COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WMAR) - The postseason road to a second consecutive national championship begins on Thursday.
“This is what you build up all year for,” said Terps leading scorer Connor Kelly. “This is what you work towards.”
The Terps are headed to Ann Arbor, Michigan for the Big Ten Tournament. Maryland is the number one seed and looking for their third straight conference title.
“To go out to Ann Arbor we’re trying to finish the job. We’re focused on our next opponent. That’s the biggest thing,” added Kelly.
“When we go back to August and we start really the whole game plan is to play our best in May,” added Terps Head Coach John Tillman.
They face the four seed Rutgers, a team the Terps beat 11-10 a couple weeks ago.
“Great team. A team that we’ve really struggled with. I think every time we play them it’s a close game,” said Tillman.
The Big Ten semifinal is on Thursday at 5:00 p.m.
If the Terps get past the Scarlet Knights they’ll face the winner of Ohio State and Johns Hopkins in the Championship game.
The lacrosse community is still buzzing over the epic 8-7 three overtime victory the Terps managed over their rival Hopkins last Saturday.
Will Snider scored the game-tying goal with about three minutes to go in regulation and the game-winner in the third OT.
“It’s still pretty surreal. Just running the play back in my head a couple times now. It still hasn’t really sunken in. It’s a pretty awesome experience,” said Snider. “When you think of Maryland lacrosse you think of the storied history and you think Maryland-Hopkins.”
“That’s huge for us, honestly,” said Kelly. “Going into the playoffs you want to fight to get those wins. You want to be battle tested. Playing at Hopkins and getting a ‘W’ in triple OT just speaks volumes to this team.”
The contest was the longest in the 116 all-time meetings between Maryland and Hopkins.
The Big Ten also announced Tuesday that Kelly was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, while Tillman was named Co-Coach of the Year with Ohio State's Nick Myers.
Kelly was named First Team All-Big Ten alongside sophomore attackman Jared Bernhardt, while junior defender Curtis Corley, senior goalkeeper Dan Morris and senior defender Bryce Young were named Second Team All-Big Ten.
It marks Tillman’s second consecutive year winning conference coach of the year honors, while Kelly joined Matt Rambo as back-to-back winners of the offensive award. Kelly was named to the conference’s first team for the second consecutive season.