By Chris McManes

The University of Maryland men’s lacrosse team entered the 2022 season with unfinished business. A year after losing the national championship by a goal, the Terps set out to close this season with the title.

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The Maryland men’s lacrosse team celebrates its undefeated national championship.
Courtesy of University of Maryland Athletics

On May 30, they did just that. 

Maryland (18-0) downed Cornell, 9-7, in East Hartford, Conn., to become just the fourth undefeated NCAA champion in 51 years. The heartbreak of 2021 was replaced by unbridled joy and happiness.

“It feels great,” said senior Anthony DeMaio, who scored three of his game-high four goals in the first quarter. “Just to see the smiles on everyone’s faces. It’s a moment that no one can ever take back from you, and that’s what makes me go every day.”

Senior attackman Logan Wisnauskas scored two goals and assisted on two others. He is the Terrapins’ all-time points leader (goals and assists) with 207. His 103 points in 2022 is a Maryland record. On June 2, he won the Tewaaraton Award as the nation’s top men’s college lacrosse player. 

Junior goalkeeper Logan McNaney made 17 saves against Cornell to go along with a career-high 19 in the Terps’ 13-8 semifinal victory over Princeton. He was named NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player. 

After Jonathan Donville, a Cornell transfer, scored off Wisnauskas’ final assist with 11:55 to play in the third quarter, the Terrapins had a seemingly safe 9-2 lead. Little did they know that would be their last score. 

The Big Red (14-5) tallied four straight goals to draw to within 9-6 midway through the final period. The Terps appeared to be fatigued and were in real danger of losing. But that’s when senior All-American Brett Makar and his fellow defenders stepped up. 

The Maryland defense held Cornell scoreless for nearly seven minutes, and McNaney made two big saves in the last 5:30. 

“I knew Brett and those [defensive] guys [and] Logan, the backbone of that defense, were going to come up with stops.” DeMaio said. “Yeah, we were gassed, but we had so much faith in them. … The defense did a great job all day long.” 

The Big Red made it 9-7 with 35.3 seconds to go but didn’t get the ball back after Luke Wierman won the game’s final faceoff. One of the nation’s finest faceoff specialists, the junior won 13 of 20 draws. 

After scoring 20 or more goals seven times this year, the Terrapins were held to their lowest point total. 

Maryland Coach John Tillman, who has led the Terps to nine Final Fours in his 12 years in College Park, said he expected a tough game. 

“We built a little bit of a cushion and kind of hung on,” Tillman said. “I’m not sure what would have happened if there was another quarter. But again, [we] just kind of grinded it out, which these guys have done when they needed to.”

The Terrapins, 33-1 over the past two years, set an NCAA record this season with 204 assists. “This group has been selfless all year,” Tillman said. 

Maryland defeated four teams twice in 2022: Virginia, Princeton, Rutgers and Johns Hopkins. The Terrapins won their first two NCAA Tournament games: 21-5 over Vermont and 18-9 over Virginia. The Terps’ 22-7 win at Hopkins on April 23 was the largest margin of victory in the 117 times the teams have met since 1923. 

DeMaio said the Terrapins focused on improving every day: “Whether people want to say we’re the best team ever or not, we’re national champions. And that’s all that matters.”

Chris McManes (mick-maynz) covers University of Maryland athletics for the College Park Here & Now