Maryland Terrapins head coach John Tillman mentioned his players began to blare music midway through the season to get themselves loose. He said most of it was bad (Ed. Note: I don’t think Young Jeezy/Jeezy is bad), but one song has always gotten the team fired up.
“They have one song that I don't know why they picked it, but they love that song: Dire Straits, Money For Nothing,” Tillman stated. “You could give me a million guesses, I would never guess that song. They love when the drum starts going, and it has the guitar riffs. So every road trip, every time we come back, every time before the game, that song comes on and they will not get sick of it and they just keep playing it. I don't know why that song. I actually like Dire Straits a lot, but it would not have been my first choice.”
For the Terps, they finally got something after years and years of coming up short. In front of 28,971 fans, the highest for a final since the 2012 game in Foxborough, Maryland defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes, 9-6.
It was a fairly even first quarter for both teams, as Maryland ended up with a 3-2 lead. Midfielder Connor Kelly gave the Terrapins the lead with under a minute to go, and they never looked back.
Maryland shut down Ohio State’s offense for droughts of 24:15 and 15:29 thanks in part to Tim Muller shutting down Tre Leclaire and Curtis Corley dominating Jack Jasinski. Both defensemen had two ground balls and one caused turnover.
A big development for the Terps came from the second midfield, specifically Adam DiMillo. The junior had three goals all season coming in, but scored twice in the first half to give a jolt to the Maryland offense.
“Having them go out there and be aggressive,” said senior attackman Colin Heacock, “a lot of the credit goes to the scout defense. Day-in and day-out they gave us a great look. Coach [J.L.] Reppert, all the preparation he does for us really helps us. And today Adam DiMillo, Ben Chisolm, Ethan [Mintzer], they really stepped up big and helped us a lot.”
Even though it was only 5-2 at the half, it felt like Maryland had a firm grasp of the game, but Ohio State reminded everyone that they were also playing in the game. Logan Maccani had his second goal of the weekend to cut it to two, but Maryland shut down Ohio State yet again and built an 8-3 lead with a 3-0 run.
But with 10:24 to go, the Buckeyes went on a 3-0 run of their own, thanks to Jake Withers, Leclaire, and Johnny Pearson. With 2:25 left in the game, the Terps didn’t feel nervous at all.
“I think we've been there all year,” said short stick defensive midfielder Nick Manis. “We've been in those spots all year. That's something that we focused on is just finishing. We love it. We embrace it. We knew it wasn't going to be easy, and when we were running out there with two minutes left and we had to make a stop, we were all smiling at each other like this is where we've been. This is where we want to be. We always pride ourselves on defense at Maryland, and we really wouldn't want it any other way.
With the ball, the Buckeyes called on Leclaire for a shot with 1:55 left. Leclaire shot five hole, and goaltender Dan Morris made a big-time stop, one of 11 saves on the day. Tim Rotanz sealed the deal with an empty net goal, his third of the game.
Tillman planned a little differently this year after playing in three two straight title games. One big advantage was the location of where the team was staying, which was right next to Gillette Stadium in Patriot Place.
“I can remember back in 2012 here,” Tillman said, “we stayed up in Boston, and it was a long way to go. And I remember I think the semis on Saturday were even later. Our kids got back pretty late. And it is such a quick turnaround to get ready to play a really good team in less than 48 hours. So it is a quick turnaround even for us playing that later game and then we're back to 1 o'clock. So, we got back a little sooner, we actually met on Saturday night. I think starting that preparation Saturday night was big for us. We really started getting into like the ice baths and all that quicker this year. Some guys got IVs right after the game.
“A lot of times if you've played a second game, by the time you get back, the kids are exhausted. You don't know how much they can retain. And I think this group wasn't just satisfied winning Saturday. It meant a lot to them to win. Denver's a really good team. But you could see there was a little bit more, okay, we came here for more mentality versus some other years, because it is special to get here and win that semifinal. You hope they're excited.
“We had more video and more stuff prepared for breakfast on Sunday. Just, again, on Sunday, being here, we went over and did all of our media and we were in and out in an hour. It gave so much more time to be able to prepare for the game, so that was huge for us. We were able to watch film several times because we had man-up, man-down meetings; we have face-off meetings; we have offense; we have defense. So, we have a lot of things to get through.”
For the Buckeyes, Leclaire added an assist, while Austin Shanks and Colin Chell also scored in the loss. Tom Carey made 13 saves, while Withers went 8-of-19 from the face-off X. He went 4-of-5 against Austin Henningsen, but then went 4-of-14 against Jon Garino, Jr. for the remainder of the day.
The Buckeyes had a hard time getting offense going, as they were outshot 11-4 in the second quarter and 12-5 in the third, but Carey stood strong in goal.
“Goalie is such an incredible position as a whole,” said head coach Nick Myers. “You have to have someone there that is a leader to a degree. And Tom, although he's not a captain, he's a guy that really rallies our defense. I thought he played incredible today.
“We were even, 4-4 in the second half, and for the amount -- I think we played the first seven minutes of the third quarter on defense and hung in there, and hung in there and allowed ourselves that chance to make it back, and Tom was a big reason why.
“Tom's someone that we're going to miss, certainly. He's a guy that's been in a lot of big games. We've won a lot of big games behind Tom and his play, and on a personal level, working with him every day, I just couldn't be prouder of him. He just graduated a couple weeks ago, and he's got a very bright future ahead of him.”
Although they came one game short of their first ever National Championship in their first ever title game appearance, Myers emphasized how important today’s game was for the development of their program.
“I think that we've certainly been on the map. This was a big step. The three quarterfinals we've been to, to get back here this year with this group, I just felt like there was this eagerness. There was a feeling that when we started the May lacrosse [portion] that we really wanted to extend May. We had that team meeting the first weekend of May after the Big Ten Championship, and the men brought the locker room together, and I met with the seniors. They just said here's what the next three and a half weeks are going to look like. And that first day before the selection show, there was no one in that locker room that didn't think we were going to play another three weeks.
“When you have locker room that talks that way, and trains that way, and believes that way, to me that's a really special thing. So maybe for me it's more of an inside look at how excited I am to have a group of men, as these men said, that truly believe that we belong here on this stage in the Final Four weekend, and believe that we'll be back.”
As for Tillman, he said he now has to own up to his promise of getting a tattoo. He made the promise to Heacock and Matt Rambo earlier in the season. He mentioned he doesn’t what he will get, but it will be a very small reminder of the season that was.
#3 Ohio State vs. #1 Maryland Final Team Stats
Most Outstanding Player
Tim Muller, Maryland
Tom Carey, Ohio State
Ryan Drenner, Towson
Connor Kelly, Maryland
Tre Leclaire, Ohio State
Dylan Maltz, Maryland
Dan Morris, Maryland
Tim Muller, Maryland
Matt Rambo, Maryland
Tim Rotanz, Maryland
Ethan Walker, Denver