in the first two games of the season.
Now that you know, keep your eyes peeled throughout the season to see whose helmet is getting covered with Hard Shells.
That's it for this week. Highlights from the Georgetown game will be posted tomorrow. If you haven't watched the Detroit Mercy highlights you should check them out. They were put together by Terp senior long pole Brian Farrell, who is interning in the video department.
As usual, game notes will be posted Thursday on umterps.com, so be sure to check those out.
Have a great week and travel safe if you're making the trip down to Durham this weekend.