- The Washington Times - Monday, April 22, 2002

DURHAM, N.C. Throughout this season, top-ranked and top-seeded Virginia has waited until the fourth quarter to put away its opponents. Yesterday, against a Duke team playing on its home field for the ACC men's lacrosse championship, the Cavaliers played uncharacteristically poor down the stretch, and it cost them their third tournament title in four years.
Second-seeded Duke scored two goals in the final 2:12 to claim its second straight ACC championship 14-13 over Virginia before 4,106 at Koskinen Stadium.
Virginia (9-2) has grown accustomed to sophomore goalie Tillman Johnson (12 saves) playing at an elite level down the stretch. Virginia held a 13-12 advantage with 4:56 remaining after John Christmas' third goal, but the Cavaliers could not preserve the win. Terrence Keaney beat Johnson on an 8-yard shot to tie the score at 13-13 with 2:12 to play, then Keaney scored with 39 seconds left to win the game for the 11th-ranked Blue Devils.
"We struggled to make plays and were tentative all day," said Virginia coach Dom Starsia, whose team was riding an eight-game winning streak. "The thing that broke my heart was Keaney's shot on the 13th goal. Tillman saves that ball 99 and a half times out of 100. Tillman's the best. He's won 100 games for us. We score the winning goal, we get down and we're playing pretty good defense. We give up a shot that, if you had a choice, you say OK, take that one, and it gets in somehow."
The game-winner resulted from miscommunication by the Cavaliers on defense. Keaney took defender Nick Russo behind the cage and attacked the net. He got a step on Russo, and a slide never came. Keaney leaped and fired from the doorstep of the crease for an unchallenged goal. Virginia's defense played without All-American Mark Koontz, who came out after Duke's first goal and played just half a quarter after reinjuring his torn left ACL.
"You could almost see it coming," Virginia attackman Conor Gill said. "We haven't been as sharp all over the field [in recent weeks], and we've been kind of getting away with it. [Yesterday] came back and bit us."
Eleventh-ranked Duke (7-5) now merits consideration for an at-large NCAA tournament bid. It has beaten Maryland twice, No. 12 Yale and Virginia, which is a postseason lock. If they Blue Devils win at No. 10 Hofstra next week, they should get a berth. Duke's victory yesterday also leaves the Terrapins' playoff hopes in doubt.
Duke got a stellar effort from goalie A.J. Kincel, who followed up his 21-save semifinal performance with 15 saves yesterday. Jimmy Regan scored a career-high four goals, and Alex Lieske added three for the Blue Devils. Billy Glading, A.J. Shannon, and Joe Yevoli each had two goals for Virginia.

N. Carolina 11, Maryland 10
The Terps' bid for their fourth-straight ACC tournament title came up short in the final minute yesterday before 801 at Koskinen Stadium.
The fourth-seeded Terps (9-7) cut a four-goal second-half deficit to one with 46 seconds remaining on a goal by Kelly Coppedge. The second-seeded Tar Heels (13-2) fouled the Terrapins on the ensuing draw, and Maryland was awarded possession and had a 2-on-1 break. But the Terps could not get a shot off in the final moments.
Twelfth-ranked Maryland got the ball to its best player, Courtney Hobbs, but Carolina's Meghan Kelly checked it away with 25 seconds left. The fourth-ranked Tar Heels ran out the clock to secure the win.
"Their team played great defense in the clutch," said Coppedge, who led the Terps with three goals.
Carolina, which was paced by Christine McPike's five goals, led 8-4 at halftime and 10-6 with a little more than 15 minutes to play before Maryland mounted its comeback. Maryland cut the lead to 11-9 with 1:09 remaining and won the draw to set up Coppedge's last goal.
The Terps' seven losses equaled their combined total of the past eight years. But Maryland played well here this weekend, and coach Cindy Timchal, whose Terps have won the last seven national championships, plans on her team being ready to defend its titles in the upcoming NCAA tournament.
"Certainly we would've liked to come home with the trophy," said Timchal, whose team has dropped three one-goal games. "We'll see in the future. With all these losses, down the road we'll pull out the close games."

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