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Preston: Maryland lacrosse needs to make adjustments in second half of season

Maryland midfielder Colin Heacock is checked onto his caboose by North Carolina Tar Heels defenseman Zach Powers during the fourth quarter in College Park. Maryland defeated the Heels, 11-8.
Maryland midfielder Colin Heacock is checked onto his caboose by North Carolina Tar Heels defenseman Zach Powers during the fourth quarter in College Park. Maryland defeated the Heels, 11-8. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

I finally got my first look at the Maryland men's lacrosse team Saturday in the Terps' 11-8 win against North Carolina.

The score really wasn't that close. The Terps dominated the game and controlled the pace. The Tar Heels' final two goals came in the last minute and five seconds, long after this game had been decided.

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In fact, I was more concerned about the Tar Heels breaking a window in the press box than hitting the back of the goal. Their shot selection was erratic, the offense strictly off the playground.

Meanwhile, Maryland's ball movement was excellent and the Terps did a lot of creative things moving and inverting personnel. It's nice to see the Terps have offensive weapons like attackmen Colin Heacock, who can carry at X or play on the crease, and Dylan Maltz. They have midfielders like Connor Kelly and Pat Young.

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For the first time in recent years, Maryland's offense is not just the Matt Rambo show, featuring the junior attackman from Glenside, Pa.

All three of Maryland's defensemen, Matt Dunn, Tim Muller and Mac Pons, are good and they will continue the tradition of playing outstanding defense on the back end.

Two keys for the rest of the season: One is in the goal. Kyle Bernlohr had nine saves against Carolina but he allowed some goals that big league goalies save, especially stick side.

The other key is the adjustments that have to be made in the second half of the season, especially on offense. Teams usually catch on to Maryland's offense in the second half and the Terps become stagnant for long periods in games.

This year, Terps head coach John Tillman and his staff have to come up with counter-punches.  Teams watch film all the time and the Terps have to be able to self scout, examine how teams will stop them, and then have a counter. It's part of the chess match Maryland needs to win if the Terps finally want to be able to win a national championship.

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