Despite a sluggish start, Maryland men’s lacrosse defeated No. 19 Rutgers 16-13 on the road Sunday night to move the Terps into a tie for the second spot in the Big Ten.
Rutgers was the aggressor for most of the first 30 minutes, amassing a five-goal lead on the No. 3 Terps in the first half and taking a three-goal advantage into halftime. But Maryland put together the comeback it they needed to get back into it, outscoring Rutgers 10-4 in the second half to take the game by three scores.
Jared Bernhardt had another hat trick, making it six straight games with at least three goals for the junior, putting him just one behind the program record. Bubba Fairman, Louis Dubick and Anthony DeMaio each had three scores of their own, with Logan Wisnauskas scoring two and dishing three assists. Adam Charmlabrides led the way in scoring for Rutgers, scoring four goals on six shots.
Although the group struggled for much of the first half, the combination of Austin Henningsen and Justin Shockey combined to go 18-of-33 on face offs, including a couple important ones late in the game to help secure the win. Ground balls were tight between both teams, with Rutgers narrowly edging the Terps 29-28 in that category. Maryland was able to outshoot its opponent 39-31, earning six more shots on goal than the Knights.
Rutgers came out firing early in the first quarter, scoring the first three goals of the game. Maryland would respond with a three-goal run of its own to tie things back up, but inconsistency at the faceoff X let the Scarlet Knights take back control of the game. Rutgers’ Connor Harryman won seven of nine faceoffs in the period, allowing for the Knights to put together another run before the end of the quarter to put them up 5-3 after one.
Rutgers kept things rolling into the second quarter, rattling off three more in the first five minutes to jump out to a five-goal lead. Bubba Fairman took matters into his own hands toward the end of the quarter, scoring twice in the period to try and help get the Terps out of the early hole they found themselves in. In all, it was an ugly first half for Maryland in every phase of the game, but the Terps only found themselves down three going into the locker room, trailing 9-6.
A turnaround effort by Henningsen at the X helped get Maryland back into it, winning 5-of-6 face offs in the third quarter. Those extra possessions helped Maryland find a rhythm offensively, with Bernhardt and Wisnauskas getting going to combine for three goals in the period. Maryland ultimately outscored Rutgers 4-1 in the quarter, taking a one-goal lead after three quarters at 11-10.
Maryland kept the pressure on in the fourth, scoring five unanswered goals in the quarter to build up a lead Rutgers couldn’t come back from. A couple of great cuts and scores from Louis Dubick in front of the net got the run started, while Bernhardt and Fairman scored a pair of unassisted goals to put the Terps up comfortably. Maryland did a good job of controlling the ball and working clock once they had the lead, eventually working the down the clock to win the game 16-13.
The Terps (10-2, 2-1 Big Ten) face a big test next weekend, as they head to Columbus to face Ohio State next Saturday.
Three things to know
1. This was an impressive comeback effort by the Terps. It doesn’t excuse the poor first-half play, but Maryland deserves some credit for coming from behind the way it did. In a hostile environment like Rutgers and facing a five-goal deficit, John Tillman has to be proud of his team for battling back and holding what was an on-fire Rutgers offense in the first half to just four goals in the second half.
2. A big win for Big Ten seeding. With how competitive the Big Ten has been this since, getting wins like these shouldn’t be taken for granted. Currently in a tie with Johns Hopkins for that second spot and owning the second-best overall record in the Big Ten, Maryland will compare favorably now to the teams below it that will be gunning for spots in the conference tournament.
3. Jared Bernhardt is inching his way toward breaking program records. Bernhardt has been on an absolute tear over the last six games, as now only Andrew Combs (2001) stands ahead of him for consecutive hat tricks in Maryland’s history. No defense has been able to find an answer for Bernhardt this season, with this recent run of games has being no different. The junior continues to make a case as one of the better players in the country this season.