The Maryland men’s lacrosse team has had a knack for dissecting opposing defenses this season.
Midfielder Bryan Cole has had a lot to do with that recently.
In Sunday’s NCAA quarterfinal win over North Carolina, Cole registered four goals and an assist to pace the Maryland offense. However, this wasn’t the first time that Cole was the catalyst for the Terrapins.
Since Maryland faced Loyola (Md.) back on April 8, Cole has recorded 11 goals and 12 assists in just six games. He had multiple points in five of those contests.
The Oakville, Ont. native is traditionally a facilitator, but has recently been finding himself in the scoring column.
On Sunday, Cole made his impact early against the Tar Heels. The Hill Academy (Ont.) product found himself uncovered in the front of goalie Kieran Burke and received a perfect pass from fellow midfielder Joe LoCascio for the easy goal.
The roles were reversed as LoCascio is usually the guy that is sniping the ball into the back of the net and Cole is setting up his teammates. On the season, Cole has 21 assists (most on the team) while LoCascio has 12 (third most on the team).
It hasn’t always been this way for Cole.
During his first two seasons in College Park, the Ontario native didn’t register a single point in very limited playing time. He appeared in two of the first five games during his freshman season, but suffered a season-ending wrist injury. When Cole was attempting to come back and playing for the Canadian U-19 team, the injury returned and Cole was forced to have his second surgery on his wrist.
As a sophomore in 2014, Cole appeared in all 17 games (starting three) and was a key cog in Maryland’s second midfield unit. The Terps midfielder scored five goals and dished out seven assists, including his first multi-point game in a 16-8 win over Syracuse.
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Cole has gone through a ton of adversity to get to this point as he was given a starting spot entering the season and has rewarded coach John Tillman with a stellar campaign.
“Bryan has been so important for us,” Tillman said. “I think he got a lot of experience last year and came back this year with confidence to be a big part of the offense. We really trust him and he makes good decisions. He’s exactly what we call being a Terp.”
With a first unit that already includes attackman Jay Carlson, LoCascio, and attackman Matt Rambo, having a table-setter like Cole becomes a tremendous advantage.
Now Cole is a leader on the team after two very productive seasons for the Terps. With just two wins separating Maryland from their first national title in 40 years, Cole could be the ultimate difference maker.
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