In a game pegged as a potential thriller between college lacrosse’s two best teams, the Virginia Cavaliers frankly couldn’t hang with the Maryland Terrapins as UMD took a decisive 23-12 victory that serves as revenge for last year’s National Championship and the quarterfinals back in 2019.
Likely the biggest determining factor in the game was Maryland’s Luke Wierman and his domination at the face-off X. After devastatingly missing an opportunity to tie the game in the final seconds of the National Championship game, Wierman made a statement against Virginia as he won 24 of his 36 draws. In comparison, UVA’s Petey LaSalla was a mere 5-for-18 as his backup Gable Braun turned out to be more successful, winning nine of his 21 face-offs.
Either way, the eleven extra possessions Maryland won at the X made life incredibly difficult for the Wahoos. Freshman goalie Mathew Nunes stood on his head and made 14 saves but still allowed 20 goals before he was pulled late in the game. The Terps’ ridiculously high-powered offense could seemingly do no wrong.
The first quarter was a back and forth affair as Maryland took a 2-0 lead before the teams proceeded to trade goals for the remainder of the quarter as Virginia’s Matt Moore scored twice and Connor Shellenberger scored once. That left the score at 5-3 Maryland after the first fifteen minutes.
The game seem poised to be a high scoring offensive fire-fight as the second quarter got going with five goals scored in the first four minutes. Maryland led 8-5 at that point but UVA still appeared to be well in striking range if Braun and LaSalla could get going and win some extra possessions.
While Braun got a couple wins, that didn’t translate to Virginia goals as Maryland’s eighth goal of the game was the first of a 5-1 run that put the Terps up 12-6 at half.
UVA got on the board to open up the second half, but a Maryland three-goal run made the game 15-7 and built a practically unassailable lead. A 4-0 UVA burst in response made things interesting with the score sitting at 15-11 and over 11 minutes remaining.
But eight UMD goals in the last 11:12 of game play firmly shut the door on any remaining optimism as the Terrapins make a statement win and cement their place as the top team in the country and the favorite for the remainder of the season.