In his first 15 games with the Maryland men’s lacrosse team this season, Anthony DeMaio had four goals and three assists. In the top-seeded Terps’ 14-11 win against Robert Morris in Sunday’s NCAA Division I tournament first-round game, the redshirt freshman matched his assists total by making feeds on three straight Maryland goals in the third quarter that spurred a comeback from a 6-3 halftime deficit. DeMaio discussed his eye-opening performance against the Colonials, the team’s early struggles in its first NCAA tournament game and the wake-up call provided by Robert Morris.
Anthony, you had three assists in that third quarter. What led to your performance?
I think we just came out at halftime really focusing on just playing faster and just being better together as a whole. I think in the first half, we kind of got a little pig-headed and didn’t really do our jobs. And I think in the third quarter, we really had to come out and focus on that.
How about for you personally? Was there anything in particular that was working for you?
I think just dodging hard and just making sure I knew where my teammates were at all times, and they did a great job of getting in skip lanes and getting where they needed to be, which helped me set them up. So we kind of were just working together and doing good things that way.
You had three assists coming into this game, and you get three today. How meaningful is that performance, particularly considering the circumstances?
Yeah, it’s definitely pretty meaningful. I think it’s a credit to my teammates and their movement off-ball. I mean, it’s been all year where we’ve had chances to just bury them, and we finally put them away in the fourth quarter. I think it was just nice to just have your teammates just working and getting open for you. That’s one thing that’s always a positive, and it’s something we have to keep working towards.
How much does a game like this perhaps shake things up for you guys as the reigning champions?
I think it definitely opened our eyes a little bit. After Hopkins, we were definitely champing at the bit to come out, and I think we got a little pig-headed in that first half, and we had to change that. We had to come out playing faster, and we had to communicate better. Our communication wasn’t that great in the first half, and that’s kind of what sparked us. We kind of just gave energy and knew what it took to win the game, and that’s something we’ve got to keep focusing on in the next round.
Do you anticipate the coaches will be hard on you this week?
Yeah, I think it’s going to be a lot of attention to detail. I think the scout guys have been doing a great job in practice preparing us for what we’ve got to do. So I think they’ll do a great job in doing that, and we’ll be ready for next Sunday.