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Maryland routs Penn State, midfielder Charlie Raffa injured

Maryland midfielder Charlie Raffa (7) fires a shot during a lacrosse match against Michigan on March 29. Raffa was injured Saturday in Maryland's win over Penn State.
Maryland midfielder Charlie Raffa (7) fires a shot during a lacrosse match against Michigan on March 29. Raffa was injured Saturday in Maryland's win over Penn State.(Daniel Kucin Jr. / BALTIMORE SUN)

COLLEGE PARK — Maryland coach John Tillman said he will speak to team trainers soon to determine the status of faceoff specialist and senior midfielder Charlie Raffa, who left Saturday's game against Penn State late in the first quarter.

The No. 3 Terps routed Penn State, 12-5, before a crowd of nearly 4,000 at Byrd Stadium to win their eighth straight, but a lot of the focus afterward was on Raffa, who had won 66 of 104 faceoffs entering the game.

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Raffa went down with 2 minutes, 39 seconds left in the first quarter after he collided with Penn State junior midfielder Ryan Guittare. Because of team policy, Tillman would not comment on the injury.

But Raffa left the field clutching his right shoulder and elbow. He walked into the locker room without assistance from several trainers, and didn't appear to have suffered a leg injury.

"Charlie has been a warrior and we're used to him throwing his body around," Tillman said. "We have no update and typically we let our trainers do their jobs. We will assess the thing when he comes back."

Raffa's loss would be significant because he has been so dominant, but the Terps (9-1) got a big lift from replacement Jon Garino Jr., a sophomore midfielder who won eight of 10 faceoffs.

Raffa had won four of eight before leaving the game, so the Terps' offense never missed much as far as possession time and controlling the pace of the game. Garino could probably start for most teams.

"Jon has done a good job for us where he has jumped in, in the past and played well," said Tillman. "Some would feel sorry for themselves in that situation because they aren't playing, but Jon comes out and practices hard every day."

Besides the Raffa injury, there was little suspense in the game because Penn State (3-7) looked every bit like a team which had lost three straight and four of its last five.

Maryland outshot Penn State 50-20 and had a 29-18 advantage in ground balls. Sophomore attackman Matt Rambo led Maryland in scoring with three goals and two assists, while attackman Jay Carlson and midfielder Henry West each had two goals for the Terps.

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Maryland's offense was far from perfect, and the Terps did most of their damage in the first period when they took an 8-2 lead at the end of the quarter. The Nittany Lions were always a step slower on defense and the Terps were more athletic and aggressive.

They scored almost every way imaginable in the period from converting fast breaks off faceoffs to beating the Nittany Lions with feeds from behind goal to just taking them one on one. Carlson and Rambo each had two goals in the first period as Maryland outshot Penn State, 18-3.

"I thought we were taking good shots, had good possessions," said Carlson of the first quarter. "We were playing unselfishly. If we did get a slide, we moved the ball. When we have that unselfish mindset, anybody can score."

Penn State coach Jeff Tambroni went to several different zones in the second quarter and those tactics seemed to slow Maryland, which failed to score in the period. But by the third, the Terps were poised and ready to run again.

Sophomore attackman Colin Heacock, on an assist from Rambo, scored 48 seconds into the third period and Rambo followed with another goal nearly two minutes later.

"All of a sudden, we were not in rhythm," said Tillman of the second period. "Their goalie also played well, but we got them together at halftime and we had a pretty good plan coming out."

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Twitter.com/MikePrestonSun

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