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NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship 2021: Virginia vs. Maryland Schedule, Preview

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVMay 30, 2021

Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 2021 NCAA Men's Lacrosse National Championship Game is set, and it will pit the fourth-seeded Virginia Cavaliers against the third-seeded Maryland Terrapins.

The Cavaliers, which are looking to repeat as national champions, nearly let a four-goal lead slip away against top-seeded North Carolina in the Final Four on Saturday, but they were able to hang on for a 12-11 win.

Meanwhile, the Terrapins were the better team from start to finish against No. 2 Duke on Saturday, and they are back in the national title game for the first time since 2017.

Virginia and Maryland met once before in a clash for the national championship, and it was the Cavaliers who prevailed by a 9-7 score in 2011.

Here is everything you need to know about the second-ever national championship game meeting between the Cavs and Terps.


Where: Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut

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When: Monday, May 31, at 1 p.m. ET

Watch: ESPN2


Men's Final Four Scores

(4) Virginia def. (1) North Carolina, 12-11

(3) Maryland def. (2) Duke, 14-5


Virginia's Road to the Title Game

Two years removed from winning the national championship, the Cavaliers are looking to do it again after upsetting top-ranked North Carolina by a 12-11 score in the Final Four.

Since there was no NCAA men's lacrosse tournament held last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Virginia is the defending national champ.

The Cavaliers had plenty of confidence going into Saturday's national semifinal game since they split the season series with UNC and already knew they could beat the Tar Heels.

Things got worrisome late, as a 12-8 Hoos lead shrunk to 12-11, but relentless defense sent Virginia to the national title game:

Virginia Men's Lacrosse @UVAMensLax

The defensive stand that sent us back to ๐—–๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ฝ ๐— ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ฎ๐˜† ๐Ÿ”ฅ#GoHoos ๐Ÿ”ถ๐Ÿ”ท pic.twitter.com/9m3Egqf6pi

With the win over North Carolina, the Cavaliers improved to 13-4 on the season, and they are now in prime position to win the seventh national title in school history, which would put them all alone in third on the all-time list.

Payton Cormier was the star for Virginia against North Carolina with three goals, and that has been the case all season long, as he leads the Cavs with 43 goals.

It is far from a one-man show, however, as Connor Shellenberger has 33 goals and the quartet of Matt Moore, Charlie Bertrand, Ian Laviano and Peter Garno have each scored 20 or more.

On top of that, Virginia has an elite goalkeeper in Alex Rode, who has 200 saves on the season and held the high-scoring Tar Heels to just 11 goals Saturday.

The Cavaliers are a deep and multi-talented team with all the tools needed to win another national title.


Maryland's Road to the Title Game

The Terrapins were slightly disrespected with a No. 3 seed in the tournament despite going undefeated, and they proved Saturday that they may have deserved the top overall seed.

They crushed No. 2 Duke by a 14-5 score, improving their record to 15-0 on the year and sending them to the title game with an unblemished mark.

The Terps are just four years removed from their last national title, and another would give them four all-time, which would break a tie with Duke and Cornell for sixth on the all-time list.

Unsurprisingly, Jared Bernhardt was a dominant force for Maryland against Duke on Saturday, scoring five times to bring his seasonal total to 69.

He is Maryland's leading scorer, but it is far from a one-man show, as Daniel Maltz and Logan Wisnauskas have both eclipsed the 30-goal plateau this season as well.

It was Wisnauskas who had the highlight-reel goal of the game for Maryland against Duke in a game that featured no shortage of scoring from the Terrapins:

Maryland Lacrosse @TerpsMLax

This is just so pretty ๐Ÿ˜ pic.twitter.com/eUvDFwHuo5

While Maryland doesn't have quite as much depth of scoring as Virginia with four 20-goal scorers compared to six for the Cavaliers, the Terps' star power up front is unmatched.

Like Virginia, Maryland boasts a quality goalkeeper as well in the form of Logan McNaney, who entered the Final Four allowing less than 10 goals per game and then proceeded to stymie the Blue Devils.

The Terrapins have to be feeling good about their chances after outclassing Duke, but they will be faced with a tough challenge against a Virginia team that just knocked off the top overall seed.


Prediction

Maryland defeats Virginia 10-8.

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