Lacrosse Magazine interviewed a host of opposing coaches to get their feel on the nation's best teams. Using a quote from those coaches, we're building out context to a specific thought.
"Steady. Obvious questions about attrition, but plenty of depth to remain near top."
The Terps have been exceptional under John Tillman. While Maryland has not been able to collar a national title in the last four seasons -- the team owns two silver medals since 2011 and have advanced to Championship Weekend in three of the last four years -- the Terrapins have assumed a place of prominence in the national hierarchy, standing among the most destructive teams in the country despite its failure to take a victory lap on Memorial Monday:
|Average Adjusted Pythagorean Win Expectation Rank: 2011-2014||5.00||1|
|Adjusted Pythagorean Win Expectation Rank Variance: 2011-2014||2.67||3|
|Worst Adjusted Pythagorean Win Expectation Ranking: 2011-2014||2011||7|
|Best Adjusted Pythagorean Win Expectation Ranking: 2011-2014||2013||3|
No team in the nation has that kind of profile since 2011. It's not only that Maryland has been incredibly powerful over the last four years; it's also that the Terps haven't deviated from its position as a top five type of team. Duke, Cornell, Hopkins, Denver, Notre Dame, Syracuse -- all of these teams have experienced greater fluctuation in their power positions than Maryland over the last four seasons. This is the kind of prologue that destines Maryland for a presumed spot among the top of the polls not only at the onset of the 2015 season but also as the year unfolds.
Yet, Maryland is almost fighting its recent history. The Terps have not had a recruiting class ranked lower than sixth over the last four seasons according to Inside Lacrosse, but even with all the talent that the team has accrued in College Park, this coming season has the feel of one that may exhibit a bit of deviation from prior performances. From its final game of last spring, the team has lost: (1) its starting goalkeeper in Niko Amato, an All-American that improved each and every season for the Terps; (2) Brian Cooper, Goran Murray, and Michael Ehrhardt, key pieces to the team's field defense; (3) Mike Chanenchuk, the team's primary offensive combustible, and Connor Cannizzaro, a cat that ended his freshman season ranked third in points for the team; and (4) Young offensive options like Bradlee Lord and Kevin Forster. Throw in the fact that Matt Rambo is only coming up to speed now and Tim Rotanz has been dealing with vertigo and noticeable cracks start to appear in the team's foundation.
This isn't absolute doom for the Terps, though: Matt Dunn and Casey Ikeda are still around to anchor the team's field defense and Mac Pons gives Maryland an option to fill Murray's void; Rambo, Jay Carlson, and Joe LoCascio will form a trio to build around in the offensive end with Dylan Maltz (a transfer from Syracuse), Rotanz (assuming he's healthy), Bryan Cole, Henry West, and Colin Heacock filling in the blanks; and Charlie Raffa is going to give Maryland a big fat possession margin that should assist a developing offense find its core while insulating a defense that may look different from a season ago.
There are enough assets in place for Maryland to assert strength in 2015, but will it look markedly different than the power the program has pressed over the last four seasons?