By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun
9:00 AM EST, February 26, 2014
If you’re scouring the NCAA Division I statistics leaders for Maryland players, you won’t find one among the top 15 in goals per game or top 30 in points per game. But if you think that’s a worry for the No. 3 Terps, think again.
Four players – freshman attackman Matt Rambo (nine goals and three assists), senior midfielder Mike Chanenchuk (7, 4), junior attackman Jay Carlson (8, 1) and freshman midfielder Connor Cannizzaro (6, 3) – have compiled at least nine points in three games.
Three more players – junior midfielder Joe LoCascio (3, 2), junior midfielder Bryan Cole (2, 2) and junior attackman Kevin Forster – have accrued at least five points. Six others have scored at least one goal.
Rambo and Chanenchuk may be the points leaders, but Chanenchuk said there is no true superstar on Maryland’s offense.
“I think that’s what makes our offense kind of unique,” he said Tuesday. “We’re making it more difficult for [defenses] to scout us. If we have 10 different guys contributing and one person is not playing great that day, we have nine other guys that can fill in. With everyone getting involved and everyone contributing, I think it makes it easier for our coaches to play everyone, and it makes it harder for teams to scout us.”
John Danowski – who coaches No. 1 and reigning national champion Duke (4-0), which will visit Byrd Stadium in College Park on Saturday at noon – agreed with Chanenchuk.
“That makes them tougher to defend,” he said. “A true team. So much is lost in this day and age on what team sports are really about, and I think that Maryland is a dynamite example of a whole bunch of kids buying in, of wanting to win, wanting to compete and wanting to be successful, and that makes them dangerous, because anybody on their field can step in and make a play.
"I’m sure that empowers everybody to relax and play their roles and wait for their time to make a play.”
In the past, the Terps (3-0) have been blessed with some of the sport's best players. But the offense’s balance in the attack and midfield is an unpredictable formula.
The true test will occur when Maryland finds itself in a close contest and needs a go-to player to lead the charge as time is running out. That scenario hasn’t happened yet, as the team has won by 13, 11 and eight goals thus far, but coach John Tillman is bracing for the eventual possibility.
“You hope that even with that mindset, you still need some guys that can break some people down, you still need guys that have strong skillsets and guys that can get to the right spots,” he said. “I think we’re still a work in progress, but I do think that knowing what we lost, we couldn’t really replace them man-for-man. But we have more guys and they can all pitch in a little so that the sum of those parts can get us back to that previous level.”
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