In another Big Ten slugfest, Maryland men’s lacrosse came out on top. The No. 1 Terps used a three-goal fourth quarter run to knock off No. 8 Rutgers, 11-10, on Sunday in College Park.
After scoring six goals against Penn State, Connor Kelly decided he wanted an encore performance against the Scarlet Knights. The senior finished with four goals and four assists, with five points coming in the first 17 minutes and three crucial points in the second half. The Terps also got another strong performance from a freshman, though this time it came from Bubba Fairman instead of Logan Wisnauskas. Fairman had a hat trick, and played possibly his best game all season.
After racing out to a big lead, the Terps were uncharacteristically sloppy for the rest of the afternoon. Maryland committed 13 turnovers, which only exacerbated its faceoff issues in the second and third quarter. Maryland went 7-for-11 from the X in the opening and final frames and 3-of-14 in the second and third quarters.
Rutgers leading scorer Jules Heningburg was relatively quiet with two goals and two assists, Christian Mazzone had three goals and an assist and Casey Rose and Kieran Mullins chipped in two goals and an assist each.
Unlike last week, Maryland got out to an early lead, scoring the first four goals. Kelly found Jared Bernhardt for the first goal of the day, as the sophomore fired a rocket past Rutgers goalie Max Edelmann with 8:09 to go in the first period. Twenty-one seconds later, Kelly found Bernhardt again, this time right in front of the cage. Both goals came on man-up opportunities, as Rutgers defender Garrett Michaeli got called for an illegal body check shortly before the first goal.
The Terps added to their lead later in the opening frame with two goals in six seconds. Fairman scored off a feed from Kelly, then Justin Shockey won the opening faceoff and passed it off to Kelly for another goal.
As good as the first quarter was, Maryland played possibly its worst quarter of the year in the following 15 minutes. The Terps were outshot 15-1, but the only shot resulted in a goal from Kelly with 12:51 to go in the period. They also struggled with faceoffs, winning one of eight, and were sloppy when they got the ball, committing five turnovers.
Rutgers ripped off four straight to tie the game, the last coming from Mazzone on a 6-on-4 opportunity. Maryland’s man-down defense had been 6-for-6 up to that point, but being two men down was too much to overcome.
Rose gave the Scarlet Knights a 6-5 lead when he scored with 12:59 to go in the third quarter, but Fairman answered back a few minutes later with a nice spin dodge and score to tie the game. Mazzone gave Rutgers the lead back with 9:23 to go, only for Fairman to answer back less than two minutes later.
Kelly finished off a hat trick with 4:29 remaining in the third quarter, and needed about six inches of space to unleash a firecracker into the net. Heningburg tied it again off a failed Maryland clear with a minute left in the period, and the Rose gave the Scarlet Knights the lead with a goal from 10 yards out early in the fourth quarter.
The Terps had five shots off target after that, and finally broke through when Anthony DeMaio scored off Kelly’s fourth assist of the game. Tim Rotanz stepped up after a quiet day on the next possession to give Maryland the lead, and Kelly added his fourth goal of the day off the ensuing faceoff to give the Terps some breathing room.
Rutgers’s Tommy Coyne scored with 2:44 to go, but Jack Welding forced a huge turnover in front of the goal on the Scarlet Knights next possession to seal the victory.
Maryland is now 10-1 overall and 3-0 in conference play, and will host Ohio State next Sunday in a national championship game rematch.
Three things to know
- Connor Kelly is still really good. The senior followed up his seven-point game last week with an eight-point performance this week. He set the tone to start this one, then had a huge goal and assist late.
- Austin Hennnigsen won some huge faceoffs. It was another rocky day for Maryland at the faceoff circle, with Shockey and Will Bonaparte struggling in the first half. The junior came out to start the second half, and came up with some key groundballs late when the Terps took the lead late in the fourth quarter.
- The Terps are in the drivers’ seat in the Big Ten. After this weekend, Maryland is now the only undefeated team in Big Ten play. The Terps are almost guaranteed a spot in the conference tournament, and a win over Ohio State next week would give them a share of the regular season title.