Connor Cannizzaro put together a strong freshman season at Maryland back in 2014.
After one brief season, Cannizzaro elected to transfer to Denver where he has spent the last three years. Now he’ll face the Terrapins for just the second time in his career in Saturday’s NCAA Tournament semifinals.
Denver is coming off of a 16-4 win over Notre Dame in last weekend’s quarterfinals. Cannizzaro registered two goals and two assists for the Pioneers in the triumph.
Cannizzaro has really blossomed into one of the most talented players in college lacrosse since leaving College Park.
The Cazenovia (NY) native has accumulated 144 goals and 80 assists in his three seasons with the Pioneers. He’s also registered at least 65 points in each of those three campaigns.
Despite being just 5’9, Cannizzaro is as crafty a scorer as they come. He often likes to operate from around the crease and likes to beat goalies low.
As Maryland fans probably remember from his play as a freshman, Cannizzaro can score from just about anywhere on the field. He also thrives on judging the slides and dishing the ball off to an open teammate.
In Denver’s national title run in 2015, Cannizzaro had a sensational season in which he tallied 90 points (57 goals & 33 assists). He finished sixth in the country with 2.88 goals-per-game and was ninth in points with 4.31 per contest.
Despite his gaudy numbers, Maryland did slow down Cannizzaro when the two teams faced off in the 2015 national championship game. Cannizzaro registered just one goal on five shots in the 10-5 Pioneer victory.
Tim Muller will likely draw the assignment of defending Cannizzaro this time around. Maryland’s defense has been one of the most stingy units around as they rank 16th in the nation and surrender just nine goals-per-game.
Cannizzaro’s offensive numbers have dipped in each year he has been in Denver. He went from 3.0 goals-per-game as a sophomore to just 2.56 as a senior in 2017.
Maryland’s familiarity with Cannizzaro also could play into their favor. After all, the Terps faced him in practice every day for a whole season and also lined up against him in the 2015 title game.
He’s definitely not going to be an easy player to stop, but the Terps won’t have Wesley Berg to contend with this time around. If there’s any team that can slow down Cannizzaro, it’s Maryland.