Terps' attack sputters in loss to Irish

'We just didn't play our best game offensively,' Terps coach Cottle says

  • Maryland senior Caitlyn McFadden is a Tewaaraton Trophy finalist, the Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year and the ACC tournament Most Valuable Player.
Maryland senior Caitlyn McFadden is a Tewaaraton Trophy finalist,… (Baltimore Sun photo by Kenneth…)
May 23, 2010|By Mike Preston, The Baltimore Sun

Princeton, N.J. — — With nearly three minutes left in the game, Maryland attackman Ryan Young had a clear look at the goal from about 12 yards away, and instead of scoring a goal that would have brought the Terps within one, he clanged a shot off the pipe.

Again.

And it was like that for the Terrapins most of the afternoon Saturday. And if they weren't hitting goal posts, they were either making bad passes or simply dropping them. On a day when Maryland's offense had to be good, the attack was awful as unseeded Notre Dame upset No. 3 seed Maryland, 7-5, in an NCAA Division I men's quarterfinal at Princeton University.

The Terps' performance was reminiscent of Maryland's final four loss in 2006.

"We struggled. Sometimes we pressed and other times we dropped the ball," Maryland coach Dave Cottle said. "The effort was there, and our kids played hard. They didn't quit. We just didn't play our best game offensively. I'm disappointed. I'm disappointed for our players, disappointed for myself and disappointed for Maryland.

"I couldn't find a way to get us going, and that's on me," said Cottle, who is in the final year of his contract.

With the loss, there will be speculation about Cottle's job security. Despite having one of the best records among Division I coaches, Cottle has seen his Maryland teams stall deep in the postseason during final four appearances in 2003, 2005 and 2006.

But this time, they didn't get past the quarterfinal round, and this was only the second time since the tournament began in 1971 that a group of seniors from Maryland didn't make an appearance in the semifinals.

The attack for Maryland (12-4) was a no-show Saturday. Starters Grant Catalino, Young and Will Yeatman didn't contribute a goal and were 0-for-13 in shots from the field. With five turnovers, Catalino played perhaps the worst game of his career.

"They have an excellent attack, but we have a very good defense, and I thought we could match up well with them," Notre Dame coach Kevin Corrigan said. "We couldn't match up with them man-down or in transition, so we had to stay out of the penalty box and get in the hole fast. We had to give our defense a chance."

The Irish (9-6) put Kevin Randall on Yeatman, Mike Creighton on Catalino and Kevin Ridgway on Young. They didn't press Maryland all over the field, but they played smart and held position. And once Maryland fell behind 4-1 at the end of the first quarter, the Terps had little success with Fighting Irish goalie Scott Rodgers, who finished with eight saves.

"Once we got up, that allowed us to go after them," Randall said. "I would not say they were frustrated, but they started pressing. There was more urgency on their part."

Notre Dame controlled the pace of the game by winning 10 of 15 faceoffs, and the Fighting Irish also had a 31-24 advantage in ground balls. The Terps had trouble stopping Notre Dame sophomore attackman Sean Rogers, who had three goals.

Despite being outshot and outplayed for most of the game, Maryland pulled within 7-5 with 12:15 left in the game on a goal by midfielder-attackman Joe Cummings, but the Terps couldn't get any closer despite numerous opportunities.

"This was my favorite team ever to coach. Never have I had a team play harder," Cottle said. "We didn't want to play catch-up with this goalie. We had break after break. I thought we had to get to 10 to win, and we didn't get to 10."

Maryland was down 5-3 at the half, and the Terps were fortunate to be trailing by only two because Notre Dame outplayed them most of the half. The Terps finally started to play well in the final seven minutes of the second quarter.

Maryland midfielder Jake Bernhardt scored on a hard bounce shot while running to his left with 7:01 left in the second quarter to cut Notre Dame's lead to 5-2, and Terps midfielder John Haus beat Kelly McKenna from behind the goal three minutes later as Maryland pulled within 5-3.

That was the only time Maryland had any offensive momentum in the half. Young had a point-blank opportunity in the second quarter, but he missed the goal.

Maryland attackman Travis Reed had an excellent look on an extra-man opportunity midway in the second period, but his shot sailed way over the goal. About 20 seconds later, sophomore attackman Nicholas Beattie scored a fast-break goal for a 5-1 Notre Dame lead.

The Fighting Irish were just as dominant in the first quarter. They had eight shots on goal compared with two for Maryland and led 4-1 at the end of the period. Rogers had two goals in the first period for Notre Dame, and Max Pfeifer and David Earl, both middies, each had one as Notre Dame fully controlled time of possession by winning seven of 10 faceoffs in the half, including four of six in the first period.

mike.preston@baltsun.com

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