SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Luke Wierman won his fifth faceoff of the game to start the overtime period. It was going to be the final of the contest, with the next goal deciding the game.
After the Terps secured possession, the ball ended up in Anthony DeMaio’s stick, and he dished to Logan Wisnauskas, who wasted no time giving it back to a charging DeMaio.
The fifth year senior swiftly punched it into the cage to clinch the 14-13 win over No. 6 Notre Dame and advance Maryland men’s lacrosse to the NCAA tournament semifinal next weekend.
Justin Shockey struggled in the first few minutes at the faceoff X. The senior lost the first two faceoffs, which gave Notre Dame possession for the opening 90 seconds of the game. The Fighting Irish rattled off two shots during that stretch, resulting in one goal from Wheaton Jackoboice.
But once Shockey settled in, so did the rest of the team. Griffin Brown was the first Terp on the scoreboard, registering a goal just after Daniel Maltz missed wide. After Shockey won his first faceoff, Tewaaraton Award-favorite Jared Bernhardt found the back of the net for the first time as well.
With a pair of Notre Dame midfielders in the penalty box, Brown struck again, this time from about 15 yards out. Maryland didn’t stop there, picking up two more goals before the end of the first quarter from Bubba Fairman and Bernhardt.
The 5-0 Terps run came to a screeching halt shortly into the second quarter. Roman Puglise was flagged for unnecessary roughness less than a minute into the period, and Notre Dame’s Will Yorke capitalized with a man-up goal 26 seconds later.
The Irish continued to dominate from there, with Jackoboice adding another goal and Sean Leahey notching back-to-back scores to tie the game at five goals each. The Irish would take the lead, but Bernhardt reclaimed it for Maryland with 2:13 left in the half.
Then Jackoboice secured a hat trick with under two to play in the second quarter and tied the game 7-7. The score went unchanged until the buzzer sounded, marking the fourth time Maryland has gone into halftime without a lead this season.
Bernhardt opened the second half with a man-up goal assisted by Brown. Notre Dame’s Daniel Cassidy still had 51 seconds of penalty time to serve at the beginning of the half, and the fifth-year Terp made him pay.
But after that, the third frame didn’t go how Maryland had hoped. Eric Dobson led another Notre Dame run, scoring two of the Irish’s three-straight goals that put them up by a pair.
Wisnauskas successfully stopped the bleeding off a pass from DeMaio, but then the other Tewaaraton finalist on the field finally emerged. Pat Kavanagh scored his first of the game and gave the Irish their two-goal lead back heading into the fourth quarter.
Both teams went nearly three minutes without scoring to start the final frame, but Yorke interrupted the stalemate to give Notre Dame its largest lead of the game.
But the Terps wouldn’t back down, despite the unusual territory of chasing in the final period.
Wisnauskas kicked off a four-goal run with another feed-in by DeMaio. In less than a minute, Maryland would find the back of the net, with Kyle Long and Maltz scoring to level things up at 12.
The two sides locked down defensively again as neither wanted to give an inch. The next goal could decide the game.
And Wisnauskas came up big, completing his hat trick on a bullet past the Irish keeper. With under seven minutes left, the Terps needed to keep up pressure and retain possession.
Unfortunately for Maryland, Jackoboice struck again in the final five minutes, capitalizing on a save by Liam Entenmann on the other end and tied the game.
With time ticking away, Bernhardt was the obvious choice to control the ball as the Terps looked for another game winner. But in another unusual moment, Bernhardt was stripped of the ball by Notre Dame’s Arden Cohen.
The Maryland fans in South Bend grew silent, perhaps in shock, as the Terps headed to overtime with their perfect season still on the line.
But it didn’t take long to ease their worry.
After the feed from Wisnauskas to DeMaio, the senior scored his first goal of the day, and it was a monumental one.
DeMaio saved Maryland’s perfect season and its shot at the national championship, sending the Terps on to face Duke in a rivalry game with stakes beyond pride.