Maryland and Loyola hadn’t played in more than a decade before their meeting in the NCAA lacrosse title game last spring.
They won’t need to wait nearly as long for a rematch.
The Terrapins and Greyhounds are expected to meet Feb. 23 in Baltimore, a high-profile early-season game for a pair of programs likely to be ranked in the top five at the start of the year.
“I think it’s going to happen,” Maryland coach John Tillman said. “I’m pretty confident it will be. I’m pretty sure. We don’t have anybody else in that date.”
Greyhounds coach Charley Toomey said he was “pretty sure it’s a done deal” the teams will play at the Ridley Athletic Complex as part of a doubleheader with the Loyola women’s team.
Loyola, which began last season unranked, defeated Maryland 9-3 on Memorial Day to earn its first Division I championship in any sport.
It was the first men’s lacrosse game between the schools, which are separated by about 35 miles, since Maryland’s 19-8 rout in the 1998 NCAA semifinals. The Terps lead the all-time series 19-2, but the teams have played only three times since 1960. The last regular season meeting was in 1989.
Both teams lost only two players (attackman Joe Cummings and midfielder Drew Snider for Maryland, attackman Eric Lusby and defenseman Dylan Grimm for Loyola) who started in the national championship to graduation.
A hole in the Terps’ schedule opened when they ended their series with Georgetown after last year, the fallout of a department-wide ban on facing the Hoyas in any sport after no progress was made in resuscitating the long-dormant men’s basketball series between the schools.
Meanwhile, Loyola moved its usual late-February game against Towson into a midweek slot to accommodate the addition of Maryland to its schedule.
“To play that game, it’s a great game for the fans, and with the strength of schedule it’s a great game for both of us,” Toomey said. “It’s a game that makes a lot of sense for both programs. For fans of both teams, it’s a good matchup and frankly it’s one that should be played.”
It is uncertain when Loyola would make a return trip to College Park. Maryland must sort out scheduling issues associated with the addition of Syracuse (in 2014) and Notre Dame (at a still undetermined date) to the ACC. Loyola is changing leagues in 2014, moving from the ECAC to the Patriot League.
“We’re going to see if we can keep it going, but worst-case we do a game, put it on hold and if we can do it in 2014, great,” said Tillman, whose team will play three straight road games (Hartford, Loyola and Duke) after an opener against Mount St. Mary’s. “If not, we’ll do it at the next time it works for both sides.”
—- Patrick Stevens