With Maryland moving to the Big Ten, the competition in men’s lacrosse is not quite as stellar.
For that very reason, having a strong non-conference schedule is key. On Thursday, it was announced that the Terrapins will host Loyola (MD) on April 8 in College Park.
Despite the Greyhounds having been a Division I lacrosse program since 1982, the two teams have only met four times in that time span. The last meeting was the 2012 National Championship game, where Loyola defeated Maryland 9-3 for their first national title in any sport.
In terms of their Big Ten slate, the Terps are set to face Johns Hopkins, Michigan. Ohio State, Penn State, and Rutgers. Only Johns Hopkins and Penn State had winning records in 2014.
Maryland faced Michigan and Johns Hopkins last season, and came away with a split (beating Michigan). It’s clear that the Big Ten isn’t exactly up to par with the ACC in terms of men’s lacrosse.
This is why scheduling Loyola is a big deal. To put it in perspective, according to LaxPower.com, the Terps had the 7th toughest schedule in the nation while the Greyhounds were only 24th. 2014 was Loyola’s first season in the Patriot League, which is another league that isn’t quite as high-powered on a national scale. Lehigh is one of the only other teams in the conference that is usually an NCAA tournament squad.
Loyola has appeared in the last three NCAA tournaments, and should provide a huge boost to Maryland’s RPI and Strength Of Schedule in their inaugural Big Ten campaign.