Maryland’s No.1 men’s lacrosse bumps past Johns Hopkins, 12-10, wins 2021 Big Ten tournament title
Kyle Long finally got the separation Maryland needed. After capturing a pass from forward Jared Bernhardt, Long used a quick first step to drift past a Blue Jay defender and shoot from the depths. He converted Maryland’s 10th score of the game and provided the Terps with a significant boost of energy.
After facing a deficit for more than 50 minutes of the contest, Maryland finally led with five minutes left. From there, the Terps didn’t look back. And once again, in the second meeting of the two sides in three weeks, Maryland converted when it mattered most. Ultimately, the No.1 Terps took the win by a score of 12-10, orchestrating a second-half clinic that won their first Big Ten tournament title since 2017.
“After falling behind, I was really impressed with the way we fought and we kind of got in defensively and then we found our way,” said head coach John Tillman, “ it wasn’t always pretty, but we found our way towards the end of the game. “
At first, the Terps warmed up quickly with a quick goal from Bernhardt just two and a half minutes away, but Johns Hopkins looked confident, showing his courage on the court as the first quarter continued. The Blue Jays relentlessly traded goals with their rivals and wasted no time evaluating the Terps.
After the first goal, Casey McDermott whipped up a left-hander’s shot after a clearance, triggering a 3-0 run for the Blue Jays. Thankfully, after a four-minute drought for the Terps, forward Anthony DeMaio found the back of the net for his first goal of the day and put Maryland down to less than one.
Back-to-back goals from forward Logan Wisnauskas and forward Daniel Maltz gave the Terps a 4-3 lead, about eight minutes from the end of the first quarter.
All the while, the Blue Jays have been resilient and the seasoned Maryland defense struggled to contain Hopkins’ midfielders early on, as seniors Roman Puglise and Alex Smith were sent to the turf in possessions. in a row where the Blue Jays have converted goals.
It was a Johns Hopkins willingness to dominate that was also distinct on the stats sheet – especially at the end of the first frame. Despite only leading 6-5, Hopkins converted six of his eight shots on goal and only returned the ball twice in Maryland’s five turnovers.
Even though Maryland entered the game as favorites, they struggled to find the net until the last two minutes of the second period while Johns Hopkins forward Joey Epstein had no problem.
As the game continued, the Black Hopkins jerseys continued to swarm with a goal, swallowing the Maryland offense, forcing eight turnovers in the first half and terrorizing the defense, adding two more scores to their advantage in just one point. Both goals were produced by Joey Epstein who extended the lead to a game-high three points at the start of the second quarter. Maryland’s only second quarter goal and first in over 14 minutes came from Eric Holden from a difficult angle. The Terps suppressed the race by two points but still had a considerable mountain to climb.
The climb started quickly in the second half. The Terps ‘defense grew solid and Hopkins’ offense choked under their pressure. After beating the Terps in both quarters of the first half, Hopkins scored only once in the third and fourth and gave Maryland two scores in the final ten minutes of the period.
As the Terps neared the equalizer, the energy off the bench radiated and spread to the athletes on the field who continued to suppress Hopkins’ offense.
“[The bench players] just bring a ton of energy, they do a great job, ”DeMaio said,“ and they do a great job keeping us all together, when things aren’t going well they always give us a pat on the back, making sure everything is fine and sort of trying to do the next piece. And then when things are going well [they’re making sure we’re] not to get any content and just keep doing what we’re doing. “
Maryland’s offense returned the favor with a perfectly timed three-goal run in the fourth quarter.
First Maltz with the equalizer, then Long with the lead from a similar distance, and finally a touch in Maltz’s crease again for Maryland’s first two-goal lead.
“We feed off the energy of defense,” DeMaio said. “In the second half, Brett (Makar), (Nick) Grill, (Matt) Rahill, Roman (Puglise). All those guys digging, on the stretch, just making tons of stops to get some tough ground balls and it shows how hard they’ve worked. And the sacrifices they made. And it clearly showed there in the second half.
The Blue Jays responded to the Maryland run with a goal just 13 seconds later, as Matt Narewski scored a key shot.
Maryland was able to take possession of the next face-off thanks to Wierman, and a cross-check call gave the Terps a 1:00 advantage with 1:21 remaining. A smart attack from the Terps got the ball around the attacking zone throughout the penalty, reluctant to return the ball to the Blue Jays.
DeMaio fired a right wing shot on a rope at the end of possession with 21 seconds remaining, putting a stamp on the Terps’ victory.
“We don’t want to let anyone down. So we’re going to continue to really break our butt and play our butt, ”Tillman said,“ and make sure we play in a way that everyone can be proud of because this program like lacrosse in our state and in our school just means so much. “
Three things to know
1. Maryland’s first Big Ten tournament championship since 2017. With the victory over the Blue Jays, the Terps enter the NCAA tournament as an undefeated team. The Terps are now in a position to hold the No. 1 seed in the tournament. The last time Maryland won the Big Ten tournament title, they beat Ohio State, 9-6, in Foxborough, Massachusetts to secure the national championship.
2. Logan McNaney struggled. As the defense faltered throughout the contest, Logan McNaney’s goal production suffered. At one point in the first quarter, when Maryland allowed six goals, McNaney only had a 12 percent shooting percentage. For the majority of the contest, he saved goals at a rate of less than 40%. He finished with a savings percentage of 41%, a significant drop from his typical performance of over 50%.
3. Maryland held firm on the face-off. Justin Shockey provided Maryland with a vital first-half advantage where it looked like his opponent was in control of every facet of the competition. When Matt Narewski had a winning streak, Luke Wierman came in and won three of eight and helped master a faceoff that followed.
“I thought Justin Shockey was great in the first quarter and I thought Luke Wierman was great in the fourth quarter,” Tillman said, “and I really thought second and third you know I tip my hat to their guy because that he did a really good job and that gave us some problems.