Listless Terps barely edge Navy No. 2 Maryland glad to survive 11-10 scare

April 07, 1996|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

COLLEGE PARK -- As the final whistle sounded, Maryland lacrosse coach Dick Edell cupped his hands over his face and the Terps solemnly walked to the sidelines. They had dodged another "in between" week.

That's the week after Virginia and before Johns Hopkins. In other words, the Terps weren't concentrating on Navy yesterday.

That lack of focus and emotion surfaced as No. 2 Maryland allowed a four-goal lead to slip away in the final minutes, but escaped with an 11-10 victory over the unranked Midshipmen before 2,125 at Byrd Stadium.

"They're people, not machines," said Edell, who annually calls this week the toughest of his coaching career at Maryland. "They had people slapping them on the backs all week [for beating No. 1 Virginia last Saturday], and they know who's coming up next week. The end result is we struggled and it showed on the scoreboard."

Maryland (7-1) never trailed, yet couldn't finish off the Midshipmen (3-6), who have lost five straight.

The Terps appeared to put Navy away by scoring three goals in the last 1: 20 of the third quarter. Anthony D'Andraia's follow of his own rebound with one second remaining in the period gave Maryland a 10-7 lead.

For the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter, the Terps were content to pass the ball around the perimeter of Navy's zone defense. Then Maury LaPointe scored an extra-man goal from 13 yards push the lead to 11-7 with 5: 46 left in the game.

The Midshipmen won the faceoff and took their first shot of the fourth quarter with 5 1/2 minutes remaining. Navy, which hadn't scored for 21 1/2 minutes, charged back with extra-man scores from Mike Newton and Geoff Walker to cut the lead to 11-9 with 1: 12 left.

Chris Messineo won the ensuing faceoff and powered in a close-range shot seven seconds later to make it a one-goal game. Navy had two possessions in the last minute, but its final shot with five seconds remaining bounced wide right.

"We told our guys that we wanted them to go out and play like Navy players," said coach Richie Meade. "I don't think we could have done much more than we did today."

The victory could have come easier. Against a packed zone, the Terps could have continued to run out the clock and not attempt a shot.

Instead, Maryland opted to score its 11th goal, and Navy regained possession by winning three of the last four faceoffs.

"We didn't need that 11th goal, but it's very difficult to tell a young group of guys to stop playing," Edell said. "I didn't and I'm second-guessing myself right now. We weren't sharp today anywhere -- in the cage, on defense, faceoffs and on attack."

That might sound strange since Maryland dominated on shots (44-29), faceoffs (14-9) and ground balls (45-22). But the Terps never played with any spark.

The attack didn't drive into the zone and continually fired from the outside. The defense missed double teams and didn't try for that extra check.

"It's tough, especially after we saw their [Navy's] loss to Bucknell," Terps goalkeeper Brian Dougherty said. "People might wonder why we didn't win by more. I don't care what each team is ranked, this is a state rivalry."

The urge to overlook the Midshipmen was even stronger this year since the Terps were coming off a win over the top-ranked Cavaliers to clinch a share of their first Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title in seven years. Also, the matchup with the Blue Jays on Saturday could be for a top four seed and a first-round bye in the NCAA tournament. The last time Maryland beat Virginia in the regular season (1992), it lost to Navy by eight goals the following week.

"If we play hard, we can play with anyone in the country," Edell said. "If we're not on, anyone on our schedule can beat us. I feel really lucky to come out of here with a win."

Pub Date: 4/07/96

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