- The Washington Times - Friday, March 25, 2005

Playing by the rules is working out just fine for David Tamberrino.

The Maryland faceoff specialist, who had lost more than half of his career draws entering the season, has blossomed into one of the Terrapins’ most effective players with the help of a rule change.

In past seasons, faceoff men were permitted to be right next to the ball before the start of play, giving an edge to physical players and those who could anticipate the referee’s whistle. This year, players must stay on their respective side of the midfield line ” seemingly a small change, but one that clearly has aided those who rely on speed and technique over brawn.

“I think the rule change helps me out more because I’m pretty quick on the ball,” said Tamberrino, a junior whose No.4 Terps (4-2) play host to No.17 North Carolina (2-4) today at Byrd Stadium. “If it’s a little cleaner, I can get a better grasp and can get on the ball.

“I kind of struggle with that because it hurts my move and I can’t do a good job against guys that are close to the ball. It’s just that. The more legal the faceoffs are, the better chance I have.”

Tamberrino began the year splitting time with sophomore Thomas Alford, but he has won 54 of his 83 faceoffs (65.1 percent) to earn the majority of the Terps’ attempts. He has captured at least half of his attempts in each of the Terps’ first six games, including a 14-for-18 masterpiece in last week’s 16-10 rout of Maryland-Baltimore County.

With the help of sophomores Ryan Clarke and Jimmy Borell on the wings, Tamberrino has helped turn the Terps’ faceoff unit from what even he described as “a question mark” into a budding strength.

“We put in a lot of work in the offseason,” Tamberrino said. “We work more in practice now with the wing guys, so we have a relationship with them. Last year, we didn’t really work on it in practice at all and this year, we’re getting together with the wing guys.”

Tamberrino’s development has been a pleasant development for the Terps, who have had their share of faceoff woes in recent years. Maryland won less than 47 percent of its draws in both 2003 and 2004, and its primary faceoff man has won more than 52 percent of his attempts only once in the last five years (Brian Carroll in 2002).

“It’s a big difference to a team ” your turnovers don’t mean as much,” Maryland coach Dave Cottle said. “I think Dave put a lot of time and effort into it. I think Dave studies the game, he studies his opponent and he’s prepared. He’s really taken that step that you hope a player would take.”

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