Pain familiar to Maryland

Bucknell is unranked giant-killer of '06, but this time Terps were No. 1, not No. 4

March 16, 2006|By GARY LAMBRECHT | GARY LAMBRECHT,SUN REPORTER

College Park -- A year ago, the University of Maryland men's lacrosse team was ranked fourth in the country and feeling good about itself. Then, the Terrapins took a spring-break trip to Florida, where they suffered a stunning, 7-6 upset at the hands of unranked Dartmouth.

Yesterday, the No.1-ranked Terps were trying to put a similar nightmare behind them, one day after swallowing another 7-6 defeat - at home, in double overtime - to unranked Bucknell.

This one was torturous for Maryland, which fell to 3-1 after opening the season with victories over Georgetown, then-No. 1 Duke and Towson.

The Bison (2-3) were three days removed from losing to Navy in the First Four tournament in San Diego, and didn't arrive in College Park until Monday. Then, Bucknell unnerved the Terps early with an aggressive defensive scheme, including a 10-man ride, and built a 6-3 lead after three quarters with its freshman-dominated offense.

From there, the Bison held on, then won with nine seconds left in the second overtime on a goal by freshman attackman Joe Mele.

"I think part of it was we let the No. 1 thing give us a little swagger. I don't think we realized there was a big risk, like with Dartmouth last year," said senior midfielder Brendan Healy, who ignited the Terps' 3-0, fourth-quarter run that forced overtime.

"I think we assumed because we're Maryland, we'd win the game. We did try hard, but we didn't execute, maybe because we didn't think we had to execute. Guys might have had the attitude that if we come out in the uniform, things would go our way."

From the outset, it was not a good night for Maryland. The Terps, coming off a sloppy performance in Saturday's 9-6 victory over Towson, committed 21 turnovers through three quarters and struggled with their clearing and shooting all night.

Part of the problem was a 14-save effort by Bucknell senior goalie Matt Baran, who stuffed Maryland twice in the first overtime. The Terps outshot Bucknell 14-1 in the fourth quarter and 5-0 in the first overtime.

"Any thoughts we had as being a complete team at this point are false. I didn't think we had reached our potential, and I think it shows you we have a lot of work to do," added senior attackman Xander Ritz, who tied the game at 6.

Terps coach Dave Cottle said he was pleased with Maryland's effort, not with its execution. He also said the team must not repeat the 1-4, midseason slide that began with last year's upset by Dartmouth. The Terps recovered from a 5-5 start by winning the Atlantic Coast Conference title and advancing to the NCAA tournament final four.

"Last year's loss against Dartmouth cost us another loss, and we can't let that happen again," said Cottle, whose team travels to UMBC on Saturday, then faces Dartmouth in College Park on Tuesday.

"We felt going into [Tuesday] night that we were a good team. We woke up [yesterday], and we're still a good team. We just lost a game. We have to learn from this loss."

gary.lambrecht@baltsun.com

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