Terps on board with Healy

College Lacrosse

May 18, 2006|By GARY LAMBRECHT | GARY LAMBRECHT,SUN REPORTER

College Park -- The scoring slump was beginning to wear on him. But University of Maryland senior midfielder Brendan Healy never doubted he would work his way out of it.

Healy had made so many other things happen in his life.

Last fall, he decided to pursue a law degree upon graduating from Maryland, then passed his law school admission test and got accepted at Ohio State. This, after getting engaged to Georgina Flower, a recent George Washington University graduate and Healy's junior high school sweetheart. Soon, Healy will leave Maryland with a marketing degree, a 3.7 grade point average and a post-graduate scholarship from the Atlantic Coast Conference.

This is a guy who gets things done. After four years of it, on and off the field, Healy still draws head-shaking reactions from those who wonder where he stores all of his energy.

"It will be 11:30 at night, and [Healy] is bouncing off the walls like a 4-year-old child," said Maryland senior midfielder Bill McGlone, who rooms with Healy on road trips.

"We'll have a 6 a.m. run, come into the locker room, and he's jumping around and throwing stuff around, while the rest of us are spent," senior attackman Xander Ritz said. "We're like, `Dude, we're done. Get tired.' "

With Healy, that never seems to happen. For two straight offseasons, Healy, 5 feet 11, 175 pounds, has broken the team's strength index records, making him the strongest man on the squad, pound for pound. He always has been among the fastest players on the roster.

And as the second-seeded Terrapins (11-4) angle for a shot at their first NCAA men's lacrosse championship since 1975 and their third final four appearance in the past four seasons, Healy has left behind those midseason scoring problems. So have the Terps as a whole.

During Maryland's current 5-1 run, the Terps have averaged 13 goals. Healy, after scoring just five goals and getting shut out seven times in his first nine games, has become a dodging and scoring machine. In the Terps' past six contests, he has produced three hat tricks in the course of recording 13 goals and five assists.

Maryland likes its chances against seventh-seeded Princeton in Sunday's NCAA tournament quarterfinal at Towson University. Besides having a stingy defense, the Terps are getting major contributions from scorers besides Joe Walters and Xander Ritz. One of them is McGlone. Another is sophomore attackman Max Ritz. And the other is Healy, a product of the Landon School in Bethesda.

"There were times [early in the season] when it was pretty awful. I wasn't even scoring in practice," said Healy, 21, who was shooting just 12.5 percent after nine games.

"I'd get open looks, shoot, and it would go right to the goalie's stick or hit him in the foot or the knee or miss the goal by an inch. I couldn't figure out what was wrong. I was starting to question whether I was doing things right. I knew I had the potential to have a good season, but nothing was falling my way."

While Healy kept working on his shooting -- he often shows up 45 minutes before practice to toil on his own -- Terps coach Dave Cottle opened up his offense. Instead of leaning primarily on a motion attack out of one or two primary sets, and looking for matchups mainly against opposing short-stick defenders, Cottle turned his best athletes loose.

The strategy was to clear out the middle of the field for quick dodgers such as Healy and McGlone to work from up top, or by sweeping across the defense to get better looks at the net. And it didn't matter if a close defenseman or a long-stick midfielder was guarding them.

By April 28, when he scored three goals in the third quarter to spark a come-from-behind 10-9 win over North Carolina, Healy had begun his own comeback.

"You could see it coming about two weeks before it came," Cottle said. "Brendan practices at a very high speed. He's like a robot or a pitching machine. He will do all the work in the world."

That's the Healy way. His brother Ian, the Terps midfielder who graduated a year ago, was elected last spring to Phi Beta Kappa. Brendan has excelled in the classroom and one day wants to provide legal counsel to sports franchises or represent athletes as an agent.

"I want to stay involved in sports and have a career that's challenging, where there is always something new going on," said Healy, who is open to playing some pro lacrosse, as time allows.

His mother, Deborah Healy Turner, recalled Brendan's drive in junior high, when he wrote a five-year plan. He wanted excellent grades, success in whatever sports he could play in college, and a meaningful relationship with a girl.

"I'd never heard of that [type of plan]," Turner said. "It's kind of unusual for boys that young to be thinking that far ahead. But he was an unusual kid."

gary.lambrecht@baltsun.com

Healy awakens

After scoring only five goals in his first nine games, Brendan Healy has helped Maryland to a 5-1 run, with most of his production coming in the past four games:

.................. .......Goals Assists

April 28 vs. UNC 3 2

April 30 vs. Virginia 2 1

May 6 vs. Penn 3 0

May 13 vs. Denver 3 2

Totals 11 5

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.