The two winningest teams in collegiate lacrosse this year meet Saturday, with the victor moving on for a shot at a national title. Top-seeded Maryland (16-2) is riding a 15-game win streak into championship weekend, and seemed to have figured out how to dominate at just the right time. Many peg the Terps to win it all, but they'll have to shoot their way past No. 5-seed Brown (16-2), which commands one of the scariest offenses in the country.
The Bears' star attack man Dylan Molloy will be out of commission in the semifinal, giving the Terps a great opportunity to seize a second consecutive finals appearance.
With Maryland's lockdown defense squaring off against an offensive nightmare in Brown, one of these units will have to break first, and you're not going to want to miss it.
When and where: Saturday, 3:00 p.m., Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia
How to Watch: ESPN2
Brown Bears (16-2, 6-0 Ivy League)
Head Coach- Lars Tiffany. The Brown alum commandeered a program in disarray, and has since turned it into one of the most formidable teams in the Ivy League and country altogether. Tiffany is a trailblazer in the lacrosse world, implementing a unique fast break style of offense that has come to fruition this season as the top offense in the country. In his tenure, the Bears have grabbed four Ivy League titles and made three NCAA appearances.
Players to Know
Jack Kelly- goalkeeper. There aren't many goalies with the prestige as Maryland's Kyle Bernlohr, but Kelly is one of them. Boasting the nation's best save percentage (.617), the senior has developed into one of the hardest men to beat between the pipes. He's a standout off the field as well, winning the 2016 Senior Class award, given to players who excel in community, classroom, character and competition.
Kylor Bellistri- attack. When you're second offensive option has 90 points on the season, you're going to win a lot of games by a comfortable margin. Putting that into perspective, that's only slightly less than what Bryan Cole and Colin Heacock have combined for.
Will Gural- faceoff. What makes Gural particularly dangerous is that he's not just the man at the X, he's a talented offensive midfielder as well. Most faceoff men's switch out after the faceoff is over, but not Gural. He has 10 goals and five assists so far, including a hat trick against Virginia. Plus, his 70-percent winning percentage is second in the country.
Scoring, Scoring...and Scoring (They score a lot). Looking at their season stats, it makes you question if you're eyes are lying to you. Bellistri, Molloy and senior Henry Blynn have combined for 172 goals. There are programs that didn't even match that stat with an entire roster's worth of players. Tillman said earlier in the week that Brown "is a different animal." The Bears are top-ranked in just about every offensive category, including ground balls, scoring margin, scoring offense and points per game.
The absence of Dylan Molloy. Despite what Tillman and Co. might say about being ready for any scenario, Molloy's absence will be a major deciding factor on Saturday. The junior has an astronomical 114 points on the season, leading the nation and seconded only by fellow attack Bellistri. The Bears have enough firepower to compensate, but losing seven points of production per game poses a huge opportunity for the Terps to capitalize on.
Turnovers. To have such a high octane offense, something has to give. The Bears commit a ridiculous amount of turnovers as a result of their fast play style. 294, to be exact, the most out of ANY team in the country. Maryland, on the other hand, is fourth lowest in this category with just over 10 a game.