Dan Morris hadn’t seen the field a ton since arriving at Maryland.
Despite losing All-American goalie Kyle Bernlohr to graduation, the status quo has remained the same in the cage for the Terrapins.
The goalie position really hasn’t been an issue for Maryland in recent years. Niko Amato had a great run with the program from 2011 to 2014.
Amato was a USILA First Team All-American and the ACC Defensive Player of the Year in 2014. He helped lead the Terps to the NCAA Tournament semifinals where they ultimately fell to Notre Dame.
Amato also had the third-most saves in program history as he accumulated 625 stops over his four years. The Conshohocken (Pa.) native posted a .568 save percentage and a 7.39 goal-against average during his time at Maryland.
After Amato left, the torch was passed to Bernlohr, who hadn’t played much prior to the 2015 season.
Bernlohr was a USILA Second Team All-American and First Team All-Big Ten as a senior in 2016. The Akron native also helped lead Maryland to back-to-back national championship games.
His 373 saves were 10th most in program history despite only starting in two full seasons.
And that brings us to Morris.
Morris played sparingly in relief of Bernlohr over the past two seasons after redshirting in 2014. He appeared in 15 games in which he recorded 25 saves and allowed nine goals.
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Most of the action came in games where Maryland had a big lead and gave Bernlohr some rest.
Despite not playing a ton of significant time, Morris has definitely been up to the challenge thus far in 2017. In Saturday’s 15-7 win over North Carolina, Morris recorded 12 saves and scooped up four ground balls.
Morris has accumulated double-digit saves in five of Maryland’s seven games this season. In a defensive struggle against Notre Dame, the Dallas native stopped 13 shots and only allowed five goals in a 5-4 Maryland loss.
In seven games, Morris has posted an 8.81 goals-against average and a .559 save percentage.
Morris has really looked like a stone wall at times in the Maryland cage this season.
For example, in Saturday’s game, the Terps had obtained a 1-0 lead after a goal from long-stick Tim Muller. However, the Tar Heels brought the pressure right back down in the Maryland end.
Senior attackman Luke Goldstock set a pick for midfielder William Perry, who was able to attract the defense to him. Goldstock then got the ball back and was able to step into a cannon of a shot.
However, Morris stood his ground and saw Goldstock’s shot all the way and made the stop with ease. He also controlled the rebound and Maryland was able to clear.
On North Carolina’s next possession, Morris was challenged by a player that Maryland knows very well in star attackman Chris Cloutier. Cloutier scored the game-winning goal that brought the Tar Heels a national championship last May.
Cloutier got room and ripped off a scorching shot. He tried to beat Morris low, but the Maryland goalie was able to get down and deny Cloutier’s scoring attempt.
The Terps were able to jump out to an early lead and take some of the pressure off of Morris. However, Maryland’s defense play very well and Morris made key saves when he had to.
This marks the fourth game this season that Morris has kept a team in the single digits. In the three games where the opposition scored double-digit goals, two of those opponents were ranked in the top 10.
Morris doesn’t seem phased by any type of adversity that comes his way. He’s able to stand tall in net and it also doesn’t hurt that he has a stellar defensive unit in front of him.
The Terps definitely have the capability to return to Memorial Day weekend if they finish the season strong. Morris will have to continue his stellar play in the cage, but it appears that that shouldn’t be much of an issue.