There’s only one trophy.
Here’s at least one reason each of the top five teams teams won’t be the one lifting it at the end of the season.
The 2022 team had revenge and hunger on their minds following a disappointing end to the 2021 season. That motivational piece is no longer on the table. Can Coach Tillman draw inspiration from what Kirby Smart did for Georgia football?
The 2022 Terp group returned many veteran leaders from the prior year. The 2023 roster, although once again stocked with transfer acquisitions, is absent their top 4 scorers who have moved on to graduation. Shutdown short sticks Roman Puglise and Bubba Fairman have also moved on.
Will entitlement creep into a locker room that is not as talented as the past two seasons?
How about the defense allowing 18.75 goals per game in their four losses?
March 19 Maryland 23-12
April 2 Richmond 17-13
April 14 Duke 17-8
May 22 Maryland 18-9
They allowed 13.16 goals per game over their final six games with a record of 4-2. Defenses do not win championships. You have to outscore the opposition to win but you can’t expect your offense to score every other time they get the ball no matter how talented the Wahoo shorts will be in 2023.
On paper, the Hoyas replaced Dylan Watson’s 58 goals with Tucker Dordevic’s 47 tallies. Their transfer hall continued with North Carolina transfers Nicky Solomon and Jacob Kelly who have been linked to the second midfield unit. An embarrassment of riches to support Graham Bundy Jr, the second best midfielder in the country.
Bundy needed 157 shots to score 45 goals. Dordevic’s 47 goals came after 163 shots.
Can two volume shooters co-exist and still be productive? Will there be enough possessions to get one or both their chances?
The bigger issue is the pressure of expectations. The Hoyas failed to live up to preseason hype last year when it mattered most.
How much of their magical run last year was aided by Delaware upsetting Georgetown in the first round?
As talented as some may believe the Ivy League to be, the Big Red out of conference schedule is a couple degrees removed from being a cakewalk.
An out of conference loss or two and then not winning the Ivy League tournament will match them up with a very difficult quarterfinal opponent. Would they have beaten Georgetown last year? Should a 7 seed beat a 2 seed?
Could they do it this spring without 66 goal scorer John Piatelli?
#5 Notre Dame
Unlike the Terps, there is no risk of entitlement in South Bend.
The Irish are 0-2 in their title game appearances. They weren’t invited to the tournament last year.
So if we recognize the hunger the 2022 Terps played with, why not expect the same from the Irish in 2023? Because being motivated to win the title after losing in the final moments of the championship game is not the same as being a tournament snub.
It is unfair to say the Irish will never win a title. They correct language is saying they haven’t yet and we are very big believers of team’s not skipping steps. Notre Dame isn’t winning their first title in school history the season after they didn’t qualify for the NCAA tournament.
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