The respective basketball teams may not play against each other, but the lacrosse teams have made this local rivalry an annual tradition. The Terps own an 8-2 advantage in this series, but they haven’t beaten the Hoyas in College Park since 2005. Here are a few factors that could play a role in the outcome in the contest.
1) Holmes vs. Tabb. Sophomore Curtis Holmes won 17-of-21 faceoffs in his debut as Maryland’s primary specialist, but he gets a stiffer test in senior Brian Tabb, who went 18-of-28 in Georgetown’s season-opening 15-12 win against Jacksonville on Sunday. Although coach Dave Urick said nine of those wins occurred because the Dolphins player moved early, Terps coach John Tillman said Holmes will have his hands full. “It’ll be interesting,” Tillman said. “This is probably his biggest challenge to date, and I know he’s excited about it. He’s a competitive guy, but Tabb has logged a lot of miles, and he did a terrific job against us last year [when he went 15-of-28 in a 13-12 win against Tillman’s former Harvard squad]. So we’re going to have to see how we do here and make sure that the 10-man group does a great job.”
2) Hoyas offense vs. Amato. Three Georgetown players recorded a hat trick each against Jacksonville, but that kind of production could be difficult to manufacture against a Maryland defense that boasts three returning starters on close defense. Goalkeeper Niko Amato, who is expected to start, is just a redshirt freshman, but Urick said the team must avoid settling for poor shots that will only serve to boost Amato. “If you’re taking a pretty low-quality shot that he has little or no trouble saving, that’s only going to help him confidence-wise,” Urick said. “That’s even more of a reason to take some quality shots rather than some stuff that he’s not going to have a lot of trouble with. And he’s got a pretty darn good defense in front of him, so that makes a big difference, too. I’ve seen this kid play in high school, and he’s legit. He’s going to be a very good goalie for a long time there.”
3) Transition vs. transition. Like the Terps, the Hoyas boast several athletic players on defense, including fifth-year senior defenseman Barney Ehrmann and junior defenseman Dan Hostetler. Those guys are opportunistic when it comes to moving the ball from defense to offense, and Tillman said Maryland must maintain possession and scoop up ground balls. “They scored 15 goals [against Jacksonville] and a lot of it was [based] on their ability to get out and get after it,” Tillman said. “So we’ve got to do a good job of making sure we make them play a settled offense and not give them easy opportunities. We’ve got to make sure that the goals they get will be settled and earned. If we let them get behind us, that could certainly hurt us.”