Things look a lot better for the Terps as they enter the third week of "The Stretch" than they did going into week two. It's funny how that happens after a big win.
This week's edition of the Maryland Men's Lacrosse Blog is going to touch on a number of different topics, including a Navy preview with a remembrance of a fallen hero, a quick review of the Virginia game, a big event coming to College Park on April 16, how John Haus stacks up to former Maryland All-America middies and a reminder about the importance of purple.
The Navy Game
This isn't a week that newspaper or Internet writers have to search very far for a story. I'm not going to even touch the obvious story (you know the one) for this Navy game. I'll leave that to the papers (but, I'll probably be posting a few links to the Maryland Men's Lacrosse Facebook page - cheap plug!).
What I want to focus on is the history of the Maryland-Navy series with a special look at the 1996 game.
This is one of the oldest rivalries in all of college lacrosse, starting in 1924. The Terps and the Mids have lined-up against each other every year since 1946, which is as long as any streak can get since Maryland did not field a team in 1944 or 1945.
But this series is a bit unique in that it is a rivalry game, an important game, but it is not the rivalry for either team and the main rivalry game for each squad is coming up next weekend.
While that may mean that this game could be overlooked by either or both teams any given year, it's often been the exact opposite - it's been a knock-down, drag-out brawl (not a real brawl, but you get the point).
Four of the past six and eight times since 1999 this game has been decided by a single goal (including the famous four-consecutive 6-5 Maryland wins from 1999-2002). Ten of the last 12 Maryland-Navy games have been one or two goal games.
There have been heroes (and that's a relative term, considering our next subject) on both sides recently.
• In 2004 Joe Bossi scored three goals to lead the Mids' to a 9-6 win over No. 1- ranked Maryland. That was Navy's first win over the Terps since 1992.
• In 2006 Ian Dingman scored his third goal of the game with eight seconds left to lift the Mids to a 7-6 win (Navy's third in a row) at Byrd Stadium.
• In 2007 a quartet of Terps turned in amazing efforts in Maryland's 8-7 double-overtime win in Annapolis. Ray Megill came out of nowhere to win two key face-offs that led to Terrapin goals. Drew Evans sent the game into OT with a miraculous, sweeping low-to-high shot from 12 yards out. Brian Phipps made two of his 13 saves in the first overtime, giving Maryland a chance in the second OT. Of course, those all just set the stage for Dan Groot's running left-handed shot into the upper right corner of the goal 42 seconds into the second overtime period.
• Last season, after Navy took the previous two under less than ideal circumstances for the Terps, Maryland's attack unit of Grant Catalino, Travis Reed and Ryan Young combined for eight goals and five assists in an 11-9 Terrapin victory.
History says this is going to be a close game and that there will be more players adding their names to those that made an impact on this storied series. But before we move on I wanted to take everyone back to 1996 (you remember that as the year Ebay started).
Why 1996? Because, that is the last time Navy, which is currently 4-6 this season, came into the Maryland game with a losing record.
Navy was 3-5 and was coming off of a one-goal loss to Bucknell. The Terps were the No. 1 team in the country and were coming off of an emotional 13-11 win over then-No. 1 Virginia (the Terps' first win over the Wahoos since 1992). It seemed like the game would be a mismatch. The Mids had lost their previous five games and Maryland was 6-1. The end result of this "mismatch" was Maryland barely hanging on for an 11-10 win over Navy. Moral of the story is - this game is never a mismatch and you can't look at either team's record as a barometer for how this one will turn out.
Remembering a Fallen Hero
Friday night's game will be an emotional one on both sidelines, as Navy will honor LT Brendan Looney, who died last September in a helicopter crash.
Brendan was the first of three Looney brothers that played lacrosse at the Naval Academy. I don't believe anyone would argue that Brendan was the best on the lacrosse field (his two brothers, Steve and Billy, were both three-time All-Americans), but he was one of the best this country had in its service.
Here are a couple of links that prove that statement:
It is somewhat fitting that Brendan is being remembered prior to the Navy-Maryland game because, according to Coach Tillman, one of Brendan's best games was against the Terps in 2004.
I hope everyone can make their way into Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium a little early and take part in remembering and honoring one of our nation's finest.
The Virginia Game
What more can be said about this game? The answer is ... not much. But, I'll give it a shot.
The Terps weren't perfect and are still looking to put together a full 60-minutes of lacrosse. But, on Saturday, a good first 30 and a great final 30 resulted in a 12-7 win that the team and its fans have been waiting for since the 2008 regular-season meeting with the Wahoos.
Some points about the game:
• Curtis Holmes continues to be a difference maker at the face-off X. Winning 14-of-22 draws essentially gave Maryland and additional six possessions. Maryland was never really able to trigger transition goals from the face-offs, but Holmes' winning meant that Virginia could never get into a steady offensive flow. Saturday's game was the fourth time this season that Holmes has registered double-digit face-off wins.
• Maryland's defense played with energy, intensity and communicated very well. There are a lot of factors that go into a great defensive effort and it almost never boils down to one guy, but it would be hard to overlook what Dan Burns brought to the defensive side of the field on Saturday. Burns played in the loss to UNC, but last week was really his first full week back and the result was noticeable. This is a better team when Burns is on the field and having him paired up with Scott LaRue give the Terps one of the best pair of short-sticks in the country.
• Owen Blye continues to improve. I just wrote that Maryland is a better team when Dan Burns plays and the same is true for Travis Reed, who is expected to play a bigger role this week at Navy after a full week of practice, but the upside to Reed's injury has been the development of Byle. Recruited as an attackman, Blye has been effective in the midfield, but has thrived in his return to his natural position. Could this be a glimpse of the future for Terps fans?
• Joe Cummings and John Haus were terrific for the Terps, but the best offensive performance on the field Saturday in my opinion was turned in by Ryan Young. If you take a quick look at the stat sheet, Young's two goals don't look that important to the overall result, but his passes vs. the Cavaliers were close to surgical. His best assist of the day was the last of his four and on my notes from the game I simply wrote "AMAZING pass." Is there any other way to describe Young's pinpoint cross-field pass, while fading away from the right side of the goal, which hit Haus right in the pocket on the left side of the crease for an easy one-timer. Coach Tillman often refers to Young as the "heartbeat of the team," and Young showed why on the field Saturday.
• With that being said, congratulations need to go out to Cummings for making ESPN's Top 10 Plays on Saturday. Cummings' efforts also earned him a place among the Capital One Cup's Impact Performances of the Week. The honors continued for Cummings when he was named the ACC's Offensive Player of the Week earlier today. Congratulations also go out to Brett Schmidt, who was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts at Virginia.
• Finally, I wanted to acknowledge the energy from the bench on Saturday. It's always hard to generate the same energy and intensity on the sideline for an ACC away game because of the league rule allowing only 32 student-athletes to travel and be on the sideline. But that wasn't the case in Charlottesville. The Terps, all 32 players on the sideline and those that made the trip on their own to cheer from the stands, were into that game from warm-ups to the final horn and it made a huge difference in the intensity on the field. Most of the reserves go into a game like this knowing there's a good chance they may not get any playing time, but they are just as important when it comes to setting the tone for the team. Those guys deserve some recognition for their part in that win.
Save The Date - April 16
Maryland fans already have April 16 marked on their calendars because that's the day Johns Hopkins comes to College Park to play the 107th game in College Lacrosse's Greatest Rivalry.
But that's not the only big event going on that day.
The Maryland Athletic Department is hosting a Maryland Men's Lacrosse Reunion on April 16 that will feature some of the biggest names in Maryland lacrosse history returning to Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium.
The highlight of the reunion will be the honoring of all of the Terps' National Championship teams at halftime.
Fans are encouraged to get tickets in advance, either on-line or by calling the Terrapin Ticket Office at 1-800-462-TERP (8377). There will also be a mobile ticket booth near Lot 1 that fans will be able to buy tickets (cash only) in advance on game day.
Maryland men's lacrosse alums must R.S.V.P. for the reunion by Friday, April 8, to receive four tickets for the game. E-mail Brian Phipps to R.S.V.P. today!
Comparing the All-America Middies
I don't know if John Haus is going to be a contender for All-America honors this season or not (in my opinion he should at least be considered), but the way things are going for the sophomore from Lutherville, Md., he will be an All-American in the future.
Haus has already surpassed his scoring total from his freshman campaign with 19 points. He already has 10 goals and his nine assists are seven more than he had all of last season. In his one and a half seasons as a Terp Haus has totaled 33 points on 22 goals and 11 assists. Good number for sure, but how do they stack up against other Terrapin All-America midfielders?
I researched the offensive totals of all of Maryland's offensive midfield All-American since 1992 (the past 20 seasons) through their first two seasons and only three (and one of those, Brian Zeller, was a redshirt sophomore) had two-year totals better than Haus.
Name (All-America Years): Goals-Assists=Points
Brian Zeller (1998): 33-14=47
Bill McGlone (2004-05-06): 29-12=41
Dan Groot (2007-09): 27-13=40
John Haus (?): 22-11=33
Todd Evans (1997): 21-8=29
Chris Malone (2000-01): 16-13=29
Brendan Healy (2004-05-06): 19-9=28
Dan Reading (1992): 14-7=21
Nate Watkins (2002): 8-3=11
Bob Huggins (1993): 1-3=4
Jeff Reynolds (2008): 1-2=3
Ryan Moran (2003): 0-0=0
If things progress as they have been going the future for Haus and the Maryland men's lacrosse program is certainly bright.
The Color Purple
I haven't mentioned her in the blog for a while, but that doesn't mean Maria Young is not in our thoughts and prayers.
Keep your eyes peeled for a special feature in The Diamondback later this week on Ryan Young and his relationship with his mom, Maria.
As always I encourage all Terp fans to support the Lustgarten Foundation, which has as its mission to advance the scientific and medical research related to the diagnosis, treatment, cure and prevention of pancreatic cancer.
Maria's story is one that has touched everyone involved with the Maryland men's lacrosse program. So far we have had tremendous success spreading the word about the foundation with some help from ESPN and WMAR on the Duke and Towson broadcasts. Hopefully we can continue to raise awareness with this week's Navy game, which will be broadcast on the newly re-named CBS Sports Network (formerly CBS College Sports Network).
In case you're wondering here are some facts about pancreatic cancer from the American Cancer Society:
• More than 43,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer present each year
• There are more than 36,000 deaths from pancreatic cancer each year
• The lifetime risk of having pancreatic cancer is about 1 in 71.
• The risk is about the same for both men and women.
That does it for this week's edition of the Maryland Men's Lacrosse Blog. Game notes will be posted on Wednesday this week with the game being on Friday.
Just as I encouraged fans to get tickets for next week's Johns Hopkins game in advance, I encourage all fans to order their Navy tickets (click here to order on-line) in advance to avoid any delay in getting into Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Last week I said "if you have any questions that you would like answered (if I can) in a future blog send me an e-mail and do my best to answer them." But I forgot to link my e-mail, so here is the link if you want to send me a question for a future blog.
I hope to see a lot of red in Annapolis on Friday night.
Be The Best!