- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 29, 2004

Maryland’s two key lacrosse transfers made instant impacts yesterday against Georgetown.

Goalie Tim McGinnis saved 13 shots, including five in the first quarter, and attackman Xander Ritz had three goals and four assists as the eighth-ranked Terrapins smoked the seventh-ranked Hoyas 14-5 before 2,743 at Harbin Field in the season opener for both.

It was the 11th straight season-opening victory for Maryland, which defeated a top 10 team by at least nine goals for the first time since a 19-8 thrashing of then-No.1 Loyola in the 1998 NCAA semifinals. The Terps reeled off nine straight goals en route to a 9-1 halftime lead.

“For all the scenarios that we planned for, we didn’t have a plan for that [halftime lead],” Maryland coach Dave Cottle said. “I thought it was going to be a low-scoring game.”

Maryland’s offense was filled with uncertainties after the departures of two starting attackmen and six of the team’s top seven midfielders, but it didn’t seem that way against the Hoyas. Ritz, who transferred from Delaware, fit in seamlessly with fellow sophomore Joe Walters (three goals).

The Terps’ midfield was nearly as impressive. The first line of Justin Smith (two goals), Bill McGlone (two goals and an assist) and Brendan Healy (a goal and an assist) was efficient, while Ian Healy and Michael Hartofilis also scored.

“It’s been something we’ve worked on so much in practice because it’s been such a question area for us,” Ritz said. “Our defense is so solid, so we focused a lot on stickwork in practice. From when we [scrimmaged] Loyola three weeks ago to now, our sticks have gotten better and we’re just more confident with the ball in our stick. Every time we’re on the field, whether it’s first, second, third or fourth midfield, we have six guys who are really confident.”

Georgetown also had questions on offense, but yesterday’s game yielded few answers. Junior Kevin Langtry had a goal and an assist, but attackman Neal Goldman and midfielder Walid Hajj — the Hoyas’ top two returning scorers — combined for only one assist. The youthful Hoyas defense had its share of problems, surrendering eight unassisted goals.

“We got a number of guys today who got baptism under fire a little bit,” Georgetown coach Dave Urick said. “They got a lesson learned the hard way what it takes to play at this level against a team that played very well.”

The Hoyas’ early troubles were caused in part by McGinnis, a graduate student who played his first three seasons at Division III Gettysburg. McGinnis absorbed a barrage of early shots but allowed only one goal in the first half.

Ritz tied it 1-1 with 2:13 left in the first quarter when he zipped a shot into the small space between the left pipe and Georgetown goalie Rich D’Andrea (14 saves). Walters faked out D’Andrea for an extra-man goal off Ritz’s feed less than a minute later to give the Terps the lead for good.

Even though the Hoyas won six of the eight faceoffs in the second quarter, the Terps controlled play. Maryland scored four unassisted goals in a span of less than four minutes to expand the lead to 6-1.

The Terps dominated despite the temporary loss of senior defenseman Chris Passavia, who sustained a sprained shoulder in the first quarter but returned in the second half. In the interim, senior Lee Zink led an effort that forced 25 Hoya turnovers.

It was the worst margin of defeat for the Hoyas since a 19-9 loss to Syracuse in the 2001 regular-season finale. It was also the first time Georgetown lost a season opener since 1995.

“There’s no easy ones on this schedule, and today was a good example,” Urick said. “We need to build off this. We need to take a long, hard look at ourselves and see what we can do to get better.”

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