So much to get to coming off of the Terps' 12-6 season opening win vs. Hartford. We'll look back at the 19th straight opening day win for Maryland, including looking at Curtis Holmes' dominance at the X and how youth was served at close defense. All that and much, much more in this week's edition of the Maryland Men's Lacrosse Blog.
A lot of people didn't believe it heading into the game and if people just look at the final score they won't believe that Hartford is a tough, dangerous opponent. Don't let the six-goal win fool you - this was anybody's game midway through the third quarter.
The Hawks are a good team with a lot of offensive talent and they took advantage of their opportunities to control the game for most of the first 38 minutes. Maryland didn't take its first lead until 57 seconds left in the second quarter when Curtis Holmes (more about his performance later) followed up a goal by Mike Chanenchuk with his own score off the ensuing face-off.
But Maryland's halftime lead was short-lived as Hartford scored the first two goals of the third quarter to take a 5-4 lead. That's when the game turned around as the Terps scored four goals in 3:18 to take an 8-5 lead going into the fourth.
The Hawks tried to get back into it when Kevin O'Shea's third goal of the game pulled them to within two nine seconds into the fourth, but the Terps scored the final four goals of the game to take the 12-6 win.
Here are some interesting tidbits on the 2012 opener:
- I only have easy access to quarter-by-quarter scores going back to the 1998 season, but since then this is the first time a Maryland team was shutout in the opening quarter of the season opener. But a low scoring first quarter isn't out of the ordinary. Since 2000, Maryland has scored two or one goals eight times in season openers. Four times in those games the Terps were trailing after the first 15:00. Three times the game was tied. The only time the Terps were ahead going in the second quarter when scoring one or two goals in the first was 2004 when they led Georgetown 2-1. One thing all of those games have in common is the Terps won them all.
- I can't tell you the circumstances of those eight games, but I know what happened on Saturday - turnovers. Maryland got off only three shots in the first quarter thanks in large part to eight turnovers. The first shot was a rocket by Chanenchuk that hit the post. The second shot was wide by Owen Blye. Maryland backed-up the shot but turned the ball over a minute later. The final shot of the quarter was another pipe by Billy Gribbin.
- The Terps were a perfect 19-of-19 clearing the ball vs. Hartford. You don't have to go that far back to find the last time Maryland was perfect clearing the ball. The Terps were 13-of-13 in last season's 6-5 overtime win over Syracuse in the NCAA Quarterfinals. Maryland had four perfect clearing games last season, including going 20-of-20 vs. Detroit Mercy in the 2011 season opener.
- Nine different Terps scored goals in the win over Hartford, which ties last year's total. Eight Terps scored in the 2010 opener at Bellarmine. Those numbers pale in comparison to the 14 different Terps that scored in the 2009 opener vs. Presbyterian in Jacksonville, Fla.
- John Haus has been "Mr. Opening Day" the last two seasons, totaling eight points on two goals and six assists. He had four assists in the 16-4 win over the Titans last season and had two goals and two assists vs. Hartford this year. But the overall winner for best opening day performer over the past four seasons is Joe Cummings. In his four season openers Cummings has scored seven goals and added one assist for eight points. Another opening day hero in recent years has been Drew Snider, who has five goals and two assists in the last three openers.
- I'd be remiss not to mention that the Terps have now won 19 consecutive season openers. The last time Maryland lost on opening day was 1993, which is the same year most of this season's freshmen were born. Feel free to feel a little older when that sinks in if you remember that game. Maryland is now 83-3-1 all-time in season openers.
Mr. 95 Percent
Anyone that follows lacrosse fairly well knew coming into the season that Curtis Holmes was a pretty good face-off guy. Ok, he's better than pretty good considering he was a first team preseason All-American and the only Terp named to the Tewaaraton Trophy Watch List. But no one could have foreseen him winning 19-of-20 face-offs in Maryland's season opener vs. Hartford.
Here are some interesting facts about Holmes' performance and how it stacks up against the last 12 years (since 2000) of Terp face-off performances.
- It is only the fifth face-off winning percentage of 90% or better on at least 10 attempts.
- The last 90% performance was Curtis' brother Bryn winning 9-of-10 face-offs at Mount St. Mary's in 2008.
- The last time a Terp faced-off with a winning percentage above 90% was on March 21, 2006 when David Tamberrino won 12-of-13 in a 14-2 win over Dartmouth.
Our face-off records don't go very far back, but the 19 wins put Holmes in some rare air. He joins Andy Claxton and Brian Haggerty as the only Terps with multiple games of 19 or more face-off wins. Claxton did it three times (27 at Towson in 1991, 21 vs. Duke in 1991 and 19 at Brown in 1991), while Haggerty did it twice (20 vs. Butler in 1998 and 19 vs. Virginia in 1998). Holmes had 20 wins vs. Georgetown last season to go along with his 19 vs. the Hawks, which makes him the only Terp to win 19 or more face-offs in different seasons.Best Face-Off Performances Since 2000
Curtis Holmes - 19/20 (.950) vs. Hartford 2/18/12
Brian Carroll - 12/13 (.923) at Delaware 3/17/01
Davin Tamberrino - 12/13 (.923) vs. Dartmouth 3/21/06
Jeremy Pastula - 11/12 (.917) at Towson 3/8/03
Bryn Holmes - 9/10 (.900) at Mount St. Mary's 2/26/08
Bryn Holmes - 12/14 (.857) vs. Presbyterian 2/13/09
Brian Carroll - 11/13 (.846) vs. Mount St. Mary's 2/26/02
Bryn Holmes - 11/13 (.846) vs. Air Force 2/14/09
Ryan Moran - 10/12 (.833) vs. Bucknell 3/11/03
Will Dalton - 18/22 (.818) vs. Vermont 2/20/07
Curtis Holmes - 17/21 (.810) vs. Detroit Mercy 2/19/11
Youth Is Served
One of the terrific things about the season-opening win over Hartford was the play of the close defense. The group of sophomores Brian Cooper and Michael Ehrhardt and freshman Goran Murray made some mistakes, but overall they were solid and certainly were a big part of the victory.
Seeing two sophomores and a freshman start at close defense made me ask when the last time was that a group that young started for the Terps.
Since I've been around here for quite a while I knew the answer off the top of my head, but I had to go back and look up the exact date.
The last time two sophomores and a freshman started at close defense was 2005 when sophomores Steve Whittenberg and Ray Megill started alongside freshman Joe Cinosky. Technically the last time that group would have started as sophomores and freshmen would have been vs. Duke in the NCAA semifinals in Philadelphia, but I was more interested in when that group made its first start together. That date was April 23, 2005 at Fairfield (I guess there's something about playing teams from Connecticut).
There are two big differences between the 2012 unit and the 2005 unit.
First - The 2012 group started together on opening day. The 2005 unit didn't start together until the 11th game of the season. Whittenberg was a sophomore transfer from Air Force, where he played in and started 12 games in 2004. He started every game in 2005. Megill played in 10 games as a freshman in 2004 for the Terps and didn't break into the starting line-up in 2005 until the seventh game of the season, replacing Sean Sullivan, who broke his hand vs. Dartmouth. Cinosky played in all 10 games before being inserted into the starting line-up.
Contrast that to the 2012 group. Ehrhardt saw time in just six games as a freshman in 2011. Cooper played in just two games. Murray made his collegiate debut last Saturday, becoming the first freshman to start at close defense for the Terps in a season opener since 2008 when Max Schmidt started the opener (the memorable 11-6 win over Georgetown in D.C. that saw freshmen Grant Catalino, Ryan Young and Travis Reed start their Maryland careers with a combined eight goals).
Second - Only time will tell in the end, but the talent of that 2005 group was undeniable. Over the course of their careers that trio went on to accumulate seven All-America honors. All three moved on to play professionally in the MLL and Cinosky helped the U.S. National Team win a gold medal in the 2010 IFL World Championships. It's way, way too early to compare, but look at it this way - Ehrhardt was a highly recruited close defender, but Cooper came to Maryland as a short-stick midfielder and Murray was expected to play some this season as a back-up long pole.
It's fun to look back and compare, but in the end the only thing that matters for the Terps right now is how the 2012 group performs on the field and through the only game it has played the group has held up alright.
Tracking The Firsts
When it applies we'll tracking some notable firsts (goals, assists, starts, etc.) for the Terps in 2012.
First Goals: Rustin Bryant, Jay Carlson, Mike Chanenchuk, Kevin Forster, Billy Gribbin
First Assists: Mike Chanenchuk, Michael Ehrhardt
First Starts: Mike Chanenchuk (midfield), Brian Cooper (defense), Michael Ehrhardt (defense), Billy Gribbin (attack), Goran Murray (defense)
The Hoyas will be making their 2012 season debut vs. the Terps on Friday night at the Multi-Sport Field in Washington, D.C.
Georgetown is a veteran team with 16 seniors and nine juniors on the roster. Headlining that roster is juniors Travis Comeau and Chris Nourse, who were named to the Tewaaraton Trophy Watch List.
Comeau is the Hoyas leading returning scorer after scoring 30 goals and adding five assists last season. Nourse played in all 14 games last season, but did not make a start. That didn't stop him from racking up 36 groundballs and 35 caused turnovers.
Georgetown graduated goalie Jack Davis, but CT Fisher is back for his senior season. Reports have him battling sophomore Jack Haley for the starting job. If Haley's name seems familiar to Terps fans, that's because he is the younger brother of Maryland's Quinn Haley.
The biggest shakeup for the Hoyas is in the coaching staff. Matt Kerwick came aboard after last season's 7-7 finish that saw Georgetown miss the NCAA tournament for the fourth straight season. Kerwick comes to the Hoya program after spending two years as the head coach at Jacksonville.
This will be the 12th meeting between the Terps and the Hoyas. Maryland has won nine of the first 11 meetings, including all four that have been played at the Hoyas' Multi-Sport Facility (2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010).
If you can't make it to D.C. on Friday night the game will be streamed live on ESPN3.com. If you can make it to D.C. tickets are $10. If you've ever attended a Maryland-Georgetown game at the Multi-Sport Facility then you already know that buying your tickets ahead of time is the smart move. Click here to buy your tickets in advance on-line.
Corrections and Additions
One reason I love writing this blog is that it gives Maryland's alums another connection to the current team and to keep what those guys did alive in context with the present.
Two weeks ago in the blog I had a piece on the 2012 captains and had a list of all of the captains I could find going back to 1970. A few of the years were missing, but it didn't take long to get some of those blanks filled in and correct me in the process.
Bryant Waters and Scott Ratliff each sent me the 1978 captains (senior Mark Shores and Tony Morgan, and juniors Bob Ott and Randy Ratliff) and Ira Hochstadt filled in the black on the 1971 captains - himself and Dan Furman.
The 1978 captains was clearly pertinent to this season, which also features two junior captains in Owen Blye and Jesse Bernhardt.
If there are any alums out there that can fill in the blanks on the 1986 and 1987 team captains just send me an e-mail.
Another Hall Of Fame Terp
Congratulations go out to Artie Seekamp, who was inducted into the Long Island Metropolitan Lacrosse Foundation Hall of Fame on Feb. 11. Seekamp came to College Park in 1973 after spending two seasons at Nassau Community College. He was a member of the 1973 NCAA championship team and earned All-America honors in 1974 after helping lead the Terps back to the NCAA finals.
That does it for this week's blog. I hope to see everyone at Georgetown on Friday night. I will be posting updates to the Maryland Men's Lacrosse Twitter and Facebook accounts, so be sure to follow and like the Terps on those sites.
As always - "Be The Best!"