In the NFL, a loss usually resonates for a week and sometimes can last as long as eight days. Fortunately for Maryland, the memory of Saturday's 9-8 overtime setback to Duke came to merciful end Monday when the No. 12 Terps defeated visiting Bellarmine, 12-8.
"We felt like getting back on the field was the most important thing," coach John Tillman said Tuesday. "Getting back out there, running around, being at Byrd [Stadium], everybody being back together because we could only travel with 32 guys, I think that got us back a little bit. We'll never forget the outcome [on Saturday], but we can learn some lessons from that experience, and we can grow from it and come together because of it. But being out there was a good thing."
The contests against the Knights may have been particularly emancipating for senior attackmen Ryan Young and Travis Reed, both of whom recorded three goals and one assist on Monday. Young had compiled five goals and four assists in three previous starts, while Reed had posted just two goals and three assists over the same span.
Tillman speculated that as seniors, Young and Reed may have been pressing themselves.
"They feel a strong responsibility to lead the team and do a lot of the team, and I think sometimes they put a lot of pressure on themselves to maybe do too much," Tillman said. "That's the fine line of what we call the Brett Favre mentality. You want to help the team, and those guys are selfless guys. So they sometimes think, 'OK, I need to make a play because I'm older. So I've got the ball, and I think I can do something. It might not be necessarily a goal or an assist, but I'll make a play,' and sometimes it's just not the right time or it's not the best option. To me, it's about managing the game. The shots will come, the opportunities will come, and if you do a good job, you'll be creating opportunities for your teammates, and that's just fine. They get that because they're unselfish."
Maryland (3-1) fell in many polls earlier in the week, and fans and critics have begun to question the Terps' postseason credentials. Tillman sounded unfazed by the sudden lightness on the team's bandwagon.
"That's kind of the world we live in," he said. "So it really doesn't bother me. I get more concerned with the way our kids think and what's going through their heads. But these are great lessons for our kids to consider and say, 'Listen, we weren't 12 goals better than Georgetown.' I knew Duke would be tough. There were so many things going against us in that game. Every week is different, and every opponent is different. I was happy to get through yesterday with no injuries and get a W there."