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Maryland men's lacrosse stayed poised before second-half comeback against High Point

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Despite trailing at halftime, the Terps never doubted their chances of winning.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Down by two at halftime to an unranked opponent, it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect the No. 4 team in the nation to start panicking.

This was opening day, the first game of the season, and Maryland men's lacrosse was losing at home to a High Point team that has never made it past the first round of the NCAA Tournament. But according to the Terrapins, no panic was present.

"We got what we expected," said head coach John Tillman. "A team that was an NCAA tournament team."

After jumping out to a 2-0 lead over the Panthers, Maryland's offense slowed, while High Point's attacking trio of Dan Lomas, Michael LeClair and Matt Thistle helped put the Panthers ahead 6-4 at halftime.

Being down by two goals was less than ideal, but Tillman said his players remained calm.

"I feel like our guys could have panicked and felt sorry for themselves," he said. "But a lot of the seniors and juniors were very poised and very positive and pulled us through."

Senior Bryan Cole said the team understands the importance of staying composed.

"You just have to ride the highs and lows and stay calm, cool and collected," he said. "Sometimes the ball doesn't fall our way... You have to be collected as a unit and ride the waves of the game."

While Tillman and Cole pointed at different people who helped set the tone, junior Dylan Maltz said their composure sent a message for the entire team.

"I think it was between Coach Tillman and Cole actually," he said. "They made sure that even though we were down two or three, we were all calm and cool. It was positive throughout the whole entire halftime break. We knew we have been down before. We knew we could come back."

The composure started paying off immediately, as Maryland scored two goals in the first three minutes of the second half to tie the game. The two teams battled in the third quarter, with neither team leading by more than two goals at any point. Once the fourth quarter started, Maryland's poise under pressure paid dividends.

The Terrapins outscored High Point 4-1 in the fourth quarter, eventually winning 15-10. Cole credited the team for staying focused and refusing to panic.

"The young guys look to the older guys everyday from September on," he said. "They follow what the older guys do, because that's the only thing they know. Thankfully, our older guys have been battle tested."