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Postscript from Ohio State at Maryland men's lacrosse

Circling back on Three Things to Watch from Sunday's Ohio State-Maryland men's lacrosse game.

With freshman faceoff specialist Austin Henningsen already unavailable for the third consecutive game, the Maryland men's lacrosse team quickly lost sophomore Will Bonaparte in the first quarter. So the team turned to Andrew Walsh in Sunday night’s 10-8 win against Big Ten Conference rival Ohio State at Maryland Stadium.

Although the little-used senior, who had taken just two faceoffs before Sunday, won just six of 15 draws against Buckeyes junior Jake Withers (11-for-19, game-high four ground balls), coach John Tillman said Walsh’s contributions went far beyond his statistics.

“Just did a great job,” Tillman said. “Will Bonaparte went down a little bit, so we had to put somebody else in. And Andrew’s done a great job in practice. … The numbers aren’t great and they don’t really reflect the impact. I just thought he did a great job, and certainly the wing guys did a nice job, too.”

Maryland could have gone to freshman Curtis Corley, who went 4-for-5 in a 8-7 win at Michigan on April 2, or even junior Jon Garino Jr., who has won 52.8 percent (104 of 197) in his past two seasons. But Tillman relied on the counsel of volunteer assistant coach Chris Mattes.

“He has a good sense who the best matchup is,” Tillman said. “Like Michigan, we felt like Curtis was a better matchup, and it worked out great. Even tonight, I don’t think the numbers reflect Andrew’s impact, because I thought he did a good job. Against this faceoff guy, Chris felt very strongly, let’s go with Andrew. … It’s kind of a little chess match that goes on constantly, and I give Chris all the credit there.”

Ohio State coach Nick Myers acknowledged that the final faceoff stats were slightly misleading.

“I think at times tonight, we did a really good job,” he said. “Certainly in the fourth there, [Withers] got the ball for us when we needed it. But wing play is a part of it, too. I thought Maryland’s wings did a really nice job tonight.”

Circling back to Three Things to Watch

1) Maryland’s offense. After averaging eight goals and shooting 28.6 percent (16-for-56) in two previous meetings with Ohio State, the Terps (11-2, 4-0 Big Ten) scored 10 goals and converted 33.3 percent of their shots (10 of 30). After taking a 5-3 lead with 13:08 left in the second quarter, the Buckeyes (6-8, 1-3) employed a zone defense to stymie Maryland. Tillman said he and offensive coordinator J.L. Reppert think the strategy actually might have sparked the Terps’ 7-0 run spanning the second and third quarters.  

“I think some of our guys would prefer to play against zone than man,” he said. “It allows us to play in space, and you’re not dealing with much pressure and you know exactly what you’re getting. Coach Reppert has done a really good job with putting in some little wrinkles and putting guys in good spots. These guys are a very unselfish group and a very skilled group. … It allowed us at 5-3 to just kind of settle in and not feel rushed, like we had to get it all back at once.”

2) Maryland’s tempo. The Terps scooped up just 18 ground balls to Ohio State’s 21, but their ability to pick up 11 in the second and third quarters and convert those possessions into goals was significant. Maryland had to overcome an 8-2 hole in ground balls and a 4-3 deficit on the scoreboard after the first quarter. 

“We kind of talked about playing a little bit faster and picking up the tempo,” Tillman said. “Then when we started to play in the middle third, all of a sudden, the second quarter is 3-1 and then the third period is 4-1. It created some opportunities. Even late in the second, there was a flurry. Andrew pushes it out, [junior attackman] Dylan Maltz picks it up, we draw a push, we carry it over and we get a goal on the man-up. We really felt like that was going to be important.”

3) Maryland’s transition defense. Ohio State, which entered the game ranked second in Division I in clearing percentage (91.3), went 17-for-17 Sunday night but wasn’t able to get any goals in transition. Still, the Buckeyes had that two-goal lead in the second quarter before the Terps found their footing on defense.

“They came out firing,” junior short-stick defensive midfielder Isaiah Davis-Allen said of Ohio State’s offense. “We kind of got caught back on our heels. We started to see more possessions, and we started to pick up more ground balls, and that helped us swing back in the second and third period.”

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