Cummings Wants Team to Learn From Fight
Maryland senior attackman Joe Cummings, the Terrapins' leading scorer and, as co-captain, one of their prominent leaders, wants his teammates to put the ugly incident behind them -- but not too far in their rear-view mirrors.
In the closing seconds of last Saturday's 11-10 loss at North Carolina, Cummings was not positioned far away from where the fight started between Carolina's Greg McBride and Maryland midfielder Kevin Cooper. It was ugly indeed. McBride, who had just absorbed a nasty illegal check from Cooper that sent him sprawling to the turf, regained his feet and tried to tackle Cooper, who was ready. Before Carolina teammates intervened and knocked him down, Cooper landed several hard punches to McBride's helmeted head, drawing blood on his face.
The fighting quickly stopped. Both players were ejected. After numerous additional penalties were levied, the Terps were man-up for the rest of the contest, and nearly turned a 11-9 deficit into an 11-11 deadlock heading into overtime with a man advantage.
"I turned around and saw it starting to happen, and my first thought was, 'whoa, we've got to get this to stop.' Things just escalated," Cummings recalled. "We're ACC rivals. We get after each other. But [brawling] is not what we do. It's a result of two teams going hard, and getting out of control.
"That was a really unfortunate event. I give credit to the Carolina guys that came in and helped to end it. It was a big relief when I looked around and didn't see any other skirmishes going on. We've learned some hard lessons this week. I think it will end up making us a better team."
Cooper learned a lesson first-hand. Even before the ACC weighed in with its mandatory one-game suspension, Maryland coach John Tillman suspended him for Saturday's showdown against visiting Virginia.
Cummings then hinted at a possible Carolina rematch in next month's conference tournament in Charlottesville.
"I respect [the Tar Heels] as much as I respect all of my opponents," he said. "And I can't wait for the ACC tournament."