Where do we begin? It is possibly the biggest game in all of men’s lacrosse for not only this weekend, but the entire year, as Maryland lacrosse hosts Duke. The icing on the cake? They are the top two teams in the nation.
Does it get any more storybook than that? What a final chapter to a great rivalry.
Maryland is coming off a very impressive win at Syracuse that catapulted them to number 2 in the polls this week. The Blue Devils remain number one in the nation and are undefeated at 4-0 including a win over an upstart Denver program. This is going to be a tough, physical, and emotional game for both teams.
This will mark the last time in the University of Maryland’s history that they host Duke University in any sport as a conference rival. So we should expect a raucous crowd inside Byrd Stadium.
What to look for in Maryland
The biggest question the Terps have to answer is whether or not the rookies can keep up with the high production of goals and assists. Matt Rambo is proving to be a very productive playmaker and Connor Connizzaro is just starting to get some good shots on goal and is making good decisions on the field.
With the veteran play of Mike Chanenchuk at the midfielder position and Charlie Raffa winning a good number of faceoffs, ball control and movement shouldn’t be an issue. And as always, the Terrapins’ defense is playing well so it comes down to the offensive side of the ball. Judging by last week’s performance, the offense looks to be lethal when they want to be, but when you rely on rookies, anything can happen at any time.
What to look for in Duke
Will being on the road affect their play? They have played their first four games at home and have shown stretches of play where they seem out of sync. Being on the road in the environment of Byrd Stadium for their final appearance as the Terps’ ACC rivals won’t be an easy first experience.
In the Blue Devils’ last game against Stony Brook, head coach John Danowski described his team’s play in the second half as “disappointing”. If the Blue Devils can play all game like they did in the first half during its game against Maryland, the matchup between Duke’s offense and Maryland’s defense will be a fun one to watch.
The game can be viewed on TerpsTV on Saturday at noon.