Maryland men’s lacrosse entered Saturday on a 20-game conference win streak — one it looked poised to increase against a .500 Michigan squad at home.
But that wasn’t the case. The Wolverines looked for a dagger up two with 10 minutes left in regulation. They found it in the form of Jacob Jackson and Michael Boehm and plunged it into the Terps’ heart.
The duo scored seconds apart as Michigan (5-4, 1-1 Big Ten) secured its first win in program history over Maryland (6-3, 1-1 Big Ten) at SECU Stadium, 16-11. The loss was the Terps’ first to a Big Ten foe since 2019.
“Just didn’t feel we played great today, and obviously as a leader that’s something I gotta take responsibility for,” coach John Tillman said.
The first quarter saw plenty of action early as each side scored within the first two minutes. Maryland led 2-1 five minutes in, but then Michigan connected twice in a four-second span to go up 3-2 at the 9:45 mark.
That Wolverine lead extended to two five minutes later on an unlucky break for the Terps.
Graduate student attacker Bryce Clay drove towards the Maryland defense in front of the crease but was swiped from behind by Maryland defender Brett Makar. Clay lost his stick but the ball trickled into the cage to the left of Brian Ruppel for an unconventional score.
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Michigan struck twice more — giving them five unanswered tallies — to go up four goals early over the No. 2 team in the nation.
“A lot of stuff we pride on, communicating, being on the same page, just got away from that a little bit … let it snowball a little bit,” Makar said.
Maryland seniors Jack Brennan and Daniel Maltz connected on back-to-back second quarter goals to bring the Terps back within two.
But Michigan’s Josh Zawada converted on a diving shot in front of the crease for his second score of the day, putting an end to the brief Maryland run.
But the Terps responded from an unlikely source as defender Ajax Zappitello scored his first goal of the season. The junior led a transition charge following a Maryland stop on defense but his bouncing shot was saved and sent high into the air.
The ensuing ground ball was knocked into the cage, making it a 7-5 game with under eight minutes left in the first half.
The fourth-straight unassisted goal for Maryland — this time off the stick of senior midfielder Kyle Long — with just under three minutes left before the half brought the Terps within one for the first time since early in the first quarter.
They’d stay at that deficit — Long’s score was the final of the first half. The offensive inefficiencies that have plagued Maryland this season continued in the first 30 minutes against the Wolverines; where it shot just 27.3 percent.
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Michigan came out of the locker room firing to start the second half, connecting on all three of its shots to start the third quarter.
“I just felt like at times we weren’t all on the same page,” Tillman said.
Braden Erksa halted the Wolverines’ run at the 12:39 mark with his second score of the day.
Both defenses tightened up after that, with both teams held scoreless for over 10 minutes. Boehm finally ended the drought at the 2:02 mark of the third quarter and earned his fourth hat trick of the season.
Erksa gave Maryland a much-needed goal with eight seconds left in the frame for the freshman’s second-career hat trick.
But the Terps entered the final quarter down three. A man-up goal to start the fourth put them on track to avoid a loss, but the tallies from Jackson and Boehm proved pivotal.
“We try to stay in the fight, battle through adversity as much as possible, but I think that’s something we need to work on as a group right now,” long stick midfielder John Geppert said.
The Wolverines added three goals later while the Terps added two themselves, but all that changed was the final score. When the clock hit triple zeroes, Michigan stormed the field in the privilege only granted to underdogs.