Terps men end torment by Virginia

Maryland prevails, 12-8, to face Duke for ACC title

April 21, 2001|By James Giza | James Giza,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

ORLANDO, Fla. - Andrew "Buggs" Combs sent a shot high, and Tillman Johnson coolly blocked it, deflecting the ball harmlessly away. Johnson, Virginia's freshman lacrosse goalie, pointed his stick at Combs, Maryland's senior attackman and the nation's leading scorer, and taunted him.

But the Cavaliers weren't in Charlottesville, Va., anymore. This was Disney World, where dreams come true, or in the case of the Terrapins, the place where nightmares are erased.

The Terps held a four-goal lead at the time of Johnson's fourth-quarter save, well on their way to a 12-8 ACC tournament semifinal victory in front of 1,007 at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.

The victory, Maryland's first over Virginia since 1998, also helped soothe the lone blemish on its season, a 7-2 loss at Virginia on March 31.

It also advanced the top-seeded and third-ranked Terps (10-1) to tomorrow's ACC final at 2:30 p.m. against No. 2 seed Duke, the other winner last night.

"They let us know that they beat us down there," said Combs, referring to the Cavaliers' on-the-field verbosity. "[Virginia defenseman Ned Bowen] asked me before the game if I brought my `A' game. So I guess I answered his question with my play."

As did the rest of the Terps. Combs (St. Paul's) led all scorers with four goals, pushing his season total to 38, but he got all the help he could possibly have wanted from his teammates, as Maryland did perhaps its best job of the season of possessing the ball.

Freshman attackman Dan LaMonica (Boys' Latin) had three goals and an assist, sophomore attackman Mike Mollot tallied three goals, and the Terps used a string of seven unanswered goals to put the game out of reach in the second half.

Junior attackman Conor Gill (St. Paul's) led the Cavaliers (5-6) with three goals and an assist.

The Terps got all six offensive players involved in the attack, waited for good shots, and let their defense go about its usual business, even if it wasn't as dominating as usual.

"It's just making good decisions," Maryland coach Dick Edell said.

LaMonica got the seven-goal run started with the Terps trailing 4-3 late in the second quarter. His wrap-around goal with 3:29 left in the half evened up the game at 4-4.

Then came the game-turner.

Maryland senior defenseman David Rose (Boys' Latin) got a ground ball deep in Terps territory and dished the ball to junior midfielder Nate Watkins. Watkins raced the length of the field and fired an eight-yard shot that hit the net just before the halftime horn sounded, giving the Terps a 5-4 edge.

"Everyone was pumped up," Watkins said of Maryland's halftime mood. "We wanted this game bad. We want this tournament more than anything. We said from the beginning, from last fall, that's our goal: We want ACCs, and we want a national championship."

Duke 11, North Carolina 9: Kevin Brennan led the Blue Devils (9-4) with two goals and three assists in their come-from-way-behind win over the Tar Heels (5-6).

Carolina came out fired up, controlling the ball and building a 7-3 halftime lead. But Duke ran off the first four goals of the second half and outscored the Tar Heels 8-2 in the final 29 minutes.

Carolina got two goals and two assists each from freshman attackman Andrew Lucas (Gilman) and sophomore attackman Steven Will (Dulaney).

Virginia 1 3 2 2 - 8

Maryland 2 3 5 2 - 12

Goals: V-Gill 3, Mullen 2, Holcomb, Mullen, Shure; M-Combs 4, D.LaMonica 3, Mollot 3, M.LaMonica, Watkins. Assists: V-Gill, Glading, Mullen Shure; M-D.Lamonica, Poole. Saves: V-Johnson 9; M-McGinnis 13.

All-ACC men's team

Player,...school...Class...Pos.

Andrew Combs,...Maryland... Sr...A

Jeff Sonke,...N. Carolina... Sr....A

Conor Gill,...Virginia... Jr....A

Scott Bross,...Duke...Sr....M

Kevin Cassese,...Duke...So....M

Chris Hartofilis,...Duke...Sr....M

Chris Rotelli,...Virginia...So....M

Bobby Gormsen,...N. Carolina...Sr....D

Michael Howley,...Maryland...So....D

Mark Koontz,...Virginia...Jr....D

Pat McGinnis,...Maryland...Sr.... G

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