After breaking out last season as the Maryland men's lacrosse team's best close defender Tim Muller is bringing his all for his last season as a Terp.
“I hope to be a better leader and help pull the younger kids along,” Muller said.
Before his final season began, Muller was named to both the 2017 Preseason Second Team All-America and 2017 Preseason First Team All-Big Ten teams and backed the preseason hype up during the season and was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year earlier this month.
But despite coming into national prominence in just the past couple of seasons, Muller is far from an overnight sensation. The 6-foot-1, Garden City, N.Y., native, has been playing lacrosse since he was very young.
“Being from Long Island, lacrosse is everywhere,” Muller said. “I started playing at five years old and I stuck with it.”
During a breakout 2016 season, Muller started all 20 games at close defense and led the team with 24 caused turnovers and had 42 ground balls.
This was a jump from his sophomore and freshman year seasons where while he appeared in all 19 games his sophomore year, he only started four times but totaled 25 ground balls and caused six turnovers. During his inaugural season, Muller appeared in just three games as a reserve
“It’s funny,” said coach John Tillman in an interview with The Baltimore Sun in August. “He’s a very unassuming guy, a very humble guy who quietly goes about his business. But we do have a ton of confidence in him. Everything that we’ve asked him to do since he got here, he’s done.”
This season, Muller doesn’t have the eye-popping stats one might expect from a top-line defender, but what he has been is a steadying influence on a defense that features a first-year starting goalie, a junior and sophomore starting at close defense and a junior and sophomore long-stick midfielder.
Mac Pons, a fellow senior and defender, has known Muller since their first day in College Park and has been his roommate, on campus and on the road, for the past four years.
“We basically spend every day together all day,” said Pons, a communications major. “It’s nice to take a step back from lacrosse and just enjoy each other’s company.”
The pair started their first game together last season against Navy.
“On the field Tim used to be pretty quiet but he’s turned into a leader for the defense,” Pons said. “Off the field, he’s pretty quiet and reserved, he’s really humble and never talks about his games or anything.”
The youngest of four children, Muller is the only one in his family to play a competitive sport in college. Despite the distance from Long Island to College Park, his family is extremely supportive.
“My parents come to almost every game I’ve ever played. We don’t know what my dad will do next year,” Muller joked.
Besides playing lacrosse, Muller has also been studying economics during his four years at Maryland.
“Its definitely difficult to balance both school and lacrosse but we have help,” Muller said. “I would love to keep playing lacrosse [professionally after this season] but I also plan on going into the finance field—a new field outside of lacrosse.”
Muller decided to come to Maryland because of its “great program, great education and great history.”
Muller noted how the university has made it easy for all athletes to connect throughout their time at Maryland through the annual Terps Got Talent talent show, Welcome Back BBQ and more.
“We support each other,” Muller said, who called himself a “big basketball fan.” “The school definitely makes it easy for us to all be together.”
Some of his favorite moments of being a Terp have been “just hanging out with the guys in the locker room,” Muller said.