Virginia bounces UM out of ACC tourney

Defending champ Terps continue to slide, 15-6

April 24, 1999|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Maryland goalkeeper Kevin Healy plopped down into his seat at the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament news conference and put the game in his personal perspective, saying, "Nice game, huh? I wished we had played with a running clock."

The defending league champion Terrapins bowed out early in last night's 15-6 rout by Virginia, wincing as the final minutes ticked off slowly and their tournament aspirations faded quickly before 2,670 at Fetzer Field.

"I'm not a rocket scientist, but I'm smart enough to tell you that if we lose another game, I think our playoff hopes are in jeopardy," Maryland coach Dick Edell said. "We're not playing as well as a playoff team. We simply haven't. Time's running out."

No. 8 Maryland (7-4), which has three games left, has dropped three of its past four, losing by no less than nine goals each time. No. 5 Virginia (7-3), which beat the Terrapins by nine goals three weeks ago, turned a 6-4 second-quarter lead into a rout with an 8-1 run, spurring Maryland to empty its bench early in the fourth period.

Tucker Radebaugh led the Cavaliers with two goals and a career-high six assists, and fellow St. Paul's graduate Conor Gill added four assists.

The Terrapins' offense scored just once in the final 30: 30 as Maryland was held to single digits in four straight games for the first time since 1952. But since the Terrapins have been shut out in eight of their last 19 quarters, futility has reluctantly become expected.

What threw Maryland off balance yesterday was its usually stable defense. The Cavaliers seemingly toyed with the Terrapins by moving the ball around, drawing the double team and locating the open cutter on the crease. Virginia had an overwhelming edge in shots (43-22) and ground balls (56-38).

"Our defense has been a pretty good constant for us," said Edell, who saw the nation's eighth stingiest defense allow nearly double its season's average. "The boys that had been beaten on are the kids on the offensive end, but we didn't step up defensively and put ourselves in a massive hole."

Feeding the ball exclusively from behind the cage, Virginia scored on four straight shots to fly out to a 6-0 advantage with 2: 22 left in the first quarter.

Maryland then put together its best offensive spurt this month when it registered four goals in the first five minutes of the second quarter to close within 6-4.

The Terrapins, however, took just one more shot the rest of the half, and the Cavaliers capitalized on three wide-open looks for a 9-4 margin with 1: 55 left in the half.

Marytournament hopes will be decided by a season-ending stretch at Yale, at Towson and vs. UMBC. One more slip and the Terps may be sitting at home when the tournament begins for the first time since 1990.

"We knew what was at stake," said Edell, whose team has finished as the national runners-up in three of the last four years. "We did a lot of talking and lots of things didn't happen. We talked about how we hope this isn't going to be the group that breaks the string. No more time for talking now, partner."

Maryland 0 5 0 1 -- 6

Virginia 6 3 4 2 -- 15

Goals: M--Hochstadt 4, Combs, Watkins; V--Holcomb 3, Jalbert 3, McKnight 2, Radebaugh 2, Baruch, Koontz, Leachman, Leahy, Oakey. Assists: M--Malone 2, Hughes, Kemezis, Zeller; V--Radebaugh 6, Gill 4. Saves: M--Healy 13, McGinnis 2; V--Kenney 6, O'Neil 0, D'Urso 0.

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