Connor Kelly carries the ball during a career-high offensive output of eight points in the 13-7 win against Marist.

Connor Kelly’s six goals lift No. 2 Terps past No. 15 Penn State’s upset bid

Penn State junior midfielder Nick Spillane worked incredibly hard to get topside to fire a potentially game-saving shot past senior goalie Dan Morris to cut Maryland’s lead to one with 18 seconds left.

Then stepped in freshman faceoff specialist Justin Shockey, who up to that point had lost 10 faceoffs to the impressive sophomore Gerard Arceri who dominated throughout. However, Arceri suffered a non-contact injury moments earlier, and senior two-way midfielder Adam DiMillo showed why he’s a captain on this team when he scooped up one of his five groundballs to clinch the 13-12 victory for the Terps.

For the second consecutive week, an up and coming Big Ten rival played the No. 2 Terps (9-1, 2-0) with excellent faceoff success, goalie saves and valiant offense. However, this contest lasted much longer. The No. 15 Penn State Nittany Lions (7-4, 1-1) pushed Maryland to the very end, leading for most of the game before the Terps’ fourth quarter rally.

But a career high six goals from senior midfielder Connor Kelly and 12 saves from Morris powered the Terps to a 13-12 victory in Happy Valley on Sunday night. Also, redshirt freshman attackman Logan Wisnauskas continued his rookie season hot streak with a hat trick.

Arceri won 19-of-26 faceoffs before having to get replaced by freshman faceoff specialist Jake Glatz, while sophomore goalie Colby Kneese made nine stops and sophomore attackman Mac O’Keefe scored four goals for the Nittany Lions upset bid. The Terps are likely to move up to the No. 1 spot this week following Albany’s shocking loss to UMBC.

Penn State’s fourth-ranked offense blitzed Maryland’s defense early, scoring the game’s first two goals. Spillane got things started off with a nifty dodge and score. The Nittany Lions doubled their lead through Mac O’Keefe’s tidy inside finish.

Arceri dominated first half proceedings, going 8-13. Meanwhile, freshman Justin Shockey struggled for the second consecutive week, winning only four from 12 attempts before being replaced by junior Austin Henningsen, who also struggled – winning two out of eight attempts.

Kelly answered with a right handed alley dodge, bouncing his first goal of the day past Kneese, who was instrumental in the Nittany Lions first half lead, making five first half saves. Just over a minute later, Dylan Foulds scored to lengthen the lead to 3-1.

The Terps answered with two goals of their own. Senior midfielder Tim Rotanz assisted freshman attackman Logan Wisnauskas after Bernhardt’s unassisted jumpshot goal tied the game.

Senior midfielder Ryan Keenan scored and assisted another to O’Keefe in another Nittany Lion 2-0 run in what was indicative of a back and forth contest. Kelly then completed his first half hat trick on two long range efforts following great ball movement from the Terps. His two goals sandwiched Foulds’ second of the night.

Junior midfielder Will Snider, who made his second consecutive start, got inside position en route to his second goal of the season in emphatic fashion. After the Seattle native had faked Kneese out with a slight head fake, he stared down the shot stopper to get the Terps fired up.

The Nittany Lions ball movement was again the key to success for yet another two-goal run. Foulds picked up his hat trick and Kevin Hill scored his first goal behind the team’s fifth and sixth assists of the game.

Then, it looked like Penn State was running away with the momentum when the defense proved to be even stingier than it was in the first half. Bernhardt scored off a wild scramble in which the ball was originally taken away from him before Kelly found him to cut the lead to one.

Kelly’s rollback dodge and rip then tied the game back at 8 with 5:25 left in the third quarter. His trademark move gave him four goals on five shots going into the fourth quarter.

Then, Snider finished some beautiful ball movement with a sidewinder to the top right corner from the right wing off a Rotanz quick feed from behind the net. That goal gave Maryland its first lead of the game, leading 9-8 with 44 seconds left in the third quarter.

Still, the Nittany Lions would not go away. A couple of desperate outside shots aiming to beat the third quarter buzzer were blocked and fell right into the path of Robby Black who tied the game with just a second left on the clock.

O’Keefe continued the two-goal trend for the Nittany Lions, scoring from outside on the extra man opportunity that Wisnauskas gave up. His long range snipe retook the lead for the home side.

Kelly answered with his fifth of the night, wiggling to the middle of the field, shooting sidearm on the run just before the slide was able to prevent the shot. Kelly was amused at the help defense, to say the least. 

Penn State then failed to balance the field and was caught out numbered for the next two transition goals, both converted by Wisnauskas. Senior long stick midfielder Matt Neudfelt and senior close defenseman Bryce Kelly turned defense into offense with the two assists as the Terps lead 12-10.

After his backhanded assist, Young’s pleasure was short lived. He laid out Keenan behind the cage on the double team, but Keenan regained possession and floated a pass to O’Keefe on the backside. His low to high goal on the left side cut the lead to one.

Kelly’s incredible night was not to be denied, however. He ensured a Terrapin victory with an industrious right alley jumpshot to make it a two-goal game once again, and the rest was history.

The Terps return home and will look to get off to a better start when Rutgers comes to College Park next Sunday night for more Big Ten lacrosse action.

Kevin Brown

Recruiting Writer at The Left Bench
Kevin Brown is a journalism student at the University of Maryland. Kevin is from Bear, Delaware and covers assigned beats and recruiting profiles for The Left Bench. He is also active with The Left Bench TV.
About Kevin Brown 134 Articles
Kevin Brown is a journalism student at the University of Maryland. Kevin is from Bear, Delaware and covers assigned beats and recruiting profiles for The Left Bench. He is also active with The Left Bench TV.