Maryland men, women rule NCAA lacrosse world

  • Written by  Jose Umana, Photo by Daniel Kucin Jr.
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Zoe Stukenberg2 DKCOLLEGE PARK – University of Maryland sophomore Nick Brozowski scrambled all over the midfield as the time on the clock trickled away.

With less than four seconds remaining, he launched the ball high into the sky. By the time it came back down, a swarm of Maryland men's lacrosse players had rushed to the field, holding onto the NCAA National Championship.

History had been made, in both Maryland men’s and women’s lacrosse.

Both of Maryland’s lacrosse programs snatched up every possible title this season, winning a combined six trophies, including their respective national championships.

Maryland became the third school ever to have both its men’s and women’s lacrosse teams win national titles in the same year. Now the accomplishment is cemented into the history books.

The Lady Terrapins continued their reign of dominance over women’s lacrosse with a 16-13 victory over Boston College on May 28 in Foxborough, Mass., to capture the program’s 14th national championship. Maryland notched its fifth undefeated season in program history (23-0) and its first since 2001.

The women also captured their fifth straight Big Ten regular season title and became the first back-to-back conference tournament winners. Under Head Coach Cathy Reese, the Maryland women have won three of the last four national titles.

“There were so many unknowns coming into this year,” Reese said after Maryland won the Big Ten Tournament on May 7. “For us, it’s one game at a time... focusing on that and to be able to come up and to enter as the No. 1 seed is a testament to our season so far.”

Maryland's offense towered over the majority of its competition, scoring an average of 17 goals per game - the best in the nation. Junior attacker Megan Whittle led the team with 71 goals, including two in the national title game.

However, sophomore attacker Caroline Steele was the star against Boston College. After scoring four goals in Maryland’s 14-6 Big Ten Tournament title victory on May 7, the Severna Park native scored six goals, tying a championship game record for goals.

The Terps scored 10 seconds into the title game and never trailed after that point.

Midfielder Zoe Stukenberg, who scored two goals in the final, finished her senior year ranked in the top three in every statistical category on the team with 53 goals, 31 assists and 84 points. The captain was awarded the Tewaaraton Award for the country’s top female lacrosse player on June 1.

“This (was) an easy group to lead,” Stukenberg said about her teammates. “They are so selfless, so driven and so talented. They’re just the greatest group and I think all 10 seniors did an awesome job in showing every single player on the field that they believed in them and they trusted them to finish the season out the way they wanted and the way our class deserved to go out.”

While the women continued to dominate, the Maryland men’s lacrosse program looked to bounce back after two consecutive losses in the national title game.

The Terps (16-3) battled through a tough schedule, defeating rivals Johns Hopkins and top-ranked Penn State to earn the Big Ten’s best regular season record. Maryland then defeated Ohio State 10-9 on May 6 in Columbus to capture the program’s second straight conference championship.

They would meet each other again three weeks later on Memorial Day in Foxborough. with the national title on the line. Junior attacker Tim Rotanz completed a hat trick, including scoring with 59 seconds left, to give the Terps a 9-6 win and their first lacrosse title in 42 years.

Senior attacker Matt Rambo finished the year with 42 goals and 45 assists, becoming the first Terrapin to surpass 40 in each category in one season. He was awarded the Tewaaraton Award, together with Stukenberg, at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

“It really hasn't sunk in,” Head Coach John Tillman said. “All they've done since August, given where we were last year and have been in this spot and losing a heartbreaker, there were a couple of different ways we could go. We could have let the previous year's loss impact this year. I think it speaks to the leadership of this group and their ability to kind of put things behind them and move forward to give us a chance this year.”

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