The Maryland lacrosse team is undoubtedly hitting their stride at the right time.
The Terrapins topped Rutgers 14-8 on Saturday evening to capture the Big Ten Tournament title. It’s Maryland’s first conference tournament crown since winning the ACC Tournament back in 2011.
Attackman Matt Rambo led the charge with three goals and three assists for Maryland. Midfielder Connor Kelly scored four goals while attackman Dylan Maltz added three goals.
It was the second consecutive game that Kelly registered four goals.
Maryland’s offense looked to be clicking on all cylinders from the opening whistle at Homewood Field.
Just 1:03 into the game, Kelly completely changed directions behind the cage and was able to duck in front and beat goalie Kris Alleyne for the first goal.
With 11:35 remaining in the first quarter, attackman Scott Bieda showed off his stellar passing skills as he found fellow attackman Adam Charalambides right next to goalie Kyle Bernlohr to tie the game.
Just over two minutes later, Rutgers packed their defense in tight and allowed Maryland to shoot on cage. After multiple shots went wide, Rambo found a wide-open Bryan Cole in the slot for a scorching tally to give the Terrapins a 2-1 lead.
After Rutgers received a goal from Christian Trasolini, the Scarlet Knights committed a pair of penalties that resulted in a six-on-four advantage for the Terps. After Kelly was stopped by Alleyne at point-blank range, Cole was able to put a laser of a pass on Kelly’s stick for the sophomore’s second goal of the quarter.
Kelly’s finish gave Maryland a 3-2 lead with 7:35 left in the first quarter.
With 5:33 remaining in the quarter, Rambo was able to get free and rip a bouncing shot past Alleyne to give the Terps a 4-2 lead. The goal was the 100th of Rambo’s career and he becomes the 13th Terp to reach that milestone.
With time winding down in the first quarter, Maltz had his shot blocked and a battle for the ground ball ensued. Rambo was able to come up with it and he left go of a shot from a very tight angle that made its way into the back of the cage.
As lethal as the Maryland attack looked early on, Rutgers hung around throughout the first half. Of the seven goals that were scored in the second quarter, the Terps only outscored the Scarlet Knights 4-3 to take a 9-5 lead into halftime.
Maltz was one of Maryland’s stronger players in the second quarter as he tallied a pair of goals. He was the beneficary of some phenomenal passing from the likes of Austin Henningsen over a face-off win and Rambo.
Rutgers also turned up their zone defense throughout a majority of the third quarter. However, so did Maryland.
The Terps only yielded two goals in the quarter and one came off the stick of Trasolini. Trasolini ripped an absolute rocket of a shot past Bernlohr to cut the lead to 10-6 with 12:36 left in the third quarter.
The Maryland defense only allowed two more goals over the final 22:26. Bernlohr registered seven saves in the second half to help preserve the win for the Terps.
With a strong performance in the Big Ten Tournament, Maryland could be in contention for the top overall seed when the brackets are released on Sunday.