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Maryland men’s lacrosse bounces back, beats Villanova, 13-11

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The Terps pick up a road win against a ranked opponent.

Maryland lacrosse Jared Bernhardt vs. Albany Lila Bromberg / Testudo Times

After an errant pass resulted in No. 2 Maryland lacrosse’s sixth turnover in the first half Saturday afternoon against No. 6 Villanova, head coach John Tillman ran onto the field to gain the timeout his team needed to collect itself en route to a 13-11 win.

Just 48 seconds prior, the Wildcats scored their third consecutive goal in response to Maryland’s 4-0 start in the first quarter. Despite faceoff wins, sloppy play gave off a feeling similar to what the Terps endured last weekend in a loss against top-ranked Albany.

Villanova’s game-tying goal out of the timeout was waved off, but a penalty gave the Wildcats an opportunity to erase Maryland’s lead in just eight minutes. Instead, junior long-stick midfielder Nick Brozowski snatched the ball away from his matchup, a forced turnover on the man down that fueled a three-goal run at the end of the half to regain a 7-3 lead.

It was defensive plays like Brozowski’s that were missing last week down the stretch, but helped take down Villanova. The win gives the Terps their first victory on the road against a ranked opponent this season, avenging an overtime loss Villanova handed Maryland in College Park last season.

Coming off their first loss of the season, one in which the Terps watched a four-goal, fourth-quarter lead disappear, Maryland’s offense quickly set the tone on the road. Senior midfielder Connor Kelly ripped a 15-yard shot less than two minutes into the game for his 16th goal of the season, giving the Terps an early 1-0 lead.

Louis Dubick, Jared Bernhardt and Bubba Fairman all found the back of the net for Maryland before Villanova’s offense could get into a rhythm. On the Wildcats’ first three offensive possessions, they turned the ball over twice and sent an off-target shot out of bounds.

Facing a four-goal deficit, though, Villanova battled back to score three unanswered goals and gain momentum in the second quarter. Following Brozowski’s caused turnover on the Wildcats’ man up opportunity, he tossed the ball downfield as a “Let’s Go Maryland” chant surfaced among the pro-Villanova crowd.

All within the last six minutes of the first half, attacker Jared Bernhardt scored twice to complete a hat trick, and midfielder Will Snider scored his first goal of the season to create separation from the Wildcats. The Terps, who entered the contest with a nation-best 67 percent conversion with a man up, succeeded on both chances in the first half.

Maryland, rather than cruising to a victory, kept its focus in the final 30 minutes. Entering Saturday, the Terps had scored 20 more goals in the first half than in the second. Last week, the Terps scored just four goals in the third quarter and none in the fourth.

With help of eight straight faceoff wins from freshman Justin Shockey, the Terps extended their lead to 11-6 by the end of the third quarter. Maryland limited Villanova’s possession time and took advantage of Shockey’s performance at the X. The freshman collected nine ground balls.

Leading by five heading into the final quarter, the Terps were able to fend off a late Wildcats rally. Villanova scored the first two goals of the final period, cutting it to a three-goal game, but Logan Wisnauskas’ second goal of the game sealed the deal with just minutes left to play. The Wildcats scored three times in the final minute, but it wasn’t enough.

Maryland’s next game will be played in the Pacific Coast Shootout next Saturday against No. 14 North Carolina at 10 p.m. ET. The Terps beat the Tar Heels in the same event, 10-8, in 2015.

Three things to know

  1. Justin Shockey was a big reason the Terps won. Without a faceoff win in the fourth quarter last weekend against Albany, Shockey won more than half against the Wildcats on Saturday. By winning the majority of draws, the Terps were able to limit Villanova’s opportunities on offense while keep the ball in possession of his team’s great attack.
  2. The goalie play on both sides was phenomenal. Senior Dan Morris for the Terps and junior Nick Testa for the Wildcats made numerous great saves through the game. Morris, on multiple occasions, made two saves on a single defensive stand to frustrate Villanova’s offense. Testa, who didn’t even begin the season as the Wildcats’ starting goalie, made 10 saves and kept his team in the game as best he could.
  3. Maryland held Villanova’s leading scorer to one goal. A testament to Curtis Corley’s smothering defense, Villanova attacker Christian Cuccinello’s only goal came with 30 seconds left in the game. He entered the game with 21 goals in seven games and as a reigning first team All-Big East recipient.