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Maryland men’s lacrosse edges Rutgers, 13-12, in triple OT

Connor Kelly’s sudden-death goal lifted the Terps over the Scarlet Knights.

NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship - Semifinal Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Junior Connor Kelly netted a dagger in triple overtime to lift Maryland men’s lacrosse over Rutgers, 13-12, to stay undefeated in Big Ten conference play.

Kelly, who finished the game with a hat trick, beat his defender on the wing and muscled his way to get within inches of the cage. The rest was history.

Senior Matt Rambo finished with another well-rounded effort, totaling six points behind two goals and four assists. Junior Tim Rotanz, coming off his second career hat trick against Albany, scored another trio of goals and did so when the team was in desperate need of one.

Rutgers’ Kieran Mullins, who was coming off an eight-goal performance against Michigan last week, put up zero against a Maryland defense that completely negated him from Rutgers’ game plan.

Consumed by Rambo, the Scarlet Knights lost track of senior Dylan Maltz moving off the ball, who unloaded for the game’s opening goal. But besides that early error, Rutgers set a defensive precedent by forcing a stall warning in the Terps’ opening possession, restricting them from even getting a shot off before the clock expired.

Both defenses stood sturdy, with the difference being the play of goalie Max Edelmann. The junior saw 11 shots in the opening quarter but made five saves, a stark contrast to Dan Morris, who let in four goals without registering a save. Rutgers’ efficient attack jumped out to a 4-2 lead, but Rotanz scored back-to-back unassisted goals to continue his hot offensive streak.

Morris settled down by the second quarter, allowing two goals but making five saves in the process. The offense, scoring just one goal in the first 14 minutes of the second quarter, did its damage right before halftime. Rambo got on the board all by himself by bulldozing his way through traffic, and Kelly was left unguarded immediately off a faceoff. In the blink of an eye, the Terps turned a 6-5 deficit into a 7-5 lead just before halftime.

They didn’t miss a beat coming out of halftime either, pulling away to a 10-7 lead that looked to be insurmountable considering how well the Terps were jelling. But the Scarlet Knights didn’t fret, scoring three unanswered to tie it in the fourth.

With everything going Rutgers’ way, Rotanz completed his hat trick in the fourth to give Maryland some breathing room, and sophomore Louis Dubick capitalized on an extra opportunity. But Rutgers retaliated immediately, scoring two late in the fourth to eventually force overtime.

The Scarlet Knights had plenty of opportunities in overtime to upset Maryland, but Morris would not be between between the pipes.

It took more than ten minutes of extra play, but Kelly would eventually silence the Scarlet Knights’ upset bid.

Maryland sits atop the Big Ten standings as the only team undefeated in conference play, with contests against Ohio State and Johns Hopkins still left on the docket.

Three Things to Know

1. Matt Rambo is even closer to making history. After notching six points on the day, Rambo is in sole possession of third place on Maryland’s all-time points list. With 216 career points, he needs just 16 to pass Bob Boneillo for the all-time record.

2. Dan Morris finished strong. After Morris let in four goals on four shots in the first quarter, the BTN announcers started comparing him to former All-American Terp goalies Kyle Bernlohr and Niko Amato. Maybe Morris had a feed from the broadcast in his helmet, because he certainly responded. He finished with 16 saves, including four game-saving stops in overtime play.

3. After some doubt, Maryland is the Big Ten team to beat. Had this game taken place a couple weeks ago, the Terps would’ve entered as the underdog. With three Big Ten teams once ranked in the top five, Maryland is now the highest-ranked conference program at No. 3. Maryland downed three ranked opponents in the span of eight days, and head coach John Tillman is making a legitimate claim to at least be tied as the No. 1 team in the country.