Typically, it would be worthwhile to look back on a previous meeting to attempt to discern who might defend an opponent in a rematch.
It isn’t the most worthwhile pursuit in assessing Monday’s NCAA lacrosse final between Maryland and Virginia.
Based on some early-game scribbling from the teams’ April 2 game (a 12-7 Maryland victory in Charlottesville) here are both the matchups on each end that afternoon and the reasons they don’t mean much on Memorial Day:
MARYLAND OFFENSE vs. VIRGINIA DEFENSE
Ryan Young vs. Scott McWilliams
Grant Catalino vs. Matt Lovejoy
Owen Blye vs. Chris Clements
Jake Bernhardt vs. Bray Malphrus
Drew Snider vs. Bobby Hill
John Haus vs. Chris LaPierre
There are two major changes for the Cavaliers’ defense in the last two months. First, Lovejoy aggravated a shoulder injury against the Terrapins and was lost for the season. Without its best shutdown defender, Virginia revamped its defense and opted to go with a primarily zone look the rest of the season.
The Cavaliers occasionally go with a man-to-man look. If they do so at any point in the final, it’ll be interesting where Malphrus is assigned. He could wind up on Catalino, but given his success on Cornell’s Rob Pannell in the quarterfinals, he could wind up dealing with Young as well.
The truth is, the only thing that’s remained the same with this set of matchups is Maryland’s starters. There just isn’t much to read into here.
VIRGINIA OFFENSE vs. MARYLAND DEFENSE
Steele Stanwick vs. Brett Schmidt
Nick O’Reilly vs. Max Schmidt
Chris Bocklet vs. Ryder Bohlander
Rhamel Bratton vs. Brian Farrell
Colin Briggs vs. Scott LaRue
John Haldy vs. Drew Snider
This early setup was pretty clearly a case of Snider getting hung up on defense. Go ahead and sub Dan Burns in for the Terps. Meanwhile, Landon Carr’s role as a defensive midfielder grew after LaRue started playing more offense as the season unfolded.
Bratton, of course, remains suspended, so Farrell will mark someone else. So that basically leaves the close defense matchups intact (with the possibility Matt White plays in O’Reilly’s spot as the Cavaliers mix and match their personnel).
The one matchup discussed in depth Sunday was the Stanwick-Brett Schmidt combination. Stanwick’s a first team All-American. Schmidt easily could have been. Both players bear monitoring throughout the game.
Maryland espouses a team system rather than individual matchups. Still, it’ll be curious to see how Bohlander fares if he draws Bocklet again. Bohlander has toiled in relative anonymity alongside his more heralded teammates for the last two seasons, but he is a remarkably steady player. If he can neutralize Bocklet, Stanwick will be left without his favorite option to feed to in the title game.