No. 6 Maryland men’s lacrosse scores most goals this season in 17-7 trouncing of Villanova

Midfielder Bubba Fairman keeps the ball away from a defender during Maryland’s 10-9 win over Richmond at Maryland Stadium on Feb. 9, 2019. (Alex Chen/The Diamondback)

Maryland men’s lacrosse midfielder Wesley Janeck scooped up the loose ball from the faceoff and darted toward the net with nine seconds left in the first half.

The senior, who had registered just one shot in his career prior to Saturday’s bout with Villanova, outran multiple Wildcats defenders before shooting from close range for the first goal of his career.

The late strike was the exclamation point on No. 6 Maryland’s decisive 11-2 first-half advantage that it used to earn a commanding 17-7 win over Villanova on Saturday at Maryland Stadium.

“Our defense did such a great job, our coach put together such a great game plan,” goalie Danny Dolan said. “And the [offense] did such a great job, they really paced us.”

Maryland (7-1) set the tone for the game immediately, scoring on its first three possessions of the game. Midfielders Bubba Fairman, Christian Zawadzki and Anthony DeMaio netted the initial goals for the Terps, finding themselves in prime territory around the crease for interior shots.

The Terps’ defense held the Wildcats (3-4) without a goal for more than 10 minutes. Dolan made routine stops and point-blank saves to keep the visitors scoreless early en route to nine first-half saves.

“Dan, when we had some breakdowns really bailed us out,” coach John Tillman said. “And our ability to get the ball out quickly helped us turn those stops into possessions … and when we got our opportunities, we wanted to can them.”

Maryland kept Villanova off the board until midfielder Connor Kirst ended the Wildcats’ scoring drought on a man-up opportunity with attackman Jared Bernhardt serving a penalty for a dive violation.

But Maryland didn’t allow the goal to disrupt the momentum it had established in the early goings.

Following attackman Logan Wisnauskas’ score that answered the Villanova goal, Bernhardt made amends for his penalty, notching back-to-back tallies to widen Maryland’s lead to 7-1 early in the second quarter, which would only grow further.

After the lead had ballooned 9-2 late in the first half, DeMaio scooped up a pass and fired a left-handed shot to the back of the net with 17 seconds left in the half.

On the ensuing faceoff, Janeck stepped to the dot for just the second time this season.

“Wes is a guy that just, if need be, he gets in there and he fights for loose balls,” Tillman said. “As fate would have it, he just got it and he started running.”

Off his run to the goal, Janeck stepped into a shot that flew past Villanova goalie Will Vitton to cap off Maryland’s most-complete half of the season.

The 11 goals on just 18 shots in the opening 30 minutes were the most the Terps have put up in a half this season, while the defense allowed two goals, matching its season-low for a half. The Terps committed just four turnovers after entering the game averaging more than 15 per game.

The scoring frenzy didn’t end after halftime for Maryland.

Fairman finished off a hat trick in the second half, and ended with a team-leading four goals and two assists. He used his skillset in a variety of areas on the field to create opportunities against the long-pole defender he matched up with.

“Coach kind of drew up a plan earlier in the week, he just felt I had a decent amount of size on the kid,” Fairman said. “Coach thought I could get pretty physical with him, so that’s what I tried to do.”

Maryland closed the quarter strong once again with two goals in eight seconds to take a 16-5 lead into the final period.

With the cushion it established in the first 45 minutes, Maryland coasted to its most convincing win of the season and largest margin of victory in 2019.

“Defensively … the guys had a really good feel for what we wanted to try to do,” Tillman said. “Offensively, the guys were really balanced, they looked for each other [and] they played with good pace.”

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