By James Crabtree-Hannigan
Matt Rahill knew exactly what he was going to do once Curtis Corley’s pass got to him.
Midway through the fourth quarter Saturday, the Terps had squashed all hopes of a Wolverines comeback, and Rahill went for the jugular in what had been just a two-goal game about four minutes earlier.
So as the ball arrived in his stick, the defenseman turned, stepped into his shot and fired from 50 yards out, rifling directly into the net vacated as part of Michigan’s 10-man ride and putting the exclamation point on No. 3 Maryland men’s lacrosse’s bounceback win.
Behind a dominant second quarter, Maryland weathered Michigan’s third-quarter response and bounced back from a loss to No. 1 Penn State six days prior by beating the Wolverines, 16-12.
“Certainly wasn’t a work of art,” coach John Tillman said. “But the effort was awesome. I thought the guys really battled. Much that we can built upon and grow from going forward.”
The Nittany Lions set the tone Sunday with an outrageous 8-1 first quarter that the Terps never bounced back from. Following an even opening 15 minutes against the Wolverines, Maryland took control in the second quarter, with the help of attackman Jared Bernhardt.
“We just saw some openings,” Bernhardt said, “and we were able to make plays.”
Maryland was leading 7-4 with a minute left before halftime, but then Bernhardt took over. With the help of consecutive faceoff wins, the junior notched a pair of goals and an assist in the final 60 seconds, turning the Terps’ halftime lead to 10-4 and completing a second quarter they won, 7-1.
Up to that point, Tillman felt his team was showing the effects of the battle with the Nittany Lions. But Bernhardt helped the team get over the hump.
“I felt like we picked up some momentum,” Tillman said. “Tough week this week. … Some of our guys were still gassed as of yesterday.”
That blitz just before halftime ensured the Terps could handle Michigan’s answer in the third period. The Wolverines won the third quarter, 5-1, closing with three consecutive goals to pull within 11-9 entering the final 15 minutes.
About three minutes into the fourth quarter, midfielder Logan Wisnauskas gave the Terps some breathing room with one of his five goals. Bernhardt added two more in the next four minutes, matching Wisnauskas’ output with five on the game and opening the door for Rahill’s first career goal.
Trailing 15-9, the Wolverines scored three in a row in the final minutes, but attackman Kyle Brickerd scored a garbage-time goal of his own to seal Maryland’s 16-12 win and avoid a second consecutive home loss.
“Proud of our guys to get a conference win in a short week,” Tillman said.