With six seniors and two juniors in the starting lineup, Maryland is a veteran-laden team well-equipped to handle adversity and avoid getting too high about wins.
Still, senior attackman Grant Catalino called the No. 3 Terps' 20-8 throttling of No. 14 Georgetown at Byrd Stadium in College Park Saturday afternoon "awesome."
"This starts our long road of playing top-25 teams," Catalino said. "So coming off of a win is huge. It gives us a lot of confidence, but we'll stay hungry. We're not going to be overconfident. Going into playing Duke, we're going to be hungry."
Maryland has upcoming contests against ranked opponents in No. 10 Duke (on Saturday), No. 16 North Carolina (March 26), No. 2 Virginia (April 2) and No. 9 Johns Hopkins (April 16), and that doesn't include the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in late April.
Maybe that's why coach John Tillman, who was unaware of the Blue Devils' stunning 7-3 loss to Penn after the Terps' win, was somewhat more reserved than his team's leading scorer.
"It's hard to tell," he said. "It's so early in the season. I think it will definitely help our guys' confidence, but I think our guys realize it's a long season, and there are a lot of good teams out there. We have to go down next week, it's our first road trip as a group, we can only take a certain number of guys. Duke is a very talented team. I don't care what you say. They are the defending national champions. We have a lot of respect for them. I saw them play last week. Notre Dame's terrific, but Duke's not too far behind them. We can't let up and think that we're any better than we are. We're just a work in progress. Today, for about two-and-a-half quarters, I thought we did a nice job, but we've really got to learn to play 60 minutes and learn to do that consistently in practice."
*Maryland's seven-goal third quarter was a product of the team maximizing its opportunities in unsettled situations. Three occurred immediately after faceoffs, and a few more resulted from quick transitions. "That's what we talk about all the time," Tillman said. "When we have those four-on-threes or five-on-fours or we have room-and-time shots or doorstep shots, if we don't can those, it's going to be tough because it's going back the other way and that team can score some goals. So we know that game is going to be crazy and up and down, and we have to be opportunistic and efficient."
*Curtis Holmes won just 1-of-4 faceoffs in the first quarter, but the sophomore midfielder rebounded nicely, going 19-of-27 for the remaining three periods. The Hoyas used four different players against Holmes, and none finished at .500 or better. Holmes took note of Georgetown's rotation. "It's kind of all strategy," he said. "But it kind of makes you feel good to know that they're rotating guys in because you're being successful." Catalino praised Holmes, saying, "I think he's the silent killer coming into this season. No one really knew much about him. They knew he was there because the team only has a few faceoff guys. But he's been playing really well."
*Catalino and senior attackman Ryan Young combined for seven goals and four assists when the outcome was still in contention, but the Terps got some contributions from the midfield. That unit chipped in with eight goals and four assists in the first three quarters, and the team will continue to need that production. "We like those guys, and we kind of pick on them a little bit because they don't get the accolades that the other guys get," Tillman said. "And we do that with a lot of admiration for them. They're a really hard-working group. They're still a work in progress, but they're guys that we really believe in. I think getting [senior] Scotty LaRue back today was a big shot in the arm. He had been banged up and he came back. He played a lot of wings and D-middie, and he just gave us a senior back there, which really helped because after him and with [senior] Danny Burns being a little banged up, we really were young at the short-stick positions. So getting Scotty back gave us a veteran wing."
*Georgetown fell to 1-1, and the schedule doesn't appear to get any easier. The Hoyas must face No. 1 Syracuse (March 12), No. 10 Duke (March 26), No. 4 Notre Dame (April 10), No. 12 Loyola (April 16) and No. 19 Villanova. "We've got to learn from it, for sure," coach Dave Urick said of the setback. "But we can't sit around and feel too sorry for ourselves. Our schedule is such that we're going to be looking at a lot of teams of this caliber, and we need to deal with it. We need to be able to get better."