2017 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse National Championship Game
#1 Maryland Terrapins vs #3 Ohio State Buckeyes
Date: Monday, May 29, 2017
Time: 12pm Central
Where: Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA
In the most depressing result possible from the Final Four on Saturday, we get an all-Big Ten national championship game. I can’t believe I’m going to willfully watch two B1G teams clash on Monday afternoon, but here we are.
I suppose, if you wanted, you could interpret this Big Ten clash as a notice that Western lacrosse is for real and that more teams west of the Smoky Mountains should join in the fun. You’d probably get accused of stretching the truth, though, because Maryland, is, well, uh, not in the Midwest in any shape or form.
It’s an interesting mix of history in Monday’s title game. On one hand, Maryland has won two national championships and appeared in 25 Final Fours, including the last four straight and six of the last seven. In fact, this is Maryland’s third straight appearance in the national championship game. On the other side of the field is Ohio State, who is making their first ever Final Four appearance, and of course by default, their first ever national championship game. Ohio State has had a lacrosse team since 1953, but it’s only in the last decade and a half where the Buckeyes have started to establish themselves as a regular tournament contender.
As a lacrosse fan in the Midwest, I think we have to be cheering for the Buckeyes to win the game. The growth of collegiate lacrosse is going to come in the Midwest and West, and a trophy getting hoisted in Columbus, even though it’s still in the eastern time zone, will have a bigger impact on the growth of the game. Heck, even if it just encourages other Big Ten schools to adopt the sport (Wisconsin, I’m looking at you here), then that will have accomplished something.
If the two previous meeting in 2017 are any indication, we’re probably in for a relatively low scoring but close game. Ohio State took the regular season meeting, 11-10, when Johnny Pearson buried a shot with 2:57 remaining in overtime. That game featured a huge rally by the Bucks, as Maryland had taken a 6-1 lead with 10:26 left in the second quarter, but OSU scored six straight bridging halftime to take the lead.
The two teams met again in the Big Ten championship game, and the Terrapins came out ahead in that one. However, it was still a one goal game, with Colin Heacock providing the 10-9 winner with 3:27 left in the contest. That game was much more tightly contested, as the lead only grew to two goals once when Freddy Freibott put Ohio State up 3-1 in the first quarter.