After making the finals in the inaugural NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship in 1971 and a semifinal defeat the following year in 1972, the Terrapins earned their first NCAA title in 1973 with a 10-9 victory over No. 2 Johns Hopkins on June 2 at Franklin Field in Philadelphia.
Maryland capped off an undefeated season thanks in large part to freshman midfielder Frank Urso. The Long Island, N.Y., native bounced a 15-yard shot off of Blue Jay defender Bob Barbera past Hopkins goalie Les Matthews, who was screened on the play, at 1:18 of overtime to gibe the Terps their first NCAA Championship.
Urso told Sports Illustrated at the time, "I figured if I couldn't see him, then he couldn't see me."
Urso wasn't the only hero for Maryland in overtime. Terp goalie Bill O'Donnell came out of the goal on a missed shot by Hopkins, but Blue Jay attackman Jack Thomas caught up with the ball and flipped it blindly over his shoulder to the crease. Dale Kohler caught the pass and fired a shot at what normally would have been an empty net. But Maryland defender Ed Glatzel stepped into the crease and knocked the potential game-ender away.
But the Terps stormed out at the beginning of the third quarter, scoring four goals in a three-minute span to take a 6-5 lead, the sixth coming on the first of three goals by Urso. Hopkins rallied with three goals of its own to take an 8-6 lead. Attackman Pat O'Meally cut the lead back to one with an over-the-shoulder shot, but the Blue Jays responded with a goal of their own for a 9-7 advantage.
Goals by Urso and attackman Doug Schreiber, as time wound down, tied the match, sending it to overtime.
There is no question that the Terps dominated the 1973 season, thanks in large part to a balanced squad that featured 12 All-Americans, including four first team honorees, and five future Hall of Famers.
The offense featured four players with at least 48 points, led by O'Meally's 66. Fellow attackmen Ed Mullen and Doug Schreiber and Urso completed the quartet.
The defense was led by Mike Thearle, who was awarded the Schmeisser Memorial Cup as the nation's top defenseman, and crease man Rich Avena, who did not allow a crease goal by his mark until the national semifinals. O'Donnell was outstanding in goal and was considered to be one of the top two in the nation, along with Hopkins' Matthews.
Another important factor for the Terps in 1973 was the dominating duo of Doug Radebaugh and Gary Besosa on face-offs. Both earned All-America honors after helping spark Maryland's fast-break offense. Twenty-one times in 1973 the Terps scored a goal, won the ensuing face-off and scored again within 15 seconds.
1973 National Champions