- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 18, 2003

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Danny McCormick’s preseason trip to the Carrier Dome paid off for Maryland in yesterday’s NCAA tournament quarterfinals.

The Terrapins goalie made 15 saves, defenseman Lee Zink shut down another top scorer and senior midfielder Mike Mollot had four goals and an assist as third-seeded Maryland defeated Massachusetts 13-7 in perhaps its most impressive performance this season.

Maryland (12-3), which advanced to its first final four since 1998, will play the winner of today’s Georgetown-Virginia game Saturday at M&T; Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

“As much respect as we have for UMass, we thought we had some situations where we could win some matchups,” Maryland coach Dave Cottle said. “That’s one of the things we looked forward to, that if our defensemen could win some of these matchups or break even, then we could hold them to less than 10. We felt if we held them to less than 10 we’d win.”

Figuring the Terps could be sent north for the quarterfinals, Cottle scheduled a February scrimmage against Syracuse to acclimate his players to the nuances of playing in the Dome. It paid off for McCormick, who overcame a backdrop of gray walls and silver bleachers to stop several shots from close range and hold the potent Minutemen (13-3) to their lowest scoring output in 48 games.

“This is a huge stadium,” McCormick said. “Coming up here earlier was a great thing. We played a team with a similar offense to UMass. It was good to get used to, especially as a goalie, knowing what you have to do to get ready to see the ball in this place.”

Zink clamped down Massachusetts attackman Jeff Zywicki (team-high 41 goals) to help anchor another impressive defensive effort. Zink has defended an opponent’s leading scorer for four straight games, and none has scored or had an assist.

“It wasn’t anything big. I was lucky that they forced it into him a couple times and he got the shot off, but [McCormick] came up with the saves,” said Zink, part of a defense that allowed 42 goals in its last seven games.

Maryland defenseman Chris Passavia shut out Kevin Leveille (34 goals), while Michael Howley held Chris Fiore (35 goals) to a goal and an assist.

Maryland, which is 6-0 on artificial turf this season, seemed a step faster than usual on the Dome’s carpet. The Terps’ offense was efficient, scoring on 13 of 37 shots, and the team’s transition game flourished against a Massachusetts team that favors a run-and-gun style.

“I used to coach at a school that had only turf, and we always learned that if you practice on grass and go to turf you get quicker,” Cottle said. “We worked on grass some this week, and all year we’ve worked on grass. We’re 6-0 on turf this year, and I told our coaches and our players that our numbers go up offensively when we play on AstroTurf.”

Buoyed by their depth in the midfield, the Terps pulled away from Massachusetts after holding a 6-4 lead at halftime. Both teams scored in the first six minutes of the third quarter before midfielder Ryan Moran got his second goal with 4:33 left in the period. Attackman Brian Hunt scored twice late in the quarter to make it 10-5.

Freshman Bill McGlone, who runs on the Terps’ third midfield line, scored early in the fourth to extend the lead to six. Mollot tacked on two late goals, including a behind-the-back shot to close the scoring.

The Minutemen became visibly frustrated in the final quarter, committing eight penalties in the last 8:36.

Massachusetts darted to a 2-0 lead in the first three minutes, and Zywicki had a chance to score off the following faceoff. However, McCormick stuffed him, and Maryland then scored the next three goals.

“He had 11 saves in the first half,” Massachusetts coach Greg Cannella said. “I’m not sure if it’s a confidence thing, but we kept coming back at him, and he kept making saves.”

Mollot took control at the offensive end in the second quarter, scoring a wraparound goal with 5:19 left to give the Terps a 4-3 lead. The Terps won the next faceoff, and Mollot orchestrated the possession, setting up Joe Walters’ goal from 8 yards out.

Although none of the Terps has played in a final four, they seemed unsatisfied to merely reach that point after yesterday’s victory.

“It’s not good enough,” Mollot said. “We’re trying to win this thing. We don’t care about making it to the final four. We want to win this thing.”

But then Cottle, who hasn’t been to a final four in five years, said with a smile, “It does feel good to be playing next weekend.”

Notes — Cottle, who took Loyola to the final four in 1990 and 1998, became the third coach to lead at least two schools to the semifinals. Jack Emmer (Cortland State, Washington & Lee and Army) and Tony Seaman (Penn, Johns Hopkins and Towson) are the others. … Massachusetts is 0-9 in NCAA quarterfinals, and its 15 tournament appearances are the most without a trip to the final four.

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