No. 1 Maryland men’s lacrosse’s late-game magic clinches first undefeated regular season since 1987 in 14-13 victory over Johns Hopkins

(Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics.)

When No. 1 Maryland (10-0, B1G) found itself in uncharted territory trailing by two with less than two minutes remaining, the Terps knew exactly who to go to: their senior leaders Jared Bernhardt and Logan Wisnauskas.

The senior attack tandem delivered in a big way, an integral part of Maryland’s three-goal comeback in the final 1:48, securing a 14-13 victory over Johns Hopkins (2-8, B1G) and the team’s first undefeated regular season since 1987.

Wisnauskas started the run as he was hounded by Blue Jays defenders and lofted a miraculous shot past Johns Hopkins goalie Tim Marcille. 12 seconds later, it was Bernhardt’s time to shine as he took it all the way beating Marcille, tying the game at 13 with 1:36 remaining.

“Our older guys really helped us late in this game as you hope they would,” head coach John Tillman said. “We rely on Logan and Jared a lot and their goals were very timely.”

After Luke Wierman won his third consecutive face-off down the stretch, Maryland methodically worked the ball around with an opportunity to find the game-winner. In that moment, the two seniors connected as Bernhardt found Wisnauskas for a left-handed shot that beat Marcille with 18 seconds remaining.

Bernhardt (4G, 1A) and Wisnauskas (4G, 1A) led the way throughout each with five points, while Wierman delivered when it mattered most, winning the game’s last three face-offs and 13 of 29 overall. Bubba Fairman and Griffin Brown each scored two goals, while Anthony DeMaio and Daniel Maltz each tacked on a goal.

“We preach it a lot around here, it’s make the next play,” Wisnauskas said. “We kept telling [Luke] that, credit the hog pen and coach Barbarich, just telling him to make the next play and that’s what he did.” 

For Johns Hopkins, Connor DeSimone and Garrett Degnon led the way each with a hat-trick while Marcille stepped in admirably with 11 saves in his first career start. 

For much of the fourth quarter, Maryland’s offense was stymied by the Blue Jays defense. However, with 2:59 remaining, Tillman called timeout to settle the team down and map out the final three minutes. 

Maryland responded in a big way, executing efficient offense along with defensive stands, both of which had eluded them for much of the second half. 

“Listen there’s plenty of time, ‘I need everybody’s eyes, we’re going to come back, we’re going to win this game’,” Tillman said of his message in the timeout. “‘I need you to believe it, I need you guys to take a deep breath and realize it’s gonna take one play at a time.’”

However, Maryland started out of the gates on firing blitzing the Blue Jays with five consecutive goals moving the ball side-to-side. Wierman won five of six face-offs during the period as the Maryland offense looked dominant.

Yet, seven turnovers from Maryland accompanied by some defensive lapses allowed Johns Hopkins to get back into the game. The Blue Jays outscored Maryland 5-4 in the quarter, including a pair of goals in the final 39 seconds. Despite trailing 9-6 at the break, Johns Hopkins entered the half with the momentum on it’s side.

Feeding off that momentum from the latter stages of the first half, DeSimone, Degnon and Brett Baskin each scored, tying the game at nine midway through the third quarter. As the third quarter progressed, Bernhardt and Degnon exchanged goals in what continued to be a tight contest.

With five seconds remaining in the third quarter, Maltz put Maryland back on top 11-10 as he found space on the doorstep with the feed from DeMaio. 

However, Matt Narewski continued to dominate at the face-off X for the Blue Jays in the second half, allowing them to maintain possession. Johns Hopkins fed off of Narewski’s success and the energy of their bench, making Maryland pay for committing penalties.

Jonathan Peshko evened the game at 11 on the man-up, sending the Blue Jays bench and crowd into euphoria. 4:06 later, DeSimone caught a pass on the left alley beating Logan McNaney top shelf.

That goal gave the Blue Jays their first lead of the contest with 9:27 remaining and Maryland’s first fourth quarter deficit of the season. Peshko extended the Blue Jays lead on the EMO once again with 5:05 remaining, finding a crease in the middle of Maryland’s defense.

As time continued to dwindle down, Maryland needed a spark offensively. Narrowly beating the shot clock, Wisnauskas’ diving shot gave the Terps the momentum they were searching for. 

Shortly after, Bernhardt surged that excitement to an even higher level with the tying goal, as the Terps’ sideline and those on the field erupted.

On Maryland’s final possession, the Terps methodically worked the ball around looking for an opening. Then, Bernhardt found Wisnauskas on the right side of the field, away from where he usually operates. 

It didn’t matter, the senior stung the top of the net on the feed, completing a comeback that seemed improbable just a few minutes prior. 

That comeback was Maryland’s first sign of late-game adversity this season, which bodes well entering the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments.

“It was a gut check for sure, it’s never going to be perfect,” Bernhardt said.