During a 7-0 opening stretch, Maryland averaged 13.1 goals per game. Since then, the Terps are 2-2 and have scored 10.5 goals per game – a number that would drop to 7.7 if a 19-6 thumping of Robert Morris on April 2 was left out of the equation.
The sudden power outage is eerily similar to last year's progression, as that squad scored at least 10 goals in its first six games before failing to reach the double-digit mark in six of the last eight.
But coach John Tillman did not sound alarmed about the offense's inability to find success against No. 7 North Carolina (eight goals in a three-goal loss), No. 8 Virginia (nine goals in a three-goal victory) and No. 5 Johns Hopkins (six goals in a five-goal setback).
"Everybody's going to have tape on you, and that's one of the things that we realize, that as we go through the year, we're trying to continually evolve and really look at different ways to attack, different schemes, formations just so that we're not overly predictable," he said Tuesday. "I think sometimes when you see that the offense isn't doing well, sometimes you go, 'It's the offense versus the defense.'
Lacrosse is a great sport, and one of the reasons why is if you get a ground ball – which we did – and you fail a few clears – which we did – you have short possessions and the other team has long possessions, and it's going to impact your offense. That's something where everything works hand-in-hand. If you're playing well, getting a lot of ground balls, facing off well, you're generating a lot of opportunities for your offense, which is great. So we've got to realize that regardless of what we want to do, there are things we're going to need to do. We know other teams are going to kind of look at our tape, and I hope most teams expect us to play the way that we played last week. If they're banking on that, that's probably a positive thing for us."
The offense's woes have filtered down to the third attackman spot. Freshman Tim Rotanz has more turnovers (three) than points (one) in starts against North Carolina, Virginia and Johns Hopkins, and juniors Jay Carlson and Kevin Forster combined for zero points in Saturday's loss to the Blue Jays.
"We're not necessarily worried about who's getting the goals and who's getting the assists," Tillman said. "We're more concerned with, 'Are we putting stress on the defense? Are we playing at a high level? Are we generating high-quality opportunities?' If we're doing it right, it's going to be somebody different every week. So if somebody puts more attention to one guy, hopefully, that will open up things for other people. So we certainly are kind of looking at the players that we have."