Senior attackman Jay Carlson paced Maryland with two goals and an assist in the team’s xx-x win over Villanova on Saturday. (Mandatory Credit: Zach Babo/InsideLacrosse)
No. 8 Maryland got off to a fast start against No. 15 Villanova and never looked back.
Attackmen Matt Rambo and Jay Carlson led the way for Maryland with seven points between the two of them. Rambo had a hat trick along with an assist while Carlson added two goals and an assist. The Terps outshot the Wildcats 27-12 on the afternoon.
Time of possession was a huge factor for Maryland in the early going. The Terps scored a pair of goals in the first 2:30 before the Wildcats even touched the ball.
“Today, possessions were going to be key,” Coach John Tillman said. “They’re so good offensively. You watch them on film and they do a really good job. We have a senior guy that’s been through the wars in Charlie Raffa and they have a really good freshman. You just hope that if you have a senior who is a veteran guy, that wins that matchup.”
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Midfielder Henry West got the scoring started just 37 seconds into the game on an unassisted tally. midfielder Bryan Cole followed that up with one of his own on a simple move from behind the cage and scored from Villanova goalie Greg Stamatov’s left side to gives Maryland a 2-0 lead. It was Cole’s third tally of the season and part of a strong afternoon for the senior midfielder.
The Terps added three more goals in the opening quarter with a pair of tallies from Carlson and a goal from attackman Colin Heacock.
“Right from the start, one of our focuses was to win the first five minutes,” Carlson said. “After we came out hot in the first quarter, we thought we really controlled the game, especially with our face-off guy Charlie Raffa and our wings. Once we have a little bit of a lead, we’ve done pretty well this season.”
Villanova goalie Greg Stamatov did his best to keep Maryland at bay, including a pair of saves on Cole and midfielder Bobby Gribbin in the first quarter. Stamatov did stop seven shots in the game.
With 2:53 remaining in the opening quarter, Carlson found the back of the cage again off an assist from freshman midfielder Connor Kelly to extend Maryland’s lead to 5-1. Kelly had arguably his best game of the young season as the freshman recorded three assists.
Rambo scored his first goal of the afternoon on a beautiful move to get near the front of the cage as he beat the slide and potted one home to make it 6-1. The LaSalle College High School had a very strong showing just minutes from where he grew up.
Maryland seemed to have an advantage in nearly every facet of the game.
“Today was just knowing our match-ups,” Carlson said. “We did a lot of studying this week to prepare because this is one of the fastest groups that we’ve played all year. That was our big emphasis. We just tried to handle their speed and control the game. That was our emphasis for the defense to make the first punch.”
As impressive as the offense was early on, Maryland’s defense really played about as good of a game as a team can play.
Coming into Saturday’s contest, the Terps were owners of the top scoring defense in the NCAA as they were only surrendering five goals-per-game. Goalie Kyle Bernlohr also continued to dazzle in the cage as the senior netminder stopped nine shots and only allowed one goal in each half.
Since Maryland’s tough loss against Yale, the team was been clicking on all cylinders defensively. The team constantly reminds themselves of how they felt that day.
“That one really hurt us,” long-stick midfielder Matt Neufeldt said. “We felt like we didn’t have a chance of winning that. We keep reiterating that and remember how we felt the whole time, so we don’t have to ever go home feeling like we did.”
Maryland has only allowed 16 goals (including Saturday) in the four contests since Yale. The defensive pressure was been ramped up and has come against some very talented squads.
Villanova actually had a higher shot percentage coming into the game at 29.9 percent while Maryland only was connecting on 25.1 percent of their shots. However, the Terps forced the Wildcats into shots that they may not have wanted to take. Defenders Casey Ikeda and Matt Dunn did another superb job as Villanova wasn’t able to dodge their way to the front of the cage.
“We know when we have the lead, our defense is going to lock it down,” Carlson added. “We have a really good face-off team and a really good defense that we go against them every day. They always beat us up, so we know that they’re going to do the same thing to the opponents.”