Matt Rambo did not have the kind of championship weekend some might have expected from a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award.
The senior attackman for the top-seeded Maryland men's lacrosse team (16-3) was limited to one goal and one assist each in games against No. 5 seed Denver and No. 3 Ohio State in the NCAA Division I tournament semifinals and final at Gillette Stadium.
But junior midfielder Connor Kelly scored three goals and senior attackman Dylan Maltz added two goals and one assists in a 9-8 decision over the Pioneers on Saturday, and redshirt junior midfielder Tim Rotanz had a hat trick and Maltz contributed two goals and one assist in a 9-6 win against the Buckeyes on Monday. Rambo pointed to his teammates' performances as proof that the Terps were more than just a one-man engine.
"It just shows that our offense is so hard to cover," he said. "We have so many guys that can go out there and make plays. So we have a good system."
Despite his quiet outings, Rambo, who was named on Friday as Division I's Outstanding Player, figures to be the leading candidate for the Tewaaraton Award, which is given to college lacrosse's top player and will be announced Thursday night. Rambo said that if he becomes the first player in program history to win, the award would be a tribute to the work of his teammates and coaches.
"It's an individual award, but I think it reflects our team and how hard we work and how those guys are in the right spots for me and finish for me," he said. "They've drawn so much attention that it has opened up stuff for me. So it's not really an individual award, it's a team award, too."
Garino provides lift
Jon Garino Jr. had as much a hand in Maryland's march to its first national championship in 42 years as his teammates.
The senior faceoff specialist replaced sophomore Austin Henningsen and won 10 of 14 draws against Ohio State senior Jake Withers and picked up eight ground balls. Garino was especially instrumental in the second half in which he won eight of 10 to help the Terps preserve a three-goal lead at halftime.
For the tournament, Garino won 27 of 38 faceoffs (71.1 percent) and collected 18 ground balls.
"I just tried to do my job to the best of my ability," he said. "I'm happy I was able to come in and do a good job, but I think the defense stepped up big-time and the offense had some timely goals. So I think it was a full, collective effort."
Success sometimes requires a little sacrifice, and coach John Tillman is ready to pay up.
Tillman revealed during his postgame conference that he had agreed with Rambo and senior attackman Colin Heacock (Boys' Latin) to get a tattoo if Maryland captured the NCAA title. Tillman said the duo reminded him of the bet immediately after Monday's win.
"It may be the smallest tattoo in the history of tattoos," Tillman quipped. "Can you get a tattoo on the bottom of your foot?"
Asked whether he would get a tattoo of a turtle, he replied, "I haven't figured it out. It's going to be small. And I'm always joking with those guys because a lot of those guys have tattoos, and I'm like, 'I would never do that.' And I've got to follow through on my word. I just can't believe those guys. They can't remember offensive plays, and they remembered that."
Around the crease
The announced attendance of 28,971 for Monday's game was the largest to watch a championship final since 2012, when 30,816 saw Loyola Maryland defeat the Terps, 9-3, also at Gillette Stadium. The crowd ranks as the 11th largest at a title game since 2003. … Maryland senior defenseman Tim Muller was named the game's Most Outstanding Player. Joining him on the All-Tournament team from the Terps were junior midfielder Connor Kelly, Maltz, junior goalkeeper Dan Morris, Rambo, and Rotanz. Ohio State was represented by senior goalie Tom Carey and freshman attackman Tre Leclaire. Towson and Denver placed senior attackman Ryan Drenner (Westminster) and freshman attackman Ethan Walker, respectively, on the All-Tournament team.