Maryland men’s lacrosse started its 2024 season with a demanding two-overtime road win over No. 16 Richmond. The Terps followed that with a comfortable victory against in-state rival and then-No. 12 Loyola.

After two weeks, No. 4 Maryland topped a pair of ranked foes. Its schedule remained grueling.

The Terps needed overtime to top No. 6 Syracuse in New York for their third win. Most recently, a commanding start-to-finish effort helped them defeat No. 11 Princeton on Saturday.

Maryland was unequivocally tested in February. It conquered its strenuous first month of play.

“The schedule, I didn’t make it easy on the guys,” coach John Tillman said. “But I do think, with our guys, that’s kind of what we sold them on coming here was ‘you’re gonna play a really tough schedule.’”

The Terps enter March a perfect 4-0. Each of their wins have come over a ranked team. They’ve played as difficult a schedule as any other squad in the country, both in terms of opponent quality and how they’ve secured their victories.

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Maryland’s season opener against Richmond featured six ties after the first score, three combined blown multi-goal leads and two overtime periods. Tillman’s team got off to a sluggish start, falling behind 5-2 in the first quarter, before eventually securing the win.

The Terps’ defeat of Loyola, the team that started Maryland’s spiral into its worst season in a decade last year, wasn’t perfect. Maryland nearly blew a 4-0 lead and was forced to quickly refocus when faced with adversity.

Maryland defeated Syracuse after squandering a 5-2 lead and being tied with the Orange eight times. A Michael Leo diving-goal in overtime appeared to give the Terps a loss, but a replay review deemed a rule violation and gave them a second chance to win. Maryland capitalized with George Stamos’ goal 16 seconds after the game restarted.

Luke Wierman understands the importance of playing tight games early in the campaign. The competition his side faced through the first four weeks of the season gave players vital experience, the faceoff specialist said.

“I think it’s great, especially when you’ve got new guys every year,” Wierman said. “Those are the games you want to play in. That really helps our team grow, playing those games. It goes a long way.”

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The Terps are the lone Division I team with four ranked wins this season — the other seven squads with four or more wins have combined for just five victories over ranked opponents.

Maryland’s taxing slate has benefited the team’s practices in Tillman’s eyes, which has a positive impact on game days.

“When you start watching the other team and see how good they are, I just think you get more focused at practice, and the practices are more competitive,” the coach said. “If you’re practicing that much harder for four weeks, you’re going to get more out of it. There’ll be more development.”

Maryland plays in one of the most difficult conferences in the country — all six teams in the Big Ten are currently ranked.

Before getting to conference play in late March, the Terps will face two more ranked opponents in No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 3 Virginia after overcoming their gauntlet February schedule.

Maryland’s slate won’t get any easier. But the Terps survived their early tests.

“You play these ranked teams, top-25 teams, and that’s your first four games, that sets you up so much down the road,” attacker and midfielder Eric Spanos said.