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Previewing the 2023 Maryland men’s lacrosse season

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

2022 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championship Photo by Larry French/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Maryland men’s lacrosse is fresh off a 2022 campaign in which the Terps cemented themselves in the record books. Led by 12th-year head coach John Tillman, Maryland cruised past the competition on its way to a perfect 18-0 season. After defeating Cornell, 9-7, in the NCAA championship game, Maryland — which plays by the motto “Be The Best” — officially become the nation’s best for the first time in five years.

After losing four of their top five goal-scorers in the offseason, the Terps rank No. 2 in Inside Lacrosse’s preseason media poll. Despite the roster turnover, Maryland is still a threat to win the national title and repeat as champions.

Key players lost

The Terps lost 15 players during the offseason, but none more important than attackman Logan Wisnauskas.

Wisnauskas may be the greatest player in program history and had an extraordinary season in 2022. He picked up the school’s third-ever Tewaaraton Award, given annually to the nation’s top college lacrosse player, an ESPY nomination for “Best College Athlete, Men’s Sports,” and, of course, a national championship.

In addition, Wisnauskas shattered multiple records previously held by former teammate and attackman Jared Bernhardt, including points in a single season (103), career points (340) and career goals (205). Wisnauskas was drafted first overall in the Premier Lacrosse League College Draft.

Maryland also lost midfielder Anthony DeMaio, midfielder Jonathan Donville and attackman Keegan Khan. The group accounted for 99 of the team’s 318 goals.

The Terps were able to retain the majority of their defensemen, but they will have to replace the reliability and production of Matt Rahill. In his final two seasons in College Park, Rahill started in all 34 games and had the most caused turnovers (33) during that span. He also earned All-American honorable mentions from USA Lacrosse Magazine and Inside Lacrosse in 2022.

Additionally junior attackman Eric Malever is expected to miss the season after tearing his ACL in the fall. Malever, who scored 26 goals in 2022 — which ranked sixth on the team — would have been a key piece of the Terps’ offensive attack after playing a key role in its title run a year ago.

Top players returning

Although the Terps lost five starters from last year’s team, there is still much to be excited about.

Graduate defender Brett Makar headlines the group of returners as the team’s best and most experienced player. Makar scooped up 32 ground balls and caused 15 turnovers on his way to an Inside Lacrosse First Team All-American selection and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2022. He will wear the esteemed No. 1 jersey for the Terps this season, the first time a non-attacking player will do so.

Junior defender Ajax Zappitello will join Makar in the backline yet again after a breakout sophomore season. He served primarily as a man-down specialist in 2021 before starting in all 18 games last year. Zappitello wreaked havoc on opposing offenses when given the opportunity, scooping 26 ground balls and causing a team-high 27 turnovers.

Senior Logan McNaney will resume his position in goal following an impressive NCAA Tournament performance that saw him named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. McNaney did not allow a single team to score double-digit goals and only got better as the tournament drew on. He had a career-high 19 saves in the Terps’ semifinal victory over Princeton and then coupled it with a 17-save performance in the championship game.

With Makar, Zappitello and McNaney all returning, Maryland should reclaim its spot among the nation’s best defenses.

In the midfield, senior Kyle Long will be the team’s focal point. Long has been a consistent part of Tillman’s rotation since joining the program four years ago, and last season, he finished sixth on the team in points (42) with 17 goals and 25 assists.

While Long will be tasked with more responsibility this year — especially with Malever out — junior attackman Owen Murphy is in line to be one of if not the Terps’ leading scorer. Murphy finished third on the team in goals with 34 despite never playing on the first line with Wisnauskas, Khan and Malever. Murphy will need to cut down on his turnovers after committing 18 last season, but his scoring ability and the departure of many offensive stars will catapult him into top attacking unit.


With 15 players moving on, Tillman got to work and recruited four highly-touted transfers.

Graduate attacker Donal Mullane and junior attacker Cayden Onagi were two of the best players in their respective divisions last year. Mullane won the New England Small College Athletic Conference Player of the Year after finishing third in Division III in points per game (6.56) and 14th in goals per game (3.69). Onagi played two seasons at the junior college level, where he scored 67 goals in 22 games.

Graduate midfielder Donovan Lacey spent the previous four years at Sacred Heart, where he earned multiple all-conference honors. Lacey is a well-rounded player, but provides most of his value on the defensive end. He has a knack for causing turnovers and his team-high 14 in 2021 earned him a First Team All-NEC selection.

Graduate goalie Teddy Dolan is the final transfer to join the Terps and will most likely be used as a depth piece after an impressive career at Binghamton.

Maryland also has 12 talented freshmen joining the team this season. The highest-ranked first-year players are defender AJ Larkin and long stick midfielder Will Schaller, who are both five-star recruits, per Inside Lacrosse. Schaller was ranked as the eighth-best recruit in the class of 2022 while Larkin was ranked 17th.

Perhaps the Terps’ most intriguing newcomer this year is neither a freshman nor a transfer. Inside Lacrosse tabbed sophomore midfielder Dante Trader Jr. as the country’s ninth-highest rated recruit in 2021, but he elected to focus on his football career at Maryland last season. However, Trader, who blossomed into a young star at safety for the football team, changed his mind after a year without lacrosse and will be a welcomed addition to Tillman’s rotation. He projects to start in a short-stick defensive midfielder role.

Looking ahead

Similar to last year, the Terps have a challenging schedule in 2022, with 10 of their 12 opponents receiving votes in Inside Lacrosse’s preseason media poll.

Maryland begins the season at home against Richmond on Feb. 4 before traveling across county lines to take on Loyola.

The Terps’ NCAA Tournament semifinal rematch against No. 6 Princeton takes place on Feb. 25, exactly three weeks before their battle against No. 1 Virginia, which will occur in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Maryland will then end the season with five consecutive Big Ten matchups against Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State, Rutgers and Johns Hopkins.

With half of the team’s 2022 starters moving on, many would expect the undefeated powerhouse of last season to take a step back. But if there’s one thing fans have learned throughout the years, it’s to never count out Tillman and Maryland’s desire to “Be The Best.”