Courtesy Maryland Athletics

Terps advance to fifth straight NCAA Final Four with 13-8 win over Cornell

This men’s lacrosse senior class has now won more games than any other Maryland class before them.

A 13-8 NCAA Quarterfinal win for the top-seeded Terps their 62nd win for the senior class. The seniors who know nothing but making it all the way to the championship game on Memorial Day, took one step closer to that goal as they’ll head to Foxborough, Massachusetts to take on the winner of Johns Hopkins and Duke next Saturday.

Head coach John Tillman improved to a perfect 7-0 in the NCAA Quarterfinal round with yet another dominant display in the round. The Terps have won the last five quarterfinals by an average of 7.2 goals, and the same type of dominance was shown yet again.

Hat tricks from sophomore attackman Jared Bernhardt and freshman midfielder Bubba Fairman and eight saves from senior goalie Dan Morris propelled the Terps to their fifth straight championship weekend appearance.

With lots of speculation swirling around how head coach John Tillman would deal with sophomore attackman Jeff Teat, sophomore defenseman Jack Welding was tasked with face guarding him throughout. This way both Bryce Young and Curtis Corley were able to guard defensively instead of getting taken out of the five-on-five offense.

Teat finished with two assists.

Young and Corley traded off on Teat when he got the ball sparingly off picks and endline restarts, holding him to a single shot and without a point in the first quarter. The Big Red offense was unable to break through during the first 15 minutes as senior goalie Dan Morris made three stops.

Sophomore attackman Jared Bernhardt scored the first goal of the game with a lefty jump shot after getting topside around the left side of the crease with just over five minutes played. The first quarter finished with the Terps up 1-0.

The second quarter saw a lot more offensive production, with the two sides trading five goals within the first five minutes, three of them coming for the Terps.

The Terps executed the two-man game for three of their next four goals. Midfielders Bubba Fairman and Tim Rotanz assisted Bernhardt and Connor Kelly goals, respectively, while Bernhardt turned provider with a dish to Anthony DeMaio.

Teat got his first point on a failed clear attempt from short stick defensive midfielder Thomas O’Connell, feeding his high school teammate Clarke Petersen for the dunk. Senior defenseman Michael Adler scored from the wing in transition on the ensuing faceoff.

“[Adler] is one of the funniest kids on the team, so right when he scored that I jumped right down there and gave him a big hug,” Corley said with a chuckle. “I was just really excited for him.”

Cornell’s midfield then got involved as sophomore Cooper Telesco scored from outside before Jordan Dowiak scored one and assisted another to cut Maryland’s lead to 6-4 at halftime. Pettersen finished the half with two goals.

Freshman faceoff specialist Justin Shockey started well from the X, going 8-for-12 in the first half. The Big Red seemingly allowed Shockey to win the initial clamp before harassing him with a long stick midfielder, but that pressure was not enough.

A dominant 5-0 third quarter gave Maryland full control of the contest thanks to great faceoff play, winning four of five draws.

Wisnauskas and Fairman paired for the first two goals of the second half, assisting one another to stretch the lead to 8-4, with Fairman’s coming on the man up.

The Terps continued to dominate dodging from behind the goal as the Big Red struggled with help defense. Every time the slide came, the initiator found the open man in front of goal. Wisnauskas found Giblin on the doorstep while Rotanz dished it to Fairman for a time and room goal to make it 10-4.

“They were mainly doing a good job behind the cage,” said Cornell goalie Christian Knight, who came into the game with the 10th best goals against average. “It was tough to deal with and adjust, and it seemed like they kind of had all the answers to everything we threw at them.”

The one time Cornell didn’t slide early, Fairman still made them pay with a great individual effort coming around the right side of the crease. Fairman secured his second consecutive hat trick performance of the tournament with that two-goal third quarter, finishing with five points total.

A defensive over-extension on Kelly gave more space for Fairman to dominate that third period.

“I think Cornell’s defense was so buttoned down that we had to stretch them out and the only way to do that was from X,” Fairman said. “Jared Bernhardt played phenomenal today, and they were kind of locking off Connor Kelly so it was kind of hard to swing the ball topside. Coach Reppert did such a good job of coming up with a plan at halftime, and it really worked.”

It then became all about Jordan Dowiak. The senior midfielder ended a 22:20 scoring drought with three straight goals to complete his natural hat trick, assisted by Teat and Connor Fletcher, respectively. Fletcher, who assisted the last two goals made it 12-8 with a lefty crank on the run.

Young beat the ten-man ride with a clearing pass to Bernhardt who took it the distance to retake the momentum to make it a five-goal game with 5:39 remaining in the game.

That would be the last of the scoring as the Terps advanced with ease over the Big Red, and will await the victor of the final quarterfinal between Duke and Johns Hopkins.

Kevin Brown

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 has covered three beats and recruiting profiles for The Left Bench. He is also active with The Left Bench TV.
Kevin Brown
About Kevin Brown 138 Articles
Kevin Brown is a journalism student at the University of Maryland. Kevin is from Bear, Delaware and has covered three beats and recruiting profiles for The Left Bench. He is also active with The Left Bench TV.