Maryland drew a familiar foe on Sunday evening when the NCAA selection committee paired the Terps with Cornell once again in the opening round. (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes/InsideLacrosse)
During the NCAA men’s lacrosse Selection Show on Sunday evening, the Maryland Terrapins learned their fate and found out that they will be matching up with Cornell in the first round of the NCAA tournament. While the Terps did fall to the Big Red 16-8 in the opening round in 2013, these two squads are very different a year later. In the first of many articles this week previewing Saturday’s game, I take a look at the common opponents between Maryland and Cornell and how each fared in those games.
Cornell Result: W, 12-9
Maryland Result: W, 9-6
Takeaways: Cornell is an extremely resilient squad to say the least. The Big Red was down 5-2 late in the second quarter to the Cavaliers, but didn’t panic. From that point, Cornell went on a 9-0 run that extended until late in the third quarter. During that stretch, midfielder Connor Buczek tallied three goals, which all came at even strength. The Big Red just seemed to have the will to win and wouldn’t be denied in the final three quarters.
The only area that Cornell didn’t necessarily excel in was at the face-off circle. Midfielder Doug Teseriero only won 12-of-24 draws at the X. This is an area where Maryland can certainly take advantage. The Terrapins have one of the top players around when it comes to face-offs in Charlie Raffa. Raffa is coming off a game in which he won 16-of-21 draws against Navy in addition to a goal.
Cornell Result: W, 15-14
Maryland Result: W, 13-5
Takeaways: Cornell is a great team, there’s no denying that. However, Michigan gave the Big Red all they could handle when the two teams did battle back in early March. In fact, it took a go-ahead goal from attackman Matt Donovan with 1:41 left in overtime to seal the victory.
One thing that jumps out when you watch film of this game is that Cornell loves to score from behind the cage. A handful of their goals against the Wolverines came on plays that were set up behind the cage.
Another interesting aspect is the depth of Cornell’s scoring arsenal, much like Maryland. In the 2014 regular season, six Big Red players finished with at least 25 points. Attackmen Dan Lintner and Donovan lead the charge with a combined 78 goals between the two of them. Donovan shoots a strong 37.2 percent while Lintner is firing the ball at an astounding 47.4 percent clip. Simply put, the Big Red can put the ball in the back cage. It may not be the Rob Pannell/Steve Mock show anymore, but it’s still an offense capable of putting any defense to shame.
Cornell Result: L, 14-9
Maryland Result: W, 10-5
Takeaways: Two different results Maryland and Cornell speaks volumes of how important it is to face a team at the right time. For the Terps, they came into the matchup with the Orange with a lot to prove. It was only their third game of the season and the first test for a young squad after convincing victories over Mount St. Mary’s and UMBC. Maryland didn’t show any signs of their youth as they cruised to an easy win with freshmen Matt Rambo and Connor Cannizzaro combining for five goals.
On the other side, Cornell had a strong first half against Syracuse as well. The Big Red erased an early deficit and ended up taking a 5-4 lead, which was a complete swing in momentum. Unfortunately for Cornell, they couldn’t hold the lead and allowed the Orange to go on a 8-1 scoring run. The barrage allowed Syracuse to cruise to an easy victory.
If you look at the box score, Syracuse was just the better team that night. The Orange had a slight edge in shots (43-39), ground balls (29-24), face-offs (14-12), and extra man conversions (2-3).
There were plenty of positives that I noticed when watching the tape. As I alluded to before, Lintner can flat out score. The Canadian attackman doesn’t need much room to score or to make an impact on the game. Lintner excels in transition and knows exactly where to be when Cornell is on the run.