In 2008 and 2009, Maryland rotated Jason Carter and Brian Phipps in the net. The Terps' season-opening opponent this Tuesday may be taking a similar approach.
Mount St. Mary's plans to open tomorrow's contest with freshman Will Rego in the cage. But coach Tom Gravante said freshman Frankie McCarthy may play in the second half.
"We may play [Rego] the first half and then come in with the other freshman, Frankie McCarthy, for the second half and see what happens," Gravante said Monday afternoon. "However, if Will is playing well enough, then we're going to keep him in there. [Former Mountaineers goalkeeper] T.C. DiBartolo, my assistant, pointed out that it's good that we have two young men in there and that it's not so bad because playing them both will give us an idea of a potential separation. We may come in at halftime with the other guy and see what happens, but it all depends on how Will is playing and what the scoreboard may be saying at the end of the second quarter."
Rego, a Forest Hill native and St. Paul's graduate, started in the team's preseason scrimmage against No. 9 Lehigh and played well enough to make an impression with the coaching staff. Gravante, who said Rego excels in the clearing game, said he has no qualms about starting a freshman against No. 3 Maryland.
"That's one of the toughest positions on the field – not just physically, but mentally. But I preach to these kids during the recruiting process that on the field at Mount St. Mary's, there is no class," Gravante said. "On the lacrosse field, we're looking for men. If the starter is a guy who separates himself from the rest and he happens to be a freshman, then so be it. We're looking for 10 men to start that game and another seven to 10 kids to fill in. … So I really have never had that philosophy of seating kids that are freshmen and sophomores. I see them as lacrosse players and hope that they are men on the field."
Gravante said that Rego will be fronted by an entirely different close defense from last year's group that patrolled the area before then-sophomore Chris Klaiber. Senior John Anderson, junior Tim Durkin and sophomore Alex Stefkovich are poised to start Tuesday, and Gravante said that trio will be leaned on to make Rego's job easier.
"I think that's always the philosophy of any defense, to play really solid defense and give up the shots that we want to give up," Gravante said. "We want the offense to take low-percentage shots from bad angles and put Will in a position to be successful. I think the six guys in front of him need to do a very good job in playing great team defense."