With about four minutes remaining in the third quarter of Maryland men’s lacrosse’s 16-14 win over High Point on Saturday, the Terps converged on a Panthers attackman in the far corner behind the goal and earned a free possession.
Then, after midfielder Connor Kelly’s shot was saved, midfielder Logan Wisnauskas fired a shot across his body that landed in the back of the net. The redshirt freshman clenched his right fist in celebration.
That sequence came after the Panthers had come within a goal for the first time since the opening quarter and sealed Maryland’s victory.
At the end, Maryland contained High Point’s potent attack, which scored the most goals the Terps have allowed since May 2016.
“It wasn’t easy,” coach John Tillman said. “High Point kept coming and coming. Guys kept holding on and responding. Obviously, to go on the road and get a win in a close game, you’ll teach that. But there are many teachable moments.”
The win extended Maryland’s winning streak to 10 games and pushed Tillman’s record to 5-0 in games against Southern Conference opponents. Wisnauskas earned his first career hat trick, while Kelly and attackman Jared Bernhardt each paced Maryland’s attack with four scores.
Still, Saturday’s matchup proved to be a much greater challenge than Maryland’s previous two meetings against the Panthers and tested Tillman’s team entering a stretch in which nine of its next 10 opponents are ranked.
Just when it appeared the Terps (3-0) had put the game away, Maryland’s sloppy defense enabled High Point (0-3) to rally.
As was the case in Maryland’s first two wins, the No. 2 Terps constructed a commanding lead. The Terps had five goal-scorers in the first and carried a 6-2 advantage into the second. Bernhardt earned a hat trick minutes into the period.
But trying to protect a seven-goal lead as the waning minutes of the second quarter ticked off the clock, Maryland allowed a score on an extra-man opportunity for the first time this season, and Panthers defender Chris Price’s line drive shot as the quarter ended punctuated High Point’s 4-0 run.
Nonetheless, Maryland entered the intermission with a 10-7 advantage. The Terps boasted a 22-16 shooting advantage but couldn’t put the Panthers away.
Maryland’s attack had a fast start to the third, as Kelly’s goal on a fast-break opportunity followed Wisnauskas’ commanding score. Their three goal deficit, though, wasn’t daunting for the Panthers.
High Point attackman Chris Young found the net to open the fourth, but attackman Tim Rotanz’s score with fewer than two minutes remaining helped Maryland put the Panthers away.
“We were off to a really good start,” Tillman said. “We weren’t perfect. Obviously, [the 14 goals are] not something we wanted to give up. We have to better manage end of quarter situations. Our offense, when we had chances, created pretty good looks.”