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Previewing the 2022 Maryland men’s lacrosse season

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Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the Terps’ season.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

“We will be back!”

Those are the words of Maryland men’s lacrosse head coach John Tillman, who after a memorable 2021 will lead the Terps into the 2022 season ranked No. 2 in Inside Lacrosse’s preseason media poll.

The top spot belongs to Virginia, the team responsible for the Terrapins’ sole loss last season in a national championship game that gave the Cavaliers back-to-back titles over the last three years (the 2020 season was cut short due to COVID-19). Maryland finished the season with a record of 15-1, and that 17-16 loss in the title game brought it excruciatingly close to becoming the first undefeated champion since Virginia did so in 2006.

Despite the heartbreaking end to the season, the Terrapins have a tidal wave of momentum to build off of heading into Tillman’s 11th season at the helm of the program. After the 2016 season, the last time Maryland finished as the national runner-up, it bounced back and had a magical 2017 season en route to the program’s third NCAA national championship and first in 42 years.

With a plethora of talent returning and talented newcomers joining the squad, the Terps look poised to compete as one of the nation’s elite teams and should be in contention for another conference title as well as another deep tournament run.

Key players lost

Maryland’s most glaring subtraction from the roster is undoubtedly attacker Jared Bernhardt, who leaves as one of the most electrifying players to ever put on a Terrapin uniform.

Bernhardt won the school’s second-ever Tewaaraton Award in 2021, given annually to the nation’s top college lacrosse player. He compiled the greatest offensive season in program history, setting single-season records with 71 goals and 99 points, both categories of which he departs as the program’s all-time leader. Having exhausted his eligibility at Maryland, Bernhardt put his athleticism on display as a quarterback this fall, leading Ferris State to a Division II NCAA football national championship.

The Terps will also be without Griffin Brown, who scored 15 goals as a graduate student in 2021, including six in the NCAA Tournament.

On the defensive end, Maryland will have to replace the production of Nick Grill. In his first and final full season in College Park, Grill burst onto the scene as one of the nation’s top defensemen in 2021. He was named a second team All-American by both Inside Lacrosse and the United States Intercollegiate Athletic Association, and was honored as the 2021 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

Additionally, five-star recruit Dante Trader decided to not play lacrosse this spring and instead focus on his football career at Maryland. Trader was the nation’s ninth-highest rated recruit per Inside Lacrosse and would have been a force for the Terrapins in the midfield. It remains to be seen whether Trader will suit up in a lacrosse uniform in future seasons.

Top players returning

Even with the losses of key players, Tillman’s program doesn’t rebuild: it reloads. Maryland returns seven USILA All-Americans from last season’s roster.

Fifth-year attacker Logan Wisnauskas will don the cherished No. 1 jersey for the Terrapins this year, following Maryland’s legacy of top-notch scorers. Wisnauskas had 41 goals last season and led the team with 31 assists. He is a three-time Inside Lacrosse All-American and is third all-time in points at Maryland with 231. With another productive season, Wisnauskas could very well be throned as the most productive offensive player in program history, currently standing just 59 points from Bernhardt’s career mark of 290.

Maryland will also benefit from the return of fifth-year midfielder Roman Puglise. He earned a spot on the All-Big Ten Second Team and his third appearance as an Inside Lacrosse All-American. As a short-stick defensive midfielder, Puglise is an incredibly valuable asset for the Terps’ defense while still making plays on the offensive end of the field.

Senior defenseman Brett Makar had a fantastic 2021, scooping 48 ground balls and causing 15 turnovers, all while consistently being assigned to opponents’ toughest attackers. Makar returns after being named First Team All-Big Ten and Second Team All-American by both Inside Lacrosse and USILA last season. He will continue in his role as one of the anchors of Maryland’s defense in 2022.

Midfielder Kyle Long returns for his senior season after a breakout junior year. In 2021, Long started every game and finished fourth on the team with 44 points and second on the team with 28 assists. He was incredibly consistent with his production, notching at least two points in 13 of the team’s 16 games.

Anthony DeMaio will once again compete as a midfielder for the Terps, returning for a fifth year in College Park. DeMaio finished fifth on the team with 43 points last season. He scored 24 goals, including arguably the most important goal of the 2021 season: an overtime game-winner against Notre Dame to send Maryland to the Final Four.

Logan McNaney again assumes the goalie position in his junior season. As a sophomore, McNaney had 15 wins with a 52.2% save percentage and an average of 9.89 goals allowed per game. In the team’s Final Four victory over Duke, McNaney dominated, making 17 saves and allowing only four goals.

Newcomers

A graduate transfer from Cornell, Jonathan Donville will slide into Maryland’s midfield after a year hiatus after the Ivy League canceled their 2021 season. In 2020, Donville had 20 points and 13 goals in just five games. He was named to Inside Lacrosse’s Preseason All-American Second Team after being selected first overall in the 2021 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft, where he will have an opportunity to play after this season.

Another transfer of note is Owen Prybylski, who will join the Terps as a graduate defenseman after four years at Villanova. While there, Prybylski collected 86 ground balls and caused 47 turnovers, earning All-Big East honors in both 2019 and 2021. He will be joined at Maryland by Villanova teammate and graduate attacker Keegan Khan, who along with Prybylski earned All-American honors last season. Khan had 91 goals and 88 assists at Villanova, starting all 50 games in his four years.

Sophomore attacker Owen Murphy will join the team from local rival Johns Hopkins after an impressive freshman year in 2020 before not playing in 2021. In just six games, he had 13 points on 8 goals and 5 assists.

Junior FOGO Gavin Tygh will also join the roster as a transfer from Virginia. In 2021, he appeared in 10 games and won 47.2% of his faceoffs. Tygh is expected to split time with junior Luke Wierman on face-offs.

The Terps also have an abundance of talented freshmen. The highest-ranked freshman is Eric Spanos, a five-star attacker per Inside Lacrosse. Spanos was ranked as the 12th-best recruit in the class of 2021 and committed to Maryland in 2017.

Defenseman Jack Schirtzer joins the program from IMG Academy via Mount Sinai, New York. Schirtzer was a five-star recruit in the class of 2020 before reclassing into the class of 2021. Other Inside Lacrosse four-star recruits entering their freshman year are defenseman Colin Burlace, midfielder Kevin Tucker and attacker Charlie Koras.

Schedule preview

The Terrapins will play a loaded schedule in 2022, with every team at least receiving votes in Inside Lacrosse’s preseason media poll. Four of Maryland’s opponents rank in the top-10.

Maryland starts the season on Feb. 5 at noon when they host High Point at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium, and a week later hosts in-state foe No. 8 Loyola.

Three high-profile ACC opponents are featured on the Terrapins’ schedule as well. On Feb. 20, Maryland travels to play at No. 12 Syracuse for the teams’ first regular season matchup since 2014. March 5 brings an NCAA Tournament quarterfinals rematch at No. 5 Notre Dame. And on March 19, a national championship rematch against No. 1 Virginia, to be played either in College Park or at Audi Field in Washington, D.C.

The Terps end the season with five straight Big Ten games: at Penn State, at Michigan, Rutgers, Ohio State and the regular season finale on the road against Baltimore-based rival Johns Hopkins.

Looking ahead

It should be another memorable season in College Park. The roster Tillman has assembled should make the Terps should be one of the most exciting to watch in all of college lacrosse. The first full season since 2019, a difficult schedule should leave Maryland battle-tested come the postseason and make them a legitimate championship contender.