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Day of Rivals in Baltimore

Terrapins, Johns Hopkins Blue Jays, Army, Navy, Battle on Lacrosse Day of Rivals

Navy's lacrosse team hopes to have a lot to celebrate on Saturday.
Navy's lacrosse team hopes to have a lot to celebrate on Saturday. (By Mark Gail -- The Washington Post)
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Friday, April 10, 2009

Jousting is Maryland's official sport, but lacrosse might as well have that title. The sport has evoked heated rivalries among area colleges for decades; they win their fair share of NCAA titles year after year. Five of the top 20 college lacrosse teams are based in the Free State, and Maryland and lax are so interlocked that the state is home to the national hall of fame.

Never watched a game? You are missing bone-crushing hits, quick passing and high scoring. See what all the fuss is about Saturday at the Day of Rivals. Every year, the game between the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins draws about 8,000 people, and this season there will be a double-header with Army playing Navy, in a first-of-its-kind event at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium.

For a new fan, there's no better introduction to the game than the Day of Rivals since you are guaranteed to see some of the best players in the country. Three of the four teams playing -- Maryland, Johns Hopkins and Navy -- are ranked in the top 20 nationwide. Each team also has something to prove.

For the Maryland Terrapins, it is avenging an embarrassing 10-4 loss to the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays at their last meeting in 2008. For the Blue Jays, it is adding another notch to their 57-37-1 overall record against Maryland. As for Navy and Army, the rivalry that has built up around their football teams has begun to spill over into lacrosse.

Lacrosse's history dates to Native Americans. Some tribes used it as a way to prepare for war and settle disputes; sometimes games went on for days on fields miles long. Now the game is played with two teams of 10 players on each side trying to put a small rubber ball into a net that is six feet high by six feet wide. Players can get the ball toward the goal by running down the field cradling it in the shallow net at the end of the stick or by making pin-point passes. All this is hard enough to do even without members of the other team trying to thwart the offense.

Lacrosse is one of the rare sports that requires players to have just as much finesse as grit.

-- Amy Orndorff

WHEN AND WHERE IS IT? Army and Navy face off Saturday at 11:30 a.m., and Maryland and Johns Hopkins battle at 2 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium, 1101 Russell St., Baltimore.

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION? Call 410-261-7283 or visit http://www.dayofrivals.com.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? $20-$30 gets you into both games. Tickets are available through http://www.ticketmaster.com.

WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW? Games usually last 90 minutes.

IF YOU HAVE MORE THAN THREE HOURS: Swept up in the sport? Head to the Lacrosse Museum and National Hall of Fame. Open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 113 W. University Pkwy., Baltimore. 410-235-6882 or http://www.uslacrosse.org/museum. $3, $2 ages 5 to 15, younger free.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company

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