(Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics)
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – A 6-0 Duke run to start the game proved to be the difference Saturday as Maryland fell 13-8 in the NCAA Semifinals. Connor Kelly had four points and Logan Wisnauskas and Jared Bernhardt both tallied two goals each for the Terps, but Maryland’s offense couldn’t make up the deficit as the team finishes the year 14-4.
“I am incredibly proud of our guys,” said head coach John Tillman. “Just kept battling and fighting and fighting like they have all year, so obviously very disappointed to see the journey end. I think that’s the hardest thing. There’s a bunch of tears certainly in the locker room. I think at this time of year whether you get to Monday or not, you know the journey is going to end, and that’s probably the hardest thing, just because this group has been so tight all year.”
Duke came out firing in the game at Gillette Stadium, racing out to a 4-0 lead in the first quarter. Bernhardt would end the Blue Devil run in the second quarter, scoring his first of the day with 11:36 to go in the half. Another goal from Anthony DeMaio would cut it to 6-2 at the 10:53 mark before Duke answered back.
Maryland would score five of the final seven goals in the first half to trim the Duke advantage to 8-5 at the break. The Terps carried that momentum into the start of the third, as Kelly and Bubba Fairman tallied the first two goals of the half to make it 8-7 with 8:05 remaining. Duke regained control from there, posting four straight goals before clinching the five-goal victory. Goalkeeper Dan Morris posted a game-high 14 saves in the contest while finishing with a .519 save percentage.
“This is the best program to be a part of, for any high school players, middle school players,” said Kelly. “Maryland sets the standard for what it is to play college lacrosse. Just hard-working, resilient, and just so unselfish. I couldn’t think of playing for any other program for under Coach Tills.”\
Just the third Tewaaraton finalist in Maryland history, Kelly finished the season with 82 points – the third-most in Terrapin single-season history. He also wrapped up his career fifth in goals (128) and t-ninth in points (191).
Maryland advanced to the NCAA Semifinals for the fifth consecutive season this year under John Tillman, who holds a 20-7 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament.