COLLEGE PARK – The University of Maryland men’s lacrosse team may have just recently moved to the Big Ten, but the Terps made sure they came out and made a statement against old ACC rival North Carolina (UNC). Maryland, the No. 6 team in the nation, knocked off the No. 12 Tar Heels with an […]
COLLEGE PARK – The University of Maryland men’s lacrosse team may have just recently moved to the Big Ten, but the Terps made sure they came out and made a statement against old ACC rival North Carolina (UNC).
Maryland, the No. 6 team in the nation, knocked off the No. 12 Tar Heels with an impressive 11-8 victory against one of the country’s better offenses.
The game started off with the Terps asserting themselves early with a long possession that they eventually turned over. UNC didn’t waste much time capitalizing on the turnover, as Chris Cloutier scored on the first shot of the game and gave the Tar Heels a lead three minutes in.
Connor Kelly then took over the game and evened the score for the Terps, and then scored his second goal of the game less than a minute later to give Maryland its first lead of the game.
“I’m just trying to do my part,” Kelly said. “We have a lot of talent on this team and playing with those guys allows me to be better.”
Kelly then got his teammates involved in the scoring action, as Colin Heacock gave the Terps a 3-1 lead on a gorgeous pass from Kelly from just outside the crease near the end of the first. However, UNC’s Brian Cannon immediately answered and cut the Terps’ lead to 3-2 at the end of one.
The Terps continued to build on their lead with their first extra-man opportunity in the second quarter. Senior Bryan Cole needed only 15 seconds to find the back of the net after yet another Kelly assist.
“I think off-ball movement is key for our team. (UNC) has a lot of great players and they have to try to key in on guys. You just try to find anybody who is open,” Kelly said.
North Carolina received a two-man advantage with less than eight minutes left in the first half, and Steve Pontrello made it count as he scored to cut the lead to 4-3. But, with 3:12 remaining in the half, Kelly netted his hat-trick goal for his fifth point of the game and put Maryland ahead 5-3.
Terrapins goalie Kyle Bernlohr made a stellar, key save as time was winding down in the first half and his teammates were able to break out and find Matt Rambo for the goal and took a 6-4 lead into the half. Rambo has now scored a goal in 19 straight games.
“Early in the season there was a lot of watching and we weren’t attacking the inside and we weren’t finding the gaps in the backside,” Maryland Head Coach John Tillman said. “I think we’re getting better there. There is still a lot of work to do.
“The hard part is you can’t chuck it inside every time. You have to be smart. But if they’re going to give you those openings, you have to try to take advantage of it.”
The second half was a stalemate for nearly six minutes before a lengthy rush by the Terps led to Heacock netting his second goal of the contest. Kelly later added his sixth and final point with the assist on a skip pass from about 13 yards out after recovering from being knocked down and drawing a penalty.
North Carolina made an attempt to chip away at Maryland’s lead, but was constantly answered by the Terp’s potent offense. Rambo netted a hat-trick of his own to close the third quarter and added a fourth goal in the final quarter.
“Their offense is as good as I’ve seen in several years,” North Carolina Head Coach Joe Breschi said. “They know who they are and what they want to accomplish.”
The Terrapins led 9-6 going into the final quarter where they maintained control and cruised to an 11-8 victory.
Maryland moves to 5-2 on the season, while North Carolina falls to 5-4.