Maryland men’s lacrosse dominated Princeton in the teams’ last three matchups over the past two seasons. The Terps led in 174 minutes of the 180 minutes played.

Coach John Tillman’s team continued that supremacy at SECU Stadium on Saturday. No. 4 Maryland jumped out to a lead just two minutes in and never trailed from that point on, holding a multi-goal advantage for the final 53 minutes and 15 seconds. The Terps secured a 13-7 win over No. 11 Princeton, keeping them perfect against ranked opponents this season.

The Tigers’ defense entered Saturday as one of the best in the nation, tied for the fewest goals allowed per game among all Division I schools. The unit struggled to contain Maryland (4-0) for a full 60 minutes in their toughest test of the year to date.

The Terps’ offense, which had a strong showing last weekend against No. 6 Syracuse, was inconsistent. Maryland’s best spurt was a three-goal run over a one minute span, and another goal just over two minutes later. But the rest of the Terps’ scores were spread out, and they shot under 30 percent for the game.

“There were some times where … we were a little bit rushed, we took some really early shots,” Tillman said. “… It just felt like we were getting away from making them have to get stops.”

Braden Erksa capitalized on Maryland’s initial offensive possession to start the Terps’ scoring. The interior of Princeton’s (2-1) defense was stuck ball-watching. Eric Spanos passed to Eric Malever behind the back of the cage, drawing enough attention to allow Erksa to sit open for a quick score off a Malever feed.

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Spanos then struck twice himself shortly after to give the Terps a 3-0 lead, and added another score shortly into the second quarter for his third career hat trick. A fourth Spanos unassisted goal late in the fourth quarter gave the junior his first career four-goal outing.

Malever dominated the first three minutes of the second quarter. The senior scored twice in a one-minute span, the latter coming on an extra-man opportunity. He then assisted Daniel Maltz 14 seconds later to push Maryland’s lead to five. Malever produced his first multi-goal game this season and his first in 658 days.

Maltz scored four goals against Princeton in last season’s meeting. He added another score in the second frame on Saturday when he sent a low rocket into the back of the net, growing the Terps’ advantage to six scores. Another Maltz goal in the fourth quarter gave the fifth-year his 16th career hat trick.

Maryland added five more goals after halftime — courtesy of Erksa, Maltz, Spanos, Daniel Kelly and Ryan Siracusa — to remain ahead by at least four scores throughout the entirety of the second half.

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Maryland’s defense had a strong opening quarter. The unit limited the Tigers to just one goal on six shots, using excellent communication and strong physicality to thwart Princeton’s flow.

The Terps’ defensive control continued in the second frame. They held the Tigers to just two goals in the period, the second coming with less than a second remaining before halftime. Luke Wierman’s excellence at the X, winning 11 of 12 face-offs in the first half, shortened the amount of possessions Maryland’s defense needed to face over the first two quarters.

“I thought the wings did exceptional,” Wierman said. “We knew their poles were gonna get really involved and they did a great job keeping them off of us.”

The limitations of Princeton’s offense remained in the second half. The unit shot just 25 percent after the break, unable to trim the deficit any closer than four goals.

The Tigers’ lone positive offensively throughout the day was freshman Nate Kabiri, who accounted for four of Princeton’s seven scores as the lone Tiger to notch multiple goals. But the rest of his side’s offensive ineptitude proved pivotal.

The win furthered Maryland’s strong start to the campaign, securing a fourth-straight ranked win to open this season. The Terps will face another difficult test next weekend on the road against No. 1 Notre Dame, who they fell to in triple overtime at home last year.

“You play these ranked teams, top-25 teams … that sets you up so much down the road,” Spanos said.