Maryland lacrosse coach Dave Cottle stepped onto Ludwig Field on Tuesday, three-and-a-half weeks after the Terrapins last played at their temporary on-campus home.
The result was the same as Maryland's previous trip, which also doubled as the Terps' last successful venture until Tuesday's 15-6 rout of Binghamton.
“I think it was 2008 the last time we won,” Cottle said. “That's what it felt like.”
The wait, short though it might appear from the outside, is over thanks to a dominant first half. Grant Catalino, Dan Groot and Jeremy Sieverts each had two goals and an assist as Maryland avoided its first four-game skid since 1988 and only the second such slide in program history.
Not that the outcome was much of a surprise; the No. 14 Terps (7-5), despite recent losses to Virginia, Navy and Johns Hopkins, remain loaded with talent. The Bearcats (2-10) already are assured the seventh losing season in the program's eight-year history.
Still, it was an important day for Maryland, which had showed signs of improvement Saturday despite eventually losing to Johns Hopkins. The Terps ensured things would never get to that point in their home finale, receiving goals from Jeff Reynolds, Dan Halayko and Scott Tompkins in the first four minutes.
Maryland led 6-1 after a quarter and 11-2 at the half, forcing 15 turnovers and dominating both shots (22-11) and ground balls (31-13) before the break. That was enough to secure an outcome brimming with both verve and relief for a team that could use a little of both.
“We went into this game like it was the second half of our season,” Catalino said. “We're 1-0, and that's the way we're thinking about it. We worked hard up to this point, and I think everything's coming together.”
Perhaps just in time, too. Maryland probably will play in College Park again only if it wins its two remaining road games plus the ACC tournament. And while a defeat of Binghamton won't draw much attention, it might provide a boost entering the finishing stretch.
“This was better than any practice we could have had for our team,” Cottle said. “As a coach, sometimes when you play Tuesday games you wonder why you're doing them. Then when they're over you say, 'Boy, I'm glad I did that,' and this was one of those days.”
Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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