With about six and a half minutes remaining in the third quarter and the team down a player after a penalty, No. 2 Maryland men’s lacrosse knew exactly where it had to look against High Point.
Villanova transfer attacker Keegan Khan found fifth-year attacker Logan Wisnauskas in front of the net and the preseason All-American deposited it in the back of the net for his fifth goal of the game.
No. 2 Maryland men’s lacrosse kicked off its 2022 season on a high note, defeating High Point 21-13 at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. The Terps have now won 29 straight season openers.
“It felt awesome to be out there in the best venue in college lacrosse in front of the best fans in college lacrosse,” Wisnauskas said.
The Terps came out firing on all cylinders in the opening frame, leading 6-1 after one quarter.
Midfielder Jonathan Donville, a transfer from Cornell, wasted no time getting his name on the Maryland scoresheet. The graduate student scored the first goal of the Terps’ season less than a minute into the game, beating High Point goalie Parker Green from point-blank range after a nice feed from fifth-year midfielder Anthony DeMaio.
Two more transfers, Khan and Owen Murphy (Johns Hopkins), followed suit with first-quarter goals in their respective Maryland debuts.
“I was a little nervous,” Khan said about playing his first game in College Park. “Guys on the offensive and defensive side helped me out all year, helping all the transfers out. They were very welcoming of us and made us feel right at home from the start.”
Wisnauskas unsurprisingly looked comfortable early, scoring two first-quarter goals on shots that beat Green low. He also had an assist on a goal by junior attacker Daniel Maltz.
Maryland had an impressive defensive showcase in the first quarter, allowing only one goal on six shots. Goalkeeper Logan McNaney was only forced to make one save. Midfielder Roman Puglise put his defensive ability on display early, laying a powerful hit that forced a High Point turnover and led to Wisnauskas’ first goal.
High Point looked flustered by the Terps’ defensive pressure, turning the ball over six times in the first quarter. It also had no answer for Maryland’s faceoff tandem of Luke Wierman and Gavin Tygh, who won seven of the game’s first eight faceoffs.
The second quarter started on a different note, however, with High Point’s offense finding a rhythm early.
Talented sophomore attacker Brayden Mayea scored back-to-back goals, both assisted by senior Asher Nolting.
“I felt like we had a good gameplan going in, I think [defensive coordinator Jesse Bernhardt] did a good job preparing our guys. Unfortunately, we had some times where you know, you look at Nolting, he does such a good job… and he has got a good relationship with [Mayea],” Maryland head coach John Tillman said.
With the momentum squarely on the Panthers’ sideline, Wisnauskas fed fifth-year midfielder Bubba Fairman for an important goal that ended the Panthers’ run.
The Terps continued to feed their reliable top option, with senior midfielder Kyle Long finding Wisnauskas for his third goal of the first half and his 28th career hat trick.
The second quarter quickly evolved into a game of runs. High Point continued to put pressure on McNaney and the Maryland defense, with junior midfielder Nick Murphy scoring on another assist by Nolting. Graduate midfielder Koby Russell then scored and cut the score to 8-5. The Panthers beat McNaney twice more but hit the post on both attempts.
But just like it did with earlier waves of High Point momentum, Maryland looked towards the ever-reliable Wisnauskas. DeMaio tossed it to Wisnauskas on the attack and allowed him to score his fourth goal of the game with 13.6 seconds remaining in the first half, giving the Terps some much-needed momentum heading into the halftime break.
The start of the second half was eerily similar to the start of the first. Khan scored just 42 seconds into the third quarter, wrapping around the crease and beating Green high. After another goal by High Point’s Mayea, Khan struck for the third time with an impressive behind-the-back shot that found the top corner after an assist by Wisnauskas.
“I realized I might be running at an angle so I just shot it behind my back and didn’t really aim it, so I was happy to see it go in,” Khan said.
Maryland’s transfers continued to mimic each other on offense. Murphy scored, Khan found Donville for a goal and then Murphy scored his third of the day, all in under two minutes. By the seven-minute mark in the third quarter, the Terps had put some distance between them and the Panthers, leading 14-6.
It looked like High Point may have had an opportunity to cut into the Terps’ lead when Eric Malever got called for a major penalty, but even while a man down Wisnauskas was able to score his fifth goal of the game.
Mayea notched his fourth goal of the game with about five and a half minutes left in the third quarter, but three minutes later Khan answered with his fourth.
Even with a nine-goal lead entering the fourth quarter, the Terps still had to deal with High Point’s explosive offense and specifically Asher Nolting, who forced his way through three Maryland defenders before firing a shot past McNaney for his first goal of the season. The game then slowed down with an unusual lack of offense before senior midfielder Kyle Long scored his first goal of the season, followed just seconds later by Murphy with his fourth.
After a goal by High Point’s Jack Vanoverbeke, junior FOGO Gavin Tygh, a transfer from Virginia, won the faceoff and hustled down the field before ripping a shot into the top corner. Tygh was the fourth Maryland transfer to score their first Maryland goal Saturday.
Mayea scored after yet another assist from Asher Nolting, but the Terps responded with quick goals from sophomore attackers Eric Malever and Daniel Maltz. Malever was the team’s ninth different goal scorer and Maltz’s goal made it 21 goals for Maryland, the most they’ve scored since they last faced High Point in 2020.
“I thought the guys did a good job at times of just giving our defense a break but still finding that rhythm, finding some good opportunities sharing the ball,” Tillman said. “What’s been fun with this group is that they don’t really care who scores, they’re not caught up in stats, they just want to win. And they know if they give it up they’re going to get it back.”
The Terps play next on Feb. 12, when they welcome the No. 8 Loyola Greyhounds to College Park.
Three things to know
1. Logan Wisnauskas is ready to be the go-to guy on offense. Wisnauskas was nothing short of electric in his 2022 debut, scoring five goals and adding three assists to finish with a team-high eight points on the day.
Obviously I played with Jared and Connor… it was super fun to just kind of see what they did and how they carried themselves, so I just kind of took the standards from them,” Wisnauskas said on wearing the No. 1 jersey this season.
His ability to affect the game on the offensive end of the field will be key to Maryland’s success this season. As the team showcased on Saturday, if Wisnauskas is on his game this Maryland offense is nearly impossible to slow down.
2. Maryland needs to be better with a man advantage. Despite drawing six penalties, Maryland was only able to score two goals while a man up. While the Terps’ talent advantage over High Point gave them the ability to dominate at even strength, they are going to need to be more opportunistic against some of their more difficult opponents this season.
3. Maryland’s transfers already look comfortable. Maryland’s transfers looked at home against High Point, combining for 13 points. Khan was especially dynamic on offense, scoring four goals and dishing out two assists. Murphy also scored four and Donville added two goals of his own. Tygh had a goal off the faceoff too.