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Terps win Big Ten Championship

By: Taber Lucchese

Maryland MLAX title

It was everything you could ever hope for and expect from the Terps.

Top-seeded hometown-favorite Maryland walked off Homewood Field Saturday Night all smiles after capturing their first-ever Big Ten Tournament title with a 14-8 victory over second-seeded Rutgers.

“To see them smiling, it’s hard not to get choked up because you know how much they gave and they’ve really earned it,” UMD head coach John Tillman said.

Connor Kelly and Matt Rambo paved the way offensively for the Terps, contributing four and three goals, respectively. Rambo also assisted three goals, along with Bryan Cole who went two and two on goals and assists.

Kelly started off both halves for UMD with their first goals, also scoring an EMO-goal to break away from a tie midway through the first quarter, followed by his final beauty, a curl from behind to finish a feed from Cole, which amazingly counted despite skirting and bouncing off the net.

Rutgers held on for the majority of the first quarter, repeatedly tying then trailing just behind Maryland until Tournament MVP Rambo sealed a three-point lead for the Terps at the end of the first. With zero seconds on the clock and zero angle whatsoever, Rambo hit the opposite side of the net off a deflected shot.

“I just saw the ball in the air, I knew there was only a couple seconds left,” Rambo said. “But I don’t think that was a tone setter for our game. That was just the end of the quarter, [we] had to fight for 45 more minutes.”

Through the entirety of the second quarter, Maryland hit the nail in Rutgers’ coffin goal by goal. Dylan Maltz stepped out of the shadows with his two shots, first cutting across the crease to finish a Rambo feed, then two minutes later ripping one unassisted from the top finalize the halftime score at 9-5.

Standout goalkeeper Kyle Bernlohr played a phenomenal 12-save performance that sparked an energy from one side of the field to the other. The Terps also gave sophomore goalie Dan Morris a chance, who got his own action with four saves in the final four minutes, which Tillman believes was “very symbolic of this team.”

“You didn’t know who would be the leading scorer, nobody really cared, everybody practiced like they could be,” Tillman said. “Then when their time was ready, they stepped up.”

Defensively, Maryland outscored nationally-ranked Rutgers on ground balls 28-23 and successfully completed 19 of 21 clears. They held Rutgers’ top scorers Scott Bieda and Jules Heningburg to one each and redshirt freshman standout Adam Charalambides to three goals.

“I said to the guys that as of before our game, no other No. 1 seed had won their tournament, so let’s keep our guard up and it’s going to be hard,” Tillman said. “You’re playing against teams that are fighting for their lives, and it’s something that you have to be cognoscente of.”

As Big Ten Champions, Maryland clinched an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament, for which the bracket will be announced Sunday night. For now, Maryland can sleep easy knowing their well-deserved spot in the playoffs is sealed, while opponent Rutgers impatiently waits for their fate. Maryland is a lock to host their first round game and with losses by Denver and Brown, the No. 3 Terps could even end up as the No. 1 overall seed.

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Taber Lucchese

Staff Writer
A washed up high school athlete studying in the heartland of college lacrosse and living vicariously through her D1 friends. Growing up in a lacrosse-obsessed family in New York's hotbed, Taber received her first stick as a toddler, an all-pink plastic beauty with the Powerpuff Girls printed on the shaft. Soon after, she was criticized for her lack of a pocket by her male teammates, who all no doubt play college lacrosse today. After over a decade of shooting space and tight pockets, Taber picked up field hockey in high school to finally prove that she could be better at a sport than her D1-committed younger sister. Shockingly she was wrong, and now has accepted the fact that club sports are her destiny. Taber is currently pursuing a degree in Political Science with concentrations in Journalism and Italian Studies. Don't worry, she's not sure what she's doing either, but she's confident that she knows more about sports than you do.

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