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Maryland men’s lacrosse expects its success to continue and grow in 2020

After falling short of Memorial Day weekend, the Terps return a strong core for the future.

Maryland men’s lacrosse vs. Bucknell Lila Bromberg / Testudo Times

The Maryland sports offseason is almost over, and we’re finishing our recap of the 2018-19 season. There were national championships in men’s soccer and women’s lacrosse, and a trip to the title game in field hockey. Maryland athletes won some of the highest honors in their sports. But there were also some lows, both on and off the field.

This summer, we’ve been taking an in-depth look at each of Maryland’s varsity programs, exploring where they’ve been and where they’re going. We’ve broken down 14 of Maryland’s teams thus far and will now be turning to men’s lacrosse.

Maryland men’s lacrosse

Established: 1924
All-time record: 834-276-4 (.751)
Championships: 9 pre-NCAA (1931, 1936, 1937*, 1939, 1940, 1955, 1956, 1959*, 1967; 3 NCAA (1973, 1975, 2017)
Last 5 years: 74-19, 20-5 Big Ten
The coach: John Tillman (entering ninth season)
2019: 12-5, 3-2 Big Ten, NCAA quarterfinals

Where it’s been

When it comes to men’s lacrosse, the Terps have always been looked upon as a powerhouse. With some of the best high school talent at schools like Severna Park and Boys Latin, Maryland is able to recruit and develop local talent.

Since starting the program in 1924, Maryland has had a winning overall record every year, apart from 1944 and 1945 when there was no team due to World War II, and employed nine different coaches. The men’s lacrosse program has a total of 12 titles, including three from the NCAA Division I Tournament.

Since joining the Big Ten in 2015, the Terps have been crowned as Big Ten regular-season champions three times and co-champions once, plus conference tournament champions twice.

Where it’s going

When Tillman came to College Park in 2011, he had a lot to prove after finishing a game over .500 at Harvard in a three-year span. But since he arrived, Tillman’s Terps have gone 122-38 with seven Final Four appearances and an NCAA championship in 2017 that ended a 42-year title drought.

At the moment, it appears that Tillman will return his coaching staff from 2019, including assistant coaches J.L. Reppert and Jesse Bernhardt and volunteer assistant coach Tyler Barbarich. While Reppert coaches the offense and Bernhardt orchestrates the defense, Barbarich works with Maryland’s faceoff specialists.

Maryland had what most would describe as a down year in 2019, posting a 12-5 record. The Terps had not lost more than five games since 2012, Tillman’s second season at the helm. With the team being nationally ranked nearly every year, Maryland is expected to make it to championship weekend on a yearly basis — and was one call away from doing just that this past season. The Terps also had two opportunities to beat longtime rival Johns Hopkins, but were unable to capitalize in the regular season and Big Ten tournament.

Despite a slight dip last year, the Terps reload in 2020 with 15 new recruits and a handful of transfers coming into College Park. Tillman has always demonstrated the ability to get the most out of his players, and with the core returning, the next couple years should be no different.

Names to know

Maryland will bring back four of their five top scorers from the previous season, excluding 2019 graduate Louis Dubick. Rising senior and 2019 Tewaaraton Award finalist Jared Bernhardt and rising juniors Bubba Fairman, Logan Wisnauskas and Anthony DeMaio will all be returning to Maryland. The quartet accounted for 148 goals and 97 assists this past season. For perspective, Maryland finished with 215 goals and 138 assists on the season as a whole.

The Terps also return rising sophomore Kyle Long, who came on strong near midseason and worked his way into Maryland’s first line of midfielders. Rising junior Justin Shockey will be expected to receive the majority of the faceoffs after winning just over 50 percent of his draws last season, although he will have some competition. On the defensive side of the field, rising sophomore defender Brett Makar and rising junior short-stick defender Roman Puglise should anchor Maryland’s defense.

But for the second straight year, Maryland’s starting goalie position is vacant following the graduations of Dan Morris in 2018 and Danny Dolan in 2019. Rising juniors Colin Miller and Drew Morris return, with only Morris having seen game action. Freshman Logan McNaney comes in as the No. 2 goalie in the 2019 class and was named the MVP during the Under Armour All-American game in June. The Terps also welcomed former Georgetown goalie Chris Brandau in July; he had a solid freshman season for an NCAA Tournament Hoyas team.

The mission

Although Maryland lost a lot of key players to graduation, the Terps are bringing back their talented core. With Maryland returning two crucial midfielders and attackmen, along with a deep rotation of young players, the 2020 season should be an up year for the Terps. If Tillman and his staff are able to find a balance between the two, the Terps could capture their second title in the past four years. Even if that doesn’t come, though, Maryland doesn’t look to be going anywhere in the near future.