COLLEGE PARK — As if graduating five starters and three other major contributors wasn't painful enough, Maryland men's lacrosse coach John Tillman revealed before Saturday's season-opener that senior midfielder Jake Bernhardt would miss as much as a month with a shoulder injury.
Thankfully, the Terps still have John Haus.
The junior midfielder had a game-high four points (two goals and two assists) to pace the No. 10 Terps to a 12-6 victory over No. 19 Hartford Saturday at Byrd Stadium.
Haus' performance helped overshadowed the loss of Bernhardt, who started all 18 games last season and ranked sixth on the team in goals (15).
"Obviously, Jake's a very good player, and he would make us a lot better," Haus said. "But that stuff happens. People get hurt, and other people have to step in and make plays. Coach reiterates that every day. … We've just got to move on from there."
Haus isn't exactly a wallflower. He started 12 games in 2011 and finished fifth on the team in points (28) and tied for second in assists (14). And for now, Haus, senior Drew Snider and junior Mike Chanenchuk, a transfer from Princeton, will be expected to anchor the midfield.
"We love Jake to death," Tillman said. "I think just emotionally, everybody loves Jake so much that losing him, it hurt all of us a little bit. But we asked other guys to step up, and I thought everybody did a little bit of that today."
Whether it was Bernhardt's absence or finding a rhythm with so many different players from last season, the Terps struggled early. They committed eight turnovers to the Hawks' four in the first quarter and were outshot, 6-3.
Hartford, the unanimous preseason favorite to repeat as America East champion, appeared ready to pick up where it left off as the Hawks (0-1) shut out Maryland in the first quarter and took a 2-0 lead.
The teams traded goals in the second quarter before Maryland junior Curtis Holmes won a faceoff (his seventh in eight attempts up to that point) and fired a shot from the right point into the top left corner of the net, giving the Terps a 4-3 lead 57 seconds before halftime.
That lead was short-lived as freshman attackman Kevin O'Shea scored back-to-back goals to give Hartford a 5-4 lead just 4:09 into the third quarter.
But that's when Haus went to work. With 6:19 left in the quarter, he collected a pass from Snider and top-shelfed a shot from the top of the box over senior goalkeeper Scott Bement.
After sophomore defenseman Michael Ehrhardt connected with senior attackman Joe Cummings for a score with 4:09 left in the quarter (which drew a one-minute unnecessary roughness penalty against Hawks junior defenseman Nick Ceme), Snider found Haus alone near the left post for a goal with 3:52 left.
Fifty-one seconds later, Haus drew two defenders and threaded a pass to freshman attackman Jay Carlson, who charged down the right alley to give the Terps an 8-5 advantage.
"I guess I was feeling good," Haus said. "I made a few plays and kind of fed off my teammates. Everybody just kept fighting. We were down, but everybody just kept fighting. We just happened to hit that little spurt, and we came through."
Maryland flexed its muscles in several key categories, including shots (40-23) and groundballs (53-21). The Terps were especially overpowering on faceoffs, as Holmes won 19-of-20 draws.
Freshman attackman Kevin O'Shea led Hartford with his first career hat trick, but Hawks coach Peter Lawrence said his team lost steam in the second half.
"What really happened, I felt like, was that our offensive middies were stuck out there a lot on defense," he said. "So when they actually got their chance to play offense, they had no juice left in them. So we weren't really getting quality possessions on offense either. I think we just got worn down."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun