COLLEGE PARK — :TC COLLEGE PARK -- The University of Maryland, paced by junior midfielder Dan Reading and a ball-control offense, scored four consecutive goals in the game's final 31 minutes and defeated a stubborn Duke team, 8-6, last night in the second game of the Atlantic Coast Conference lacrosse tournament at Byrd Stadium.
Maryland (7-3, 3-1), the tournament's No. 2 seed, will meet defending national champion North Carolina at 8 tonight in the championship game. North Carolina defeated Virginia, 14-5, in the opening game last night.
"I think our offense was very conscious of what we had to do in the second half, and we controlled the faceoffs," said Maryland coach Dick Edell. "We wanted to play a smart, intelligent game. We're going to have to do that tomorrow if we're going to beat North Carolina."
And the Terps will have to get another solid performance from Reading, who was unstoppable last night. He scored the last goal of the first half to tie the score at 5-5 with 10 seconds left, and he assisted Maryland freshman attackman Mike Bordi 22 seconds into the third period.
Maryland took a 7-5 lead as Maryland junior midfielder Bob Huggins scored with 1:29 left in the third period on an assist by Matt Parks. The Terps put the game away on senior midfielder Blake Wynot's goal with 7:21 left in the game.
Duke finally scored with 38 second left. The Blue Devils (6-6, 1-3) went 34:34 without a goal. Maryland didn't have to play great defense in the second half; Duke rarely had the ball.
The win was important to Maryland's hopes for a first-round bye in the 12-team NCAA Division I tournament.
Duke, however, had much more to gain. A win against the Terps, a close game against North Carolina, and a win against Georgetown would have put Duke back in the playoff picture.
"That really concerned us," said Reading. "We were in an almost no-win situation. We knew Duke would come out fired up."
Neither team could manage more than a two-goal advantage in the first two periods, as the first half ended tied 2-2.
Maryland jumped to a 1-0 lead with 10:57 left in the first quarter when sophomore midfielder Sean Crawford scored. But Duke answered with two goals within the next five minutes, one by junior attackman Seth McCullough, who beat Terps defender Danny Robbins, and another by Duke senior midfielder Jim Book, assisted by McCullough.
Maryland, tied the score at 2 with 4:21 left when Reading's shot ricocheted off Duke goalie Carter Hertzberg's stick and the top of the goal pipe for the score. Duke answered with an extra-man goal with 1:30 left to take a 3-2 lead at the end of the period.
Maryland refused to quit, however, scoring two goals for a 4-3 lead with 8:49 left in the third period. The first goal, an extra-man score, came on a 15-foot underhand shot from Maryland freshman attackman Robert Chomo, 32 seconds into the period. The second was on a 30-foot shot by Reading.
Almost three minutes after Reading's goal, Duke rebounded with two in a 32-second span on shots from junior midfielder Jim Mannino and sophomore Ken Fasanaro.
But with 14 seconds left in the half, Maryland called a timeout, and four seconds into the play, Reading scored on an overhand shot to tie the score at the half, 5-5.