PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Chalk up another victory for the Princeton lacrosse corporation.
And mark down another crushing defeat for an emotion-filled Maryland team that could not deliver on its goal to win one for coach Dick Edell, leaving Edell still empty-handed in his quest for an NCAA lacrosse championship.
Third-seeded Princeton was all business again yesterday, picking apart sixth-seeded Maryland with an opportunistic offense and a methodical defense for a 10-7 victory in a rather dull NCAA quarterfinal matchup on a damp and dreary afternoon before a crowd of 3,806 at Rutgers Stadium.
The Tigers were so efficient with their team-oriented offense that they scattered 10 goals among seven players while their defense threw a blanket over the field, virtually shutting down Maryland's two most explosive attackmen, freshman Mike Mollot and junior Andrew "Buggs" Combs.
Mollot was held without a goal or an assist yesterday after racking up 19 points in the previous three games, and Combs had to settle for just one assist after scoring nine goals in the last two games.
Princeton (11-2) received two goals each from senior midfielder Josh Sims, freshman attackman Sean Hartofilis and junior attackman Matt Striebel and now heads to College Park to meet the winner of today's Virginia-Duke game in Saturday's semifinals.
Princeton took most of the fun out of yesterday's game by building a 10-3 advantage with 1 minute, 10 seconds left in the third quarter. But the Terps (11-5) finally awoke to score four unanswered goals in the fourth quarter, reducing the lead to 10-7 with 5:57 remaining.
That proved to be the final gasp for a Maryland team that kept its cool until the final seconds of the game, but could not hide its frustrations. As the final seconds ticked off, Terps goalkeeper Pat McGinnis hurled the ball into the stands after intercepting a pass during a penalty-plagued play.
The McGinnis display brought back memories of the 1998 NCAA championship game between Maryland and Princeton on this same Rutgers field when Terps defenseman Casey Connor threw a penalty flag into the stands while his team was being swamped by the Tigers, 15-5.
Connor said, "Pat knows it was a stupid thing to do and I'm sure he'll go to coach Edell and apologize before the day is over. It was just frustration."
Maryland started out strong yesterday, looking like a different team than the one that had been trounced by the Tigers in the 1997 and 1998 NCAA championship games. Brian Zeller gave the Terps a 1-0 lead with a quick score and he came back to cut the lead to 3-2 early in the second quarter on a second unassisted goal.
During the early Maryland success, Jeff Shirk controlled four straight faceoffs to set the offense in motion and it looked as if the Terps might be ready to overcome their problems on the draw.
However, Princeton answered with six consecutive goals for a 9-2 lead with 6:33 left in the third quarter.
Princeton coach Bill Tierney, who has guided the Tigers to five NCAA titles in the past eight years, was once again the consummate diplomat yesterday. He ducked a question about McGinnis throwing the ball into the stands by saying, "I didn't even notice it. We've been fortunate to do so well against Maryland [4-0 in the NCAA tournament]."
When Tierney was asked if he had any sympathy for Edell in his continuing drive for an NCAA title, the Princeton coach said, "Everybody is put on this earth for different reasons. I've just been lucky to win five titles. Dick Edell is a tremendous family man and a hard worker and that's the way you measure a man."
To which Edell replied, "Yeah, I've been put on earth to lose to Princeton and Bill Tierney. Billy [Tierney] is my idol. I'm serious."