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Defense leads Maryland to another dominant win

Special Contribution to So Much Sports Baltimore
By: Phillip Suitts

Jay Carlson provided a tremendous offensive spark for the Terps and netted three goals against Drexel.

Jay Carlson provided a tremendous offensive spark for the Terps and netted three goals against Drexel.

Jay Carlson ran past the cage then jumped, spun left and rifled a shot into the top of the net in one fluid motion. That highlight-reel play, the eventual game-winner, was part of a three-goal stretch for the senior that helped salt away the victory for the Terps.

Thanks to Carlson’s team-high in goals and points, the No. 10 Terps overcame a sluggish start — they trailed 2-1 after the first quarter — and notched their second straight victory with a dominating 12-3 win over Drexel at Byrd Stadium Saturday afternoon

“He’s very unassuming; doesn’t really draw a lot of attention to himself,” coach John Tillman said of Carlson. “He ends up scoring goals a lot, but if someone’s open he’ll definitely get it [to them].”

With the score knotted at two less than two minutes into the second quarter, Carlson gave the now 3-1 Terps the lead for good with a running right-handed bounce shot. That goal, his fifth of the season, capped off a run of three goals in less than five minutes. About eight minutes later, his twisting mid-air goal gave the Terps a 4-2 lead.

“It’s like a question mark,” Carlson said of the spectacular goal. “If they’re not sliding, and I get to that point on the field, that question mark is usually pretty open. And their goalie tended to lean to the opposite side so I just shot it near side.”

While Carlson excelled on offense with three goals and one assist, the Terps defense shut down Drexel (0-4) after a poor start. The Dragons scored two goals in the first three minutes, but the Terps held them scoreless for the next 56 minutes. The last goal came against the Terps’ backup goalkeeper, Dan Morris. The Terps’ starter in the cage, Kyle Bernlohr, finished with 11 saves and a 84.6-save percentage.

“When you give up three goals, it’s usually a product of playing well as a whole team defense,” defender Matt Dunn said. “But you also have to look at the guy behind it all, Kyle Bernlohr in the goal. Any point when we break down, they get a shot, we have confidence that he’s going to make those stops.”

Drexel’s bench exploded after the second goal, but the Terps did not lose focus. They stuck to their defensive principles and regrouped.

“I was proud of the fact the guys didn’t panic after 2-0,” Tillman said. “We caught our breath and just kept fighting and fighting and settled down a little bit.”

While the defense quickly adjusted, the offensive woes continued. The Terps took 16 shots in the first quarter but scored one goal. Too often the Terps took the first shot instead of the best shot, Tillman said, and that mentality resulted in too many low-percentage shots.

“We really didn’t shoot some of the shots — whether it was location on the field or location on the goal — that we were looking for,” Tillman said. “With the defense doing a good job of holding them down, it allowed the offense to play through it.”

During the break between the first and second quarters Tillman and assistant J.L. Reppert emphasized the importance of ball movement and shot selection, two areas where the Terps excelled Tuesday in a 11-7 win against Penn.

“We have so many threats on the field,” midfielder Bryan Cole said. “It’s important for everyone on the field to touch the ball when we get out there on offense.”

The Terps scored 11 goals in the final three quarters, including eight in the second half. They notched two assists, compared to seven against Penn.

When the Terps were in need of goals, Carlson appeared. His third and final tally came with 12:51 left in the third quarter and put the Terps up 5-2. Drexel goalkeeper Will Gabrielsen could not control a shot from Cole, and Carlson scooped up the ball in mid-air and deposited it in the back of the net.

“He gets himself open, and he gets other teammates open on our offense,” Cole said. “He’s always looking to help out his teammates. It’s good karma. It’s coming back to him.”

Attackers Matt Rambo and Joe LoCascio were the other multi-goal scorers for the Terps, with two apiece. Freshmen Connor Kelly and Bryce Young scored their first career goals, and senior midfielder Bobby Gribbin got his first of the season. Cole and Dylan Maltz rounded out the scoring.

While faceoff specialist Charlie Raffa won 6-of-14 faceoffs, part of a team 8-for-19 performance, Tillman complimented the senior, who played through an unspecified injury.

“I thought he really gave us a lift,” Tillman said. “He kind of fought and created a lot of 50-50 ground balls, and he actually had some face-offs that he won. We just didn’t get the ball.”

Raffa’s persistence in the faceoff circle was one reason the Terps clawed back into the game, Tillman said.

Although the Terps fell behind early they never panicked. Carlson provided an offensive boost, the defense tightened up and the Terps relied on their in-game experience to recover from the slow start.

“We’ve played in games when we’ve been down for the most part, and we’ve played in game where we’ve been up by a little,” Cole said. “In our games there’s a lot of peaks and valleys with any team that we play so the coaches kind of preach just staying on one level.”

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