No. 2 Maryland men’s lacrosse overcomes early deficit blitzing Michigan with 16 straight goals in 18-12 win

(Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics.)

Joshua Coffman harassed Michigan (2-6, B1G) midfielder Kyle Stephenson as he looked for separation, dislodging the ball with a stick check. 

Coffman then scooped up the contested ground ball and sprinted up the field finding Daniel Maltz on the doorstep for the easy finish, extending Maryland’s lead to 7-5. 

That goal was part of Maryland’s (8-0, B1G) 16-goal run, as the Terps combined stifling defense with flawless offense en route to a 18-12 victory. The victory pushed Maryland’s undefeated season to 8-0 for the first time since 2004. With the victory Maryland clinched at least a share of the Big Ten regular season title.

Maryland’s 16-goal run spanned from the middle of the first quarter to the late stages of the first quarter, as the Terps tallied seven goals each in the second and third quarters. That run also showcased Maryland’s unselfishness offensively with 12 of those 16 goals coming off assists. Just five of Maryland’s 18 goals were unassisted.

“We have an unselfish group,” head coach John Tillman said. “When we’re playing our game, the ball is spinning and the ball is moving and guys are keeping the ball hot and they’re aggressive, that’s when we’re at our best. Anytime we’re out there, we’ll have six guys out there who can feed, they can cut, they can score.”

While Maryland’s offense was firing on all cylinders during the run, so was the defense with Logan McNaney mounting crucial saves and the defense around him tightening up.

Jared Bernhardt and Anthony DeMaio led the way each with seven points (5G, 2A). Maltz and Bubba Fairman also added three and two goals respectively, with Maltz thriving on the doorstep and Fairman notching his third consecutive multi-goal game. 

Logan Wisnauskas notched four points (2G, 2A) while Kyle Long thrived as a facilitator with three assists. Luke Wierman once again provided a spark for Maryland at the faceoff X as he won 15 of 25 faceoffs overall, including eight of his first 11 allowing the Terps to maintain possession and continue building their lead.

Coming off a big win over Johns Hopkins on the road, the Wolverines returned home scorching out of the gates. Three minutes in, Avery Myers and Michael Boehm each beat McNaney putting the Terps in an early 2-0 deficit. 

That lead only increased as Michigan gained more confidence, making Maryland pay for uncharacteristic miscommunications defensively. Bryce Clay was the beneficiary of those miscommunications as he found space off cuts in the left alley for a pair of goals, while Tyler Papa added a goal on a tough finish.

“I just got to do a better job of getting our guys ready for these road games,” Tillman said of the slow start. “I think we’ll look at everything, I really got to look at every aspect of it and do a better job of helping these guys get ready.”

Those five consecutive goals put Maryland in its largest deficit of the season, but as they have in each game this season the Terps responded with an extended scoring run. Fairman and Bernhardt each scored for Maryland giving them some momentum at the conclusion of the first quarter, still trailing by three.

However, early in the second quarter Maryland extended its surge of momentum and didn’t look back. Bernhardt scored 1:19 in the quarter and was fouled on the finish, which set up an extra-man opportunity. On the EMO, Fairman rifled a shot with time and room bringing Maryland to within one.

That goal was Maryland’s last time trailing during the contest as Bernhardt continued his sheer dominance from X, orchestrating back-to-back goals giving Maryland a 6-5 lead, its first of the day. That lead only continued to grow in the final 7:27 of the first half with a trio of goals, as Maltz and DeMaio found openings right on the doorstep. 

After trailing by five in the first eight minutes, the Terps completely flipped the script with a four-goal lead at the break. Bernhardt picked up right where he left off to start the second half, as Maryland’s lead ballooned to five. 

Then, it was DeMaio’s time to shine as he scored four of the team’s next six goals in the third quarter, putting Maryland on top 16-5 with 3:54 remaining in the third quarter.

During that stretch, Michigan’s defense continued to struggle communicating and Maryland’s connectivity and fluidity offensively made them pay. DeMaio’s last two goals each came on the extra man opportunity, where the Terps were 3-3 on the day.

However, now trailing by double digits, Michigan responded with four consecutive goals, finally solving McNaney and the Terps’ defense. Myers and Josh Zawada found their rhythm as both of Zawada’s goals came on the extra-man-opportunities. 

Yet, Michigan’s defense couldn’t stymy the Terps for long as Wisnauskas ended the run with a goal pushing the lead to 17-9 with 12 minutes remaining. The Wolverines’ offense continued to battle, but the Terps’ 16-goal scoring run proved too much for them to overcome.