After Isaiah Davis-Allen scored the first two goals of his career in Maryland’s 13-4 dusting of Michigan on Sunday, coach John Tillman revealed that the sophomore short-stick defensive midfielder is talented enough to play on the first line of senior Joe LoCascio and juniors Henry West and Bryan Cole.
But Davis-Allen said he is more than comfortable with his primary role as a defender and his second job on the wings on faceoffs.
“The one reason why I chose Maryland is because it’s a bunch of guys who are selfless and who do what the team needs, not always what they want to do,” he said. “So for me, I’m perfectly happy with my spot. We have a great first line with Joe, Henry West, [sophomore Colin] Heacock and Cole. I think we’re solid there, and I think that my talents would be better suited for my spot.”
Davis-Allen has a backer in Tillman, who said that the 6-foot-2, 180-pound sophomore’s quick feet and tenacious nature are commodities on defense that can’t be ignored.
“Looking at what we have and looking at the athletes that we have and the personnel that we have, he is much better on the defensive end than some of the other guys, and he’s got a lot more experience than a lot of the other guys,” Tillman said. “That’s probably one of the greatest assets that he has.
"Last year, he was one of our starters at short-stick defensive midfield as a freshman, and Brian Cooper did a really good job of bringing him along, but he got so much experience there that coming back this year, we knew that he was going to play one or the other and maybe a little bit of both. We just feel like he’s such a rock down there. He’s so good at making sure that everybody’s on the same page, it’s hard to take him away from that. Yet we’re very comfortable that if we get down on offense, we can keep him on the field and keep him playing.”
Both of Davis-Allen’s goals occurred after picking up ground balls off faceoffs. He said he thought about passing the ball to Matt Rambo before remembering what the sophomore attackman has told him in the past.
“It’s funny because Matt always gives me a little bit of a hard time for not shooting,” Davis-Allen said with a smile. “A couple times I’ve had an opportunity and have passed it off to him when Matt was covered and it may not have been the best choice. So Matt’s been definitely pushing for it for me.”
Davis-Allen began his career at St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes School in Arlington, Va., as a short-stick defensive midfielder before developing into a scorer who posted 23 goals in his senior year. So is he sure won’t take a similar path with the No. 3 Terps (8-1 overall and 1-0 in Big Ten)?
“Not even the tiniest bit,” Davis-Allen said. “I let the offense do what they do over there.”