Terrapin attackman Logan Wisnauskas (12) stares down Red Foxes’ short-stick defensive midfielder Matthew Selts (4). (Owen Hynes/The Left Bench)

Maryland survives early scare, avoids upset against Rutgers 16-13

A common theme for John Tillman’s Maryland men’s lacrosse team has been their inability to get off to fast starts early in lacrosse games. This theme continued Sunday night in Piscataway, New Jersey, forcing the Terps to climb all the way back in route to a 16-13 win.

Hat tricks from Dubick, Fairman, DeMaio and Bernhardt propelled Maryland, who trailed by five goals at a point in this game, in the second half.Maryland, now with double-digit wins on the season, won its second straight game in the Big Ten after dropping a game to Penn State in March.

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights came into Sunday looking to advance to 7-5 on the season and upset the No. 3 Maryland Terrapins. Before the Terps could blink, Rutgers began its bid for an upset with three straight goals to start the game. Trailing early in yet another game this season, Christian Zawadzki halted the barrage of Rutgers goals by scoring his fourth goal of the season to ignite Maryland’s offense.

Anthony DeMaio and Logan Wisnauskas quickly complemented the goal from Zawadzki to tie the score. The slow start would continue through the first quarter as Rutgers tallied two more before the first quarter came to a close. Casey Rose and Ryan Gallagher brought the Rutgers lead back to two goals before the second quarter began.

The second quarter consisted of much of the same for the Terps, as their inability to solve the Scarlet Knights offensive attack left them trailing heading into halftime. After another three-goal bombardment for Rutgers to open the second, Maryland quickly found itself trailing by five goals and in need of a change in momentum. That change came off the stick of Fairman who scored with just three seconds in the half to change the outlook for the rest of the night before heading into halftime trailing 9-6.

In the second half, Maryland found that source of energy it was looking for, largely due to Fairman’s goal just prior to the end of the half. Three goals in the first four minutes changed the entire complexion of the game, tying the game at nine goals with just over 28 minutes remaining in the game. Maryland had avenged its early struggles, but the Terps still had to finish off the Scarlet Knights.

Tied at 10 goals following the two teams exchanging goals, freshman attacker Kyle Long scored with three seconds left in the third quarter. The goal marked the second straight quarter ending with a Maryland goal with just three seconds left.

Unlike the first quarter-closing goal, Rutgers would respond better than it had before. Two goals in the first four minutes of the final quarter propelled Rutgers back into the driver’s seat with a fresh 12-11 lead. Maryland proceeded to go on a five-goal run and take command of the game with 4:29 remaining in the game. Rutgers never responded as Maryland survived its lackluster first half.

Maryland now faces Ohio State next weekend looking for their third straight win in Big Ten conference play.