Combs' four goals gratify Terps, 11-7

But he's more impressed with first assist as UM handles North Carolina

College Lacrosse

March 25, 2001|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

COLLEGE PARK - Senior attackman Andrew "Buggs" Combs scored four goals in No. 3 Maryland's 11-7 victory over No. 12 North Carolina yesterday at Byrd Stadium, but those goals were not what the St. Paul's grad wanted to talk about afterward.

The leading goal scorer in the country was more caught up with his assist on a fourth-period goal by freshman Dan LaMonica (Boys' Latin).

Combs' first assist of the season spurred his biggest celebration of the afternoon and prompted Maryland coach Dick Edell to jokingly say, "We should have stopped the game and taken the ball out of play."

"We joke around about me not having an assist, but I don't need to carry the ball when you have people like Dan [LaMonica] and Mike [Mollot] around," said Combs, the son of Towson football coach Gordy Combs. "I'd probably take the ball behind the goal and lose it.

"I told my teammates that it was finally nice to repay Dan for all those assists he's given me."

Combs' performance was no laughing matter as he burned North Carolina with two goals in the first quarter and two in the decisive third, when the Terps (6-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) took a commanding 9-4 lead.

The fifth-year senior has 27 goals, five more than he scored all last season.

"I used to count his goals on one hand, but now I need more appendages," Edell said. "I'm real happy for him. He's a great kid."

Combs and the Terps took control in the third quarter. With Maryland leading 5-3 at halftime, Combs started the quarter with a goal on an assist from senior Chris Malone.

Senior midfielder Mac Hammer answered for the Tar Heels (4-3, 0-2), but that would be the only score North Carolina would muster in the period against a tough Maryland defense anchored by senior goalie Pat McGinnis (Loyola).

"We only had the ball for about a minute in the third quarter," said Tar Heels coach John Haus. "You can't win games that way."

While North Carolina had only four shots against McGinnis in the period, Maryland had no problems scoring.

Freshman Paul Gillette (Severna Park) scored an unassisted goal at the 7:33 mark. Gillette's goal was followed by a Mollot score, and then Combs' fourth goal, which came on a fast break started by a McGinnis outlet pass that gave Maryland a 9-4 lead.

That lead was more than enough for the Maryland defense, the fourth-stingiest in Division I with a goals-per-game average of 5.20. McGinnis made 18 saves. His Tar Heels counterpart, senior Robert D'Urso, made 10.

"We let up more than we thought we should have today, but even though we didn't play our best, we still let in only seven," McGinnis said.

Said Combs: "We have so much confidence, and we know that if we score 10 goals a game, we have a great chance of winning."

Maryland's defense was particularly effective in the extra-man department. The Terps surrendered just two goals in eight extra-man opportunities for North Carolina. Both those extra-man goals came in the fourth quarter, when the outcome was no longer in doubt.

"We take a lot of pride in that," McGinnis said. "We've always been a good extra-man defense."

"They're a very solid lacrosse team," Haus said. "They play solid defense and they have a great goalie."

North Carolina ended the first half with two goals to cut the Maryland lead to 5-3 at intermission. Junior Pat Jackson (Loyola) got the first, and freshman Andrew Lucas (Gilman) scored the last goal of the period.

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