After the Maryland men's lacrosse team edged Ohio State, 10-9, on May 6 to win the Big Ten tournament title, postgame shoves and trash talk replaced the standard handshake line.
Then, the Terps hoisted the conference trophy on the Buckeyes' field, an act made sweeter by the fact they'd lost in Columbus, Ohio, during the regular season.
On Monday, Maryland will face Ohio State again. This time, though, it'll be with a national championship on the line.
"We're excited about this matchup," said midfielder Connor Kelly, who poured in a career-high five goals against the Buckeyes in the Big Ten tournament final. "Ohio State's an unbelievable team, a complete team. … Obviously, you like to think it's a rivalry."
While Maryland was pressured all year by its well-documented title drought — the program hasn't won a national championship since 1975 despite nine title game appearances in that span — Ohio State never reached a Final Four before this season. And when the Terps started the campaign as the top-ranked team in the country, the Buckeyes entered at No. 17.
But in both meetings, Ohio State looked an even match.
The Terps outscored their other opponents by a combined 67 goals across 16 contests. In two games against the Buckeyes, however, they finished tied, 20-20.
So, after losing the Big Ten tournament final, Ohio State coach Nick Myers felt a third showdown could occur late in the NCAA tournament.
"We looked at each other and — without knowing how this was going to turn out — thought, 'Hey, we're going to see these guys again if we take care of business,'" Myers said. "[We had] that much confidence in ourselves and … that kind of respect for them."
For Maryland's seniors, the third bout with the Buckeyes represents their last chance to win a national championship after falling short in the finals against Denver in 2015 and North Carolina in 2016. Kelly said those results "built a mental toughness and physical toughness" within the team.
"We can't look at it as if we're in a drought," defender Tim Muller added. "That kind of puts you in a different mindset. We kind of go out there just looking at it like … it's [a new] season."
Maryland hasn't appeared weighed down by expectations so far in the tournament.
In the Final Four, with just under a minute left and Maryland ahead, 9-8, Denver called timeout. But the Terps, led by their veterans, didn't panic in the huddle despite the narrow score line.
Instead, they wanted to return to the field and close out the win.
"They were excited to go back out and play that last possession," coach John Tillman said. "And they weren't scared, which obviously makes you feel a little bit better."
Now, following the victory over Denver, all that stands between Maryland and an elusive title is the team perhaps most eager to spoil its season. After watching the Terps celebrate on their field earlier this month, the Buckeyes are hoping for payback on Monday.
"[It's a] grudge match," Ohio State attackman Eric Fannell said, "and we couldn't be more thrilled to play Maryland again, especially on the biggest stage of NCAA lacrosse."