- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 10, 2009

Travis Reed received plenty of lessons as a freshman starting attackman and maybe even more away from the field.

He has put the lessons to good use this spring for the Maryland lacrosse team.

Reed has scored nine goals in the past seven games and has emerged as one of the most reliable offensive options for the Terrapins (9-6), who visit seventh-seeded Notre Dame (15-0) on Sunday.

“He’s one of the toughest players we have,” freshman attackman Joe Cummings said. “He’s just at the right spot at the right time and just finishes his opportunities. In moments like Virginia, you need a guy like that.”

It was the seven-overtime loss at Virginia when Reed started a second-half surge. And as it turns out, he isn’t quite the player he was pegged as during his first season.

Reed scored 20 goals last spring, but he was also an almost stationary player in settled situations. Blessed with a powerful shot, Reed nevertheless could be neutralized when opponents stuck a long stick on him.

Still, he was a vital part of the offense, which the Terps discovered when Reed was suspended for two games for a DUI arrest. Maryland managed eight goals in his absence, losing to Navy and Johns Hopkins.

The same was true in the fall, when the Terps struggled as Reed sat out after undergoing left knee surgery. And he wasn’t the same early in the season, when his scoring wasn’t nearly as prolific as a year earlier.

Maryland was (and, realistically, still is) trying to figure out how to deploy its glut of young attackman with the late addition of Notre Dame transfer Will Yeatman. As a result, it took a while for Reed to find a fit.

“Not playing in the fall, I was rusty,” said Reed, who has 16 goals and seven assists. “I was out of shape, and my stick skills, which is a big part of the game for me, were definitely a little rusty, and I’m finally getting them back.”

It was also important for the laid-back Baltimore-area product with the look and the mellow comportment of a surfer to work his way into shape. And in a two-month stretch, Reed dropped 30 pounds.

The result is a vastly different player - but one who remains crucial to Maryland’s offensive output. He leads the Terps in scoring since March 28, and his emergence helped offset an injury (Yeatman) and a slump (Grant Catalino) from the Terps’ bulky attack options.

One thing remains the same: a strong, accurate shot capable of exploiting vulnerable situations.

“He used to be a wing shooter and a transition guy and an extra-man guy,” coach Dave Cottle said. “Now he’s pretty good in going behind the goal and the big-little [pick]. He’s expanded his game.”

The Terps will need him in the tournament as they look to shake off a disappointing regular season. They’ll start that possible march against Notre Dame, which was dealt an unusually low seed for a team with its record.

Still, the Fighting Irish are the fourth team this decade to enter the postseason with a perfect record (joining Johns Hopkins in 2005, Virginia in 2006 and Cornell in 2007), and they deploy one of the country’s best goalies in Scott Rodgers.

Reed, though, could be the linchpin for a possible upset - especially since he has demonstrated he’s more than he showed in his first season in College Park.

“[As a freshman] I just took my role and did what I was told,” Reed said. “This year, I’ve had a little more freedom to do different things. I’m not just a shooter and a finisher.”

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