Justin Radebaugh knew what he was up against: taking on the country’s third-ranked faceoff specialist in a meaningful game against in-state rival Maryland in front of a pro-Terps crowd.
But Radebaugh wasn’t alone. The Boys’ Latin graduate relied on the advice of junior J.D. Harkey and with the support of his teammates on the wings, Radebaugh more than held his own, winning 10 of 20 faceoffs in the No. 9 Retrievers’ 9-7 victory over No. 4 Maryland yesterday.
With Harkey lost for the remainder of the season due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered during practice earlier in the week, Radebaugh took every faceoff. And although Terps junior Bryn Holmes -- he of the 65.6 win percentage prior to yesterday’s contest -- won seven of 12, Radebaugh edged out senior Jeff Reynolds, 4-3, and freshman Jake Bernhardt, 1-0.
"We would talk a lot between faceoffs about what I’m doing and what the other guy’s doing," Radebaugh said of his conversations with Harkey during the game. "Of course, you’re going to be nervous before the game, but I think that’s a good thing. The first thing you don’t want to do is jump. Once you settle in, you start timing the whistle and you get more comfortable as the game goes on."
Expect Radebaugh to take the brunt of the faceoffs in Saturday’s home game against Ohio State. The freshman has earned the faith of his teammates.
"He really stepped up today and did an amazing job," senior Alex Hopmann said. "Last week, we had a tough week on groundballs and face-offs, but this week, we went back to work. Justin Radebaugh, I can’t say enough about the kid. Stepped up as a freshman, first game at Maryland, and he pulls it out for us. He’s the star of the game."
* The Terps’ sophomore attack duo of Grant Catalino and Ryan Young combined for six goals and one assist, but UMBC surrendered just one goal to attackman Will Yeatman (in an extra-man situation) and limited the first midfield of Dan Groot, Jeremy Sieverts and Jeff Reynolds just two assists. "We knew we needed to pack it in tight and play as a unit," senior defenseman Kevin Goedeke said. "We did a good job of scouting them, and we knew what we were up against. We knew we had to take away their strengths and force them to the parts of the field that we wanted them to go, and then we slid to them at the right times."
* As significant as the rivalry is between the two programs, Retrievers coach Don Zimmerman insisted that the atmosphere at practice was not unlike the mood at previous practices against other opponents. "It’s funny because it wasn’t a big rah-rah type thing," he said. "Last week, we did the rah-rah thing [against Johns Hopkins and Princeton], and it didn’t really work for us. So today, we were a little more laidback, and I just told them, ‘Look, you’re going to have to go out there and play your game for 60 minutes and find a way to win a lacrosse game.’ And that’s what the kids did. This was a players’ win."
* Maryland coach Dave Cottle’s frustration yesterday may have stemmed from the offense’s lack of intensity. The Terps appeared lethargic until UMBC took a 9-4 lead in the fourth quarter, and many players seemed content to take shots either from long range or poor angles. Only 14 of Maryland’s 37 shots were on net. "This wasn’t a game about skill," Cottle said, dismissing a question about whether the Retrievers’ defensive schemes had taken the Terps out of their game. "This was a game about will, and we didn’t have the will that was necessary to win this game today. You could see it in pregame. We just weren’t there for whatever reason. We’ve got to fix it. We have to fix some things, and it’s more about heart and toughness than anything else."