Maryland men's lacrosse focuses on balance after starting attack is shut out

Maryland’s 11-8 loss to North Carolina on Saturday featured a somewhat rare occurrence.

The Terps (7-1 overall and 2-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) did not get a goal from the starting attack of junior Jay Carlson (St. Paul's) and freshmen Matt Rambo and Tim Rotanz. That trio misfired on eight combined shots and finished with more turnovers (three) than points (one, an assist from Rotanz).

The last time a starting attack was shut out was May 28, 2012, when Joe Cummings (Loyola High), Owen Blye and Billy Gribbin did not score in Maryland’s 9-3 loss to Loyola in the NCAA tournament final.

The scarcity of goals from Carlson, Rambo and Rotanz would be unsettling development in the eighth game of the season, but coach John Tillman said he doesn’t worry about where the goals come from.

“With us every week, it’s probably going to be different guys,” he said on Tuesday. “We know [North Carolina is] very athletic and they have a very good goalie. It’s a league game. So when the goals come, I’m not really sure where they’re going to come from. We hope we’re a group where if one guy’s not scoring, some other guys do. Each week hopefully, it will be somebody a little bit different, but what you do hope is that if you’re getting opportunities, you’re capitalizing on them, and if we’re taking six shots or seven shots, you hope a few of those go in.”

Rambo (17 goals) and Carlson (15) rank second and third on the team in that department, and senior midfielder Mike Chanenchuk said Maryland has relied on their production thus far.

“Matt and Jay have played so well all year that you almost expect to get points out of them every game,” Chanenchuk said on Tuesday. “But if it doesn’t happen, it’s not the end of the world, and there’s going to be other guys that step up. It wasn’t as negative as a lot of people are looking into it. We obviously want them to score. If we can get them goals, then we’ll have a better chance to succeed. But we don’t really rely on just one or two people. We rely on the whole system.”

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