Following the lead of classmates Matt Rambo and Connor Cannizzaro, freshman Tim Rotanz made quite an impression for No. 1 Maryland.
In his first game and first start of 2014, the attackman scored two goals on two shots and picked up two ground balls for the Terps (5-0) in Saturday’s 11-8 win over Stony Brook.
Rotanz, a native of Wading River, N.Y., and the No. 3 college freshman in Inside Lacrosse’s Power 100, had sat out the team’s first four contests because of an undisclosed injury, but was tabbed to leapfrog junior Kevin Forster on the depth chart and start alongside Rambo and junior Jay Carlson (St. Paul’s).
“Tim’s been terrific all year,” coach John Tillman said during his weekly conference call on Tuesday morning. “He had a good fall for us. Obviously, it’s a big adjustment for a guy who’s been on the varsity since the eighth grade and the son of a very successful and very smart coach on Long Island. He’s been around the game a long time, and there are certain things that guys who are the sons of coaches bring to the table that maybe some other guys don’t.”
Rotanz’s performance is yet another sign of the strength of Maryland’s freshman class, which was ranked as the No. 1 group by Inside Lacrosse. Rambo recorded four goals and two assists in his debut in the team’s season-opening 16-3 rout of Mount St. Mary’s on Feb. 8, and Cannizzaro posted three goals and one assist in a 16-78 thumping of then-No. 2 Syracuse on Feb. 22.
Rotanz returned to practice on a limited basis in the week leading up to the Atlantic Coast Conference showdown with the Orange, but Tillman said the coaches didn’t feel comfortable using Rotanz.
“He’s been awesome in practice,” Tillman said. “He’s done a really good job, and we felt like he was ready against Syracuse and Duke. I know we talked about it, and I wasn’t [kidding]. He was ready. Sometimes it’s the right spot and the right time, and we felt like he could have gone in either one of those. But for Syracuse, it was his first week in which he had gotten a lot of practice, and I think his legs were pretty sore and tired because he had done a full week. For Duke [on March 1], he was ready, but we couldn’t find the right time. I thought that maybe might be pretty fast to throw him into a moment like that. Stony Brook we felt like was a good opportunity because we had all week to get him ready. He also was going home. He had played at Stony Brook many times before. He lives 20 minutes from there. We just felt like that was an opportunity to give him a fair shot.”
Rotanz had more goals than either Carlson or Rambo, who scored one time each. His play pleased Tillman.
“I thought he did a good job,” he said. “He took two shots and scored two goals, minimized his turnovers. He picked up a couple of great ground balls. He didn’t try to do too much. I was really impressed with his riding, his hustle. I thought it was great for him. We were really proud of him and happy for his family.”