Terps find silver lining in ACC final matchup

North Carolina exposes weakness in Cavs' game

April 23, 2000|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Three weeks after being dominated by top-ranked Virginia, the Maryland Terrapins have found reasons for hope, as they prepare for a rematch with the Cavaliers in today's Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championship men's lacrosse game at Byrd Stadium.

Maryland heads into its fifth conference final -- and the chance to win its second ACC crown in the tournament's 12-year history -- knowing Virginia (9-1) might not be invincible, after all. All the Terps have to do is recognize the problems Virginia had while coming from behind to put away North Carolina, 17-16, in double overtime in Friday's semifinals.

The Tar Heels put Virginia's defense through its worst showing of 2000. Before the ACC tournament, the Cavaliers had not allowed more than eight goals since losing their season opener to Syracuse in overtime, 13-12. And by being extended to a 68-minute contest, maybe the Cavaliers are vulnerable with weary legs.

"Carolina found some chinks in the armor, and it certainly gives us some good feelings in terms of our preparation," Maryland coach Dick Edell said. "[Virginia] got after us pretty good on March 31."

That was the night Maryland's offense went to sleep by not taking a shot for a stretch that spanned more than 21 minutes, underscoring an 11-6 loss that looked respectable only because of a 27-save effort by Terps goalkeeper Pat McGinnis. That can't happen today. To pull off an upset, the No. 9 Terps must play the game at their pace -- slow and slower -- and avoid penalties like they did on Friday, when Maryland drew just one flag.

The Terps need to solve the outstanding Virginia faceoff team of Jason Hard and David Jenkins, and maintain long-running possessions. Maryland also must play the brand of quick-sliding, in-your-face defense it displayed while holding Duke to 23 shots and outlasting the No. 8 Blue Devils, 7-6, on Friday night. McGinnis was required to make only five saves.

Maryland could use another heroic effort from faceoff man Brian Carroll, whose 11-for-15 night played a huge role in the Terps' fifth one-goal win of the season. And the Terps could use an encore from senior midfielder Brian Zeller, who produced his first two-goal game of the season. Zeller's unassisted goal four minutes into the contest erased a 1-0 deficit -- the only time Maryland trailed. His second goal gave the Terps a 6-4 lead early in the fourth quarter. And his pass to Marcus LaChapelle resulted in the team's final goal with 5: 39 left.

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