In the first two starts of his career for No. 2 Maryland, sophomore defenseman Curtis Corley shut out Navy junior attackman Jack Ray and surrendered a lone assist to Saint Joseph's senior attackman Ray Vandegrift.
And in the event that he needed affirmation of the job he has been doing, Corley got it Wednesday night from coach John Tillman.
"I sent Curtis a text last night, just letting him know, 'Hey, you're doing a good job,'" Tillman said Thursday. "We have a lot of confidence in Curtis. Curtis is a really hard worker. He got in a decent amount last year. He is a terrific athlete. He is pound for pound our strongest player. He is a converted midfielder. … He's starting to get some of the subtleties with our defensive scheme. He works incredibly, is very passionate, and he's a smart kid. He wants to be a doctor. So he's a bright kid who really studies his film and really works a lot with [defensive coordinator/associate head] coach [Kevin] Conry on what we're trying to do and how we're doing it."
Corley appeared in 11 games last season and made his biggest impact when he won four of five faceoffs in the second half of the Terps' 8-7 comeback win against Big Ten opponent Michigan on April 2. Corley, who has picked up two ground balls thus far, has moved into the starting close defense with senior Tim Muller (three ground balls and one caused turnover) and junior Bryce Young (2 GB, 2 CT) as senior Mac Pons (Boys' Latin) rehabilitates a lower-body injury.
But Tillman stressed that no one expects Corley to provide what Pons, a two-year starter, has done for the defense.
"We really haven't asked Curtis to be anybody but himself," Tillman said. "We are a system defense. So it's always just, be the best that you can be, and each guy has got to play to his strengths and what he brings to the table. One thing that Curtis doesn't have is, he doesn't have as much experience as Mac has, and we totally realize that. At some point, he probably will. So we just try to get Curtis the best he can be, and as things go along, just put everything in your memory bank, gather your experience, think about the things that you're doing well and not doing well, the mistakes you made and just keep learning from them."