Postscript from Virginia at Maryland

Continuing rivalry when No. 7 Terps leave ACC for Big Ten is uncertain

March 31, 2014|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

With Maryland leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference for the Big Ten after this season, the Terps could bid farewell to a number of long-standing rivalries. Their series with Virginia (91 games) ranks as the second-longest rivalry in program history, just behind their series with Johns Hopkins (103).

After No. 7 Maryland’s 9-6 victory over No. 8 Virginia on Sunday, Terps coach John Tillman acknowledged that he would like to keep playing the Cavaliers in the future.

“We hope it continues,” he said. “We hope that’s something they want to do. We’re certainly open to it. If that’s something they don’t want to do, there’s not much that I can control. But we would like to continue to play them, and that’s a question you can ask [Virginia head] coach [Dom] Starsia. I have a lot of respect for him. But regardless of what happens, we’re going to control what we can control and play who we can play.”

Starsia was noncommittal about continuing the rivalry with Maryland.

“In general, I hate to see the rivalry with Maryland in all the different sports go by the board,” he said. “But born of necessity, I’ve got to make some adjustments in my schedule to accommodate bringing on Notre Dame and doing some other things. It’s just going to happen. I don’t think it’s a good thing for the sport necessarily that Virginia or Maryland may not play in the regular season in the future, but we’ve got plenty of games on our schedule.”

Circling back to “Three Things to Watch.”

1) Terps defense quiets Cavaliers offense. Virginia (8-3 overall and 1-2 in the ACC) had averaged 13.8 goals, but was held to a season low by Maryland (8-1, 3-1). Senior attackman Mark Cockerton, who had recorded 32 goals and 11 assists, did not produce a goal or an assist thanks to Terps sophomore defenseman Matt Dunn (Loyola Blakefield). Sophomore attackman James Pannell (29, 5) registered just one goal on six shots and turned the ball over twice while dodging against junior defenseman Goran Murray. Starsia said it was clear that Maryland was intent on forcing the Cavaliers midfielders to power the offense. 

“They were giving us some space on the throwbacks [to the midfielders] because they were so quick to double the attackmen,” Starsia said. “I thought we hit a couple of those shots early, and then I thought [Terps senior goalkeeper] Niko [Amato] had a couple saves in the third quarter when we were getting similar shots. It seemed like their plan going in was they were not going to get beat by our attack, and they were willing to make some sacrifices on some other things.”

2) Virginia’s man-up offense gets nothing. The Cavaliers’ offensive firepower included a man-up offense that had converted 51.9 percent (14-of-27) of its opportunities. But they failed to score during a one-minute slashing penalty on junior midfielder Joe LoCascio with a 3-1 lead and then misfired during a 30-second call on freshman attackman Connor Cannizzaro with a 4-1 advantage. It was a somewhat surprising development against a Maryland man-down defense that had allowed opponents to score on 47.6 percent (10-of-21) of their extra-man chances, but Starsia said Virginia did not help itself.

“I thought we looked a little tentative in moving the ball on our extra-man opportunities,” he said. “When it’s a close game, very little thing makes a difference. We’re 0-for-2 on extra-man, and they’re 1-for-1. That makes a difference.”

3) Charlie Raffa lifts Terps. Having won 61.5 percent (83-of-135) of his faceoffs and scooped up 55 ground balls, the junior dictated time of possession by winning 73.7 percent (14-of-19) draws and collecting a game-high 10 ground balls. Raffa also committed the team-worst three turnovers when he tried to force the ball forward against Cavaliers sophomore long-stick midfielder Nate Menninger (5-of-16, three ground balls), but settled down after some advice from the Maryland coaches.

“Charlie was wining the faceoff and we wanted him to kind of pull it back and be a little more patient with it and take what they gave us,” Tillman said. “I thought Charlie really settled in and really showed some maturity and started winning it to different spots. He’s usually a guy that puts it in front and against a pole, it’s really hard to go forward. So he took what they gave him, which says a lot about Charlie.”

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