Despite starring at Vermont for four seasons and securing first-team all-conference honors in their final two, Nick Alviti and Jackson Canfield looked to transfer their graduate season.

They visited multiple schools together but didn’t tell each other which ones were at the top of their lists. A few days after the visits, Alviti and Canfield told each other which program they liked best: Maryland.

“Once we both said it out loud, we knew right away that was the decision we were gonna make,” Canfield said.

A third former Catamount, Colin Sharkey, also needed to find a place for his graduate season. While Alviti and Canfield’s decision to transfer to Maryland played a role in Sharkey’s choice, what drew Sharkey to his next school was the highlight of his recruiting trip — a conversation with the Maryland men’s lacrosse coaching staff.

“The moment I left Maryland I knew I was going to come here,” Sharkey said.

Former Maryland star Jake Bernhardt was an assistant coach at Vermont from 2017-22, spending the latter three seasons coaching Alviti, Canfield and Sharkey. Bernhardt returned to College Park before the 2023 campaign and brought his trio of former Catamounts with him one season later.

[Maryland men’s lacrosse has gotten off to an inefficient start]

Canfield said Bernhardt provided the three with a familiar face and helped ready them for the Terps’ expectations. Bernhardt and Chris Feifs — Vermont’s coach and former Maryland player — instilled principles they learned with the Terps into the Catamounts’ program. The three transfers witnessed Maryland’s standards flourish at Vermont.

“You don’t want to look back at your career with regret, saying that you didn’t try to be the best player that you could be,” Sharkey said. “I don’t think there’s a program better than Maryland in pushing you to be that version of yourself.”

Feifs told Alviti, Canfield and Sharkey that “the ships all rise with the tide” at Vermont, meaning the strength of the collective goes as far as the strength of the individuals. The trio has carried that belief into Maryland, making for a seamless transition into the program.

Sharkey bought into Maryland’s process, willing to put his ego aside.

Alviti understands that every player at Maryland wants to be their best to win as a team — a “core principle” he followed at Vermont.

Canfield said he’s already felt that push from his current teammates.

[No. 4 Maryland men’s lacrosse wins defensive battle with No. 12 Loyola, 11-4]

The Terps immediately welcomed Alviti, Canfield and Sharkey into the program. Canfield experienced comfort the moment he met the team, which made him feel like he didn’t enter a completely new situation. Maryland has embraced all three of the players because they’ve bought into the Terps’ culture, Sharkey said.

“In our locker room, and just the culture we have, getting the right guys is critical,” coach John Tillman said. “The last thing you want to do is get somebody in here who doesn’t really understand what you’re about. … Those guys have been great for us. It’s like they’ve been here for four years.”

This season marks the fifth that Alviti, Canfield and Sharkey will play together. Their chemistry has carried over to Maryland, with all three playing roles in the Terps’ top-10 defense through two games — the trio has combined to secure seven ground balls and cause four turnovers. Their relationship away from the field is strong because of the time they’ve spent on it.

While only Alviti and Canfield live together, Sharkey is a frequent visitor. The trio often watches movies and TV shows as a group — they viewed a lot of “Friday Night Lights” last fall.

Canfield is the chef of the bunch, cooking his go-to meal — a spicy vodka chicken parmesan — when the three hangout. Alviti claimed to do the cleaning afterwards, to which Canfield immediately said “you don’t clean” — producing a laugh from the three. Sharkey joked that he makes sure to leave before it’s time to clean.

Alviti, Canfield and Sharkey’s chemistry with one another eased their decision to transfer to Maryland — a choice Alviti felt from the very beginning of the transfer process.

“Deep down it was always the Terps, baby,” Alviti said.