No. 3 Maryland men’s lacrosse sweeps regular season series over No. 5 Rutgers with 13-9 win

(Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics.)

Rutgers (4-2 B1G) attackman Connor Kirst found space 15 yards away from the cage and rifled a bounce shot towards Logan McNaney. However, the sophomore goalie was up to the task deflecting the bounce shot into the stick of Brett Makar.

Makar then found Joshua Coffman who sprinted up the field and delivered the ball to Jared Bernhardt. Bernhardt immediately found the trailer, John Geppert who cocked back and fired the bounce shot past Rutgers goalie Colin Kirst. 

That goal gave Maryland (6-0 B1G) a 5-4 lead and the Terps didn’t look back the rest of the way in the 13-9 victory. It also was part of a seven-goal run where Maryland took complete control in the second quarter.

“To get a goal like that against Rutgers that’s what they’re notorious for, you could see our bench going wild after that,” Bubba Fairman said. “That was a big momentum shift for us for sure.”

Bernhardt led Maryland’s offense with six points (4G, 2A), three of which came during the aforementioned run. Kyle Long (2G, 2A) and Logan Wisnauskas (2G, 2A) each tacked on four points to guide Maryland’s offense. Fairman also scored twice for his first multi-goal game of the season, breaking a two-game scoreless drought.

However, Maryland found itself in unfamiliar territory trailing by three goals in the opening seven minutes. Shane Knobloch opened the scoring for the Scarlet Knights, while Ryan Gallagher and Connor Kirst also added goals, prompting a timeout from Tillman.

Long quickly responded with the opening goal for the Terps, while Rutgers regained a three-goal lead shortly after as Knobloch scored his second of the game. 

After Rutgers was called for a penalty, Maryland made them pay for the mistake. Anthony DeMaio roofed a lefty shot from the alley bringing the Terps to within two with 11 seconds remaining in the opening quarter.

That goal provided Maryland with exactly the spark it needed, igniting their second quarter run. Bernhardt and Daniel Maltz scored the first two goals of the second quarter, the first off supreme individual effort and the second on a feed from Long.

Surging with momentum, Maryland continued to find success keyed by Bernhardt. He assisted Geppert on the aforementioned goal while he added back-to-back unassisted goals showcasing his supreme dodging ability and shooting prowess. Long rounded out the run after Bernhardt drew a slide and he buried the shot with time and room. 

Maryland’s offensive success during that run can be attributed to their relentless effort on the ride, driving Rutgers to failed clear opportunities. However, Maryland’s defense was also stout holding the Scarlet Knights offense scoreless for a 19:15 stretch. 

During that period, Rutgers couldn’t generate anything offensively, unable to play through its attackmen, the driving force of their offense. Adam Charalambides finally stopped the bleeding for the Scarlet Knights scoring a goal with 1:30 remaining in the first half. 

Starting the second half Rutgers struck first as David Sprock executed a split dodge to create space and beat McNaney with a lefty shot. After a strong defensive stand, Wisnauskas responded for Maryland with his first goal of the contest from a sharp angle.

Yet, Rutgers continued to battle as Brennan Kamish took advantage of his one-on-one matchup with Long once again trimming Maryland’s lead to two with 7:11 remaining in the third quarter. 

In need of a goal, the Terps went back to their leader Bernhardt who found a seam in the middle of Rutgers defense and meandered his stick to avoid defenders for the diving finish. Then it was Fairman who extended Maryland’s advantage to 11-7.

In need of a comeback, Rutgers responded quickly with a pair of goals in the opening 2:41. Eric Civetti found a seam on the extra man opportunity, while Charalambides beat his defender and McNaney with the low-to-low finish.

Surrendering back-to-back goals, Maryland’s defense tightened up not allowing a goal for the final 12:19 of the contest. With 8:35 remaining, Fairman provided the Terps with an added cushion tip toeing around the crease on the feed from Wisnauskas.

As Maryland’s defense continued to stifle Rutgers, Long delivered the fatal blow to Rutgers’ comeback hopes when he leveled midfielder Cole Daninger on the ride. Long’s hit dislodged the ball and Wisnauskas scooped it up unguarded for an easy finish that pushed Maryland’s lead to 13-9.

That goal cemented the Terps victory and provided another example of the team’s relentless pursuit on the road compounded by their ability to make opposing teams pay for mistakes.