The Terps didn’t need another goal.
To Jack Brennan, that didn’t matter.
The junior midfielder beat his defender and whistled a shot past Colin Kirst, putting his team up eleven as time waned away.
Led by a combined 13 points from Logan Wisnauskas and Anthony Demaio, No. 1 Maryland men’s lacrosse took home the Big Ten Championship trophy Saturday night, dispatching No. 2 Rutgers despite rainy conditions, 17-7.
“In games like this, the guys are fired up,” coach John Tillman said. “So you’re trying to manage that. I felt like early on, we were moving the ball pretty well. I thought we did a good job in transition, we got some really good opportunities going from defense to offense.
To start, both sides traded goals. Maryland opened the scoring via Logan Wisnauskas, but his goal was immediately answered. After Jack Koras took the lead back, Ronan Jacoby knotted the game at two.
Then, the run started.
Over the next 24 minutes, the Terps rattled off six unanswered goals, while they stymied the Scarlet Knights on the other end.
Wisnauskas and Anthony DeMaio started things off, scoring a pair of goals each to grow the lead. John Geppert ripped a goal of his own and Jonathan Donville finished just before halftime to extend Maryland’s advantage.
On the other end, the Terps kept Rutgers uncomfortable, forcing a handful of shot clock violations and not allowing any easy attempts on goal.
At the break, Maryland led 8-2.
“I thought we did a good job on ball. We did a good job navigating picks,” Tillman said. “Last time we played them, there was some times we didn’t slide and they really made us pay, so that was a point of emphasis.”
Coming out of the locker room, Rutgers finally sprung to life. Ryan Gallagher snuck a shot past Logan McNaney for his ninth goal of the year, ending an almost two-quarter-long scoring drought for the Scarlet Knights.
The Terps responded, as Keegan Khan rebounded an Owen Murphy miss into the back of the net and Eric Malever scored his first of the day, but Rutgers quickly matched it with a two goal run of their own. Ethan Rall and Ross Scott contributed back-to-back goals, to bring the deficit to five.
Once again, Maryland had an answer. DeMaio scored to notch a hat trick in the contest, and Owen Murphy finished past Colin Kirst just 40 seconds later. Eric Malever scored for the second time to round out the quarter, and the Terps headed into the final 15 minutes comfortably in control.
Maryland outscored Rutgers 4-2 in the final frame, putting the finishing touches on a game that it controlled from nearly beginning to end.
For the Terps, the win clinched a second straight Big Ten conference championship, as they entered the NCAA Tournament without a loss on their resume for the second year in a row. Still trying to wash away the sour taste from a season ago, just four wins separate Tillman’s squad from a potential national championship.
“This was just a box we checked, we want to ultimately get the main thing, ” Wisnauskas said. “Winning the [national] championship.”