COLLEGE PARK -- Virginia started sluggishly and was missing its best defenseman. But the Maryland Terrapins, even with a 27-save effort from goalie Pat McGinnis, still never had a chance.
Taking their cue from attackmen Drew McKnight and Conor Gill and a defense that shut out the outclassed Terps for more than 45 minutes, the No. 2 Cavaliers opened their Atlantic Coast Conference schedule with an 11-6 rout before 5,049 at Byrd Stadium last night.
The Cavaliers (5-1) ended No. 6 Maryland's five-game winning streak with authority. Virginia erased an early 2-1 deficit by scoring nine unanswered goals and by rendering the Terps' offense mute.
The Terps (6-2) not only couldn't score, they could barely get off a shot throughout the middle of the game. In the second and third quarter, the Cavaliers outscored the Terps 6-0 and outshot them 29-2.
Virginia outshot the Terps for the game by a lopsided 50-17 margin. They did not allow Maryland a single shot in the third quarter. The Terps helped Virginia's cause with bad passes, dropped passes and poor clears -- all of which contributed to a scoreless drought of 45: 25.
By the time Jon Kemezis finally put Maryland on the scoreboard again with 8: 45 left in the game, the Terps were in a 10-3 hole.
"I think we're a pretty good defensive team that has a fine goaltender, but you can't give an offense like [Virginia's] minute after minute to hurt you," Maryland coach Dick Edell said.
"We've got to do a better job of possessing the ball. If you can't win the draw after they score, then you can't make an ill-advised pass or seven."
Going into the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers held a 9-2 lead, while Maryland fans chanted, "We want a shot!"
The Terps finally gave the crowd what they wanted by scoring four times in the fourth quarter, making the score look respectable.
Only McGinnis, who recorded the most saves in a Division I game this year, kept the Cavaliers from totally embarrassing the Terps. McGinnis took enormous abuse while recording 19 saves in the second half, and held the Cavaliers to their lowest offensive output of the year. Virginia had been averaging 15.8 goals per game.
"It feels good to be this sore. It means [the Cavaliers] hit me a lot, which was nice of them," McGinnis said. "I felt pretty good out there in the second half. I never got too comfortable. I was always on my toes, just trying to keep their big number down."
Virginia played the game without All-America defenseman Ryan Curtis, who sat out with a hand injury suffered in an off-field incident last week. Senior Richard Reid replaced Curtis, and the Cavaliers barely missed a beat.
"It reminded me of the national championship game [won in College Park by Virginia last year]," said Virginia defenseman Court Weisleder. "Our team defense was great. When [the Terps] cut, we were sliding right away. We kept our sticks up, and we either blocked their passes or they were afraid to pass it through."
McKnight and Gill led the Cavaliers with three goals apiece. McKnight added two assists, while Gill had one. Midfielder David Bruce also had two goals. Matt Urlock led the Terps with two goals.
Gill, battling the tenacious play of Maryland freshman Michael Howley, made his presence felt when the Cavaliers wrestled early momentum away from the Terps.
After leaving the penalty box, Gill caught a pass while running down the right side of the field and whipped a 12-yard shot past McGinnis to give the Cavaliers their first lead of the game at 3-2 with 57 seconds left in the first quarter.
He then followed up a goal by Ian Shure by shaking loose from Howley, circling the crease and beating McGinnis for a 5-2 lead with 9: 14 left in the half. By that point, Maryland's offense had hit reverse, and Virginia's was just starting to roll.
"They're a tenacious team, and their goalie really did a good job," McKnight said of the Terps. "It's easier to get into a groove when you're seeing the ball a lot. We had the ball so much."