Terps still know how to handle Mids

UM has taken 11 in row in series after 9-7 victory

College Lacrosse

April 06, 2003|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

The streak was broken, but the result remained unchanged.

After posting 6-5 victories over Navy the previous four seasons, Maryland had an offensive explosion of sorts, dominating ball possession in the second half to score a 9-7 lacrosse win yesterday at chilly Rip Miller Field.

It was the 11th straight Maryland win in the series and third in a row overall for the fourth-ranked team. Meanwhile, the Midshipmen dropped their fifth in the past six games to hurt their NCAA tournament hopes.

Maryland (7-1) didn't clinch the win until the final 37 seconds against the spunky Midshipmen, who fell behind 8-5 with 3:05 remaining, having failed to take a fourth-quarter shot at that point.

But goals by Eddy Holton (assisted by Ian Dingman) and Dingman (unaided after a Thomas Morris steal) sent some last-minute hope into the hearts of the Navy followers in the crowd of 3,295.

It was short-lived. Terps defenseman Chris Passavia wrested the ball away from Navy's Ben Bailey and seconds later, midfielder Brett Harper scored into an open net on a feed from Brian Hunt to close it out.

"As games go on our defense gets tougher and it's hard to come back on us," Passavia said. "When they passed that ball to Bailey, I knew I had to get on his hands early and get the ball loose. But give credit to Navy. They kept battling."

The Midshipmen struggled to control the ball effectively after halftime. Their turnovers were not costly in the third period when the Terps went scoreless and Bailey's 5-yard flick past Dan McCormick tied the game at 5.

Eventually, though, Navy (4-5) was undermined by a 2-for-9 second-half performance on faceoffs and some untimely giveaways.

"In a game against a team of this caliber you have to have a lot of poise and make good decisions," Navy coach Richie Meade said. "We lacked a little of that coming down the stretch."

Freshman Joe Walters scored four times for the fourth time this season and senior Dan LaMonica (Boys' Latin) added six assists to spearhead the Maryland attack.

"They slide and shift around on defense," Walters said of Navy. "But we passed the ball pretty quick today."

Said LaMonica: "I think it was the perfect defense for us to play against. I didn't have to dodge as much. But it's always nice to play against a team you respect like Navy. A bunch of my family was in the Navy."

Passavia added that the Terps might have overlooked the Midshipmen since they were coming off a huge victory at Virginia and are staring into a showdown with Johns Hopkins on Saturday.

"We could have forgotten about Navy being right there between those two. It would have been easy to give it up here," he said.

Terps coach Dave Cottle said the team worked all week on attacking Navy from behind the goal and not getting too eager to shoot.

"We felt if we could get to the fourth quarter close, the advantage was to us because we play more guys," Cottle said. "Navy sometimes drives you crazy [with its offense], and we wanted to give them a dose of their own medicine. We didn't want 15-second possessions while they had two-minute ones."

Dingman, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound freshman, topped Navy with two goals and two assists and Morris also had a superb overall game.

"We're disappointed," Morris said. "We've had some close games with some big dogs. But our confidence is not really down."

In the end, Navy was undone by the inability to clear the ball in the second half.

"We didn't throw and catch," Meade said. "But our guys did a good job of fighting back."

Maryland 2 3 0 4 - 9

Navy 3 1 1 2 - 7

Goals: M-Walters 4, Hunt, Smith, Mollot, Harper, Gillette; N-I. Dingman 2, Bailey, Morris, Bossi, Holton, Nash. Assists: M-LaMonica 6, Moran 2, Hunt; N-I. Dingman 2, Conklin. Saves: M-McCormick 11; N-DiNola 10.

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