Maryland men’s lacrosse recently released its schedule for the upcoming 2017 season. The Terps went 17-3 last year en route to a Big Ten championship, a 14th straight postseason appearance and the team’s fourth national title appearance in six years.
Head coach John Tillman is looking to break the program’s 41-year championship drought, and here are the teams he’ll have to get through to do so.
A couple of new opponents
St. Joseph’s and Villanova are two foes Maryland will face that it didn’t a season ago. The Terps are a combined 10-0 against these programs since 1994, so history is on their side against this pair of Philly-area teams. Still, neither squad is one to overlook.
The Hawks finished 12-4 last season in the Northeast Conference, falling just short of Inside Lacrosse’s final Top 20 ranking. It’ll be their season opener at home as well, so they’ll be looking to get a statement win against one of college lacrosse’s best.
After three straight losing seasons, the Wildcats went through a revival 2016 campaign in the Big East. They finished No. 16 in the Inside Lacrosse poll, standing tough against some of the best programs in the country. That trend should continue into 2017, and Maryland shouldn’t underestimate this program on the rise.
Who doesn’t love a rivalry?
The Terps start the season in their backyard against Navy in Annapolis, Md. after a massive snowstorm postponed last year’s season opener in College Park. Maryland’s come out on top seven years in a row, but these teams always make for a highly anticipated rivalry matchup.
Speaking of rivalries, the regular season will finish with the 105th chapter of “The Rivalry.” Johns Hopkins travels to College Park after the Terps beat the Blue Jays, 11-8, on their home turf in Baltimore last year. While the series’ wooden crab trophy currently resides in Maryland Stadium, the Blue Jays lead the all-time series 62-42-1 dating back all the way to 1924. One would think the best rivalry in college lacrosse would have a slightly more original nickname, but who are we to judge?
Other tough matchups
The Terps’ only losses during the regular season came back-to-back against Yale and Notre Dame early in the schedule. They’ll take on the Bulldogs and Fighting Irish back-to-back again at home and away, respectively.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Terps fare in these tough early matches. Maryland’s offense was sloppy and stagnant during this stretch of the season, getting outscored 17-9 with only four combined goals in the second half. The offense eventually broke this slump, reaching double-digit goals in all but one game for the rest of the season.
A championship rematch for the ages
Maryland at North Carolina. Circle this one on your calendar; this is going to be the best game of the season.
The Terps were heavy favorites to win the national championship as the No. 1 overall seed in the 2016 NCAA Tournament. The red-hot Tar Heels spoiled that narrative, erasing a late two-goal deficit to force overtime and beat the Terps, 14-13, for the program’s fifth national championship.
For John Tillman and Co., the 40-year title drought continues. A returning core of Matt Rambo, Colin Heacock and Isaiah Davis-Allen are going to be looking for a little revenge, and it should make for a wildly dramatic game.
Check out the full schedule: