By: Cody Wilcox
Coming off of a spring break matchup against Villanova where Maryland notched a season-high 17 goals, the Terps picked right back up where they left off and tied their season-high of 11 first half goals against the North Carolina Tar Heels Saturday.
Seven players contributed in No. 4 Maryland’s offensive execution, including a career-high eight points from sophomore Logan Wisnauskas, for a season-high 29 points en route of the Terps’ 16-9 win against No. 19 North Carolina.
“To me, it reflects really this group, and we knew that if were to be good it would be a team effort,” head coach John Tillman said. “Especially in a game like this where they have really good athletes.
“We were going to have attack them six-on-six, share the ball, move and cut. And that’s when I think we are at are best. When we get a little bit stubborn and the ball dies, we are just not quite as good.”
North Carolina’s defensive pressure was clear from the beginning of the game. The Tar Heels made it clear with their physicality and play that they were not going to let their former-ACC rivals dictate their offense and pick them apart from the outside with their shooting.
“We kind of knew going in,” Wisnauskas said. “But the first quarter we weren’t getting anything going. We could see, ‘Wow, the scout was right. They are getting to our hands. They are checking hard. They are being physical.’”
While at times their physicality benefited them, such as forcing the Terps into 19 turnovers, there were other times when it hurt the Tar Heels. North Carolina was penalized six times on the day for a total of four-and-a-half minutes.
Attackman Anthony DeMaio was the recipient of one of North Carolina’s physical plays. After scoring his career-high fourth goal of the day, DeMaio was leveled by a Tar Heel defender. He would be assisted off of the field by the athletic trainers.
After DeMaio confirmed he was ok, he gave the credit for his successful day to his teammates.
“I think after we got a little organized and communicated better after the first couple possessions– and the defense got stops for us– we were able to get into a little bit of a rhythm,” DeMaio said.
DeMaio, despite leaving the game late in the fourth due to injury, picked up where he left off in the previous matchup with North Carolina during the Pacific Coast Shootout last year, which was considered a homecoming for the San Diego native. The sophomore began the game with his first career-hat trick on three shots.
Wisnauskas recorded his 11th career hat trick as he led the team in assists and in goals. For Tillman, Wisnauskas’ skill set is starting to resemble a familiar face.
“Logan, I think the best thing that he does is let the game come to him,” Tillman said. “He’s so good at kind of seeing what everyone else is doing– and Timmy Rotanz is really good at this.
“…He’d see an opportunity and kind of take advantage of it. He almost deferred to everyone else, so everyone else could play to their strengths, and I feel like Logan kind of does this.”
But, for as great as Maryland’s offense was today, it was their defense that stepped up once again. North Carolina entered the game against the Terps as a top-10 scoring offense through their eight games with an average of 14.25 goals per game.
However, for the first time this season, the Tar Heels were held under 10 goals. The Terps defense has held their opponents under 10 goals in every game except two, one coming during their overtime escape against Penn and the other came in their loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Maryland is currently tied for eighth in Division I lacrosse with the Duke Blue Devils for defensive goals allowed per game with an average of nine.
At the start of the fourth quarter, the Tar Heels gained a little bit of traction as they netted three goals and cut into Maryland’s lead. Midfielder Timmy Kelly led the way for North Carolina with four goals on six shots, but the Terps’ large lead was too much their former-ACC rival to overcome.
With a six goal cushion a few minutes remaining, Tillman’s focus shifted towards the clock with an unexpected lead.
“We basically gave up a man-up just to kill more time,” Tillman said. “You can kill– if you’re up seven goals with six minutes left– every possession you get, that’s a minute. And you know you’re going to get three or four at least, so you start playing the numbers game a little bit differently.”