How does winning 95 percent of his faceoffs in the first game of the season sound?
“Going 19 for 20 was definitely a good start, makes me feel good,” Holmes said after a dominating performance at the face-off “X.”
“They graduated their senior [faceoff specialist]…we didn’t have that much film on their guys and didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “So, we just prepared to do what we do and react to see what they had as the game went on.”
No film. No problem.
Eighth-ranked Maryland began 2012 with a 12-6 thumping of the University of Hartford Hawks. Maryland’s second-year head lacrosse coach John Tillman was especially proud of his inexperienced defense, even though he said he was nervous before the game.
“They [Hartford] have three starting attackmen that are four-year starters going against [our] three brand new starters…we have a freshman and two sophomores and one guy was a midfielder last year,” Tillman said in a post-game interview.
The Terps’ senior All-American attack Joe Cummings praised his teammates for keeping him and the offense in the game after a scoreless first quarter.
“I would give so many props to our defense. Our defense played very strong,” he said.
Lacking early scoring, Maryland kept the game close by winning the vast majority of 50-50 balls on the ground.
“I’ve never seen that many ground balls in a game,” said Tillman, who was impressed by his team’s overwhelming 53-21 advantage in that category.
“Now part of that might be because we dropped a lot of balls,” Tillman added with a grin.
Trailing by a goal with 63 seconds left In the second quarter, Maryland finally found a spark.
Junior All-American Mike Chanenchuk, playing in his first game for Maryland after transferring from Princeton, scored on a low shot to tie the game.
Holmes followed that goal with a beautiful play on his next face-off. He won the ball cleanly, then ripped a shot past senior Hartford goalie Scott Bement, just six seconds after Chanenchuk found the back of the net.
Halftime. Advantage Maryland at 4-3.
Hartford came out firing in the third quarter. Hawks’ freshman attack Kevin O’Shea scored the first two goals of the second half to give his team a 5-4 lead. But Maryland responded by scoring eight of the next nine goals.
With four minutes left in the third quarter, Cummings ripped a shot from about 10 yards away, scoring to tie the game. Then he got decked after the ball went in the net. The late hit gave Maryland a man-up opportunity.
Less than a minute later, freshman Jay Carlson scored his first collegiate goal on a one-timer from Haus.
Carlson spun around his defender, then dove towards the crease. He released a shot that went right by the feet of Bement.
That was the last goal of the game. Maryland went into clock-killing mode the rest of the afternoon.
The Terps’ balanced attack featured goals from nine different players, led by Haus who tied a career-high with four points on two goals and two assists.
For the best Terps’ radio coverage during the game, tune in to WMUC Sports to hear all the action.