May 24, 2003
BALTIMORE, Md. - History failed to repeat itself Saturday at the 2003 NCAA Men's Lacrosse semifinals, as Virginia goalie Tillman Johnson made spectacular save after spectacular save en route to a 14-4 victory over Maryland, avenging a regular season 8-7 loss to the Terps earlier this year in Charlottesville and moving Virginia (14-2 overall) into Monday's championship game against Johns Hopkins, who defeated Syracuse 19-8 in the day's first semifinal.
Playing in front of a record crowd of 37,823 and a national television audience on ESPN2, Johnson recorded a career-high 18 saves and a stifling Cavalier defense kept the Terrapin offense off the scoreboard for much of the day.
Although Terrapin defenders Michael Howley (Wantagh, N.Y.) and Brett Harper (Columbus, Ohio) held Virginia's top two scorers, John Christmas and Chris Rotelli scoreless, Matt Ward paced the Virginia attack with four goals and an assist. Joe Yevoli also tallied five points on three goals and two assists.
Four Terrapins scored one goal apiece, including senior Mike Mollot (Holbrook, N.Y.), who finished his collegiate career with 77 goals and 95 assists, placing him ninth on the Terrapins' all-time assist leaders.
Despite several early scoring opportunities for Maryland, it was the Cavs who built an early lead on unassisted goals by Matt Ward and Trey Whitty.
Defensive midfielder Joe Parker (Crofton, Md.) found an ideal time to score his first goal of the year - a 15-yard blast off a feed from Paul Gillette (Millersville, Md.) - to pull the Terps to within one after the first quarter.
But Virginia responded on scores by A.J. Shannon and Billy Glading to push the lead to 4-1 midway through the second quarter.
Maryland again received offense from an unlikely source when Sean Leary (Troy, Mich.) found the back of the net one minute later on a rocket shot past Johnson, who made several spectacular saves in the first half to hold Maryland at bay, including a stop of Brian Hunt on a multiple deke at point-blank range.
Virginia broke the game wide open after halftime, scoring six times in the third quarter. Ward completed his hat trick one minute into the second half, pushing Virginia's lead to 6-2. Mollot's goal kept the Terps within four at the 12-minute mark of the period, before the Cavs tallied six consecutive goals - including three by Yevoli and Ward's fourth score of the game - while Johnson continued his superior play, keeping Maryland off the board for almost 24 minutes until the waning moments of the contest.
Brendan Healy's (Great Falls, Va.) first goal of the season ended the drought with three remaining in the game, but it was too little too late for the Terps, who finish the season with a 12-4 record.