The Maryland lacrosse team lost quite a bit of talent from last year’s midfield unit.
Even with the emergence of freshman Jared Bernhardt, the Terrapins will rely on their talented group of attackmen to lead the way in 2017.
Through four games this season, Maryland has accumulated 99 total points. 62 of those points have come from an attackman.
Coming into the season, it was clear that Maryland possessed one of the most lethal attack units in college lacrosse. That’s proved to be true so far as all three of the Terps starting attackmen have at least 10 points.
Senior Matt Rambo is playing some of the best lacrosse of his collegiate career. In just four games, Rambo has 22 points (11 goals and 11 assists) and has also registered at least six points in three of those contests.
Rambo has been just as impressive setting up his teammates as he has finding the back of the cage. The Glenside, Pa. native has gotten more patient as his career has gone on and he’s really reaped the benefits in the past two years.
One of his strongest attributes is his brute strength.
Rambo uses his large frame to dodge his way past defenders and play through contact. This was never more true than in Saturday’s 12-11 win over No. 8 Yale.
The senior attackman received a pass from midfielder Ben Chisolm as Rambo was set up behind the cage. He immediately saw an opening and made his way in front.
As he did so, Yale midfielder John Daniggelis laid a hit on Rambo from behind. Rambo was falling down to the turf, but was still able to pick his spot and rifle a goal past Phil Huffard to give the Terps a 3-2 advantage.
If Rambo wouldn’t have gotten hit, he may have had his shot stopped by Huffard or maybe even stepped in the crease.
Fellow senior Colin Heacock has proved to be just as talented with the ball on his stick. Heacock has registered four points in three of the four games this season.
Heacock has a downright wicked shot that he can bury from just about anywhere on the field.
That was never more clear than in the second quarter of Saturday’s contest.
Maryland hasn’t traditionally been a team that gets out and runs. John Tillman’s units are methodical and pick apart their opponents with crisp passes.
With 10:03 left in the first half, midfielder Connor Kelly attempted to dodge his defender before ultimately spinning away from contact and finding Chisolm. Chisolm surveyed the field and found a wide-open Heacock, who ripped an absolute scorcher of a shot into the back of the cage.
Heacock’s tally extended Maryland’s lead to 6-3 and capped a three-goal run by the Terps.
Rambo and Heacock have looked phenomenal already this season and appear to have picked up right where they left off in the national title game. If they weren’t impressive enough, Dylan Maltz offers a third scoring option on attack and that could be downright scary for the opposition.
Maltz has 10 points on the season and his nine goal are tied for second on the team with Heacock.
Opposing teams often key on Heacock and Rambo and for good reason. The Maryland dynamic duo has incredible chemistry, which comes from being roommates throughout their time in College Park.
Maltz is really great at picking his spots, which he can afford to do. He often has the time to fire his shot in the back of the cage due to the defense not pressuring him quite as much as Rambo and Heacock.
For example, early in the second half, Rambo displayed his ability to draw the defense and command that extra help. Rambo acted like he was going to dodge his way towards the cage, but backed up at the last moment.
Rambo completely caught the defense off-guard and found an open Maltz, who beat Huffard low. Maltz’s goal gave the Terps a 9-4 lead and put them well in control at the time.
Maryland’s attack is really the best that most teams will see all season long. They have the ability to burn you in so many different ways with the amount of offensive options.
If the midfield unit can continue to grow with Bernhardt and Kelly leading the way, the sky is the limit.
Rambo, Heacock, and Maltz are still always going to be the focal points of the offensive attack. If Maryland wants to get back to playing on Memorial Day, this is the group that they will have to lean on.