Terps' Catalino hopes losing weight, better conditioning will make him even better

Star attackman wants to take UM to final four at last

  • "You can tell that lacrosse is important to that kid," Maryland coach Dave Cottle said of Grant Catalino, above. "He goes to Canada and plays in the summer, and this season was very important to him. He came back in the best shape he's ever been in."
"You can tell that lacrosse is important to that kid,"… (Baltimore Sun photo by Lloyd…)
February 26, 2010|By Edward Lee | edward.lee@baltsun.com

Opponents might not see as much of Maryland lacrosse standout Grant Catalino as in the past, but that might not be as comforting to them as it sounds.

Catalino, a junior attackman, shed about 20 pounds in the offseason to improve his conditioning. The 6-foot-4 Catalino, who said he weighs about 225 pounds, is committed to helping a Terps program that has recently fallen short of expectations.

"Year to year, it's pretty much the same," he said. "We've got the big goal in mind, trying to get to the final four and the national championship. I'm trying to take more of a leadership role and help our team out."

Catalino's play could be a considerable factor in the way the season unfolds for the No. 7 Terps (1-0), who visit No. 9 Georgetown (0-0) at 2 p.m. Saturday.

In each of the past two years, Catalino has led the team in scoring, and Maryland advanced to the NCAA tournament quarterfinals both times. He has picked up where he left off, registering two goals and four assists in Saturday's season-opening 12-7 victory over Bellarmine.

ESPN analyst Matt Ward compared Catalino to Navy's Ian Dingman, a 6-4, 260-pound midfielder who finished his career in 2007 as the Midshipmen's career leader in goals.

"I don't know if he's as good a dodger as Ian was, but he has more range on his shot and he's a little bit more creative around the goal in finishing," said Ward, the 2006 Tewaaraton Trophy winner who powered Virginia to two national championships. "When you have that size and the hands that he does, it makes for a tough matchup for any defensive guy. You don't necessarily need to be that fast when you're that big because you can get your hands open just by using your size and your strength, and he does that pretty well."

Catalino refined his ability to create space for his shot by participating in box lacrosse last summer for Six Nations in Ontario. The tighter fields and smaller nets forced him to improve his shooting accuracy and use his size more effectively.

"You can tell that lacrosse is important to that kid," Terps coach Dave Cottle said. "He goes to Canada and plays in the summer, and this season was very important to him. He came back in the best shape he's ever been in. Spent his summer dedicated to playing in the box lacrosse league, and so there's no question that you can see a difference in him physically."

Another physical change occurred when Catalino made some dietary alterations. He cut out carbohydrates and is eating smaller portions to the point of feeling satisfied, not engorged.

The lack of carbs is difficult for Catalino, who comes from an Italian-American family, but he said fitness was the priority.

"I wanted to get in better condition, and I wanted to be faster," he said. "All the other aspects of my game were affected by my conditioning. My shooting, my passing, my dodging, they were all affected because of my conditioning in previous years. But now, I feel like I can perform to the best of my ability all throughout the game and not just through the first three quarters."

Catalino has also become more demonstrative in the locker room and on the field. Fellow attackman Travis Reed said he has noticed that Catalino doesn't hesitate to speak his mind.

"His freshman year, I kind of feel like he was more reserved," Reed said. "But these last two years, he's kind of picked up his intensity and become more of a physical threat on the field. From a physical standpoint, he doesn't let anyone push him around. I feel like he was kind of getting used to everything. But now that we're older, he has really taken advantage of his size and strength."

Catalino will probably get opposing teams' best defender, but Catalino is quick to point out that he is playing with similarly talented attackmen in Reed, junior Ryan Young, senior Will Yeatman and sophomore Joe Cummings.

"Looking at our offense as a whole, we have so many threats that I think it would be hard for anyone to just put their best defenseman on one single person," Catalino said. "We have a bunch of great attackmen in Ryan, Travis, Joe, Will. So who knows whom they're going to put their best defenseman on? We'll evaluate our matchups and go from there."

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