The Maryland men’s lacrosse team has been dominant all season long. The Terps have yet to lose a game, and their next test comes against Princeton in the Final Four.
Maryland and Princeton battled in the regular season, with the Terps coming out on top, 15-10, on Feb. 26. Terps graduate midfielder Jon Donville starred in the victory, as he and fifth-year attackman Logan Wisnauskas each scored four goals. Donville got the scoring started less than a minute into the contest with an unassisted goal that put the Terps ahead.
Now, Maryland will try to defeat Princeton on a bigger stage in East Hartford, Conn., at 2:30 p.m. on May 28.
“Not to be cliché but there are no words. It’s every little kid’s dream when you grow up playing,” Donville said on Glenn Clark Radio May 26. “It’s just a cool thing to have the opportunity to play for a title and be remembered with these guys forever and I think that’s what we’re playing for … for this team to have that experience together and be able to share that experience together forever.”
Donville, a graduate transfer from Cornell, has played a large role in Maryland’s success this season. The 6-foot, 195-pound midfielder ranks third on the Terps in points per game (3.06) and is tied for fourth in goals (29) and assists (20). Donville was named a first-team All-American by Inside Lacrosse and third-team All-American by USA Lacrosse Magazine. He earned second-team All-Big Ten honors.
Should they get past the Tigers, the Terps would play in the national championship on Memorial Day against the winner of Rutgers-Cornell. Donville played for Cornell from 2018-2020, posting 51 goals and 38 assists in three seasons.
“A lot of my best friends are still there,” Donville said of Cornell. “I learned a lot of lessons at Cornell and one of the biggest ones was just, ‘The greatest sign of respect you can show someone as a competitor is to compete as hard as you can,’ so if it comes to it on Monday, I’m going to go out there as I always try to do and compete as hard as I can. I know that they’re going to do the same, but obviously we have a big one Saturday against a really good Princeton team.”
Maryland has come out rolling from the opening faceoff in almost every game this season. Just twice this season were the Terps not ahead at the end of the first quarter — against Notre Dame, an eventual 11-9 victory, and Ohio State, an eventual 19-12 win. Maryland hasn’t trailed at halftime at any point this season.
Despite the Terps being the team to beat all season — they have been ranked No. 1 by Inside Lacrosse in every ranking aside from the preseason poll — they haven’t let the pressure get to them.
“I don’t think we felt a lot of pressure this year, honestly. I think we’ve kind of just been trying to be the best version of ourselves that we can be,” Donville said. “I think one thing that helps with that is treating every opponent — and I think that’s something that [head coach John Tillman] does really well — like they’re going to come into Maryland Stadium and smack us around. … Coach Tillman does a great job of preparing with a great deal of humility for games and I think that has helped us avoid a letdown.”
Maryland cruised through the regular season, won the Big Ten tournament and reached the Final Four for a second straight year. The Terps are in a very similar position they were in last season — undefeated entering the Final Four.
Last year, Maryland defeated Duke, 14-5, in the Final Four to advance to the national championship. But the Terps couldn’t finish off an undefeated season, falling to Virginia, 17-16, in the national title game.
Six games into this season, the Terps and Cavaliers faced off for the first time since the 2021 national championship. Both were undefeated at the time. The Terps got out to an early lead and led the whole way, dismantling the Cavaliers, 23-12.
Two months later, Maryland and Virginia played again, only this time with a trip to the Final Four on the line. Maryland fell behind, 1-0, in the first quarter but strung together four straight goals and ran away in the second and third quarters, downing Virginia, 18-9, to advance to the 28th Final Four in program history.
“I think it’s never a bad thing to face a little challenge, I think honestly [Virginia is] just a really good team,” Donville said. “… Luke [Wierman] really got going at the faceoff X and that really was the difference in terms of the second and third quarters.”
For more from Donville, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Maryland Athletics