BALTIMORE — Maryland men’s lacrosse entered the fourth quarter down by two on Saturday afternoon, needing a comeback to avoid an upset against Loyola.
Two minutes in, a bad Maryland pass resulted in a ground ball scrum that Loyola came on the right end of.
Payton Rezanka ran in transition and found an open Mustang Sally to his right. Sally stepped up, lunged down and sent a low rocket into the back of the net to put the Greyhounds up three.
That sequence seemed to suck the life out of the Terps, as Loyola scored three more goals in the next four minutes to all but ice the upset win.
No. 2 Maryland men’s lacrosse suffered its first defeat of the season in a sloppy loss to Loyola, 12-7. The defeat was the Terps’ first since the 2021 NCAA championship game against Virginia.
“I thought [Loyola] executed better over the course of 60 minutes, they played harder, they were more efficient,” coach John Tillman said. “I felt for a while we were hanging in there and we just could not get over the hump and get the goal to go ahead, and that’s a credit to them.”
After its opening shot of the game hit the top of the crossbar, Loyola’s second found the back of the net. Senior midfielder Adam Poitras received a pass, took a few steps and fired a rocket that senior Logan McNaney could not react quick enough to.
Less than three minutes in, Maryland trailed 1-0.
That one-goal deficit turned into two at the 2:30 mark of the first quarter, when senior midfielder Evan James beat his defender to the right and scored on a low shot past McNaney.
[Maryland men’s lacrosse is still clicking despite roster overhaul]
Tillman called a timeout shortly after, and the Terps joined Loyola on the scoreboard a minute later.
Redshirt senior midfielder Jack Brennan received a pass and moved to his right after a pick by junior midfielder Jack Koras. Brennan then found a wide open Daniel Kelly, and the junior attacker immediately shot a rifle past Loyola goalkeeper Luke Staudt.
After missing its first nine shots, Kelly’s goal brought Maryland back within one.
Just two-and-a-half minutes into the second quarter, junior midfielder Seth Higgins scored as the shot clock expired. Loyola’s lead grew back to two, 3-1.
Starting at the 8:09 mark of the quarter, Maryland scored two goals in a span of a minute.
Brennan ran around the back of the cage before quickly turning and firing a low shot while getting bumped by a defender, and Kelly followed that up to knot the score at three apiece.
After a five-minute scoring drought, both teams scored within a minute of each other.
James scored for the Greyhounds on a sidearm sling into the upper left corner of the net, while senior midfielder Kyle Long matched James’ goal with one of his own when he sent a rocket past Staudt.
With just seven seconds remaining in the first half, freshman attacker Henry Haberman scored his first ever collegiate goal to put the Greyhounds up 5-4 at halftime.
After not trailing at the half in any game last season, Maryland faced a halftime deficit in just its second game of the 2023 campaign.
Five minutes into the third quarter, Daniel Maltz scored for the third time this season. The senior attacker toyed with his defender before using a spin move to find a shooting angle, and his shot found the back of the net to move the Terps back even.
[Maryland men’s lacrosse starts title defense with offensive eruption against Richmond]
But the Greyhounds responded with two goals in the next three minutes.
The first came off the stick of freshman attacker Matthew Minicus, and the second came from Poitras as he took advantage of a Maryland turnover.
With 6:25 left in the third quarter, graduate student defender Cam Wyers was penalized for a shot to the head, setting up a man-up advantage for the Terps.
Kelly took advantage, as he shot a bouncer past the stick of Staudt to bring the Terps within one, 7-6. The goal gave the junior attacker a hat trick, the second of his career.
Haberman scored his second goal of the day less than three minutes later, once again halting any momentum the Terps had captured.
Maryland entered the fourth quarter down 8-6.
Sally, James, Minicus and junior attacker Davis Lindsey all scored within the first six minutes of the quarter, putting the Greyhounds ahead 12-6 as a deflating feeling set in on the Maryland sideline.
“Got a couple back, thought we were gonna get over that hump and roll a bit, get some momentum going, and they just were able to get a couple in transition, a couple energy goals for them,” defender Brett Makar said. “Tough for us to bounce back.”
Late in the quarter, McNaney rolled over his ankle while trying to intercept a pass. Maryland’s star goalkeeper limped into the locker room with the help of the athletic staff.
Kelly scored another goal with 1:35 left, but it did not matter. The result was sealed and the Terps suffered a five-goal defeat for the first time since the 2019 season.