Scott Garceau: Lax To The Max! All Maryland Final?
Saturday college lacrosse’s final 4 begins where the Ravens season ended. The NCAA men’s championship will be decided at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. and this baby has a definite Maryland flavor. An extra helping of Old Bay sprinkled on Bill Belichick’s playground with Loyola and Maryland both alive for the big trophy.
Charley Toomey was in goal (1990) the last time Loyola played in a national championship game. Fast forward 22 years and the former goalie is pacing the Loyola sidelines and a strong candidate for national coach of the year.
Loyola is the top seed in the tournament. This is the Greyhounds first final 4 since 1998. The ECAC Champs bring the best record to New England at 16-1. Their only loss came in overtime to Hopkins.
Loyola will meet 4th seed Notre Dame, the Irish have won 13 of 15 games and have the nations best goalie in John Kemp. The Potomac, MD product leads the nation in goals against average (6.23) and save percentage (.636).Face-offs could decide this game, J.P. Dalton was dominant in Loyola’s quarterfinal win over Denver while Notre Dame is under 50% for the season.
The other semifinal matches Maryland against 3rd seed Duke. It’ll be the 3rd time this season that these 2 ACC rivals go at it (they split the first 2). And how about Maryland coach John Tillman, he’s been in College Park for 2 years and his Terps have made it to the Final 4 both seasons. He’s the first coach in NCAA history to take unseeded teams to back-to-back Final Four’s.
Maryland graduated a lot of talent a year ago but the Terps are back after an impressive 11-5 win over Johns Hopkins in the quarterfinals. Duke is red hot the Blue Devils have won 12 of their last 13 games. Maryland loves to slow the pace we’ll see who can control the tempo in this one.
Loyola has never won an NCAA lacrosse title and Maryland hasn’t hoisted the trophy since 1975 both are 2 wins away from history.
2:30 Gillette Stadium (ESPN 2)
4-Notre Dame (13-5) vs. 1-Loyola (16-1)
5:00 Gillette Stadium (ESPN2)
Maryland 11-5 vs. 3-Duke 15-4
Winners play for Championship
Monday at 1:00