Maryland shoves 14-9 loss on Cavs No. 2 Terps control ground balls, faceoffs


COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland coach Dick Edell always jokes that if he suited up, he would be one of the biggest players in a Terrapins uniform. But he excludes meaner and tougher.

Maryland reverted to its old-fashioned, hard-nosed style of lacrosse yesterday, shoving Virginia all over the field, flexing its muscles on faceoffs and out-banging the Cavaliers for ground balls. In fact, the Terps inflicted a season-high 11 penalties surpassing the total Virginia goal output by two.

Final score: No. 2 Maryland 14, No. 5 Virginia 9, before 5,108 at Byrd Stadium.

"I think we intimidate a lot of people by the way we play," Terps defenseman Chris Lamy said. "We play hard all the time and we're not going to let the refs stop us.

"This is our biggest win of the season so far. We proved some things on this field today. We proved we can go all the way."

The Terps (7-0, 3-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) clinched their first regular season league title since 1989 and are off to their best start in 11 years. Virginia (3-3, 0-1) was held to single digits for the second straight time by Maryland, but for only the third time in its previous 51 games.

But try and single out the hero for Maryland yesterday.

Brian Haggerty, who was pulled in the middle of last week's game, won a career high tying 19 faceoffs, with four draws leading directly to goals. Then there was first-year starting goalkeeper Kevin Healy, who stopped seven of his career-best 24 shots in man-down situations.

Don't forget about Matt Hahn's three goals in the opening 3 1/2 minutes of the second half and his shorthanded score in the fourth quarter. Or what about Maryland's defense that gave up only two goals in 10 extra-man situations, including two instances that had the Terps two men down.

"They have a tough bunch of honchos over there," Virginia coach Dom Starsia said. "I think we showed our age at times out there. We looked so very tentative on offense and sometimes looked liked we were playing egg toss out there.

Maryland, which never trailed, assumed control early, yet couldn't pull in front by more than two goals in the first half, hitting the pipe three times. That allowed Virginia to tie the game for the third time at 4 when Michael Leahy scored on extra-man off a no-look pass by Drew McKnight with 4 :22 left in the second quarter.

The Terps didn't flinch, scoring 1:21 later as Andrew Whipple fed a cutting Scott Hochstadt. And Maryland quickly exhibited its superior quickness, putting together an 8-1 run in which Haggerty controlled nine of 10 draws.

Holding a 6-4 lead at the start of the second half, Maryland struck three times in the first 1:28. Hahn finished off the four-goal spurt by beating Virginia's Penn Leachman on a cut down the middle of the defense, converting the five-yard shot off a pass from Chris Malone to give the Terps a 10-4 margin 3 1/2 minutes into the third quarter.

When the Cavaliers ended that run, Maryland's Brian Zeller answered 40 seconds later on a powerful dodge. Bill Ruhl then cranked in a 17-yard shot, spotting the Terps to their largest lead at 12-5 with 4:43 remaining in the third.

"I think we did take a different mentality today," said Hahn, who finished with four second-half goals. "The attack is even out there pushing people around. This is such an intense game, you lose yourself out there with everyone fighting. It's a lot of fun."

The Terps won most of the confrontations, dominating faceoffs (24 of 34) and nearly doubling the Cavaliers on ground balls (51-27). That propelled Maryland to its largest margin of victory over Virginia in 11 years.

"I really don't care if we're ranked No. 1 now," Edell said. "I want to be No. 1 when it counts when you get a trophy for it."

Pub Date: 3/29/98

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