Plenty Of Storylines For Men's Championship Weekend
By Todd McElwee
The lineup is set for championship weekend in Division I men's lacrosse, and what a lineup it is. Loyola, Maryland, Duke and Notre Dame are two short, but perilous, steps away from a national championship and have provided fabulous storylines for the final three games of the 2012 collegiate campaign.
Maryland (11-5) vs. No. 3 Duke (15-4)
Maryland is chasing its first national championship since 1975. The Terps have advanced to consecutive Final Fours for the first time since 2005-2006 and could also be playing on Memorial Day for the second straight year.
A 9-4 victory against the Blue Devils last May earned the Terps the right to play for a title.
Duke is two years removed from its only NCAA championship, but is making its sixth consecutive trip to championship weekend. The Blue Devils have played each of their fellow still-breathing outfits and have lost to all three, though they did defeat Maryland during the ACC tournament.
No. 4 Notre Dame (13-2) vs. No. 1 Loyola (16-1)
Both the Greyhounds and Irish encountered much stiffer competition during the quarterfinals than the other two outfits participating in the Final Four.
Loyola and Notre Dame both possess stingy defenses; the Irish lead the nation at just 6.27 goals allowed per game, while the Greyhounds come in seventh at 7.59. Loyola also has the nation's fourth-ranked scoring offense, averaging 12.53 goals per outing.
Each team has made only one previous title game appearance.
Here are some storylines to watch during the semifinals:
• Will Maryland break its drought?
• Will the Terps and Greyhounds meet for an all-Maryland final?
• Will Notre Dame and Duke meet for the second time during three years?
• Can C.J. Costabile, who scored the game-winning overtime goal for Duke in 2010, cement his legacy as one of the greatest long-stick middies ever?
• Can anyone slow down Eric Lusby, who tied a career best with seven points (five goals, two assists) against Denver to go along with three strikes and two helpers versus Canisius?
• Will the Terps remain in the black uniforms?
… Much more to come.
No. 1 Salisbury 7, No. 5 Stevenson 2
Held scoreless for the initial 26 minutes, Salisbury rallied and rolled over Capital Athletic Conference rival Stevenson Sunday.
The Sea Gulls are headed to their third consecutive national championship game while vying for their 10th national title.
Salisbury will encounter a familiar foe: Cortland State. The Sea Gulls (22-0) and Red Dragons (21-0) met in three consecutive title games, from 2006-2009, with both sides claiming two titles. This will be Salisbury's 14th title game appearance and Cortland's seventh.
The Mustangs finished at 18-5.
… Again, much more to come.
Posted May 20, 2012