By Jacob Steinberg
After regaining the top spot the Maryland Terrapins men’s lacrosse team (10-1 3-0 Big Ten) had an extremely tough test at home against the No. 7 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (8-4 1-2 Big Ten). In extremely tough rainy, windy conditions, the Terps edged out the Scarlet Knights in a thriller, 11-10.
It was a back-and-forth affair, but Connor Kelly’s eight-point game propelled the Terps to victory. Kelly has been the Terps best offensive weapon all season, scoring and facilitating for his teammates.
The first five minutes of the game, Rutgers dictated most of the possession, but were not able to convert on any of its shots. With 8:33 left in the first quarter, the Terps got their first extra man opportunity when Rutgers was called for a non-releasable penalty.
Jared Bernhardt began the scoring, taking a cross field pass from Kelly and firing it into the top corner of the net. 21 seconds later, still on the EMO, Bernhardt scored once again executing a perfect backdoor cut faking out Max Edelmann.
Bubba Fairman scored his first of three goals on the day two minutes later on a feed from Kelly extending the lead to 3-0. Kelly and Fairman have started to build some great chemistry playing together.
Six seconds later after a clean faceoff win, Justin Shockey fed Kelly on the fastbreak who fired a shot over the right shoulder of Edelmann. The last seven minutes of the first quarter the Terps controlled much of the possession and forced Rutgers into a lot of turnovers leading after one 4-0.
In the second quarter, Maryland began to get slightly over aggressive and sloppy commiting six penalties and turning the ball over. Just 49 seconds into the second quarter, Rutgers scored their first goal of the day Kieran Mullins on the feed from Christian Mazzone.
After the Terps defense killed off an EMO opportunity, Kelly scored his second goal of the day making it 5-1. Rutgers would not back down, Jules Heningburg scored his first goal of the day with the feed from Casey Rose capitalizing on the turnover.
Mazzone joined the scoring for Rutgers from in tight on the feed from Heningburg cutting the Maryland lead to just two. With 1:35 left in the first half, Mazzone scored his second goal of the day once again in tight off the feed from Ryan Gallagher. The defense managed to kill off six EMO opportunities in a row, but with less than a minute left in the half Maryland was called for two penalties resulting in a 6 on 4 situation.
With the two man advantage, Rutgers finally converted on the EMO. Mullins scored his second of the day in tight on Dan Morris once again off the feed from Heningburg. Mullins goal was the fourth in a row for the Scarlet Knights, making it a 5-5 game shortly before half. At the end of a wild second quarter, the game was tied at five.
Casey Rose scored his first goal of the day for Rutgers, giving them their first lead of the game with 12:59 remaining in the third quarter. Shortly after, Dan Morris made a huge stick save on Mullins preventing Rutgers from taking a two-goal lead.
The next offensive possession, Fairman channeled his inner Connor Kelly and scored off of a roll dodge tying the score at six. Rutgers bounced right back one minute later, Mazzone scored his third bouncing a shot past Morris.
Fairman scored his third goal two minutes later, off the feed from Logan Wisnauskas who drew the double team. Fairman’s hat trick is his third of the season. Kelly put the Terps back on top backing down his defender and then firing the time and room past Edelmann taking him by surprise with 4:29 left in the third quarter. Once again the Rutgers would not quit, Heningburg scored his second goal of the day on a feed from Mullins once again capitalizing on the Terps turnover. At the end of three quarters the score was tied at eight setting up what would be an extremely entertaining fourth.
Edelmann started the period with a huge save on Kelly, who tried to beat him low. The Scarlet Knights would take the lead once again, Rose fired a low outside shot past Morris. Maryland struggled to score for the next seven minutes, but with less than five minutes to go the offense found their stride once again.
With the shot clock on, Kelly drew the slide and passed to Anthony DeMaio whose lefty ripper beat Edelmann. After tying the game at nine, 48 seconds later Tim Rotanz dodged around his defender and fired a beautiful bounce shot in the top of the net extending his consecutive point streak to 25.
30 seconds later, Kelly scored his fourth goal of the day, proving to be the decider by dodging down the alley past his defender. Tommy Coyne scored his first goal of the day for Rutgers off the assist from Mark Christiano with 2:44, but it was ultimately not enough.
After four tough road wins, the Terps were happy to be back in College Park and will look to continue that momentum going forward when they take on Ohio State, a rematch of last year’s national championship next sunday in College Park.
Head coach John Tillman: “It certainly was great to be back home, it’s always special to be in here just to get back home and have a game where you can wake up in your bed and go through your own routine.”