TOWSON, Md. — Maryland men’s lacrosse was on the ropes in the final seconds of its NCAA Tournament matchup at Towson on Sunday afternoon, but tied the game in the final seconds and won in overtime to advance to the national quarterfinals.
Maryland got out to an early lead, but a 6-0 Towson run between the first and second quarters had the Terps playing from behind for most of the first half. They fought and clawed their way back to tie it at 8-8 and 10-10, and led 12-10 late. Towson stormed ahead and had a one-goal lead, but Jared Bernhardt tied the score with 3.7 seconds left in regulation and Louis Dubick buried the winner in overtime.
Maryland’s offense was buoyed by its stars. Logan Wisnauskas and Bubba Fairman each tallied four points off three important goals and an assist. Bernhardt, Dubick and Anthony DeMaio each chipped in a pair of goals. Brendan Sunday and Brody McLean each had four goals for Towson, but Terps goalie Danny Dolan saved 15 of 28 shots he faced.
Towson’s offense did all it could to outproduce Maryland, outshooting the Terps 47-34. Maryland was able to keep the ground battle close despite a dominant performance from FOGO Alex Woodall, scooping 24 compared to 34 for the Tigers.
Woodall suited up after missing the last two games with an upper body injury and made an instant impact for the Tigers, cleanly winning each of his first three draws against Maryland’s Justin Shockey. But the Terps managed to weather the storm defensively, holding off Towson’s attack by just enough to earn some opportunities for their own offense. DeMaio and Long’s scores got Maryland’s offense off the ground, and an absolute bullet from Matt Rahill gave the Terps a 3-1 lead. But with Woodall winning faceoff after faceoff, the Tigers were able to draw back even at 3-3 by the end of the period.
Despite head coach John Tillman trying three different guys at the faceoff X, Woodall continued his dominance over everyone Maryland sent his way. He won 9-of-14 draws in the first half, helping fuel a spirited Tigers run that gave them a three-goal cushion for most of the quarter. But the Terps picked up a pair of massive goals from Wisnauskas and Fairman to cut Towson’s lead to 7-5 at the half.
Maryland continued to try and chip away at the Towson lead in the second half, slowly but surely working its way back even. The Terps’ defense was able to hold off Towson for long enough, and goals from DeMaio, Fairman and Dubick knotted up the score at 8-8 with 2:56 left in the quarter. But that was all Towson needed to go back in front, scoring twice in the final two minutes to put them up 10-8 entering the fourth.
Wisnauskas then began to take over on the offensive end. He seemingly willed the Maryland offense back into this one, scoring twice early in the fourth to draw Maryland back even at 10 with just over six minutes to play. With 5:58 left in the game, Bernhardt picked a critical time to get himself in scoring column, scoring his first goal of the game to give Maryland its first lead since the 1:26 mark of the first quarter.
But Towson kept its composure, scoring three goals in a little over three minutes to take the lead right back from Maryland. Down by a goal with 26 seconds left, Maryland turned to the guy it’s relied on all year. With the game and the season on the line, Bernhardt received the feed from Kyle Long and ripped one past Tyler Canto to send this one to overtime.
In the overtime period, Woodall won possession for Towson, but a mistimed pass ended in a turnover that sent it the other way. On the Terps’ first possession, Kyle Long probed the defense and hit a flying Dubick toward the net for the game-winner to send the Terps onto the next round.
Three things to know
1. This Maryland team is battle tested. When times are toughest, Maryland has shown time and time again that it won’t break under the pressure. It was an uphill battle for nearly the entire game, but when the Terps absolutely needed a goal or needed stop, they got it. The underdogs are moving on.
2. Kyle Long and Danny Dolan’s efforts can’t be taken for granted. Although stars like Bernhardt and Wisnauskas came through in the clutch, Long and Dolan made a difference all game. Reminiscent of his career-high 18-save performance at UMass in 2016, Dolan made massive saves down the stretch to keep Towson’s attack at bay. Long led the team in points with a goal and four helpers, assisting on both the tying and winning goals.
3. Virginia awaits. The Terps will battle the No. 3-seed Cavaliers in the quarterfinals next Saturday in Hempstead, New York. Maryland narrowly leads the all-time series 47-44, but the teams haven’t played each other since 2014. Record books go out the window in the tournament, and this is sure to be another highly competitive contest.