All season long, the Terps have been a model of consistency. And nothing changed Saturday afternoon against Michigan, as it was another dominant performance leading to a, 20-12, victory over the Wolverines.
According to coach John Tillman, this throttling of Michigan was not close to their best performance of the season.
“There are things that I think we could have done a lot better today,” Tillman said. “Their effort was terrific. I’ll never question their effort. They played hard. I just didn’t feel like, at times, we played as smart as we could.”
The two teams’ performances were relatively similar according to many stats, including face-off wins (19-17, UMD), turnovers (13-12, MICH), and saves (14-13, MICH), but Maryland’s victory can be summarized by one dominant statistic – shots on goal (34-25, UMD).
“I think we played really good six-on-six,” long stick midfielder John Geppert said. “But, the little things like clearing – that, we need to clean up.”
For the unanimous top-ranked team in the nation, even when it is not their best day, they can still find ways to dominate.
Despite the opposite directions the two teams were trending towards, with Michigan enduring a losing skid and Marylad playing some of its best lacrosse of the century, it was still Michigan that started off the game strong after a Ryan Cohen diving shot overcame tight defense by Matt Rahill. The shot found the back of the net and Michigan got on the board first.
The teams exchanged goals, but Maryland eventually got the momentum through two consecutive unassisted goals by Roman Puglise and Logan Wisnauskas, respectively. Maryland ended the quarter with a, 3-2, one-point lead.
Over the span of 15 minutes of game time, Maryland went on a 7-1 run, which included a quick goal off the face-off from Luke Wierman. By then, the Terps had a distinguishable lead, one that they would take until the final whistle.
But, two late goals from Michigan’s Isaac Aronson and Michael Boehm kept the game slightly competitive, although by halftime, Maryland still had a comfortable, 9-5, lead.
If there was any doubt, the Terps had complete control of the game after Geppert scored two goals to open up the second half.
However, things got chippy near the end. Michigan head coach Kevin Conry got charged at the top of the fourth quarter for yelling at an official. Later, Maryland had several physical plays which drew angry comments from the fans.
“Obviously, over the course of the game, everybody’s fired up and everybody is into the game,” Tillman said. “There’s a lot of emotion involved.”
The team remained undeterred.
“Coach always preaches to us that the game’s all that really matters when you’re out there,” Geppert said.
The Terps had four different players (Wisnauskas, Jonathan Donville, Keegan Khan, and Owen Murphy) score a hat-trick.
With no shortage of talent on the roster, the team’s flexibility and capability to play positionless has allowed the team to remain consistent.
“The selflessness of this team, especially that offense … that’s what makes this group so much fun to be around,” Tillman said. “It’s always about everybody else and never about themselves.”