Preview: Maryland begins postseason run with rematch against Johns Hopkins

With the regular season in the rearview mirror, the intensity now ramps up as the postseason starts. Some teams are playing for their lives and a change to make the NCAA tournaments. Maryland doesn’t need to worry about making the NCAA tournament, but they are on the cusp of a historic season. They are looking to win their second straight Big Ten Tournament championship. The Terps first step this postseason will be their old rival, the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays at 5:30pm on BTN.


“We’ve been trying to make sure we, you know, kind of counseled them on it’s 0-0 when we start on Thursday,” head coach John Tillman said Wednesday. “It’s win or go home, people’s backs to the wall. Round two people make adjustments and we’ve got to be okay with, ‘yeah, it’s going to be hard. it’s going to be different.'” The Jays are coming off a 16-8 win over Penn State last Saturday to set up this rematch with Maryland. As you’re all aware, the last meeting a couple weeks ago was a dominate Terps win in which they set multiple records. This matchup is sure to be much more competitive with Hop needing to win the conference to make the NCAA tournament. While the Terps should win this game, don’t count anything out when it comes to this matchup, especially considering how the last one went.


“You watch that game and some breaks went our way early,” Tillman added. “Again not gonna, not gonna apologize or complain about it per se, but just don’t see that same result, kind of being what it was. I think anybody that is expecting this to not be a battle, I think our guys, we want to make sure we’re cautioning that. Like, it’s going to be a battle, it’s going to be hard and that shouldn’t matter. It’s playoff lacrosse, of course it’s going to be hard.”


One difference since the last matchup is that the conference announced their yearly honors. Not surprisingly, the Terps cleaned up, earning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year (Wisnauskas), Defensive Player of the Year (Makar), Specialist of the Year (Wierman) and Coach of the Year (Tillman). Wisnauskas, Makar and Wierman were joined by Keegan Khan and Roman Puglise on the First Team All-Big Ten, with Jonathan Donville, Kyle Long and Luke Geppert making the second team. The Big Ten only allows eight players per team to be named as an all-conference player so the Terps earned the maximum number of spots.


If there is one area of concern for Maryland, it is that they have not usually performed up to their potential in a tournament setting where they must play two games in three days, specifically NCAA Championship Weekend. Many times, the Terps seem to run out of gas in their second game and don’t play as well as they did in their first. This year however, I believe it will a different story. This team has the depth at the midfield to run two full lines without missing a beat, something they have not had in many years in the past. Meanwhile, That doesn’t mean Maryland hasn’t maximized the week break heading into postseason play. “It’s always nice to get a little bit of a break,” fifth-year midfielder Anthony DeMaio said. “It’s always something that we can work on and get better at so just getting back to the fundamentals, just trying the best we can to get better each day during this bye week.”


Maryland will also be playing the early game on Thursday night at 5:30 pm which will give them a few hours more rest. One position where fatigue may become a concern is at the faceoff spot, where Wierman has taken the majority of the draws this year. If Coach Tillman chooses to use Virginia transfer Gavin Tygh like he used FOGO Jon Garino during their 2017 championship run, it may pay dividends for them the rest of the way.