COLLEGE PARK, Md. — There’s nothing quite like being a Final Four participant, regardless of the sport.
"Everybody wants to be at the Final Four," said University of Maryland head men's lacrosse coach John Tillman. "You think about basketball, right. It’s the Final Four. People don’t talk about the Elite Eight. It’s the Final Four. You dream of coaching there. You dream of playing there. We want to finish the job and we’re not satisfied being there."
The Terps (14-0) face old rival Duke (14-2) on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in the NCAA Tournament semifinals in East Hartford Connecticut. The third-seeded Terps are coming off that thrilling 14-13 overtime win over Notre Dame in the quarterfinals last weekend. The quest for the program’s fourth national title continues.
"We’re not satisfied with what we’ve done," said Terps midfielder Alex Smith. "We understand there is a task ahead of us that we must complete. So, I think that the confidence is pretty high with this group but not too high."
The second-seeded Blue Devils boast all sorts of weapons on offense including Tewaaraton Award finalist Michael Sowers, Brennan O’Neill - who scored four goals in the quarterfinal against Loyola - and Joe Roberston, who had three against the Hounds including the winner in OT.
"It’s like the NBA All-Star team," said Tillman. "You go out there it’s like, ‘Who do you want to cover? LeBron or Kevin Durant’?"
"We have a lot of respect for them. Duke’s a great team. There is just a lot of respect for those guys," added Smith. "We know they are a very good offense. We kind of think of it as it’s going to be a great test."
With a spot in Monday’s championship game on the line.
This will be the fourth semifinal matchup between Maryland and Duke in the last ten years. It's the first since the Devils ended the Terrapins' national title defense in 2018.