Terps enjoy breather, stay on course for bid

May 01, 1994|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Contributing Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- Ninth-ranked Maryland's 18-7 win over Mount St. Mary's yesterday was nothing out of the ordinary.

Sure, numbers such as the Terps outshooting the Mountaineers, 46-17, and having a 60-38 ground balls advantage seem impressive. Maryland also had nine players score goals, tied a season-high goal total and shot 10 percent better than its season average before 2,850 at Byrd Stadium.

Nonetheless, it was the typical post-Atlantic Coast Conference tournament wind-down game for the Terps, who appear headed to their fourth straight NCAA tournament berth. The seeding will be announced next Sunday.

"First, we thought we needed to blow out this team to get into the NCAA tournament," said Terps junior midfielder Greg Nelin, who had three goals and two assists.

"But if we have to blow out teams like this, there is something wrong with the selection committee. I think our record against Top 10 teams [2-4, with the losses by a combined 17 goals] speak for itself."

Maryland (6-5) showed signs of a letdown from its loss to North Carolina eight days ago and the effects of just three days of practice.

Mount St. Mary's (3-10), which lost to Georgetown by 19 goals last week, had been outscored by the Terps, 40-10, in two previous meetings.

The Terps -- who are 12-1 in regular-season games after the ACC tournament -- were dropping passes, missing teammates cutting the goal, struggling on clears and lapsing defensively.

The Mountaineers shot 41 percent, 17 percentage points higher than the Terps allow. However, the Terps allowed Mount St. Mary's to score only once on 10 extra-man opportunities.

"Our sticks were a little slow out there," Nelin said. "We need to come out harder next week and get it going for the playoffs."

Maryland went scoreless for 6 1/2 minutes, shooting only once in that span as the Mountaineers closed to 4-2 just two minutes into the second quarter.

The Terps then scored on their next four shots to open an 8-3 lead with 6:08 left before intermission. Junior attackman Rob Chomo had a goal and an assist during that run.

Pete Hilgartner, a freshman attackman from Calvert Hall, got his first start and had three goals and two assists. Hilgartner said games against the lesser Division I teams do serve a purpose.

"I have been playing better, so it is sort of a reward," said Hilgartner, who now has eight goals and three assists. "It gave me a chance to play with Chomo and [Matt] Parks. That's what these games are for, to get the younger players like me some time to show what they can do during game conditions."

Attackman Al Staker and midfielders Tom Fichtner, Jon Brothers, Todd Evans and Jim Carver -- who have contributed little offensively this season -- combined for five goals and two assists.

It was the last home game for Terps seniors Parks (Gilman), Danny Robbins, Sean Crawford (Severna Park), Staker, and St. Mary's alumni Neal Dupcak, Steve Hayes, Matt Back and Fichtner. Parks scored three to raise his team-high goal total to 22.

"I'm thrilled to death with the win, and hopefully it gets us closer to NCAAs," Terp coach Dick Edell said. "We're now focused on our playoffs that start 7:30 Friday night at Catonsville."

That's the time and place for Maryland at UMBC, the Terps' final regular-season game.

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