- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 16, 2005

Maryland promised to show it was the real deal against top-ranked Johns Hopkins last night at Byrd Stadium. Instead, the No. 9 Terrapins displayed the poor shooting that has helped precipitate their nearly month-long slide.

Freshman Kevin Huntley recorded a hat trick and fellow freshmen Stephen Peyser and Paul Rabil scored twice to lead Hopkins past Maryland 11-6 before 10,117, the largest regular-season crowd at Byrd since the 1995 Hopkins-Maryland showdown.

Hopkins (9-0) entered — and left safely — with its spot atop the national rankings and seemingly destined for the top seed in next month’s NCAA tournament. Maryland (5-5) only can dream of such security after falling into its first three-game losing streak since 1988, when the Terps endured a program-worst four-game skid.

Joe Walters, Bill McGlone and Brendan Healy — the Terps’ top three offensive weapons — shot a combined 3-for-22. Collectively the Terps went an anemic 6-for-35 (17.1 percent), below the shaky 24.5 shooting percentage they possessed entering last night.

“We have do things fundamentally the right way in order to score, and I’m not sure we’re doing a good job fundamentally,” said Maryland coach Dave Cottle, whose team hasn’t broken the 10-goal mark while losing four of its last five. “We did a better job of putting shots on goal. Shooting is a reason that stops you from losing, but good teams find ways to win.”

After Maryland closed within 5-4 early in the third quarter, Hopkins installed an effective a two-pronged approach - dominance on faceoffs and its usual patience on offense before delivering a perfect shot.

The Blue Jays won seven of 10 draws in the second half and bumped the lead to 6-4 when Huntley raced around the cage and beat goalie Harry Alford (eight saves) early in the second quarter.

It stayed a two-goal margin until the Terps wasted one of their best offensive possessions of the half. Xander Ritz came around the goal and had an open look on Andrew Schwartzman (17 saves), but his shot sailed well right, and Hopkins covered. That possession was punctuated when Rabil slipped past Maryland short stick Travis Holmes and stuck a shot from 10 yards out to make it 7-4.

Peyser and Rabil added goals before the end of the quarter to make it 9-4, leaving little opportunity for a Terps team that squandered the few they already had created.

“They have the ball for a long time, and we’re down and we force things, and it doesn’t work out, and they have even more of a lead and they hold the ball even longer,” Healy said. “It kind of deteriorates. It’s not coaching. We’ve been coached these things plenty of times. It’s just a lack of discipline, I guess.”

Hopkins continued its dominance in a rivalry dubbed as lacrosse’s greatest. The Blue Jays have now taken four in a row from the Terps and are 12-4 against Maryland since 1993. Barring a meeting in the NCAA tournament, Maryland will have gone four years without upending Hopkins for the first time since a drought from 1977 to 1986.

“I was concerned how we would come out emotionally,” Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said. “It’s a tough season on you emotionally, and I thought our guys handled it well.”

The Terps fell to .500 this late in the season for the first time since sporting a 5-5 mark in 1994. That year, the Terps wound up 7-6 after a first round loss in the NCAA tournament, a fate that seems more and more likely for a team viewed in the preseason as a top-five team and a final four contender.

Maryland heads to Fairfield (8-2) next week in a game few would have envisioned as pivotal to the Terps’ postseason hopes. The Terps then play either No. 2 Duke or No. 3 Virginia in the ACC tournament at Baltimore’s M&T; Bank Stadium before finishing at Penn (1-9) on May 8. Maryland needs two more victories to become tournament eligible, further diminishing the Terps’ margin of error.

“At this point, it’s not even more pressure,” Healy said. “It’s ‘Do you want to embarrass Maryland as an institution and all the players who have played here before?’ We have enough talent, and we’ve worked hard enough to get where we want to get. We can still get in the tournament, and we can still excel.

“You don’t win a championship in April, but we need to lay down the line and say we’re not losing any more games, we’re winning out and we’re getting in the tournament.”

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