After enacting some revenge on the North Carolina Tar Heels over the weekend, No. 9 Maryland men’s lacrosse opens Big Ten play against the rising No. 18 Michigan Wolverines.
Last year in the Big House, the Terps got a taste of some Michigan climate and played through a mid-game blizzard. Then-senior Bryan Cole broke a 7-7 tie with 43 seconds left to play, squashing Michigan’s upset bid.
The Wolverines have flipped the page after a 3-10 campaign last year. Right now, Michigan is the lowest ranked team with at least eight wins in the top 20, as its newly-found success might give voters some hesitation about ranking them higher. Already having beaten No. 10 UPenn, this is a team Maryland shouldn’t take for granted.
When and where: Saturday, April 1, 2 p.m. ET, Maryland Stadium
How to watch: ESPNU (or, you know, in person)
No. 18 Michigan Wolverines (8-1)
Head coach: John Paul. In total, Paul has been coaching lacrosse in Ann Arbor for the last 20 years. Six years ago, Michigan was a club team playing in the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association. When the program made the transition to Division I, the team went a combined 2-26 in its first two seasons. Slowly, Paul built the program year by year, showing continual signs of improvement. With eight wins on the season, Paul has coached his team to a program high in wins, with at least five regular season games still to play.
Players to Know
No. 15 Brent Noseworthy, sophomore, attack. A graduate of Avon Old Farms, Connor Kelly’s alma mater as well as one of the best lacrosse programs in the country, he’s shouldered the offensive workload in his sophomore campaign. Noseworthy has netted 28 goals on just 52 shots, making him a nightmare to prepare for knowing he scores on more than half his attempts.
No. 8 Nick DeCaprio, sophomore, midfield/LSM. With a team-high 32 ground balls scooped, DeCaprio is a game-changer in the midfield. He was named Michigan’s freshman of the year after finishing with 20 ground balls and six caused turnovers, and has elevated his game in his second year in Ann Arbor.
Being man-up and man-down. The Wolverines don’t tend to waste extra-man opportunities, with ten extra-man goals on 20 attempts this season. But when other teams get to go an extra man on offense, Michigan’s defense doesn’t break. They’ve allowed just 12 goals on 46 EMO’s, a stingy .261 clip.
Fast starts on offense. This was a problem against Villanova, and might be a problem against Michigan. The Wolverines are plus-15 in the first quarter, and might be able to ruin Maryland’s day if they jump out to an early lead.
Penalties. Michigan has committed 53 penalties on the season, totaling 37 minutes of gameplay. To be frank, that’s an absurd amount of penalties. In comparison, that’s double what opponents have committed against them. Maryland is particularly disciplined in this category, having committed just 14 on the season.