Rotanz, Rambo lead No. 1 Terps past Bryant

Featured photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

In the opening round of the 2017 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Tournament, No. 1 seed Maryland defeated Bryant 13-10 in College Park behind a five goal performance from Tim Rotanz.

Rotanz’s career-high five goals took away from an equally impressive performance from Matt Rambo, who ended the day with a career-best eight points, coming from two goals and a career-high six assists.

It took a while for Maryland’s offense to get going, but they finally got it going in the third quarter when they felt more comfortable with the pace of the game.

“Once we started getting the looks we wanted and settling ourselves we knew we could get some goals,” Rotanz said.

Rotanz also mentioned he couldn’t have had a career day without the efforts of Rambo and Colin Heacock on the attack.

“They had a lot of they eyes on them today,” Rotanz said. “Matt was dishing the ball a lot today and drawing two guys so for me it was pretty easy to step into 10 and 12 yards and just shooting.”

Bryant had beaten ranked Yale and Monmouth this season so they were prepared to face a very talented Maryland team and hung around for most of the game. Heacock and Rotanz opened up the scoring for Maryland, making it 2-0 five minutes into contest.

Bryant’s Brett Baker would score 20 seconds later to make it 2-1, but it was all Rotanz for Maryland. He had a career-high five goals and scored his second goal with five minutes left in the first quarter to make it 3-1. Bryant would score once more in the quarter, but Heacock ended the first quarter with a goal to give the Terps a two-goal lead.

Bryant stuck around in the second quarter as well, scoring two goals to match Maryland’s two from Rotanz and Dylan Maltz in the period. At halftime, Maryland was leading 6-4, but Bryant was right where they wanted to be to end the first half.

“The first half couldn’t have gone better for us,” Bryant head coach Mike Pressler said. “We played to our tempo and were right where we wanted to be for the second half.”

To start the second half, Maryland would score four straight goals to give them the cushion they needed to put Bryant out of the game. The four goals came from Rambo, Bernhardt and Rotanz to make it 10-4.

“We shot ourselves in the foot early with some silly turnovers,” Maryland head coach John Tillman said. “We struggled to get into a flow for a good part of the game. Luckily we had that run in the third quarter and that was huge for us.”

Bryant would score only once in the quarter to end a 16-minute scoring drought for the Bulldogs, allowing Maryland to jump out to a five-goal lead and putting the game out of reach for Bryant.

Long-pole Matt Neufeldt scored off an assist from Rambo to end the third quarter and give the Terps a six-goal lead once again.

Rotanz would score his fifth goal of the day to start the fourth quarter and Adam DiMillo would also score to make it 13-5 and pretty much decide the outcome.

Five straight goals from Bryant in the fourth quarter made it 13-10, but it would be too little, too late for the Bulldogs. Maryland held possession for almost the rest of the game to end things and send the Terps to the quarterfinals next week in Delaware.

“Maryland doesn’t beat themselves,” Pressler said. “All of the sudden a 6-4 game goes to 10-5 and from there on out I think our guys out-played them. If the game goes another five minutes, who knows? Maybe it is 13-13.”

Maryland didn’t score in the final eight minutes of the game, allowing Bryant to mount a run and almost come back. That can’t happen next week when Maryland takes on No. 8 Albany for the second time this season.

“You have to play 60 minutes at this time of the season or you run the risk of going home and if we don’t play a good 60 minutes next week we will be going home,” Tillman said.

The last time a Maryland Terrapin had at least eight points in game was when Mike Chanenchuk had nine when Maryland last played Bryant in the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

Once again, the faceoff battle was too close for comfort Maryland. Between Austin Henningsen and Jon Garino, Maryland won 13 of 25 faceoffs, but they still have to be better if they want to be able to beat T.D. Ierlan and Albany next Sunday in the quarterfinal.

Dan Morris was excellent, making 10 save and only allowing 10 goals, but he did let up in the fourth quarter when Bryant went on their five-goal run to end the game. Thankfully Maryland had an eight-goal lead so that run didn’t affect the outcome of the game at all.

Maryland’s second midfield line struggled heavily today. They had more turnovers than goals when they were on the field and that unit really has to step up and be more consistent next week against Albany.

“We have to get that second group more on par this week,” Tillman said. “The last time we played Albany, Ben [Chisolm] had the last two goals for us and in an up-tempo game we will need more from them.”

Maryland has one week before taking on Albany in Newark, Delaware next Sunday. Albany defeated North Carolina 15-12 in their first round game.