In their second road game of the year, the Terps held off a late rally from Villanova to start the season 6-0 with a 12-10 victory over the Wildcats on Friday evening. It was a tale of two halves as Maryland saw their fast start almost slip away from them late.
The Terrapins started the game red hot, scoring seven goals from five different players, including freshman phenom Matt Rambo and senior Mike Chanenchuk. Heading into the second quarter, the Terps looked as if they were headed for a blowout, but Villanova had other plans.
Heading into the fourth quarter, Maryland was up 11-6 after Villanova scored four goals in the third quarter to bring the game closer. Villanova scored the final four goals of the game but it was not enough as Maryland survived. Chanenchuk and freshman Connor Cannizzaro finished with hat tricks to lead the Terps to victory.
Despite the win and an encouraging first half, Maryland’s inconsistency on offense is alarming. Rambo and Caannizzaro are extremely talented, but relying on freshman to consistently produce provides Maryland with a big question mark. Experience trumps talent, which is what will carry Maryland the rest of the season.
Maryland’s experienced backline with senior Niko Amato in goal gives Maryland arguably the best defense in all of college lacrosse. Despite a sloppy second half, the Terps buckled down when they needed to and came away with a win. Seniors Michael Ehrhardt and Brian Cooper have done an amazing job thus far, but will need to continue to lead the defense to play at a high level if Maryland wants to be playing in Chester in May.
Right now, it’s hard to argue that there’s a better team than Maryland. I fully expect head coach John Tillman to fix the kinks throughout the season and make each game a learning experience on their road to victory. The Terps will look to start 7-0 for the first time since the 2003-04 season when they travel to Stony Brook on Tuesday.