COLLEGE PARK -- Knowing it has to win its last two games against in-state rivals Towson State and UMBC to gain consideration for the NCAA tournament, the Maryland lacrosse team only wanted to fine-tune its offense against Virginia Military Institute.
Firing a season-high 72 shots on goal, the Terrapins, ranked No. 10 by The Baltimore Sun, achieved that goal by dismantling VMI, 21-5, yesterday in their first home game at Denton Field in two years.
The 21-goal output and 16-goal margin was the largest for the Terps since a 21-2 victory over Mount St. Mary's in 1989.
"We wanted to get all the clicks out of our offense and concentrate on getting that extra pass," said Maryland attackman Rob Chomo, who had a goal and three assists in one half of work. "This was good in a lot of ways since we really didn't prepare for [VMI]. It gave us a chance to practice all week for Towson State."
Fourteen Terps scored and no starter played in the second half.
"This game gave us a chance to get all 43 guys on the roster in," Maryland coach Dick Edell said. "Some guys on the team practice hard every day and never get a chance to play. They deserve it."
The Terps (4-5) opened with the game's first 15 shots to jump out to an 8-0 lead. Maryland attackman Matt Parks (Gilman) led the run with three straight goals in a two-minute span.
The Maryland defense did not allow a single shot in the Keydets' first four trips into Terrapins' territory.
Maryland midfielder Mike Crawford's short-handed goal 2:41 before intermission pushed the lead to 12-3. Maryland, which averages 35 shots a game, outshot VMI 37-6 in the first half.
In the second half, the Terps coasted as seven of their nine goals were scored by players seeing their first action of the year.
Saving starter Matt Back for Towson State, Maryland used freshman goalkeeper Brian Dougherty for the final three periods. Just one week after allowing five goals in one period of relief against top-ranked North Carolina, Dougherty held VMI to three goals and collected six saves.
"These games give us a deeper bench since it gets a lot of guys' feet wet," Dougherty said. "It helps us gain some experience, but it's mainly just fun getting a chance to play."
Maryland next travels to Towson State on Wednesday. Both teams are looking for one of the final seeds in the 12-team national tournament, which will be announced on May 9.
"We're in sudden death," Edell said. "If we have a bad go-around against Towson State or UMBC, then it's all over for us."
The Keydets are 5-8 on the season and have lost to three ACC opponents by a combined score of 71-18.