This weekend could reveal much about the Big Ten — and perhaps NCAA — championship aspirations for both the Maryland men’s and women’s lacrosse teams.
The No. 3 Terps men (5-0) will visit No. 5 Rutgers (4-1) on Sunday at noon. The No. 9 Terps women (5-1) will make a trip to No. 3 Northwestern (7-0) for a pair of games on Saturday at noon and Monday at 1 p.m.
“It’s a really tough matchup, but one that we’re ready for the challenge,” coach Cathy Reese said of the series against he Wildcats. “We’re ready to face a team as strong as they are to just to kind of continue to learn about ourselves. We’re midway through our regular season, and there’s a lot of lacrosse left to be played and a lot of growing to have. It’s a different position to be in, but this game — no matter who’s ranked higher — is always a tough one.”
The rivalry between the Terps and Northwestern (Maryland has captured a record 14 national championships, while the Wildcats are second with seven) intensified after the former joined the Big Ten in 2015. The Terps, who have won every regular-season title except last year when the coronavirus pandemic canceled spring sports, defeated Northwestern for the conference tournament crown in 2016 and 2017. The Wildcats turned the tables for the 2019 championship, marking only the second time Maryland had lost to a league opponent.
The two-game series should offer a contrast in styles between a Northwestern offense that ranks second in the country in scoring (20.3 goals per game) and a Terps defense that has not surrendered 10 goals in each of its past four games.
“Every game in the Big Ten is a fight, and everyone has that common goal of conference champs and beating Maryland, but this game brings a little extra oomph to it, especially with the history of two years ago,” said redshirt senior defender Lizzie Colson (tied for first in the nation in caused turnovers per game at 3.0), who could mark Wildcats junior attacker Izzy Scane (first in goals per game at 6.1). “There’s just a lot of fun history and fun games that were played between the two teams, and it’s always so competitive.”
On the men’s side, the Terps used an 8-2 fourth quarter to rout the Scarlet Knights, 19-12, on March 13. Another meeting within a two-week span might help with scouting reports and preparation, but coach John Tillman wants to avoid a sense of complacency among his players.
“It’s a league game,” he said. “When you didn’t beat somebody for the first time, maybe there’s a little added motivation. Certainly if we had lost the game, there might be some added motivation for us as well. They’re competitive kids, and [Rutgers coach] Brian [Brecht] has done a great job and has a really good staff. So they’ll be amped and ready to play. Everybody knows that one team has one loss and one doesn’t have a loss. So it’s a battle for first place. So I think everybody realizes what’s at stake here.”
Hello … again
After falling to Binghamton, 8-7, in overtime on Wednesday, the UMBC men won’t have to wait long for a rematch.
In what is believed to be the first time in program history, the Retrievers (3-1, 2-1 America East) will clash with the same opponent in a four-day span when the Bearcats (2-1, 1-1) visit UMBC Stadium in Catonsville on Saturday at noon. Wednesday’s game was rescheduled from March 13 because of coronavirus issues within UMBC’s ranks, but coach Ryan Moran said that two games in four days against the same opponent “is pretty crazy.”
“I know that it will benefit both teams in the sense that there won’t be much prep work between Wednesday and Saturday,” he said before Wednesday’s setback. “Usually with midweeks, if you have a game on Wednesday and then a game on Saturday, you have to try to figure out the next team pretty quickly. That won’t be the either case for either program. I’ve never done it, but I do know that from the standpoint of preparing for them for Saturday’s game, I don’t really think there will be a ton of mysteries coming out on Saturday.”
Patience for Grimes
Brendan Grimes joined the No. 18 Johns Hopkins men as one of the more highly touted freshmen in the country, but the rookie has had a rough start to his college career.
In five starts this spring, Grimes, a Lutherville resident and Boys’ Latin graduate, has scored only two goals on 22 shots and has turned the ball over six times. But coach Peter Milliman preached restraint for Grimes.
“He’s a young freshman who hasn’t played a lot of lacrosse in the last year and a half, and we’re seeing some of the ups and downs of that,” he said. “We’ve got glimpses of it, but it’s probably not fair of me to be putting as much pressure on him to produce consistently as we have. I’m not sure if he’s ready for it yet, but we’ll see. We’ve got to keep developing him, and we’ve got to keep pushing him, but we’ve also got to take care of the ball, and when we get open shots, we’ve got to put them on net.”
For the second time this season, the Johns Hopkins women (2-4) postponed a game because of coronavirus issues. Road games Friday and Saturday against No. 14 Michigan (3-4) will be rescheduled. The Blue Jays’ season opener against No. 9 Maryland on Feb. 14 was pushed back until March 12.
With seven assists in the No. 13 Loyola Maryland women’s 21-3 rout of Bucknell on Saturday, senior attacker Livy Rosenzweig raised her career total to 155, overtaking Annie Thomas (2012-15) as the program’s all-time leader in that department.
Johns Hopkins senior attackman Connor DeSimone has compiled 21 points in five games, which exceeds his previous career high of 18 points in 2018.
Campbell attacker Rasa Welch, an Ellicott City resident and a Centennial graduate, was named the Big South Conference Freshman of the Week after totaling five points on two goals and three assists in a 16-12 loss at William & Mary on Saturday.