May 28, 2012

Terps Offense Dries Up in Another Title Game Loss

by Corey McLaughlin | | Twitter

Maryland midfielder John Haus shot 0-for-9 to contribute to the Terrapins' offensive struggles in Monday's 9-3 loss to Loyola in the national title game.
© Kevin P. Tucker

NCAA Division I Men's Championship

* Top Dogs: Loyola Downs Maryland for Title
* Lusby Breaks Tournament Scoring Record

* Toomey, Tillman Finish Bittersweet Afternoon
* Live Blog Replay

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — After his team produced the lowest goal-scoring output in Division I championship game history, Maryland coach John Tillman walked into the post-game press conference exhausted.

The trio of players that joined him couldn't wipe the disappointment from their faces, much like they couldn't shake Loyola's hounding defenders for most of the previous two hours.

As Tillman thanked his players for the season they had, fifth-year senior captain Drew Snider put his hands over his face and let out a sigh, realizing it was the end of the road. Joe Cummings and Landon Carr sat on each side of Snider with blank stares.

For the second straight year, the Terrapins season ended with a loss on Memorial Day. And this one, a 9-3 loss to Loyola on Monday at Gillette Stadium, was especially rough. Maryland didn't score in the game's final 40 minutes, 40 seconds and was held scoreless in multiple quarters for the first time all season.

"Individually, they won the majority of the matchups," Tillman said. "That was one of our concerns coming into the year. We aren't the fastest team. We have to play a good pace. We have to be strategic with picks to gain leverage, because one-on-one, we're not the greatest dodging team. ... It's better for us when we can get the defense rotating. We just couldn't get them rotating."

Long-stick midfielder Jesse Bernhardt scored 5:26 into the first quarter, streaking down the middle of the field off a caused turnover, and Terps used the pick strategy effectively to score their next two goals.

Midfielder Mike Chanenchuk inverted and ran a play with Owen Blye less than three minutes into the second quarter. Joe Cummings came off a John Haus pick to draw a short-stick and fed a one-timer to Kevin Cooper that tied the score at 3 with 10:40 left. But that was it.

Less than 48 hours after shooting 55 percent in a semifinal win over Duke, the Terps failed to get much going on the same amount of shots (29) and put only 10 on goal. John Haus, who drew short-stick coverage, shot nine times without finding the net. Chanenchuk, except for his lone goal, misfired on seven other tries. Snider, who had 10 goals in the three previous tournament rounds, had not shots on goal and struggled against a long-pole.

"They did a great job on the defensive end of making us uncomfortable," Snider said.

In the consecutive title game losses — which includes last year's 9-7 defeat to Virginia in Baltimore — Maryland has shot a combined 10-of-61.

In this one, Loyola close defensemen Joe Fletcher (covering Blye), Reid Acton (on Cummings), Dylan Grimm (on the Terps' rotating third attackman), long-stick midfielder Scott Ratliff and short-stick middie Josh Hawkins frustrated the Terps, who wasted a 12-of-15 combined performance from Curtis Holmes and Charlie Raffa at the faceoff stripe.

"We'd get to spots on the field, especially near the goal-line, we'd get close and try to get a little leverage. They would slide or we'd get just a little separation and take a low angle shot," said Tillman, who also credited Loyola goalie Jack Runkel (seven saves) with making stops. "Even at halftime it was a two-goal game [5-3]. We were winning faceoffs. We just needed to get more shots on goal and put them in good shots."

Maryland couldn't produce any early offense off those faceoff wins either.

"The key was to not let those faceoff losses turn into quick goals," Ratliff said. "J.P. [Dalton] was able to get in, stop the break, and Joe Fletcher was playing the point and baiting the guy, not letting him get a 4-on-3 type break and making them settle into their offense, where we feel like we matchup with anybody pretty well."

Bernhardt Knocked Out

With less than nine minutes left in the fourth quarter and Maryland behind three, Bernhardt was knocked out of the game with a head injury. While covering Loyola midfielder Chris Layne at the top of the box, Bernhardt ran into the shoulder of Josh Hawkins, who was setting a legal pick.

Bernhardt was blindsided by the impact, spun around out of control and collapsed face first to the turf.

Tillman said Bernhardt's eyes were closed when he arrived at Bernhardt laying on the field.

"I got sick to my stomach when I went out there," Tillman said. "I kind of had to catch myself a little bit. We have a great trainer in Amelia Sesma. The doctor went out there as well. His eyes weren't open, and we waited and waited and he came to. I would think he's definitely got a concussion. I'm just happy he was able to walk off."

After the game, Bernhardt walked out of Gillette Stadium under his own power.

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