No matter the sport, it feels good to beat Duke. Throw in the Final Four atmosphere and a national title appearance clinching, and well...it doesn't get much better.
Maryland's men's lacrosse team defeated the Blue Devils 9-4 earlier tonight, receiving a hat trick from Grant Catalino and 13 saves from Niko Amato in the process. The victory sends the Terps to the national title game, where they'll face Virginia on Monday. A win there would, of course, break the 36-year dry spell the Terrapins have suffered since winning their last title back in 1975.
I'm far from a lacrosse expert, but the Terrapins were definitively the better team today. The game might not be quite as one-sided as the score, but it was very close. Duke scored the first goal of the game just a minute in, but the Terrapins answered with three of their own. The Blue Devils cut it to a two-goal lead in the middle of the third quarter, but Maryland ripped off five straight goals to clinch the lop-sided victory.
Much of the credit has to go to Niko Amato and Maryland's defense, who were particularly stingy tonight. They gave up only a single goal in each period, and when the defense faltered Amato was generally there to make the save. Very impressive effort, particularly with their intense physicality. There was definitely some lumber being laid on Duke attackers, especially early on.
Now the attention shifts to UVA, a team the Terrapins beat 12-7 in their only meeting earlier this year. The current Cavs are a different team, though; they've recovered remarkably well from the rough stretch they suffered through in the middle of the year, and Steele Stanwick has been playing out of his mind this postseason.
The women's lacrosse team is playing for the title as well, and that goes down tomorrow, when they play Northwestern. Total lacrosse domination coming from the state of Maryland, just as it should be.