When Maryland men's lacrosse midfielder Tim Rotanz received a pass on the right wing with around seven minutes left in the first half against Bryant, the Bulldogs sent an extra defender at him.
But after the help arrived, he split the double team and secured a hat trick with a shot to the far post. The conversion gave Maryland a 6-3 lead in its 13-10 first-round NCAA tournament win.
Rotanz added a pair of scores after halftime to establish career highs with five goals and five points. Having never netted more than three times in a game with the Terps, he attributed his increased production to his teammates drawing defensive attention.
"They had a lot of the eyes on them today, especially [attackman Matt Rambo]," Rotanz said. "For me, it was really pretty easy. Stepping in 10 to 12 yards away, getting my hands free and just shooting."
That's how Rotanz's first goal — a low left-handed shot from the left side that beat Bryant goalkeeper James Werner — came around five minutes into the contest.
His next finish pinged down off the crossbar five minutes later, providing the Terps a 3-1 lead and setting up his career-best shooting performance.
After the game, Rotanz estimated the last time he scored five times was in high school. Coach John Tillman, smiling as he turned to face the midfielder, told him to "feel free" to repeat the performance in the future.
Earlier this campaign, Tillman lauded Rotanz for being two-way midfielder who can step up defensively as well as find the back of the net. Against Bryant, that versatility led to a Terps goal early in the second quarter.
The Wading River, New York, native caused a turnover by knocking over Bulldogs midfielder Tom Kennedy as he carried the ball into Maryland's defensive zone. After the stop, the Terps transitioned the other way and converted their chance to take a 5-2 advantage.
Rotanz also helped fellow attackman Matt Rambo set career bests in assists (six) and points (eight), turning a pair of feeds from the senior into goals.
"They just play off each other," Tillman said. "Depending on what's we're doing and who we're playing against, no one cares who scores. People aren't really concerned about statistics."
Rotanz's final score came on an assist from attackman Colin Heacock, who found him cutting toward the net. Rotanz easily deposited his shot past goalkeeper Viper Scheele, a freshman who made his college debut Sunday after starting goalie James Werner surrendered 11 goals.
The conversion gave Rotanz a game-high five goals. Though no other Terp reached three scores, Tillman said the team's more prolific goal scorers were comfortable with his expanded impact.
"Matt Rambo's probably just as happy [Rotanz] got five goals. I'm sure [Heacock's] the same way," Tillman said. "It's a fun group because nobody cares who gets the goals or the accolades. They really trust each other so that if someone [else] has [the ball], if you move, there's a good chance you'll get it."