Tillman's Terps Master Hopkins
By Stan "The Fan" Charles
ANNAPOLIS -- The game was played on a near-perfect day of weather at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
If there were a dictionary for lacrosse, and you were to look up the term picture perfect, it might lead you to a video of today's near-picture-perfect performance by John Tillman's unseeded Maryland Terrapins as they were in total control the entire game, easily besting No. 2 seed Johns Hopkins, 11-5. The only downside was that the crowd might have been bigger if local sports fans weren't adorning the infield at Pimlico for the Preakness.
Each team traded turnovers during the first two minutes of the game, and those early jitters gave way to a tense first quarter. Maryland senior Drew Snider scored a goal with 13 seconds left, putting the Terps on top, 2-1. The Blue Jays nearly ended the quarter with a goal of their own, but Maryland goalkeeper Niko Amato calmly plucked Rob Guida's whistling shot out of the air.
After that near miss at the end of the first quarter, Hopkins tallied one more time during the first half. Brandon Benn put in an unassisted, extra-man goal with 13:23 left during the second quarter to tie the score at two goals apiece. Maryland went back in front, 3-2, less than two minutes later on an unassisted goal by Snider.
Maryland ran off five more unanswered goals during the third quarter to lead 8-2, then Blue Jays senior Chris Boland scored on a feed from Guida with just three seconds to go during the third quarter. Although Hopkins put forth its hardest effort of the day during the fourth quarter, it simply couldn't put a dent in the deficit the Terps had built.
"I thought [Maryland] played a very good game," Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said, "put a stranglehold on the ball and forced us to play a lot of defense."
Pietramala also alluded to Maryland's strong advantages in clears and ground balls, in which his team gave up an astounding differential of 18 possessions. Hopkins and Maryland came into the game having clearing percentages of 88 percent, but during this game, Hopkins cleared the ball only 67 percent of the time (14-21) and allowed Maryland to successfully clear the ball 12 of 14 times (86 percent).
This game was Johns Hopkins' chance to avenge a 9-6 regular-season loss at home against the Terps. This is the second consecutive year the Blue Jays have lost their NCAA quarterfinal game.
"We've had two really nice regular seasons," Pietramala said, "a good first-round game and then … we've not done a good job in this game."
Maryland improved its record in the all-time series against Johns Hopkins to 68-40-1 and will move on to a Final Four game against either Duke or Colgate, who are playing a quarterfinal game in Philadelphia May 20.
"Whoever we play, we'll be playing someone we lost to this season," Tillman said.
Though the Terps beat Duke at home, 10-7, in early March, they lost to the Blue Devils, 6-5, during the ACC tournament semifinals April 20. The Raiders bested Maryland, 13-11, May 5 in Hamilton, N.Y.
Posted May 19, 2012