Maryland senior attackman Matt Rambo couldn't move very far this season without a burly defenseman at his heels.
Even when the ball was downfield, Rambo had to deal with an opposing player following him around, constantly nudging or bumping into him to make their presence known.
All of that attention didn't seem to matter to Rambo, who put together one of the finest seasons in the history of the Terps men's lacrosse program. On June 1, Rambo became Maryland's first male recipient of the Tewaaraton Award, college lacrosse's equivalent to football's Heisman Trophy.
Rambo was a key playmaker this season, leading the Terps to their first national championship since 1975. Maryland head coach John Tillman knew Rambo was capable of something special from the first day the Glenside, Pa., native stepped onto the College Park, Md., campus.
"Sometimes, you get the right guy at the right time, and certainly for us, Matt came in at a perfect time," Tillman said. "We graduated some attackmen, and we needed somebody. We needed a few guys that could come in and play right away. Matt, physically, just the way he's built, was ready to play basically the day he walked on campus. Just a little stronger than your typical freshman."
In his final year, Rambo became the first player in program history to have 40 goals and 40 assists in the same season. He was a unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection and the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. In addition, Rambo earned first-team All-American honors from the Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association.
"I'm so honored and excited to win this award," Rambo said at his Tewaaraton acceptance speech in Washington, D.C. "Thank you, guys. Thank you, everyone. Terp Nation."
In addition to his athletic prowess, Rambo was a solid student and graduated with a degree in American studies. Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson said Rambo set an example for other student-athletes.
"I'm proud of how hard Matt has worked in his time in College Park," Anderson said. "For him to be [a] graduate, lead his team to a national championship and be recognized as the top player in his sport is a testament to his effort and leadership."
Tillman knows it will be difficult to replace Rambo next season, as the Terps look to defend their national title. Tillman is proud of the way Rambo matured throughout the four years with the program.
"Matt is a guy that works really hard," Tillman said. "Matt is a prideful guy. He loves competition. You know, sometimes he gets a little stubborn, so do I, and that leads to some interesting moments. But he knows I love him, and I know he loves me, so I like that sometimes. He will fight you a little bit because he is passionate. I think his poise and the fact he is so positive now when things aren't going well is a true show to his maturity."