We’ve reached the middle of the Maryland sports offseason, and we’re well into a couple different summer series. But for a little extra closure on a crazy athletic year, we’re honoring the best from the 2018-19 season with our Testudo Times Awards.
Last week, voting took place for our player and coach awards. The readers named Bruno Fernando as Male Athlete of the Year, Megan Taylor as Female Athlete of the Year, Anthony McFarland as Freshman of the Year and Sasho Cirovski as Coach of the Year.
Now, let’s look at some of the best games, plays and moments from around the Terps world this past year. There was no shortage of craziness, and it’s hard to narrow it all down to a handful of favorites. Our nominees for best regular-season and postseason game are all Maryland wins, and the best moment nominees do not include the two national championships, but that hardly made choosing these lists any easier. Let us know what we missed in the comments.
Congrats to all our nominees, and happy voting!
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Best Regular-Season Game
Football vs. Texas (Sept. 1) — There’s always so much anticipation for the first football game of the season, but this matchup at FedEx Field had so much more behind it. Maryland lost Jordan McNair in June and placed head coach DJ Durkin on administrative leave in August. But with interim coach Matt Canada and an emotional team, the Terps jumped out to a big lead early and outlasted Texas down the stretch (with an 86-minute weather delay in between). Thanks to standout performances by Jeshaun Jones and Antoine Brooks, Maryland knocked off the Longhorns for the second straight season. And McNair’s No. 79 was everywhere in sight.
Men’s basketball vs. Iowa (Feb. 19) — Maryland entered this game without a ranked road win since 2008, before our site existed. The losing streak spanned 27 games, including an 0-19 record under Mark Turgeon. But the No. 24 Terps were in control most of the way before Iowa made its charge. The No. 21 Hawkeyes led by one late, only for Bruno Fernando’s tip-in with seven seconds remaining to give Maryland a one-point lead, which it held to end the drought.
Women’s basketball vs. Minnesota (Feb. 21) — Just two days later, Brenda Frese’s team struggled at home against the Golden Gophers, putting their first-place standing in the Big Ten in jeopardy. Maryland was down by 16 points in the third quarter and trailed by six with 50 seconds left. But after a ridiculous run to close the game, the Terps pulled out a win in regulation. They ultimately won the league’s regular-season title by a game.
Women’s lacrosse at Northwestern (April 11) — The undefeated Terps knew they were facing a tough test against the then-No. 5 Wildcats; both teams entered the midweek matchup undefeated in the Big Ten. Northwestern scored the first three goals and led for much of the first half, but Maryland leveled the score by halftime and the teams went back and forth in the second half. Then a storm rolled in and the game was moved inside after a delay. When play resumed, the Terps pulled away for a memorable win.
Baseball vs. Iowa (May 16) — Maryland entered the regular season’s final weekend needing a strong series to reach the eight-team Big Ten tournament. Senior starter Hunter Parsons tossed a gem, allowing two runs in eight innings as Maryland took a 6-2 lead into the ninth. Iowa roared all the way back to tie the score, only for Terps shortstop AJ Lee to smack a walk-off homer in the bottom of the frame. Maryland swept Iowa to earn the No. 6 seed in the conference tournament.
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Football vs. Texas
Men’s basketball at Iowa
Women’s basketball vs. Minnesota
Women’s lacrosse at Northwestern
Baseball vs. Iowa
Best Postseason Game
Field hockey vs. Princeton (Nov. 16) — In an NCAA semifinal rematch of a regular-season thriller that almost made this list, Maryland came back from a 4-1 deficit to tie the score with 15 seconds left and win in overtime. With a spot in the title game on the line, the teams delivered as exciting a 1-0 game as you’ll see. It took some incredible plays by the Terps to keep Princeton off the board, and Bibi Donraadt ultimately scored the winner in double-overtime.
Men’s soccer vs. Indiana (Dec. 8) — It’s not often you get three chances to beat a team in the same season, and after two narrow defeats to the Hoosiers, Maryland finally pulled through in the College Cup semifinals. Sophomore Matt Di Rosa scored his first career goal in the 37th minute, and Indiana responded with one equalizer opportunity after another. But Maryland kept the Hoosiers off the board, and Donovan Pines sealed the deal with a goal in the 80th minute. The Terps won their fourth national title two days later.
Men’s basketball vs. Belmont (March 21) — The Terps entered the NCAA Tournament as a No. 6 seed, but after a loss to Nebraska in the Big Ten tournament, Maryland fans weren’t the most confident bunch. No. 11-seed Belmont, who won a play-in game two days earlier, jumped out to an early lead and led 40-34 at halftime, only for the Terps to start the second half on a 14-0 run. The teams went back and forth from there, and the contest came down to the final seconds before Darryl Morsell’s late steal gave Maryland the cushion it needed to advance.
Men’s lacrosse vs. Towson (May 13) — Maryland entered this year’s NCAA Tournament unseeded after consecutive losses to Johns Hopkins in the regular season and Big Ten semifinals. There was still a sizable Terps contingent at Towson, but the No. 6-seed Tigers jumped out to an early 7-3 lead. Maryland climbed back and pulled ahead in the fourth quarter, then Towson answered to reclaim a one-goal advantage. But Jared Bernhardt went all the way down the field to tie the score in the final seconds, and Louis Dubick drilled the winner in overtime, lifting the Terps to the quarterfinals.
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Field hockey vs. Princeton
Men’s soccer vs. Indiana
Men’s basketball vs. Belmont
Men’s lacrosse vs. Towson
Maryland football starting the season with 10 men — After McNair’s death in June, the Terps announced several different plans to honor their fallen teammate. They wore his No. 79 on their helmets, enclosed his locker in glass and started a scholarship in his honor. But on the first play against Texas, they lined up without a right guard and took a delay of game penalty. This was planned, and the Longhorns declined the penalty. The game proceeded as normal from there, but this was a touching beginning.
Brenda Frese’s 500th career win — Frese has racked up almost every accolade possible as a coach, winning National Coach of the Year with Minnesota in 2002 and a national championship with Maryland in 2006. This season, she won Big Ten Coach of the Year and led the Terps to a conference regular-season title. But even in the grind of the season, there was still time to celebrate this milestone, which Frese reached at Nebraska on Jan. 8. After the win, her players doused her with silly string.
Ivan Bender’s senior night proposal — The senior forward from Bosnia & Herzegovina had been dating his girlfriend since both were 16, and he had long planned to propose in his final game at Xfinity Center. Bender kept his now-fiancée in the dark, and only five people knew of his plan beforehand (including Mark Turgeon, who slipped Bender the ring during the ceremony). When he dropped to a knee, his teammates went crazy and rushed to celebrate with him.
Louis Dubick’s NCAA Tournament game-winner — We’ve mentioned the Towson game already, but Dubick’s sudden-death goal is the kind of defining moment dreams are made of. The senior is a third-generation Terp, and he paid his dues for several seasons in smaller roles with the team. After winning a national title in 2017, seeing more playing time in 2018 and becoming a starter this spring, Dubick delivered the biggest score of his life when his team needed it most.
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Football lining up with 10 men vs. Texas
Brenda Frese’s 500th win
Ivan Bender’s proposal
Louis Dubick’s game-winner
Antoine Brooks’ interception vs. Texas sealed the upset win mentioned multiple times here.
Darby Moore’s long-range goal vs. Iowa was the highlight from Maryland women’s soccer’s best offensive performance of the season, and even earned some recognition on SportsCenter.
Hannah Bond’s diving stop vs. UConn kept the Terps alive in the NCAA quarterfinals, where Maryland ultimately won in double-overtime to advance to the Final Four in Louisville. This play got some SportsCenter love too.
Kaila Charles’ steal and score vs. Minnesota was the culmination of a Maryland furious comeback, in which the Terps turned a 69-63 deficit with 50 seconds left into a stunning 71-69 win.
Jared Bernhardt’s sudden-death goal vs. Ohio State wasn’t his only big-time goal of the year, nor was it the only time he left his feet and scored from the air. But it’s the best example of the Tewaaraton finalist doing both.
Jalen Smith’s dunk on Belmont came at a crucial moment in Maryland’s wild NCAA Tournament victory. Morsell picked up a loose ball and found Smith, who jammed it all over Belmont star Dylan Windler.
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Antoine Brooks’ interception
Darby Moore’s goal
Kaila Charles’ winning drive
Jared Bernhardt’s winner
Jalen Smith’s dunk
Hannah Bond’s save