Midway through the third quarter, junior midfielder Bubba Fairman fired a laser on goal that struck the top post and ricocheted back onto the field. Junior attackman Anthony DeMaio snagged the rebound and passed the ball to fellow attackman Daniel Maltz on the left side.
The freshman caught the ball, turned and delivered a pass across the crease to Logan Wisnauskas, who did what he does best; fired the ball past the goalie for one of his five goals.
No. 7 Maryland men’s lacrosse took a 9-7 lead on that goal, which seemingly summed up the Terps’ offensive performance in their 14-9 victory over No. 5 Notre Dame.
“Next shot mentality. I was kinda pissed off, [Entenmann] was making some good saves,” Wisnauskas said. “You gotta hit the reset button. Next shot is going in, just have to have that mentality.”
Maryland dominated possession of the ball and outshot Notre Dame 64-31, but struggled to convert on all the opportunities. The 64 shots they took were the second most all season. But the team’s resiliency made the difference to put the Terps back in the win column after suffering their first loss of the season last time out.
The Terps had struggled to gain early leads all season, but on Saturday they played with more urgency in the first quarter.
Senior Jared Bernhardt got the scoring going with an unassisted goal where he wrapped around the front of the net and slid the ball past the Notre Dame goalie Liam Entenmann. Bernhardt tallied on another goal just over a minute later, pushing Maryland to a 2-0 lead.
“Coach Tillman was emphasizing the first five minutes and understanding that if we win those it’ll give us a good start,” senior defenseman Nick Grill said. “We’ve been in holes early in games especially the past two games. So really just getting out, being excited out there.”
The Irish seemed to wake up after that and got two goals of their own to even the score. But Wisnauskas finished off a feed from senior Russel Masci and the Terps took a 3-2 lead heading into the second quarter, marking the second time this season Maryland led after one.
The second quarter was a seesaw affair. Anytime one team would take a lead, the opposition would counter. Maryland’s defense played one of its better halves of the season, limiting the Irish to five goals. Maryland didn’t let Notre Dame possess the ball much, winning the first half faceoff battle 10-4, which inhibited their ability to score.
Despite dominating faceoffs and outshooting the Fighting Irish 33-14, Maryland clung to only a two goal lead at half. Entenmann was terrific in net, saving nine shots in the first half to keep his team in it.
The game of runs continued with Notre Dame notching the first two goals of the second half to even the game at seven. But Maryland locked in on defense and didn’t allow a Notre Dame goal for the last 10:51 of the third quarter.
“They just defended us,” Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan said. “I felt we were kind of soft honestly. We weren’t determined in what we were doing. We came into this game having four empty possessions in two games and today we were just brutal.”
Meanwhile, their offense found its rhythm. Consecutive goals from Maltz, Wisnauskas, and midfielder Kyle Long put the Terps up 10-7 heading into the fourth.
With a three goal lead, the first few minutes of the fourth were crucial for the Fighting Irish if they wanted to complete a comeback. But Wisnauskas found the back of the net twice for his fourth and fifth goals of the game, putting the nail in the coffin at 12-8. Notre Dame could only tally one more goal as Maryland hung on to win, while adding two more scores of its own.
Three Things to know
1. Freshman Logan McNaney makes first career start in goal. In its first four contests, Maryland went with sophomore Chris Brandau in net. Brandau — a transfer from Georgetown — had been solid but not spectacular in the first four games. He saved 56 shots while allowing 52 goals with a 51 percent save percentage.
But after the loss to Villanova, Tillman elected to give freshman Logan McNaney his first career start. McNaney had yet to see any action this season, but was a highly touted recruit, allowing only 3.8 goals per game in high school while winning MVP at the Under Armour All-American game.
“Logan being a freshman, coming in here and playing against a top five team, you gotta give him all the credit in the world in a difficult spot. He played great in practice so I think he earned that,” Grill said. “Giving him savable shots and confidence that he’s out there for a reason and we got his back no matter what.”
McNaney made 10 saves, and only allowed nine goals in his first career win.
2. Justin Shockey has his best game of the season. Shockey has had an up-and-down season in his first year as the starting faceoff specialist for the Terps, but on Saturday he put together his most complete game. He won 18-of-26 faceoffs, allowing the Terps to possess the ball more frequently.
In the Terps’ loss at Villanova, freshman Conor Calderone saw all 29 faceoffs. Shockey clearly responded well, and he was one of the Terps’ most important players in their victory.
“I give Justin credit. He's been a pro. I think all those face-off guys have,” Tillman said. “You could hear the face-off guys all really supporting Justin today and to me that’s when you know you got a good group.”
3. Maryland picks up its second top-10 win of the season. After a loss at Villanova Feb. 29, Saturday’s battle against Notre Dame provided an opportunity to see what the team learned from its upset loss, and how it would respond. An impressive start, combined with an answer for every Notre Dame goal showed Maryland could play a complete game.
“I think that really played into our favor, getting guys healthy and off of some sickness,” Wisnauskas said of the long layover. “It got us healthy, fresh and rejuvenated.”
The defense did not allow Notre Dame’s offense to find their rhythm, and when the Terps built a big fourth quarter lead, the Irish simply could not come back. Maryland allowed less than 10 goals for the first time all season.
The loss at Villanova was not good for their record, but Saturday’s win was the best the team had looked all season and showed it can compete with anybody.