For the second time in six days, Maryland men’s lacrosse came up short against Johns Hopkins, falling 12-7 in the Big Ten semifinals Thursday night in Piscataway, New Jersey.
Maryland controlled the action for most of the first half, jumping out to a four-goal lead over the Blue Jays for the second consecutive week. But Hopkins’ defense stepped up in the second half, holding the Terps to just one goal in the final 30 minutes to allow for a comeback. By outscoring Maryland 10-1 in the second half, Hopkins was able to roar back and take this one by five.
Jared Bernhardt had another hat trick, adding an assist to give him four points. But that was about it for Maryland’s offense, as Louis Dubick, Logan Wisnauskas, Anthony DeMaio and Kyle Long each scored once for the Terps. Four players scored twice for Hopkins.
Maryland was heavily outshot by Hopkins, getting off 28 shots compared to the Blue Jays’ 44. It was a tight finish in regard to ground balls, with Hopkins earning a 32-24 edge. Justin Shockey replaced Austin Henningsen at the faceoff X and won 14 of 23 draws, and Danny Dolan made 15 saves on 27 shots faced, but it wasn’t enough.
Outside of its sturdy defensive effort, the Terps were outplayed and outhustled by Hopkins in the early part of the first quarter. The Blue Jays found success again at the X and forced the Terps into five first-quarter turnovers. They also won five out of the first six ground balls, winning the 50/50 balls and playing like the team that wanted it more. But once Shockey started winning at the X, Maryland started to find the gaps in the Hopkins defense, as Bernhardt, Dubick, DeMaio and Long each scored for the Terps to put them up 4-2 after one.
Turnovers remained an issue for Maryland into the second, losing possession on six more occasions to hit double digits before halftime with 11. The offense weathered the storm, though, scoring twice in the first six minutes to go up four, the same margin Maryland led by in the first half last weekend. The lead could have been more if not for the strong goalkeeping by Hopkins’ Ryan Darby, who made three impressive saves to hold Maryland to just two scores in the period. Another composed quarter defensively for the Terps and some strong play from Danny Dolan in net held the Blue Jays scoreless in the period, putting Maryland on top 6-2 after 30 minutes.
Maryland continued to find success in shutting down Hopkins’ dangerous attack group of Kyle Marr, Cole Williams and Joey Epstein, holding the trio to just one goal through the first 40 minutes of play. But this game quickly turned into a flashback of last weekend’s contest, as Johns Hopkins again put together a run to draw back even. Williams and Marr each finally got on the board, scoring two of the four goals Hopkins needed to draw even with the Terps. Joey Epstein added his second of the game right after, giving Johns Hopkins it’s first lead of the game heading into the final 15.
Maryland struggled to get off good shots against a Johns Hopkins defense that really tightened up as the game went along. Both teams traded goals early in the period, with Hopkins holding a two goal lead heading into the final five minutes of the game. But Darby started to see the ball with every shot that came at him, stonewalling the Terps time and time again to hold off a comeback effort. With a goal at the 3:45 mark by Forry Smith gave the Blue Jays their largest lead of the game and they didn’t look back from there, adding two more with an empty net to give it 12-7 win.
The Terps await the NCAA Tournament selection show, which is Sunday at 5 p.m. ET.
Three things to know
1. Turnovers killed Maryland in this one. In a game where both sides knew how important each possession would be, the Terps were downright careless with the ball. They turned it over 18 times, four over their average for the season. The margin for error will only get smaller as postseason play continues, and Maryland’s ball security will need to be better if they want to keep playing this season.
2. Bubba Fairman goes point-less. After scoring five times the last time these teams played, Fairman was a non-factor offensively for the Terps tonight. No one could find any space to shoot on Hopkins’ defense in that second half, but for Fairman, who’s played great at times this season, it’s becoming harder and harder to figure out what to expect from the sophomore each game.
3. Now, we’re in the committee’s hands. Maryland was looking like a lock for a top-eight seed in the NCAA Tournament heading into its final game of the season against Hopkins, but consecutive losses here could put that in jeopardy. The Terps’ body of work this season should still be enough to get them a home game in round one, but their road to the Final Four likely just got much harder. And they may have just let the Blue Jays sneak in themselves by giving them two quality wins.