Happy Memorial Day, everyone. I don't know if you've heard, but it's been a long time since the Maryland men's lacrosse team won a national title. Like, 36 years.
With any luck, that streak will be ending today. The normally snake-bitten Terps are in their first national title game since 1998, taking on Virginia this afternoon at 3:30. Watch it on ESPN.
The Terrapins have taken a tough road to get here. Coming into the tournament unseeded, they had to beat UNC at UNC, then top-ranked Syracuse, and then 5th-seeded Duke. UVA, meanwhile, hosted Bucknell before beating 2nd-seeded Cornell and 6th-seeded Denver. The big catalyst for the Cavaliers' run has been attacker Steele Stanwick, who's simply played out of his mind in the tournament, with 20 points in just three games.
The two teams met earlier in the year, a game that Maryland won. The Terrapin shooters were on fire in that matchup, and that type of performance may be a key in today's matchup, says InsideLacrosse:
In the first meeting, only five Maryland players registered points despite the Terps' putting up 12 goals and nine assists. Additionally, Maryland took 27 shots and Virginia keeper Adam Ghitelman made 11 saves - which means Maryland shooters only missed the cage four times all afternoon.
Virginia's zone defense has garnered a lot of attention for the way it's limited opposing offensive explosions, but its effectiveness against a Maryland team that is less about speed dodging and more about finding the proper spaces for set shots is questionable.
Open thread is here. Go Terps.