By Max Schaeffer
In its season opener, Loyola (Md.) peppered Georgetown to the tune of 18 goals. Saturday, Maryland men’s lacrosse — led by goalie Logan McNaney — had different plans for the Greyhounds.
The Terps stifled Loyola throughout, never trailing in a dominant 11-4 victory, and avenging last year’s 12-7 defeat.
“Obviously, based on last year, they beat us up pretty good,” head coach John Tilman said. “So we were kind of on guard. [Defensive coordinator] Jesse [Bernhardt], I thought, had a good plan.”
Maryland recorded 16 more shot attempts than the Greyhounds and secured 10 more draw controls.
The Terps set the tone early on, establishing a defense-first mentality.
They made a concentrated effort to prevent quality looks against, and McNaney answered the call on all three shots Loyola managed in the opening frame.
Zach Whittier broke the scoreless deadlock five minutes in, and Eric Malever followed him up less than a minute later to double the Terps’ lead.
Owen Murphy and short-stick defensive midfielder George Stamos added goals to put the Terps up 4-0 after 15 minutes.
Lacrosse is a game of runs, though, and the second quarter did not prove to be as smooth for Maryland.
Loyola’s high-octane offense found its footing, netting three consecutive goals.
McNaney, however, stood his ground thereafter. He was the star of the first half, saving seven of ten shots. One of those stops ignited Maryland’s transition offense, eventually finding the stick of Braden Erksa for a crucial goal to put Maryland up at the break, 6-3.
Maryland added three more tallies in the third frame, capped off by a buzzer-beating strike from Daniel Maltz — his second of the quarter.
Maryland coasted the rest of the way, and sophomore Elliot Dubick recorded his first-ever collegiate goal in the dying seconds.
After a questionable performance in its season opener, questions about the Maryland defense were at least answered momentarily, and the Terps now have two ranked victories to begin the season.
Three things to know
1. Wierman was dominant again. Ahead of Saturday’s matchup, Tillman stressed the importance of the Terps making better use of their possessions if they wanted a different result from last year’s defeat.
Luke Wierman was the reason Maryland dominated possession against Loyola, as he won 13 of 17 face-offs taken.
2. McNaney and Malever continued to look sharp. If there were lingering question marks about Maryland’s two key players making their long-awaited returns, those doubts can surely be put to bed. McNaney made 12 saves, stopping 75% of shots he faced, while Malever added a goal, an assist and hit the post on what would have been a highlight-reel goal.
“It’s definitely a long process,” Malever said of returning this season. “The mental block is hard to get over and I think we’re still working at it. That’s why it’s a long season and I’m just grateful to be back on the field with these guys.”
3. Terps were ringing pipes left and right. Maryland will be frustrated that its 11 goals scored were not indicative of the prowess they displayed. The Terps hit the post several times throughout the game, including a sequence in which two consecutive shots rattled iron.