MLAX: Maryland Preview
MLAX: Maryland Preview
(Irish start tough slate with the #1 Terps)
Written by Mike Camarda
Who, When, and Where: Maryland Terrapins (4-0); March 4th @ 12 PM EST; Notre Dame, IN. Game played in Arlotta Stadium or Loftus (weather dependent), broadcast on WatchESPN and ACC Network.
The Skinny: Maryland is a perennial power making their first trip to the frozen tundra of South Bend, Indiana. The Irish have won their past two contests against Maryland at the Pacific Coast Shootout in 2016 and the ACC Semifinals in 2014:
The Terrapins enter this contest tied atop the polls with Denver. Looking at advanced statistics, Maryland features the second rated offense and 22nd rated defense in the country. This will be by far the most talented team Notre Dame has faced this season, and a win will go a long way towards a top seed in May.
What to Watch: Maryland’s dominant offense is built on their balanced attack line. Each starter is averaging 2+ goals a game. The most important player on that line is do-it-all senior Matt Rambo who has been one of the best players in college lacrosse the past few seasons. What makes Rambo so dangerous is not that he excels at any one facet of the game; it’s that he can hurt you in so many different ways that he’s very hard to defend for 60 minutes without him finding a way to create offense. The X factor for Maryland is their transition offense. Notre Dame does not usually get out-athleted by opponents, but Maryland has some serious horses. They have 6 goals this season from long stick players which shows how willing they are to push a numbers advantage with their defensive personnel.
For Notre Dame, the primary key to this game will be how Ryder Garnsey and Sergio Perkovic execute. Garnsey will be called upon to breakdown the Maryland defense and take care of the ball, and Perkovic cannot have a poor shooting day like he did against Michigan. If these two players play well, the complimentary scorers will have strong games. If they don’t, inefficiencies in the limited possessions against Maryland will lead to prolonged scoring droughts.
On defense, the Irish need to make sure that offensive midfielders don’t get stuck on the field defending Maryland transition. If they do, Maryland will exploit those matchups. Drew Schantz and John Sexton will need to have big games in the middle of the field, but mostly importantly the close defenders must perform well in their individual matchups. This is by far the most talented attack line they will have seen this season, and they cannot afford to have breakdowns like they did against Georgetown.
Prediction: If the game is played outside, Maryland doesn’t deal with the cold well and commits many uncharacteristic turnovers. Notre Dame capitalizes on these opportunities to win 11-9. If played inside, Maryland’s offense is too much for a defense that is still figuring some things out. Maryland uses a possession advantage from a strong faceoff game to handle Notre Dame 13-10.