The eighth-ranked Virginia Cavaliers travel to College Park for a game against the fourth-ranked Maryland Terrapins lacrosse team this Sunday at noon. This game will be yet another edition of top-10 ACC teams facing off this year. If it keeps to the script, it will be another hard-fought defensive battle for the Terps.
What you need to know about Virginia
The Cavaliers are coming off of a 21-3 offensive onslaught against VMI. This is in no way indicative of what Virginia’s offense is capable of every game, but more about the defense they were facing not being up to par with the rest of their schedule. Virginia is a great team who can beat anybody at any time. The Cavaliers are sixth in the nation in scoring offense led behind senior attackman Mark Cockerton and sophomore attackman James Pannell. And if that name sounds familiar to you, it should. James is the brother of former Tewaraaton award winner, Rob Pannell.
The Cavs rank in the top 10 in offensive scoring and hope to keep their balanced scoring attack rolling into College Park with them. Their defense on the other hand will be key in this game as they give up an average of over 11 goals a game. Going up against an attack as balanced as Maryland is, they will rely heavily on their offense keeping them in this game.
What you need to know about Maryland
The Terps suffered their first loss this year at North Carolina. This marks the second straight year the Terps have been beaten by the Tar Heels when they were ranked number one in the nation. The Terps held a strong edge in many of the statistical categories in their last game. But as we all know, stats don’t always translate into a W.
The Terps will be hoping to avoid what happened last year after their first loss which included a disastrous end to the season that took them from a potential one-seed in the tournament, to an unseeded one-and-done. The rookies seem to have hit a stride and look very comfortable with the system coach John Tillman wants to establish on the field. Now, they just need to bury the shots. Everything else has fallen into place for this team including faceoffs, groundballs, and play from senior goalie, Niko Amato.
The Terps rank third in the nation in defense, giving up less than seven goals per game and are just outside the top-10 in scoring offense. As far as balanced play goes, Maryland is one of the best in the nation.
I took a lot of flack in my last article for not providing a prediction, so here you go. I can see this game being a bit of a bore for a little while until both teams get a feel for the game. I think, being at home, Maryland will not be afraid to take some rips at the goal and some chances they wouldn’t typically take without the pressure of staying undefeated.
Maryland wins 14-11.
This game can be viewed on ESPNU at 12:00pm EST on Sunday, March 30.