By Connor Bell
On sunny Saturday afternoon in College Park, Maryland, the Terps improved to a four game winning streak, beating the Tar Heels 11-8.
While facing their former conference rival, sophomore Connor Kelly, who had only eight points in his career his freshman season, walked out of Saturdays game with six, totaling a career high for the midfielder. Kelly, with his three goals and three assists, was involved in at least six of Maryland’s 11 goals. Also a star of the game was junior Matt Rambo, who totaled four goals on 12 shots, including two down the stretch of the game to help secure the Terrapins victory.
“It was a total team effort just from every position,” Terps head coach John Tillman said. “I really think having that weekend off last week was a big thing for us to just try and catch our breath … I really think our success today was due to the effort of our scout team.” Tillman received his 68th win as Maryland’s head coach and the Terps moved on to 5-2 on the season. North Carolina drops to 5-4 on the year.
There were also two major factors of this game, trading goals and Maryland’s penalty kill.
Throughout the contest, the Terps had a total of four penalties called against them and North Carolina only capitalized on one of them. This was due to the fact that the Terps, despite being a man down, never seemed to fall back into a defensive shell, they controlled the tempo of the game and controlled the ball in North Carolina’s end of the field with one less person in white on the field.
Also, the reason this game was so close is the fact that a Maryland goal was often immediately followed up by a UNC goal seconds later. On six separate occasions there was either a Maryland goal followed by a UNC goal or vice versa within a minute and a half of each other.
In the end, the Terps just toughened up their defense and prevented goal trading from happening between the two teams and held onto their three-goal lead until the end.
Tillman also hinted at the press conference that the series between the two powerhouse lacrosse teams would continue into next season despite being in different conferences, as he saw no reason not to continue it.
Maryland’s next opponent comes against the University of Pennsylvania who ran up the score on a talented Princeton team and has had close calls against ranked teams this season so far. The Terps will look to go 6-2 heading into Big Ten play on April 2.