- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 15, 2005

Parity will have to wait another day for its poster child.

Third-seeded Maryland made sure it didn’t become the symbol of competitive balance in Division I lacrosse, withstanding a two-hour pregame rain delay before rallying past Penn State 14-10 last night before 1,918 at Byrd Stadium.

The Terrapins (10-5) will meet the winner of today’s Georgetown-Army game next Sunday in a quarterfinal in Princeton, N.J.

Joe Walters had three goals and an assist and Xander Ritz matched a career-high with three goals as Maryland advanced to the quarterfinals for the fifth time in six years.

The Terps didn’t enjoy a lopsided postseason opener like fellow top-four seeds Johns Hopkins, Duke and Virginia did yesterday and in fact were at risk of an upset until well into the third quarter. Nonetheless, the Terps copied the same formula that led them to an ACC tournament title: efficient shooting, a hot hand on faceoffs and a defense capable of shutting down opponents for long stretches.

After falling behind 7-6 in the third quarter, the Terps cobbled together back-to-back goals before Penn State’s Gil Pearsall tied it again. Maryland then erupted for four goals in just more than three minutes, Ritz capping the rally with 27 seconds left in the quarter to give Maryland a 12-8 lead.

Even more damaging for Penn State was midfielder Marc Young’s three-minute penalty for an illegal stick at the start of the fourth quarter. Though the Terps managed only one shot during the extra-man opportunity, the Nittany Lions still lost valuable time in their hopes for a comeback.

Although Will Jones managed to trim Maryland’s margin to 12-9 with 10:59 left, the Terps suffocated the Nittany Lions with defensive pressure and a clock-killing offensive philosophy. Walters scored twice in the fourth quarter to put Penn State away.

The Nittany Lions (9-6) were just as much a pain for the Terps as they were a week ago, when they defeated Georgetown in overtime to clinch their spot in the 16-team field. Penn State entered with a seven-game winning streak and after the teams waited out a delay of nearly two hours because of heavy thunderstorms in the area, the Nittany Lions played the part of the streaking upstart perfectly while taking a 6-5 halftime lead.

Maryland’s depth and crisp passing eventually did in the Nittany Lions, as well as junior David Tamberrino’s success on faceoffs in the second half. Maryland coach Dave Cottle rotated Tamberrino, Thomas Alford and Will Dalton in pursuit of a hot hand, but Penn State won nine of 13 first-half draws. That changed when Tamberrino took all but one of the faceoffs in the second half to help the Terps held an 9-5 edge.

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