By: Cody Wilcox
The No. 2 Maryland Terrapins will be back in action this weekend after completing three games during an eight-day span last week, and will travel to South Bend, Indiana, where they will be welcomed by the No. 17 Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
While the Terps have had their ups and downs to start the season, the team still remains undefeated as they are coming off of one of their most complete games of the season against the Navy Midshipmen in Annapolis. Senior attackman Louis Dubick led the way for the Terps with a career-best five goals as Maryland scored their most goals of the season in a 14-9 win.
The Fighting Irish are returning back home this weekend following a 9-8 loss to the Richmond Spiders, a team that Maryland nearly escaped after giving up five goals in the fourth quarter. Despite the Irish’s 1-1 record with their most recent loss to the Spiders, the Terps are staying on their toes as they prepare for Notre Dame.
“I kind of look at Notre Dame and I put myself in their shoes,” said senior midfielder Will Snider. “They are probably saying, ‘Hey, Maryland beat Richmond– we just lost to them. They are going to be kind of licking their chops.’
‘They are going to be fat cats, happy, thinking that they are going to come in here and get an easy [win]…’ ”
With the No. 1 Loyola Greyhounds losing 12-10 to the No. 7 Towson Tigers on Wednesday, the Terps will have the opportunity to take the No. 1 overall spot with a win against one of their toughest opponents in one of the toughest environments of the season.
“I think it’s always hard to travel on the road and get a win,” said senior midfielder Thomas O’Connell. “But South Bend is just another away game. We’re going to play a great Notre Dame team. They always have a strong defense– very athletic team. So same routine, just watch our film, get our scouts. Just play Terp lacrosse.”
The Irish are led by head coach Kevin Corrigan, who is in his 31st season at the helm and has continued to keep Notre Dame on a championship pedigree as he’s led them to NCAA Championship Weekend five times, including four appearances in the past five seasons.
Since 2010, either Maryland and Notre Dame has appeared in the NCAA Lacrosse Championship seven out of nine times, only missing out on the finals in 2013 and 2018.
Although Maryland is riding a five-game win streak to start the season, the Terps are just now starting to hit their stride in putting together complete games. While they have fluctuated in some areas of their games, their extra-man offense has remained a struggle for the Terps.
Maryland is 3-for-10 on extra-man opportunities on the season, an area of their offensive game that is shocking considering the amount of offensive talent on the roster. However, with a young unit consisting of three sophomores, Tillman and the Terps will look to improve from their 1-of-2 extra-man offensive outing from last year’s matchup against the Fighting Irish.
“[Notre Dame is] such a good defensive team that getting 10 goals is tough against them,” Tillman said. “So really, those opportunities– we basically told them, ‘Hey it’s important for us to capitalize on any– whether it’s unsettled opportunities or number advantage situations.”
The Terps faced a similar situation and schedule in 2017, which was the last time Maryland traveled to South Bend to play Notre Dame. The team was riding a four-game winning streak before losing 5-4 to the Fighting Irish, and sending Tillman’s all-time record against them to 2-3.
In 2017, Tillman’s team handled an average six day difference between games, this year’s Terps are coming off a short break after completing more than a quarter of their season. The break could prove vital as the Terps ride undefeated record into South Bend and prove that they worthy of the No. 1 ranking in the country.
“We had two days off, it was definitely nice to get a break,” O’Connell said. “But we’re looking forward to getting back to playing and starting our second quarter of the season.”