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No. 2 Maryland men’s lacrosse takes down No. 8 Loyola, 20-8

The Terps scored 10 goals in the second quarter.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

No. 8 Loyola had a chance to tie the game at three after No. 2 Maryland men’s lacrosse fifth-year midfielder Jake Higgins was called for unnecessary roughness.

Midfielder Evan James forced his way to a wide-open shot right in front of junior goalie Logan McNaney and fired it on net, but McNaney denied James and snatched possession right back for the Terrapins. Just seconds later, Logan Wisnauskas found sophomore midfielder Jack Koras for his first goal of the season and Maryland never looked back after breaking it open in the first quarter.

No. 2 Maryland men’s lacrosse stuck to its winning ways in its second game of the season, dominating No. 8 Loyola for a 20-8 win on Saturday afternoon. In front of a crowd of 3,228 at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium, Maryland moved to 2-0 on the season and 22-2 all-time against the Greyhounds.

“I give Maryland a lot of credit. They came out here and certainly took it to us today,” Loyola head coach Charley Toomey said after the game.

Graduate midfielder Jonathan Donville opened the scoring for the Terps in his second straight game after fifth-year attacker Wisnauskas found the Cornell transfer streaking towards the net. Sophomore midfielder Eric Malever scored shortly after to give Maryland a 2-0 lead, right after Loyola’s star graduate long stick midfielder Ryan McNulty had to run off the field due to his stick breaking.

After his defender appeared to trip on the side of the net, Wisnauskas struck with just under eight minutes into the game for his first goal of the game and 150th of his career, making it three unanswered goals to start the game for Maryland.

Loyola got its first tally shortly after, however, with graduate attacker Kevin Lindley notching an unassisted goal to make it 3-1. The Greyhounds proceeded to feed off that momentum, with junior midfielder Adam Poitras making his way right in front of the net and beating Maryland’s McNaney.

After McNaney’s impressive save on James, the Terps began firing on all cylinders, with three goals in one minute. The Wisnauskas-Donville connection struck again with 13:11 to go in the quarter, and then just six seconds later face-off specialist Luke Wierman scored for Maryland’s second goal right off a face-off this season. With 12:11 to go in the half, junior attacker Jack Brennan scored the Terps’ third unanswered goal to make it 7-2.

Every time that Loyola tried to cut into Maryland’s lead, the Terps had an answer. After Poitras got his second goal of the game to make it 7-3, graduate attacker Keegan Khan used his speed to break free and score his fifth goal of the season. Wisnauskas then got his second goal of the game with a rocket into the top corner that blew past Loyola’s graduate goalie Sam Shafer, making it 9-3.

Loyola continued to keep the pressure on Maryland’s defense, with Riley Seay scoring after an assist from Aidan Olmstead. But once again, the Terps had an answer and continued to pour it on offensively. Wisnauskas ripped a shot into the top left corner for his third goal of the game after Wierman found him right after the face-off.

Midfielder Kyle Long then got on the scoresheet with a goal after a Keegan Khan assist, forcing Loyola to substitute sophomore goalie Luke Staudt into the game. Long then found Daniel Maltz who scored to make it 12-4 with 3:37 left in the first half. Anthony DeMaio later got his first goal of the season after a clean pass from Donville.

With only 14 seconds to go in the first half, Loyola’s Aidan Olmstead scored and looked to have created some momentum for the Greyhounds to take into the half. But just seven seconds later, Wierman got his second goal of the game to send the Terps into the halftime break with a 14-5 lead.

Maryland head coach John Tillman attributed much of his team’s second quarter offensive success to Wierman’s success on face-offs, winning 11-of-14 of his attempts that quarter.

“When Luke could pull away, they just had to make a choice, and by him getting that first goal all of the sudden they had to slide [defensively],” Tillman said. “Luke’s just such a good stick handler and a good decision maker.”

Loyola started the second half with a goal after Maryland was called for an offsides penalty, with Evan James scoring after a pass from Adam Poitras. After an uncharacteristic offensive lull, Maryland got its 15th goal of the day seven minutes into the third quarter courtesy of Eric Malever, his second of the game.

A strong defensive possession by Terps graduate midfielder Bubba Fairman led to DeMaio’s second goal of the game with 2:41 left in the third quarter, making iit 16-6. It looked like that would be the score heading into the final period, but as time expired Keegan Khan found sophomore attacker Owen Murphy to bring the score to 17-6 through 45 minutes of play.

With 11:44 left, Owen Murphy got the first goal of the fourth quarter, using a setup from Bubba Fairman to fire a shot low into the back of the net. Just 80 seconds later, Donville secured a hat trick with an unassisted goal to make it a 19-6 Terrapins lead.

The Greyhounds got a few chances midway through the final period, but Maryland got some big saves from graduate goalie Drew Morris. After a seven and a half minute scoring drought, Loyola broke the ice with a pair of goals with strikes from Riley Seay and sophomore attacker Dylan Binney. Nevertheless, Maryland got the last goal with Eric Malever’s third of the day, assisted by Kevin Tucker who got his first point as a Terrapin.

“Last week wasn’t our best showing. I think this whole week we were kind of just pushing the envelope,” senior defenseman Brett Makar said of his unit’s defensive effort. “With the experience we have I just knew we were going to bounce back.”

The Terps will travel to upstate New York for their first road game of the season on Feb. 20 when they take on the Syracuse Orange.

Three things to know

1. Maryland’s offense is among the nation’s most balanced. Eleven different Maryland players scored against Loyola, including six with multiple goals. While high-profile players like Wisnauskas are always capable of putting up big numbers, the overall team effort on offense is what makes Maryland so difficult to defend. The Terps are also very unselfish on offense, rarely forcing shots and taking what the defense gives them.

“Any time we score, I think everybody’s happy for whoever it is,” Tillman said.

2. Luke Wierman’s face-off production is this team’s X-factor. Wierman was the most important player in Maryland’s win over Loyola, winning 19-of-25 of his face-off attempts. He also had three points on two goals and an assist. As Maryland showed, the best way to defend its electric offense is to limit its possessions and with Wierman dominating face-offs it will get plenty of opportunities to run up the score.

“Our [scout team] all week did a great job helping us prepare for [Loyola]. The wings did a great job picking up the ground balls and making it easy for me,” Wierman said.

3. The Terps need to be more disciplined. Maryland took a lot of positives from Saturday’s game, but it took five penalties and didn’t draw any. It hasn’t been a problem yet, but as the season goes on and the schedule’s difficulty continues to rise Maryland will need to clean up its game. Additionally, penalties, like the offsides penalty that led to a two-man advantage for Loyola, will almost always lead to goals for Maryland opposition.