- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 26, 2022

Once again, both Maryland lacrosse teams are in the NCAA Final Four and will vie for national championships. 

Maryland is the only Division I school in the country to have both its men’s and women’s lacrosse teams in the Final Four — and that feat is nothing new for the Terrapins. 

With the best program in women’s lacrosse history and a consistent contender on the men’s side, this weekend will be the ninth time in the last 12 years that both squads are in the semifinals together.

“To have two programs be two of the top programs in the country in their sport and go out and compete on Memorial Day weekend is something great for the University of Maryland,” Maryland women’s coach Cathy Reese said. “It shows how special it is to play here.”

Although the two programs have made the Final Four together in 14 total seasons, only once have they both reached the pinnacle. In 2017, the women capped off an undefeated season with a win over Boston College in the championship, while the men topped Ohio State for their first NCAA title since 1975. 

“It’s awesome. It’s exciting to both be in it at this point,” junior attacker Hannah Leubecker said. “Hopefully we can celebrate together when this is all over.”

This year, though, it’s the men’s team that is on the precipice of completing an undefeated season, as well as avenging its loss to Virginia in last year’s title game. 

The top-seeded Terrapins have been dominant all season, winning their 16 games by an average of 9.3 goals. They’ve won by five or more goals in all but two games, and they’ve outscored their opponents by more goals (149) than they’ve allowed (147). Maryland’s 18.5 goals per game is nearly 2.5 goals more than the next-best team. 

“We need to finish this thing off,” men’s coach John Tillman said. “We don’t want to feel like we felt last year.”

Fifth-year senior Logan Wisnauskas has led the way for the Terrapins, scoring multiple goals in all but one game this season and ranking second in the nation with 3.44 goals per game. Wisnauskas was the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, a first-team All-American and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 Premier Lacrosse League Draft. 

The Terrapin men easily disposed of Vermont and Virginia in the first two rounds with 21-5 and 18-9 wins, respectively. Maryland will take on No. 5 Princeton in the semifinals Saturday — a team the Terrapins defeated 15-10 in February.

“I think our guys are confident,” said Tillman, who is in his 12th season as Maryland’s coach. “We know they’ll score and we’ll make some mistakes, but I do think our guys are confident in each other. I feel like if we play our best game we’ll be able to move forward.”

Meanwhile, the women’s team is preparing for its 28th Final Four, 12 of which have come during Reese’s 16-year tenure. But the Terrapins haven’t made it this far in the tournament since 2019 — a year in which they won their record 14th NCAA title — due to the 2020 season being cut short for COVID-19 and losing in the second round last year. 

The Terrapin women are 19-1 on the season with their only loss coming in March. They rank eighth in the nation in scoring offense with 16.1 goals per game and second in defense at 7.35 goals allowed per contest. Aurora Cordingley, Libby May and Leubecker have combined to be one of the most potent scoring trios in the nation, as all three players found the back of the net 50-plus times this year. 

As the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, Maryland handily defeated Duke and No. 7 Florida in the first two rounds, topping them both by 13 goals. The Terrapins will now take on No. 3 Boston College (18-3) in Friday’s semifinal. 

The women’s championship is Sunday at Homewood Field in Baltimore. If the Terrapin women win Friday, they’ll take on the winner of No. 1 North Carolina and No. 4 Northwestern in the final. 

The men’s Final Four is at UConn’s Rentschler Field. If the Terrapin men win Saturday, they’ll play the winner of No. 6 Rutgers and No. 7 Cornell in the championship Monday.

• Jacob Calvin Meyer can be reached at jmeyer@washingtontimes.com.

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