Maryland's Jay Carlson to get third consecutive start vs. North Carolina

Cockeysville native and St. Paul's graduate has scored seven goals in last two starts

March 19, 2013|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

Jay Carlson may have opened some eyes with his five-goal explosion in top-ranked Maryland’s 10-7 victory over Villanova last Saturday. But not those of coach John Tillman.

The sophomore attackman, a Cockeysville native and St. Paul’s graduate who has replaced senior Billy Gribbin in the starting lineup in the team’s last two contests, has scored seven goals in those games. Carlson is tied with senior attackman Kevin Cooper for the team lead in goals with 12 and tied with redshirt senior midfielder Jake Bernhardt for fifth in points with 13.

“Jay is a guy that – since the day he got here – has a knack for scoring goals,” Tillman said Tuesday morning during his weekly conference call. “Very unconventional the way that he does it, and it’s not always pretty, but it’s extremely effective. In practice, he produces. I think sometimes when you make changes, people feel like it’s because one guy is not doing well. In our case, Billy Gribbin’s been doing a good job here for a couple years. Yet Jay, every time we’ve put him in games, he’s produced, and we really looked at his playing time and goals per playing time and just positive plays during his playing time. We just felt like we needed to get him on the field more, and not only did he score five goals, but he also had a couple really big plays for us – hustles on the ride, ground balls. He’s got a knack for being in the right place at the right time, and he makes good decisions.”

Perhaps not shockingly, Carlson has earned the right to start with Cooper and senior attackman Owen Blye when the Terps (6-0) welcome No. 10 North Carolina (4-3) to Byrd Stadium this Saturday for a highly anticipated tilt between Atlantic Coast Conference rivals.

“Yeah, I think it would be hard to take a guy who just scored five goals out of the lineup,” Tillman said. “I think part of that is although Billy Gribbin hasn’t done anything wrong, Jay just has done some positive things. Carolina has played a lot of zone [defense] this year – a lot against Notre Dame and they mixed some in last week against Duke. They’ll show that just about every week, and Jay is a really good player against zone because he is so dangerous. He’s also a guy that has really improved. He’s gotten a lot better as a dodger, and he’s much more dangerous on the perimeter. So I think having Jay in there is a real positive because the guys look for him inside, and he’s very dangerous if teams look the other way.”

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