Colgate at Maryland: Three things to watch

Saturday’s contest is the second meeting between these teams with Maryland cruising to an 18-10 throttling last year. No. 14 Colgate (9-4) lost to No. 12 Bucknell in the championship game of the Patriot League tournament last Sunday and needs to beat the Terps to remain in the conversation for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. At 10-3 and as the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament champion, Maryland is assured of a spot in the NCAA tournament, but the team could use a victory to cement a top-eight seed and the right to host a first-round contest. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at Byrd Stadium in College Park on Saturday.

1) Peter Baum vs. Brett Schmidt. The Terps have the luxury of starting senior defenseman Brett Schmidt, who leads the team in caused turnovers (20) and ranks second in ground balls (45). Schmidt’s athleticism and understanding of the defense allows the coaches to put him on close defense or at long-stick midfielder. That flexibility could mean that Schmidt will shadow Raiders sophomore midfielder Peter Baum, who is averaging 2.1 goal and 3.1 points per game this season. “If you talk to anybody in that league or anybody that’s played them, you know that everybody raves about him and that everybody has a ton of respect for him,” Maryland coach John Tillman said. “He’s a really good player. And if people haven’t seen him, they’ll be really impressed.”

2) Jared Madison vs. Terps shooters. Maryland enters the contest ranked ninth in Division I in offense, averaging 11.3 goals per game. It will be up to the team’s snipers to solve Colgate junior goalie Jared Madison, who ranks 18th in the country in goals-against average (8.15) and 25th in save percentage (.535). Madison’s play is one reason why the Raiders rank 16th in defense, surrendering just 8.1 goals per contest. “I give him a lot of credit,” Tillman said. “He’s been really consistent, a really good leader, a very energetic guy. The guys feed off of his energy. He’s a good clearer and creates transition for them.”

3) Jim Carroll vs. Curtis Holmes. The Terps have leaned on Curtis Holmes, and the sophomore has responded in resounding fashion, tying for ninth in the nation with a 61.6 success rate (159-of-258). Six slots behind Holmes is Colgate senior Jim Carroll, who has won 58.2 percent (153-of-263) of his draws. Neutralizing Carroll will be priority No. 1 for Holmes and the rest of the faceoff unit. “He’s really tough because he’s got a number of moves,” Tillman said of Carroll. “And he’s not just a faceoff guy. He’s a good athlete. He can pick up the ball with a lot of people hanging on him, he can handle pressure. He scored against Army. So you’re getting much more than just a face-off, get-off guy. You’ve got a dangerous threat and a guy who can handle the ball and make good decisions.”

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