UVA once again opened up ACC play with a thrilling 1-goal victory over the Maryland Terrapins. With poise and an incredible 6-0 run to start the game, the Cavaliers were able to withstand a couple late surges by the Terps and remain unbeaten this year and showed the country [another ESPNU game for Maryland and it was also on ESPN radio] why they were the #1 team in the country.
I was able to watch the game from the sideline right behind the benches as we tried sideline reporting for the first time this season. It was great to see how fast the game is from a coach's standpoint. Even making a simple substitution requires plenty of teamwork. I really enjoyed being so close to the action and getting a different view, instead of way up in the press box.
Personally, I would be surprised to see the Terps drop more than 2 spots after this loss. They stayed at the #4 spot after losing to UNC last week who was ranked #2 in the nation, and UVA looked twice as good in the first half.
Chris Bocklet had 3 goals to start the game off right for UVA. The Terps were slower and were not sliding very well on defense, and their ACC-rival took advantage. After the first period, it was 6-1 in favor of Virginia and it seemed as though there was a tremendous gap between the Wahoos and the rest of D-1 lacrosse. In fact, it appeared as though that gap was the size of the Grand Canyon after last week when they dismantled powerhouse Johns Hopkins 15-6.
But over the last 45:06, the Terps outscored UVA 10-5, but as goalie Brian Phipps says, "it took us a while to match their intensity and speed, we just got to come out from the start."
Coach Cottle said they were simply playing "at a speed we weren't used to at the beginning of the game...give them credit, they made some great plays early." But he reiterated the fact that they needed to come out and play hard for an entire game, just like they failed to do last week against North Carolina. "The thing I'm proud of is that our guys kept fighting, they kept fighting at the end."
The Terps slowed down the floodgates slightly in the 2nd as they held Virginia's attack, which was averaging over 14 goals a game coming into this contest, to just a single goal. Some shots bounced off the pipe and every groundball was going Virginia's way.
The second half looked much better after the first goal by Bocklet [his 5th game this year scoring at least 4 goals]. Maryland's unstoppable transition game started to pick up as Bryn Holmes and Jake Bernhardt starting winning faceoffs and the entire team picked the intensity up. From the sideline, you would have thought Maryland was ahead at half. They showed a ton of poise and never doubted their abilities, even when things got hectic in the 4th as both coaches had plenty of words for the refs.
Maryland cut the lead to 8-5, after a transition goal by Dean Hart. UVA responded like the #1 should with two quick goals, and then it was time for Yeatman and the Terps to take over. Yeatman notched a career high 4 goals in the contest, bruising his way through the defense. Steele Stanwick opened up the 4th with back-to-back goals [the sophomore attackman had 4 goals himself] before the final Terrapin surge.
Trailing by 5 after Stanwick's personal 2-goal run, Maryland got 2 goals out of their incredible man-up offense. Cummings and Young scored between the two EMO goals during a physical game. No love was lost between these two teams, as players hit the ground hard. Multiple double teams came just for checking and every player felt it. Feeding off the crowd, the Terps cut into the UVA lead 10-9 and were about to tie things up in the final 2 minutes. However, the refs made a....questionable call and waved it off as the team celebrated. Young was called for stepping into the crease, although the replays on the big-screen clearly showed that Young was outside the red line before he got the shot off. However, the game was still going on and Shamel Bratton scored the game-winner amidst the mass-confusion.
Who knows what would have happened if the refs swallow their whistle and let the players decide the outcome. Yeatman tried to will his team back getting his last goal to pull his team within 1 again. And to finish off the game with 8 seconds left, the Terps got a loose ball [after pulling Phipps for an extra defender] and Brett Schmidt tried to shoot with 3 seconds left but had his stick hit and the ball sailed over the goal.
After the game Phipps held his head high, but knew that his team had the game in their reach.
"We competed well in 3 quarters, 45 minutes of the game, we gotta bring out A-game for Virginia...there are no moral victories in lacrosse," said Phipps. Phipps had 16 saves in the game, keeping his team around and giving them a chance to win. He is now in sole possession of 6th place on the all-time saves list.
Maryland proved they belong in Final Four talks and are definitely in the upper-echelon of college lacrosse. If they bring their A-game for 60 minutes, they will be amazing and can beat anyone.
Next Saturday, the Terps are home again for an earlier game against Navy. Catch all the action on wmucsports.com. Go Terps!