Minus LSM Jesse Bernhardt, the Maryland close defense returns fully stocked. Matt Dunn could be the running candidate for the empty slot at LSM after he saw some time when Bernhardt needed rest. Not to mention, Casey Ikeda, who guarded Steve Mock in most of their final game against Cornell last season, got a few runs in at LSM. Him and Dunn may be a switching duo between LSM and close.
Between the pipes will be Niko Amato. The Philadelphia native has made a big impact for the Terps since stepping on to Byrd Stadium. As a freshman, he made 165 saves, finishing with a .583 save percentage, leading the Terps to their first National Championship game appearance in X YEARS. In 2012, Niko made 156 saves, ending with a .538 save percentage, and again helped the team to the championship game. Amato made his lowest save count of his career in 2013, ending with 152, but finished with the highest save percentage at .594. The senior goalkeeper has a lot left to leave on the field and will make it difficult for offenses to get any goals.
Goran Murray took on the hardest task of his career when Maryland faced Cornell and he was assigned Rob Pannell. Murray is a physical and quick defensemen. He has started since he was a freshman in 2012. If Murray can perform as he did in his freshman campaign, there shouldn’t be a reason as to why he can’t help the Terps back to championship weekend.
Michael Ehrhardt rounds out the close defense. The 6’5″ senior has seen time since his freshman campaign back in 2011, making his debut against Detroit Mercy. He has a been a big asset for Maryland, helping his fellow defenders settle in and is a big communicator on the field.
The Terp defense will be hard to crack but will miss Bernhardt at the LSM. If they can come together and figure out their opponents offense, Maryland could see championship weekend again.