No one likes to lose to a rival, and it was quite evident on the faces of the Maryland players that getting upended, 7-4, by Johns Hopkins at Byrd Stadium in College Park Saturday was like a punch to the solar plexus.
The loss will probably drop the Terps in the rankings and in RPI, where they had been No. 4 in the first list released by the NCAA last Tuesday. And questions about the offense’s inability to yield more production will intensify this week as the team prepares for a visit from No. 17 Yale on Saturday.
But No. 4 Maryland (8-2) is still in a good spot. The team is just one of six in Division I to have two losses this season (No. 1 Denver, No. 5 Cornell, No. 6 Notre Dame, No. 7 Syracuse and Marist are the others). And the Terps are still the top seed in the upcoming Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, where they will meet No. 16 Virginia, which has dropped six straight contests, in a semifinal and could meet either No. 2 Duke or No. 3 North Carolina in the title game.
That road was somewhat difficult to discern in the aftermath of Saturday’s setback. Redshirt junior midfielder Mike Chanenchuk, who was the only player to finish with more than one point as he totaled three points on two goals and one assist, said the team has some areas to address.
“When you get to the second half of the season, you have to start adjusting to teams and you have to start adjusting to the wear and tear of the season,” he said. “We come out with the same mindset every week, and we try to put in effort and hard work in practice. You can practice as hard as you want and as smart as you want, but when it comes down to game time, if you don’t make the right decisions, you’re not going to be successful.”
Senior long-stick midfielder Jesse Bernhardt said bouncing back from a loss is tough, but he expressed faith in his teammates.
“We’re getting into the grind of the season right now, but we approach every week the same. It’s the most important week of the season,” he said. “We have good leadership on this team coming from guys like Chanenchuk, my brother [fifth-year senior midfielder Jake Bernhardt], [senior midfielder] John Haus, [senior attackman] Kevin Cooper and those guys. We’ll bounce back because they’re good leaders and the guys underneath them, they’ll listen to them.”