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No. 3 Johns Hopkins men’s lacrosse beats No. 5 Maryland, 7-5, to win Big Ten regular-season title outright

Crown ’em.

No. 3 Johns Hopkins men’s lacrosse scored the first three goals and never trailed in a wire-to-wire 7-5 victory over No. 5 Maryland that gave the Blue Jays their first outright Big Ten regular-season title Saturday before an announced 10,458 at Homewood Field. It was Hopkins’ largest crowd since 10,555 fans watched the in-state rivals face off in their 100th meeting on April 17, 2004 — a game won by Johns Hopkins, 14-10.

Before Saturday, the Blue Jays (10-3, 5-0 Big Ten) had shared regular-season championships with Maryland in 2015 and Penn State last spring. By going 5-0, they became the fifth team in Big Ten history to go undefeated in the conference, joining Maryland in 2016, 2021 and 2022 and Penn State in 2019.

Graduate student attackman Jacob Angelus paced the Johns Hopkins with two goals and one assist, and graduate student attackman Garrett Degnon scored twice, extending his school record of consecutive games with a goal to 43. Sophomore midfielder Matt Collison added one goal and one assist as the team extended its winning streak to five. The Blue Jays haven’t lost since a 10-9 overtime defeat to Navy on March 15.

“It’s crazy,” Angelus said. “We had a setback right before we started conference play, and I think it kind of all came together after that. It was a wake-up call, and we slingshot into conference play. It’s a product of our whole team and all the guys in that locker room, all 60 guys. When the offense is playing well, the defense is helping, and when the defense is playing well, the offense is helping. We did that today, and I couldn’t be prouder of this group.”

The Blue Jays were anchored by a defense that shut out the Terps for the final 23:51. Graduate student goalkeeper Chayse Ierlan made 11 saves, freshman defenseman Quintan Kilrain shut out senior attackman Eric Malever — who had as many turnovers (one) as shots — and senior defenseman Scott Smith limited sophomore attackman Braden Erksa to zero goals on five shots and one assist.

“He’s been the backbone of our defensive unit,” graduate student defenseman Beaudan Szuluk said of Ierlan, who has stopped 10 or more shots in four of his past five starts. “Always a calm voice. You can’t really say much more than that. He’s been a brick wall.”

The Blue Jays earned the top seed in the Big Ten Tournament, and the Terps (8-4, 3-2) will be the No. 2 seed. Both teams will have byes to the semifinal round, which will open May 2 at Ohio State in Columbus.

Senior attackman Daniel Kelly, a Towson native and Calvert Hall graduate, led Maryland with two goals and one assist, and graduate student faceoff specialist Luke Wierman won 9 of 15 faceoffs and scooped up a game-high five ground balls. But the Terps committed a season-worst 19 turnovers (nine from the starting offense) to Johns Hopkins’ 15 and missed out on grabbing at least a share of the conference title, which would have been their third in the past four years and seventh in 11 seasons of league competition.

“Struggled to get into a flow,” coach John Tillman said. “You walk that fine line of, you want to be aggressive, but certainly you don’t want to get antsy, and I felt like at times, we just got a little antsy. We needed to take what they gave us. I felt like we were playing slow at times, and the ball was dying in sticks.

“You need to get them going. They rotate, and they move very well. So you have to in turn make sure you have very good ball movement and you’re changing the field behind and to the sides. I just think our tempo wasn’t great at times.”

In a sport defined by runs, the Blue Jays thrived on them. They began the game with three unanswered goals in the first 10:24.

On a defensive switch by Maryland, Angelus found himself matched up against graduate student short-stick defensive midfielder Colin Sharkey, and he painted the top right corner of the net with 12:58 left in the first quarter.

Senior midfielder Dylan Bauer drove his way to the top of the slot before floating the ball to Degnon, who took a few strides in from the right wing and tucked his shot under the crossbar with 9:30 remaining.

Angelus got another tasty matchup — this time against senior short-stick defensive midfielder Nick Redd — and took him around the left post to fire a jump shot between Terps graduate student goalkeeper Logan McNaney (11 stops) and the right post with 4:36 to go.

The tide turned in the Terps’ favor when Degnon was assessed with a three-minute, nonreleasable penalty for unnecessary roughness when he hit junior defenseman Colin Burlace, an Edgewater native and St. Mary’s graduate, in the head with 3:11 left in the opening frame.

Maryland capitzlied 40 seconds later when Kelly passed the ball to senior midfielder Jack Koras from a jump shot from the right wing that trimmed the deficit to 3-1 with 2:31 remaining. Then 52 seconds later, senior midfielder Owen Murphy — who transferred from Johns Hopkins after the 2020 season — fed Kelly for a goal and a 3-2 hole.

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The Terps did not get another extra-man goal on the penalty to Degnon or a 30-second pushing call on senior midfielder Johnathan Peshko to open the second quarter. But they tied the score at 3 with 13:12 remaining when sophomore attackman Braden Erksa skipped the ball from the left wing to Kelly for a laser from the right wing, capping a 3-0 burst in a 4:19 span.

Senior midfielder Brendan Grimes’ goal on a curl around the right post with 11:09 left in the period ended a drought of 8:27 for the Blue Jays and kickstarted another 3-0 spurt in a 1:28 stretch. Sophomore midfielder Matt Collison converted a pass from Angelus for an extra-man goal after Kelly had been flagged for unnecessary roughness at the 11:01 mark, and Collison fed Degnon for a howitzer from the right point at 9:41 to widen the gap to 6-3.

Maryland opened the third quarter with back-to-back goals from graduate student midfielder Ryan Siracusa with 13:46 to go and sophomore short-stick defensive midfielder George Stamos with 8:51 remaining.

But Peshko scored while cutting across the high slot from left to right with 2:42 left, and Ierlan made three of his 11 saves in the final quarter to preserve the victory for Johns Hopkins. The Blue Jays have outscored opponents 42-24 in fourth quarters this season, which didn’t escape coach Peter Milliman’s attention.

“We’ve tended to be better as the game progresses,” he said. “Our fourth quarters are where we feel some confidence. … I think there’s an extra focus there. I think there’s an intensity that comes with it.”

The silver lining for the Terps is they will get a bye week to work on their deficiencies, which the Blue Jays exposed. Kelly credited Johns Hopkins, but also said the onus is on Maryland to find answers.

“We prepared for it. So it’s on us, but you’ve got to give them credit,” he said. “They got us out of our comfort zone a little bit, and they did a good job. Ierlan is a great goalie. He did his job today. We have to be better as a unit going forward. Five goals isn’t enough.”

Big Ten Tournament

At Ohio State Lacrosse Stadium

Quarterfinals: Saturday, TBA

Semifinals: Thursday, May 2, 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Final: Saturday, May 4, 8 p.m.

TV: Big Ten Network