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Maryland moved up to No. 1 in Inside Lacrosse’s rankings this week, surpassing Virginia after the Terrapins notched comfortable victories over High Point and Loyola. Both opponents were 2021 NCAA tournament teams, and the Terrapins beat the Panthers by eight goals and the Greyhounds by 12. Now, they’ll travel to the Carrier Dome for Syracuse’s first major test of the season.
Here’s everything you need to know about No. 1 Maryland (2-0) before it plays No. 9 Syracuse (1-0) on Sunday at noon:
Maryland leads the all-time series 11-6.
Last time they played
These two collegiate lacrosse powerhouses haven’t clashed since 2016 when the then-No. 1 seed Terrapins dumped No. 8 seed Syracuse out of the NCAA tournament. Both teams won their first-round matchups over unseeded opponents before SU and Maryland met in Providence, Rhode Island, for the quarterfinals.
Syracuse trailed 4-1 at the end of the first quarter and never recovered, trailing by three goals or more for the remainder of the contest. Dylan Donahue’s 41-game goal streak came to an end in the final game of his career, and Nick Mariano, the team’s leading scorer, didn’t score despite taking nine shots. No one topped three points as the offense stalled out in the 13-7 loss, just the second time that year that SU managed seven goals or fewer.
The Orange won the faceoff battle 15-9 but couldn’t capitalize on extra-man opportunities (1-of-5). They couldn’t seem to beat Maryland’s All-American goalie Kyle Bernlohr, who made a season-high 15 saves. Maryland advanced all the way to the national championship that year, where it lost to UNC.
The Maryland report
The Terrapins boast one of the best offenses in the country that returned six of its top seven point-scorers from 2021 (everyone but Tewaaraton Winner Jared Bernhardt). Kyle Long and Daniel Maltz are off to a slower start compared to their 2021 numbers, with five and four points, respectively. But graduate transfer Keegan Khan, who came to Maryland from Villanova, has jumped right into his new role, posting five goals and six assists through two games.
On the defensive side of the ball, Maryland has allowed goals on 28.4% of possessions, according to Lacrosse Reference, a clip that’s 28th-best nationally. The Terrapins returned starters Brett Makar and Logan McNaney, but they lost Nick Grill to graduation.
How Syracuse beats the Terrapins
The Orange’s offense isn’t likely to post 28 goals on Maryland the way they did against Holy Cross, but it needs to continue that offensive momentum from last week. Behind new starter Mikey Berkman at attack, mainstay Tucker Dordevic and a new midfield rotation that features Griffin Cook and Tyler Cordes alongside Brendan Curry, Syracuse needs to produce enough to keep up with Maryland’s high-powered offense.
Virginia transfer Bobby Gavin will get his first real test in goal when he faces shots from one of the nation’s best offensive units, and so will this Syracuse defense. The Holy Cross game was impressive for SU all around, but this will be the true litmus test on what kind of offseason growth Jakob Phaup made with volunteer assistant coach TD Ierlan, what kind of growth the defense made with Dave Pietramala and so on.
Stat to know: 47.2%
Maryland’s offensive efficiency sits at 47.2% after two wins over High Point and Loyola, per Lacrosse Reference. The clip is calculated based on the team’s goals per number of possessions, meaning the Terrapins scored on almost half their offensive possessions through two games.
Only one team sits higher in offensive efficiency — Syracuse, at 51.9%. Both of Maryland’s opponents made the NCAA Tournament last season, and both rank in Lacrosse Reference’s top 30 (Holy Cross is currently at 57th). Maryland’s offense is going to be highly efficient, and SU will need to either get stops on defense or be willing to match that offensive firepower.
Player to watch: Logan Wisnauskas, No. 1, attack
The fifth-year attack has scored eight goals in the opening two games of 2022. Wisnauskas started his collegiate career at Syracuse in 2017 (redshirt season) before transferring to Maryland in the 2018 offseason. From there, he made an instant impact, starting all 18 games at attack and notching 50 points on 35 goals and 15 assists.
Since, he’s been a mainstay of the Maryland offense, finishing second on the team in points (72) in 2021, behind only Bernhardt. Wisnauskas inherited the program’s famed No. 1 jersey from Bernhardt, and will look to live up to it in his first game against his former team.
The post Opponent preview: What to know about No. 1 Maryland before it plays No. 9 Syracuse appeared first on The Daily Orange.