Maryland men’s lacrosse controls Navy thanks to Curtis Holmes

Rob Carr/GETTY IMAGES - Maryland’s Curtis Holmes, shown celebrating a goal with Ryan Young last year against Duke, took no shots but won 15 of 20 faceoffs in Friday night’s victory over Navy.

Maryland junior Curtis Holmes did not take a shot in a 13-6 victory over Navy in a men’s lacrosse game before 5,022 at Byrd Stadium on Friday night. But he played a huge role in helping Maryland accumulate its most shots against Navy since at least 1986.

The Terrapins (6-3) finished with 52 shots against the Midshipmen (5-5). It was just the third time since 1986 that Maryland took at least 50 shots in a game against Navy; the others were in 1987 (50 shots) and 1995 (51). All three were Maryland wins.

Holmes helped the offense generate the shots by winning faceoffs. He finished 15 for 20, including a stretch in the first through third quarters when he won 12 in a row.

Holmes won 19 of 20 in the season opener against Hartford. He then won 11 of the first 13 he took in the second game, against Georgetown.

From that point, however, Holmes was slowed by several injuries, including a back injury; he also became much more a focus of opposing teams. Despite the fast start, Holmes entered Friday having won 50 percent (66 for 132) of his faceoffs this season, though he is getting healthier and it showed against Navy.

“Anything I can do to make the defense’s job easier,” Holmes said. Starting goalie Niko Amato “came up to me after the game and said, ‘You made my job so easy tonight.’ And that’s my job.”

Holmes also made the offense’s job easier. They needed all the shots, given how well Navy senior goalie RJ Wickham played. Wickham finished with 18 saves, including 11 in the first half.

The Midshipmen tied the game at 5 on a goal by freshman Gabe Voumard with 1 minute 19 seconds left before halftime. From there, however, Navy scored just one goal in the second half. That came after a Maryland defenseman inadvertently kicked the ball past Amato and into the goal with 8:20 remaining.

“We gave up too many shots and didn’t win faceoffs,” Navy Coach Rick Sowell said. “We needed to play a lot better.”

Part of the problem was Holmes’s dominance. In a 25-minute stretch from the middle of the second quarter until the end of the third, Holmes won every faceoff as Maryland outscored Navy 6-1 and had the ball for nearly 19 minutes.

Senior Joe Cummings finished with three goals and two assists for Maryland. Navy sophomore longstick Pat Kiernan won 3 of 6 faceoffs and also played close defense, defensive midfield, as a wing on faceoffs and on man-down defense.

Ultimately, though, the night belonged to Holmes. Terrapins Coach John Tillman told Holmes before the game that Holmes was going to play his best game of the season.

“He’s a prideful guy,” Tillman said of Holmes. “And maybe a little bit to a fault. But that’s what makes him so good.”

 
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