In the first round of the Big Ten tournament, Maryland men's lacrosse dominated No. 17 Penn State 16-9 to advance to the program's first Big Ten championship game.
Midfielders Colin Heacock and Connor Kelly scored three and four goals, respectively, on an efficient 11-shot effort, while Matt Rambo led all players in points, recording five to bring his season total to 46.
Maryland laid on the carnage from the very beginning, scoring on virtually every possession. Midfielder Connor Kelly kicked off the scoring montage, keeping his feet in front of the cage while falling to net his 17th of the season. The Terps went on a tear, and there was no shortage of gasps and and cheers from the Maryland fan section.
Rambo orchestrated the first scoring spree with four points, including a spinning baseline baseline goal after falling just moments prior. With plays like Pat Young splitting defenders and scoring unassisted to the 6-0 early lead, Terps fans were going ballistic. The Nittany Lions cut the lead to three and looked to tentatively be climbing back into this make-or-break game for them, but a perfectly executed Maryland fast break silenced the visiting crowd.
Just when you thought it'd stop, it didn't. Even long-stick defender Bryce Young got in on the action, streaking right down the lane and going top shelf for his second of the season (reminder: scoring with a long-pole is extremely difficult).
Despite a 10-5 halftime lead, Penn State came into the second half ready to play.
Back-to-back goals cut the Terps lead to just three, with seemingly all the momentum leaving the No. 1 seed in the tournament. But as is the narrative of the rest of the game, it would prove futile.
Maryland went on another scoring rampage, netting four to double-up Penn State in the fourth quarter and essentially close the door on their NCAA Tournament chances.
Three things to know
1. Maryland never became complacent
With all the scoring in the first half, it would've been easy to let a foot off the gas pedal. But the Terps avoided that massive-lead lull that can ruin a team's momentum. Maryland scored all of its goals on long scoring runs, but didn't let their offense suffer because of it. The attack got good looks all game and recorded 24 shots-on-goal. Plus, having your top-10 defense perform at its fullest despite five penalties isn't so bad either.
2. Things got a little chippy
An early draw that saw some heavy contact left faceoff Will Bonaparte on the ground, and the Terps would ironically be hit with an "unsportsmanlike conduct" penalty. From this point on, every opportunity someone had to lay down a hit was taken. Senior Bryan Cole, who had an otherwise quite game, leveled a kid to clear him off his feet. Bonaparte won a draw in the second half and checked his shoulder into a defender trying to strip the ball. It's nice to know that when the situation calls for it, the Terps aren't afraid to get a little dirt on their hands.
3. Had the game been closer, Kyle Bernlohr would've been the hero
The senior goalkeeper didn't need be unstoppable considering what the Terps were doing on the other side of the field, but for what it's worth, he was. Before backup goalkeeper Dan Morris saw some time in the cage, Bernlohr recorded 12 saves and stopped a handful of shots that probably would've been goals if it wasn't him between the posts. Between split saves and deflections from right in front of his face, Bernlohr is prepped for whoever he faces in the Tournament finale.