Dominant second half propels Maryland lacrosse over Rutgers

In 13 games, John Tillman has never lost to Rutgers. On Saturday night, he ensured that number became 14.

The No. 4 Maryland Terrapins (7-3, 2-1 B1G) returned to SECU Stadium for a second straight Saturday to host the unranked Scarlet Knights (7-4, 1-2 B1G), marking their final home game of the regular season. 

The Terps entered the game looking to extend a two-game win streak, most recently beating Penn State, 13-11, and Ohio State, 8-7. Rutgers too entered off of their own win, beating Michigan, 9-7, last week in Ann Arbor.

Maryland was successful in notching its third-straight win, sending the Scarlet Knights back to Piscataway with a 6-11 loss. Opposite of Tillman, Rutgers head coach Brian Brecht’s record against the Terps became 0-14. 

“I thought the guys communicated really well. I thought Jesse [Bernhardt] put together a good plan and I think these guys executed the plan well,” Tillman said post-game. “If you can get 15 saves, I think that helps, and I think Logan [McNaney] had his best game so far.”

After nearly nine scoreless minutes, Maryland attackmen Daniel Kelly put the first point on the board with just his team’s third shot of the opening quarter. But with under a minute left, long-stick midfielder Ryan Splaine caught a pass on a fast break, and after ripping a bounce shot from 10 yards above the crease, sent Rutgers into the second quarter tied 1-1.

Despite not trailing, Maryland had just as many shots as it had turnovers in the first quarter with six.

The offensive production skyrocketed for both teams in the second quarter with Rutgers tacking on three more goals and Maryland scoring five. Midfielder Colin Kurdyla scored two of the three for the Scarlet Knights, and Jack Koras earned his own pair for Maryland. The result was a 6-4 lead for the Terps at halftime.

But the third quarter would feel reminiscent of the first, with a goal not happening until past the four-minute mark. Assisted by Ryan Siracusa, Daniel Kelly reached a hat-trick to mark his eighth goal of the season and Maryland’s only goal of the period.

“[Ryan] works really hard, he’s a versatile player,” Kelly said post-game. “He comes out ready to go, drawing doubles and making the simple plays. It’s fun to play with him.”

Attackmen Ross Scott performed a speed dodge around the crease to score Rutgers its only goal of the period two minutes later, giving Maryland just a two-point cushion heading into the fourth quarter.

The late game was where Maryland finally pulled away, stringing together three goals in a two-minute span from Siracusa, Zach Whittier and faceoff specialist Luke Wierman (his first goal of the season). Jack Brennan tacked on one more to put his team ahead by five when time expired.

Maryland’s all-time record against Rutgers now shifts to 37-1.

The Terps will head to Baltimore next Saturday for their final game of the regular season against Johns Hopkins. The opening faceoff is set for 4 p.m.

“It’s just another game, but this is why you go to Maryland, to play in games like this,” defensemen Jackson Canfield said. “[Maryland-Hopkins] is probably the biggest rivalry in college lacrosse, and to play the best we can and come out with a win is what we’re expecting.”