No. 3 Maryland men's lacrosse won a program-record 13th game in a row and beat Rutgers, 14-8, to win its first-ever Big Ten Tournament title. The Terps won the outright Big Ten title by beating Johns Hopkins at Homewood Field last week. They returned to Baltimore this week and won the Big Ten Tournament title on the very same field.
It was a back-and-forth affair in the first quarter. The two teams traded goals until Connor Kelly's man-up goal put Maryland ahead 3-2 with 7:35 left in the quarter. Matt Rambo scored a pair of goals, the last of which came with just one second remaining, to give the Terrapins a 5-2 lead heading into the second quarter. Maryland outshot Rutgers 18-6 in the game's first 15 minutes.
Bryan Cole and Dylan Maltz combined to score three goals in the final 7:45 of the half. After 30 minutes, the Terps were up 9-5 and led the Scarlet Knights in shots (30-12), faceoffs won (8-7) and ground balls (19-10).
The Terps continued to extend their lead in the second half. Maryland led 13-7 heading into the fourth and final quarter. Austin Henningsen's return helped Maryland immensely with faceoffs, and the defense dominated as it has all season long. The Scarlet Knights came in sporting a top-10 scoring offense, but Maryland was able to stymie them.
Kyle Bernlohr, the nation's top goalie last year, had 12 saves in the semifinal win against Penn State. He had another 12 tonight and only allowed 7 goals. Bernlohr and the defense have only given up 10 goals twice this year. Twice! 10 goals is the most that Maryland has allowed this season.
Maryland did lose the draw control battle and was sloppy at times, but the Terps played a very good game from start to finish. They were worthy and deserving champions. This is Maryland's fifth-ever conference tournament title and its first since 2011.
Matt Rambo was named Big Ten Tournament MVP, and Bryan Cole, Greg Danseglio, Connor Kelly and Kyle Bernlohr all joined him on the All-Tournament Team.
The Terps will probably move up to No. 1 in the rankings after second-ranked Brown and top-ranked and defending national champion Denver lost today. If the top-ranked Maryland women's lacrosse team beats Northwestern in the Big Ten Tournament final tomorrow, both teams will enter the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 overall seeds.
Three things to know:
1) Matt Rambo etched his name into the Maryland record books
Rambo, the Big Ten Tournament MVP, became just the 13th player in Maryland history to score 100 goals. He dominated on Saturday night with three goals and three assists. His streak of consecutive games with at least one point is now at 35.
2) Connor Kelly is on fire right now
Kelly scored a career-high four goals in Maryland's semifinal win against Penn State. He matched that with another four goals in the final against Rutgers. He scored the game's first goal just over a minute into the contest and scored the first goal of the second half in only 1:46.
He's playing at another level right now, and Maryland is wisely continuing to feed him the ball.
3) Maryland will almost definitely be the top seed in the NCAA Tournament
No. 1 Denver lost to ranked Marquette in the Big East Tournament final and No. 2 Brown lost to Harvard in the Ivy League Tournament. That means that Maryland will likely be the No. 1 team in the country when the bracket comes out.