The 16-3 score by which Maryland trounced Mount St. Mary’s on Saturday indicated the relative ease of the Terps’ effort in the season opener for both teams.
In addition to the 10 starters, Maryland rotated 31 players into the game. To coach John Tillman, that was a significant development for a roster that includes 14 freshmen.
“It’s nice to get a win,” he said Tuesday morning. “For some of our inexperienced guys, [we got them] some playing time. Maybe get some of their anxiousness out of their system playing in their first college game as Terps.”
After the game, Tillman said liberal substitution of the players was more of a designed approach to gauging what untested players can do in game conditions.
“We’re still trying to figure out who the guys that might be in there at crunch time are,” he said. “I think we have a number of guys that we feel good about, and yet the tough part is the guys that are competing. There’s such a slim margin between them that we haven’t been able to decide, who are our three best attackmen? Who are our top eight or nine middies? And maybe that’s a good thing. We kind of know at the midfield that obviously [senior] Michael [Chanenchuk] is an experienced guy. But even some of the younger guys, there have been moments when [freshman attackman] Matt [Rambo has] played well like [Saturday], but there have been moments when he hasn’t played quite as well.
"So, like any young guys, I think we have enough in case somebody is struggling to put somebody else in. We do like the fact that we can play more guys and maybe we can play faster.”
One area that saw plenty of rotation was the attack, which started Rambo, junior Jay Carlson and sophomore Kevin Forster. Rambo finished with four goals and two assists, and Carlson, a St. Paul’s graduate, scored three goals.
But Forster took zero shots and posted just one assist. Senior Rustin Bryant took two shots and recorded an assist, and sophomore Ian Robertson took three shots.
Tillman said the coaching staff has faith in Forster, but is also open to seeing what others can do given the opportunity.
“We feel like we definitely have some options down there,” Tillman said. “Maybe you don’t have three guys that you know exactly what they’re going to do, but the other side of that is you have five guys that you can rotate and keep your guys fresher.”
Amother option could be freshmen Colin Heacock and Tim Rotanz, who sat out the season opener due to unspecified injuries.
Tillman confirmed that Heacock, a Boys’ Latin graduate, had a cast on his arm removed Monday, but said that he and Rotanz have not been cleared to practice in anticipation of Saturday’s home game against UMBC.
“Both of those guys had their helmets on, they were at practice, they were going through drills,” Tillman said. “So they’re working their way back, and they certainly are much farther along than they were at this point last week. Whether they will play Saturday, I don’t know quite yet.”