Title game appearance on line in latest Virginia-Maryland lacrosse showdown (2024)

CHARLOTTESVILLE – Jack Boyden may be in his first season playing lacrosse at Virginia, but the graduate transfer from Division III Tufts quickly got up to speed on how intense the Cavaliers’ series with Maryland is.

UVa’s road win at the Terrapins during the regular season made it clear.

“You could tell, just from the first whistle, kind of the rivalry that exists,” Boyden said this week.

Now, with the two teams set to face each other Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia in the NCAA tournament semifinals, Boyden’s veteran teammates have offered not-so-subtle reminders that facing the Terrapins – with a spot in the national championship game on the line, no less – should bring out the best in this year’s Cavaliers.

People are also reading…

“I’ve definitely gotten that taste from Connor (Shellenberger) and Payton (Cormier), who have matched up against them a bunch of times, kind of talking about the stories of the games they played,” Boyden said. “I feel like I got a taste of that, too, playing at Maryland.”

This will be the teams’ seventh meeting the past six seasons, and fourth in the NCAA tournament in that stretch. That includes the 2021 national championship game, won 17-16 by Virginia.

When the teams met earlier this year in College Park, Md., UVa ended a three-game losing streak against the Terrapins, winning 14-10 on March 16.

Since then, Maryland has been a different – and better – team.

“Maryland is playing at a much higher level,” Virginia coach Lars Tiffany said. “It’s a team that keeps getting better and better, especially offensively. We’re seeing them really move the ball well, get good looks and get after you.”

Part of that resurgence has been the play of faceoff specialist Luke Wierman, who dealt with an injury early in the season. In the Terrapins’ two NCAA games so far, he’s won a staggering 40 of the 55 draws he’s taken.

Of course, Virginia has authored its own turnaround. The Cavaliers ended the regular-season with three straight ACC losses, then got pounded by No. 1 Notre Dame, 18-9, in the ACC tournament semifinals, but have played well in two NCAA wins, a first-round victory over Saint Joseph’s and Sunday’s double-overtime thriller against Johns Hopkins.

Listen now and subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | RSS Feed | Omny Studio

After an up-and-down regular season, UVa’s defense appears to have gotten itself right, in part, by simplifying the defensive scheme. But will a more basic approach work against Maryland’s pick-heavy, balanced offensive attack?

“It’s really nice to have a simple defense and have everyone on the same page,” senior defenseman Cole Kastner said. “But when you have incredibly talented players all around or a team executing a different kind of scheme, sometimes it’s not that simple. I think it’s finding a balance.”

The other issue for Virginia is a major question mark in the cage. Starting goaltender Matthew Nunes has struggled, and Tiffany pulled him just 6:36 into Sunday’s quarterfinal win over Hopkins.

After the game, Tiffany revealed Kyle Morris had outplayed Nunes in practice in the week leading up to the quarterfinal, and, despite some members of his staff lobbying for Morris to start, Tiffany ultimately opted to stick with Nunes, in large part, because of his postseason experience.

This week, UVa held its only full-scale, full-speed practice on Wednesday, meaning Tiffany had little additional data to add to this week’s decision. Morris, however, now has NCAA tournament experience.

“I loved how Kyle came in and made the saves that you really need your goalie to make,” Tiffany said. “The 13-, 14-yard shot on the run, Kyle ate those up. … He made the saves that you really need and rely on the goalie to make and it just calmed the defense down. There’s a symbiotic relationship between the defense and the goalie.”

Does not knowing which player will be in cage Saturday put Maryland at a disadvantage?

“We just have to prepare for two guys knowing they’re both talented, they’re both very capable, they’re both highly recruited,” Terrapins coach John Tillman said. “We’ve got to get good shots and put those shots on goal and give ourselves a chance.”

Tillman said that while some coaches heavily emphasize scouting reports on opposing goalies, others downplay any goaltending tendencies, wanting their shooters to play freely and not overthink opportunities.

Tillman subscribes to a bit of both approaches.

“Sometimes there are some glaring tendencies, sometimes there’s not,” Tillman said. “Sometimes you don’t want to give your shooters too much. I do think if they overthink it … that can be really bad.”

Nunes was solid in the win over Maryland earlier this year, making 11 saves on 21 shots on goal. Virginia was competitive at the faceoff X, going 12 for 28 against Wierman, who was freshly back from his injury.

Those two specialty areas figure to play key roles Saturday in deciding which team will advance to Monday’s title game. In the past four seasons, Virginia and Maryland have each won nine NCAA tournament games.

One team will notch No. 10 this weekend, on the game’s biggest stage.

Mike Barber (804) 649-6546


UVALAX gamebug


NCAAtournament semifinals

Saturday:2:30 p.m. TV: ESPN2



'); var s = document.createElement('script'); s.setAttribute('src', 'https://assets.revcontent.com/master/delivery.js'); document.body.appendChild(s); window.removeEventListener('scroll', throttledRevContent); __tnt.log('Load Rev Content'); } } }, 100); window.addEventListener('scroll', throttledRevContent); }

Be the first to know

Get local news delivered to your inbox!


  • Author email
Title game appearance on line in latest Virginia-Maryland lacrosse showdown (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kareem Mueller DO

Last Updated:

Views: 5793

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (66 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kareem Mueller DO

Birthday: 1997-01-04

Address: Apt. 156 12935 Runolfsdottir Mission, Greenfort, MN 74384-6749

Phone: +16704982844747

Job: Corporate Administration Planner

Hobby: Mountain biking, Jewelry making, Stone skipping, Lacemaking, Knife making, Scrapbooking, Letterboxing

Introduction: My name is Kareem Mueller DO, I am a vivacious, super, thoughtful, excited, handsome, beautiful, combative person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.