Freak injury may keep Terps goalie on sideline

May 14, 1994|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Sun Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- It's the biggest lacrosse game of Brian Dougherty's career, and all he can do is sit and wait. And wait and wait . . .

"I can't believe this is happening," said Dougherty, Maryland's starting goalie, who is questionable for today's NCAA tournament game against No. 8 Duke (8-4) because of a severe cut on his right leg. "Talk about bad luck and bad breaks."

"I haven't had this kind of thing happen to me since I was 9 years old, at a wedding, and ran through an opened door that turned out to be a plate of glass. I got 125 stitches all over my body that day."

Dougherty has only 25 in his leg now. He was expected to start for No. 9 Maryland (7-5) in Durham,

N.C., today in the opening round of the Division I playoffs.

But the sophomore from Philadelphia was involved in a freak accident Tuesday afternoon. While walking across the parking lot on his way to play golf, Dougherty's leg scraped against a license plate.

Dougherty won't know if he can play until game time.

"I think I should be ready to play," said Dougherty. "So far there is no infection, and I've been on antibiotics. If there is a way to play, I'll find it."

If Dougherty can't play, the Terps will go with senior Matt Back, who started seven games last season before being replaced by Dougherty. Back had 164 saves and allowed 93 goals last season.

But Back is not Dougherty.

Back is a stationary target. Dougherty likes to roam. He can stop a fast break or he can start one. He has 164 saves this season and leads ACC goalies in save percentage with a .626 mark.

His style of play is geared for Duke, a fast-breaking team that has such outstanding shooters as attackmen Scott Harrison (32 goals, 23 assists) and Ross Moscatelli (29, 11) and midfielder Matt Ogelsby (26, 13).

"Brian is also an outstanding athlete, a very smart player," said Maryland coach Dick Edell. "There is still a lot of potential and he's going to get much better. He's the son of a coach, and he picks up things well."

Dougherty's father, Dan, coached basketball at West Point between Bob Knight and Mike Krzyzewski.

"My father is the answer to one of the greatest basketball trivia questions of all time," said Brian Dougherty. "He has no clue about lacrosse, and he is always comparing it to basketball. He once wanted to know why on a fast break the attackman doesn't stop at the foul line and dish it off."

It was a similar curiosity that piqued Dougherty's interest in lacrosse. Unlike most Division I players, Dougherty didn't start playing until he was in ninth grade.

Six years later, Dougherty is about to play the biggest game in his life.

Maybe.

"If we win this one, then it's on to Syracuse, and a game away from the Final Four at our place," said Dougherty. "The whole thing makes me want to play even more."

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