Maryland men’s lacrosse kept rolling Sunday night, taking down Penn State on the road in its first conference action of the season. Now 8-0 with four games left in the regular season, the Terps have comfortably displayed their prowess and where they sit this season in regards to the competition. Here are three takeaways from Maryland’s 18-7 win:
Balance remains a benefit
As it has all season, Maryland’s lack of a true offensive focal point has been more beneficial than detrimental. A bevy of different players recorded goals in the win, with the ball constantly moving on offense and few stagnant moments throughout the contest. With such balance on offense, it is harder for opponents to key in on one player, and through eight games, this has been a strength for Maryland.
Keegan Khan (four goals, one assists) Logan Wisnauskas (one goal, four assists) and Eric Malever (three goals, two assists) led the scoring for the Terps from the attack, but Maryland also got big contributions from its midfield, as Kyle Long, Bubba Fairman and Luke Wierman recorded goals, with Long netting three on his own.
Being able to find a good shot from anywhere on the field, the balance Maryland is displaying makes them arguably more dangerous as each game passes.
“It really makes it easy to make decisions of where to go with the ball once I have it,” Wierman said. “The guys being able to trust each other and move it throughout the whole offense, it works well.
No dropoff against a less talented opponent
Sunday’s conference opener ended a dizzying out of conference schedule of top tier opponents, with the Nittany Lions sitting at just 2-6 entering the game. In an obvious let down spot a week after dominating No. 2 Virginia, the Terps never had to ‘wake up’ against Penn State.
When the Nittany Lions cut the lead to 5-3 in the second quarter, Maryland responded with six unanswered goals to end the first half, blowing the game open through 30 minutes. The Terps outscored Penn State 7-0 in the third quarter, cementing the result with 15 minutes to play and allowing head coach John Tillman to empty his bench for the final frame.
“[Penn State] got it to two and started getting some momentum,” Tillman said. “I thought those two quick [goals] were huge. We just were able to snatch that momentum back and kind of kept it going.”
Luke Wierman is an X-factor every game
It was another dominating day at the faceoff X for Wierman in the win. The Terps’ faceoff specialist went 16-21 on faceoffs in the midfield, generating countless possessions for an efficient Maryland offense. Wierman came into the contest 114-169 (67%), among the nation’s best faceoff men.
When Wierman is dominant the way he’s been in 2022, it gives Maryland chances to build and grow leads, without putting pressure on the team defensively. With a sound group of attackers and midfielders surrounding Wierman offensively, his play is leading to more possessions and has become just another cog in the machine for the Terps, as they try every week to live up to their “Be the Best” mantra.
“We knew they were gonna be crashing on us and giving us a hard time and [our scout team] just all week did a great job preparing us for that,” Wierman said. “[My wings] were unbelievable. I mean, [John] Geppert, down the line all those guys, they were just great. Just like let me know where they were, where to go with the ball and really just made it very easy for me the whole day.”