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US Lacrosse Magazine released the Nike/US Lacrosse Division I Men’s Preseason Top 20 on Dec. 17. Team-by-team previews will be unveiled on through the end of the month and will also appear as part of the magazine’s NCAA preview edition in February.

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No. 4 Maryland

2019 Record: 12-5 (3-2, Big Ten)
Coach: John Tillman (10th year)
Assistants: J.L. Reppert, Jesse Bernhardt, Tyler Barbarich
All-Time Record: 834-276-4
NCAA Appearances: 42
Final Fours: 26
Championships: 3

2020 Schedule

Feb. 1 High Point
Feb. 8 Richmond
Feb. 15 Penn
Feb. 18 @ Villanova
Feb. 22 Navy
Feb. 29 Notre Dame
March 7 Albany
March 14 Virginia
March 21 @ North Carolina
March 29 @ Penn State
April 4 @ Michigan
April 12 Ohio State
April 18 Rutgers
April 25 @ Johns Hopkins

Save the Date
March 29

Maryland is again the first Big Ten team to get a shot at the Nittany Lions, who rolled through the conference’s regular season and tournament without a blemish. The Terrapins’ somewhat older defense might be able to better withstand Grant Ament and company than it did last year, when it found itself down seven goals after a quarter in what became a 13-10 loss.

Maryland Seeks to Restore Its Defensive Identity

There are certain things you can almost take for granted in college lacrosse.

When it comes to Maryland, it’s assuming the Terrapins won’t have a losing season (they never have had one in nearly a century of play), they’ll be in the NCAA tournament (their 17 consecutive appearances is the longest active streak) and their defense will be their foundation.

Maryland wasn’t anywhere close to a sub-.500 record last year, but it did barely slip into the postseason before toppling Towson and then falling in overtime to Virginia in the quarterfinals. One of the Terps’ usual traits, though, truly faltered.

Of Maryland’s last eight opponents, seven scored at least 10 goals. Foes averaged 12.6 goals in that span. And it was a year-long problem; only one of Maryland’s last 13 opponents scored fewer than nine goals.

That’s a startling development for a program that has tried to maintain a blue-collar identity — especially on defense — for decades. From Dick Edell to Dave Cottle and now John Tillman, Maryland’s steadiest trait is its stinginess.

Now, it’s a bit of a question. Which, in a weird way, might be a good thing.

“When we have a little chip on our shoulder and have a little edge to us, every Maryland team is better,” Tillman said. “We just are.”

With Maryland missing Memorial Day weekend for the first time since 2013, Tillman hoped his team would come back in the fall a bit feistier. Some guys did. For others, Tillman conceded, their personalities might not be conducive to being visibly fired up all the time even though they do care.

Being loud and chirpy is nice, but being more effective in stopping opponents is a bigger priority. Expect the Terps to look different on the back end. Marquette transfer Nick Grill will slide into a starting spot, while sophomore Brett Makar should be better for last season’s experiences. Tillman is also excited about how well former short stick John Geppert has adapted to playing with a pole, and senior Jack Welding has extensive starting experience.

Junior Roman Puglise is the latest in a line of superb Maryland short sticks, and Matt Rahill played plenty last year and should be the Terps’ top long stick midfielder. They’ll all be in front of a new starting goalie after Danny Dolan’s graduation.

And that group’s improvement will go a long way to determining whether the Terps can capitalize on the presence of Jared Bernhardt, whose 51 goals as a junior was the second-highest total in school history.

“We’re certainly not crying the blues,” Tillman said. “Jared is about as good as it gets, and we’ve got to make sure we make the most of having a top-five guy, because guys like that don’t come around very often.”

Projected Starters

A – Jared Bernhardt – Sr. – 51 G, 27 A
A – Logan Wisnauskas – Jr. – 44 G, 35 A
A – Nicholas DeMaio – R-Fr.
M – Bubba Fairman – Jr. – 25 G, 17 A
M – Anthony DeMaio – Jr. – 28 G, 18 A
M – Kyle Long – So. – 8 G, 14 A
FO – Connor Calderone – Fr. – 93.0 FO% (high school)
LSM – Matt Rahill – Jr. – 22 GB, 6 CT
SSDM – Roman Puglise – Jr. – 7 G, 47 GB
D – Nick Grill – Sr. – 31 GB, 18 CT (at Marquette)
D – Brett Makar – So. – 25 GB, 4 CT
D – John Geppert  – So. – 5 GB, 5 CT
G – Chris Brandau – So. – 55.2 SV%, 10.01 GAA (at Georgetown)

Tewaaraton Watch
Jared Bernhardt, A, Sr.

The Terps have had a Tewaaraton finalist in each of the last three seasons (2017 winner Matt Rambo, plus Connor Kelly in 2018 and Bernhardt last year), and there’s a good chance the streak will continue this spring. Bernhardt is already the centerpiece of Maryland’s offense, and both his leadership and output will be critical for the Terps’ hopes of getting back to Memorial Day weekend.

X Factor
Chris Brandau G, So.

Danny Dolan was a rare one-year starter in the cage for the Terps and did solid work in front of an inconsistent defense. Brandau, a Georgetown transfer, and junior Drew Morris (who played 14 minutes over five games as a backup last year) are the top candidates to take over. “We are much deeper than we were a year ago,” Tillman said. “Danny did a good job last year, but we’re deeper and better than we were last year. It has to translate.”

National Rankings

Offense 18th 12.65 GPG
Defense 25th 10.71 GAA
Faceoffs 27th 53.8%
Ground Balls 56th 28.65/game
Caused TO 73rd 4.06/game
Shooting 3rd 35.1%
Man-Up 52nd 30.2%
Man-Down 51st 61.0%


Maryland senior attackman Jared Bernhardt needs 44 goals to match Matt Rambo for the most in school history. Bernhardt enters his final season with 111 goals, including 51 a season ago, and currently ranks 11th on the Terrapins’ career goals list.

Enemy Lines

“Maryland always finds people to step in to replace key players and will have to do the same this year at defense, goalie and faceoffs. Consistency on the other end should help, led by Bernhardt, Fairman and Wisnauskas.”

“Reloading and with a bit of chip on their shoulder after the Virginia debacle.”