As Justin Shockey walked toward the faceoff X, coach John Tillman signaled for a timeout. No. 2 Maryland men’s lacrosse just fell into a 3-0 hole, and Tillman wanted to stop the bleeding.
It didn’t quite work, however, as Michigan’s Tyler Papa and Bryce Clay found the back of the net in the three minutes that followed, and the Wolverines went up 5-0.
Less than a minute after Clay’s goal, midfielder Bubba Fairman charged the net, spun and scored the Terp’s first goal, opening the floodgates for Maryland. And they opened in a big way, as the Terps rattled off 16-straight goals over three quarters, which put the game way out of reach for Michigan (2-6).
Tillman’s squad later iced the match in the fourth quarter, sealing an 18-12 win and an 8-0 start to the season.
“It’s never easy to go on the road and win,” Tillman said. “I’m proud of the effort. I thought we played hard, and there’s a lot that we can work on.”
The stretch of 16 consecutive goals was the team’s longest streak since joining the Big Ten in 2014. All but two of the scores came from Fairman, Jared Bernhardt, Daniel Maltz and Anthony DeMaio, who now have a combined 84 goals on the season.
After Fairman sparked the offense toward the end of the first quarter, Maryland’s all-time leading scorer went to work. Bernhardt got on the scoreboard with an underhand scoop that reduced Michigan’s lead to three, and shortly after the quarter break, he did it again — this time, without an assist.
Bernhardt’s fourth goal gave Maryland the lead, and then Maltz, the Terps’ second-leading scorer got some opportunities. The sophomore netted back-to-back goals off assists from Joshua Coffman and Eric Malever.
“We have an unselfish group,” Tillman said. “When we’re playing our game and the ball is spinning… and guys are just keeping the ball hot and are aggressive, that’s when we’re at our best.”
DeMaio’s first of the game put Maryland up by four at the half, and out of the break, the run continued. The Terps scored seven more in the third quarter, four of them by DeMaio.
He and Bernhardt — both fifth year players — led the team with five goals each, displaying their veteran skills in Ann Arbor.
Holding Michigan scoreless for more than 35 minutes wouldn’t have been possible without improved play at the faceoff circle. Sophomore Luke Wierman took 25 faceoffs in the game and was successful on 15 of them, which was key for Maryland to retain possession throughout the run.
“I thought Luke Wierman again just did a terrific job of really jumping in and kind of bailing us out,” Tillman said. “That was huge for us just because it allowed us to try to string together some goals in a row.”
The Wolverines finally halted the streak at 16 with 1:09 remaining in the third quarter, and they outscored the Terps 7-2 the rest of the way.
But 16 goals in a row was too much to overcome, and Maryland will fly home with its best start to a season since 2004. Tillman’s squad also clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title with the win.
“We know how good the players are in this league,” Tillman said. “For our guys to be able to do that with two games left, that is a big complement and acknowledgement of all their hard work and all the sacrifices they had to make this year.”