BALTIMORE – The University of Maryland men’s lacrosse team continued to flex its muscle as a perennial national power as the Terrapins set a record that has stood since 1987. Maryland set a new school record with its 13th consecutive victory and dominated Rutgers in the process en-route to earning the Big Ten championship. With […]
BALTIMORE – The University of Maryland men’s lacrosse team continued to flex its muscle as a perennial national power as the Terrapins set a record that has stood since 1987.
Maryland set a new school record with its 13th consecutive victory and dominated Rutgers in the process en-route to earning the Big Ten championship.
With the win, the Terps (14-2) earned the Big Ten Conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, making for a NCAA-best 14th straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
The Terrapins never let up on the pesky Scarlet Knights, as they relentlessly fired on the net all afternoon with 47 shots leading to the 14-8 win.
“We have a really unselfish group and guys that have continued to work hard every day. Our scout team challenges them every day and our staff had them ready to play,” Terrapins Head Coach John Tillman said. “The 1-2 start (to the season) wasn’t what we were hoping for, but we kept digging a little bit at a time and we weren’t playing very well. We just weren’t and we all just said, ‘we all have to be better.’”
The Terrapins scored their first goal a minute into the contest, as Connor Kelly got the Terps rolling. Rutgers tied it up with 11:35 remaining in the opening quarter until Maryland scored again at 9:09 on a goal scored by Bryan Cole. Rutgers again answered, needing only 28 seconds to make it 2-2.
However, Rutgers’ lack of discipline allowed Maryland to pick up a two-man advantage with less than eight minutes left in the first. After that, the Terps never looked back.
Kelly scored on the two-man advantage at 7:35, and later teammate Matt Rambo scored his 100th career goal to extend the lead. Rambo, who finished with 11 points (6G, 5A) in the tournament, was named Big Ten Tournament MVP. Rambo was also named to the Big Ten All-Tournament team, along with seniors Kyle Bernlohr and Cole, and Kelly. Rambo has now recorded at least a point in 35 consecutive games.
Rutgers received its first man advantage with 2:43 left in the first, but it was short lived as the Terps quickly regained possession and killed it off. As time was expiring in the quarter, Rambo added another goal from a near impossible angle and gave the Terps a 5-2 lead.
“I just saw the ball in the air and just grabbed it and threw it at the net the best I could and luckily it went in. But that wasn’t a trend-setter in the game. At least I didn’t think it was. We still had 45 minutes left to play,” Rambo said. “We’re just clicking more than we were before because it takes time to gel and click.”
The second quarter started with Rutgers upping its pressure in an attempt to close in on the Terps’ lead. The Knights managed to cut into the lead, but the Terps immediately answered with a rocket by Pat Young to make it 6-3.
With 7:45 left in the half, Cole added his second score of the game and made it 7-4. The Terps then continued to pour it on as Rambo found Dylan Maltz down low to extend the lead to 8-4 with less than five minutes to go in the half.
“Guys are staying after and coming before and watching film. We’re shooting more and the guys are committed to getting better and being the best they can be,” Cole said. “We have goals we want to reach in our season and goals in the postseason and we just look at us and try to reach those goals.”
One of those goals was becoming a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, which is something the Terps haven’t accomplished since 1987. On Sunday night the Terps will know if they reached that goal when the tournament selections are made.
Rutgers cut the lead to three with 2:54 left in the half, but just seven seconds later Maltz stretched the lead back to four for the Terps. The Knights then got a two-man advantage with 15 seconds left, but nothing came of it and Maryland took a 9-5 lead into the half.
Maryland then struck for four goals in the third with Kelly scoring a pair and Maltz and Rambo adding the others. The goals extended the Terps’ lead to 13-7 and put the game out of reach for good.
The Terrapins coasted to victory in the fourth with Colin Heacock adding the final tally before the reserves finished out the contest. Heacock has now scored in 13 consecutive games.
Rambo matched his career-high with six points (3G, 3A) in the victory, while Kelly added four goals for the second straight game. Maltz finished with a hat trick and Cole posted two goals and two assists. Kyle Bernlohr made 12 saves while the Terrapins held the Scarlet Knights five goals below their season average.
“We had a few days to look over that and I picked up on different things and we just made adjustments (from the first game) and we just played like the Terps. It’s just another game and another win,” Bernlohr said.
The first round of the NCAA Tournament kicks off May 14.