- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 25, 2017

Maryland lacrosse has been in this position before. Following the Terrapins’ win over Albany in the NCAA quarterfinals, players chose not to rush the field after Maryland advanced to a fourth straight NCAA Final Four.

Maryland’s women’s lacrosse has had even more success — advancing to a ninth straight NCAA Final Four. The women’s team has even won the national championship three times since 2010, including back-to-back in 2014 and 2015.

But what Maryland lacrosse has never done is win titles with both the men and women’s teams in the same year.

They’ve had their chances, too. In 2011, 2015 and 2016, Maryland lacrosse made the finals only for one team, or both, to come up short. Last year, each Maryland team lost to North Carolina, which became only the second university in college lacrosse history to win a title with both programs.

Both Maryland programs also reached the finals three times in the 1990s (‘95, ‘97 and ‘98).

The women will try to reach a fifth straight finals on Friday when they face Penn State at 5 p.m. at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The men will play Denver at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, also in Foxborough.

Both Maryland teams entered the NCAA tournament as No. 1 seeds.

The men (14-3) haven’t won a national title since 1975, although the program has reached the finals the past two seasons. Against Denver, Maryland is facing a team that relies heavily on winning faceoffs. Denver dominated Notre Dame 16-4 and won 21 of the 23 faceoffs.

“They are very disciplined offensively,” Maryland coach John Tillman said on a conference call with reporters. “We’ve got to be on our toes and be focused. We can’t have breakdowns or they’re going to make you pay.”

The women (21-0) needed a come-from-behind victory against Stony Brook to play Penn State. Maryland junior Taylor Hensh scored with 2:14 left in the game to put her team on top, 13-12.

Each Maryland team has an extraordinary amount of talent.

Tillman’s team had four first-team All-Americans: senior Isaiah Davis-Allen, junior Conor Kelly, Tim Muller and Matt Rambo. Rambo, who is the Terps’ all-time point leader, is also one of five finalists for the Tewaaraton Award, lacrosse’s version of the Heisman, with 83 points this season.

The women, meanwhile, have a dominant senior class headed by Zoe Stukenberg and Nadine Hadnagy, also Tewaaraton Award finalists. Through four years at Maryland, the senior class never lost a game at home.

Each program has earned repeated success because of the culture in place. Women’s coach Cathy Reese has lived and breathed Maryland lacrosse. She played at Maryland from 1995-98 and was named the head coach in 2007.

Tillman, who has been with Maryland since 2010, has tried to keep his players focused on the ultimate goal. Part of the reason Maryland didn’t rush the field after beating Albany was related to a dust-up after winning the Big Ten Championship against Ohio State. Maryland and Ohio state exchanged words and a few shoves after the Terps rushed the field.

If Maryland is going to win in the future, Tillman wants to make sure his players don’t put themselves in that situation again.

“I’m learning more and more that’s part of the culture of young athletes now,” Tillman said. “There’s more talking going on during the game. … I’m trying to advise our kids and get on them about that kind of stuff.”

Winning a championship, according to the coach, should say everything that needs to be said about his squad.


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