Army eliminates Maryland lacrosse in first round of NCAAs
[See more photos from Maryland vs. Army here!]
COLLEGE PARK – The defending champion Maryland Men’s Lacrosse team entered the 2023 NCAA Tournament as a No. 4 seed, as they hosted Army in the first round.
Unfortunately, the Terps were outmatched by the Black Knights, losing 16-15 in a nailbiter, ending their season early on in the tournament.
“Sad to see the journey end for them,” said Terps head coach John Tillman. “But super grateful for all those guys have given. Wish we could continue on with the journey.”
Maryland trailed 7-2 at the end of the first quarter, only to eventually tie the game at seven. The second half finished with five lead changes as both sides dug in deep for any advantage, keep any lead within two goals.
Late in the match, Jacob Morin scored with 3:36 remaining to put Army ahead 15-14, with Gunner Fellows’ third goal securing a two-goal edge for the visitors with 53 seconds left.
Daniel Kelly added a late goal for Maryland to reduce the deficit by one with 36 seconds left, but the Terps could not find the equalizer.
Maryland finishes its 2023 campaign with a 10-6 record, as the Black Knights (13-3) advance to the NCAA Quarterfinals instead.
“Give them credit,” said Tillman. “They were opportunistic. When we made a mistake, they super capitalized on it and made us pay for it.”
Braden Erksa led the Terps with four goals and an assist on Saturday night, while Kelly, Daniel Maltz, and Eric Spanos each scored two.
Other Maryland players that found the net included Brett Makar, Jack Koras, Ryan Siracusa, Luke Wierman, and Zach Whittier.
“This place has given me more than I ever imagined,” said Makar. “Every time we went out there this year, in the back of my head, I felt like I was trying to give this place back what it’s given me.”
The Terps’ first and only lead of the game came late in the third quarter when Erksa’s third tally made it 12-11.
Wierman went 18 of 35 on faceoffs and had a game-best 11 ground balls, while Makar had two caused turnovers and a ground ball, which set up his second goal of the season for Maryland.
Kyle Long finished with three assists for the Terps, finishing his career 28th in points with 149.
Fellows led Army with a hat trick, while Morin, Ryan Sposito, and Finn McCullough scored two goals, and Evan Plunkett and Reese Burek each had a tally and three assists.
Black Knights goalie Knox Dent looked impressive, notching 16 saves.
In terms of Maryland’s final season stats, Erksa finished his freshman season with points in 14 consecutive games.
Erksa also posted 48 points, marking the most points by a true freshman as the Terps’ leading scorer in a season, surpassing Joe Walters’ 46 points in 2003.
Maryland’s defensive players accounted for 16 goals on the year, as Makar scored his second on Saturday night.
Wierman finished 2023 with the second-most faceoff wins in a year with 252, which is second only to his previous record of 298 from last season.
Featured photo by Alp Torumtay/The Sports Pulse