With No. 4 Maryland men’s lacrosse trailing No. 6 Penn by a goal, the Terps possessed the ball on their side of the field. Working it around the net, sophomore Kyle Long fired a pass out to Anthony DeMaio. The junior caught the ball and fired a shot that skidded past the goalie, tying the game for the first time since the first quarter.
Just under a minute later, freshman Jack Brennan ran out from behind the net, spun around his defender and fired a shot into the back of the net. Brennan’s goal capped a 7-0 Terp run and helped erase the 15-9 deficit the Terps faced with with over seven minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Brennan’s goal was be followed by a score from fellow freshman Daniel Maltz — one of his career-high five goals on the afternoon — securing the Terps’ 17-15 come-from-behind victory for the second-consecutive week.
“Just sticking together. That’s been the story of the year so far. Chipping away at it one possession, one stop at a time,” defenseman Brett Makar said. “Believing in each other and luckily we came out with the win. Great team effort.”
Penn was known for its explosive offense last season. And with many pieces of that group returning, the Quakers showed what they are capable of early. Star sophomore Sam Handley scored in under a minute to put Penn on the board.
But the Terps had early answers, getting goals from midfielder Bubba Fairman and long stick midfielder Matt Rahill to counter and take a 2-1 lead. But that advantage didn’t last as Penn scored three unanswered goals to jump out to a 4-2 lead.
With just under a minute to play in the first half, Maryland had the ball with a chance to cut Penn’s lead to just one goal. With the shot clock and game clock being nearly simultaneous, the Terps could have held for the last shot.
But junior Bubba Fairman got a good look and attempted a shot. Penn goalie Patrick Burkinshaw was there though, making a tough save and giving the Quakers possession. Penn would take advantage of it as Dylan Gergar found the back of the net. The Annapolis, Maryland, native’s goal cut the Terps momentum, as Penn headed into half with a 12-9 advantage.
Penn scored only 12 goals in their matchup with the Terps last year but exploded for 12 in the first 30 minutes of play. Handley, Gergar and Sean Lulley all scored three goals for the Penn in the first two quarters.
Maryland got nine goals in the first half, in large part to the play of Jared Bernhardt. The senior attackman scored four of the nine goals for the Terps, but his efforts were not enough.
After the Gregar goal to end the half, the Terps seemed to lose their rhythm. They went 11 minutes without a goal, while the Quakers scored three more unanswered to extend the lead to six.
Playing from behind has not been uncommon for the Terps this season. They were down early in their season-opener over High Point and trailed by as many as five goals in the fourth quarter against Richmond the game prior.
Like last week, the Terps would not quit as Logan Wisnauskas and Maltz scored goals to end the third quarter.
Then in the fourth, everything flipped for the Terps. Maltz and DeMaio scored four unanswered goals to start the fourth to, miraculously, tie the game at 15. Brennan’s goal to make it 16-15 would ultimately be the game-winner. Maltz finished with a career-high five goals.
“Logan and Jared and Anthony Demaio, those guys just every day in practice they are pushing us to be the best and that’s helped us on the field,” Maltz said. “I’m just playing off of them pretty much. They get all the attention and I just did the easy work.”
While the offense dominated in the fourth, the defense did a much better job at slowing down the potent Penn offense. Sophomore goalie Chase Brandau was sensational, saving a career-high 19 shots.
Another key part of the comeback was Justin Shockey’s ability to win faceoffs down the stretch. Despite struggling early, the junior faceoff specialist rallied to win five of the seven faceoffs in the fourth quarter, which allowed the Terps to possess the ball and stop the Quakers from getting back into it.
“Justin Shockey, maybe statistically not great but I thought it was his most impactful game he played here,” head coach John Tillman said. “Just his hustle and effort, getting the ball and sometimes keeping it loose.”
Three things to know
1. Kyle Long makes his season debut. After battling with a lower body injury and missing the first two games of the season, the sophomore midfielder made his season debut and gave the Terps a huge spark. He scored a goal late in the first half and then had a crucial assist to DeMaio on the game-tying goal.
Long’s return adds a new dimension to the Terps’ midfield, especially on the offensive end. As a freshman he finished sixth on the team in points and was crucial in Maryland’s 2019 NCAA Tournament win over Towson with a season-high five goals.
“Getting Kyle Long back I thought was big for us,” Tillman said. “ He came back and we were able to play another guy on that offensive end. He helped us out.”
2. Daniel Maltz has breakout game. Maltz, a freshman attackman, was solid in his first two career outings. He racked up one goal and one assist in the wins over High Point and Richmond. But Saturday is when Maltz truly made a name for himself.
Maltz scored four of the goals In Maryland’s 8-0 run to end the game. The Virginia native scored 186 goals in high school, so his prowess should come as no surprise. The Terps have tons of weapons on the offensive end, and the additions of Maltz and Brennan have given this team a huge boost
3. Maryland shows it can comeback late...again. If last week’s five-goal fourth quarter deficit against Richmond wasn't enough of an adrenaline rush, the Terps decided to top that on Saturday by spotting the Quakers a six goal lead before coming back.
For the first three quarters, the Terps look outmatched on both sides of the field. And struggling to score for long periods of time and not being able to stop the Quakers led to the large deficit.
But in the fourth quarter, the team was more in sync and making less errors. The offensive unselfishness was on full display. On a day when usual standouts Wisnauskas and Fairman were limited, the Terps got late contributions from new faces. When Maryland plays like it did in the fourth quarter, they are one of the toughest teams to beat.