COLLEGE PARK, Md. — After almost a year away, the University of Maryland men's lacrosse team is back.
"It’s been a long off-season. I mean I think that was the longest I’ve gone without playing lacrosse, I’m sure a lot of guys have, since they were little," said Terps senior midfielder Roman Puglise.
The Terrapins are ready to take the field once again after a COVID-19 shortened 2020 season and off-season.
"It’s been a long eleven months for our young men and for a lot of people throughout our country," said Terps Head Coach John Tillman. "But, excited for [our players] to do something they are very passionate with a group that they really care about."
That group is ranked No. 2 in the nation and returns virtually its entire scoring offense from a team that was 5-1 when it was shut down last March. Of the 94 goals scored last season, 91 were scored by players on this year’s roster. Puglise is one of seven preseason All-Americans.
"Returning the guys that we have has been a big plus," he said.
A newcomer on the sidelines is Bobby Benson. The longtime Johns Hopkins offensive coordinator was named Maryland's interim assistant coach and offensive coordinator on January 27. He replaced J.L. Reppert, who took the head coaching job at Holy Cross just days earlier.
"There is nothing that he hasn’t seen, he hasn’t been prepared for," said Tillman about Benson. "He’s been in big games. He understands the importance of lacrosse in our state."
The Terps' schedule this year will be different. The Big Ten is playing a ten-game, in-conference schedule only. The first half has already been announced. The second half will come at a later date.
"We just don’t know what’s going to happen here the next five weeks," said Tillman. "It allows the kids, ‘Alright we have a starting point. There is light at the end of the tunnel.’"
"I do think it’s exciting. I don’t think a lot of the teams in the Big Ten like each other very much. So, playing them twice is going to be new added level of competition and competitiveness," added Puglise.
The Terrapins open their season on February 20, at home, against Michigan. They host rival Johns Hopkins on March 6.