No. 1 Hopkins 1-on-1-ups Maryland, 16-15

April 16, 1995|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,Sun Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- It was the only way this game could have ended -- the sport's best attackman against the game's premier goalie, one-on-one, with the No. 1 ranking and the state's bragging rights on the line.

And the winners were attackman Terry Riordan and Johns Hopkins.

Riordan, maybe the most lethal left-handed finisher to play the game, scored on a low 10-yard shot to the left of goalie Brian Dougherty with 12 seconds left to thwart a late five-goal comeback and lift No. 1 Johns Hopkins past No. 3 Maryland, 16-15, yesterday before 12,200 at Byrd Stadium.

In this intense and sometimes crazy series that dates to 1923, this game was one of the most bizarre and suspenseful, rivaling the 1987 game that Maryland won, 11-7.

There were seven lead changes and five ties as tempers flared and bodies flew. A defenseman ran the length of the field and scored a goal. Riordan and fellow attackman Brian Piccola scored five goals each, but never really controlled the game's tempo. And when was the last time Hopkins blew a five-goal lead?

"I know they don't like us and we don't like them. That's just the way it is," said Riordan, who spent an hour on the field after the game posing for a Sports Illustrated photographer. "Man, they cleaned my clock about four or five times out there. They were extremely physical.

"But I got a great feed and a clear path to the goal," Riordan said of the last goal, which came when Maryland was caught upfield crowding the Hopkins crease in search of a go-ahead goal. "The rest was luck. It's great to win a game like this against these guys."

Dougherty said: "We gave up 16 goals. I can't believe that. If someone tells me we score 15 goals before a game, I say we win 15-9."

If nothing else, this was a statement game for the Terps (7-2). The Blue Jays (8-0) were favored, even though Maryland was at home and had beaten North Carolina, Duke and Towson State. But Maryland had lost to No. 2 Virginia and had to show it could play in lacrosse's top tier.

Maryland went toe-to-toe with Hopkins. The Blue Jays had 46 shots, so did Maryland. Hopkins won 19 faceoffs, the Terps 17. Both goal ies had 15 saves and both teams had 47 ground balls.

The difference: Hopkins punished Maryland for four extra-man goals on nine penalties, and scored three garbage goals around the crease.

And, of course, the Blue Jays had Riordan.

"They blew out Virginia and we lost to Virginia, so we weren't given much of a chance," said midfielder Kip Fulks, who led Maryland's comeback with four fourth-period goals. "We showed that we belonged, but the penalties killed us.

"Lacrosse is a game of spurts, and the team with the last one is going to win," he said. "They had theirs today. Next time, it might go our way."

The Blue Jays' last spurt came in the first seven minutes of the fourth period. With Hopkins leading 11-10 with 11 minutes left, Riordan scored off an extra-man situation to put the Blue Jays ahead by two.

Then Hopkins midfielder Casey Gordon scored with 9:14 left. Defenseman Todd Kearney scored after a length-of-the-field run 37 seconds later. When Hopkins midfielder Milford Marchant scored with 6:28 left to put Hopkins ahead 15-10, fans started trickling out of the stadium.

"We never, ever, quit," said Fulks. "It's a pride thing."

Terps midfielder Bill Ruhl scored with 5:59 left, and then Fulks took over. He scored on three straight underhanded shots past Hopkins goalie Jonathan Marcus to cut the lead to 15-14 with 1:33 left.

Maryland midfielder Todd Evans scored off a rebound of two shots to tie the game with 40 seconds left.

Maryland won the ensuing faceoff, but the ball was stripped from midfielder Greg Nelin and it flopped into the stick of Marcus, who hurled a 40-yard pass to Riordan, the man they call Big Bird, at midfield.

"When I get the ball, I just try to scan the field," said Marcus. "Terry is what, 6-6, and it's hard to miss him. Thank goodness he's big."

Riordan was wide open because Maryland, which cleared the ball only seconds before by using four midfielders, were slow to substitute one midfielder for a third defenseman.

"Oh man, I was starting to sweat after their comeback," said Hopkins coach Tony Seaman. "But Jonathan got off a great pass to the best finisher in the game, who had a clear path. In a situation like that, I'll take those odds any time."

"I've always said the 1987 team was closest to my heart, but no team plays with as much courage as this team," Maryland coach Dick Edell said. "You're down five goals to Hopkins and you keep telling them there is enough time, but in your heart you know there's really not.

"But once you get to 15-15, I really think we're going to win or at the worst going into overtime. But it didn't work out. We can't sulk. We've got to get ready for the ACC tournament next week."

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