After dropping two of its previous three contests, No. 11 Maryland needed to boost its morale and the team got that by walloping visiting Colgate, 18-6, in the regular-season finale for both teams at Byrd Stadium in College Park Saturday.
The victory is expected to cement one of the NCAA tournament’s eight seeds and a home game in the first round for the Terps (10-3). Just as important is that the team gets some momentum as it heads into the postseason.
“It’s huge,” senior long-stick midfielder Jesse Bernhardt said. “We don’t really like to talk about the whole tournament stuff, but it’s kind of inevitable because it’s right around the corner with the selection show [Sunday night]. But the past two years, we lost to these guys and that was a turning point [in] whether we get to play home again or have to go on the road. It’s huge momentum going into the rest of May.”
Senior attackman Kevin Cooper said he does not get bogged down with seeds, but he agreed with Bernhardt that the win was welcomed by players and coaches alike.
“I just let that play out how it’s going to,” the Crofton native and Archbishop Spalding graduate said of the composition of the 16-team field. “But you always want to win every game and on Senior Day, you want to finish the season right no matter if you get a seed or not.”
Maryland coach John Tillman knows there is no way to keep players away from the discussions about the makeup of the NCAA tournament – via online or simply word of mouth. But he insisted that the team’s focus was centered on only what stood before it: the Raiders.
“If we play good lacrosse, then that will get us what we want – or at least put us in a position to maybe have some success,” Tillman said. “The other thing that’s involved in that is, it’s just wasted time and a distraction and it’s really going to chip away at our focus. … When we talk about blocking out the noise, we say, ‘Just stay focused on what you can control.’ You’re never as good as some people say and you’re never as bad. You can always get better, but just know you have potential. You know it’s there. We showed some video of earlier in the year when we were having success, and we were like, ‘You’re the same guys.’ We really haven’t lost anybody. So let’s get back to being Maryland.”Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun