Terps cruise to title game with easy win over Heels

Maryland shuts out North Carolina for nearly 22 minutes at game's start

  • Maryland's Grant Catalino reacts to his third-quarter goal against the Tar Heels.
Maryland's Grant Catalino reacts to his third-quarter… (Baltimore Sun photo by Gene…)
April 24, 2010|By Todd Karpovich | Special to The Baltimore Sun

COLLEGE PARK — Maryland defenseman Brett Schmidt rarely let North Carolina's top attackman, Billy Bitter, stray any farther than four or five yards away in Friday night's ACC semifinal at Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium.

The tight marking was crucial for the fifth-ranked Terps, who wanted to keep the No. 3 Tar Heels offense from getting into any rhythm and dictating the pace of the game. Maryland executed the strategy nearly flawlessly, holding North Carolina scoreless for nearly 22 minutes to open the game. With Grant Catalino sparking the offense with six goals, the Terps dominated for a 13-5 victory. Maryland will play Virginia for its first ACC title since 2005 on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

"We're not beautiful, but we do fight," Maryland coach Dave Cottle said. "We have something special going on right now with our sideline and our attitude. Hopefully, we can keep going for the rest of the year. Brett Schmidt has been phenomenal. We supported him, and he had help. But sometimes he got caught out there by himself. I thought Brett did a heck of a job."

Since 2002, Maryland (9-2) has won 70 of 76 games during which it scored at least 10 goals, but it was their first win in the ACC tournament since 2006. The Terps kept seven players behind the ball throughout the game, scrambling to force 21 turnovers. John Haus also added three goals for the Terps, while Bitter was held scoreless.

Maryland jumped out to a 3-0 lead with 10:45 left in the first half on goals by Catalino, Ryan Young and Brian Farrell (Boys Latin). The Tar Heels (11-2) finally got on the board on a goal by Jimmy Dunster with 8:16 remaining in the second quarter.

Catalino scored again and Haus added another and the Terps led 5-2 at the half.

"We haven't been very successful in the ACC tournament in a long time," Catalino said. "The way this year is going, we've been looking forward to it. This week was the best week of practice we had all year."

While the Terps defense continued to poke and push around the Tar Heel offense, Haus scored again with 10:30 left in the third quarter to increase the lead to four. A penalty on North Carolina's Sean Jackson for slashing helped the Terps increase the lead to 7-2 on Catalino's third goal with 6:29 remaining in the third quarter. Maryland leads the nation in man-advantage offense, converting 61.8 percent of its chances.

Haus and Farrell scored eight seconds apart and forced the Tar Heels to call a timeout, trailing 10-2 with 14:12 left in the game. Marcus Holman (Gilman) started a late rally with North Carolina's first goal of the second half with 12:29 left in the game. Thomas Wood and Gavin Petracca cut the margin to five, before Catalino scored twice more and the Terps continued to pull away. Maryland can now focus on Virginia, which won the regular-season game, 11-10.

"They got the best of us last time," Schmidt said. "We made a comeback, but it was a little too late. We're looking to come out on fire like we did tonight and hopefully we can take them down on Sunday."

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