Sunday’s stat sheet: Matt Rambo- eight points (4 G, 4 A). University at Albany- nine goals.
In an epic matchup between two of the best attackmen in the country, Matt Rambo of the University of Maryland heroically defeated Connor Fields and the UAlbany Great Danes by unanimous decision.
The scorecard finished with Maryland winning 18-9, advancing to their fourth Final Four in as many years. On the other side, the Great Danes will have to postpone their Final Four plans yet again after making the quarterfinals three out of the last four seasons.
From the get-go, the Terps took the wheel and steered their way to a 6-2 first quarter lead and a 12-4 halftime edge. Maryland’s assault was led by Matt Rambo, a stocky 5’10’’, 210-pound attackman, whose bullish style powered his way to three goals in the opening quarter and eight points overall. Like Connor Fields of Albany, Rambo is a top candidate to receive the Tewaaraton Trophy, awarded in June to the nation’s most outstanding lacrosse player.
Fields stole the show earlier this season in UAlbany’s first meeting against Maryland, scoring eight points overall, including a SportsCenter Top 10 assist. Rambo had only three points in that game.
However, since then, Maryland’s Rambo has gone on a rampage. He won Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year earlier this month, scored eight points in the round of 16 versus Bryant and added another eight against the Great Danes on Sunday.
“It’s a new season now, its’ the playoffs. It’s one and done,” said Rambo.
In addition to Rambo’s performance on Sunday, Maryland won 16 out of 30 face-offs, a major improvement from their 11 of 27 showing against the Danes back in April.
“Not having the ball started to hurt when they had long possessions and ended them in goals. When you’re trying to come back and create a run – and you’re not winning face-offs consistently, it is very hard to do,” said Head Coach Scott Marr.
Not only did TD Ierlan have an uncharacteristic showing, but so did goalie JD Colarusso, who had been stellar all season long. He was pulled in the second quarter after Maryland went on an eight-goal run to take a 10-2 lead.
While graduation at UAlbany was celebrated this weekend on campus, the seniors on the lacrosse team graduated almost 300 miles away in Delaware.
Each senior class the last few years has seemingly featured a superstar. The 2014 season graduated Miles Thompson, 2015 saw the last of Lyle Thompson and 2016 had goalie Blaze Riorden. However, 2017’s senior class will not be remembered by any one individual, it will be remembered as a cohesive unit.
“I can’t say enough about how good they were for a class that didn’t have that ‘name’, but sometimes those are your best classes, when the group doesn’t have a superstar and it’s kind of a collective superstar,” said Marr
Great Dane fans should have high expectations heading into next season. They are only losing a handful of seniors and are gaining a strong freshman class, headed by Tehoka Nanticoke. If fans are unaware, he has drawn comparisons to the great Lyle Thompson. 2018 could be the season that UAlbany puts it all together and advances to their first Final Four in school history.
Fields, who will be a senior next year is already looking to make his final season better than his first three.
“It all starts now,” says Fields.