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No. 1 Maryland men’s lacrosse holds on to beat No. 9 Syracuse, 14-10

The Terps move to 3-0 this season.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

With only 33 seconds on the third quarter clock, No. 9 Syracuse midfielder Jackson Birtwistle scored after great ball movement led to an assist from freshman Tyler Cordes. Then, with only two seconds left, redshirt sophomore attacker Mikey Berkman got an unassisted goal to make it 9-8.

But even with all the momentum belonging to Syracuse, No. 1 Maryland men’s lacrosse wasn’t going to let a bad 30 seconds define the game.

Just 14 seconds into the fourth quarter, Maryland turned to its most reliable offensive weapon, with junior attacker Daniel Maltz passing it to fifth-year attacker Logan Wisnauskas for a goal that doubled the Terps’ lead. Then, midfielder Kyle Long found fellow midfielder Jonathan Donville in a prime shooting position for another goal that was shortly followed by an unassisted goal from Maltz. In the span of four minutes, the Terps had put a distance between them and the Orange that proved to be insurmountable.

Maryland stayed undefeated in its first road test of the season after breaking away from Syracuse, defeating it 14-10 in front of a rowdy crowd at the Carrier Dome Sunday. Syracuse fell to 1-1 on the season and 6-12 all-time against the Terrapins. Maryland, on the other hand, moved to 3-0 in 2022.

Sunday’s game was full of ceremonies and fanfare, with Syracuse head coach and former player Gary Gait having his number retired pregame and former coach Roy Simmons Jr. being inducted into Syracuse’s ring of honor at halftime.

“It’s nice with the tradition we have [at Syracuse] that we’re recognizing the players that have contributed to this university and the sport of lacrosse,” Gait said.

After goals from graduate student Keegan Khan and fifth-year attacker Logan Wisnauskas were waved off because of violations, midfielder Anthony DeMaio took a pass from Maltz and fired a shot into the top corner, kicking off the game’s scoring and making it 1-0 Maryland.

Junior Jack Brennan got the Terps’ second goal of the day after an assist from sophomore Owen Murphy, the upstate New York native, pushing the score to 2-0. It didn’t take long before another player familiar with the area got on the board, with former Syracuse redshirt Wisnauskas fighting his way towards the crease and extending Maryland’s lead to three. Wisnauskas then got his second goal of the day and made it 4-0 to put an exclamation on what was a dominant first quarter for the Terrapins.

Goalie Logan McNaney impressed in that first quarter, allowing no goals and making four saves. He also chased a shot out of bounds that allowed Maryland an extra possession. He had eight saves in the first half.

“I wouldn’t trade [Logan] for anybody,” Maryland head coach John Tillman said.

After a Syracuse turnover started the second quarter, DeMaio scored again, this time on an unassisted bounce shot to make it 5-0 just a minute into the period.

“To be honest, [we] just needed to settle in a little bit. It was our first big game in a while,” Syracuse junior midfielder Tucker Dordevic said of his team’s slow start on offense.

The Orange, who scored 28 goals just a week prior, finally found their breakthrough after a shot from Lucas Quinn snuck past McNaney. Less than a minute later, Tucker Dordevic got an unassisted tally to cut the Maryland lead to 5-2.

Maryland didn’t hesitate to respond, however, as midfielder Jonathan Donville deposited a Wisnauskas pass into the back of the net after a Syracuse penalty gave the Terps a man advantage. With that assist, Wisnauskas reached a career mark of 100 assists and became just the eighth player in program history to reach that threshold.

With 7:22 to go in the first half, Dordevic got his second unassisted goal of the game to trim the Maryland lead to 6-3. The score remained 6-3 after McNaney made an acrobatic save, laying nearly flat on his back but managing to reach his stick out just far enough to stop a Syracuse shot.

Midfielder Roman Puglise got his first goal of the season after running in transition from the defensive end of the field, firing a shot past Bobby Gavin and making it 7-3 Terps.

“We try to play positionless lacrosse and that bleeds into our defensive guys,” Puglise said. “It doesn’t really matter [what the opportunity is].”

With less than three minutes remaining in the half and a four goal deficit, the Orange did not back down. Tucker Dordevic notched a hat trick with yet another unassisted goal. And then, in the span of 28 seconds, Lucas Quinn scored his second and third goals of the game to make it a 7-6 game headed into the halftime break.

Senior midfielder Kyle Long had the second half’s first goal, an unassisted strike with 13:21 that gave Maryland an 8-6 advantage. After nearly seven minutes of scoreless lacrosse, Donville found Wisnauskas in the middle of the field and gave him the opportunity to get his third straight hat trick, and Wisnauskas converted, making it 9-6 with 6:27 left in the third quarter.

Even after Maryland started the fourth quarter with three straight goals, Dordevic continued to dominate its defense. He scored his fourth goal of the day right before Donville answered for the Terps. But, Dordevic used his ability to find the back of the net once again, making the score 13-10 with 7:23 left in regulation.

As it was able to do all game, Maryland got the answer it needed with a bit of luck from the post. Brennan fired a shot off the pipe, but Murphy used his quick thinking to scoop the ground ball and quickly score a goal that made it 14-10 with two and half minutes remaining. That would be the end of the scoring as the Terps eventually secured the victory.

“Coming to Syracuse and getting wins is never easy, so I’m happy for our guys,” John Tillman said postgame. “I liked the way we finished, our guys battled.”

After the four-goal win to remain undefeated, Maryland will return home for its next game against Princeton on Feb. 26 at 1 p.m.

Three things to know

  1. Maryland can’t let off the gas late in quarters. In the last 34 seconds of the second and third quarters, the Terps allowed four goals. Their defense was otherwise solid, but those mistakes –whether they are mental or physical – gave Syracuse an opportunity to get back in the game when it seemed like Maryland had put some distance between them and the Orange. If another team is able to capitalize off of that momentum better than Syracuse did on Sunday, Maryland could find themselves in trouble.
  2. When in doubt, find Wisnauskas. Wisnauskas had yet another fantastic performance on offense, scoring four goals and adding an assist. Whenever Maryland needed a goal or a jolt of energy, Wisnauskas was up to the task and came through with a handful of winning plays. As has been noted in previous games, Wisnauskas is the key to this Maryland offense. If he is on his game, Maryland’s offense is simply too loaded for opponents to handle.
  3. Maryland was able to handle the Syracuse crowd. The Carrier Dome is known as the “Loud House” for a reason. Syracuse fans showed up in numbers to support their team, and made their presence felt, especially during the team’s numerous scoring runs. Maryland didn’t blink, however, silencing the fans on multiple occasions and letting its play on the field dictate the game. This will continue to be key as the season continues and the Terps have to encounter more hostile environments in the future.

“It was an awesome atmosphere out there. I’m just happy we got the team win,” Wisnauskas said after the game.