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Maryland men’s lacrosse narrowly escapes High Point, 16-14

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It wasn’t pretty, but it’s a third win in eight days.

2017 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

Senior midfielder Connor Kelly scored his second goal of the afternoon against High Point with five minutes left in the first half, giving Maryland men’s lacrosse a 10-3 lead. Sophomore attacker Jared Bernhardt had already completed his second consecutive four-goal game, and everything was clicking for the Terps in their first road game of the season.

But then the Panthers used uncommon Maryland penalties and sloppy turnovers to score four goals in the last two minutes of the half—including one as time expired—to cut the Terps lead to just three. High Point was right back in the game at home with time to talk about adjustments during the break.

The Maryland defense allowed the second most regular-season goals during the John Tillman Era, but the offense scored enough at the right time to walk away with a slim 16-14 win.

While the Panthers took advantage of Maryland miscues in the second quarter, the Terps jumped out to a seven-goal lead because similar mistakes from their opponent. High Point was penalized three times in the first 15 minutes of the game, giving Maryland three extra-man opportunities. The Terps, who came into the game 3-for-3 with a man up, scored four goals on those three chances to jump ahead early.

Bernhardt, coming off a game in which he set career highs in points, goals and assists, had five points in the first half. It seemed like every time he attacked from behind the cage he dove across the crease to score.

The Panthers finished and started halves successfully, scoring 40 seconds into the game and as time expired to end the first half. They tallied four unanswered before halftime, making it 10-7 at the break. High Point won the faceoff and scored just nine seconds into the second half to cut the Maryland lead to 10-8.

After an eight-minute scoring drought from the Terps, Logan Wisnauskas put a shot past High Point goalie Jim Troutner Jr. to gain some momentum. Minutes later in the third quarter, midfielder Tim Rotanz scored his second goal of the afternoon to extend the Maryland lead to four. Rotanz broke his career-high with six points, scoring three goals with three assists.

Just when it looked like the Terps woke up after a little scare, the Panthers remained resilient. Once the score went back up to 12-8, High Point continued to win several faceoffs to gain possession. After another extra man opportunity, the Panthers scored three goals in 1:32 to cut their deficit to one in the third quarter.

Maryland and High Point traded goals in the fourth quarter, but Rotanz scored with two minutes left—completing his hat trick—to give the Terps a two-goal lead. Rotanz, Wisnauskas, Bernhardt and Kelly all finished with at least three goals.

Maryland (3-0) will host Penn Wednesday at 5 p.m. in College Park to complete its fourth game in 12 days to start the season.

Three things to know

  1. The Maryland defense showed signs of weakness. The Terps’ defense conceded 11 goals in the first two games of the season. Goalie Dan Morris played great in both contests and the starting defense remained solid even without captain Bryce Young. But High Point, a team averaging just 5.5 goals per game, scored 14 Saturday afternoon. It was the Terps’ third game in eight days, but the Panthers won’t be near the level of competition Maryland will face soon.
  2. Logan Wisnauskas scored goals at important times. The redshirt freshman has been a positive addition for the Terps so far this season. He scored three times in the first two games and followed it up with three goals Saturday. After the Panthers scored their fifth unanswered goal to cut their deficit to 10-8, Wisnauskas ended Maryland’s eight-minute scoring drought. When High Point made it a 12-11 game later, he completed his hat trick to regain momentum.
  3. Maryland’s man-up offense was hot and cold. The Terps were able to earn a big lead early by scoring four goals on their first three extra man opportunities. Maryland then failed to convert on two consecutive similar chances, which preceded a 5-0 High Point run. With a one-goal lead in the fourth quarter, the Terps were unsuccessful with an extra man but Connor Kelly scored Maryland’s fifth man-up goal later in the quarter.