- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 26, 2012

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Duke coach John Danowski couldn’t explain it. Truth be told, his counterpart at Maryland, John Tillman, couldn’t either.

The explosive Duke offense couldn’t produce when it mattered. Its swarming defense evaporated as a steamy New England afternoon gave way to evening. And Maryland couldn’t stop scoring.

And scoring.

And scoring.

“Sometimes things go your way,” Tillman said. “You have one of those days, and that’s part of it. I do think our guys seized the moment.”

That’s one way to describe Maryland’s 16-10 evisceration of third-seeded Duke in the NCAA tournament semifinals before 31,774 at Gillette Stadium. The Terps made 16 of 29 shots en route to their second straight appearance in the national title game. They’ll face top-seeded Loyola (17-1) in Monday’s title game.

“If you can shoot that kind of percentage, you have a pretty good shot at it,” long pole Jesse Bernhardt said in a bit of an understatement.

Drew Snider scored four goals for the unseeded Terps (12-5), becoming the first Maryland player with three hat tricks in a postseason since Joe Walters in 2005.

The senior, who matched a career high for goals, had plenty of company from teammates enjoying their finest days in some time. Kevin Cooper doubled his career-best with four assists. Owen Blye had only his fourth career hat trick.

Then there was freshman Kevin Forster, who had one point all season and it came in the Feb. 18 opener. He had two goals and an assist against Duke.

For their part, the Blue Devils (15-5) lost to Maryland in the semifinals for the second consecutive season.

“They were better than us today,” Duke long pole CJ Costabile said. “They played all parts of the game offensively. Defensively, we couldn’t stop them.”

It was a glaring no-show for the Blue Devils, particularly a little more than a month after limiting Maryland to just five goals in an ACC semifinal victory. Duke blazed through much of April with a suffocating defense that at times seemed to have eight men on the field rather than six.

There were no such illusions Saturday. The Terps scored the first three goals. When Duke closed within 4-3, Maryland scored two more.

And when the Blue Devils’ offense finally materialized to cut the Terps’ lead from 9-4 to 10-8, Snider and Blye ignited a six-goal spurt to extinguish any doubt in the outcome.

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