Each week, The Baltimore Sun publishes a Q&A with a college lacrosse player or coach to get you more acquainted with the player and his/her team. Today's guest is North Carolina senior attackman Marcus Holman, who leads the team in goals (18) and assists (14), and is an early candidate to be named a Tewaaraton Award finalist.
Holman, a Baltimore native and Gilman graduate who recorded 39 goals and 35 assists last season, will lead the No. 10 Tar Heels (4-3) into Saturday's game with Atlantic Coast Conference rival and top-ranked Maryland (6-0) at Byrd Stadium in College Park.
How does it feel to be mentioned as one of the top contenders for the Tewaaraton?
It's definitely cool to be recognized. I think it's a tribute to the great players that I've played with and the teammates I have. I've always said that I've benefited from playing with great players. But I'm not trying to worry too much about stuff like that. I'm trying to get better as the season goes on and trying to get this team wins.
Many thought you should have been a finalist last year, when Colgate attackman Peter Baum, Duke long-stick midfielder C.J. Costabile, Massachusetts attackman Will Manny, Loyola attackman Mike Sawyer and Virginia attackman Steele Stanwick made the final cut. Any disappointment about the snub?
It's not something that I put all my eggs in a basket for, so to speak. I'm definitely more concerned for our team goals and our team achievements. At the end of the day, if I happened to be recognized for an award or two, then hopefully that means that our team is doing well and that we're having success.
Recently, the knock on North Carolina is that offense has had to score a lot of goals to make up for the defense's deficiencies. Is there more pressure on you and your teammates to score a ton of goals to win games?
I feel like sometimes we have felt that way. But you can't put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect. If you have the mindset of going out and playing and saying, 'We're going to try to score 20 goals in this game,' you're going to end up being disappointed with yourself. I just try to tell the guys to take the pressure off, try to have fun and play fast. We know good things will come when we work together. We're not trying to be perfect and we're not trying to live up to anyone else's expectations other than our own goals that we have.
As just one of two seniors among the top six offensive starters (midfielder Davey Emala is the other), do you feel like the wise old veteran of the group?
Not really. I feel like sometimes that might be the case, but I have a lot of help. Davey Emala has stepped up, and he — along with other guys who might not get as much attention — is definitely working hard. Our senior class is really doing a great job of playing their roles well. While a lot of the seniors might not be getting heralded for individual awards, they're doing their jobs to make this team successful. Guys are coming into leadership roles, like sophomores Joey Sankey and Jimmy Bitter, who are emerging as leaders.
How would you describe your potential matchup with Maryland junior defenseman Michael Ehrhardt?
We try not to go too much into individual matchups, because during the flow of the game you're likely to get matched up with a lot of different guys. I'm sure at one point or another, I'll be going against [sophomore] Goran Murray or any of their short-sticks. But Maryland's defense as a whole is obviously playing really well right now. They're third in the country in scoring defense. So we just know that their poles are good poles. They like to force you into tough shots, and their goalie, [junior] Niko Amato, is playing really well and has been for the past three years. They like to get ball up and out and push transition. So we've just got to try to get good opportunities and bury them when we can.