Before Tuesday's men's lacrosse season opener for Mount St. Mary's and No. 3 Maryland, coach Tom Gravante had hoped his Mountaineers would be able to slow the tempo and give freshman goalkeeper Will Rego a chance to adjust in his first start on the Division I level.
The Terps didn't oblige, opening the scoring just 45 seconds into the game and not relenting until the fourth quarter en route to a 23-6 demolition before an announced 2,094 at Byrd Stadium.
Fourteen different players scored, and the 23-goal output was the most by Maryland in a season opener since March 21, 1978, when that squad blistered North Carolina State, 25-11. It was also the most by the Terps since March 21, 1995, when they pelted Radford, 26-3. The last time Maryland scored 23 goals in a home opener was 1964, in a 23-4 victory over Wesleyan (Conn.).
The key for the Terps was sprinting out of the gate. They scored the game's first seven goals and forced Gravante to spend his team's two first-half timeouts with 5:27 left in the first quarter in an unsuccessful attempt to slow Maryland's momentum and inject his team with confidence.
"Mount St. Mary's is a very dangerous team, and anytime you play a team like that, you want to take the wind out of their sails right away," said senior attackman Kevin Cooper (Archbishop Spalding), alluding to the Terps' closer-than-expected 12-8 decision against the Mountaineers last year. "We got some help from both of our faceoff guys, just giving us every possession. It's tough for them to get any momentum when we're getting the ball every time."
The rotation of senior Curtis Holmes, a McDonogh grad who went 10-for-13, and sophomore Charlie Raffa (8-for-11) helped Maryland win 25 of 32 faceoffs, including 11 of 17 in the first half. The Terps, who are coming off back-to-back appearances in the national title game, scored eight goals in the first quarter and 12 in the first half — both of which were the most since May 8, 2010, against Colgate.
Maryland got a game-high six points on three goals and three assists from Cooper, who played mostly attack after spending last season on second midfield. Senior midfielder John Haus added five points on two goals and three assists, and redshirt senior midfielder Jake Bernhardt scored four goals.
The four goals were a career high for Bernhardt, who was sidelined last season by a broken collarbone suffered in a preseason scrimmage.
"It's just a great feeling to get out there and put one away," said Bernhardt, who took six shots. "It takes that pressure off of you, that itch that you want to get a shot off."
The Terps dominated almost every statistical category, including shots (46-20) and ground balls (44-18).
Redshirt senior attackman Cody Lehrer (Dulaney) paced the Mountaineers (0-1) with four points on one goal and three assists, and senior attackman Andrew Scalley (Archbishop Spalding) scored twice. But twins Brett and Bryant Schmidt — St. Mary's Ryken graduates who combined for 58 goals and 26 assists last season — were limited to a goal each.
Rego (St. Paul's) finished with just one save before getting pulled in favor of freshman Frankie McCarthy, who made seven saves in the second and third quarters. But neither goalie got much assistance from the faceoff unit, which disappointed Gravante.
"If we don't go 50 percent in facing off and if we don't go 50 percent in ground balls, it's going to be a long season, and not just for Mount St. Mary's, but for anybody," he said. "We've still got a good team through that door over there, and we still have some work to do. But there are certain stats on that sheet that you've got to win or at least go 50 percent."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun