By: Eden Binder
Maryland men’s lacrosse came into Columbus looking for rejuvenation after its first Big Ten loss since 2019.
Rejuvenation is what it got. Although the Terps didn’t lead at all during regulation, Daniel Kelly’s fourth goal of the night tied the game with just over two minutes to go and sent it into overtime.
There, Braden Erksa scored his first goal of the game to give Maryland the 12-11 win over Ohio State Friday.
“A lot to improve upon, but just felt like we played more like Maryland today and regardless of the outcome, just felt like we played harder, and just a lot gritter,” coach John Tillman said.
The Buckeyes (5-6, 1-2 Big Ten) started the game with two goals just three minutes into the game. But Kelly responded with back-to-back goals to tie the game for Maryland (7-3, 2-1 Big Ten) with 9:18 to go in the quarter.
[Poor second half play doomed Maryland men’s lacrosse against Michigan]
Ohio State then powered off a 5-0 scoring run, taking its biggest lead of the night on Kyle Borda’s second goal to make put the Buckeyes up 7-2 at the 5:36 mark of the second quarter.
Maryland, mired in a near-20 minute scoring drought, finally began trimming that advantage with a Zach Whittier tally to cut the Terps’ deficit to four. The sophomore scored two goals in the first multi-goal performance of his career.
But Maryland got no closer before halftime. Ohio State’s Ed Shean slipped the ball past goalie Brian Ruppel while falling down for the fourth of his five goals on the night as the Buckeyes went up 9-5 into the break.
Maryland surged forward early in the third quarter as Ajax Zappitello and Eric Spanos scored to put the Terps within two. Later in the frame, Shean scored his fifth goal to put the Buckeyes up three heading into the fourth.
[Hurt by scoring runs, Maryland men’s lacrosse was upset by Michigan]
Tillman’s squad struggled on defense through the night, giving up 19 shots on goal through the first three quarters. But that unit held the Buckeyes scoreless in the fourth quarter and allowed them just one shot on goal.
The Terps paired that defense with three straight goals — one from Spanos sandwiched by scores from Kelly — that tied the game. Both teams failed to score on their last possessions of regulation and sent the game into the extra period.
There, the Terps made quick work, with Erksa curling around the net before whipping a shot past the Buckeyes’ goalie to help his squad move forward from what could’ve been its second straight conference loss.
“I know we have our moments this year, but they’re a great group to be around. I’m super proud of them,” Tillman said.