SPRINGFIELD, Va. — Just a year ago, Logan Wisnauskas, Alex Smith, Roman Puglise and Keegan Khan were all members of the Maryland men’s lacrosse program, playing pivotal roles in the Terps’ undefeated trek to a national championship.
Prior to the start of the 2022 NCAA tournament, three of the four found their future homes in the Premier Lacrosse League. Wisnauskas was taken first overall by the Chrome and Puglise joined him as a first-rounder with the Whipsnakes’ selection at number seven.
Like Puglise, Khan became the newest member of the Whipsnakes family after being selected in round three. Smith went undrafted, but signed with the Chrome in July.
Fast forward seven months and the four took part in the PLL’s inaugural Championship Series, a six-on-six competition between the top four teams of the 2022 regular season in Springfield, Virginia.
Wisnauskas, Smith, Puglise and Khan all made it onto their respective teams’ 12-player roster, a big trim-down from the regular 25-player roster the teams normally carry.
“It’s awesome, it definitely says a lot about the program at Maryland,” Wisnauskas said. “[Coach John Tillman] breeds pros and breeds guys that want to play at the next level and want to be the best.”
Puglise made his professional debut in the series after he suffered a wrist injury in the Terps’ NCAA semifinals win over Princeton that kept him out for the entirety of the 2022 regular season. In four games in the championship series, Puglise scooped up six ground balls, caused three turnovers and scored four times.
“It’s been a long, long journey back,” Puglise said. “Just excited to have the stick in my hand and have a smile on my face and have that excitement and just be grateful for the opportunity.”
The Chrome and the Whipsnakes faced off once in the round robin part of the series, giving the four ex-Terps a chance to battle against one another.
“It’s obviously different when you strap up on the other side of it having spent five years with [Wisnauskas] and four years with [Smith],” Puglise said.
Wisnauskas got the scoring started with a one-point score less than two minutes in, helping get the Chrome out to an early 5-0 lead less than three minutes later.
Khan and Puglise scored the final two goals of the first half in a back-and-forth second quarter, keeping the Whipsnakes down two at halftime.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun playing with [Puglise] again,” Khan said. “Definitely makes it easier when you’re playing with guys you played with before.”
The third quarter was the Wisnauskas show. He scored the first two goals of the quarter and assisted on another to help give the Chrome a seven-point cushion entering the final eight minutes of action.
The Whipsnakes made it interesting late in the game, using a pair of two-point goals to get within a four-point margin, but Wisnauskas’ fourth goal of the day with 43 seconds to go all but clinched the win for the Chrome.
“It was really fun to be out there and share that experience with them,” Wisnauskas said.
As the No. 4 seed in the semifinals, the Whipsnakes were bounced by the Atlas 30-21. Meanwhile, the Chrome got revenge from their round robin loss to the Archers with a 21-18 victory in the semifinals.
That set up a matchup between the Chrome and the Atlas in the championship, and Wisnauskas shined in the biggest game of the series. He scored three one-point goals and notched three assists — including one to Smith.
Wisnauskas and Smith’s Chrome pulled off the upset over the Atlas, securing a 24-23 championship win.
The duo both came out on top of the inaugural championship series while Puglise and Khan also took part, returning close to their college campus to do so. Next up for the four recent Maryland alumni is the 2023 regular season, with opening weekend set for June 3 in Albany, New York.