Maryland men’s lacrosse was the only team that didn’t know its NCAA first-round opponent after earning the No. 1 overall seed on Sunday, awaiting the winner of a play-in game Wednesday evening between Robert Morris and Canisius.
The Northeast Conference champion Colonials rolled past Canisius, 12-6, and they don’t seem scared about facing the defending champions on the road in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
After 13 years without a trip to the NCAA Tournament dating back to the program’s inception in 2005, Robert Morris is now 1-0 all-time. The Colonials and their fan base are ecstatic about the win and embracing the opportunity to face top-seeded Maryland in their second-ever tournament matchup. Shortly after the win, Robert Morris’ athletics website even began experience technical difficulties.
As eyebrow-raising as Robert Morris’ early confidence appears heading into a matchup against a team it’s been outscored by 32-10 in two prior matchups, the Colonials aren’t going to be a pushover. They’re now 13-4, and two of their losses — Rutgers and Georgetown — are two ranked teams. They’re top-20 in the RPI and have been in and around the national rankings all season long.
They’re a viable opponent in the midst of a program-best season with 13 wins, just the third time the Colonials have had double-digit victories. They have a trio offensive weapons with at least 20 goals and a goaltender allowing 7.5 goals per game and saving 60 percent of shots he faces.
Three of Maryland’s last four first-round games in College Park have been decided by three or fewer goals, two of which were just one-goal victories. Under head coach John Tillman, Maryland is 6-1 in games in the first round.
The Terps will also have an entire week of rest prior to Sunday’s matchup at Maryland Stadium, while Robert Morris will be playing its fourth game in an 11-day stretch. One of the most key and favorable statistics for Maryland is that it’s 21-4 following a loss under Tillman. This season, the Terps are 2-0 in such opportunities and are coming off a loss in the Big Ten Championship.
Sunday’s meeting between the Terps and Colonials is scheduled for noon ET in College Park.