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No. 4 Maryland men’s lacrosse vs Villanova preview

The Terps look to start the season 4-0 in the Tuesday matchup.


For the first time all season, No. 4 Maryland men’s lacrosse will play a midweek game, squaring off with Villanova Tuesday. This is also the first game this season that the Terps will have film on the opponent from this season.

The Wildcats enter the game 0-2. but their losses came at the hands of No. 1 Penn State and No. 3 Yale. Meanwhile, Maryland will travel to Villanova, looking to go 4-0.

The game is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET and can be streamed through Villanova’s website.

Villanova Wildcats (0-2, 0-0 Big East)

2019 record: 8-7 (3-2 Big East)

Head coach Mike Corrado is looking for a bounce back season from his group after an up-and-down 2019 season. The Wildcats went 8-7 last year, qualifying for the Big East tournament but losing to Denver in the first round. They did not qualify for the NCAA Tournament.

Corrado is now in his 14th season as head coach of the Wildcats. He’s led Villanova to two NCAA Tournament appearances (2009, 2011) and has an above .500 winning percentage as head coach.

Players to know

Colin Crowley, junior midfield, 6’0. 180 lbs, No. 1. After an injury sidelined Crowley for the last 11 games of his sophomore season, the New Jersey native has returned to provide a huge boost for the Wildcats.

Crowley is the current team leader in points with three goals and five assists. As a freshman, Crowley started 12 of 13 games, so despite only being a junior, he still provides experience. The Terps have faced their share of talented midfielders this season and Crowley will be no exception.

Will Vitton, sophomore goalie, 6’0, 160 lbs, No. 30. After starting 12 of 13 games in goal as a true freshman, Vitton is back in net for the Wildcats in his sophomore season.

Vitton has had a rough go of things thus far. Facing two of the toughest teams in the country, Vitton has allowed 34 goals in two games. And he’s made only 17 saves in the two defeats. Backup goalie Brendan Haggerty saw some time against Yale last Saturday, but it will be Vitton who likely gets the start. If the Wildcats want to complete the upset Tuesday, they will need Vitton to stop more shots.

Justin Coppola, freshman midfielder/faceoff, 5’5, 160 lbs, No. 22. As a true freshman, Coppola has gotten the majority of the faceoff reps for the Wildcats. Given his age and opponents, it’s not shocking that he has struggled early on. Coppola has won just 14 of his 43 faceoffs taken for a lowly 32 percent.

On Tuesday, Maryland will need faceoff specialist Justin Shockey to take full advantage of this. When Shockey is winning faceoffs and giving his team possessions, the Terps are hard to stop. A big part of Maryland’s fourth quarter success Saturday was due to Shockey, so he will need to keep that going.


Big game experience. Unlike Maryland’s previous two opponents, Villanova will not be playing its first game of the season against the Terps. Not only that, but Maryland is arguably the worst team it’ll have faced after playing Yale and Penn State.

While the matchup against the Nittany Lions got away from Villanova early, the team showed encouraging signs against Yale this past weekend – the Wildcats were tied at halftime with the Bulldogs.

The Terps will have to avoid a slow start because Villanova will not be surprised by their speed and athleticism.


Defense. Villanova has struggled to stop its opponents early, allowing 18.5 goals per game. The Wildcats returned starting defensemen Zachary Kryza, Owen Prybylski and Patrick Kennedy from last season, so they have the experience, but they just haven’t been able to get stops.

Playing against such talented offenses, the Wildcats have had a hard time with forcing turnovers. Their struggles at faceoffs have also not allowed them to possess the ball and make the defense work harder.

Tuesday’s contest won’t be much easier for Villanova. Maryland’s offense has been red-hot to start the season, averaging 18 goals per game.

Three things to watch

1. Can the Terps avoid another slow start? Similarly to its local basketball team, the lacrosse team has had a knack for late-game theatrics in this young season. Two weeks ago, the Terps came back from down five goals in the fourth quarter to defeat Richmond. This past Saturday, they trailed No. 6 Penn by six goals in the fourth but scored eight consecutive to pull away.

While Villanova is not as highly touted as Penn or Richmond, the Terps will need to show they can play a complete game. The Wildcats have faced two really strong opponents and if Maryland continues to fall behind, it will catch up with them at some point. Tuesday provides an opportunity for the Terps to control for 60 minutes.

2. What can Daniel Maltz provide for an encore? Saturday against Penn was a breakout game for freshman Daniel Maltz. After a solid start to the season, he erupted on Saturday, scoring five goals — four of which came in the second half comeback.

Playing as second string attack, Maltz fed off more veteran guys like Anthony DeMaio and Bubba Fairman. When the more experienced players faced double-teams, Maltz was open and made the most of his opportunity.

Now the freshman will get another chance to prove his value to this team against a struggling Wildcat defense.

3. Which version of Justin Shockey will we see? A common theme in Maryland’s success this season has been winning faceoffs. In the fourth quarter comeback against Penn, Shockey won the faceoff battle, 5-2. The same applies to the comeback at Richmond where Shockey won the fourth quarter faceoffs, 6-2.

When in possession of the ball, Maryland is a dangerous team. On Tuesday, the goal should be to play a dominant game from start to finish, and to do so, Maryland will need the version of Shockey that has dominated fourth quarters.