By: Cody Wilcox
TOWSON, Md. — Freshman midfielder Kyle Long surveyed the field behind the Towson goal as he let the Maryland offense develop in the overtime period. Attackman Louis Dubick, doing what he had done all season, cut hard toward the goal and caught a pass from Long and bounced a shot to the back of the net.
Realizing their season had come to an end, Towson defenders stood there in their gold jerseys in disbelief as red Maryland jerseys converged to celebrate their late game heroics with one another.
Despite being down one with 23 second remaining in the fourth quarter, Maryland’s poise gave them a 14-13 win over the No. 6-seeded Towson to advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Lacrosse Tournament.
“This program means so much to me and to play on this field so many times up here, whether it was summer ball or coming up here — I grew up playing in Baltimore,” Dubick said. “It’s special, a moment I’ll never forget. It wouldn’t happen without these guys, without these coaches.”
Through six ties and six lead changes, Sunday’s loss marked the first time that Towson has been bounced in the first round of the NCAA lacrosse tournament since 2015, after previously advancing to the quarterfinals in two of the past three years.
The overtime period was enabled by a last second fourth-quarter goal by Maryland team captain and 2019 Tewaaraton finalist Jared Bernhardt. After getting a stop on defense, Maryland beat Towson’s aggressive ride and found Long. Long, taking the ball to the right side of the goal, found a slashing Bernhardt to tie the game at 13 with 3.8 seconds remaining.
Bernhardt, prior to the fourth quarter, had not scored or assisted on any of Maryland’s points. He finished with two goals and one assist.
“I’m just kind of sitting in the middle of the clear, watch [Long] catch [the pass], go down to [Bernhardt] — right in,” Corley said.
Both Bernhardt and Dubick’s goals were facilitated by Long, who finished with one goal and four assists as he has become a vital distributor on Maryland’s first midfield line, replacing senior Will Snider.
“What makes this team special is the guys and the character of the guys in it,” head coach John Tillman said. “And [Snider] is such an unselfish guy. [Snider’s] like, ‘I think [Long] should go to the first line, I’ll go to the second line.”
Maryland built a 3-1 lead early in the game, receiving contributions from three different Terps. Long-stick midfielder Matt Rahill delivered one of those goals on a transition chance for his second-career goal and Maryland’s second long-pole goal of the season.
After posting up two unanswered goals in the first quarter, the Tigers scored three more to start the second. Prior to a Logan Wisnauskas goal near the three-minute mark in the second quarter to halt Towson’s run, Maryland had three shots and three turnovers. Its additional two shots at the end of the quarter resulted in two goals, while Towson had a total of 14 shots in the quarter alone.
Towson faceoff specialist Alex Woodall, who had missed the prior three games with an undisclosed injury but maintains the second-best faceoff percentage in the country at 74.5 percent, gave Maryland issues at the X. He finished 22-31, while Maryland sent a mixture of Justin Shockey, Austin Henningsen and Wesley Janeck to disrupt his rhythm.
“[Woodall’s] a warrior,” head coach Shawn Nadelen said. “He shouldn’t have been out there but he chose to be out there. …He was going do everything he could to have an impact today, and he did.”
After a total of eight saves and seven goals allowed in the first half, Danny Dolan continued to be solid for the Terps on Sunday as he gave Maryland’s offense opportunities to convert. Dolan finished with 15 saves for Maryland, tied for his second-most on the season.
Maryland was led by Logan Wisnauskas with three goals and one assist. Bubba Fairman and Dubick also contributed two goals, and Long had a game-high four assists to pair with his one goal on the day.
In the third quarter both teams once again notched three goals apiece, including two respective hat tricks from Towson’s Brody McLean and Brendan Sunday. They both finished with four goals. Timmy Monahan, who spent 2016 and 2017 as a midfielder for the Maryland, contributed one goal and one assist for the Towson Tigers.
Sunday’s first goal of the game came in the first quarter and gave him his 70th point of the season. He is the first 70-point scorer for Towson since Brad Reppert, brother of Maryland assistant coach J.L. Reppert, in 2001.
Towson did its best to answer Maryland’s five goals with three goals of its own in the fourth quarter, but Bernhardt’s late efforts gave the Terps four additional overtime minutes to seal the victory against the Tigers.
“It was a little bit of a boxing match, exchanging blows,” Nadelen said. “We had some luls in our play, both offensively and defensively and they capitalized. We created opportunities, and we capitalized.”
With a win at Towson, Maryland avoids its first first-round exit since 2013, and another week of preparation as the Terps will face the No. 3-seeded Virginia Cavaliers in Hempstead, New York, on Saturday.
“Just smiling,” Corley said when asked about an extra week with his teammates. “Having another week with these guy is just amazing.”