Maryland tops Rutgers 14-11, advances to Big Ten semifinals vs. Johns Hopkins

For the second time in two weeks, Maryland men’s lacrosse has topped Rutgers but this time with a Big Ten semifinal birth on the line.

Maryland started the game without Ajax Zappitello and also lost long stick midfielder John Geppert in the second quarter. However, despite the injuries, the Terps were able to come out on top 14-11 to advance to the Big Ten Semifinals.

Daniel Kelly led the way with four goals and an assist while Daniel Maltz added an assist to his hat trick. But it was Braden Erksa who led the way for the Terps’ offense as he set a new career-high with six assists, the most by a Terp since Logan Wisnauskas had seven against Johns Hopkins on March 6, 2021.

“Proud of our guys. Not a work of art, but at this time of year teams are playing for their lives. With 21 seniors, we knew Rutgers would give their all,” Tillman said after the game. “They’re obviously a talented team, a Final Four team last year. Happy for our guys to get a win and to get to have an opportunity to continue in the tournament. The crowd was awesome today. We looked at this as another opportunity to get back playing in Maryland Stadium after last week, just an opportunity to walk off the field and feel a little differently this time. It wasn’t always clean, it wasn’t always pretty, but thought Jake, Jess and Tim did a great job with the gameplans and the guys really committed to them and played unselfishly and hard.”

Maryland jumped out to a 3-1 lead thanks to a pair of early goals from Daniel Kelly before Daniel Maltz tacked in a fourth goal with 13 seconds left in the first quarter. Maryland took an 8-5 lead into halftime and stretched the lead to as many as seven after Braden Erksa found Eric Spanos for another goal, doubling Rutgers 14-7 with seven minutes left. Erksa’s goal also secured a new career-best seven points for the Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Rutgers would give Maryland a late scare with four consecutive goals, but it was too little too late as Maryland hits the road for the next round of the Big Ten Tournament.

Maryland’s defense stifled the 16th-ranked Scarlet Knights all night after holding them scoreless for over 21 minutes as Brian Ruppel finished with ten saves.

Maryland now moves to 10-3 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament, the best record of any program in the conference, as head coach John Tillman guides Maryland in search of its fifth Big Ten Tournament title.

Maryland will travel to Baltimore on Thursday to face Johns Hopkins at 3:30 PM on the Big Ten Network.

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