Cinosky Stands Out Among Terps' Leaders

By Christian Swezey
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, April 24, 2008

When Joe Cinosky was a senior in high school in 2004, he was named captain of the lacrosse team -- along with the team's other 14 seniors. Cinosky currently is a senior and starting defenseman for Maryland. And he is one of five captains.

Yet Cinosky has found a way to distinguish himself both times. At Mountain Lakes (N.J.) High, his reputation was such that Coach Tim Flynn has asked him to come back and speak to the team about how to play physical defense.

And as Maryland (8-4) enters an ACC tournament semifinal against Virginia (11-2) tomorrow night at Klockner Stadium in Charlottesville, Cinosky will prepare for a role that coaches and teammates say makes him unique among the captains: delivering pregame and halftime speeches.

When Maryland trailed Navy 5-0 at halftime April 4, Cinosky gathered the team in the locker room and asked a point-blank question: Are you giving up?

In the second half, the defense did its part, forcing turnovers on 14 of Navy's 16 possessions. But the Midshipmen held on for a 5-4 victory.

"I had a couple parents come up to me after the game," said his father, John Cinosky. "They said they heard that Joe was the one who got the team fired up to play the second half. They came up one goal short, but he's able to do that because I think he has the team's respect."

Cinosky is more than the team's emotional leader. He is a three-year starter on defense and leads the Terrapins with 24 caused turnovers and 36 groundballs.

He defends the opposing team's top offensive player -- and that has led to assignments as varied as guarding Duke senior attackman Matt Danowski and Johns Hopkins senior midfielder Paul Rabil.

The Terrapins are giving up 7.1 goals per game with a defense that features Cinosky; senior Ryne Adolph, a first-year starter; freshman Max Schmidt; and a goalie rotation of junior Jason Carter and sophomore Brian Phipps.

"He holds the defense together," Schmidt said of Cinosky. "Jason and Brian say their part too, but Joe's the glue for our defense."

His other hallmarks are his leadership and his honesty. Maryland's five captains -- Cinosky, Adolph and seniors Will Dalton, Max Ritz and Drew Evans -- are enforcing a policy prohibiting drinking during the week.

"We've always had rules about drinking," Cinosky said. "But we wanted to make sure everyone here was ready for practice and that they were on the same page. I love every one of these guys, and I expect every one of them to look me in the eye and tell me the truth."

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