Terps rally but falter late

No. 4 Georgetown 8 No. 5 Maryland 6

February 25, 2007|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Sun Reporter

COLLEGE PARK -- The fifth-ranked Maryland men's lacrosse team has battled inexperience and injuries while winning early this season against some overmatched competition. Yesterday against No. 4 Georgetown, the Terrapins staggered early, fought back late, and ultimately had to settle for their first loss ever to the Hoyas.

After Maryland had erased a five-goal halftime deficit with inspired defense, great transition play and a fine performance by junior attackman Max Ritz, Georgetown got the last word.

The Hoyas (1-0) scored the game's final two goals in the last 9:02 and escaped with an 8-6 victory at Maryland's field hockey and lacrosse complex.

Maryland (2-1) earned mixed reviews but got high marks from coach Dave Cottle for its resilience. The Terps, who had been 6-0 against Georgetown before yesterday, were lost offensively throughout the first half, as the Hoyas took a 6-1 lead at halftime behind a hat trick by freshman midfielder Andrew Brancaccio.

But Maryland, which endured some self-inflicted wounds - a first-half goal by sophomore attackman Danny Gallagher was disallowed after his stick was ruled illegal, and a second-half score was erased after junior midfielder Drew Evans was ruled in the crease - charged back with five straight goals.

"We dug ourselves a pretty good hole, and the good thing for our team is we all took a part of the shovel to dig ourselves out," Cottle said. "We battled. We're not there yet. We know it will take some time with this team."

Maryland freshman goalie Brian Phipps, who struggled early, stepped up to make five of his nine saves in the second half. Phipps began the preseason as the team's third-string keeper, but has been thrust into service because of injuries to starter Harry Alford (shoulder) and backup Jason Carter (collarbone).

Ritz, one of two returning starters on offense, scored three goals and added two assists. The Terps' defense, which likely has lost defensive midfielder Jeff Reynolds for the year to a knee injury, regrouped behind seniors such as Steve Whittenberg and Jimmy Borell, and got a second-half, fast-break goal from freshman long-stick midfielder Brian Farrell (Boys' Latin).

Farrell cut the Hoyas' lead to 6-5 with 4:06 left in the third quarter.

"We showed some resolve," Ritz said. "But I didn't think it should have gotten to 6-1 to start with."

The Terps, who seemingly owned every key loose ball and controlled the middle of the field for much of the second half, tied it at 6 on a 10-yard shot into the upper right corner of the net by senior Chris Feifs with 13:04 left in the game.

But Georgetown junior midfielder Dan D'Agnes (two goals, one assist) broke a scoreless drought of 25:14 for the Hoyas by giving them a 7-6 lead with a shot from close range with 9:02 to go in the game. A short while later, Evans charged in from the left side and stepped into the crease before scoring what would have been the tying goal with 6:42 left.

Ritz scored two of his three goals to get the comeback started. His back-to-back scores, both from in close, cut Georgetown's lead to 6-3 with 11:21 left in the third quarter.

Then, he assisted senior attackman Michael Phipps on a point-blank shot with 9:34 left in the period after chasing down a loose ball in the left corner and firing a perfect pass.

The Hoyas did enough in the clutch to put Maryland away for a change. Junior goalie Miles Kass (12 saves) stuffed Michael Phipps with 8:30 left and Georgetown ahead 7-6.

Before giving up an open-net goal to junior attackman Brendan Cannon, who ended the scoring with 24 seconds left, the Terps had their chances to force overtime.

Three times in a 16-second span just before the final minute, Maryland shooters missed the cage. Then, after the Hoyas went offside with 38 seconds left, Terps senior defenseman Ray Megill committed a turnover.

gary.lambrecht@baltsun.com

Georgetown 3 3 0 2 - 8

Maryland 1 0 4 1 - 6

Goals: Georgetown, Brancaccio 3, D'Agnes 2, Baird, Cannon, Samperton; Maryland, Ritz 3, Phipps, Feifs, Farrell. Assists: Georgetown, Baird 2, Molinari 2, Cannon, Casey, D'Agnes; Maryland, Ritz 2, Ward. Saves: Georgetown, Kaas 12; Maryland, Phipps 9. Att.: 1,521.

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