New Year, Same Championship Expectations For Maryland

(Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics)

Under John Tillman, Maryland has been arguably the best and most consistent program in college lacrosse. The Terrapins have only not made it to Championship Weekend twice (2013, 2019) since Tillman took over in 2011, and six of those trips saw them advance to the national game with one national title victory in 2017.

Simply put, Maryland doesn’t rebuild, they reload.

That looks to be the case again this spring as Maryland, despite losing Tewarraton winner Jared Bernhardt, looks poised to make it back to Championship Weekend in hopes of being the last team standing on Memorial Day after falling to Virginia in the national title game this past season, which stripped the Terrapins of the chance at not only a second national title under Tillman but the first perfect season in college lacrosse 15 years.

With the same national title expectations, as usual, surrounding this program, and the fact that much of last year’s talent is back, there is no doubt that the 2022 Maryland Terrapins not only have the talent but also the motivation and experience, to get back to Championship Weekend and fight to be the last team standing.

Maryland ended the last season with the nation’s second-best scoring offense as they averaged 15.94 goals per game. The Terrapins also ranked second in assists per game (9.75), first in points per game (25.69), and had the nation’s best team shooting percentage (.390%). And while they lose 99 points with the loss of Jared Bernhardt alone, this offense could put up similar numbers again this spring.

There is a new No. 1 in College Park to lead this Terrapins offense: Logan Wisnauskas, who returns for a fifth season of college lacrosse. The attackman has started all 57 games during his career at Maryland and is coming off a 2021 campaign in which he tallied 72 points off 41 goals and 31 assists as the Terrapins’ second-leading scorer. He will be joined by a slew of experienced talent in junior attackman Daniel Maltz (40G/10A), senior midfielder Kyle Long (16G/28A), and Bubba Fairman (19G/7A), who also returns for a fifth season.

Sophomore Eric Malever is one of numerous role players who is expected to take another step forward and possibly crack the starting lineup this spring. The Peach State native was one of the Terrapins’ top reserves last season, tallying 20 points off 16 goals four assists.

In addition to the returnees, this Maryland squad has also added a slew of transfers to help bolster this roster even further. Attackman Keegan Khan (Villanova) and midfielder Jonathan Donville (Cornell) came in as grad transfers after stellar careers at their former stops while attackman Owen Murphy (Johns Hopkins) reunites with offensive coordinator Bobby Benson in College Park after a year off. He was a bright spot for the Blue Jays’ offense as a freshman during the 2020 season.

The impact of transfers can also be felt on the defensive end of the field as well with former Villanova defenseman Owen Prybylski using his fifth and final season of eligibility with the Terrapins. The grad transfer joins a defense that ended last season tied with Siena as the nation’s 16th-best scoring defense, allowing 10.12 goals per game, and returns a good chunk of talent.

With Prybylski possibly sliding in at that open spot left by the graduation of Nick Grill, he will join a pair of seniors in Matt Rahill and Brett Makar at close. Rahill is coming off a season in which he gobbled up 24 ground balls and caused 17 turnovers while Makar had 48 ground balls (most of any pole) and 15 caused turnovers. Makar has started every single game of his career at Maryland and Rahill has been a consistent presence on the back end, but 2021 was his first season as a full-time starter.

In addition, Maryland returns their top LSM in John Geppert and SSDM Joshua Coffman from a year ago. Geppert racked up 31 ground balls and caused 17 turnovers last season while Coffman had 23 ground balls and eight caused turnovers. The pair of seniors have not only been instrumental on the back end but also have made significant impacts in the transition game for this squad. The two combined for 12 points last season. Junior LSM Justin Sherrer is also expected to make an impact in that area of the game again this spring.

To anchor what should be one of the best defenses in the Big Ten once again will be Logan McNaney. The junior goalie who first made his name known during a strong freshman campaign in 2020, started all 16 games for the Terrapins last season and made 168 saves with a .522% save percentage.

The one area where there is likely the most question marks for this Maryland squad coming into this spring is at the faceoff dot. Luke Wierman, who served as their primary option in the national title game, is the Terrapins’ top returner with the graduation of Justin Shockey. Wierman went 87-for-192 (.453%) last season as the primary backup. He is joined in the faceoff room by junior Virginia transfer Gavin Tygh and freshman Shea Keetler.

If Wierman continues to improve and Tygh can do the same after not seeing too much action at Virginia, Maryland could have one of the best one-two punches at the dot in the Big Ten. However, they will certainly want to get that win percentage above 50% on a weekly basis and rid themselves of bad performances, which they had multiple of last season.

2 thoughts on “New Year, Same Championship Expectations For Maryland

  1. Terps return much more than the article mentions. Offensively, all return except JB. This includes a starter on first midfield from two years ago in J Brennan and 2nd line middle J Smith who were both injured last year. All 4 SSDM’s return including AA Roman Puglise. Top 3 LSM’s return with Geppert an AA candidate. 4 offensive players Logan W, Fairman, Long and Demaio have been on AA Lists. Replacing Grill in close will not be easy but AA Makar is one of the best and Rahill played well. Now here comes some Transfers…AA Donville will be a force wherever he plays. K Kahn will be a 40 goal scorer and may operate from X with O Murphy or sophomore sensation Malaver. Owen P started for a tough Villanova D for several years. Logan M has been excellent in goal and will have his best year yet. Several 5 star recruits in their freshman and sophomore classes could rise as well. If Faceoff’s improve, watch out! Memorial Weekend will once again be Terp Time

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