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Maryland is still the hotbed for college lacrosse

By: Jesse Baird

Maryland became just the third program to win men’s and women’s national championships in the same season, joining Princeton in 1994 and North Carolina in 2016.

As the game of lacrosse continues to expand throughout the country and powerhouses in the Carolina’s and now the Midwest and even in the Rocky Mountains have developed, the Maryland Terrapins became just the third athletic program to win both the men’s and women’s lacrosse championships in history, joining Princeton in 1994 and North Carolina just last year.

And not only did Maryland’s women’s team win their third championship in four years, but they did so with an undefeated season, capping it off with a 16-13 victory over Boston College. The men’s team finally ended a long 42-year championship drought with a Memorial Day victory in their fourth straight championship weekend appearance, beating Ohio State, 9-6.

And more than just Maryland being so dominant, this was a special year with half of the men’s and women’s teams playing in Boston, Massachusetts all being from the state. The Towson men’s team and Navy women’s team both played in the final four. Salisbury continued their dynasty at the Division III level with a walloping of RIT in their championship game on Sunday.

Since Johns Hopkins won three championships in four years in the mid-1980s, the powers of the sports started to shift out of Maryland. While Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Towson, Maryland, and Navy all played for championships, the Blue Jays and Greyhounds combined for just the three men’s National Championships coming from the state in 29 years, heading into this year. Just 3-for-29.

With Maryland breaking through and finally getting another championship, combined with the restoration of Towson, and Loyola and Johns Hopkins both still being powerhouses, the state of lacrosse in the state of Maryland is back at the very top where fans so love it to be. Even Division III powers Salisbury and Stevenson add to the greatness that Maryland has to offer.

The locals cleaned up with all-American honors too. Nine Maryland men’s lacrosse players earned USILA All-American honors. Towson’s entire defensive midfield earned All-American honors, among others. Loyola, Navy and Johns Hopkins all had All-Americans on their teams.

At this weekend’s MLL Draft, 21 of 90 overall selections came from the local schools, with Towson leading the way with six players drafted. Nearly one-quarter of the entire rookie draft class played at one of the local colleges in Maryland.

And these are not just local colleges winning, these are local colleges winning with homegrown talent. Towson’s stars are from Maryland. Loyola’s stars are from Maryland. Johns Hopkins’ stars are from Maryland.

While both UMBC and Navy missed the tournament this year, the Retrievers had a resurgent season under first-year head coach Ryan Moran and should start contending for conference championships relatively soon. Navy had a down season with a young team, but they were just in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament last year and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them back in the tournament next year.

On the women’s side, Towson earned an at-large selection, Loyola missed out on their seventh straight NCAA tournament because they were actually upset by final four participant Navy in the Patriot League title game. UMBC possesses one of the highest-scoring offenses in the country and Johns Hopkins had a slow start in their first season in the Big Ten but came on strong at the end.

Even on the women’s side, the start of Maryland is very strong.

Baltimore and Maryland take great pride in their expert lacrosse ability. This year just confirmed that it should remain the biggest hotbed for many more years to come.

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