Terps keep focus fine-tuned on final Princeton remains last interference

May 25, 1998|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- When the Maryland men's lacrosse team finished off a 19-8 rout of Loyola on Saturday, the Terrapins celebrated with simple handshakes.

No helmets thrown into the air. No sticks launched across the field.

For once, Maryland isn't satisfied with just advancing to the NCAA championship game. The Terps, who are in their third final in four years, seem to have the right focus this time.

"There's still business to be taken care of yet," senior defenseman Brian Reese said. "The past two times we were here was a surprise. This time, we just expected it."

In 1995, the Terps posted one of the biggest upsets in tournament history, shocking No. 1 Johns Hopkins in the semifinals. Two days later, a drained Maryland team proved to be no contest for Syracuse in the title game.

And last year, Maryland made an emotional tournament run as an unseeded team, outgunning and outrunning Syracuse in the Final Four. But 48 hours later, Princeton slammed the listless Terps, 19-7.

"The game 364 days ago was a bitter, bitter memory," Maryland coach Dick Edell said. "That was a bitter bite for us in every way, shape and form. We had a wonderful team and a wonderful season. That was shattered on a horrendous Memorial Day performance."

Yet the odds seem to be shaping up for the Terps this season.

Maryland coasted on Saturday, pulling its starters midway through the fourth quarter.

And yesterday, the Terps had a casual practice, walking through certain strategies. Most of the afternoon involved lounging in front of the pool and actually joking around with each other, a scene rarely heard of for Maryland on the off-day before the championship game.

"The rest has to help, not just physically, but even mentally and stress-wise," Edell said. "When I looked at their faces with six to seven minutes left, I said, 'Wipe that smile off your face.' In retrospect, I'm glad they were smiling and relaxed."

Princeton didn't have that same leisure.

In their semifinal game against Syracuse on Saturday, the Tigers sweated out the 11-10 victory for the full 60 minutes. The devastating twist for Princeton came with 19 seconds remaining when its top defenseman, senior Christian Cook, tore his anterior cruciate ligament and appears sidelined today.

"Maryland had more rest and there's a lot of concern over that," Princeton coach Bill Tierney said. "We just have to replenish ourselves in practice today."

The only concern for Maryland is winning its first national championship since 1975. It would also be the first national title for Edell, a Dundalk native, who is affectionately called "Big Man" his players.

"One thing I want to do is win a national championship for my coach," Reese said. "It means more to win it for him than for me. He's been doing this for 20 years and I've been here four. I want to give something back."

The Terps appear primed to accomplish that.

Maryland understands the rigors of playing two games in three days when it won its first Atlantic Coast Conference championship a month ago. Princeton has only played two games in a week twice.

The Terps sport more depth at midfield and could control tempo with a sizable advantage in faceoffs. The Tigers could be still catching their breath from a thrilling victory over Syracuse, which included a raucous on-field celebration.

But don't think the Terps have forgotten which school has celebrated two straight national titles and has won 41 of its past 42 games.

"We're not happy just being here this time," Maryland attackman Scott Hochstadt said. "We want to go nose-to-nose with them and win the game. We want to prove to the lacrosse world that we're just as good as them."

Princeton vs. Maryland

Tigers lineup

Attack, G, Sh, A, Pts

6 Chris Massey, 31, 101, 12, 43

9 Jon Hess, 12, 46, 35, 47

16 Jesse Hubbard, 42, 113, 8, 50

First midfield, G, Sh, A, Pts

4 Josh Sims, 31, 66, 4, 35

13 Spencer Baugher, 3, 14, 0, 3

43 Lorne Smith, 19, 64, 8, 27

Second midfield, G, Sh, A, Pts

1 Rob Torti, 10, 32, 2, 12

23 Seamus Grooms, 10, 35, 4, 14

44 Mark Whaling, 10, 22, 2, 12

Defensive midfield, Ht, Wt, GB

28 Chris Berrier, 6-0, 200, 50

35 Ted Martell (LS), 6-0, 175, 29

40 Gardner LaMotte, 6-2, 180, 13

Close defense, Ht, Wt, GB

2 John Harrington, 6-2, 180, 66

27 Kurt Lunkenheimer, 6-2, 215, 44

45 Jason Farrell, 6-0, 200, 10

Goalkeeper, GA, Sv, Pct., GAA

3 Corey Popham, 84, 96, .533, 8.08

Faceoffs, W, L, Pct.

28 Chris Berrier, 87, 80, .520

21 Matt Bailer, 52, 56, .481

Terps lineup

Attack, G, Sh, A, Pts

1 Andrew Whipple, 22, 62, 39, 61

24 Scott Hochstadt, 46, 108, 18, 64

32 Matt Hahn, 49, 103, 6, 55

First midfield, G, Sh, A, Pts

4 Bill Ruhl, 13, 37, 10, 23

10 Brian Zeller, 19, 73, 13, 32

16 Frank Radin, 15, 54, 13, 28

Second midfield, G, Sh, A, Pts

29 Marcus LaChapelle, 1, 3, 8, 9

35 Bob Hanna, 17, 36, 4, 21

45 Chris Malone, 6, 22, 4, 10

Defensive midfield, Ht, Wt, GB

20 Chris Lamy (LS), 6-2, 211, 30

37 Jeff Shirk, 6-1, 190, 11

31 Erik Osberg, 5-11, 180, 31

or 22 Kevin Pasqualina, 5-10, 186, 38

Close defense, Ht, Wt, GB

27 Mike Bonanni, 6-0, 181, 17

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