This season, the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship will not be held on Memorial Day as it has for decades. Instead, the national champion will be crowned in the quarter-finals. Sunday afternoon at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, No. 1 and undefeated Maryland, the heavy favorite to win the national title, will meet two-time defending national champions Virginia, widely considered to have the better chance. to hit an NCAA tournament team. the Terrapins out of their way to the title.
While the national championship will not be Actually Being awarded to the winner of the quarterfinal game between Virginia and Maryland, this game certainly has the feel of a showdown that should take place on lacrosse’s biggest stage. When the NCAA Selection Committee released the Men’s Lacrosse Tournament Draw on Selection Sunday, it received justified criticism from the lacrosse community for a series of questionable decisions regarding seeding and field clashes, namely the inclusion of six of seven possible Ivy League teams in the tournament, including the rejection of Notre Dame in favor of Harvard, as well as the decision to give five of those teams the ‘Ivy League a top-eight seed and the chance to host a first-round match.
One of the ripple effects of that decision is that Virginia, an 11-3 team that won the ACC championship and entered the tournament as the defending two-time national champion, somehow didn’t not seeded and received a first-round road match at No. 8 Brown. Perhaps the most important consequence is that now that the Cavaliers have taken care of business in the first round, as many expected, the battle between Virginia and Maryland, which should have taken place no earlier than the weekend. championship end (and should really happen on Memorial Day), is now in the quarterfinals.
The unranked Cavaliers traveled to Providence on Saturday night and, thanks to an 8-0 second half and fantastic performances from Connor Shellenberger (eight points) and Matthew Nunes (16 saves), routed the Brown Bears 17-10 on their own turf, giving Lars Tiffany a meaningful road victory over his alma mater and keeping Virginia’s bid for a hat-trick alive.
UVA has won each of the last two national championships, but for this entire season, it was Maryland against everyone else. Many already consider this Terrapins team to be one of the most dominant lacrosse teams to ever take the field. Still undefeated this season at 15-0, Maryland have won their games by an average margin of 9.3 goals per game. The Terrapins made it to the Big Ten Championship and picked up convincing wins over Princeton, Notre Dame, Rutgers, Ohio State and Virginia along the way. In fact, Maryland’s only loss in the last two seasons came in the 2021 national title game against Virginia by one goal. If the Terps win the title and finish the season undefeated, the 2022 Maryland men’s lacrosse team will go down as one of the greatest teams in college lacrosse history.
Back-to-back defending champions stand in their way, but this won’t be the first time UVA and UMD have met this season. When the Wahoos and Terps met at Audi Field in Washington D.C. on March 19, Maryland executed a brilliant game plan, but also entered the game with a desire for revenge after UVA ended the game. Maryland’s perfect season in the national championship in 2021 crushed the Cavaliers 23-12 in what was to be a hugely satisfying win.
Even despite that lopsided result from two months ago, Virginia is considered the single team most capable of ruining Maryland’s glorious season once again. That’s even truer after No. 2 seed Georgetown, which entered the tournament 15-1 this season, was upset in the first round by Delaware on Sunday night.
Maryland will definitely be favorites to beat UVA again when the teams meet at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Ohio Stadium. However, given Virginia’s May record under the Lars Tiffany era (nine straight NCAA Tournament wins), it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Cavaliers give the Terrapins a much better fight this time around. Get ready for another instant classic between Virginia and Maryland.
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