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Maryland lacrosse vanquishes championship demons with defining victory over Ohio State

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USA Today Sports

Maryland lacrosse vanquishes championship demons with defining victory over Ohio State

For the fifth time in seven seasons, the Maryland Terrapins had plans on Memorial Day.

But they didn't just have plans, they had dreams, too.

Dreams of tossing their helmets, sticks and gloves into the air as they celebrate the NCAA Men's Lacrosse National Championship.

But in 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016, Memorial Day ended with no dreams, just nightmares.

RELATED: TERPS MEN'S, WOMEN'S LACROSSE PULLS OFF 2017 TITLE SWEEP

Despite nine appearances in the National Championship Game since 1975, the Terrapins had zero titles to show for.

It had become a trend. An ugly, embarrassing trend for the largest university in the largest hotspot of American lacrosse.

But on Monday afternoon at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., the Terrapins vanquished 42 years of championship nightmares, defeating the Ohio State Buckeyes 9-6 for the program's first national championship since that 1975 victory.

The two Big Ten teams had met twice prior to Monday's championship game, with both teams earning an 11-10 victory.

But junior goalie Dan Morris, who had just 17 saves and 21 goals against in the two previous meetings against the Buckeyes, put on a dazzling performance, recording 11 saves, including two huge stops in the final five minutes to turn the Terps' title dreams into a reality.

The Terps' final drive to the title came in the fourth quarter. It began with Matt Rambo, the program's all-time leading scorer, senior caption and heavy favorite to capture the 2017 Tewaaraton Award. 

With just over 10 minutes remaining and the Terps up 7-3, the burly Pennsylvania native drove to the goal from behind the cage and hurled an unbalanced, fade-away shot past Buckeyes goalie Tom Carey. It wasn't just the Tewaaraton Trophy moment from Rambo, but it was also Maryland's championship moment. It was an image that will likely be plastered on the walls inside the new Cole Field House.

But as is the case in lacrosse, the fastest game on two feet, the Buckeyes responded just 12 seconds later. It was their first goal of the second half and it gave Ohio State new life. The Terps would not be able to finally get over the national championship hump without having to fight through nerves, butterflies, and a five-goal lead that quickly became just a three-goal lead with plenty of time remaining. Following the Jake Withers goal to make it 8-4, Tre LeClaire beat Morris to cut the Maryland lead to 8-5 with 5:01 remaining.

Three minutes later, Johnny Pearson beat Morris to make it 8-6.

The Buckeyes had gone nearly 20 minutes without a goal but fired off three in eight minutes to serve as the last true obstacle for the Terrapins. 

However, Tim Rotanz, who finished with a game-high three goals, buried an empty-net goal with 59 seconds to pass the final test. As the seconds ticked off the clock, the Maryland bench began jumping up and down. Alumni, near and far, exhaled and began to celebrate.

Even John Tillman, the Terps stoic head coach who entered Monday with an 0-4 record in national championship games since joining Maryland in 2010, took a deep breath and could be seen cracking a smile, if only a slight one.

The Terps had plans for Monday, and for the first time since 1975, they followed through.

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Maryland rolls to 96-43 victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore

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Maryland rolls to 96-43 victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Anthony Cowan had 16 points and nine rebounds, Jared Nickens scored 15 and Maryland opened its home schedule with a 96-43 rout of Maryland-Eastern Shore on Sunday night.

Cowan scored eight points in a 17-0 run that gave the Terrapins (2-0) a 43-15 lead late in the first half. The 6-foot sophomore had 12 points, eight rebounds, two steals and a block before halftime.

Nickens made all five of his shots, including four from beyond the arc. Dion Wiley finished with 14 points and freshman Darryl Morsell added 12.

Coming off a comfortable win over Stony Brook on Friday, Maryland yielded the game's first basket before Wiley drilled successive 3-pointers to spark a 12-0 run.

Maryland shot 70 percent (14 for 20) from the floor in the first half and forced nine turnovers, including four by freshman Cameron Bacote.

Bacote led UMES (1-1) with 18 points. He had 28 points and 11 rebounds in the Hawks' opener against Valley Forge.

BIG PICTURE

UMES: Games like this make money for the program and help the Hawks get ready for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference slate. The UMES schedule includes road games against Georgetown, Virginia Tech, Iowa State and Creighton before league play begins in 2018.

Maryland: The Terrapins put five players in double figures for the second game in a row. Justin Jackson and Kevin Huerter are expected to be the go-to scorers this season, but they've not been needed thus far. Maryland will need that kind of balance when the competition gets tougher.

NOT A RIVALRY

The Terrapins are 18-0 against UMES in a series that began in 1979. This was the first game between the teams since 2015.

UP NEXT

UMES: Travels to St. Bonaventure on Wednesday night.

Maryland: Hosts Butler on Wednesday night in the second of four straight home games.

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No. 21 Michigan dominates Maryland in 1st half in 35-10 win

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No. 21 Michigan dominates Maryland in 1st half in 35-10 win

COLLEGE PARK, Md.  -- Brandon Peters threw two touchdown passes, Chris Evans ran for two scores and No. 21 Michigan dominated Maryland in the first half in a 35-10 victory Saturday.

The Wolverines (8-2, 5-2 Big Ten) have won three straight. The Terrapins (4-6, 2-5) have lost five of six.

Before the second quarter was halfway over, Michigan had a 28-0 lead thanks to Peters' passing and some madcap miscues by Maryland.

Peters threw touchdown passes of 33 yards to Zach Gentry and 3 yards to Sean McKeon. Henry Poggi and Evans ran for scores. Evans, who scored from a yard out in the second quarter, added a 17-yard run late in the fourth quarter.

The Terrapins started their fourth quarterback of the season, Myles Brand, but unlike the previous three, couldn't come close to engineering a win. Brand was 16 for 35 for 136 yards.

In one particularly embarrassing sequence, Lorenzo Harrison badly overthrew Brand with lots of running room ahead of the quarterback, and three plays later, caught a pass from Brand and managed to lose 14 yards.

Trailing 14-0, Maryland tried a fake punt from its own 30. After Jaquille Veii gained just 3 yards and turned the ball over to Michigan, the Wolverines immediately scored on the 33-yard pass from Peters to Gentry.

After a 29-yard pass to Taivon Jacobs was overturned by replay, Michigan blocked Wade Lees' punt. Two plays later, Peters hit McKeon for a 3-yard pass, and the Wolverines' lead was 28-0 with 8:21 to play in the first half.

In the second half, Maryland scored on a 20-yard field goal by Henry Darmstadter and a 10-yard pass from Brand to Jacobs.