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Postscript from Michigan at Maryland men's lacrosse

Matt Dunn, one of two starting defensemen who missed Maryland's 13-4 victory at Robert Morris on Tuesday, also sat out Sunday's 13-4 defeat of Big Ten Conference opponent Michigan at Byrd Stadium.

But coach John Tillman said the move was precautionary, and he expects the junior to return for Saturday's 3 p.m. home game against Penn State.

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"Matt's been nicked up a little bit, but I'm pretty comfortable that he's going to be back on Saturday," Tillman said. "We kind of looked at things and said, 'Is there a reason why? Do we really need to do it?' I think he's going to be fine."

There was a bit of good news for the No. 3 Terps (8-1 overall and 1-0 league). Sophomore Mac Pons (Boys' Latin), who also did not play on Tuesday, returned on Sunday and picked up one ground ball. Pons has two ground balls and three caused turnovers in eight starts.

Dunn, a Loyola Blakefield graduate, had three ground balls and four caused turnovers while starting in the team's previous seven games. He was replaced by sophomore Tim Muller, who scooped up one ground ball and assisted on senior midfielder Joe LoCascio's goal in the third quarter.

Having Muller and freshman Bryce Young back up the starting trio of Dunn, Pons and senior Casey Ikeda has been a much-anticipated development for Maryland.

"Honestly, I am really pleased with our depth defensively," Tillman said. "We are kind of where we wanted to be when we got here. You've got Matt, Mac and Casey, but Brice has done a good job, Timmy Muller has done a good job. So we really have five guys down there that we can play and we feel really comfortable playing. That's something we really haven't done since I've been here. We feel like even today, with Casey, we took him out early to try to get him some rest."

Circling back to "Three Things to Watch"

1) Will he or won't he? The Wolverines (4-5, 0-1) played their fourth consecutive game without Ian King, and the sophomore attackman's presence was sorely missed. King, who still leads the offense in assists (10) and points (22), can put pressure on opposing defenses, but coach John Paul said there is no timetable for King's return from what he described as a lower leg injury.

"We miss Ian a lot," Paul said. "I think he was the seventh-leading scorer in Division I when he went out for us [after a 14-8 loss at Jacksonville on March 3]. We miss Ian a lot, and I don't know if that changes the game in any way. But certainly, we're looking for Ian in a lot of situations, man-up especially. So we've been kind of stepping up to what he was doing by committee. Every game, there's been one guy stepping up and having a good day, and that didn't really happen today."

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2) Can they or can't they? Maryland got just two extra-man opportunities against Michigan, misfiring on both. But those miscues didn't matter as the team scored eight times in six-on-six, three off faceoffs, and two in transition.

Tillman was highly encouraged that in a game in which the offense wasn't as productive as it usually has been and contributed to a game-high 16 turnovers, the Terps were able to find other sources for goals.

"When one part isn't working, maybe other guys will step up," he said. "We will rarely tell your guys, 'Hey, you can't push the ball in transition.' We have so much confidence in him and even with [senior faceoff specialist] Charlie [Raffa] and [freshman long-stick midfielder] Matt [Neufeldt] and [freshman short-stick defensive midfielder] Adam DiMillo and some of the other guys.

"Even Casey today brought one down and we got that one from Matt that Casey really pushed. Maybe that gives them some confidence. … We realize that six-on-six goals are hard to find. They're hard against the better teams. So if we can get them off faceoffs, transitions, clears, we're definitely going to put our toe in the water. As we tell our guys, you don't always have to jump in. Just figure out if the water's warm enough and if you feel like you want to make a play, make a play.

"We can't be successful if we're hesitant and we're worried about making a mistake. We need to be aggressive, but we also need to be responsible. All coaches would tell you that it's a fine line that you walk sometimes. If we're going to be good, we have to trust our players, and they certainly have our trust."

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