(Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics)
For the ninth time in 12 seasons, the John Tillman and the Maryland Terrapins are headed to Championship Weekend. The Terrapins continued their perfect season with a 18-9 win over the Virginia Cavaliers on Sunday in Columbus, Ohio.
After losing to Virginia in the national title game last season, Maryland has now won each of their last two meetings against the Cavaliers. The Terrapins beat Virginia 23-12 in a neutral site battle in Washington, D.C., in mid March.
Virginia struck first with freshman Griffin Schutz finding the back of the net just under four minutes into the contest. But it didn’t take long for the top-seeded Terrapins to settle in and get rolling.
Anthony DeMaio ran past offensive midfielder Xander Dickson, who got caught on defense, and put one past Matthew Nunes to get the scoring started for Maryland. He would put home another one just over two minutes later and then add a third first-quarter score near the end of the frame to give himself a hat trick and make it a 4-1 game.
Following DeMaio’s second goal of the game to put the Terrapins up 2-1, they never trailed or saw the game tied ever again. One aspect that helped Maryland stay ahead and eventually break open the game was the play of Luke Wierman at the faceoff dot.
After seeing Virginia’s Petey LaSalla go 4-for-6 at the dot in the first quarter, Wierman flipped the script in the second as he went 8-for-9 in the frame. That included a pair of wins that led to a pair of quick goals from Daniel Maltz and Jonathan Donville to pull the Terrapins ahead 6-2 and really start to take control of the game and head into the half with a 9-4 advantage.
The Terrapins put together another similar sequence of two goals in six seconds, including an Owen Murphy score off a Wierman feed, in the third quarter. In total, Maryland scored four goals that came quickly off faceoff wins. Three of those scores came by way of Owen Murphy.
In addition to the improvement at the faceoff dot from the first quarter through the remainder of the game, the Terrapins also breaded their butter in the middle of the field on the ride and in transition. Maryland forced two Virginia failed clears in the third quarter and scored off one.
Logan McNaney anchored the Maryland defense with 14 saves. Bubba Fairman (3GB/4CT) and Roman Puglise (1G/1A/3GB/1CT) had successful days at the SSDM spot while Brett Makar grabbed four ground balls and caused one turnover at close. Ajax Zappitello was matched up on Connor Shellenberger most of the day and held him with with zeros on the stat sheet.
Logan Wisnauskas and Anthony DeMaio each went 3-2 for five points on the day. Owen Murphy had four goals.
Jeff Conner (3G/1A) led the way for the Cavaliers’ with four points while Payton Cormier and Griffin Schutz had identical 2-1 games.
Maryland will face Princeton in the NCAA semifinals next Saturday in Hartford, Conn.