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.
Virginia is the latter.
That's not to say the Cavs didn't get off to a hot start. They won the 2nd-ever NCAA Championship in 1972, a 13-12 triumph over Johns Hopkins. Hopefully they savored that win cause it would be a while until their next one.
In 1980, Virginia returned to the title game but fell short this time, losing 9-8 to Hopkins in double-overtime. The Cavaliers led 8-6 with nine minutes to play but things fell apart shortly-thereafter.
It would be another six years until they returned to the title game again, though they would lose again, 10-9 in overtime to North Carolina. Incidentally, this was the only other time in NCAA history aside from 2011 that two teams from the same conference played for the title.
The Cavs started to make trips to the title game a more-regular thing in the mid-90's. They would play for the 1994 and 1996 championships, but lose both. As if to keep alive some sort of heart-breaking streak, they would lose both games in overtime,both to Princeton.
After a brief hiatus, Virginia finally broke through in 1999, winning their second National Title. The Cavs took a 9-3 lead over Syracuse into the third quarter and held on for a 12-10 victory.
The Cavs would return to glory in 2003 and beat old enemy Johns Hopkins 9-7 and again in 2006 when they trounced Cinderella UMass 15-7.
After what's become a bit of a drought by their own standards, the Cavaliers are back in the title game in 2011. They'll look to keep alive their streak of winning championships, though if the game does go to overtime, expect the ghosts of championship games past to make an appearance.