As he has hundreds of times in his college lacrosse career, senior Jared Bernhardt dodged from X around goal-line extended looking to create separation.
Using his lethal combination of athleticism and speed, Bernhardt dipped his shoulder and fired the shot into the back of the net.
While he utilized the same patented dodge technique, the finish carried extra special meaning cementing his status as the all-time goals leader in program history with 156.
Donning the same illustrious No. 1 jersey as fellow attackman Matt Rambo who he passed, Bernhardt was the lead catalyst of Maryland’s (7-0, B1G) offensive attack throughout, as he’s been all season.
“It’s obviously a great honor, but I didn’t come to Maryland to break records or do any of that stuff,” Bernhardt said. “I came to win national championships, I came for the people that were here in College Park.
He finished with eight points (5G, 3A), while Logan Wisnauskas tacked on four goals and Daniel Maltz added a hat-trick in the 17-10 victory over Penn State (2-5, B1G). Bubba Fairman scored a pair of goals, while Kyle Long, Jack Koras and Griffin Brown each added tallies.
“I think what makes Jared so special is his athleticism, his quickness, his change of direction, that is so unique that it just separates him from everyone else,” head coach John Tillman said.
Luke Wierman came in and provided a spark at the faceoff X winning 12-23 after Justin Shockey lost the opening four face-offs of the game.
Logan McNaney maintained his strong sophomore campaign with 13 saves bringing his total to 29 in the two contests against Penn State this season. Throughout the game, McNaney consistently cut off the angles of shooters minimizing their open net space.
The close defenders and short-stick midfielders around him continued their stout play communicating effectively and sliding when necessary. Brett Makar led the way with three caused turnovers limiting the explosive quickness of Penn State attackman T.J. Malone.
“I think it’s just getting comfortable with each other week after week growing on the chemistry that we have,” Makar said.
Despite Maryland’s lopsided victory, Penn State jumped on the board first with a goal from Jackson Reynolds. Penn State’s defense held strong for much of the opening quarter, but Wisnauskas put the Terps on the board with six minutes remaining.
He followed that up with a second goal 1:46 later using his length and patented side-arm shot, notching his 200th career point. The final 4:14, both teams exchanged goals as Malone and Fairman found the back of the net. That gave the Terps a 3-2 lead at the conclusion of a defensive oriented first quarter.
However, in the second quarter Maryland built on its lead with the opening three goals of the period. It used stout defense complemented by efficient offense to create added separation.
Brown started with the scoring run with a rocket beating Penn State goalie Colby Kneese top shelf, while Bernhardt followed with a goal that tied Rambo’s record. Maltz completed the three-goal run with a low-to-low finish.
As Maryland gained control, Penn State responded with back-to-back goals from Mark Sicker and Jack Kelly with Kelly’s goal on the extra man opportunity. Now leading by just two, Maryland took firm control of the game heading into halftime with a four-goal run the final 6:32.
Wisnauskas started the stretch with a jump shot from a tight angle, while Long made the Nittany Lions pay for a miscommunication defensively. In the final two minutes, Bernhardt scored two goals, including one in transition just before halftime expired off a Penn State turnover.
That turnover was one of Penn State’s 11 in the first half, compared to just four for Maryland.
Building on its momentum in the ladder stages of the first half, Maryland came out firing with a trio of goals in the opening 3:08. Fairman, Maltz and Bernhardt each beat Kneese early on, extending Maryland’s lead to 13-4.
Just when it seemed Maryland was in firm control, some uncharacteristic penalties allowed the Nittany Lions to find success with three consecutive goals. Reynolds stopped the 7-0 Maryland run, while Mac O’Keefe added back-to-back goals making the Terps pay for unsuccessful clears.
However, when they needed a goal to stop the run, Bernhardt delivered with his fifth goal of the contest. O’Keefe quickly answered, but the Terps entered the fourth quarter with a commanding six-goal lead.
As they did to start the third quarter, Maryland scored three consecutive goals showcasing its unselfishness. Maltz, Wisnauskas and Koras beat Kneese on feeds from Long and Bernhardt putting Maryland in firm control back on top by nine once again.
“We’re pretty lucky in that we have a lot of guys offensively that can find the open man,” Tillman said. “They keep their head up, they’re willing to share it and they’re unselfish.
After Tillman pulled all of the starters, Penn State scored two goals in the final two minutes, with the Terps securing the seven-goal victory. On Senior Day where 16 Terps were honored, Maryland showcased its depth at all three levels of the field in another dominant Big Ten win.
“For me I always think about it as I’m trying to win for the team,” Bernhardt said. “But I actually want the seniors and a lot of these guys who maybe haven’t been to the final four or championship weekend, I want them to go out like that,” Bernhardt said.