After storming up the field and winding up for a deep shot, defenseman Brett Makar pulled back on his long stick and dumped it off to attackman Jared Bernhardt.
Then, off a pass from Daniel Maltz, midfielder Logan Wisnauskas flicked one into the right corner of the net to cap off Maryland men’s lacrosse’s first run of the game, a three-goal streak that gave them their first multiple possession lead.
In a game of runs, the Terps came out on top, 13-7, dispatching the Nittany Lions with a powerful offensive attack.
“I thought we were focused and I thought we had good energy,” head coach John Tillman said.
Prior to Maryland’s week two contest against Penn State, Tillman spoke about the urgency to play and compete that he wanted his team to display the moment it came off the bus.
In the previous meeting between the two teams on March 31, 2019, the Terps fell flat. A slow start was to blame and Maryland lost for the first time ever against the Nittany Lions in a game almost devoid of any consistent defense. Fortunately for the Terps, it’s rolling offense ensured this contest was a far-cry from the two sides previous meeting.
“I don’t think anybody talked about the word revenge,” Tillman said, “It was just a sense of ‘Hey we’re better than what we showed [in 2019],’ and I think if you’re a competitive person, you’d like to just show better than that.”
The first minutes of Friday afternoon’s contest seemed to indicate a continuation of the Terps’ struggles against Penn State, as six shots by the Nittany Lions in the first four minutes to just one Maryland possession proved to be a cause of concern.
Penn State’s offense converted its seventh shot to take a 1-0 lead with 11:25 left in the first quarter, but Maryland manufactured a timely, two goal response to regain control of the contest. The two goals, scored by Kyle Long and Wisnauskas, respectively, allowed Maryland to firmly supplant itself in a more cerebral first quarter.
Despite a faceoff advantage (6-0) and a shot advantage (12 to Maryland’s six), Penn State had just two goals and a 3-2 deficit to show for its efforts in the first quarter. But as the Nittany Lions began the second frame with a commanding two-goal run, their fortunes began to change.
This time, with Maryland rattling off more shots to practically no avail, Penn State took a more tactical approach to regain the lead in just four shots.
Nittany Lion attackman Mac O’Keefe’s first goal of the contest, and the final goal of the teams first run, was a product of a botched clear that gave the fifth year senior a layup right in front of Logan McNaney. Still, even in a lesser offensive showing in the final 15 of the half, the Terps found the back of the net twice — enough to secure their one point lead.
Unlike the first, the second half started quickly for the Terps. A four point, six minute run, thrusted by two early goals by Maltz and two more by Bernhardt, gave Maryland its largest of the game.
“I thought the third quarter was huge for us. We got in a little bit of rhythm, started spinning the ball a little bit more, which was great,” Tillman said.
The run, capped off by an acrobatic finish from Bernhardt in front of an experienced Colby Kneese was the nail in the coffin for Penn State’s comeback hopes. It helped balloon the lead to 9-4, which McNaney (16 total saves), aided by his stout defense, wouldn’t give up.
“Logan played arguably his best game,” Tillman said, “I felt like [McNaney] was locked in all week.”
Maryland’s four goal third quarter proved insurmountable for Penn State’s offense to respond. With O’Keefe a non-factor, silenced by the likes of Nick Grill, the Nittany Lion’s produced a mere three points in the final half of the contest as Maryland continued to pepper the back of the net.
The Terps concluded the match with a four-goal streak that put all of their opponent’s comeback hopes to bed, earning them their second victory of the season.
Three things to know
1. Daniel Maltz continues to impress as a scorer. Daniel Maltz, the beneficiary of spectacular assists and a stacked offense, is one player who hasn’t lost a beat since Maryland’s destruction of Michigan. Maltz notched a team-high four goals Friday night to give him nine goals for the season.
2. Jared Bernhardt continues to make history. In this match, Bernhardt opted to flex his muscles as a distributor, tallying four assists along with his three goals, further solidifying his legend as one of Maryland’s greatest scorers. With his numbers this contest, Bernhardt has now joined the 200-point club and is sixth on the all-time points list with 202 points.
“He’s always trying to get better,” Tillman said, “I thought [Jared] did a little bit of everything today. He’s got a very complete game — he can play with the ball, he can play without the ball.”
3. Justin Shockey struggled on the faceoff. Senior FOGO Justin Shockey hasn’t had the best season so far, already losing 20 faceoffs, and his struggles continued Friday night. After losing the first six faceoffs, Shockey lost his spot to sophomore Conor Calderone, who helped fuel Maryland’s second half resurgence with all seven of the Terps’ faceoff wins in the contest.
“I thought [Penn States faceoff specialist Gerard] Arceri gave us fits all night,” Tillman said. “But I thought Conor Calderone came in and gave us a little more of a fighting chance.”