In a battle between top 15 teams, Maryland stood tall to withstand a second half comeback from Ohio State on Saturday afternoon in Columbus with a 16-8 win.
Both teams were coming off big victories and were looking to continue their momentum on a sun-splashed afternoon at the “Shoe.”
It was a defensive battle early on, with both teams holding each other scoreless through nearly 8 minutes. The Terps (5-0 B1G) struck first off of a goal from attackman Logan Wisnauskas 7:40 into the opening quarter.
Wisnauskas starred for the Terps, tallying 4 goals and 3 assists on the day. It was the second most points by a Terp this season, only behind his nine-point game against Johns Hopkins. The senior extended his point streak to 45 consecutive games, good for sixth best in the country.
Maryland head coach John Tillman praised Wisnauskas for his outstanding play this season.
“Whether it’s clears, or knocking down a pass, or coming out on a loose ball, some good from him and I think the guys in front of him just feel very confident when he’s in the bowl,” Tillman said.
Maryland went on a 6-0 run following Tre Leclaire’s 148th career goal, breaking a tie with Logan Schuss for the most in Ohio State’s (2-3 B1G) program history.
The Buckeyes, riding high after program win number 500, responded in a big way. After taking a two-man advantage, the Buckeyes found life on the offensive end, scoring two goals in a span of 41 seconds to cut the Terps lead to four late in the first half.
Ohio State continued to give the Terps defense headaches in the third quarter. Led by Bethesda native Jack Myers, the Buckeyes cut Maryland’s lead to 8-6 with 6:38 left in the third quarter.
“They were going to slow the game down and keep the ball away from us and shorten the game and shorten the possessions,” Tillman said. “I think early on we got caught trying to play fast, which was great, but I think we were taking the first opportunity and not really willing to get the best opportunity.”
The Maryland offense knew it was time to step up, and they did just that.
Less than 10 seconds after Myers made it a 8-6 game, long stick midfielder John Geppert scored his first goal of the year to give the offense a much-needed spark. Attackman Jared Bernhardt scored less than 90 seconds later to extend Maryland’s lead to 10-6 with 5:19 left in the third quarter.
“That was the play of the game,” Tillman said of Geppert’s goal. “He shoots the ball very hard but it was also a good shot, good release, fundamentally sound, he put it in a good spot.”
After Myers completed the hat trick near the end of the quarter, the Terps went on another big run to shut the door on a potential Ohio State comeback.
The trio Daniel Maltz, Wisnauskas and Bernhardt each completed hat tricks in the final quarter to cap off a 6-0 run. The Terps nearly held the Buckeyes scoreless for the entire fourth quarter before allowing another Myers goal with less than a minute left.
Although the result was a win, Maryland struggled on faceoffs, losing 19 of 27, and were uncharacteristically poor in the third quarter.
Coming into the game, Maryland had outscored opponents 19-3 in the third quarter this season, but the Buckeyes flipped the script with a 4-2 scoring advantage in the quarter.
The Terps, who came into the contest leading the nation in fewest turnovers committed per game, saw seven of their 11 turnovers come in the third quarter.
“You give a team that many extra opportunities, good teams are going to take advantage of it,” Tillman said.
The Terps hold a 9-3 advantage in their series history with Ohio State, but each of the 3 games in Columbus had gone to overtime. With a fourth quarter surge, Maryland made sure that wouldn’t happen again.
Looking ahead, the Terps head to the Garden State next Sunday to take on a ranked Rutgers squad that is undefeated at home this season.