A pair of Daniel Maltz fourth-quarter scores gave Maryland men’s lacrosse a two-goal lead over Notre Dame with less than four minutes left last year.

But the Terps couldn’t close — Notre Dame’s Reilly Gray and Chris Kavanagh struck over the next two minutes to force overtime. Neither side scored in two overtime periods. Then Pat Kavanagh rifled a shot into the back of the net for the game-winner in the third overtime.

The Irish downed Maryland at SECU Stadium last season. The Terps will look for revenge in South Bend on Sunday.

“It’s definitely tough to go out, especially losing on your home field,” Maltz said. “Obviously it motivates you a little bit so we’re definitely a little fired up this year.”

No. 3 Maryland’s battles with No. 6 Notre Dame have created a mini-rivalry over the past few seasons. The Terps’ 2023 triple-overtime loss was the third overtime game between the schools since 2019, and four of the last seven meetings were determined by one goal.

There were nine lead changes in last season’s matchup, and both sides held an advantage in all four regulation periods. Four players from each team scored multiple goals, including Maltz’ pair of fourth-quarter finishes.

Maltz has vast experience against the Irish, playing in each game against Notre Dame since 2020. But that familiarity only goes so far. Coach John Tillman believes there’s an important balance between using film and focusing on what Maryland does best.

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Maltz understands the Terps’ focus is to stack good days.

“It’s obviously nice to have the film but we’re really focused on ourselves this week, that’s kind of a key theme,” Maltz said.

While Maryland’s focus is on itself, the Terps’ recent practices have had an Irish element to them. Maryland’s coaching staff emphasized preparation for the physicality Notre Dame had last year when it was penalized three times,and the pressure Tillman expects to see this weekend.

Tillman spent a lot of time during the week’s practices putting heat on his team, especially with their clears. The coach wanted to simulate Notre Dame.

“You’ve got to do some different things to maybe confine some space, or adding extra players, forcing your guys to process quickly, handle pressure and still find open guys and still have good stick work,” Tillman said.

Most of the Terps’ and Irish’s impact pieces from last season’s meeting are back this year. The Kavanagh brothers remain stars of the Notre Dame offense, and 2023 ACC defensive player of the year Liam Entenmann returned for his graduate campaign. All of Maryland’s scorers in last year’s game will play on Sunday.

But the Terps have a different feel going in this season’s matchup. Maryland enters with experience in late and close games — something it didn’t have prior to the contest last season.

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Tillman believes the Terps have gained confidence from their tight overtime wins over No. 7 Syracuse and No. 14 Richmond earlier this year. Maltz said there’s a focus in practice on late-game situations, simulating being up or down four goals.

Maryland needed to rely on Brian Ruppel, who lacked experience as he made just his second collegiate start in the cage against the Irish last season. This time, All-American goalkeeper Logan McNaney is healthy for the Terps.

“I do think getting a guy like Logan back, who’s been in those close games … who’s logged a lot of miles who just at his core is one of those guys that never gets too high or too low I think there’s definitely some value to that,” Tillman said.

Tillman’s team fell apart against Notre Dame last year, blowing their late lead with an inability to remain ahead for the final three minutes and 50 seconds. Maryland’s inexperience in late-game situations ultimately was its demise.

The Terps are a different team ahead of the rematch. They’ve made it an emphasis to simulate the Irish in practice, got their graduate student goalkeeper back and have experience in close games — which many of the recent battles between the two teams have been. Maryland has prepared with hopes of remaining undefeated.