So much to get to this week, including a preview of this week's game vs. Duke at the ACC tournament and remembering the life and legacy of Maria Young, but there's really only one place to start ...
Rewind: Johns Hopkins
Any time Maryland beats Johns Hopkins it is a memorable game. Beating Hopkins at Homewood Field makes it a little more memorable. Coming from three goals down in the third quarter and shutting the Blue Jays out for nearly the entire second half puts it in a handful of classic Maryland wins over Johns Hopkins.
The game couldn't have gotten off to a worse start. Before the capacity crowd even had a chance to settle into their seats, Hopkins jumped out to a 2-0 lead and Maryland looked like it didn't have an answer for the Blue Jay offense.
Then a funny thing happened - the Terps settled things down, didn't panic and went to work. The defense followed its game plan and didn't allow another first quarter goal. Kevin Cooper beat his defender and connected on a jumping left-hander to put the Terps on the board with less than 1:30 to play in the first. A mental mistake by the Blue Jays and a heady play on a quick restart by Landon Carr led to a transition goal for Maryland's offensive-minded short-stick defensive middie and just like that the game was tied 2-2 going into the second.
The second quarter wasn't the best 15 minutes Maryland has played this season and the Blue Jays opened a three-goal lead by scoring the first three goals of the quarter. The Terps didn't get on the board in the second until 54 seconds remained on the clock, but Billy Gribbins' goal managed to quell Hopkins' momentum going into halftime.
Or at least it appeared that way. Hopkins came out of the break and scored 43 seconds into the third to up the lead back to three.
Of course that's when the dramatic music starts to play and thunder rolled through the sky signaling something epic was about to happen - Cue the comeback.
That's how it would have happened if this were the movie version, but in truth, nothing like that happened.
In fact, it wasn't even your typical lacrosse comeback.
There wasn't a big scoring barrage. There wasn't the "make it, take it" spurt of goals to tie the game and take the lead. There wasn't a plethora of game-changing saves by the goalie that keyed transition opportunities.
This was a slow comeback - a building comeback, which probably played to Maryland's advantage. There really wasn't a big knockout-type run that Hopkins could try to answer with one of its own.
It didn't even start immediately after that third-quarter goal by Chris Boland. There were two Blue Jay possessions and one Terrapin possession in between Boland's goal and the start of Maryland's 6-0 run.
Maryland didn't score until 9:04 left in the third, but that was the spark that started things and it really lit a fire under Owen Blye, who scored four times in the game-deciding run. While Blye scored the goal, it was Mike Chanenchuk's pass that was so perfect that Blye had all day on the crease. Blye ended up making six fakes on JHU goalie Pierce Bassett before beating the Blue Jay low.
The case could be made that the run truly started at the 7:17 mark. Roughly 30 seconds earlier, Bassett made his lone save of the second half, stopping a shot by John Haus. Hopkins cleared the ball, but Jesse Bernhardt caught Lee Coppersmith near the restraining line and Bernhardt was relentless and seemed to will a turnover. Coppersmith coughed up the ball, Goran Murray scooped it up and a minute later Blye scored his second of the game.
Blye scored again on a play that no one who was there or watched on TV will forget. As Blye came around the left side of the crease from behind the goal, Hopkins defender Robert Enright got tangled in the netting and pulled the goal onto its side. Blye's shot crossed the goal line and the officials, who looked as confused as the rest of us for a second or two, raised their arms to signal the goal was good and the Blue Jay lead was down to one.
It was another six minutes before the Terps tied the game at 6-6 on Michael Shakespeare's step-down shot from the right alley.
The fourth quarter didn't start with a roar. In fact it started with turnovers on the first five possessions of the quarter. The final of those five was a big moment in the game. Hopkins freshman Wells Stanwick appeared to score to give the Blue Jays a 7-6 lead and end a scoring drought of 24:23. But, he was ruled to be in the crease and instead of a one-goal lead, Hopkins was playing defense, which led to Blye scoring his third of the game and giving the Terps their first lead of the game.
One goal is hardly a secure lead, especially with the offensive firepower of Hopkins and the fact that the Blue Jays were controlling the faceoff X.
Mike Poppleton won the ensuing faceoff for JHU and Maryland's Michael Ehrhardt was whistled soon after for a slashing call that put the Blue Jays in tremendous position to tie the game and gain some momentum.
Enter the unlikely hero.
Hopkins was only able to control the ball for 18 seconds of the extra-man opportunity due to the quick stick of Terp man-down specialist Emmett Cahill, who prior to Saturday had just two groundballs and two caused turnovers in 12 career games. He made those totals three and three when he picked off a lazy pass by Boland. Maryland killed the penalty without a shot by Hopkins and cleared the ball to set up its own offensive set.
That's when Blye curled around the right side of the cage and scored his third unassisted goal to give Maryland an 8-6 lead.
The Terps would tack on the extra-insurance goal with one of the finest displays of transition lacrosse any team has shown this season. JHU's John Ranagan tried to play the lone ranger through the middle of the Terps' defense, but Murray was there to make the strip and John Haus picked up the tough groundball in traffic. He made a good outlet to Bernhardt, who had instinctively broke up the field. Bernhardt, showing stick skills that are usually not seen by a long pole, faked to draw the slide and moved the ball to Joe Cummings at the point. Cummings, who is known for his off-ball and finishing skills, looked like the prototypical feeder, making the "one-more" pass to Cooper, who curled around the right side of the crease and finished the play easily. It was picture-perfect transition lacrosse that took nine seconds from turnover to goal.
One last thing - Here's what former Hopkins midfielder and current lacrosse analyst for ESPN and Inside Lacrosse, Mark Dixon had to say about the game in his Tuesday Takeaway's column on InsideLacrosse.com: "Something you just don't see every day. This one left the Blue Jay faithful downright angry. Down 6-3, the Terps stormed back on one of the best defenses in lacrosse on the road at a venue that is very difficult to play in to take a 9-6 win. Maryland closed the game out with a 6-0 run that was both efficient and surprising considering the fact that Hopkins seemingly had control of the contest and owned the faceoff battle. After a Chris Boland goal with just over 14 minutes left in the third quarter gave Hopkins a 6-3 lead, the Maryland defense clamped down and held the Blue Jays without a goal for the final 29-plus minutes. LSM Jesse Bernhardt was a force, hounding the Blue Jay middies all over the field and selling out on each and every hustle play. Goran Murray looked faster and more aggressive than he has all season, while Brian Cooper and Michael Ehrhardt were impressive on groundballs. The offensive star was attackman Owen Blye. With four goals on the night, the junior etched his name in Hopkins-Maryland lore with a smooth performance. When Maryland plays with emotion and purpose they are incredibly difficult to beat."
This section will have something to do with the uniforms, but something else first.
One of the great things about a win like that is that it's not just the current team and players who take pride in it. Many, many alums emailed or tweeted after the game, congratulating the team, the coaches and just expressing how good it felt to be a Terp on Saturday.
Here are a few I wanted to share:
Ira Hochstadt ('71): "I felt the pride 3000 miles away in Cali as I watched the Terps' big win. Even got the 'under the chills under my skin'. Keep it going the weekend in the ACCs. 'Be the Best.' We believe in you."
Scott Hochstadt ('99): "Lots of proud Terps out on the West Coast!"
Ed Mullen ('76): "WOW!!! What a great, tenacious display. Even us old guys could relate. Beating Hopkins at Hopkins. 29 minutes of no stinking drum beat was awesome. Congrats to coaches, players, alum, and fans, you made us all proud. Go Terps! PS, my daughter loved the uniforms!"
Jim Ellis ('84): "Watched it with a Hopkins Graduate. That made it even sweeter! Way to go guys it was awesome to watch. Like Mull's said no damn drum beating."
Willy Passavia ('03): "Great win tonight!!! Great night to be a Terp!"
Bill Sbarra ('67): "Tremendous win TERPS ! Lots or passion, pride and guts by TERP players last night !!!! Brought back great memories- Byrd Stadium- May 20th 1967 - TERPS 9 - Hopkins - 5. That win gave us a National Championship in 1967. VERY PROUD TO BE A TERP!"
Curtis Roundtree ('84): "Sweet win,Terps! And I loved the uniforms. MARYLAND PRIDE!"
Speaking of the uniforms - The men's lacrosse Maryland Pride uniforms made their debut Saturday night and the results were overwhelmingly positive. Here are a few photos.
The response was so positive (and expectedly so) that replica jerseys are on sale now at the Terrapin Team Shop in Comcast Center and online by clicking here.
The replicas are available in #31 in youth and adult sizes and the legendary #21 of Frank Urso, which hasn't been worn since 1976. What an incredible chance to honor a Terrapin legend and bring some Maryland history to a whole new generation of Terp fans.
Remembering Maria Young
One year ago today, April 17, the world lost one of its bright lights when Maria Young succumbed to pancreatic cancer after a heroic nearly four-year battle.
Maria has continued to be and will continue to be a huge inspiration for this program. She lived her life and fought her disease in the same manner that the Terps strive to play: with heart, determination, passion and with a purpose greater than one's self.
You only have to look to the sidelines at every Maryland game to see the coaching staff wearing their purple polo shirts or their purple "Forever Young" shirts. Even last week at Hopkins, with the team decked out in their Maryland Pride uniforms, the staff was easily spotted in their purple garb.
I wrote about Maria's story last year shortly after her death and you can read that account here: Forever Young.
In memory of Maria and the continuing fight against pancreatic cancer, the Maryland men's lacrosse team and its parents are asking all fans to wear purple this weekend at the ACC tournament in Charlottesville. Fans love to wear their team's colors to show their support for their school, but this is a cause that affects everyone and in this effort we are all on the same team.
Maria's Legacy Lives
As a parent myself, I can only hope that I raise my son to be a good, honest and kind man. That was what Maria wanted for her three sons and in the following story, which was told to me Monday morning, you can see she succeeded.
Last Saturday at the Hopkins game a young Terp fan was standing near the rail by the Maryland bench. He was yelling and screaming and cheering for his Terps.
One of the Maryland faithful (I won't say who, because I did not hear this from her), who has been with the program for a long time, approached this young man, who was fervently rooting for the Terrapins.
One thing she noticed was that this young fan was wearing a Maryland No. 27 jersey, which he said he had gotten last year at the Final Four at M&T Bank Stadium. She asked if he knew whose jersey that was and he replied it was Ryan Young - his favorite player.
With what I can only imagine was a sly smile, knowing what was about to happen, she asked if he would like to meet Ryan, who was in attendance cheering on his former teammates.
The boy's eyes grew wide in amazement that he would have the chance to meet his favorite Terp and she took him over and introduced him to Ryan.
Ryan was so gracious with his time and he proceeded to talk to this young fan and when Ryan asked the boy if he wanted him to sign his jersey the young fan turned and asked anyone within earshot, "Anyone got a pen!"
After signing the jersey and other items for the boy, Ryan talked a little more before each of them went back to cheering for the Terps in the 9-6 comeback victory over the Blue Jays.
Maria fought her cancer so hard because she wanted to make sure her sons grew up to be fine men. After hearing about how Ryan handled the young Terp fan at Homewood Field I think its safe to say she accomplished her goal and her legacy will live on through her sons and how they live their lives.
Taking The Time Makes All The Difference
That story isn't the only one this week about a Terp taking time out for the fans. Despite being at his side nearly every moment from the time the postgame handshakes were over to entering the locker room (except for a minute I spent discussing events that transpired near the end of the North Carolina with league and school officials), I didn't even know Maryland head coach John Tillman found the time to do this.
Here's the email I received on April 16:
"A few weeks ago my family and I decided to drive up to Chapel Hill for the MD - UNC men's lacrosse game. Both by sons are lacrosse players and huge MD fans since that is where I went to school. After the game we bumped into Coach Tillman and he stopped and spoke with us for a few minutes. I wanted to see if there was any way I could let him know how much I appreciated that and the impression it had on my kids. He spoke with both of them for a few minutes and encouraged them to keep playing lacrosse.
"My kids have not stopped talking about it and now don't miss a game when they are on TV. Please let Coach Tillman know how much I appreciate that he took the time for my kids."
Even in the aftermath of the on-field fight near the end of the Carolina game, Coach Tillman took the time to spend a few moments with a father and his kids, who traveled to the game from Georgia.
There isn't a hotter team in the country than Duke, which has won eight consecutive games heading into this Friday's rematch with the Terps.
You know the names. With Jordan Wolf, CJ Costabile, Dan Wigrizer, Josh Dionne, Robert Rotanz, Christian Walsh, Justin Turri (and many, many more), the Blue Devils field their own little All-America team.
If you look at the stats this is truly a "David vs. Goliath" matchup.
- Duke features four players with 20 or more goals, while the Terps have just two players on their roster with 20 or more points this year.
- The Blue Devils have two players facing-off at better than 54% that have taken more than 100 draws. The Terps are less than 50% as a team this season.
- Duke has won its last two ACC games by a combined 10 goals. Maryland, vs. the same two ACC foes, lost its last two conference games by a combined five goals.
With all of that it would be easy to just chalk this one up as a Blue Devil win, make the reservations in Charlottesville for just one night and focus on Mount St. Mary's on April 25.
But as a former Maryland football coach is known for saying ... "Not so fast my friend."
While Duke is 26-2 vs. Virginia and North Carolina since 2005 (thanks to @DixonLacrosse), the Blue Devils are 5-7 vs. the Terps during that same span. If you close the time window a little more, Maryland holds a 5-1 edge in the series since 2009, which is when the current seniors (fourth-year guys) started their college careers.
With that being said, keep in mind what you hear or see on every financial services advertisement: "Past Results Do Not Guarantee Future Performance."
This one promises to be a terrific lacrosse game and the good news for lacrosse fans is that for the first time all three games of the ACC tournament will be broadcast on ESPNU. So come up with a cough, have a "doctors appointment" or just take the afternoon off and find a way to get in front of a television set at 5 p.m. on Friday. Or if you can, make the trek to Charlottesville and watch the games in person. Advance tickets are available by clicking here.
Tis The Season
With the weather warming up and the lacrosse seasons (youth, high school, etc.) in full swing it's probably time for those looking to take their games to the next level and there's no better way to do that then at the Maryland Men's Lacrosse Summer Camps, Tournaments and Clinics.
For all of the information, including how to register online, go to: umterpslax.com.
Support Your Terps: Join The Faceoff Club
The commitment of the Terps and the Terrapin coaching and support staff is matched only by the commitment of the thousands of Maryland alums and fans. But attending games and cheering on your Terps are not the only things fans can do to support Maryland men's lacrosse.
The Face Off Club gives alumni and fans a way to support the Terrapins financially by directly donating to the Maryland men's lacrosse program.
A variety of goals and giving levels are outlined in the Face Off Club brochure, which can be accessed through the newly redesigned TerrapinClub.com.
Alumni Reunion Reminder
Calling All Terps! This year's Alumni Reunion is set to take place on April 28 at the Bellarmine game.
The event is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. and will take place in the President's Suite in Tyser Tower at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium. Alums must RSVP to the event in order to be admitted to the suite. Click here to RSVP today.
That wraps up the longest blog I can remember writing (6 pages, single-spaced in Word if you're wondering), but there was so much to get to and probably more that I didn't get to.
I hope to see a lot of Red and Black at Klockner Stadium this weekend, but if you can't make it you can catch all of the ACC tournament action on ESPNU. Eamon McAnaney, who probably won't have Joe Cummings facing-off this weekend, and Quint Kessenich, who might have to turn in his Blue Jay alumnus card after being so complimentary of the Terps last Saturday, are on the call.
That does it for this week's blog.
One last thing - VOTE for JOE! Don't forget to vote today and every day for Joe Cummings for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. Click here to vote! You can also vote on your smartphone to double up your vote every day.
As always - Be The Best!