If you couldn't get AC/DC's "Back In Black" out of your head on Friday night you're probably not alone, but we'll get to the Terps' latest fashion statement in a bit. First up this week is a more serious topic and how you, lacrosse fans, can help. Plus, we'll look back on the Georgetown game and ahead to the ACC opener vs. Duke.
The Color Purple
No, I'm not talking about the movie. I'm talking about the fact that this Saturday's game vs. Duke is a "Purple Out."
I know, I know. Purple Out doesn't have the same ring to it as Black Out or White Out, but it is for a much better cause.
Fans - Maryland or Duke it doesn't matter - are encouraged to wear purple to this Saturday's game in support of raising awareness to fight pancreatic cancer.
This is a cause that hit home last year when Maria Young, mother of Terp attackman Ryan and Duke midfielder Kevin, passed away due to complications from pancreatic cancer on April 17.
Maria's story is one that touched many and helped inspire the Terps last season. But, it doesn't matter that it was last season and this is this season. All of us associated with this program had their lives changed by Maria - her fight, courage and dignity.
This wasn't something that was going to be forgotten because the calendar changed and it's a new season. The Terps still wear the purple "MY" on the back of their helmets and will continue to do so.
I urge everyone to wear purple on Saturday to help raise awareness for pancreatic cancer, which is among the deadliest forms of cancer, but is one of the least funded. According to the National Cancer Institute pancreatic cancer research has $97,136,974 in funding. That significantly trails breast ($631,228,554), prostate ($300,466,914), lung ($281,931,477), leukemia ($239,689,242) and others.
Now look at the estimated number of fatalities by cancer
type be the American Cancer Society for 2012:
- All: 577,190
- Lung: 160,340
- Colon: 51,690
- Breast: 39,510
- Pancreatic: 37,390
- Prostate: 28,170
- Leukemia: 23,540
- Liver: 20,550
Lets band together to help raise awareness for pancreatic cancer by wearing purple on Saturday. I'll have my purple on. Will you?
Talk about unexpected. Wow. A five-goal win wasn't how I imagined this one turning out. Neither was a 10-goal lead when Coach Tillman and the staff got some of the reserves some playing time with 4:25 to go in the fourth.
Why? Well, to be completely honest and pull the curtain back, Maryland did not have a very good week of practice. Some guys had a good week on the field, but for some it was a good day here, a bad day there. Not exactly what you want going into a big early-season game with a lot of new parts.
But somehow it worked out on Friday night at the Hoyas' Multi-Sport Facility. Maryland never trailed and was really never threatened when it took a 3-1 lead midway through the first quarter. The Terps extended their lead to three goals by the end of the first and Georgetown never again got it closer than that.
When you think back the game actually got off to a horrific start for the Terps as Curtis Holmes lost the opening face-off - GASP! Of course he would go on to win the next five in the first quarter to give Maryland a huge possession advantage, which might have been the difference in the game. In fact, Holmes won 11 of the first 13 face-offs in the first half. He finished the game going 15-of-27 for a winning-percentage of 55.6, but it was that first-half dominance that set the tone for the game.
Another huge factor was the play of the Terps' close defense. Georgetown's starting attack unit was held to a combined three points on one goal and two assists, but let's look at that a little bit closer. The goal was legit - an unassisted goal by Jason McFadden was the Hoyas' first of the game. But the two assists - one each from Travis Comeau and Zac Guy - shouldn't really be charged against the Terps' starting close D. Comeau's assist came on a man-up goal late in the third quarter and Guy picked up his assist on the game's last goal when Maryland's starters were already on the bench. Michael Ehrhardt, Brian Cooper and Goran Murray played a terrific game, individually and as a unit. Coach Kevin Warne has gone horse at practice at times, but these guys, along with the poles and the shorts, must have listened to him at some point and are playing Terrapin defense.
Want to know just how good Maryland's defense played on Friday night? Consider the fact that Niko Amato only had to make seven stops in his 55 minutes of action and the Terps had only given up six goals when he left the game. Maryland is going to need Amato to play big to win some games, but this wasn't one of them.
The saying is that big-time players show up in big games. With that in mind there wasn't a bigger player on the field than Joe Cummings. A few graphs up I said that some Terps didn't have a good week of practice, but Cummings wasn't one of those guys. In fact, he was one of the guys encouraging and pushing the others to be better and get better. He didn't just talk the talk vs. the Hoyas; he walked the walk. He was terrific with the ball, scoring a terrific unassisted goal to give the Terps a 2-0 lead early in the first. He was even better off the ball as he consistently freed himself from his defender for a quick shot. That didn't come as a surprise to his teammates who found Cummings nearly every time he cut to the crease. When Georgetown scored the final two goals of the first half to cut Maryland's lead to three goals and the Hoyas had all the momentum heading into the third quarter, it was Cummings who scored back-to-back goals in the third quarter to open it back up to a five-goal lead and squash any hope of a Georgetown comeback. In the end it was Cummings with a career-best six points on four goals and two assists. A big-time player stepping up in a big game, that's who Joe Cummings was on Friday vs. the Hoyas.
Finally on the Georgetown game, the Terps' midfield unit deserves a lot of credit. The six main offensive mids combined for seven goals and five assists. But they weren't just productive on the offensive end of the field. Those guys also hustled back on defense and held their own. That's huge for this team because it really limits opponent's opportunities in transition. The fact that all six of those mids can play in any combination doesn't hurt either.
Back In Black
I'd be remiss not to acknowledge that the victory over the Hoyas came with the Terps wearing black jerseys. The last time Maryland even wore black jerseys was 2007 vs. Johns Hopkins. I haven't been around here long enough to know when (or if) the last time Maryland won a game donning black jerseys. If you know for certain then send me an e-mail.
For those that didn't see them, here you go:
Tracking The Firsts
First Assist: Rustin Bryant
Each week fans vote on the Maryland Men's Lacrosse Facebook page for the Player of the Week for the previous week.
This will be the 30th straight season that Maryland has opened its ACC slate vs. the Blue Devils. This is a game that has helped set the tone for many seasons in the past, and while it's by no means a make-or-break game it is still very important.
Since I threw out the number 30 I'll let you know how the last 29 outings have fared. The Terps are 20-9 in the regular season since 1983 vs. the Blue Devils. (In case you're wondering the last time the Terps didn't open their ACC schedule with Duke was 1982 when Maryland beat NC State, 14-12.)
Maryland won the first 10 games from 1983-92 before the Blue Devils finally broke through with a 9-5 win in College Park in 1993.
But lately, this rivalry has been as even as you can get. Since 2000, the two teams have met 12 times in the regular season with each side taking home the W six times. If you're looking for a really recent trend (and this might be stretching things a bit, but what the heck) it might not be good news for Terp fans. Since Maryland won that epic No. 1 vs. No. 2 overtime game in Durham in 2006 each team has rattled off two-game winning streaks. Duke won in College Park in 2007 and again in Durham in 2008. The game moved to M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore as a part of the Face-Off Classic for two years and Maryland took both of those games. Last season was another OT finish with the Blue Devils taking a 9-8 win at Koskinen Stadium. So ... does that mean a Duke win is a sure thing? Nope.
How close has this series been in the last 10 regular season meetings? The teams are 5-5 in those 10 games and the total score is 101-98 in favor of Duke. There were four games that were decided by more than three goals and each team has two wins in those games (Duke won 15-7 and 14-7 in 2008 and 2007, respectively and Maryland win 17-12 in 2004 and 13-7 in 2003). If you take those four games out of the mix the total combined score of the other six games is 54-53 in Maryland's favor.
Four games since 2002 have gone into overtime (2002, 2006, 2010 and 2011) with each team winning two of those.
So, what does all of this mean? Fans can expect another barnburner this Saturday at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium.
Speaking of the stadium - this will be the first time anyone on these two teams will play each other in Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium. The last time Duke and Maryland played there was 2007. Only three people on the Maryland sideline were here back in 2007 - Brian Phipps, the current volunteer coach was the freshman starter in goal vs. the Blue Devils, Fran Gormley, the current director of lacrosse operations was also a freshman on the '07 team, and equipment manager Tim Ahner.
The Blue Devils come into this weekend's game with four games already under their belt. Duke has home wins over Rutgers (16-8), Penn (12-8) and Jacksonville (16-7). The Blue Devils' lone loss of the season was a 7-3 setback at Notre Dame on Feb. 18.
Not surprisingly, sophomore Jordan Wolf, who already has 14 points on nine goals and four assists, leads the Duke offense. Midfielder Robert Rotanz and attackman Josh Dionne are close in goals with eight each.
It seems like I mention it every week here in preview the next game, but face-offs will be a big factor in deciding this game. I'm not sure there was a better face-off battle to watch last year than Maryland's Curtis Holmes and Duke's CJ Costabile. Those two met head-to-head 29 times in the three meetings these two teams had in 2011. Costabile edged Holmes in the regular season game, winning eight of the 15 draws. Holmes stormed back in the ACC championships game, winning 9-of-13 face-offs vs. Costabile and 18-of-24 overall. The two only met at the X once in the Final Four meeting in Baltimore, but Holmes won that one too. Overall Holmes was 17-of-29 vs. Costabile last year for a .586 winning percentage. So far this season Holmes is facing-off at a 72.3 clip, while Costabile is at 60.0 percent.
I don't think there's much else to say about Saturday's game vs. Duke. If for whatever reason you can't make it to Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium the game will be streamed live on WatchESPN.com.
As always - "Be The Best!"