When Roman Puglise charged down the field and scored to give Maryland men’s lacrosse a 5-1 lead with 5:07 to go in the first quarter on Saturday night, it looked like the Terps were ready to cruise and Johns Hopkins was ready to fold like it did against Penn State last weekend. But the Blue Jays fought back and took the lead in the second quarter, never trailing again in a 16-11 win over No. 2 Maryland in College Park.
Hopkins outscored the Terps 11-2 over a 31-minute stretch that spanned from the first quarter to the third, effectively putting the game out of reach. Maryland struggled to contain Blue Jays leading scorer and freshman Joey Epstein, who finished with four goals and two assists for a game-high six points. Cole Williams added a hat trick, and Forry Smith also finished with two goals and two assists.
Bubba Fairman led the Terps with a game high five goals, and Jared Bernhardt was the only other Maryland player to score more than one. Logan Wisnauskas was mostly held in check, finishing with one goal in three assists.
After going down 4-1 in the first quarter, Hopkins head coach Dave Pietramala made a change at the faceoff X,subbing in Matt Narewski for Kyle Prouty, who lost four of his five attempts. Narewski won 16-of-26, allowing the Blue Jays to continue to get into an offense that peppered the Terps’ defense. Hopkins outshot Maryland 43-21, with the Terps eventually wearing down.
Like last weekend, Maryland jumped on its opponent early. The Terps won and scored off the first faceoffs, with Fairman opening the scoring and Bernhardt wrapping around for a goal 55 seconds later.
Epstein got Hopkins on the board with 11:25 to go in the period, only for Maryland to respond back with three straight goals. Wisnauskas found Fairman on a skip pass with the shot clock winding down, then found a wide open Bernhardt in the middle of the Blue Jays defense. Then, following a Dolan save on a Hopkins man-up, the fifth-year senior passed to Puglise, who cleared the ball and fired a dart past Ryan Darby to give the Terps a 5-1 lead.
The Blue Jays answered back with three straight of their own, with Marr and Williams getting on the board and Smith adding a goal less than a minute into the second quarter. Wisnauskas scored his first goal of the game with 11:39 to go in the second half, but Hopkins controlled the rest of the period.
Williams scored another goal to cut Maryland’s lead back to one with 10:30 remaining, and after a five-minute drought, the Blue Jays scored four straight to take a 9-6 halftime lead.
Fairman completed his hat trick to open the second half, but it didn’t lead to a rally. The Terps still struggled to execute against Hopkins’ defense, and Maryland’s defense wore down from the constant barrage of shots. After goals from Connor DeSimone and Brett Baskin 1:14 apart, Epstein’s third goal with 3:33 remaining in the third gave the Blue Jays a 12-7 lead. The Terps finally got some energy towards the end of the frame, getting a goal from second-line midfielder Russell Masci and a bouncer from Fairman to cut the lead to 12-9.
Williams and Fairman traded goals to start the fourth quarter, but Maryland couldn’t capitalize on its window to cut into the lead. Hopkins scored three straight before Anthony DeMaio added one in garbage time, putting the exclamation point on a much-needed victory.
The two teams will play in the 119th edition of “The Rivalry” Thursday night at Rutgers in the Big Ten tournament semifinals.
Three things to know
1. Johns Hopkins played like a desperate team. The Blue Jays came into this game needing a win to realistically have a shot at the NCAA Tournament, and played like it after the opening minutes. Their fire-at-will offensive approach eventually became too much for Maryland’s defense, and the Terps offense was never consistent against Hopkins’ physical defense.
2. Bubba Fairman kept Maryland in it. The sophomore has been up-and-down scoring-wise this year, but showed up for the Terps’ biggest rivalry. His goals allowed Maryland to hang around, and at times he was the only Terps player with energy.
3. Only five days until the rematch. With Ohio State’s loss to Michigan on Friday and Penn State beating Rutgers today, both teams were guaranteed to play each other in Thursday’s Big Ten tournament semifinals. The only thing at stake tonight was what jerseys each time will wear, and Hopkins will wear the home team white with its win tonight.