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Maryland men’s lacrosse survives in closing seconds against No. 5 Albany, 12-11

This one was back and forth all game long, but Maryland was one goal better.

NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

A stout defensive effort Wednesday helped Maryland men’s lacrosse narrowly edge No. 5 Albany, 12-11, for the Terps’ second straight win over a top-5 opponent and fourth straight win overall.

The Great Danes had a chance to tie it late, coming out of a timeout with possession and just 14 seconds left on the clock. Junior Connor Fields, who finished the day with three goals and five assists, got trapped near the cage and couldn’t get the shot off in time.

Eight players managed to get on the board for the Terps, with junior Tim Rotanz leading the way with his second career hat trick.

Fields wasted no time showing the Terps that the hype behind him is real. He bested Tim Muller on a 1-on-1 and fed Justin Reh moments later to put the Great Danes up 2-0. With his back turned to the cage, Fields whipped a behind-the-back, no-look assist that dropped jaws and gave Albany a quick 3-0 lead.

Connor Fields’ behind the back assist

Maryland’s attack responded well to the quick deficit, though. Freshman Jared Bernhardt stormed the cage alone to start the scoring rampage for the attack. Goals by Connor Kelly and Rotanz equalized it at 3-3 by the end of the first quarter, and both teams battled back and forth well into the second. Maltz and Rotanz went back-to-back before halftime, giving Maryland a 7-5 lead at the break.

Fields did everything on offense to get his team back in it, registering two goals and an assist with a flurry of shots to keep the defense on its toes in the third quarter. But Maryland met every Albany goal with one of its own, never letting up the slim lead.

Both offenses put up three goals in the fourth, with Albany’s Reh netting one with just three minutes to play. But Maryland’s defense proved to be too stout in the closing minutes, shutting down the most explosive offense in the country to become the third program in NCAA Division I history to reach 800 wins.

Three Things to Know

1. The defense contained the best offense in the country. The Great Danes lead the nation with an average of nearly 18 goals per game. Dan Morris needed a game like this after an pedestrian performance against Penn State. The junior made 12 saves and allowed just 11 goals against an offense that has been tearing through opposing goalkeepers. Tim Muller was impenetrable apart from the game’s first goal, while Matt Neufeldt led the team with three caused turnovers.

2. Jon Garino’s effort might have been the difference maker. The Terps knew Albany’s TD Irelan would be a tough matchup at the X for Maryland’s committee of faceoffs, and he proved to be just that. Austin Henningsen lost the first three faceoffs, and Albany ended up scoring on those three possessions. In his replacement came senior Jon Garino, who finished 9-for-20 in what proved to be an effective relief effort.

3. Maryland has now won four straight. After two losses, Maryland’s schedule was daunting to say the least. Every opponent left on its schedule was ranked, but the Terps have since won four straight, including two against top-5 opponents. After falling to as low as No. 10 in the polls, Maryland is making a serious push to re-enter the discussion at No. 1.