(Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics)
The 2022 Maryland Terrapins did what many thought was unthinkable. They took down each and every opponent they faced and on Memorial Day stood above the rest with a perfect 18-0 record and as national champions.
Maryland joins an elite group of 13 other teams to be crowned undefeated national champions and becomes the first to do so since Virginia in 2006. It marks the second time in program history that the Terrapins have completed such a feat, joining their 1973 squad.
While it is a storybook close to a storybook season, it was one in which the Terrapins had to fight tooth and nail for. Cornell outscored Maryland 5-0 in the final 19:34 of the game and caused three of the Terrapins’ seven turnovers during that stretch. Additionally, Maryland failed two clears during that final stretch and saw the Big Red grab five ground balls to the their two in the final nine minutes-plus.
On the day, Maryland was outshot 40-37, went 25-of-30 in the clearing game, and committed 22 turnovers (11 caused). But despite those mistakes and the tiredness clearly exhibited by the Terrapins late, they were able to pull through and claim the 9-7 victory over the Cornell Big Red for the program’s fourth NCAA title and second under John Tillman.
Goalie Logan McNaney proved to the be the x-factor on the day for a Maryland team who’s offense was held to under 10 goals for the first time all season. McNaney, just two days removed from a career-high 21-save performance in the semifinals, made 17 saves in cage to anchor that Terrapins’ defensive effort and help keep the Cornell offense at bay.
10 of McNaney’s saves came during the first half of play as he only let in two Cornell scores (both from CJ Kirst) during the first two frames. However, his most crucial came during the final frame.
Entering the final 15 minutes of play ahead 9-3, Cornell went on to dominate the frame and outscored the Terrapins 5-0. And while the Big Red were only able to pull within two, perhaps it could’ve been worse for the Terrapins if not for McNaney. He made four saves in frame, three of which came in the final 5:57 of the contest to help stifle the fierce Big Red effort.
Out in front of the cage, LSM John Geppert caused a pair of turnovers and grabbed three ground balls. Both of his caused turnovers came in the fourth quarter. SSDM Bubba Fairman caused one turnover and grabbed two ground balls while defenseman Ajax Zappitello grabbed five ground balls and caused one turnover. Zappitello was tasked with guarding Cornell’s Michael Long and held him to just one goal on the day.
Luke Wierman went 13-for-20 (65%) at the faceoff dot. He was especially good in the second half, going 8-for-9 in those final two frames.
A nearly 24-minute stretch from 5:47 in the first quarter through the 11:55 mark in the third proved to be not only the most dominant stretch for the Terrapins, but also arguably the most important. Being able to outscore Cornell 9-1 during that stretch helped not give the Terrapins that 7-2 advantage and the half and 9-3 lead heading into the fourth, but put helped make a comeback effort from the Big Red that much difficult.
Eric Malever got the Maryland scoring started just under six minute mark in the first quarter and from there it was off to the races. The highlight of that strong Maryland stretch that lasted nearly a fully two and a half quarters was Anthony DeMaio as he led the Terrapins with four goals on the day. Three of those came consecutively to end the first quarter and pull Maryland ahead 4-1.
DeMaio would also assist on an Owen Pryblski pole goal early in the second before finding the back of the net for his fourth of the day later on in the frame.
In addition to DeMaio’s strong day, Logan Wisnauskas tallied four points off two goals and two assists while Kyle Long dished out three assists.
CJ Kirst led Cornell with two goals and one assist while Gavin Adler caused two turnovers and grabbed seven ground balls. Chayse Ierlan made nine saves in cage.