PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Brian Burlace was a true defenseman in name only. When he wasn't scoring a goal on an untouched length-of-the-field sprint, he was kicking a Brown shot out of the net after Maryland goalie Steve Kavovit lost the ball 15 yards from the net.
Burlace's opportunistic play typified Maryland's 16-13 NCAA quarterfinal lacrosse victory over Brown yesterday afternoon at Stevenson Field. Perhaps it also typifies the Terps' surprising return to the Final Four after a four-year absence. Maryland plays Towson State at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.
"We play hard all the time, although at times not so well," said Terps coach Dick Edell. "We've worked since Day 1 for this, and I told the kids before we went on the field, it's just 60 minutes to the prom."
BTC The Terps wouldn't be dancing if not for the play of goalkeeper Kavovit, who was credited with 30 saves. Few were clean catches. Kavovit spent the afternoon on his hands and knees covering up.
"I had a lot of rebounds, a lot of balls bouncing off me," the junior goalie admitted. "It was a scramble out there."
Playing before a crowd of 3,650 that Edell said was so loud that it forced his team to use hand signals, the Terps showed their mettle by opening a 5-1 lead early in the second period despite being totally outplayed by the Bears, who controlled the ball but had little to show for it. Mark Douglas (five goals on the day) scored twice in the early run, and Burlace contributed his goalkeeping expertise.
"I saw Steve drop the ball, and I thought to myself, 'Oh, God!' " Burlace said. "We're always screwing around in practice, shooting at each other. This time, I think it just hit my foot."
Brown got back in the game at 5-3 on two goals by Andy Towers (five for the day), and the lead was only 9-6 early in the third quarter when Maryland seemingly put the contest away with six straight goals.
Douglas started the streak with a nifty one-handed shovel shot using his defenseman as a screen. Burlace followed with a guerrilla charge that began in front of his own net, the third time this season he's scored a goal.
Craig Bullen contributed a shot through the legs of Brown goalie Pat Flynn, then Douglas scored twice, first by beating his man on an out-of-bounds play, then on a 15-footer from out front. When Rob Wurzberger scored with 4:34 remaining in the third period, the Terps had a seemingly comfortable 15-6 lead.
Brown came into the game 13-0 and ranked second nationally, although only two of those wins came against teams that reached the Final Eight (14-13 over Loyola and 7-5 over Princeton). The Bears were a second-half team all year and yesterday was no different.
Sophomore attackman Oliver Marti scored three quick goals for Brown and Towers added another before Jon Schoenweitz found Chris Dale all alone in front for the final Maryland goal.
Jay McMahon scored twice for Brown and Towers narrowed it to 16-13 with 1:03 left.
The championship game is scheduled for noon next Monday.