Since transferring from UMass Lowell in 2016 and walking on to the Maryland men's lacrosse team, defenseman Mike Adler has been one of the most boisterous members of the Terps' scout unit, consistently bringing energy to the practice field.
But in a recent meeting, the senior asked team veterans whether he should tone it down.
"He said, 'Hey, do I need to dial it back? I don't want guys to think I'm taking it as a joke,'" long stick midfielder Nick Brozowski recalled. "We had to be like, 'No, keep doing what you're doing.'"
While defenseman Bryce Young is sidelined with an undisclosed injury, Maryland rewarded Adler's enthusiasm by giving him his first-ever start against Navy last weekend. Adler started again Tuesday against Marist. The Terps, who face High Point on Saturday, have rallied behind the lineup choice.
"We all feel very comfortable with him stepping into that role," Brozowski said. "We haven't skipped a beat defensively with him out there."
Adler didn't know he would start against Navy in the days leading up to the season opener. Even the day before the game, when coach John Tillman asked him to prepare for various on-field scenarios, he remained out of the loop.
Hours before the opening faceoff, Tillman finally broke the news, telling Adler which Midshipmen player he would cover. Battling nerves, Adler helped Maryland's defense hold Navy to four goals, the fewest the Terps defense has allowed in a season opener since 2014.
Between his two starts, Adler recorded three ground balls and two caused turnovers.
"Every year I come in and try to do as much as I can," Adler said. "Everything else will take care of itself. You being better and working harder makes the next guy better."
Brozowski first realized Adler might contribute to Maryland's defense last fall. During practices, Brozowski and the rest of the Terps would often comment on impressive plays from the Millstone Township, New Jersey, native.
In each of his three seasons in College Park, Adler's role has increased. He appeared in one game as a sophomore in 2016 and six last year as a junior. With Tillman saying Tuesday that it would be "unrealistic" for Young to play Saturday against High Point, Adler could be poised for his third consecutive start.
"We know how good of a player Bryce is, and [to] replace that, you really can't," Brozowski said. "At the same time, against Navy, I [wasn't] thinking 'Oh, we don't have Bryce out here.' I'm confident in Mike that he knows what we're doing and he's on the same page."