Late goal dooms Maryland lacrosse late, falls to Michigan

The 5-2 Maryland Terrapins, ranked No. 7 in the country, traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Saturday for a matchup against the reigning Big Ten champions, the 5-3 Michigan Wolverines.

The Terps found themselves looking to bounce back from a loss against rival No. 4 Virginia, in which they fell short 10-14 in College Park last Saturday. The Wolverines (ranked 19th nationally) were looking to snap a lengthier losing streak, having lost their past two games against Harvard (11-13) and most recently Notre Dame (9-19).

Michigan was successful in ending its two-game loss streak and handing Maryland one of its own, defeating the Terps 12-11 in a back-and-forth bout.

“We did such a good job to get the lead, and then they’d come back and get the lead again,” Maryland head coach John Tillman said in his post-game presser. “We just never got [the lead] to two, and obviously that would’ve been great for us.”

The Wolverines were coached by former Maryland assistant coach Kevin Conry, who served as Maryland’s defensive coordinator from 2013 to 2017 and won a national championship with the team in his final year.

Michigan casted early doubt on Maryland’s chances for success in the first quarter with a pair of back-to-back goals in the opening minutes from attackmen Justin Tiernan and John Morgan. Attackman Daniel Maltz scored the Terps’ only goal of the opening quarter, sending Maryland into the second period trailing 1-2.

But Maryland seemingly found its groove in the second quarter despite letting up an early goal to Michigan attackman Michael Boehm. After a point from Eric Spanos, Eric Malever tied the game at 3-3, and a third-straight goal delivered by Braden Erksa gave Maryland its first lead of the game with nine minutes left in the half. 

Both teams tacked on another pair of goals before halftime which sent Maryland into the break on top at a 6-5 score. The NCAA point-leader prior to the game, Michigan’s Tiernan accounted for two of his team’s five points. He finished the game with the most goals from either team with five.

Maryland and Michigan tied in turnovers at the half with nine each.

“You look at Virginia last week, through three periods they had three [turnovers] and we had 14,” Tillman said. “It’s just a lot of possessions that you’re giving up there.”

The third quarter produced only four goals, just one of which came from Maryland. Junior midfielder Aidan Mulholland scored the first and last goals of the period which sent Michigan into the final quarter back on top at 8-7.

At a 9-9 score with just under seven minutes left to play, Maryland’s Maltz snuck one more shot past the helmet of Michigan goalie Hunter Taylor to earn his own hat-trick and put the Terps back in the lead once again. Michigan would not let up, and with 1:13 left, Tillman called timeout with his Terps down by a single point. 

Maryland’s Owen Murphy ripped a shot from distance with 50 seconds left, sending the ball directly into Hunter Taylor’s stick. Taylor successfully cleared the ball down to Tiernan, prompting Kevin Conry to call a late timeout for the Wolverines on the opposite end. 

Maryland was unsuccessful in causing a late turnover for one last possession, receiving its first ever loss in Ann Arbor. 

“This felt like a conference game— lots of physicality, ground balls, guys flying around and jumping in front of shots. For us, that’s the way conference games are, and next week is not gonna be any easier,” Tillman said. 

The Terps will find themselves on the road yet again next Sunday for a match against Penn State.