Five Biggest Games in 2023 for Maryland Men’s Lacrosse

Maryland will kick off its 2023 season this Saturday inside SECU Stadium against Richmond as they look to defend its national championship. With several of the nation’s top teams on the horizon for head coach John Tillman’s squad, we take a look at the five biggest games this fall.

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5. April 22nd, Home vs John’s Hopkins

Last season, in the rivalry game against Hopkins, the Terps embarrassed the Blue Jays on their home field. The final score was 22-7 which broke two records for the game. The Terps scored the most goals ever in a rivalry game, and the Terps won by the largest margin of victory in any rivalry game ever. The Jays got to watch in defeat as the Terps celebrated as they raised the giant wooden crab trophy over their heads. This year’s game, more than ever, Hopkins will have it circled on the calendar. In a game that already means so much, getting blown out and watching your biggest rivals celebrate on your home field just adds extra fuel to the fire. The player to watch out for on Hopkins is attackman/midfielder Jacob Angelus. While Angelus has a smaller stature, he won’t be afraid to back down a physical Terps defense. Add his blazing speed to that mix and he becomes a danger in the passing game with his dodging ability. While Angelus will be a threat to the Terps, the Blue Jays will still have a very tall task ahead at slowing down the Terps high-powered offense. The Jays do not have any strong defenders outside of long stick midfielder Alex Mazzone. But if the Terps are able to constantly create fast break opportunities, Mazzone could become a non-factor due to the sub game.

Prediction: 20-12 Terps

4. February 18th, Home vs Syracuse

This will be the first time Syracuse will visit College Park for a regular season game since 1983. Last season the Terps were able to defeat the Orange 14-10 on the road in the Carrier Dome last season in a game where the Terps dominated for most of the game. The Orange are bringing in a top-five recruiting class from the 2022 cycle including the #1 ranked player in the country Joey Spallina. Spallina will lead a new-look attack unit for the Orange with most of their attack unit graduating or transferring. Spallina will have a tall task like everyone else the Terps face to try and take down the physical and experienced defense the Terps have this season. On defense, the Orange will have goalie Will Mark, who is receiving preseason honorable mention All-American honors from USA Lacrosse Magazine which could create a tall order for the Terps to score. But with a slightly inexperienced defense, the Terps should be fine offensively against the Orange and be able to get lots of good looks. The Orange are a program that will for sure be on the rise with Gary Gait at the helm, but for now they still don’t have the firepower to pull off the upset.

Prediction: 16-9 Terps

3. February 25th, At Princeton

The Tigers and the Terps matched up twice last season. In both games the Terps won by five. The Terps dominated all aspects of the game in both matchups in large part thanks to great goalie play from Logan McNaney, as well as dominance from the face off by Luke Weirman for the Terps. With both McNaney and Weirman returning, the Terps could see an even bigger advantage from those positions in this matchup this season. Princeton was able to keep most of their returning production and has five players receiving preseason all american honors from USA Lacrosse Magazine. On offense for the Tigers, Alex Slusher will be a player to watch out for. Slusher is the top returning offensive leader for the Tigers from last season scoring 46 goals and dishing out 10 assist as well. In their matchups last season the Terps held Slusher to just two goals and one assist. On defense, the Tigers will be lead by a pair of defensve midfielders in Beau Pederson and Pace Billings. Both Pederson and Billings are large physical defenders that will try and use their size and strength to turn the ball over and cause havoc. Last season in their matchups against the Terps however, the pair was only able to cause one turnover in the two games combined. If the Terps are able to keep it clean on the offensive end and not let Princeton get into the fast break, the Terps should pull out another win against the Tigers this season.

Prediction: 14-9 Terps

2. March 4th, Home vs Notre Dame

Notre Dame was a team that gave the Terps one of their toughest tests last season in a tough and gritty 11-9 game. The Irish are returning their top four point scorers from last season including the Kavanagh brothers who led the way with 47 goals and 50 assists. Another big returner for the Irish is goalie Liam Entenmann. Entemann is projected to win the goalie of the year award after having 159 saves and a 57% save percentage last season. The one weakness of the Irish will be their Midfield. They lost two of their top midfielders on offense so they will need to replace the production they got from their first midfield line from last year this year. Traditionally, Maryland and Notre Dame are known as two of the best defensive teams in the country every year and this year should be no different. I expect yet again another tough and very physical game between the two teams this season and would not be surprised if the Irish would be able to pull off the upset.

Prediction: 10-9 Terps

1. March 18th, at Virginia

The Terps and Virginia have consistently been two of the top teams in the country over the last decade. In 2021 they both met in the national championship where the Cavaliers edged the Terps 17-16. Then last season the Terps played the Cavaliers twice and won by a combined margin of 20 goals in the two games. After last season, Virginia hit the portal and hit it hard. They signed the former #1 recruit of the 2018 class Ricky Miezan who has been playing football at Stanford for his entire college career. They also signed Thomas McConvey who scored 60 goals last season as a midfielder which is basically unheard of. So adding McConvey to an already loaded offense with arguably the best player in the country in Connor Shellenberger who was a Tewaaraton finalist last season, will give Brett Makar and Ajax Zappitello a tall order to slow down a seemingly unstoppable offense from Virginia. But even if the defense will be able to slow down the Virginia offense, the Terps’ offense themselves will have to score on one f the best defensive units in the country. Led by Cole Castner, Virginia has by far the tallest and longest defensive unit in the country. Their height and length helps them steal passes and disrupt the passing lanes better than any unit in the country. For a team like Maryland where they are at best when the ball is moving around as fast as possible, a defense built like Virginia’s can cause a plethora of problems and slow down the offense. The team on the schedule that stands out the most is Virginia and if there is any team to beat the Terps this season, it will be the Cavaliers on their home field.

Prediction: 12-10 Virginia

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