(Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics)
COLUMBUS, Ohio- Colin Heacock scored the go-ahead goal with 3:27 left in the game to give the Maryland men’s lacrosse team a 10-9 win over Ohio State to win the Big Ten Conference Tournament title Saturday night at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
The championship gave the Terrapins their second Big Ten Tournament title in as many years and sixth conference tournament championship in history. The 2017 season marked the fourth-time Maryland swept the regular season and conference tournament titles.
With the win, Maryland (12-3) earned the Big Ten Conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, marking the Terps’ NCAA-best 15th straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
Junior Connor Kelly, who finished with 10 points (9G, 1A) in the tournament, was named Big Ten Tournament MVP. Kelly notched a career high five goals in the championship bout including three of the five Terrapin goals in the first half.
The game was close throughout with neither team having more than a two-goal lead during the contest. The MVP, Kelly, got the scoring started just three minutes in off a Matt Rambo assist. That assist marked 54 straight games with a point from Rambo, which currently ranks as the second longest streak in the country.
Ohio State would score three consecutive goals before Kelly would tally his second goal in the early-going. Through one, Maryland trailed 3-2.
Kelly notched an early hat-trick to start the second quarter scoring on an unassisted strike. Tim Rotanz would follow with one of his own to give Maryland a 4-3 lead. At halftime, the score was tied up at four.
Each team put through one goal in the third quarter with Jared Bernhardt darting home his first of the contest off Rambo’s second assist of the game, 33rd of the year.
The back and forth nature of the game continued into the fourth quarter with the teams making plays on both ends. Kelly started the action with his fourth goal of the game just a minute in before the Buckeyes scored two straight.
Bryce Young took a faceoff right down broadway after Ohio State took a 7-6 lead and found net to even the title game up. After two assists, Rambo put one home himself for the first time to then give Maryland an 8-7 lead.
Just a minute later, Colin Chell tied the game for Ohio State. That is when Kelly got his career high 5th goal to retake the lead for the Terps, 9-8.
With the score tied, Heacock put the Terps ahead for good with just over three minutes remaining in Columbus. Strong defense would wind down the clock and Maryland celebrated a Big Ten Tournament Championship.