FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Maryland men’s lacrosse coach John Tillman and his staff considered defending Duke attackman Justin Guterding the same way they did Cornell attackman Jeff Teat. Defensemen Jack Welding, Curtis Corley and Bryce Young alternated guarding Teat, who didn’t record a score in Maryland’s quarterfinal win.
However, because of the movement of the Duke attack, Tillman elected not to use that approach to defend the Blue Devils’ leading scorer. Guterding, who admitted at times he wanted to control the game himself, scored three times but often relinquished control to the rest of the offense. The decision left Maryland’s defense searching for answers.
In No. 4 Duke’s 13-8 win over No. 1 Maryland, the Blue Devil attack led the way, using a 6-0 spurt in the first half to limit the Terps chances at competing for a second title for as many seasons. For the first time in five years, the Terps will not be playing on Memorial Day.
Instead, they watched as the Blue Devils celebrated their second win in their last eight meetings against coach John Tillman’s team.
“Obviously I didn’t do a very good job of getting them ready, which will sting for a while,” Tillman said. “But all things considered, I just love our team, and I’m sorry we couldn’t get to Monday.”
After their worst 20-minute stretch of the year left the Terps facing a daunting six-goal deficit, Maryland consistently maneuvered its way through the Duke defense and cut into the hole and eventually seemed poised to take the lead. But it never did.
Guterding, who leads Duke with 64 goals, scored twice in the final seven minutes to seal the defending national champions’ fate.
Still, it wasn’t Guterding who left Maryland’s defense frustrated. Duke freshman midfielder Nakeie Montgomery posted a first-half hat trick, and attackman Joe Robertson made it a 6-0 matchup in the second quarter, silencing the Terps contingent among the 30,616 in attendance. It marked the largest deficit Maryland has faced this season.
Despite Duke’s early productivity, Maryland limited the Blue Devils in the waning moments of the second quarter. Led by two scores from freshman midfielder Logan Wisnauskas and midfielder Tim Rotanz’s 10-yard strike, the Terps scored five of the final seven goals to end the first half. Nonetheless, they faced a three-goal halftime deficit for the second time in the NCAA tournament.
“They came out with a little bit more energy than us in the beginning,” Corley said. “It’s obviously a sting, but I felt like we came back, we fought [and] we stuck to our game plan.”
Maryland trailed Robert Morris by three goals at the intermission of its first-round game before using a second-half spurt to secure a 14-11 win. The Terps positioned themselves for another run Saturday.
About halfway through the third, Rotanz trudged past Guterding on the near sideline and connected with Bubba Fairman, who made it a one-goal game. The Maryland sideline erupted in celebration, but it was as close as the Terps would get. For the second time this season, the attack failed to score at least 10 goals.
“Offensively we were — it seemed like we were able to get pretty much whatever we wanted, but that was just executing the game plan and listening to the coaching staff,” Guterding said. “We were able to beat their short sticks and move it and have open shots.”
Duke, which entered the game averaging about 14 goals per contest, went scored twice to end the third period. By the time Guterding found the net a second time with about seven minutes remaining in the fourth, the deficit was too large for the Terps to overcome.
In the same place they ended a 42-year championship drought last season, the Terps, outplayed from the start, watched on as the Blue Devils rushed the field, having secured a spot in the title game.
“They’re talking a lot of defense, but the biggest thing that stands out is their athleticism, but I thought we had a good offense implemented,” midfielder Connor Kelly said. “I’ll take a lot of the blame. I sort of had some costly turnovers, costly shots, and that’s on me.”