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No. 6 Maryland men's lacrosse beats Ohio State 8-7

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COLLEGE PARK – Maryland men's lacrosse likes to tout its defense as one of the program's strongest pillars. With the task of preventing goals, this unit has proven that they can also score goals.

On a day when an offense outside of Eric Spanos faltered and had few moments of execution, the defense produced two goals and limited visiting Ohio State to its second-lowest output of the season, beating the No. 6 Terps on Saturday Afternoon helped secure an 8-7 win in front of an announced 4,005 at SECU Stadium.

Graduate student goalkeeper Logan McNaney stopped 10 shots, including a stick save, with 48 seconds left to solidify the win. He anchored a defense that held the Buckeyes away for a span of 26:50 in the second and third quarters.

“The biggest thing was giving Logan McNaney the shots he wanted to see,” said senior defenseman Ajax Zappitello, who collected two ground balls and caused two turnovers. “He's one of the best goalkeepers in the country for a reason and we're really fired up when we allow him to see the ball really well and he did a great job of that for us today.”

Junior attacker Jack McKenna had three goals and an assist for Ohio State, but Zappitello shut out junior midfielder Alex Marinier, who scored five goals and led the offense in the team's 14-8 win over Rutgers on March 30 The game included both goals (22) and points (23). With the exception of McKenna, the Buckeyes' starting offense totaled two goals on 12 shots, two assists and nine turnovers.

“They did a really good job of switching up matchups and mixing and matching the players they use their shortsticks against,” Ohio State coach Nick Myers said. “I think in addition to the faceoffs and the fact that we didn't have the ball as much as we would have liked, it just affected our rhythm on offense. It just felt like we couldn’t get into one.”

When Maryland (7-3, 2-1 Big Ten) didn't kill the Buckeyes' offensive chances, the defense did. With the score tied at 3 at halftime, Zappitello forced sophomore midfielder Blake Eiland to lose possession and got the ball to veteran long-stick midfielder Jack McDonald.

McDonald carried the ball into the offensive zone and fired an overhand shot between Ohio State University's new goaltender, Caleb Fyock, and the right post just 1:35 into the third quarter.

After Spanos, a junior midfielder, rebounded a shot past Fyock with 11:32 left, the Terps pounced on a Buckeyes turnover at midfield. Sophomore attacker Braden Erksa passed the ball to Colin Sharkey, a short-stick defensive midfielder, who passed the ball to Nick Alviti, who made a finish very similar to McDonald's.

In 8:15 of game time, Maryland went on a 3-0 run, capped by goals from two midfielders with long sticks. McDonald — who, like Alviti, scored his first goal of the season — praised defensive coordinator Jesse Bernhardt for encouraging the long pole to take appropriate risks.

“That’s something we’re always working on with Coach Bernhardt,” McDonald said. “If we have these options in the transition [and] Just being able to achieve them, those are big momentum goals. When you see a long pole score, it just gets the guys going. They carry a lot of weight. So it’s all just being able to work on your bat and having a good bat.”

The Maryland men's lacrosse team celebrates a goal against Ohio State on April 6, 2024, at SECU Stadium in College Park.  (Terps Athletics/Handout)
The Terps celebrate after scoring a goal against Ohio State on Saturday at SECU Stadium in College Park. (Terps Athletics/Handout)

Spanos proved to be the Terps' strongest weapon with four goals and one assist. His presence was particularly crucial in the fourth quarter, when he scored two goals in 43 seconds, turning a 6-6 tie into an 8-6 lead with 4:34 minutes left in regulation time.

But outside of Spanos, Maryland struggled to find consistency on offense. The starting unit scored two goals on 17 shots, two assists and 11 turnovers.