Maryland men's lacrosse preview: No. 2 Terps have high hopes, big shoes to fill – 247Sports

Maryland men's lacrosse preview: No. 2 Terps have high hopes, big shoes to fill – 247Sports

Maryland men's lacrosse preview: No. 2 Terps have high hopes, big shoes to fill – 247Sports

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The Maryland men’s lacrosse program returns to campus this week to begin preparations for the 2022 season. Coming off of a heartbreaking NCAA championship game loss to Virginia, the Terps enter the 2022 campaign ranked second in the nation behind those Cavaliers.
The big question the Terps will face: how will they replace Jared Bernhardt? The 2021 Tewaaraton winner and four-time All-American left the Terps as the program’s all-time goal scoring and overall point scoring leader. A preeminent talent, competitor, and hard worker, Bernhardt led Ferris State to the Division 2 football championship as their starting quarterback, earning a nomination for the best football player in Division 2.
The short response to the question is the Terps cannot replace Bernhardt. However, the Terps possess perhaps its deepest and most experienced roster since back-to-back championship appearances in 2016 and 2017. The Terps return 70-percent of their scoring and add two key transfers – attackman Keegan Khan, who led Villanova with 58 points last season and scored 179 career points, and midfielder Jonathan Donville, who scored 34 points for Cornell in their last full season of play in 2019 and 20 points in Cornell’s five-game 2020 season.
Included in that 70-percent of returning scoring are All-American attackman Logan Wisnauskas (41g, 31a), All-American midfielder Kyle Long (16g, 28a), savvy crease attackman Daniel Maltz (40g, 10a), and two career 100-point scorers in midfielders Anthony DeMaio (24g, 19a) and Bubba Fairman (19g, 7a). Rising sophomore Eric Malever (6g, 14a) gives the Terps another dynamic player who can play midfield or attack. With the return of midfielder Jack Brennan (6g, 3a through six games in 2020) from injury and Jack Koras (4g, 1a), the Terps will again run two potent lines of midfield.
Get your jerseys for Terps lacrosse standouts Josh Coffmann here and Brett Makar here!
Bernhardt put so much pressure on defenses with his ability to win one-on-one match ups, but the Terrapins offense still has elite dodgers in Long, Fairman, Khan, and Malever that can draw slides. Donville, the first pick in the indoor National Lacrosse League this past fall, gives the Terps another stretch shooter who can also play in the crease or dodge. Offensive coordinator Bobby Benson, who had the “interim” label from last season removed this fall, will continue to allow players the freedom to move all over the field. With few set plays or patterns, the offense will again make it difficult for opponents to prepare for the Terps.
Like last year, expect the Terps to play highly complementary lacrosse. While the offense draws the limelight, the defense has returned to the standard by which the Terps have been known for decades.
The entire rope unit returns in Roman Puglise (3g, 1a, 27gb, 4ct), Josh Coffman (5g, 2a, 23gb, 8ct), Alex Higgins (1g, 1a, 12gb, 1ct), and Alex Smith (9gb, 4ct). Both Higgins and Smith return from leg injuries. Chase Cope (1g) filled in for Higgins during last postseason’s run, so the Terps will have experienced depth at the defensive midfield.
The long-stick midfield position is similarly deep. John Geppert (2g, 3a, 31gb, 17ct), who deserves All-American attention, sparks transition opportunities for the Terps. Justin Sherrer (7gb, 8ct) ran as the second LSM, and he brings a physicality to the field when he plays. Rising sophomore Ajax Zappitello (3gb) saw extensive playing time during the postseason.
With the departure of All-American defenseman Nick Grill, the Terps brought in Villanova transfer Owen Prybylski (1g, 28gb, 17ct), who started all four years for the Wildcats. He joins All-American Brett Makar (1a, 48gb, 15ct), who has started every game in his career. Matt Rahill (1a, 24gb, 17ct) also returns to start at close defense.
Maryland head coach John Tillman has recruited well at the close defense position. BJ Burlace, who can play at LSM or close defense, his freshman brother Colin Burlace, and freshman Jack Shirtzer all came to College Park with high recruiting rankings.
Coach Tillman brought in Virginia transfer Gavin Tygh and high school All-American Shea Keethler to bolster the Terps’ face-off position. They join near title game hero Luke Wierman (1g, 1a, 43gb, 45-percent in 2021) at the position that could determine how deep of a run the Terps will make this year.
Logan McNaney (9.89 goals against, 52-percent in 2021) returns for his third year as the starting goalie. Fifth-year senior Dan Morris will back up McNaney.
Like last season, the Terps’ ability to get to 50-percent or better at the face-off and in goal, as well as their ability to clear at greater than 85-percent are indicators to watch. The Terps’ offense has too many weapons and can play at any pace for most teams to contain. The more possessions the offense has, the more likely the Terps will win.
IMS will continue its preseason preview of the men’s lacrosse season once the Terps release the spring schedule.
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