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No. 1 Maryland men's lacrosse takes down No. 20 Princeton, 15-10

The Terps have won four straight games to start the season.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

No. 20 Princeton got the second quarter’s first goal after penalties by No. 1 Maryland men’s lacrosse senior defender Brett Makar and sophomore defenseman Ajax Zappitello gave the Tigers a two man advantage. The Terps were playing great man down defense, but a nice pass from Chris Brown led to a score from Alexander Vardaro that made it a one goal game.

The Terps answered that goal almost immediately, however. Nine seconds later, fifth-year attacker Logan Wisnauskas took a pass from junior attacker Daniel Maltz and fired a shot past Princeton’s Erik Peters to make it 6-4. That goal was a historic one for Wisnauskas, as it registered his 258th career point, passing Matt Rambo for second all-time in career points at Maryland.

With eight regular season games and postseason play remaining, Wisnauskas only trails Jared Bernhardt’s career mark of 290 points for the all-time Maryland record.

No. 1 Maryland men’s lacrosse improved to 4-0 on the season, defeating the No. 20 Princeton Tigers 15-10 at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium.

Saturday’s win marks the seventh time that the Terrapins have started the season 4-0 since John Tillman took over as head coach in 2011.

Princeton suffered its first loss of the season, now holding a record of 2-1.

Just as he has in every home game so far this season, graduate midfielder Jonathan Donville scored the first goal of the game just 34 seconds in. 11 seconds later, Maryland doubled its lead with a goal from junior faceoff specialist Luke Wierman, assisted by graduate midfielder Roman Puglise.

“I’m just trying to be ready to play the start of the game and be excited,” Donville said of scoring the opening goal again. “Everyone on our offense is ready to play and excited. I think it’s just luck of the draw.”

Princeton got on the board with 11:21 to go in the first quarter when Sam English found the back of the net. Maryland answered just under four minutes later with a goal of its own, as Wisnauskas scored after an assist from sophomore attacker Eric Malever.

They added to that lead after Donville scored his second unassisted goal of the day. English continued to torch the Maryland defense with his second goal, also unassisted, making the score 4-2 with two and a half minutes left in the first quarter.

Maryland’s defense then got involved in the offense as well. After Wierman was unable to pick up a ground ball cleanly, the teams became involved in a scrum that Roman Puglise slipped out of unnoticed. Makar scooped up the ball and looked downfield to find Puglise streaking towards the goal, where he scored his second goal of the season.

“The reason why it’s so fun to play on this offense is on any given day, the offense looks a little bit different,” Donville said. “Anyone can have a big day.”

With under 30 seconds left in the quarter, English scored his third goal of the game to make it 5-3 before the quarter ended.

After Wisnauskas made it 6-4, the Terps kept their foot on the gas. Sophomore attacker Owen Murphy extended the Maryland lead to three with an extra man goal, and then Wisnauskas made it 8-4 with 3:05 remaining.

Just as Syracuse did against the Terps last week, Princeton finished the second quarter strong. Sam English scored his fourth goal of the first half with 2:35 remaining, and Alex Slusher followed suit with a goal of his own to make it an 8-6 Maryland lead with 1:38 on the clock.

Unlike last week, however, Maryland got the last laugh of the first half with a goal from Donville with only 39 seconds left in the second quarter. That made the score 9-6 as the first half came to a close.

Despite the nine goals that his team allowed, senior goalie Erik Peters was very impressive for Princeton in the first half with 11 saves. Junior Logan McNaney had four for the Terps, but faced less than half the shots Peters did.

Wisnauskas started the third quarter with an unassisted goal, but Princeton’s Chris Brown responded with a goal that made it 10-7 with eleven minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Maryland’s defense then forced a turnover and turned it into offense, with graduate defenseman Matt Rahill running the field and finding Donville for his fourth goal.

Chris Brown got back on the scoresheet with his second goal of the quarter, collecting a rebound off McNaney’s foot and beating the junior goalie to make it 11-8 with 3:29 left in the period.

The Terps kicked off the fourth quarter with two quick strikes. Kyle Long scored a wraparound goal, and then Luke Wierman won the subsequent faceoff before scoring his second goal of the day. In his last two games at home, Wierman has scored four goals.

“Our faceoff guys are doing a great job. They’re winning the clamp and what they’re doing with [the ball] after is even better,” senior midfielder John Geppert said.

Princeton’s Alexander Vardaro tried to jolt a Tigers comeback with an unassisted goal that made it 13-9, and then Tommy Barnds scored off a pass from Beau Peterson to make it 13-10 with 8:16 remaining.

Maryland refused to let Princeton back into the game, though, With 6:50 to play, Wisnauskas found Daniel Maltz for a lay-up goal and less than a minute later Wisnauskas found Jack Brennan for another goal that made it 15-10. The assist on Brennan’s goal moved Wisnauskas to seventh all-time in career assists at Maryland.

That proved to be the final goal of the game, as the Terps closed out the contest to seal their fourth straight win to start the 2022 season.

“We’re happy to get a win over what we thought was a really good team, and today kind of bears that out,” Maryland head coach John Tillman said.

Still, Tillman noted that there’s a long way to go this season.

“I think successful people, in general, are never satisfied,” he said. “Even if things go well, [we’re] always wondering… ‘Where can [we] improve?”

Next Saturday, the Terps will have what looks to be their toughest test so far this season. They travel to South Bend, Indiana to take on No. 4 Notre Dame.

Three things to know

1. Maryland could have scored many more. Despite their 15 goal performance, the Terps had many opportunities that weren’t converted because of the great play by Princeton’s goalie Erik Peters. He had a career-high 19 saves and didn’t look fazed by the well-balanced Maryland attack. If the Terps continue to play like they did Saturday, they can expect to find themselves scoring in the high teens regularly.

“You have to give their goalie credit,” Tillman said. “I thought he was outstanding. He was good on film and he was good today.”

2. Limiting Princeton’s opportunities. Maryland’s defense showed out against Princeton’s attack. They allowed only 23 shots, while the Tigers allowed the Terps to take 50. Seven of Princeton’s ten goals were unassisted, proving that there is still work to be done on the defensive end, but overall Maryland played great team defense. They also forced five more turnovers than Princeton. Logan McNaney was solid in goal with eight saves, including some particularly impressive ones.

3. Positionless lacrosse. One of the greatest assets Maryland’s defensive unit has is its collective athleticism. They have the ability to run the length of the field and make plays in the midfield or offensive end if necessary. Brett Makar and Matt Rahill got assists, and graduate defenseman Owen Prybylski found himself near Princeton’s goal a few times. With the ability to accurately send passes downfield or even complete a clearance by bringing the ball up themselves, Maryland’s defenseman are a major key for the Terps’ transition offense.