Maryland men’s lacrosse falls to No. 2 Notre Dame in 3OT-thriller

Photo by Maryland Athletics

Two of the best teams in the country were knotted up through two overtimes, waiting for someone to deliver. After a quiet day from standout Pat Kavanagh, the senior finished a shot on the run to win it for Notre Dame, 13-12, handing Maryland their second loss in a regular season for the first time since 2019. 

The Terps came home to College Park for their toughest game yet, after beating then-No. 3 Princeton on the road last week. Coach John Tillman and his group were 2-0 against ranked teams since the defeat to Loyola on February 11, and hoped to continue that into the first top-five matchup of the 2023 college lacrosse season. 

Tillman elected to start freshman goalie Brian Ruppel over Binghamton transfer Teddy Dolan after making 14 saves and only allowing five goals in his debut last week. 

Ruppel was solid in his second career start for the Terps. The Catonsville, MD native recorded 12 saves, including three saves in overtime, allowing 13 goals against.

“To play the number two team in the country and be right there, I like where Brian is going,” said Tillman. “If we have to go to Teddy, we have confidence in him, but I didn’t think Brian did anything to hurt his chances going forward.”

Owen Murphy got the scoring started for Maryland at the 11:44 mark of the first quarter. The opener was one of three first quarter goals for the junior, who moved from attack to midfield earlier this season. 

After the early tally, Notre Dame scored three goals in the next four minutes to put themselves up two. Murphy took some of the momentum back with a man-up goal, which led to two more Terrapin goals from Jack Brennan and Murphy. 

Both teams remained scoreless for the rest of the quarter, with Maryland up one after a 19-5 shot advantage through the first frame. 

Maryland was able to outshoot the Fighting Irish in the second quarter as well, but Notre Dame took advantage of their opportunities and outscored the Terps 2-0. 

Luke Weirman went 8/11 from the spot in the first half, helping the Terps outshoot the Irish 30-15. Maryland dominated possession and controlled the pace of play, but couldn’t capitalize against senior goalie Liam Entenmann, who posted 10 saves through the first 30 minutes. 

“When you have a great goalie like Liam, one of the best out there, seems like he’s been at Notre Dame forever… that creates some problems,” said Tillman. “He’s big, he sees the ball well, and that experience.”

Coming out of the locker room, Weirman stayed strong, regaining possession for the Terps. Brennen wasted no time taking advantage, finishing his second of the day to tie things up just 50 seconds into the quarter. 

Eric Spanos followed it up with one of his own just minutes later to get the lead back for Maryland. That lead didn’t last long after Notre Dame scored three in the next four minutes to take a two-goal lead with 6:23 left in the third. 

With Notre Dame looking as if they were going to take control, Spanos went to work, driving down the left wing and finishing a weak hand shot on the run to get his group back within one. 

“For Spanos, he’s a great teammate, he’s a really hard worker, he just wasn’t finding the net,” said Tillman. “Couldn’t have been more happy for him.”

Weirman won the faceoff following Spanos’ blast, and sophomore Zach Whittier made a nice cut-off ball to find himself alone in front. The former high school All-American put it past Entenmann to even up the score.

Maryland continued to win possession time from the faceoff spot, and kept the pressure on Notre Dame. Following the goal from Whittier, Kyle Long found a wide-open Daniel Kelly in front after a miscue from the Fighting Irish. Kelly calmly put it away for his first of the day to get Maryland the lead back with 3:02 in the quarter. 

Neither side could get on the scoresheet for the rest of the frame, and after eight goals in just over 10 third-quarter minutes, the Terps took a one-goal lead into the fourth. 

To start the fourth, the Irish recorded two quick goals from Chris Kavanagh and Quinn McCahon a minute apart from each other to take a one-goal lead. 

After falling behind by one, Spanos capitalized once again. The Malvern Prep grad scored another at the 9:59 mark to record his first career hat trick. Just 51 seconds later, Daniel Maltz sent Secu into a frenzy, scoring his first of the day to take the lead. 

“I thought our bench was pretty awesome when plays went our way,” said Maltz. “Even when things weren’t going well, I thought they were still positive.”

After five minutes of scoreless play, Maltz delivered once again. The senior attackman beat his defender to the cage and finished off his 10th of the season.

After Maltz’ second to put the Terps up two, Reilly Gray drove downhill and ripped one past Ruppel to keep it within one with three minutes to play. A minute and a half later, Kavanagh delivered his third of the day to get things back to even. 

Will Lynch won the next faceoff for the Irish, and Coach Kevin Corrigan called a timeout with 1:50 to play. 

Maryland’s defense stood strong, forcing Notre Dame’s shot clock to wind down without a real scoring opportunity. The Terps got possession back, cleared the ball over the midline, and called a timeout in the Irishs’ end with 17 seconds to play. 

Corrigan’s defense also came through, holding the Terps shotless in the final seconds of regulation.  

After 60 minutes of back-and-forth action, both sides needed overtime to try and win it.

“I think we were definitely prepared for it,” said Maltz when asked about the opportunity to close the game out. “We’re gonna keep working on it and just keep playing.”

Weirman won the opening faceoff of overtime, and Erksa had a chance to finish on the back door, but Long’s pass slipped through him and rolled out of bounds. 

On the other end, Ruppel was forced to make a big stop to keep the Terps alive. Brett Makar – who had held 2021 Tewaaraton finalist Pat Kavanagh to just two assists – picked up the ground ball off the save and found Jack McDonald who took it all by himself, getting the ball back to the Terrapin offense. 

Another turnover from Tillman’s group gave the ball back to Notre Dame with just over a minute to go in OT, but Ruppel made yet another big save to keep Notre Dame out of the net. 

After a four-minute overtime, more time was needed to crown a winner. 

Maryland started with the ball after ending the first overtime with possession but failed to get a shot on net, giving the ball back to the Irish. 

Ruppel was forced to make another big save, and Murphy’s try missed by inches on the other end, but once again, both sides needed another overtime to find the net. 

Weirman – who finished 20/31 on the day – won the faceoff to start the third overtime but Notre Dame’s defense came through, and on the other end, closed things out. 

Pat Kavanagh drove across the cage, and delivered an unassisted goal for the Irish to improve to 4-0 on the year. Kavanagh was held to just two assists prior to the goal. 

“The Kavanaghs are great players,” said Tillman. “Those are guys that just make plays.”

Maryland (3-2) will travel to Albany next weekend to take on the Great Danes.

“You look at a lot of those young guys out there, and we just gotta keep getting better,” said Tillman. “We’re always gonna play good teams. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose”