In his four years at Maryland, attackman Jared Bernhardt has consistently showed up in the biggest moments for Maryland lacrosse. He did so once again Saturday. Trailing 13-12 with 1:41 remaining, Bernhardt caught a feed from fellow attackman junior Logan Wisnauskas.
Realizing the defense was collapsing on him quickly, Bernhardt took several steps to his right to create a better shot angle. After finding some more space, Bernhardt rose up and fired a jumpshot into the bottom left corner of the net past Jack Rusbuldt. The strike knotted the game at 13, and was vital in Maryland’s 14-13 comeback victory.
That goal completed Bernhardt’s hat-trick and tied up the score for the first time since late in the first quarter. The first overtime was a defensive stonewall, neither team could generate successful opportunities offensively. However, that changed in the second overtime when Wisnauskas displayed great vision on midfielder Anthony DeMaio’s game-winning goal. Drawing a double team at goal-line extended, Wisnauskas fed DeMaio across the crease. DeMaio did the rest and rifled the righty shot past Rusbuldt, sending the Terps home winners. Wisnauskas’ feed was one of four assists on the day, part of a team-high seven-point performance.
Playing their first game of the season, the Spiders jumped out of the gates. Midfielder Mitch Savoca, the Spiders most lethal outside shooter, found his rhythm early, beating sophomore goalie Chris Brandau twice. After Savoca opened up the scoring, the remainder of the first quarter was a back-and-forth affair. Trailing 4-2, Maryland bounced back with consecutive goals in the final two minutes from DeMaio and Bubba Fairman to tie the score at four at the end of one.
During the second quarter, the Spiders showcased their offensive prowess, but also strong defense as well. Less than two minutes into the second quarter, midfielder Richie Connell scored back-to-back goals seven seconds apart to put the Spiders back on top 6-4. After forcing a turnover on defense, junior midfielder Roman Puglise dodged down the right alley and fired a bounce shot past Rusbuldt. Looking to take some momentum into halftime, Savoca and Ryan Dunn added on to the Spiders’ advantage, giving them an 8-5 lead at the half.
Building on their energy from late in the first half, Richmond scored three of the first four goals of the second, extending the lead to 11-6 with 5:20 remaining in the third quarter. Wisnauskas pulled one back with less than a minute to go, setting up Maryland with a daunting four-goal deficit to enter the final quarter. Maryland proved to be up to the task, outscoring the Spiders 6-2 in the final frame.
35 seconds into the fourth quarter, Tate Gallagher put the Spiders back on top by five on the extra-man opportunity. However, the ensuing seven minutes belonged to Maryland when the Terps scored four unanswered goals to bring the deficit to 12-11.
Wisnauskas started the run with his third goal of the game, followed up by the first goal of the season for defenseman John Geppert. Scooping up a loose ground ball, Geppert sprinted up the field before firing a bounce shot past Rusbuldt, re-energizing the Terps’ sideline. Soon after, freshman Jack Brennan scored consecutive goals, displaying his ability as an outside shooting threat and potential long-term member of the Terps extra man-unit.
Just when it seemed as though Maryland had gained all the momentum, Gallagher scored his second goal of the game, extending the Spiders lead to 13-11 with 5:16 remaining. As it did all game-long, Maryland didn’t flinch bouncing right back. Bernhardt’s consecutive goals accounted for number six and seven on the season and were the catalyst for the Terps to complete the comeback.
Saturday offered another glimpse at Maryland’s unselfishness and balance offensively. 10 of Maryland’s 14 goals were assisted, while eight different Terps scored. Similar unselfishness and offensive balance will be needed for Maryland as the schedule doesn’t get any easier. Next up, the Terps host No. 6 Penn at Maryland Stadium next Saturday.