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Maryland men’s lacrosse and Johns Hopkins to meet for dramatic regular-season finale

With the Big Ten regular-season title on the line, one of college lacrosse’s greatest rivalries reignites.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.

Maryland and Johns Hopkins have met in the regular-season finale every year — except for 2020 due to COVID-19 — since 2015. The matchup usually produces a close contest, but the Terps flipped that script when their dominant 2022 regular season came to a fitting end.

Johns Hopkins looked to send its seniors off on a positive note, but instead received its worst loss in program history. The Terps stormed out to an early 6-1 lead and never looked back, ultimately defeating the Blue Jays, 22-7.

“[We’re] going to work as hard as [we] can to wash this taste out [of our mouths],” Johns Hopkins head coach Peter Milliman said after the game. “But it has to sit for a little bit. It has to sting. Guys have to remember this.”

Maryland felt little remorse following the senior day slaughter, though, defeating the Blue Jays again two weeks later — this time ending their season for good.

A blowout on senior day and a season-ending loss adds even more layers to an already historic rivalry, and gives Johns Hopkins extra motivation to return the favor this year.

Maryland will defend the Big Ten regular-season title — which it has won in two consecutive seasons — this Saturday in College Park.

The Blue Jays are not just looking to play spoiler, though, as they also have a chance to be crowned Big Ten regular-season champions. Here are the possible outcomes:

  • Maryland wins the title if it defeats Johns Hopkins
  • Johns Hopkins wins the title if it defeats Maryland and Rutgers defeats Penn State
  • Penn State wins the title if it defeats Rutgers and Johns Hopkins defeats Maryland

Unlike 2022, the Terps have had flashes of vulnerability this year. The 2023 season got off to an unexpected start when Loyola (Md.) defeated Maryland in its second game of the year. The Terps not only lost their first regular-season game since 2019, but star goalie Logan McNaney as well, who suffered a season-ending knee injury late in the fourth quarter.

Maryland dropped its second game of the year three weeks later, when Notre Dame barely snuck past the Terps in triple overtime, and then most recently lost to Michigan, 16-11, on senior day — a taste of its own medicine.

“Obviously a disappointing day. Not the result we were hoping for,” head coach John Tillman said after the game. “There’s a lot we can learn from this.”

Since then, Maryland has won each of its last two games, setting up “The Rivalry” to produce another dramatic result.

Johns Hopkins, on the other hand, is much improved from its 2022 campaign. Last year, the Blue Jays finished with a 7-9 overall and 2-3 conference record, their third consecutive losing season.

However, the Blue Jays have returned to their winning ways this season. Johns Hopkins is 10-4 through its first 14 games and primed to make its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2019.

Maryland has dominated the matchup as of late. The Terps have won nine of the 13 matchups since both programs joined the Big Ten in 2015, including the 2021 Big Ten tournament championship game.

However, Johns Hopkins holds the advantage all-time with a 67-49-1 record.

“You need a great opponent for a rivalry,” Tillman said. “Sure you want to beat them, but rivalries are only good if there’s two teams that are successful.”

Maryland is the favorite in this year’s match as the No. 3 team in Inside Lacrosse’s Media Poll, but the Blue Jays are only four spots behind at No. 7.

With the Big Ten regular season title on the line, all eyes in the state of Maryland will be glued to “The Rivalry” and whichever team hoists the 25-pound wooden crab trophy.