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May 26, 2018

Curtis Corley

Connor Kelly

John Tillman

Boston, Massachusetts

Duke - 11, Maryland - 8

JOHN TILLMAN: First like to congratulate Coach Danowski and Duke on a great game. They started out fast, and we certainly did not, and I give them credit. We just had a tough time getting our feet under us early, and they made us pay. But just incredibly proud of our guys. Just kept battling and fighting and fighting like they have all year, so obviously very disappointed to see the journey end. I think that's the hardest thing. There's a bunch of tears certainly in the locker room. I think at this time of year whether you get to Monday or not, you know the journey is going to end, and that's probably the hardest thing, just because this group has been so tight all year.

I love our guys. I'm proud of them. Obviously I didn't do a very good job of getting them ready, which will sting for a while, but all things considered, I just love our team, and I'm sorry we couldn't get to Monday, and again, wish Duke good luck. I thought they played great and certainly have a great chance on Monday against a terrific Yale team.

Q. Curtis, what was the biggest difference when they opened the game on a 6-0 run? What wouldn't working defensively for the group?
CURTIS CORLEY: You know, they're a really great team. They came out with a little bit more energy than us in the beginning. It's obviously a sting, but I felt like we came back, we fought, we stuck to our game plan. We got great efforts out of our seniors. It's just a little tough to see it end like this right now. But other than that, I felt like we put in a resilience and this team is a really resilient group, and we fought back, made it a game, and we just stuck to the game plan that Coach Tills put in this week, and I really feel like we have some building blocks for next year, too.

Q. Connor, you guys did get it back to within one there. I'm sure you guys were feeling pretty good. Did it take a lot out of you to get to that point, and what do you think ultimately didn't get you over the hump today?
CONNOR KELLY: I mean, that's the best thing about sports is plan down, we've got such a great group all year, we worked our tails off, such a resilient group, and when we were down 6-0, I knew we were never out. I knew we were going to go on a run. I trusted every one of those guys on the defensive end. There's just so many great guys that I love to death, will go to battle with any day of the week. But credit to Duke; they played a great game.

Q. Connor, you've obviously had a lot of success throughout your career. You leave Maryland having won a national title and all that. Where do you kind of see the program at and what do you see for the future of this bunch?
CONNOR KELLY: This is the best program to be a part of, for any high school players, middle school players. Maryland sets the standard for what it is to play college lacrosse. Just hard-working, resilient, and just so unselfish. I couldn't think of playing for any other program for under Coach Tills. This program is in great hands, obviously. The past couple years speak for themselves. I've been part of a great group. I can't thank enough the guys for my individual success. It stems from the team and from top to bottom starting with Dan Morris and ending on the attack, so I can't thank enough for such a great journey.

Q. Curtis, the challenges that Guterding provides, what did you kind of see from him today, and what kind of makes him such a tough guy?
CURTIS CORLEY: Yeah, he's a really good dodger, so he draws a lot of attention. I think he went 3-3 today, so he's a really good guy. We were talking out there a little bit every now and then, just -- he got me on some rolls, but I've just got to play it smart for next year. He's a really good attack man. Hats off to him. I'm going to be rooting for him in the championship. Hopefully they go far and they can win it. He's just a really good attack man.

Q. Connor, Duke finished with 11 close turnovers today. What is that matchup like trying to go against their poles? I think JT Giles-Harris was -- somebody matched up in that area. How athletic are they and how tough is it to go against that group?
CONNOR KELLY: They're very athletic, from top to bottom, some of their roles, their close guys, their shorties, they're a handful. I know Yale is going to have a tough time beating them. They're a great group. They're talking a lot of defense, but the biggest thing that stands out is their athleticism, but I thought we had a good offense implemented. I'll take a lot of the blame. I sort of had some costly turnovers, costly shots, and that's on me.

Q. Connor, just obviously a very young group and performed fairly well this year. What's your message to them as obviously your career ends and some of theirs are just starting?
CONNOR KELLY: I mean, it's a long journey, but it ends quick. Don't take any day for granted. They're such a hard-working group. They're in great hands under Coach Tills, but like you said, it's a young group, and they've got a bright future ahead of them. I can't thank them enough. They helped me grow as a leader and helped me grow as a man, so I thank them.

Q. The first five goals for Duke were scored against your short stick D-middies. What was Coach Bernhardt's plan to stop those midfielders early on and have that run to get you guys back in it?
JOHN TILLMAN: Yeah, you know, the crazy thing about sports, and I think anybody that's been on a team, you're dealing with 18- to 22-year-olds, and you go through the game plan all week, and then -- I was a little nervous about the stage. We had done a good job all year. We played in front of some big crowds. But the last year's team had such an alpha male mentality and just a confidence that I never felt like at times the moment was too big. I certainly never mentioned it to those guys, but felt like for some of our guys, they were -- especially our short sticks, they were younger this year, and we had a couple other younger guys out there, and I just felt like we looked like the more inexperienced team early. I thought Coach Bernhardt put a great game plan together, and our kids have done such a tremendous job all year. You lose Timmy Muller, you lose Isaiah Davis-Allen, you lose Nick Manis. We had lost some key components, and the guys had really done a good job. We just looked like we didn't communicate very well on like who was sliding. Certainly had watched the film on 15. They have six real good players, and we know we had to slide this year. We had young short sticks, so we had to slide and support them. We had some miscommunication early, and we were late. We actually picked up a little too late, and I think that's part of what hurt us was when we addressed the ball, we picked up so late that they were a lot closer than they should have been, and then if you're sliding late on top of that, you're going to get good looks. And certainly 15 -- we watched those clips over and over again. I think I had watched every game all year. We knew how dynamic they were, and we just couldn't figure out -- like the guys would come off, and somebody was like, yeah, I heard -- I was hot or someone was hot, and then we just didn't go, or I turned my head for a second and they got there. Again, that's on me for just not having them organized and having them comfortable and confident there.

Again, let's give the credit to Duke, too. They're just so athletic and so dynamic that before you know it, if you're a half second late, they're going to make you pay.

Q. You've seen a lot of fantastic players come through your shop and others throughout your time. What makes Guterding so unique and tough to defend?
JOHN TILLMAN: He's a great player, skill set is terrific. He's got kind of everything you need. He's got great motor. He can finish, he can feed. You know, he's got a good feel for the game. His instincts, it's almost like he's a play ahead. Because he's so multidimensional, he can do so many different things, he can really hurt you.

You can see where he's put the year together he has, and I think with the other guys that are out there, the coaches do a great job of just getting everybody organized and then everybody kind of knows their role, and with their spacing and their movement, like if you slide to somebody and they get the ball to him, he can carve you up. It's very much like Jeff Teat. We had talked about maybe trying to follow the Teat plan a little bit and maybe shut him. I think that we felt like it would have been much harder because all their movement and motion and just felt like it was probably going to cause more problems if we did that.

Q. Tills, two things: One, just how were you feeling there like early, mid third quarter as you guys narrow it down? Do you feel like you have enough in the tank at that point? And two, you watched enough of them on tape this week. It seems like they have an extra gear where they kick it in and have those five- to ten-minute stretches where they put things away. Do you feel like they have that, as well?
JOHN TILLMAN: Yeah, they've been kind of a spurt team all year. They're great in transition. They'll make you pay. I felt like giving everything to be down three goals at half time, we were really fortunate. Again, we get the first one coming out. I thought the goal that really -- like kind of sticks in the back of your head was the one, we had a shot clock off the end line, I think it was 8-7, I might be wrong, but we're down one, and there's six seconds left on the shot clock, we give them a sliver inside and Guterding jams it in there and I think Robertson throws it in. And give them credit, those two guys were making plays. We just didn't help enough, and we kind of felt like we could trust Curt in that situation. Again, you make a little mistake and a great player makes you pay. But even there at 9-7, it's like, okay, we're trading punches here, they responded, but boy, if we had gotten that one and gotten it down and gotten it tied, I felt like we might have been able to ride that. Certainly it was a hot day, but it was hot for both teams. I would have loved to maybe -- down one goal in the fourth quarter, let's see what happens.

But again, give your credit to Duke. I thought their goalie was terrific today. I just felt like whenever we got some looks, we kind of stoned us at times, and I thought Danny was terrific, as well. Without Danny Morris, I'm not sure where we would have been today.

Q. All four of Duke's coaches played offense in college. How unusual is that, and just in particular what is their offense like to prepare and to face?
JOHN TILLMAN: They're just -- they have so many skilled players. They're big. They're athletic, and they're skilled. They're very unselfish, and they're not very complicated. They don't do a ton of things. They run motion, and candidly, flipping on film, it's not too different than what they did in 2014 the last time we played them. They run a lot of motion. Now, they have some variations in the way they rotate, where they put guys, and I think they have a culture there just kind of an offensive philosophy that they're going to kind of do what they do. They'll recruit for those positions, and then they're just going to execute at a really, really high level. They don't turn the ball over a lot. They don't take a lot of bad shots. They're all athletic, so if you cheat too much on one guy, they can carve you up. If you don't slide, they'll make you pay, which obviously we weren't real organized at times, but they moved so much that you constantly have to readjust who your hot guys or who your slide guy is, and at times we kind of hesitated, and they did a great job. They run some wing stuff, and again, like -- they do a good job at least today of you're helping with 15 and then Guterding is popping behind the ball, and if you help too much off of that guy, Guterding is stepping in with a lot of room, and not only can he can that but he also can carve you up and the other guys are moving inside. It takes a lot of discipline, you've got to be really good at it, and certainly we weren't quite good enough today.

Q. Can you just summarize the seniors and what they've done for the program overall?
JOHN TILLMAN: Yeah, I couldn't be more proud of this group. You know, I got asked by the Big Ten Network out there, and hopefully I won't get too choked up, the hardest part in the locker room, and I think any coach and anybody who's played the sport, when the season ends, the only thing I can compare it to is you're on a train and you get to your destination and the conductor says you've got to get off now, and you've spent so much time together, since August with the freshmen in this group, but for some of those guys, for Danny and Timmy five years, and then obviously the seniors four years.

I just love this group, and this group has been really tight. You know, we really kind of rallied around everybody not really giving us a chance, and I don't fault anybody for that. We lost some amazing players, three first-teamers, some strong personalities. So there were a lot of holes to fill. We just knew we would really have to work hard and improve to go where we want to go, and certainly getting here is a tremendous accomplishment for those guys, four Final Fours, for Danny and Timmy five Final Fours. Having been a coach at Division III and then obviously at Navy for a long time, just knowing you never get here -- you don't take it for granted and you realize how hard it is. But I think for me it's just knowing that they did things the right way. I'm proud of the people they are. We challenge our guys academically. We're on them about going to class, giving back, community service, things like that, and those guys, they did those things.

So as an educator, you're like, all right, we've got good kids that are doing things the right way, and you know, and as I mentioned in the locker room, it's almost like having a sand dial, you turn it in August, and then eventually it runs out, and it will.

We really embraced every moment. We had a lot of fun with this group. It was a blast being with them, and again, like the two hours today where we maybe didn't play quite as well as we'd like, it's not going to define what this group did. They just did such a tremendous job. They took so much pride in representing our school and our state, so I love them for that, and we have a tight group. These guys won't be very far away. They're always going to be Terps, and they've left the program in great hands.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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