When No. 11 Maryland and No. 2 Virginia meet Saturday at Byrd Stadium, it will mark the first time since last year’s national title game that these Atlantic Coast Conference rivals have clashed.
The Cavaliers’ 9-7 win for their fourth NCAA championship may seem eons ago, but the loss continues to resonate with several Terps who were seeking their first national crown since 1975.
“It definitely adds a little bit more,” acknowledged sophomore defenseman Brian Cooper. “I know that’s going to be fresh in both of our minds. It gives us a point to game-plan from. So that’s helpful. So we’ll just have to be prepared for what they did to us, and I’m sure they’ll be prepared for what we did to them, too.”
But Saturday’s contest lacks the personnel to call it a rematch. As pointed out by associate sports information director Patrick Fischer, who is the media contact for men’s lacrosse, only four of the 10 Maryland starters who played in last May’s title game will take the field. Only 12 of the 21 players who participated in that game returned for this season.
“I do think that with us, you can always play that card, but the term that we’ve been using is that we’re such a new team with 22 new guys on our team off of last year’s team,” coach John Tillman said Tuesday. “It’s almost like half of our team wasn’t even part of that. So there are a lot of guys back, but a lot of those guys didn’t play in those games, and we have a lot of new faces. So it’s not like [having] a veteran team where they all experienced it. A lot of those guys really weren’t competing on the field. Is it still something that stings for a lot of us? It certainly does, and we just use it as motivation and as a way to get better.”