Maryland Comes Back to Beat Hopkins for Big Ten Title


Nick Grill (54), the leader of a Maryland defense that shut out Hopkins for more than 27 minutes, clutches the Big Ten championship trophy while surrounded by celebrating teammates.

Parity is one thing. But Johns Hopkins, Cinderella?

Not on Maryland’s watch.

For the second time in three weeks, the Terrapins’ forever rival had them on the ropes. But Maryland again answered the bell, holding the Blue Jays scoreless for more than 27 minutes and scoring five unanswered goals during that stretch en route to a 12-10 victory in the Big Ten men’s lacrosse championship game Saturday at Panzer Stadium in University Park, Pa.

Maryland (12-0), ranked No. 1 in the Nike/US Lacrosse Top 20, completed its undefeated season and will learn of its seeding in the upcoming NCAA tournament when the bracket is announced Sunday (9 p.m. ET on ESPNU).

Johns Hopkins (4-9) wore the underdog label well. After squandering a two-goal lead in the last two minutes of the April 24 regular season finale against Maryland at Homewood Field, the Blue Jays got through Penn State and Rutgers as the sixth seed in the six-team Big Ten tournament before bowing out against the Terps on Saturday.

Joey Epstein found his mojo with three first-half goals and Brett Baskin scored to put Hopkins ahead 9-6 with 14:01 remaining in the third quarter.

But the rest of the third quarter proved to be equal parts exciting, chippy and sloppy, as Maryland chipped away at the lead — both defenses contesting every exchange and riding the full length of the field. The teams combined for 17 turnovers during the quarter, but the Terps were the only ones able to capitalize. They pulled within one on goals by Big Ten tournament MVP Jared Bernhardt and Bubba Fairman.

Maryland’s run continued into the fourth quarter, punctuated by tic-tac-toe tally that went from Bernhardt to Wisnauskas behind the goal to Daniel Maltz for the one-touch finish in front that put the Terps up 11-9 with 1:57 left.

Maltz’s third goal proved to be essential, as Hopkins specialist Matt Narewski scored off the ensuing faceoff to pull the Blue Jays back within one and end the Blue Jays drought. Anthony DeMaio closed it out for the Terps, scoring a man-up goal on an empty net with 21 seconds remaining.

DeMaio finished with a game-high four points (two goals, two assists).

Bernhardt, who scored a Big Ten tournament record eight goals in the semifinals against Michigan, added two Saturday to set Maryland’s single-season goals record — 53 and counting.

Wisnauskas also scored two goals, while Kyle Long proved dangerous as an initiator out of the midfield, finishing with a goal and two assists. His rip on the run with 5:34 remaining gave the Terps their first lead since the first quarter, one they would not relinquish.

Maryland won its third Big Ten championship but first since 2017 — the year it broke a 42-year NCAA title drought — and defeated Hopkins three times this season.

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