Terps stay collected, ride `D' to 8-7 win

No. 8 UM jets to 6-2 lead by holding No. 2 Virginia without a goal for 33:06

College Lacrosse

March 30, 2003|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - There was nothing flashy about what the Maryland men's lacrosse team threw at Virginia yesterday, but it looked quite nice to Terrapins coach Dave Cottle, who saw his team execute his staff's game plan for nearly the full 60 minutes.

Deliberate and possession-driven on offense and back to their usual stingy selves on defense, the eighth-ranked Terps led early and then held off No. 2 Virginia, 8-7, on a beautiful afternoon at Klockner Stadium.

Maryland held the high-powered Cavaliers scoreless for a 33:06 stretch, turning a 2-0 deficit into a 6-2 halftime lead. Then, senior goalie Danny McCormick made several key saves in the final minutes, allowing Maryland to leave Charlottesville with a victory for the first time since the 1998 Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championship game.

It was also a huge step for the Terps (6-1, 2-1 ACC) in putting the memories of last week's listless performance and disappointing loss to North Carolina behind them.

"Sometimes when you lose a game like that, it's tough to bounce back," said senior defender Michael Howley, who kept Virginia star attackman John Christmas relatively quiet. "I think we needed this game more than Virginia needed it."

Indeed, the Terrapins played like the more focused and desperate team throughout, leaving Cavaliers coach Dom Starsia to bemoan his team's impatience and lack of movement on offense.

Virginia (5-2, 0-1) also showed both those undesirable traits in last week's loss to Johns Hopkins.

"They had a little bit of a desperate tone in terms of their approach to this game and we were not prepared to match their effort today," Starsia said. "I thought they had a plan coming in and they stuck to their plan."

Freshman Joe Walters scored three goals and senior Mike Mollot added two more for the Terps, who lost 14 of 19 faceoffs but made the most of their possessions by taking good shots and working the clock. The Terps also never allowed the Cavaliers' defenders or midfielders to get much going in transition.

An extra-man goal from Mollot with 33 seconds left in the first half, followed by Jamie Daue's 18-yard rocket past Virginia goalie Tillman Johnson (12 saves) about seven minutes into the third capped a five-goal run and made the score 7-2.

When freshman Matt Ward slam dunked Kyle Dixon's pass right in front of McCormick's crease to make it 7-3, Virginia had its first goal in nearly two quarters.

"It was our best defensive effort," said Cottle. "When you play against a potent attack like that, you've got to be aware every minute of the game."

As they did last week against Hopkins, the Cavaliers made it interesting as they crept within 8-5 on Justin Mullen's goal with nine minutes to play.

Christmas and Joe Yevoli, who was played masterfully by Terps All-American Chris Passavia, then beat McCormick (15 saves) just 16 seconds apart to cut the Terps' lead to 8-7 with 1:23 left.

Virginia's Jack deVilliers won the faceoff, but McCormick got a piece of Chris Rotelli's high shot and then turned aside Christmas' game-tying attempt from in close with 45 seconds to play.

The Cavaliers had one more chance after a Maryland turnover, but McCormick picked off a desperation heave.

"This is a major turning point of the season," said Walters. "It was the first game we played hard for the full 60 minutes."

Maryland 1 5 1 1 - 8

Virginia 2 0 2 3 - 7

Goals: M-Walters 3, Mollot 2, Smith, Daue, LaMonica; V-Christmas 2, Ward, Glading, Mullen, Shannon, Yevoli. Assists: M-Brock 2, Walters, Smith, Gillette, Moran; V-Rotelli 4, Dixon 2, Ward. Saves: M-McCormick 15; V-Johnson 12.

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