Last year saw the collapse of a Maryland Terrapins lacrosse team that started 8-1 and was looking poised to play on Memorial Day. They ended with a mark of 10-4 due to a complete lack of offense at the end of the season. This eventually lead them to be victims of Cornell University in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The good news for the Terps this year is they are returning senior goalie, Niko Amato. He will be the anchor of what should be one of the top defenses in the entire nation. This has been Maryland’s identity and they will again be relying on it in 2014.
The big question mark surrounding this team for 2014 is the offense. Five of the top scorers from last year are gone including playmakers Owen Blye and John Haus.
This year, the Terps will rely heavily on a trio of incoming freshmen. Attackmen Matt Rambo, Connor Cannizzaro, and Tim Rotanz are projected to be the group that maintains Maryland as a powerhouse in the lacrosse world. But, if given a big role this year from the start, the Terps could find themselves having success right away as they grow into more complete players.
Now, relying on freshmen for more offense will have its ups and downs, but we could see some very exciting games this season. The fun thing for Terrapin fans this year is getting able to have a chance at making a deep tournament run, as well as seeing our future develop on the field.
I feel as though this particular team has less expectations as some of the teams from previous years. And a lot of that may have to do with the loss of some of the offensive stars. But, the fact that Maryland is ranked sixth in the coaches’ preseason polls while receiving one first-place vote does raise the bar for these future stars.
People recognize how good this team is on the defensive side of the ball. That means if the Terps can’t get anything going on offense, it doesn’t mean an automatic runaway game for the opponent. They will have to work for every goal they get against this defense.
This team will finish in the middle of the road in the ACC, finishing the regular season at 10-3 while going 2-3 in ACC play. This includes wins over defending champion Duke and the conference finale against Notre Dame. I also predict they regain supremacy over arch rival Johns Hopkins while going perfect in non-conference play. This team will make it to the NCAA tournament as a lower seed until they eventually are done in by the lack of experience. I can see this team making it to Baltimore this year for the semifinals. But in the end, I believe we will be watching two other teams play for the championship. However, I would love to be proven wrong on this theory.