- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 21, 2002

DURHAM, N.C. Moments after Duke's Matt Rewkowski scored the overtime game-winner against Maryland in the ACC men's lacrosse semifinals here late Friday night, the third-seeded Terrapins fell to the ground almost in unison.
Maryland's third overtime and fourth one-goal defeat of the season brought the realization that the sixth-ranked Terps might not make the 12-team NCAA tournament.
Maryland will have to close the regular season with victories against No.12 Yale and UMBC, then hope it did enough to gain one of the six at-large bids. The Terps' best wins are against North Carolina and Towson, two teams that will not go to the postseason.
With Virginia, Syracuse and Johns Hopkins all seemingly assured at-large bids, second-seeded Duke stepped forward for one of the final three spots. At just 6-5, Duke can make a case for a berth if it beats top-ranked and top-seeded Virginia today to take its second consecutive ACC championship and then wins at No.10 Hofstra next week.
But the at-large bids will be thrown into chaos if Fairfield can win its conference, the Great Western Lacrosse League. Under NCAA rules, one team from the West must be invited to play in the postseason. That normally goes to the GWLL winner (Notre Dame last year), but because Fairfield is in Connecticut, two teams from that inferior conference will go to the NCAAs if Fairfield wins out, beginning with today's critical game at Notre Dame.
That would drop the at-large bids to five. The Terps will watch carefully the final games played by Cornell, Georgetown, Loyola, Duke and Hofstra teams that have won bigger games than Maryland (but also endured worse losses) and have the capability of gaining an at-large bid.
"I have no idea in terms of the tournament," said Maryland coach Dave Cottle, who said last week he thought his team would have to win the ACC tournament to get a berth.

Duke badly needs win
Second-seeded Duke needs this game much more than the nation's best team, Virginia, in terms of the NCAAs, and will have the home-field advantage at Koskinen Stadium.
But if Virginia (9-1) plays the way it has during its eight-game winning streak, Duke might have no chance. The Cavaliers dominated both ends of the field in their 10-3 semifinal victory over Carolina and finished like a heavyweight champion.
As they have all season, the Cavaliers waited until the fourth quarter to put away the Tar Heels, who were down by three goals entering the period. Earlier, Virginia beat Towson by five and Johns Hopkins by six after entering the final quarter tied. Virginia also beat Duke 15-10 last week after leading 11-10 in the fourth.
"I'm at a loss to explain why it's happening," said Virginia coach Dom Starsia, whose teams have been criticized in years past for folding in the fourth quarter. "Certainly, though, it's a characteristic of this team, and a thing like that begins to take on a life of its own. I think these guys believe if we're in the game in the second half, then we have a chance because we're going to play hard in the fourth quarter. It's certainly been the time we've played our best lacrosse since the first day."
Virginia got multiple goals from four players and goalie Tillman Johnson anchored an inspired defense with 14 saves against North Carolina. Duke must rely heavily on goalie A.J. Kincel, who played his career-best game against the Terps with 21 saves, including eight in the third quarter. He will have to outplay Johnson, the ACC's goalie of the year.

Maryland women primed
After a disappointing regular season with no conference victories, fourth-seeded Maryland will play for the ACC women's championship for the fourth straight year today.
Twelfth-ranked Maryland (9-6) has won the last three ACC titles and the last seven NCAA championships. The Terrapins' opponent at Koskinen Stadium is second-seeded and fourth-ranked North Carolina (12-2), which beat the Terps 13-11 in the first weekend of the season.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide