Maryland Lacrosse: Terps face tough test in Syracuse

May 17, 2015; Annapolis, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins attack Matt Rambo (1) drives to the net as North Carolina Tar Heels defense Austin Pifani (17) defends during the first half at Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
May 17, 2015; Annapolis, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins attack Matt Rambo (1) drives to the net as North Carolina Tar Heels defense Austin Pifani (17) defends during the first half at Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

The Maryland lacrosse team has been on a tear since March and not much changed in their First Round win against Quinnipiac.

The Terrapins topped the Bobcats 13-6 behind a complete game effort in every sense of the phrase. Attackman Matt Rambo came to play once again with three goals and a pair of assists on the afternoon.

Midfielders Bryan Cole and Henry West added three goals and an assist apiece in the win. West has really come on as of late despite a slow start to the season.

One of the key reasons for Maryland cruising to victory was their dominating performance at the “X.” As a team, the Terps won 15-of-21 face-offs while freshman Austin Henningsen came away victorious on 14-of-17 of those draws.

This was the first game action for Henningsen since he suffered a leg injury against Penn State back on April 10. Coach John Tillman didn’t push Henningsen back into action too soon because the Terps need him for their NCAA Tournament run.

Much like Charlie Raffa has been in postseason play in recent years, Henningsen will be just as crucial to Maryland’s defense on the offensive end.

Maryland’s defense has been phenomenal all season and nothing changed against Quinnipiac. The Bobcats only were able to muster three goals in each half while being outshot 37-24 by the Terps.

Maryland also forced 11 Quinnipiac turnovers, including six in the second half.

Goalie Kyle Bernlohr made five of his seven saves in the second half, including five in the third quarter. The Terps also doubled up the Bobcats in the ground ball department by a 28-14 margin.

Getting to know Syracuse

  • Much like Maryland, Syracuse possesses a stellar face-off specialist in Ben Williams. Despite struggling against Albany last week, Williams still is winning 62.2 percent of his face-offs, which is good for 11th in the nation. He possesses a great deal of power and can get out in transition when he is able to win draws.
  • The Orange offense all starts with Dylan Donahue on attack. There’s fewer players that have a more complete game than that of Donahue. The redshirt senior has registered 29 goals and a team-high 31 assists so far this season. Donahue isn’t afraid to camp out around the net and patiently wait for a pass from fellow facilitators Tim Barber and Sergio Salcido. Donahue has scored in 41 straight games and has a point in 56 straight games. This is as dangerous a player as Maryland will come across during the NCAA Tournament.
  • Salcido anchors a very impressive midfield unit and is as shift as they come. Despite only being 5’7, Salcido possesses a great deal of power and quickness. That allows him to stop on a dime and make plays around the cage without any hesitation. He made his presence known in Syracuse’s First Round victory against Albany when he was one of three players (along with Barber & Jordan Evans) to score a pair of goals for the Orange. Simply put, if Salcido is churning on all cylinders, Syracuse is an extremely dangerous team.

Keys to victory for Maryland

  • Battle at the “X” – As was mentioned above, Henningsen and Williams are two of the best face-off specialists in the college game. Despite being sidelined since April, Henningsen is still eighth in the nation face-off winning percentage with a 63.5 percent clip. However, Williams is an extremely physical specimen at the “X,” and poses a very tough challenge for Maryland’s true freshman. If Henningsen can get the upper hand and create offense for the Terps, it’ll go a long way towards sending Maryland to the national semifinals.
  • Slide at the right time – It’s no secret that the Orange have a ton of offensive options in Barber, Donahue, Evans, former UMass attackman Nick Mariano, and Salcido. Despite being very gifted scorers, Donahue and Salcido each rank in the top 45 in the nation in assists. The Terps are going to need to pick their battles and make the right decision more often than not. Maryland does have some of the best long poles in the game and there have been few times that offenses have gotten the better of them. However, Syracuse owns the seventh best offense in the country and is scoring 12.81 goals per contest. If the Terps want to limit the Orange scoring chances, sliding at the right time is being to be absolutely essential.

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  • Big game Rambo – Maybe it doesn’t even need to be said, but Rambo is one of the most lethal players in the game today. Since arriving in College Park as a highly-touted freshman, Rambo has matured and become the complete player that Tillman always hoped he would be. Rambo is just as dangerous as a passer as he is as a dodging goal scorer. It’s not just about getting to a spot for the Pennsylvania native. It’s about being able to play through contact and still hit his mark. We saw him do it on the national stage last May against Johns Hopkins. If Maryland wants a return trip to Philadelphia on Memorial Day weekend, it all starts with Rambo.