Maryland men’s lacrosse advances to the Big Ten Tournament title match with, 16-11, victory over Johns Hopkins

(Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics.)

With the contest well out of reach at the end of the fourth quarter, the bad blood between the two sides reached its apex. Midfielder Jonathan Donville shoved Johns Hopkins defender Beaudan Szuluk, forcing him to the turf. Both teams rushed the area attempting to separate the players, leading to a long pause in action as the squads swarmed their sidelines.

“That’s the rivalry,” defender Brett Makar said. “Every time you play, the emotions are going to be high. There’s no love lost between us and them.”

By that point, Maryland had all but won the game. While it was more competitive than the last time they played, when the clock hit zero, the same result surfaced. Maryland had won the rivalry yet again, 16-11.

The Terps quickly started the game where they had left off two weeks prior. Attacker Logan Wisnauskas bounced the ball to the bottom right corner of the net. And after only 30 seconds, Maryland was already on the board.

But it wasn’t long before the Blue Jays answered back. Garrett Degnon took advantage of an opening in the middle of the field and sent the ball whizzing past the left side of the goalie Logan McNaney’s head to even the score.

Maryland stood firm as the game unfolded. A behind-the-back stunner from Keegan Khan allowed the Terps to reclaim their lead.

The teams then exchanged blows, but Malever closed out the first frame with a turnaround jump shot to put the Terps up two.

After the first quarter, possession of the ball was a lot more one-sided than the score would suggest. After 15 minutes, Maryland had quadrupled the shots made by Johns Hopkins, 20-5, but few converted.

“We had some looks [that] I think some of our guys would like to have back,” said coach John Tillman. “You know, where we got to good spots and then I think there we settled.”

The Blue Jays came out stronger to start the second quarter. With less than two minutes passed, Johns Hopkins had scored twice to, once more, even the score.

But much as the story was all season long, the Terps started to outpace their opponent, ending the half on a four-goal run.

Several players had to be separated at the end of the half after Maryland held off a last-second run with physical defense. The Terps started the second half down a man as a result.

The man-down proved to be negligible. Forty-five seconds in, Kyle Long bounced a shot down the Blue Jay’s goalie’s right side to widen the lead to five. This sparked a 6-2 quarter scoreline which planted Maryland firmly in the driver’s seat, leading by eight with one quarter to go.

Much like the regular season finale, the Blue Jays needed a miracle to bounceback. And while they did go on a 5-1 run to end the game, there were far too many points between the two sides. The closing quarter was headlined by the fight which sent four players to the sideline.

“I thought [Szuluk] did a terrific job,” Tillman said. “He kinda pushed our guy and our guy pushed him back and he definitely embellished it. Smart play.”

The result was a peculiar sight — four-on-four lacrosse.

“We practice a lot of situations,” Tillman said. “We did not practice that situation this year. I’m not sure any program does.”

Ultimately, the Terps won their fifth straight game against their bitter rivals.

Maryland will play the winner of the Rutgers-Ohio State matchup in the Big Ten Title Game on Saturday.