Maryland men’s lacrosse’s offense sparks early, defeats Albany, 16-9

Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Attackmen Daniel Maltz and Braden Erksa led the way with four goals apiece in a 16-9 rout of Albany, improving Maryland to 4-2 on the season.

The Terps were back on the road as they traveled to Upstate New York to face off against the Albany Great Danes (1-4). After a crushing triple-overtime defeat to Notre Dame last Saturday, Maryland came in looking to bounce back with a strong performance and get back into the win column.  

“Whether we won or lost the game. It’s always a challenge, right?” said Head Coach John Tillman when asked about moving forward after a tough game. “You get a big win, you know, you kind of feel good about yourself and you keep hearing how great you are and then if you lose the game, you know, certainly in a very competitive way, you have that disappointment.”

Albany, coming off a loss to UMass on Tuesday, looked to avoid repeating history after losing to Maryland 24-6 in College Park last season. Tillman’s record has never been .500 in a season as Head Coach for Maryland, and relied heavily on Maltz to keep the streak alive. 

After an early goal from Albany to get the scoring started, Maltz quickly responded. After the two sides traded goals once again, including the first goal from Erksa since the opener against Richmond, Maltz added another to help the Terps end the first quarter up, 3-2.

Erksa and Maltz’s tallies were the first two goals of a 5-0 run for Maryland, going all the way until the nine-minute mark of the second quarter. Goals came from Daniel Kelly, Jack Koras on the man-up, and a third from Maltz, but the Great Danes found their footing and ended the half on a 3-1 run. Albany found a way to keep it close, but Erksa’s second of the day gave Maryland a two-goal cushion going into the half. 

After two early goals from Zach Whittier and Koras to put the Terps up four, it wouldn’t have shocked anyone if Maryland pulled away, but Albany would not go away. 

“Yes Zach, good athlete. He has done a good job in practice as well,” said Tillman. “Each week we look and we always want the guys to feel like practice matters… we felt like the moment was there to give him a chance.”

The Great Danes went on to score two goals in their next two possessions to get it within two with 6:28 remaining in the quarter, but two more back to back goals from Erksa and Koras, giving each of them their first career collegiate hat tricks, extended the Terps lead to four with a minute left in the quarter.

After a Luke Weirman faceoff win, Maltz notched his fourth of the afternoon to lead by five going into the final frame. 

In a game where Weirman didn’t have his best stuff – 13/28 from the spot with just nine ground balls – freshman goalie Brian Ruppel shut the door, making 12 saves and allowing just nine goals before being replaced by backup Teddy Dolan with three minutes remaining. 

After Albany scored to open the final quarter, Maryland went on a 3-0 run, with Dante Trader and Owen Murphy getting their firsts of the day, and Erksa finishing off his fourth.

The Danes scored to get it within six at the five-minute mark, but Weirman was strong through the last set of faceoffs and helped Maryland close out their much-needed fourth win of the season.

Kyle Long delivered the final blow, scoring his first of the day to cap off a great day for the Terps. 

“With us, we play an offense where really the guys on any given possession could play anywhere on the field,” said Tillman. “We’re not particularly structured, where sometimes a traditional lacrosse team, the attackmen are down low closer to the goal and the midfielders play up near the midfield.”

Maryland will travel to Virginia next Saturday to take on the No. 1 Cavaliers.