COLLEGE PARK -- University of Maryland lacrosse coach Dick Edell said he thought his team's most recent -- and most embarrassing -- defeat was long out of its system as the Terrapins prepared for yesterday's opening-round game of the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament against Rutgers.
But when Maryland saw a quick 1-0 lead turn into an even quicker 3-1 deficit, Edell became a little concerned. "Prior to UMBC, that kind of doubt would not have even been discussed," Edell said later on. "It was certainly there today."
Not for long. The doubts were erased along with the Scarlet Knights' early lead. Three straight goals midway through the first period put Maryland up for good, and after goalie Steve Kavovit turned away 11 shots in a scoreless second quarter, the Terps woke up offensively and went on to a 13-7 victory before a crowd of 1,400 at Denton Field.
Four straight goals in a little less than five minutes to start the second half put seventh-seeded Maryland (9-4) in control. Each time 10th-seed Rutgers (7-6) threatened, twice pulling within three goals, the Terps scored again. Senior attackman Mark Douglas of Lutherville led Maryland with four goals and an assist.
"We had so much confidence on the defensive end," said Edell, whose team will play second-seeded Brown (13-0) in Providence, R.I., on Sunday. "The longer they held the ball [in the second period], the more it was to our advantage."
With the Scarlet Knights controlling the ball against Maryland's zone in the second period, the Terps were able to rest a bit on a brutally hot afternoon. The only ones who didn't were Kavovit and defenseman Brian Burlace, who combined to keep Rutgers off the scoreboard.
Rutgers had several good scoring chances, including a shot in front by defenseman Chris Prat with seconds to play. "I thought we were really prepared to play them," said Scarlet Knights defenseman Mike Rogers, a senior from Baltimore and a former standout at Park School. "We got our shots, but they did a great job."
"It was getting a little hairy out there," said Burlace, a 6-3, 220-pound junior from Annapolis. "It seemed like they had the ball forever."
Said Rutgers coach Tom Hayes, "We would have liked to have scored a couple, but their goalie had an excellent day."
So did Douglas. It was one of his finest games since leaving the Marine Corps for Maryland four years ago. With the Terps ahead, 10-6, Douglas put the game out of reach with his fourth goal. Sophomore midfielder Dan Reading had three goals and assist, while Rob Wurzburger added two goals and an assist.
"After the second period, it was obvious that we could hold them defensively," said Douglas. "As soon as we got the offense going, everything was right there for us."
It seems as if the NCAA tournament is shaping up nicely for Maryland as well. Though the Terps must go on the road for their quarterfinal, Brown is considered vulnerable. The Bruins are undefeated, but the Ivy League was thought to be a bit down this year and their non-conference schedule was considered weak.
"We like the path we have to take," said Edell, who had to bite his tongue to keep from saying anything more.
Rutgers.. .. .. 3.. 0.. 2.. 2 -- 7
Maryland. .. .. 4.. 0.. 5.. 4 -- 13
Goals: R--Watson 2, Borges, Prat, Cunningham, Lemken, Mone; M--Douglas 4, Reading 3, Wurzburger 2, Crawford, Schoenweitz, Wynot, Staker. Assists: R--Luciano 2, Cunningham, Watson; M--Douglas, Schoenweitz, Wynot, Reading, Dail, Wurzburger. Saves: R--Schmunk 14, Kavovit 23.