Maryland Triumphs at Virginia; Likely to Reclaim No. 1
"It means a lot, not only for the 48-50 guys that are on
this team, but it means a lot for everyone who has been through
this program," Maryland midfielder John Haus said after the Terps
beat Virginia at Klockner Stadium for the first time since
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The Maryland-Virginia men's rivalry has produced some of the most memorable games in college lacrosse history. In a series that dates back to 1926, the Terrapins and Cavaliers have locked horns on some of lacrosse's biggest stages, including the 2011 national championship game, won by Virginia.
However, the most memorable game between the two border rivals was back in 2009 when the Cavaliers outlasted Maryland in seven overtimes in Charlottesville.
On Saturday afternoon, nearly four years to the day, the Cavs and Terps met at Klockner Stadium for the first time since the seven-overtime thriller.
No extra periods were needed this time as second-ranked Maryland downed No. 17 Virginia 9-7. The victory marked Maryland's first win in Klockner since 2003.
"We look at it as — not only [for] this team, but the entire program — that it was a great win for us today," Maryland midfielder John Haus said. "For us, [winning at Klockner] means a lot, not only for the 48-50 guys that are on this team, but it means a lot for everyone who has been through this program and everyone who is going to be through the program."
The Terrapins entered the game with a sense of purpose following their loss at home against North Carolina last Saturday. Then-No. 1 Maryland lost that game despite outshooting the Tar Heels by seven, and holding a 37-27 advantage on ground balls.
Terps coach John Tillman could not have asked for a much better start for his team, as it scored three goals in the game's first four minutes.
Maryland was incredibly efficient on offense. Seven of the team's nine goals were assisted.
Jay Carlson was a matchup nightmare for the Virginia defense. The Cavaliers elected to defend Carlson with a short-stick for much of the afternoon in an attempt to match another long pole against the Maryland midfield. The sophomore led the Terps offensively with three goals on the afternoon. Carlson's second goal of the contest was highlight reel worthy as the Cockeysville, Md., native netted an off-balance, behind-the-back score with six seconds remaining in the third quarter.
"If you want to put a short-stick on him, he's good enough to get leverage and score a goal," Tillman said. "He's worked on it a lot. We've seen it in practice, so we're not afraid to let him get to the goal."
While the Virginia zone mostly kept the Maryland offense in check for the remainder of the first half, the Cavaliers simply could not put the ball in the net. Virginia shot just 11 percent in the first half and really struggled with its shot selection. Scoring was an issue for the UVA offense all day as the Cavaliers fired 41 shots, yet finished with a season low, seven goals.
"We could have been a little more selective on our shots," Virginia attackman Nick O'Reilly said. "We have to get better shooting and get our shots on cage and just try to bury some more. A lot of credit has to go to [Maryland goalkeeper] Niko [Amato]. He's a great goalie and played phenomenal today."
Amato's play between the pipes was a major difference. The junior did not allow Virginia to have any sustained success offensively, recording 14 saves. Amato's stingy defense in net allowed Maryland to maintain its lead despite either losing or tying Virginia in almost every statistical category. The Cavaliers outshot Maryland 41-32, and the Terps committed five more turnovers than UVA did. Both teams finished the game even on faceoffs and on ground balls.
Virginia's biggest offensive surge of the game came in a span of eight seconds late in the fourth quarter. Greg Coholan and O'Reilly each scored on fast breaks to cut the Maryland lead in half and to make things interesting in the final minutes.
"Our season is not over yet."
— Virginia coach Dom Starsia
The Terrapins had an answer every time Virginia appeared to gain any momentum. After the Cavs cut the Maryland lead to two early in the third quarter, Haus scored two straight goals to build the Maryland lead.
Virginia's James Pannell scored with 30 seconds remaining in the third quarter and it looked like the Cavaliers would enter the final 12 minutes with momentum. However, Carlson quickly quieted the home crowd with his circus goal to close out the frame.
Jake Bernhardt had a big day for Maryland as well with two goals and one assist.
Mark Cockerton and Ryan Tucker led the Cavaliers with two goals apiece.
The Cavaliers find themselves in unfamiliar territory with five losses before the month of April. Virginia drops to .500 after suffering its fourth straight loss. The Cavs have two pivotal ACC contests remaining with Duke and North Carolina, with those two games playing a big role in deciding the team's NCAA tournament fate.
"We might be a little frustrated with the final result but a team that plays like that ... is a team that is still engaged in the process," Virginia coach Dom Starsia said. "My job is to keep them positive so that we can keep getting better. Our season is not over yet. We can still do some damage here."
The Terrapins close out ACC play with a 2-1 record. With No. 1 Notre Dame falling to St. John's on Saturday, the Terps will likely reclaim the top ranking when the new polls are released Monday. Maryland is back in action next Friday at Navy.