Review & preview: Maryland
Here’s the penultimate installment of a new series that checks in with the seven Division I programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Today, we take a visit with Maryland.
The good: A Terps defense that appeared to be crippled with the season-ending rib and lung injuries to junior Brian Farrell after just three contests fared just fine. Sophomore Brett Schmidt made a smooth transition from long-stick midfielder to close defense, and junior Dan Halayko and sophomore Chris Ready performed admirably at long-stick midfielder for a unit that finished eighth in the country (7.7 goals per game). "I thought we played good team defense at the end of the year in terms of on a much more consistent basis," coach Dave Cottle said. "Having two first-year starters on defense in Brett Schmidt and Max Schmidt, I felt we got better." ... Towards the end of the season, Cottle played three midfields in an effort to cultivate more depth. Although those results were negligible, the shuttling of lines gained younger players some much-needed game experience. "At the end of the year, I think playing three midfields was something that we fell into, but our team picked up on it and liked it," Cottle said.
The bad: Maryland’s inability to find a second midfield line that could produce put a lot of pressure on the first line and the attack. When the first line was on the sidelines, opposing defenses concentrated on the attack by packing the middle of the offensive zone and daring the second line to beat them from the outside. That meant that the first midfield and attack had to shoulder much of the scoring burden. ... The defense’s lack of speed was exposed in the quarterfinal loss to Syracuse, and Cottle said the third starting defenseman spot vacated by the graduation of Mike Griswold will be filled by a player fleet of foot. "We’re probably going to look for a quicker kid to pick the ball off the ground and help us with clears," Cottle said.
Personnel changes: The Terps must replace a midfield that bids farewell to Dan Groot (21 goals and 14 assists) and Jeff Reynolds (12, 4) -- both of whom were selected in the Major Lacrosse League draft -- and Jeremy Sieverts (17, 6). Freshman Jake Bernhardt got extensive time on the first line with Groot and Sieverts, and junior Adam Sear played well towards the end of the season. Junior Eric Boyle, a transfer from Towson, and freshman Owen Blye are expected to compete for starting time. "We have some pieces. We just have to put them in the right place," Cottle said. ... A number of candidates will vie for Griswold’s position, including junior long-stick midfielder Dan Halayko and freshman defenseman Grant Oliver. "I think it’s going to be up for grabs," Cottle said. "It’s a position that Mike grew into and did a good job with at the end of the year. There’s some things that Mike did better than anyone else we had in the program, such as communication and sliding and stuff like that. We’ll probably be looking for somebody who can get that ball off the ground and clear it. Whoever does that will be the leading candidate." ... Goalkeeper Jason Carter is gone, which means junior Brian Phipps will be the sole starter, assuming he successfully returns from surgery to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. "I think Brian will probably be the guy," Cottle said. "We probably won’t be looking to share time there unless there’s somebody just as good."
Outlook for 2010: Unclear. Maryland advanced to the quarterfinals despite not getting much depth from its midfield. What’s in store for a squad that will have unproven midfielders? The return of Farrell should rejuvenate a defense lacking in speed and struggled at times to clear the ball. The program welcomes three Under Armour All-Americans in midfielder Landon Carr, defenseman Jesse Bernhardt and goalie Niko Amato.