Terps shake offense loose

Maryland 9 UMBC 4

March 19, 2006|By MIKE PRESTON | MIKE PRESTON,SUN REPORTER

Maryland coach Dave Cottle had seen enough turnovers, forced passes, errant shots and poor offensive sets in the first half, so he changed strategy in the second.

For lack of a better term, call it street ball. Whatever it was, four unanswered goals in the fourth quarter turned a first half of frustration into a sweet victory for No. 1 Maryland, which defeated UMBC, 9-4, yesterday before 1,632 at UMBC Stadium.

The Retrievers (2-3) played Maryland (4-1) close for 3 1/2 quarters but had no answer for the Terps in the final eight minutes, when Maryland scored all of its fourth-quarter goals, including three from All-America attackman Joe Walters.

Cottle breathed a sigh of relief after the game. Only four days before, Maryland had been upset by Bucknell, 7-6, in double overtime.

"You never know how a team reacts after a loss, especially a bad loss," he said. "When you looked at this week, this was the game we had to get. When Bucknell beat us, we had to have this game."

The Terps looked like a tight bunch in the first half that ended in a 2-2 tie. The Retrievers outshot Maryland 14-12 in the first two periods, won four of six faceoffs and controlled the tempo of the game. But at halftime, Cottle told his team to forget about all the offensive schemes.

"I thought our defense played well. We were just in a funk offensively," Cottle said. "We just said: `Forget it. It doesn't matter what offense we run; just go play.' I told them we were not calling another thing from the sideline. It's not about what offense we're in -- it's about moving and playing. I told them, `I don't care whatever you do; just do it.' "

The strategy, though, didn't take effect until midway through the fourth quarter. Terps midfielder Bill McGlone faked a shot just inside the restraining line and then passed to Walters, who whizzed a shot past UMBC goalie Jeremy Blevins from left of the goal to put Maryland ahead 6-4 with 7:29 remaining in the game.

Nearly three minutes later, off a pick from behind the goal, Walters scored again from the left side, and then senior attackman Xander Ritz put the game out of reach on a goal with 3:25 left. Walters finished the scoring by converting an open-net situation when the Retrievers pulled Blevins to double-team the ball with 45 seconds left.

"In the first half, we had no offense at all," Walters said. "In the second half, we just went out there and played. We have a really good offense because none of us are selfish and we all like to pass. That second half is something we can build on."

Defensively, the Terps had few problems with UMBC, especially in the second half. The Retrievers mostly relied on isolation plays with attackmen Brendan Mundorf, Andy Gallagher and Drew Westervelt going one-on-one with Maryland defensemen. The Terps handled them well without having to slide over to help out.

"UMBC's whole offense is built on timing ... and they have really good shooters with good stickwork," Cottle said. "We knew if they broke down, it would be one-on-one in the second half, and it would boil down to if we could cover Mundorf and Westervelt. Our goalie [Harry Alford, eight saves] played well and made some wonderful saves."

mike.preston@baltsun.com

Maryland 1 1 3 4 -- 9

UMBC 1 1 2 0 -- 4

Goals: Maryland--Ritz 3, Walters 3, McGlone 2, Phipps; UMBC--Hyland 2, Westervelt, Gallagher. Assists: Maryland --McGlone 2, Phipps; UMBC--Westervelt. Saves: Maryland --Alford 8; UMBC--Blevins 6. A--1,632.

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