Maryland men’s lacrosse’s offense started Saturday’s game like a bat out of hell, using a quick start to open conference play with a dominant 15-8 win over No. 19 Michigan.
Dylan Maltz, Connor Kelly and Jared Bernhardt all finished with hat tricks, combining for nine goals while each registering an assist as well.
The faceoff unit found the draw-to-draw consistency it needed, with Austin Henningsen and Jon Garino finishing a dominant 14-for-21 on the day.
John Tillman’s offense played a different level of lacrosse in the first half. The Terps scored two goals right at the start of the game, but Michigan responded with a two-goal run of its own. After that, it wasn’t even competitive.
Offensively, everything just seemed to fall Maryland’s way. Maltz played like a man on a mission, notching two goals and an assist in the Terps’ first four goals. Matt Rambo caused a turnover at the midfield, and junior Tim Rotanz practically walked a goal in just seconds later. Off a timeout, Rambo rocketed a shot across his body and somehow found the back of the net.
Bernhardt, aggressive from start to finish, sent a Michigan defender into a spin cycle before dumping the ball off to Connor Kelly to end the first quarter on a five-goal run. The Terps continued a sound and well-balanced offense into the second quarter, extending a 9-4 lead into halftime.
Michigan had an opportunity to capitalize early in the third quarter, with the Wolverines cutting Maryland’s lead to four and the Terps’ offense coming out of halftime slow. But Bernhardt initiated a scoring onslaught, completing his hat trick and triggering a three-goal run to end the third, which all but iced the game.
Maryland finished its first Big Ten challenge unscathed, but the Terps face a tall task next weekend in Penn State, who could potentially come into Maryland Stadium as the No. 1 team in the country.
Three things to know
1. Freshman Jared Bernhardt is living up to the hype. The Florida native has now registered a point in the first eight games of his collegiate career. Tillman knew he had a stellar prospect in the No. 3 recruit of the class, but did anybody see Bernhardt having the season he’s having? He’s been a real change of pace outside of Maryland’s starting attack, and seems to be getting better with each game.
2. Dan Morris didn’t need to have a big day, but he still played excellent. Morris didn’t need to have a monster day in the cage with the way the offense was gelling. Still, he finished with 12 saves and only allowed eight goals, bumping his save percentage to 57-percent on the year.
3. Maryland seems to have found its offense again. Poor offensive performances against Notre Dame and Villanova indicated that maybe something needed to change. Whatever changes Tillman has made to the offense are working. The Terps have scored 30 goals over the last two games, and will need to carry that offensive prowess throughout the season if they want to survive the onslaught that is Big Ten conference play.