No. 2 Terrapins deck punchless UMBC, 9-4

Maryland's defense leads rise to 5-0

Retrievers miss injured Gallagher

College Lacrosse

March 21, 2004|By Tommy Ventre | Tommy Ventre,SUN STAFF

If the Maryland men's lacrosse team looks hard enough, it can find plenty wrong with its game. Against Duke, the Terps said they were too soft on defense. Against Towson, they were uninspired on offense. Against Bucknell, everyone was sloppy. And yesterday against UMBC, there were too many illegal stick penalties.

But the one thing No. 2 Maryland hasn't found - at least not yet - is a loss.

Yesterday's 9-4 win over a short-handed Retrievers team at UMBC Stadium was Maryland's fifth in a row to start the season, the Terps' longest such streak since they opened 7-0 in 2001. Save for a fine show on defense, it wasn't Maryland's most stirring effort, but as they've done all through the first third of the season, the Terps did more than enough to win.

"I think we've played well early, but I think we're going to get better," said Maryland coach Dave Cottle. "This team has a big upside ... and I like that."

Absent leading scorer Andy Gallagher, who is gone for the season after tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament Monday in practice, the No. 18 Retrievers (2-2) never mounted much of a threat on offense.

Maryland held UMBC scoreless for a stretch of almost 30 minutes in the second, third, and fourth quarters, and only seven of the Retrievers' shots through the first 45 minutes reached Maryland goalie Tim McGinnis (13 saves).

Still, UMBC somehow found itself in decent shape after Brendan Mundorf scored his second goal to trim Maryland's lead to 6-3 with 13:41 to play.

But Maryland's defense didn't flinch, even with All-American Lee Zink on the sideline after falling and slamming his head against the turf. Chris Passavia stripped Mundorf after a timeout, and Paul Gillette grabbed the loose ball and sparked a breakaway that ended with freshman Mike Brown's second goal.

"We just told ourselves to stay calm and continue to do what we were doing," said Maryland defenseman David Wagner. "We know that if we go out and play our game and concentrate, we're good enough to take control."

As strong as the Maryland defense was, its offense was having no easy time of it at the other end. UMBC played a tight zone to slow the tempo, and the Terps - who averaged 13.3 goals in their first four games - scored just five times against it in the first 40 minutes.

"We hadn't really faced a lot of zone, so it kind of threw us off," said Maryland attackman Joe Walters, whose game-high three goals all came in the plodding first half.

Ultimately the Terps adjusted, and UMBC - facing a hot goalie without Gallagher - couldn't keep up.

"You're always going to miss one of your top players," UMBC coach Don Zimmerman said. "But injuries happen in this sport, and you've got to be able to move forward. Our kids showed some grit and determination, but we were just beaten by a very good Maryland team."

NOTES: Zink didn't return, but he was fine after the game and shouldn't miss any more time. ... Gallagher's ACL tear is his second in as many seasons. He tore his left ACL in the fourth game last season.

Maryland 2 3 1 3 - 9

UMBC 1 1 0 2 - 4

Goals: M-Walters 3, Brown 2, B. Healy, McGlone, Schwartzman, Bordley; UMBC-Mundorf 2, Berry, Clark. Assists: M-Ritz 2, Gillette, B. Healy, Walters; UMBC-Muston. Saves: M-McGinnis 13; UMBC-Cepelak 11.

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