Maryland postscript from Maryland at UMBC

For the third consecutive outing, Maryland junior faceoff specialist Curtis Holmes’ struggles were apparent.

After losing 11-of-13 draws to Georgetown redshirt sophomore Tyler Knarr and 10-of-18 to Duke senior C.J. Costabile, Holmes dropped 13-of-17 faceoffs to sophomore Phil Poe in the No. 5 Terps’ stunning 8-7 loss to UMBC Tuesday night at UMBC Stadium in Catonsville.

Holmes’ success on draws has dropped from 64.2 percent (43-of-67) to 55.9 percent (47-of-84), but even though freshman Bobby Gribbin took the first two faceoffs of his career against the Retrievers, coach John Tillman refused to waver in his support of Holmes, who ranked seventh in the country with a 62.6 success rate.

“We certainly have a lot of confidence in Curtis,” Tillman said. “If you look at the way he’s started the season, he’s done a terrific job. Their guy did a great job of timing the whistle. His stick is very narrow, and he does a good job. Once he gets it, it was hard for Curtis to get the ball out of there. And there’s always three-on-three and a 10-on-10 on the faceoffs. I think we could have done a better job on some of our wing play, helping Curt and picking up the groundballs and making good decisions. So we’re a team through-and-through, and we need to do a better job in all aspects. … We gave Bobby Gribbin a couple opportunities, and I just felt like we wanted to stay with Curt who has been our guy and we thought he’d fight his way through it.”

Holmes has taken 84 of the team’s 89 faceoffs thus far, and Tillman conceded that lightening his workload is an option.

“That’s certainly something we’ve got to look at,” Tillman said. “And I think Bobby has made a lot of improvement as the year’s gone on. So that’s something we’ve got to look at a little bit more, and we have a lot of confidence in Bobby. So certainly, everything will be on the table right now as we move forward and try to improve as a team.”

Other notes:

*Maryland took just four shots in the second quarter and two attempts in the third quarter Tuesday night. Both Tillman and junior long-stick midfielder Jesse Bernhardt said UMBC successfully slowed the game’s tempo and extended offensive possessions by holding onto the ball. “It’s not the easiest thing,” Bernhardt said. “It sort of slows the tempo down. We like to play a fast pace, get the ball down on the ground and go the other way. So I think they did a good job of playing to one of our weaknesses and give credit to them for that.”

*The Terps have thrived with a share-the-wealth offense that boasts depth. But the flipside is that they don’t have that go-to guy on offense who strikes fear in opposing goalkeepers. Attackmen like Grant Catalino, Ryan Young and Will Yeatman are gone, but Tillman said he’s not worried about finding that leader on this year’s squad. “I think we have some guys that we have confidence in,” he said. “And the great thing about this group is that all of the guys feel like if it’s on the line and somebody needs to make a play, I think we have plenty of guys that will do that. But I also think that our guys are smart enough to go, ‘Hey, let’s make sure we’re organized and let’s find the best matchup and go.’”

*Maryland won’t have much time to lick their wounds with Marist scheduled to visit Byrd Stadium in College Park this Saturday. The Red Foxes are 2-0 with wins against Stony Brook and Sacred Heart, which should hone the Terps’ focus. “We’re really going to sit on this one and let it fester a bit, but we’ve got to learn and grow and try to get back on Saturday because we don’t have time to feel sorry for ourselves,” Tillman said. “No else is.”

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