May 27, 2006
PHILADELPHIA, PA. - The second seeded University of Maryland men's lacrosse team dropped a tough 8-5 decision to the University of Massachusetts in the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament Saturday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field.
The first quarter was dominated by outstanding goalie play for both teams with junior All-American Harry Alford making six saves for Maryland and UMass' Doc Schneider stopping four Terp shots. Alford was spectacular from the get-go, making two tough saves on the Minutemen's first possession. Maryland jumped out to a 1-0 lead on senior All-American Xander Ritz's wrap-around goal at the 9:12 mark. UMass tied the game at one apiece when Jim Connolly bounced a shot past Alford about 30 seconds later.
The Minutemen took their first lead of the day with just more than five minutes remaining in the first on a Rory Pedrick behind the back shot into the top right corner of the Maryland goal. The quarter would end in a 2-2 tie after junior long-pole Ryan Clarke scored just the second goal of his career off a feed from senior Ryan Lang on a fast break. The breakaway was started by Alford, who made an amazing one-on-one save on UMass' Brian Jacovina, who was on a breakaway for the Minutemen.
The second quarter was a close-fought affair with the Minutemen scoring the lone goal of the quarter just a minute and a half into the period when senior attackman Sean Morris laced a low shot from nine yards out on the right wing for a 3-2 UMass lead. Maryland controlled the ball for much of the period, but could not get any really good looks on the Minutemen goal. The Terps' best scoring chance came at the 2:27 mark when senior All-American Joe Walters ripped a shot from the left wing that beat Schneider but hit off the right corner of the crossbar.
The third quarter belonged to the Minutemen, who scored three times and held the Terps scoreless for the second straight period to take a 6-2 advantage into the fourth quarter. Morris picked up his second goal of the game at the 8:43 mark on a low shot from 10 yards out in front of the goal. The other two UMass goals came in a five second span starting with a rebound goal by Jacovina. Alford made the save on Morris' orginial shot, but Jacovina was in the right place at the right time to scoop up the groundball and slide a low shot past Alford at 2:38. UMass' face-off specialist Jack Deane won the ensuing face-off, but picked up a loose ball and scored on a quick shot into the top right corner of the Terp goal, which proved to be the game-winner.
Maryland got back into the game with two quick scored to start the fourth quarter. Junior attackman Michael Phipps scored his seventh of the season on an easy shot from the right side of the Minutemen goal. The ensuing face-off saw Alford make another remarkable save, robbing Connolly with a diving save.
Sophomore attackman Max Ritz pulled the Terps to within two goals at 6-4 with his 20th goal of the season at the 12:48 mark. Connolly ended Maryland's two-goal run with his second goal of the day off less than a minute after Ritz's score.
Freshman midfielder Dan Groot scored the Terrapins' final goal of the game off an assist from Max Ritz at 10:10 in the fourth. Morris capped off the scoring for the Minutemen with an unassisted goal, his third of the day, at 6:33.
Schneider made seven of his 15 saves in the fourth quarter, while Alford finished with 10 saves on the afternoon.
The game marked the end of 10 Maryland senior's careers: Brent Hargest, Michael Hartofilis, Brendan Healy, Ryan Lang, Bill McGlone, Teddy Murphy, Xander Ritz, Scott Slosson, David Tamberrino and Joe Walters.
With today's 8-5 loss Maryland is now 2-1 all-time vs. Massachusetts and 1-1 vs. the Minutemen in the NCAA Tournament.
The Terps are now 9-10 all-time in the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament.
Today's game marked the 12th time the Ritz brothers have scored goals in the same game.
Max Ritz scored a goal and added an assist and now has 12 multi-point games in his career.