For Tim Rotanz, the Final Four is really the Final Five.
The Maryland senior midfielder, who starred for his father, Tom, at Shoreham-Wading River High School, has reached championship weekend of the Division I men’s lacrosse tournament every year of his college career. Even in his redshirt freshman season of 2014, which he missed after being diagnosed with vertigo, Rotanz traveled to the Final Four.
That’s also true of his roommate, starting goalie Dan Morris of Dallas, who took a redshirt season in his freshman year.
“I can’t believe there are many guys who’ve been to the Final Four five straight times like those two,” Maryland coach John Tillman said on Tuesday’s media conference call. “Five straight regular-season championships — one in the ACC and four straight in the Big Ten. What they’ve accomplished is fantastic.”
Rotanz, who is from Wading River, is one of three Long Island players who are expected to have significant roles this weekend when the No. 1 Terps (14-3) play old ACC rival Duke (15-3) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in a semifinal at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Second-seeded Albany (16-2) plays No. 3 Yale (15-3) at noon in the other game, with the winners meeting on Monday at 1 p.m. for the national title.
“Timmy has been terrific for us. He’s a captain and one of our leaders on offense,” Tillman said. Rotanz has 19 goals and 19 assists, similar to the numbers he compiled last year, when Maryland defeated Ohio State, 9-7, on Memorial Day to win the school’s first lacrosse title since 1975. Rotanz had three goals in the title game.
He is the fourth-leading scorer and most accurate shooter on a team that features Tewaaraton Award finalist Connor Kelly (45 goals, 78 points). “He’s one of the smartest players I’ve ever coached,” Tillman said of Rotanz. “One of the most poised, selfless and humble guys you’ll ever come across. He does so much for us. He’s a very complete player.”
Junior short-stick middie Thomas O’Connell (Mineola/Chaminade) has played in all 17 games for the Terps, increasing his minutes as the season progressed. He is primarily a defender who contributes as a wing on faceoffs. He has 11 ground balls and three caused turnovers.
“He has been really important to our success this year. His minutes are up big time from the last couple of years,” Tillman said. “He’s really grown into a terrific lacrosse player for us. Another bright kid, in the business school. Does it as a student; does it as an athlete.”
Junior Austin Henningsen (Northport) is part of Maryland’s faceoff rotation and has won 51.7 percent of the draws. He shares the spot with talented freshman Justin Shockley (54.2 percent). Frequently, Tillman goes with the hot hand. That was Henningsen in a first-round win over Robert Morris and Shockley in a quarterfinal win over Cornell.
“He’s come on strong the last month,” Tillman said of Henningsen. “He’s facing off as well as he has at any point this year. He’s a guy we’ll rely on down the stretch. He’s played in two championship games and as a freshman was outstanding against North Carolina in 2016. We have a lot of confidence in him going forward.”
Confidence is easily built these days at Maryland, where Memorial Day road trips to the Final Four are part of the curriculum.
NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championship Weekend
Saturday at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.
Noon: No. 3 Yale (15-3) vs. No. 2 Albany (16-2), ESPN2.
2:30 p.m.: No. 4 Duke (15-3) vs. No. 1 Maryland (14-3), ESPN2.
Monday at Gillette Stadium
1 p.m.: Yale-Albany winner vs. Duke-Maryland winner, ESPN2.