April 3, 2004
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Payback really can be sweet, as the No. 1 Maryland Terrapins learned Saturday in a 11-2 pasting of Virginia that secured the Terps' first ACC regular season championship since 1998 before 4,454 fans at Byrd Stadium.
Sophomore attacker Xander Ritz (Wayne, Pa.) rolled up three goals and three assists, while graduate goalie Tim McGinnis (Ellicott City, Md.) foiled the Cavs' attack with 17 saves -- a career-high while at Maryland -- as the Terps exacted a small measure of revenge from last season's NCAA Semifinal loss to the Wahoos. Playing as the No. 1 team in the nation for the first time since 2001, Maryland maintained its perfect record at 8-0, including defeats of all three Atlantic Coast Conference opponents.
"We played with a great deal of toughness and a higher level of emotion today," said Maryland head coach Dave Cottle. "I think we have been doing the right things for ten to twelve weeks now and we really got to see that out there today. I told our guys if we can get to 10 [goals], we would be in really good shape and we reached that goal."
Virginia (3-5 overall, 0-1 ACC) was stymied all day by the Terp defenders, who never allowed the Cavs to find their rhythm. It was the fewest goals scored by Virginia in the series' 55-year consecutive history since an 18-0 whitewashing in 1955 and was also the fewest goal output for the Wahoos in any game since they fell to North Carolina by the same 11-2 margin in the 1984 NCAA tournament.
Maryland ran off five straight goals to open the game, including sophomore Joe Walters (Rochester, N.Y.) rip from 25 yards with one second left in the first quarter. After Ritz tallied his second goal midway through the second stanza, Virginia's Foster Gilbert ended the nearly 25-minute scoreless streak to bring his team to within four at 5-1.
But Virginia never got any closer. Ritz completed his hat trick in the final minutes of the third quarter, which began Maryland's run of five straight goals to conclude the game.
Freshman Mike Brown (West Hartford, Conn.) scored two goals for the fourth straight game, while Walters had a trio of assists.
The Terps dominated in all statistics, outshooting Virginia, 35-26, scooping up 41 groundballs to Virginia's 26. Maryland was nearly perfect clearing the ball converting 20 of 21 chances. Maryland's face-off man Jeremy Pastula (Yorktown, N.Y.) helped Maryland to nine-of-16 wins on draws.
Maryland will return to action in one week when intra-state rival Navy visits Byrd Stadium for a 1:00 p.m. tilt. The game will be televised live on WMAR-2. The Midshipmen come off a 7-5 win over Georgetown and will vault to No. 4 in the polls.