Late in the fourth quarter Saturday night, it looked like Maryland men’s lacrosse was sticking with a disturbing trend. The Terps had dominated the first 45 minutes and led 9-4, but North Carolina scored the first three goals of the fourth quarter and had a man-up coming.
But the Tar Heels turned it over, and senior captain Bryce Young caught them napping. The defender raced down the field and scored an insurance goal, which was enough in an 11-7 win in the Pacific Coast Shootout.
For Maryland, it was all about Connor Kelly and Jared Bernhardt on offense. Kelly led the Terps with four goals, and Bernhardt matched him in points with three goals and an assist. With Justin Shockey dominating the faceoff battle, Maryland was all over the Tar Heels, outshooting them 35-24 and winning the groundball battle 33-13. Shockey was phenomenal at the X, winning 16 of 20.
North Carolina junior goalie Alex Bassil was the only reason the Tar Heels were in the game late. Bassil made his first start of the season, and made 10 saves. Curtis Corley held Chris Cloutier to just two goals, and Maryland’s man-down defense was excellent, stopping North Carolina on all four opportunities.
Maryland controlled possession early in the game, throwing shot after shot at Bassil. The junior made some nice saves, but plenty of shots went wide. The Terps finally got on the board with nine minutes to go in the opening frame on a strike by Kelly from about 14 yards out. Bernhardt doubled the lead about four and a half minutes later, beating his man on a wraparound.
The Tar Heels finally won a faceoff at the start of the second quarter, and scored 46 seconds later when Ryan O’Connell beat Shockey, who was still on the field. After that, Shockey didn’t lose another faceoff the rest of the quarter. Maryland continued to control possession and answered with 12:38 left in the quarter when Kelly struck again from about 14 yards out.
The Terps added two goals later in the quarter, as Anthony DeMaio found a cutting Adam DiMillo with the shot clock winding down and Bernhardt beat his man again. Matt Cunnigham gave North Carolina a much-needed jolt before the half, scooping up a ground ball after a shot from Justin Anderson was saved by Dan Morris.
The Tar Heels’ spark didn’t last. Kelly put another rocket past Bassil after an offsides against North Carolina, then Bernhardt beat his man for another goal a few minutes later. A minute after that, DeMaio put home a rebound from a shot by Will Snider to give Maryland an 8-2 lead.
William Perry stopped Maryland’s run with a rifle from 20 yards out, then Cloutier got on the statsheet after a rare faceoff win. Kelly answered two minutes later with his fourth goal of the game to stop the run.
Once again, Maryland saw a big lead shrink in the fourth quarter. Perry scored his second of the game to cut the lead to four, then found Timmy Kelly to cut the Terps lead to three. With 5:12 left, Cloutier bounced one past Morris to cut the lead to two.
The Tar Heels had another chance on a man-up seconds later, but turned it over and Bryce Young raced down the field and scored a huge goal. Wisnauskas added another insurance goal a minute later, which was enough to put the game away.
Maryland ends non-conference play 7-1, and will start Big Ten play next week at Michigan.
Three things to know
- This game got dicey late. The last three games, Maryland looked to be cruising to an easy victory. But North Carolina made it difficult, and who knows what would’ve happened if not for Bryce Young’s goal.
- Justin Shockey was dominant. The freshman put together his best performance of the season. and forced the Tar Heels to put a long pole at the X in the second half. North Carolina was without its top FOGO, and Shockey took full advantage.
- Time for Big Ten play. It was another successful run through non-conference play, and now Maryland will turn to defending its Big Ten regular season and tournament titles. Up first is a trip to Michigan, who just pulled off a huge upset over Notre Dame this week.