Maryland men’s lacrosse’s 2023 campaign, its worst season in a decade, started spiraling with a Week 2 loss to Loyola in Baltimore. Just one day shy of a full year later, the Terps avenged that defeat on their home turf.
The Terps dominated defensively, stifling a Greyhounds offense to just four goals after they scored 18 last week. Maryland’s offense, while lacking consistency, did enough to secure a comfortable 11-4 victory for No. 4 Maryland over No. 12 Loyola at SECU Stadium on Saturday.
“Defense did a great job,” coach John Tillman said. “Individually on matchups, and also knowing their personnel … our guys had a good sense of what the plan was and executed it.”
Maryland’s offense was inefficient in its season opening win. That continued against Loyola.
The Terps’ unit found life after a five-minute lull from both sides at the start. Zach Whittier and Eric Malever each wrapped around the cage to create room to strike, while Owen Murphy fired a straightaway rocket from about 15 yards out. The trio of goals in a two-minute span gave Maryland (2-0) an early 3-0 advantage.
But besides that spurt, the Terps struggled to find much offense early. Many of their first-half possessions used up the majority of the shot clock as the unit lacked consistent flow and rhythm. A Ryan Siracusa goal at the 5:58 mark of the second quarter ended a 15-minute drought.
Only six of Maryland’s 20 first-half shots found the back of the net. Braden Erksa, fresh off a hat trick in the season opener, missed four of his five looks in the opening half.
The Terps’ offense remained shaky in the third quarter. Colin Burlace rocketed in a pole goal and Daniel Maltz struck twice himself — including as the clock expired in the frame — to grow Maryland’s lead to six entering the final 15 minutes. But the unit shot under 20 percent in the period as the lack of a rhythm continued.
The Terps finished with a shot percentage of just 23 percent as their offensive issues from their season opener continued Saturday. But 10 different players scored, showcasing the offense’s versatility.
“We’re just gonna have to keep working, keep shooting our shots,” Malever said.
Loyola’s (1-1) offense entered Saturday as the most efficient unit among all Division 1 schools through one week. But the Greyhounds’ offense floundered against the Terps.
The unit slugged in the opening quarter. They missed all 10 of their shots in the frame, with Maryland goalkeeper Logan McNaney saving all three looks against him.
The Terps’ defenders played stiff man-to-man defense, preventing Loyola’s offense from finding many easy looks. And when a Greyhound was able to break free for a moment, quick help defense thwarted a potential clean shot.
Loyola’s offense finally connected when Joey Kamish found Matthew Minicus momentarily open. Minicus immediately took the low feed and fired a strike past McNaney shortly into the second quarter. But the Greyhounds only scored twice more before halftime, entering the break with three goals after an 18-goal output in their season opener last weekend.
A quartet of Greyhounds scored multiple goals in last season’s matchup. None of them accomplished that feat in this year’s meeting.
McNaney ended last year’s matchup with the worst save percentage of his career and tore his ACL in the loss. Now healthy, McNaney handled the Greyhounds with ease. The graduate student saved 75 percent of the shots against him for just the fifth time in his career, excelling in defense of the cage as the closer of the unit.
“Last year they beat us up pretty good,” Tillman said. “We were definitely on guard.”
The win returned Maryland to its all-time dominance over the in-state rival and keeps the Terps unbeaten entering a Week 3 road bout at Syracuse — the same start Maryland had in its undefeated national championship season two years ago.