Following last month's epic Maryland-Johns Hopkins lacrosse game, Blue Jay defenseman Mark Greenberg made a prediction: "I'm sure we'll face them again this year."
Greenberg's forecast was probably just a reflection of precedent. The teams have met five times in NCAA postseason play and today they play again in the 10th NCAA national championship match, at Maryland's Byrd Stadium at 2 p.m.
The stage has long been set for the battle between the schools which have dominated college lacrosse this season.
Maryland's only loss in 10 games came at the hands of the Blue Jays, 13-12, at Byrd Stadium. That was the closest call for top-ranked Hopkins (12-0) during its 17-game win streak, which includes a victory over Cornell in last year's title game.
Hopkins beat the Terps - who have been ranked second all season-on a rebound goal by Joe Garavante with 46 seconds to play. The loss was a heartbreaker for Maryland after it had come from three goals back in the final period to briefly go ahead by a goal.
Maryland has lost five games in the last three seasons-all to the Blue Jays. The Terps, who won national titles in 1973 and '75, must solve a smothering Hopkins defense to make it three.
Hopkins' defense has been harder to dent than the national debt. The Blue Jays have yielded a stingy 80 goals in 12 games, while scoring 182. Even when the Jays are a man down, less than one of four enemy shots has found the net.
The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Greenberg is one reason for opponents' futility. Greenberg, a second-team All-America last year, shut off the passing of Terp star Bob Boneillo during the regular-season encounter, holding the attackman (46 assists) to one assist.
Curt Ahrendsen (6-2, 210) is another stalwart in the muscular Blue Jay defense. On the rare occasions when he and greenberg falter, first-team All-America goalkeeper Mike Federico gets a chance to demonstrate his quickness and reactions.
The Blue Jay offense is baranced, with six players having from 27 to 33 points. Wayne Davis (19 goals, 13 assists) and Jim Zaffuto (14 and 19) are the leading scorers.
The Terps, whom Greenberg called "the best offensive team we've faced," are paced by Boneillo's 28 goals. CAPTION: Picture, George Washington's Drew Ingram is out but Arkansas second baseman John Ray's try for a double play was late. Colonials lost NCAA East Region game, 8-4. AP