Maryland men’s lacrosse led Syracuse by four with just over seven minutes to go after Jack Koras’ third goal of the game reached the back of the net.
After the Terps won the ensuing face-off, the ball found its way to Dante Trader.
Trader snagged a pass but went down to the ground. He somehow stayed upright despite being harassed by multiple Syracuse defenders hitting his body with sticks — breaking free and sprinting into the open field.
With a Syracuse defender trailing him, Trader planted his feet in the ground, and the defender kept running. Trader stopped, stared at the defender for a moment, and fired a shot that bounced in front of Will Mark in the cage into the back of the net.
Trader’s second score of the day gave No. 9 Maryland a five-goal lead, and the Terps didn’t look back from that point on.
Maryland cruised over the final seven minutes, defeating No. 18 Syracuse, 15-12 after shooting 50 shots on the afternoon.
“Loved our effort,” coach John Tillman said. “Certainly tons to clean up on and a lot of stuff that we can get better but … proud of these guys.”
Just 40 seconds in, the Terps got off to a better start than it did last weekend against No. 11 Loyola.
Freshman attacker Braden Erksa found an open Daniel Kelly, who ripped a low rocket into the back of the net to get the scoring started for the Terps.
At the 13:02 mark of the first quarter, Koras scored from right in front of the cage on a deflection off an Erksa shot. A minute later, senior attacker Daniel Maltz scored his fourth goal of the season on a strike past Mark, pushing Maryland ahead 3-0.
With 4:30 left in the quarter, Syracuse freshman midfielder Michael Leo caught the Maryland defense napping. Having just entered from the sideline, Leo snagged a pass in stride and fired from five yards out. Graduate student Teddy Dolan could not react quick enough, and the Orange joined the Terps on the scoreboard as a result.
Dolan made his first start of the season for Maryland, taking over for the injured Logan McNaney.
The Terps outshot the Orange 17-5 in the first quarter, but only led 3-1.
Syracuse scored twice within the first four minutes of the second quarter to tie the score at three. The first came from redshirt sophomore attacker Owen Hiltz, who scooped a loose ball and fired a rocket that Dolan could not react to in time. The second came from freshman midfielder Luke Rhoa, who sent a high shot from about 15 yards out that got past Dolan.
Both offenses lulled for about four minutes in the second quarter. But after junior attacker Owen Murphy bounced a shot in front of Mark into the back of the net for the score, senior midfielder Kyle Long danced around the cage before quickly turning his body and firing a shot into the back of the net seconds later.
The surge resulted in a 4-0 Maryland run. The Orange parried as the half dwindled, at one point cutting the Terps’ lead back to two, but two more Maryland goals resulted in a 9-5 lead for last year’s national champs halfway through the game.
44 seconds into the second half, Leo scored his second unassisted goal of the game. The freshman received a pass right in front of the Syracuse sideline and simply sprinted past the Maryland defense before firing a shot from the right side of the goal past Dolan, bringing the Orange within three.
The Orange scored another unassisted goal at the 11:54 mark of the third quarter when graduate student midfielder Cole Kirst sent a shot that Dolan could not touch. Kelly responded with his third goal of the day just 50 seconds later, his third career hat trick.
After winning the ensuing face-off, senior Luke Wierman passed to Trader. Trader used his safety speed to run by multiple Syracuse defenders and find an open look, which he converted on for his first career collegiate goal.
“It’s awesome seeing guys like Dante and Geppert step up and make big time plays in a big time game,” junior defender Ajax Zappitello said. “It’s just an awesome feeling.”
A minute later, Kelly scored for the fourth time — tying his career-high — as he released a shot past Mark right before receiving a blow from an Orange defender.
With 7:30 left in the third quarter, redshirt sophomore midfielder Jackson Birtwistle scored while facing heavy pressure and contact from Trader to bring the Orange within four, 12-8. Birtwistle scored again with 3:39 left in the quarter as he fired a shot in between the legs of Dolan.
Birtwistle’s goal was the last of the quarter, as Maryland entered the fourth up 12-9.
At the 10:23 mark Syracuse freshman attacker Joey Spallina started the fourth quarter scoring with a magical no-look behind the back shot, but Long responded just 11 seconds later with a score of his own to keep the Terps up three.
Trader and Koras both scored insurance goals for the Terps soon after.
Birtwistle scored his third goal of the day with 2:25 to go and graduate student attacker Alex Simmons scored with 14 seconds left, but it was too little too late.
“It was a physical game, but we thrive off of that,” Kelly said. “We like that, it was fun.”