Passes soared out of bounds, goalies made routine saves and both teams were held scoreless almost 10 minutes into the Tuesday game before Colgate called a timeout with 5:24 left in the opening quarter.
After the teams retook the field, No. 3 Maryland men’s lacrosse found its footing on the offensive end and scored four consecutive goals, which attackman Jared Bernhardt capped off with a strike just before the first-quarter clock expired.
The Terps used the momentum they gained after that timeout to spark their most complete half of the season, tallying nine goals in the opening two frames. That cushion helped hold off No. 16 Colgate’s fourth-quarter surge, leading to Maryland’s 11-6 win at Maryland Stadium.
“So far this season, that was definitely [our most complete half],” coach John Tillman said. “Putting up nine in the first half, holding them to three, winning faceoffs [and] we were good in the clearing game. We were much better off the deck today.”
In those first nine-plus minutes, the Raiders committed five turnovers, seeming to dampen their odds of securing their second win over a top-10 team this season. But the Terps, too, struggled early with maintaining possession, giving away the ball four times during that span.
Under a minute after Colgate’s timeout ended, though, midfielder Bubba Fairman received a pass from Bernhardt and stepped into a shot from outside to break the scoring drought. Then came goals from attackman Logan Wisnauskas using his off-hand, a crafty behind-the-back shot out of the stick of attackman Louis Dubick and Bernhardt’s late-clock antics.
Colgate scored its first goal just over a minute into the second quarter, but the Terps promptly responded with three more of their own and eventually entered halftime with a commanding 9-3 advantage.
The Raiders’ attack had a difficult time exploiting a Maryland defense, who Tillman said encountered a number of breakdowns over the first three games of the season. On Tuesday, though, they limited the number of open looks that Colgate had to shoot on goalkeeper Danny Dolan.
Entering the game, the Raiders averaged 28.5 shots on goal per game, consistently putting pressure on their first two opponents’ goalie. Against Maryland’s defense, Colgate managed 15 shots on cage.
“[Assistant coach Jesse] Bernhardt] put in a really good plan this week,” defender Curtis Corley said. “We were dialed in, everyone knew exactly what we had to. We started anticipating things really well, and it was just going really good for us.”
Following an explosive nine-goal first half, Maryland employed a noticeably more measured approach on its attacking end after intermission. Jared Bernhardt scored the lone goal of the third period, extending the Terps’ edge to 10-3.
While the first-half offense was effective, it did not resemble the style that Maryland typically plays.
“The first half was like kind playing a little pick-up basketball,” Bernhardt said. “Just back-and-forth.”
In the second half, the approach got back to Maryland lacrosse — methodical — with the Terps routinely getting into their sets and surveying the field for the best look as they safeguarded a sizable lead.
Colgate needed a scoring run in the final quarter to give themselves a chance of staging an improbable comeback and pulling off the road upset. When the Raiders needed it most, their leading scorer this season, Nicky Petkevich, stepped up to provide two points after being held without a point in the first 45 minutes.
After bringing the score to 10-5, Dubick, a senior, committed two penalties, a trip and unnecessary roughness, and gave Colgate’s extra-man unit two minutes to work with and further cut into Maryland’s lead. The Raiders capitalized on that chance with a goal for their third consecutive tally.
Midfielder Will Snider broke Maryland’s long scoring drought with his first goal of the season to provide an insurance goal on their lead with four minutes to play, though, concluding Tuesday’s matchup and ensuring a 4-0 start to the season.
“If you bought a ticket, after the first 10 minutes, you might have wanted a refund,” Tillman said. “Neither team really could find a rhythm … and then I think things started to settle down.”