Maryland men’s lacrosse wound up on the wrong side of its second straight overtime game, losing 11-10 at No. 7 Ohio State Saturday.
Ohio State won the opening faceoff in overtime and scored before Maryland even had a chance. Johnny Pearson, who finished with two goals on his only two shots, netted the game-winning dagger for the Buckeyes. Eric Fannell thrashed the Terps’ defense, notching a game-high five goals.
Matt Rambo almost saved the Terps down the stretch, doing most of his damage in the fourth quarter to finish with five points. Tim Rotanz finished with his third straight hat trick, and has been an excellent change of pace option as of late.
Maryland’s faceoff unit had arguably its worst day of the year at the draw, going for a combined 7-for-25, including a faceoff loss in overtime that led to Pearson’s game winner.
Chaos ensued following the opening faceoff, as both teams scrapped back and forth for first possession. It set a precedent for the style in which this game would be played.
Pearson saw an unobstructed path to the cage, but was met by Maryland’s defense at point blank range before he could pull the trigger. Similarly, Dylan Maltz had an open look on goal on the following possession, but an Ohio State defender jumped in front of the ball’s flight path to force a ground ball opportunity.
Active stick work by the Terps led to five caused turnovers in the first quarter, and the offense utilized those extra possessions.
Rotanz, who’s been unstoppable as of late, scored Maryland’s first two goals and added a nifty no-look feed to Maltz for the Terps’ fourth goal.
Quick goals by Rotanz and Connor Kelly in the second gave the Terps a sizable 6-1 lead, and it seemed like Maryland might be able to coast its way to a win over the No. 7 team in the country.
The one thing going Ohio State’s way were faceoffs, as Jake Withers was dominant from the X. The Buckeys thrive in a methodical and patient offense, and eventually used the game’s sluggish tempo to its advantage.
A circus shot by Fannell ignited a 3-1 scoring run just before the half, giving Buckeyes coach Nick Myers’ squad some optimism going into halftime.
The Buckeyes came alive in the third quarter behind the play of Fannell and Ben Randall. Three goals coming out of halftime tied the game at seven apiece, and Maryland simply didn’t have an answer in Columbus.
Tyler Pfister gave Ohio State its first lead of the game late in the third, extending their run to six unanswered goals. Rambo broke a 20-minute scoring drought to tie it all back at eight, only to be answered by two more from the Buckeyes.
But Rambo, who ranks third in Maryland history in scoring, didn’t panic. He netted a goal to bring his team back within one, and found a cutting Jared Bernhardt to even the game with under three minutes to play.
By the end, it was anyone’s game. The Terps had the ball with 36 seconds left, but took an early shot that conceded possession back to the Buckeyes. In transition, Fannell was left unchecked with a clear path to the goal, but rushed an arrant shot. John Kelly had one last look at the net, but Morris came up with one last save to force overtime.
For the second week in a row, Maryland would have to earn one in extra time.
But the Terps lost the faceoff in overtime, and never had a chance to retaliate.
Maryland’s now 3-1 in conference play, next week’s matchup against Johns Hopkins is all the more meaningful, as it will most likely determine who wins the Big Ten regular season.
Three Things to Know
1. Rambo carried the Terps late, and they almost came back. Without the play of its offensive juggernaut, Maryland wouldn’t have even been in this game. When nothing was going the Terps’ way, Rambo stepped up in the brightest of moments. He ended the scoring drought, and was somehow a part of the the Terps’ last three goals. Had the offense gotten a chance in overtime, who knows what Rambo would’ve pulled out of his sleeve.
2. Experience in overtime will be important later on. This is Maryland’s third overtime game of the year, and second consecutive. While the Terps are just 1-2 in games decided in overtime, the experience gained is invaluable. Barring any crazy ending to the season, Maryland will make the NCAA Tournament, and will be glad it’s been there before if faced with another overtime situation.
3. Goalie and faceoff play is still a concern going forward. Jake Withers singlehandedly took on Maryland’s three faceoff men, and bullied all of them. Collectively, the unit went a dismal 7-for-25, and still haven’t found any type of draw-to-draw consistency. On the other end of the field, Dan Morris did come up with a game saving stop to end the fourth, but still allowed 11 goals behind six saves.