The Virginia Cavaliers (12-5) will take on the Maryland Terrapins (13-4) for the 2011 NCAA Lacrosse National Title at 3:30 p.m. EST in M&T Stadium in Baltimore. When they do, both teams will be participating in a championship game they're both very familiar with.
Seven schools have basically dominated NCAA Lacrosse since its inception in 1971. Syracuse, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, North Carolina, Cornell, Virginia and Maryland. Some of those schools won a lot of championships early on and faded from the title game spotlight while others have made their cases more strongly in recent years. Maryland is certainly the former.
It's pretty crazy to think that Maryland hasn't won a National Title since 1975. You'd just assume a program like this one, nestled in the heart of lacrosse country, would be swimming in championships. However, the Terrapins "only" have two NCAA titles to speak of (To be fair, they did win seven National Titles prior to the NCAA but lacrosse fans treat pre-NCAA titles the same way NFL fans treat pre-Super Bowl league titles).
Maryland played in the first-ever NCAA Lacrosse championship game in 1971. Unfortunately for them, they were also the first team to lose one as well as Cornell beat them 12-6.
In 1973, the undefeated Terrapins, led by Hall of Fame midfielder Frank Urso, defeated mighty Johns Hopkins 10-9 in double overtime. Hopkins would get their revenge on Maryland the following year, drubbing them 17-12 in the 1974 finals.
The Terrapins grabbed Title No. 2 in 1975, beating Navy 20-13. Twenty goals is the second-most scored in a championship game (21 - Syracuse, 1990).
The Terps got a chance at revenge against Cornell the following year but the Big Red bested them again, 16-13 in overtime. OT was an open period and not sudden death at the time, hence the strange score.
Maryland took a couple years off from playing for the title but returned in 1979. Once again they would come up short, dropping this one to Hopkins 15-9.
The Terrapins would not play for the National Title again until 1995 when they match-up with Syracuse. That appearance began a bitterly-disappointing four-year run that saw Maryland lose three title games, including two-in-a-row to Princeton in '97 and '98.
The Terps would once again enter a title-game drought that lasted until this current run. In that time, the team went to Final Fours, as recently as 2006, but was never able to get back to the promised land.
The appearance drought is over. But ask any Maryland fan, player or coach and they'll tell you that's not the one they're concerned with. They want to win their first National Title in over 35 years.