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Maryland Lacrosse Topples Virginia in Semifinals

The game would start with Maryland’s Wierman controlling faceoffs, even taking the first faceoff to cage, really setting the tone. Virginia went with Morris over Nunes in a net; those decisions were a no-brainer based on what we’ve seen from Nunes lately, but a first-career Championship Weekend start is big for anybody. There was no hesitancy from Virginia in taking control of this game early, as Shellenberger buried an over-the-shoulder shot past Zappitello, which certainly got the Cavalier’s hype. There was already more pace than there was in the Notre Dame vs. Denver game. While that match prioritized defense, it was obvious in this match that both offenses were going onto the field with a green light mentality toward attacking the cage. The nose-to-the-goal mentality meant both teams struggled with early turnovers.

Maryland’s Daniel Maltz scored at the ten-minute mark to tie the game at 1-1. Shellenberger had some excellent early looks, showing he was mentally ready to give everything in this game. Virginia started most of their dodges from X and found great success in getting shots off with this formula, but they had all sorts of difficulty putting the ball in the back of the net. Maryland seized the opportunity, putting two more in from Kelly and leading 3-1. Before Virginia could catch their breath, Wierman again won the faceoff and promptly scored himself, getting the Maryland bench in good spirits. The first quarter ended with Maryland lacrosse holding a 4-1 lead. Virginia had a lot of shooting opportunities but not enough on the cage.

A slow start to the second, with both teams playing fast but not creating many opportunities. It wasn’t until Terenzi won a substitution game on offense for Virginia and ripped one from 12 yards out to pull Virginia back on the scoresheet. But the Terrapins responded quickly and answered on their very next possession. But the offense did not stop then when Daniel Kelly scored, assisted by Eric Spanos. The 6-2 lead showed how the Maryland gameplan was around picking away at the off-ball integrity of the Cavs, which was clearly working. Virginia had a tough time getting shots on cage and even hitting open passes. Million scored a nice question mark goal to stop the bleeding, but that was all the Cavaliers would get. Near the end of the quarter, Maryland punched in a long pole goal to take the score out to 7-3 before marching down the tunnel for halftime. Virginia needed answers for this Maryland lacrosse program.

Many had hoped the Cavaliers would come out of the half with a new sense of life, but it was not to be. Maryland’s faceoff excellence through Wierman continued, helping earn two goals in just 20 seconds. At this point, Virginia was 3 for 22 for shooting while Maryland was 9 for 24. What does Lars Tiffany tell his squad in moments like this? They clearly aren’t hitting quality shots; the ones they are taking are not going in, and the Terps have all the momentum. Obviously, no comeback would be possible if Virginia didn’t change how they were playing. Paul Carcaterra mentioned that the Virginia sideline looked defeated, carrying no energy—these are not words you want to hear in a game of this caliber. This mindset translated into two more goals for the Terrapins with a winning scoreline of 11-4 as they headed into the final quarter.

It was that fourth-quarter slugfest of going through the motions. Maryland knew they were going to win, and Virginia knew they would lose—it was just that simple. Virginia would add a few more to its tally, but Maryland was too far ahead. Maryland finished the game with 12 compared to Virginia’s 6.

This is a new Terrapin squad compared to what they’ve been all year. Tillman’s has gotten this offense on the right track, even if it took the entire regular season to get here. The Maryland Terrapins punched their ticket to play the juggernaut Notre Dame on Memorial Day, hoping to obtain their fifth NCAA national championship in the history of the Maryland Men’s Lacrosse program.