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Maryland men’s lacrosse coach John Tillman: Curtis Corley did ‘nice job’ on Connor Fields

A starting attack for the Albany men’s lacrosse team that includes senior Connor Fields and freshman Tehoka Nanticoke poses matchup problems for many opponents. For Maryland though, the defense has two solid defensemen in senior Bryce Young and junior Curtis Corley.

When the No. 1 Great Danes and the No. 2 Terps clashed at Maryland Stadium on Saturday, Corley was assigned to Fields, and Young shadowed Nanticoke.

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That pairing was somewhat surprising. Considered Maryland’s top defenseman, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Young appeared to be a better matchup against the 5-11, 160-pound Fields, a Tewaaraton Award finalist from a year ago. The 6-1, 220-pound Corley is one of the strongest players for the Terps and could have used his strength against the 6-1, 235-pound Nanticoke.

In a highly anticipated game between the top two teams in Division I men’s lacrosse, No. 1 Albany rallied for its second fourth-quarter comeback in three games to edge No. 2 Maryland, 11-10.

Albany countered by having Fields initiate from the top of the box and using his quickness against Corley to develop shooting space and passing lanes. Fields finished with a game-high six points on four goals and two assists in the Great Danes’ 11-10 win, but Maryland coach John Tillman did not sound as if he had any regrets about having Corley guard Fields.

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“We just kind of did some things in practice and we felt like either guy would be good,” Tillman said. “But we felt like as we went through the week, Curtis just seemed to be a pretty natural fit. And I thought Curtis actually did a pretty nice job on him. With the way they play, you’re going to get dodged a lot and so you’ve got to choose what you want to do.

“If you help too much to Fields, he’s going to open up and obviously make some plays. You saw that against UMass, I think he had 12 points in that game, and they zoned him a little bit. So for us, we certainly were going to help Curtis when we needed to, and we were also going to trust him. That guy gets dodged — whoever is covering Connor – all game long. So I thought all in all, Curtis did a pretty good job.”

For his part, Fields acknowledged that he had to work against Corley.

“It’s definitely physically exhausting,” he said. “He’s a great defender. He’s a very big kid, very strong. He’s a great defender, great with his angles, too. So it was definitely a tough matchup, definitely. My teammates helped out a lot there, taking a lot of the pressure off me. I didn’t need to carry the ball as much, and when I did have the ball, they’re moving and cutting and setting picks and stuff.”

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