Maryland men’s lacrosse slugged through its 2024 regular season. The Terps entered the NCAA tournament with their fewest pre-tournament victories since 1994, and were fresh off the program’s largest margin of defeat in nearly two decades.

Then, coach John Tillman did what he’s used to — winning in May.

Maryland reached the national championship for the eighth time in Tillman’s 14 year tenure. But the Terps fell in a blowout to Notre Dame in the title game, ultimately encapsulating the erraticness they suffered in the campaign.

“We were struggling at times, we were inconsistent, we didn’t play as well as we would have liked and that’s on me,” Tillman said after the loss to the Fighting Irish. “But the guys stuck with it … I’m not gonna let 60 minutes of not playing our best lacrosse take away from what those guys have given.”

Maryland’s season was full of streaks. All but one of its victories occurred in a span of at least three straight wins, and it endured a pair of two-game losing skids.

[Notre Dame throttles Maryland men’s lacrosse in NCAA championship, 15-5]

The Terps never had a go-to scorer on offense, a luxury they used often in their previous trips to Memorial Day weekend under Tillman. A Tewaaraton Award winner was on Maryland’s roster in each of its five appearances in the NCAA title game between 2015-22.

The offense was eerily similar to 2023, when Maryland fell in the opening round of the NCAA tournament for the first time in a decade. It looked on the trajectory for another disappointing season.

“Nobody believed in this group besides the 50 guys and coaches that we had in our locker room,” Daniel Kelly said.

But the Terps’ experience paved the way for their May run.

After Maryland’s first round win over Princeton, attacker Eric Malever said the Terps knew what to expect in May.

Malever, a senior, missed the entire 2023 campaign with a torn right ACL and meniscus. Graduate student goalkeeper Logan McNaney, the 2022 NCAA tournament Most Outstanding Player, didn’t appear in last season’s final 14 games because of a torn ACL.

The health of those stars keyed the Terps’ late push — after their post-injury shakiness contributed to the team’s regular season inconsistencies.

Malever’s 23.8 percent shooting percentage was nearly 14 percent worse than his previous career-low. He never shot better than 40 percent in a regular season game this year while Maryland did just once.

[Maryland men’s lacrosse dominates Virginia, 12-6, advances to NCAA championship]

McNaney’s 50.3 percent save rate was his lowest as a full-time starter, which included three sub-40 percent showings ahead of the NCAA tournament. They marked the Terps’ three largest defeats before the national championship loss.

Both Malever and McNaney improved in the NCAA tournament. Malever scored three goals in as many shots against Princeton and McNaney registered three-straight games with a save percentage of 50 or better.

Then, the two struggled against Notre Dame — Maryland could no longer rely on its experience. Malever shot one-for-six as the Terps endured their worst offensive performance of the season. McNaney didn’t secure a single save in the first half.

As Maryland’s experience carried it in May, its season-long consistency problem showed in the national championship.

After the clock hit triple zeroes, the Terps huddled by their bench for one last time. Their 2024 season, one filled with fluctuations, officially ended in disappointment — albeit less than they would’ve felt a month before.

“I think it was kind of just looking at each other and realizing that we put everything we could into this year, and for all that we should just keep our heads high,” Jack McDonald said.