- The Washington Times - Friday, May 27, 2005

PHILADELPHIA — When top-seeded Johns Hopkins and fourth-seeded Virginia met for the first time this season, the programs were ranked 1-2 and one of the season’s best games was anticipated.

Instead, neither team played especially well, with Hopkins salvaging a 9-7 victory over the Cavaliers. The two meet again this afternoon in the second NCAA men’s tournament semifinal at Lincoln Financial Field with Hopkins sporting a 14-0 record to Virginia’s 11-3.

“From that game, we have to take that you have to play 60 minutes,” Hopkins midfielder Kyle Harrison said. “We didn’t play 60 minutes and we won. Virginia is a team that if you don’t play 60 minutes, they’re going to get you. That’s not going to happen again. History isn’t repeating itself.”

The sometimes sloppy play in the teams’ first game might have been a byproduct of an early season meeting. Both teams have been crisper in recent weeks, and a trip to the title game is worth far more than the No.1 ranking entering April.

“This matchup raises the stakes for everyone, so I think you’re going to get a higher level of intensity and focus,” Virginia coach Dom Starsia said. “These games at this level are not always a work of art — and to be perfectly honest, I couldn’t care less. All I care about right now is that we’re on the other end of the score, and I don’t care what it looks like.”

The Cavaliers’ primary problem in the first meeting was impatient shooting. Hopkins goalie Jesse Schwartzman made 20 saves, but he received a lot of help from a Virginia offense unwilling to develop its scoring opportunities.

Devils still have ‘D’

Duke’s reputation long has been as a physical, defense-oriented group capable of grinding out close games.

So even as the second-seeded Blue Devils (16-2) have rolled up impressive offensive numbers, they still have a talented — and perhaps underrated — defense to fall back on, one anchored by possible goalie of the year Aaron Fenton.

“You get to this point, you have to win on defense,” Duke coach Mike Pressler said. “You have to be able to stop people. If you can’t stop people, it’s going to be an early exit.”

Maryland (11-5) split its two games with the Blue Devils, but the Terrapins didn’t crack the 10-goal mark either time.

“I think Duke’s a solid defensive unit,” Maryland attackman Joe Walters said. “They play very smart together and hustle all over the field. On offense, we’re going to have to play smart ourselves and take smart shots.”

Healy’s hairy situation

Maryland’s Ian Healy might be trying to give Boston Red Sox outfielder Johnny Damon a run for his money.

The fifth-year senior hasn’t shaved since the Terps’ 9-6 victory over Fairfield on April 23 so as not to jinx the team. That victory started the six-game winning streak Maryland brings into the final four, where the Terps hope to end a 30-year title drought.

“Every superstition I can come up with, I’m going to operate with,” said the scraggly Healy, a recent Phi Beta Kappa selection who runs on the Terps’ second midfield line. “Put the same shoe on first, don’t shave, same socks. One more week of it and then we’re done.”

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