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2017 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament: Day 4 Overall Thoughts

The most important day of lacrosse was also the last day for the college season.

2017 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

Championship Monday is a Memorial Day tradition. Like the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest and the Fourth of July, college lacrosse and Memorial Day just go together. It’s something that I’ll get into later on in my thoughts.

But we also saw the Maryland Terrapins win their first title in over 40 years, with a 9-6 victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes. It was an amazing sight to see Terps young and old watch history unfold in their eyes.

With that, we’ll get to my final thoughts on the day, as well as thoughts from the entire weekend.

Day 4 Thoughts

  • It was icky weather, just like the first day. The rain luckily held off until the second half when it was a light mist, but the conditions weren’t like in years past.
  • Shoutout to the fine folks at Pizza Hut, along with their All-American Jason Fisher (a Cuse grad!) and former Johns Hopkins great and current New York Lizard Paul Rabil for their time to discuss the Pizza Hut All-American program, as well as the title game, and pizza itself. Can’t believe none of them are stuffed crust fans. But you can watch the interview below.

We got a special Monday interview with Paul Rabil and Pizza Hut All-American Jason Fisher!

Posted by College Crosse on Monday, May 29, 2017
  • I’d pay to see a one-on-one matchup between Jason and Barstool Jordie. Obviously Jordie has the experience as he played at Ursinus, but he’s never had private lessons with Rabil.
  • To the press box spread. Again, it was disappointing. At the beginning, we had more boxed sandwiches and hope was very dim. But we were again saved by the always clutch pizza. Still, another meh day for food, after a very promising first day.
  • So now to the game. Unlike the past three days, I got a special view with Inside Lacrosse’s Christian Swezey and Dan Aburn. We still did our solid work (Swezey did a post, as did myself, while Aburn tweeted a ton of GIFs). Plenty of cheering, chatting about lacrosse and Maryland, having the ESPN telecast on, and plenty of other talk that we couldn’t do in the press box because we were all separated and had to follow press box etiquette. All three of us contributed in our own way and I’m sure we’ll have more experiences in the future.
  • Adam DiMillo stepped up when he needed to. You could say Tim Rotanz did as well on offense, but DiMillo, who had three goals coming in, added two more in the first half to provide the Terps with a considerable lead that they never let go. Rotanz had a game-high three goals, but it was basically two due to his final goal being on an near empty net.
  • Watching a little bit of the Towson game, Ryan Drenner scored some of his goals coming around the crease. Dylan Maltz scored both of his goals the same way. Just like DiMillo and Rotanz starred on the midfield with Connor Kelly and Jared Bernhardt not performing well, Maltz stepped up on attack while Matt Rambo (1 goal, 1 assist) and Colin Heacock (6 shots) stayed quiet.
  • Jon Garino, Jr. dominated at the face-off X after Austin Henningsen went 1-for-5 in the first quarter. The Philly native went 10-of-14 and helped catapult Maryland to big second and third quarters. Head coach John Tillman mentioned after Saturday’s win over Denver that having two face-off guys were important as having two solid running backs in the NFL. Throughout time, one running back will wear himself out, so you need that second guy to take some of the pressure off your top guy and give him a break. That’s what Brown had last year with Will Gural and Ted Ottens, while Towson had Alex Woodall and Connor Harryman. Unfortunately, after Woodall went down Saturday against Ohio State, Harryman, a Bellarmine transfer, went 1-of-4 against Withers, and the Buckeyes escaped with a one-goal win.
  • I think it should be something of importance for college coaches to have two good face-off guys for their squad because of that reason Tillman gave. How will Trevor Baptiste do for Denver next year? And what about Hunter Moreland and Johns Hopkins? Even Syracuse and Dan Varello, who took some draws after Ben Williams started to show signs of wear, may need a good secondary option with him.
  • Did Ohio State have the jitters? I think they did, and I think they also had them early on Saturday against Towson, before the Tigers got them in the second half. It seemed like Merrimack and RIT had them as well, and I sort of hinted about that in my Facebook Live stream at the end of Sunday. Having that experience playing in Championship Weekend (and having their hotel right near the stadium) definitely benefitted Maryland.
  • I was also surprised to see a ton of Jack Jasinski early on. Curtis Corley did a heck of a job on the sophomore, limiting him to just a shot. I would have liked to see more Lukas Buckley, Austin Shanks, or Colin Chell earlier in the game, similar to what happened on Saturday.
  • I voted for Tom Carey as my goalie choice for the NCAA All-Tournament team. But as the clock started to wind down and the Buckeyes made a run late, Dan Morris stopped any sign of a Maryland slip-up with a save on Tre Leclaire. At that point, I wanted to change my vote to Morris. He played strong in the third quarter against Denver, with three saves in the final quarter, the most for him in that game, but then followed that up with 11 saves in the season finale. Carey is one of the more underrated goalies in the nation, but I think Morris might have had his moment this weekend.
  • For Ohio State, they’ll lose starter Eric Fannell, along with Shanks, at attack. The entire first midfield of JT Blubaugh, Johnny Pearson,and Tyler Pfister graduate, along with short stick John Kelly and Withers at FOGO, who filled in after Ryan Terefenko injured himself. Lucas Bailey departs as a reserve defenseman, but Carey in goal might be their biggest loss. Many of the guys are underclassmen, but there are big holes to fill in goal and at midfield.
  • For Maryland, the entire starting attack graduates, as well as both of their top short stick defensive midfielders. Tim Muller and former starter Mac Pons also leave, as well as Ben Chisolm from the second midfield and Garino. The first midfield returns, but in what capacity? Will Rotanz and/or Bernhardt make the move to attack? Will DiMillo get bumped up to the first unit? There’s also young guys waiting such as Timmy Monahan, Louis Dubick, and Steven Shollenberger, who got some playing time with the second unit earlier in the year. The Terps should still be a strong team, but will they be a Final Four participant once again?

Overall Weekend Thoughts

  • It slowly got to me that maybe...oh no...Foxboro is a pretty good site. I’m fired aren’t I? Anyways, I personally like to travel to other places, and it’s always nice to have things in your backyard, but sometimes you want to see other places as well. This was my third time up in Massachusetts and my first time in Foxborough. I thought Patriot Place was really neat and the stadium was big.
  • Imagine if the title game wasn’t raining. Plenty more fans would come, and all four teams flew in.
  • Speaking of the spelling, is it Foxboro or Foxborough? I know it’s both, but what do people more commonly spell it as? Asking for a friend.
  • The only con about Foxboro was how far of a walk it can be from one side of the stadium to Fanfest. I didn’t get to experience it, but trying to walk over from the press box to Toby Keith’s Bar for the MLL Draft was very long. That’s where the Linc’s shorter distance comes in.
  • Josh Hawkins picked up my attendance tweet numbers and had some thoughts about the women’s game being there.
  • Currently, the women’s D2 game is held before Championship Weekend, while the women’s D3 game is held somewhere else during Championship Weekend. I thought having both Division I title games were excellent. My only change would be to move the Women’s Division I title game to Sunday night to make it the marquee event instead of 11 in the morning. TV might not like it, but they can air less softball then!
  • There is one concern for venues that don’t have artificial turf: How would the field look like and how would it hold up for Monday? There’ll definitely be dirt right in the men’s crease area on Monday, and there might be some even behind the crease and near the women’s crease. Will it look bad on TV? Will players like it? I think it’s something worth trying, but it’s also something worth concern.
  • The biggest losers was the press box food reputation for Gillette Stadium. Friday was a very good day, but then it went downhill. Picture the Eagles career of Bobby Hoying, that’s how the food went in the press box. Had a great and promising start, and then crashed to the ground the rest of the weekend, with some blips of good performances (in this case, pizza). Also, the only snacks they had were fruit and granola bars. I’m not a fan of eating crumbs combined together. We need actually snacks, like chips or popcorn. If the spread next year is that bad, I say we never go back to Foxboro!
  • If I see another boxed lunch, I will burn it.
  • There’s nothing to do around Foxboro either. You have to go to Providence or Boston to enjoy your weekend. Another reason to stay in Philly.
  • I kind of feel bad for Baltimore too not hosting, but I guess they chose not to.
  • The turf was installed just two weeks ago at Gillette Stadium. Wonder how next year might go if we’re still using the same turf. It was very short and the ball died out when rolling. Paul Carcaterra didn’t get a ton of bounce on the balls he threw to the ground Saturday afternoon.
  • With more college players I know going to the MLL, I think I will watch more of their games this summer. But the league needs plenty of work. This idea might not be possible.
  • If you put the women’s Final Four with the men in the same venue like this year, this would not be possible at all.
  • But in order to keep the new lacrosse crowd hooked, the MLL has to do a better job marketing their product. In my mind, that means having games on TV besides their online streaming deals. They will have to play a huge role to the growth of the sport.
  • And how do the sport’s ambassadors try to make it not just a sport everyone watches on Memorial Day Weekend, but also something that is exciting even in February or March?
  • The story from the weekend you need to read, courtesy of Anish Shroff, about his mother and what May 29 means to him.
  • Enjoy life and everything there is to it.