Three games in nine days are tough for any team. Throw in the fact that all three opponents are ranked in the top 15 of the Inside Lacrosse media poll, and it's somewhat remarkable that No. 2 Maryland emerged with three wins and no major injuries.
The Terps (9-2, 3-0 Big Ten) began their stretch with a 15-11 victory against then-No. 1 Penn State on April 8. They followed by holding off No. 5 Albany, 12-11, on April 12 before wrapping it up with a 13-12 triple-overtime win at then-No. 11 Rutgers on Sunday night.
“I guess when you’re in the middle of it, you’re just so focused that you’re doing what you do,” he said Tuesday morning. “We tried to be smart about not overplaying it with the guys. I can tell you this; those are three quality teams. So, obviously there was a lot of prep and a lot of work that had to go into it. But then there was a lot of management that had to go into it, too.”
Part of that management included taking it light in practice the day before and after the game at Albany and the day before the win at Rutgers. Even Friday’s practice was somewhat toned down.
The players were given Monday off, and Tillman said the intensity level at Tuesday’s practice will “be reined in” before returning to a normal state leading to Saturday’s game at No. 7 Ohio State (11-2, 2-1).
“I think we got back at 2:30 on Monday morning from Rutgers,” he said. “So we really felt like a day away from lacrosse and just taking a deep breath and just being college students and just kind of decompressing and getting caught up on some academics was really healthy for them yesterday. We’ll meet with them today. Today, we’ll get back and watch Rutgers and some of the things we did well and didn’t do well. We’ll clean up some things, and then we’ll introduce Ohio State.”
One player who might enjoy an almost full week of practice and treatment is senior attackman Colin Heacock. The Catonsville resident and Boys’ Latin graduate appeared to hurt his left ankle in the first half Sunday and limped off for a few minutes. He eventually returned and finished the game, and Tillman sounded optimistic that Heacock avoided a more serious injury.
“I have not spoken to him today,” Tillman said. “He downplayed the severity of it. … My gut would tell me that he’ll be good to go by Saturday.”