The Maryland lacrosse team is currently riding a four-game winning streak.
Over these past four contests, the Terrapins are really hitting their stride.
Maryland has defeated Albany, Drexel, North Carolina, and Princeton since March 8. The Terps outscored those opponents 50-28 during that four games and didn’t allow double-digit goals.
Maryland is scoring 12.5 goals-per-game during their four-game winning streak. On the season, the Terps are scoring 10.57 goals per contest and are shooting 26.7 percent.
However, this even goes beyond a statistics perspective for the Terps. Maryland has one of the most lethal offensive units on paper and it may be as deep a team as the program has had under coach John Tillman.
Maryland lost a considerable amount of talent from last year’s group that went to the national title game. Attackman Jay Carlson and midfielder Joe LoCascio were lost to graduation and combined for 85 points (62 goals & 22 assists).
Despite those daunting losses, the team remains the same at the top with attackman Matt Rambo back for his junior season.
Rambo was extremely productive during his first two seasons in College Park. The Pennsylvania native tallied 95 points (70 goals & 25 assists) and was one of the focal points of the Maryland offense.
While Rambo produced quite a bit during his first two seasons, he’s playing at an elite level as of late. Over the last four games, he has scored 10 goals and dished out a pair of assists.
Rambo looks more methodical when he has the ball in his stick and looks for the perfect shot rather than the first available one. Being more selective has been a part of Rambo’s game that he can always stand to improve and that appears to be clicked recently.
For example, on Maryland’s goal-scoring possession with 3:12 left in the first half, the Terps had the ball a significant amount of time. Rambo had the ball twice on this lengthy possession and could’ve taken a shot on both occasions.
The first time was when Rambo possessed the ball from about 15 yards out and could’ve stepped into a shot. However, he elected to dish it off to midfielder Henry West, who attempted to dodge his way towards the cage.
Later in the possession, Rambo only had one defender in front of him, so he could’ve tried to dodge his way towards the net or call for a pick. The junior attackman ended up passing it off once again and Maryland ended up scoring just seconds later.
Maryland doesn’t even need Rambo to carry the scoring load by himself. There’s so many offensive pieces that can score, so a more disciplined Rambo is paying dividends for this team.
With Carlson and LoCascio gone, there was a bit of a question mark on who the second and third scoring options were going to be.
Midfielder Colin Heacock has certainly stepped up and been arguably the top scoring option for the Terps through seven games.
Coming into the season, Heacock was fresh off a sophomore campaign in which he scored 18 goals, but wasn’t part of Maryland’s primary attack unit. As a freshman, the former Boys’ Latin (Md.) star had just nine points (five goals & four assists) in a very limited role.
Now Heacock has moved to Maryland’s top midfield unit and has been a force. Heacock leads the team in goals (16) and is second in points (18) and shots (44).
One of the biggest things that jumps out about Heacock is his strong presence around the cage. He just has a knack for putting himself in a great position for his teammates to find him for high percentage shots.
For example, with 58 seconds remaining in the opening quarter against North Carolina, attackman Connor Kelly dropped a beautiful straight-line pass to Heacock, who was able to deposit one into the back of the net right next to the cage to give Maryland a 4-2 lead.
Heacock made another heady play early in the third quarter when Maryland needed some separation from North Carolina. With 9:16 left, Kelly was sent to the turf, but got right up and delivered a bullet of a pass to Heacock. Heacock was waiting right in front of the cage and deposited his shot past Tar Heels goalie Brian Balkam.
Heacock’s tally gave the Terps a 7-4 lead and gave his team some cushion to work with.
Along with the superb play of Heacock and Rambo, the Terps are also getting tremendous production from midfielder Bryan Cole and Kelly.
Cole has been an established commodity during his Maryland career. He really broke onto the scene last season as a junior when he scored 19 goals and recorded 22 assists.
Cole is a very versatile player that is just as comfortable setting up his teammates as he is scoring goals. With guys like Heacock, Kelly, and Rambo having proven firepower, Cole’s ability as a passer is even more essential to the Maryland offense.
On the other hand, Saturday’s game was a true barometer of just how far Kelly has come during his short Terp career.
Kelly was all kinds of aggressive as he scored three goals and delivered three assists in an impressive Maryland victory. The former Avon Old Farms (Conn.) star really came on late during his freshman campaign and is definitely picking up right where he left off.
Kelly is a player that really excels in one-on-one situations when he has a clear path to the cage. He has the quickness to turn the corner while also being able to dodge defenders if he needs to.
During Maryland’s four-game winning streak, Kelly has accumulated seven goals and five assists.
Maryland has five players that have double-digit points so far this season. When you consider that this could be the deepest team offensively that Tillman has had at Maryland, it truly speaks to how special this team could be.
With Big Ten play about to begin, the Terps couldn’t be finding their way offensively at a more opportune time.