Maryland Dominates Virginia Again, Advances to NCAA Semifinals

PHOTO BY JAY LAPRETE


Maryland wasn’t about to allow Virginia to spoil its season again this year.

The top-seeded Terrapins, bounced from the postseason by the Cavaliers in wrenching fashion in the last two NCAA tournaments, squashed any drama early while cruising to an 18-9 victory Sunday in a quarterfinal in Columbus, Ohio.

“Last year is last year, and that’s all in the past,” said defenseman Ajax Zappitello, who helped hold Virginia star Connor Shellenberger scoreless on five shots. “We’re just focused on the present right now, just keeping our heads on. We all have one end goal, and we just have to finish the job.”

Owen Murphy scored four times, Anthony DeMaio had three goals and two assists and Luke Wierman won 20 of 29 faceoffs as Maryland (16-0) won for the 33rd time in 34 games and advanced to a semifinal meeting with fifth-seeded Princeton (11-4) on Saturday in East Hartford, Conn.

Logan McNaney matched a season high with 14 saves for the Terps.

“I’m just thankful for another week,” coach John Tillman said. “We have a big challenge ahead of us, but it’s kind of apropos for this time of year.”

Jeff Conner had three goals and an assist for Virginia (12-4), which had won nine consecutive NCAA tournament games and took a victory lap in the last two postseasons.

“We recognize that last year’s national championship game was the impetus for Maryland to take their team to the next level,” Virginia coach Lars Tiffany said. “Now it’s our turn. Watch this team. Study this team. Learn from this, so we come back in 2023 at a different level.”

Both of Virginia’s title runs under Tiffany — in 2019 and 2021 — featured victories over Maryland. The Terps squandered a big lead in the fourth quarter of a quarterfinal three years ago, and saw an undefeated season end with a 17-16 loss on Memorial Day last season.

None of that history stood much of a chance of repeating Sunday.







While the Cavaliers scored the first goal, Maryland largely followed the script from its 23-12 defeat of Virginia in Washington on March 19. The Terps dominated faceoffs (again), were opportunistic in creating unsettled opportunities (again) and never let the Cavaliers go on an extended run until things were well in hand (again).

DeMaio scored on each of his first three shots as Maryland went up 4-1, and the Terps pushed it out to 9-3 by late in the second quarter. One of those goals came off a fake substitution, with defensive midfielder Roman Puglise feinting toward running before staying on and completing a give-and-go to Jonathan Donville for a score.

The Terps went back to the same well in a dominant third quarter, only this time Puglise finished it off himself. Maryland led 15-7 after three quarters and improved to 9-1 in NCAA quarterfinals under Tillman.

The game featured the only two remaining Tewaaraton finalists in the field. Maryland’s Logan Wisnauskas had three goals and two assists, while Shellenberger was held without a point for the first time in 34 career games thanks in large part to Zappitello.

It also snapped a five-game postseason losing streak to the Cavaliers, who had also ousted Maryland in the 2003 semifinals, 2008 quarterfinals and 2011 title game. The Terps hadn’t beaten Virginia in an NCAA tournament game since the 1997 quarterfinals --- a game played a quarter-century plus four days before Sunday’s.

It was an emphatic end to the Cavaliers’ lengthy run as national champions. At least one of Maryland or Virginia has played in the national title game in seven of the last 10 tournaments. Now, the Terps are a victory away from extending that streak further and closing in on their first title since 2017 and the first perfect season for any team since 2006.

“The ride’s over,” Tiffany said. “We’ve been fortunate the last two full seasons — in ’19 and ’21 — to finish our seasons holding up the national championship trophy, so it’s hard not to have the final four be a part of the Virginia lacrosse season. But there’s a reason it’s ended, and it’s because we just faced, in my opinion, the best team in the last 16 years.” 

Suggested

Most Recent

Marcus Hudgins Transferring to Ohio State With Two Years of Eligibility Remaining

Ohio State head coach Nick Myers confirmed the major addition to his defense.

Report: USC to Join Big Ten, Further Alter College Sports Landscape

USC and UCLA would both join the Big Ten by 2024-25, reports say.

UMass Women Turn the Page With a Familiar Face

Drummond takes over for Angela McMahon after being her assistant for five years.

Cal Head Coach Brooke Eubanks Retires

Eubanks led Cal for eight seasons. Denise Wescott will serve as interim coach.







Twitter Posts