- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 15, 2007

A steady drenching at times reduced college lacrosse’s greatest rivalry to an unmitigated mess last night.

Nevertheless, Paul Rabil provided a rousing finish worthy of the Johns Hopkins-Maryland rivalry.

Rabil drilled a 10-yard shot down the left side in overtime, lifting No. 10 Hopkins to an 8-7 victory at dreary Byrd Stadium.

Kevin Huntley scored three goals and Austin Walker added two as the Blue Jays (5-4) snapped a three-game losing streak, their longest since 1990, while fending off the Terrapins (8-4) in the 103rd meeting between the schools.

It is a bit of history Rabil and the Blue Jays were well aware of, even going so far as to memorize facts about the rivalry in the days leading into the trip to College Park.

“This is the biggest game on our schedule and the biggest game in lacrosse every year, year in and year out,” said Rabil, who quickly rattled off Hopkins’ 65-37-1 lead in the series.

That figure could have been quite different had Maryland received an extra break in an often uneven game before 5,121, many huddled beneath an upper deck overhang.

No. 7 Maryland had a chance to score in overtime. After the Terps forced a turnover, long pole Ryan Clarke shot just wide while falling down and Hopkins goalie Jesse Schwartzman covered as the ball zipped out of bounds.

Maryland never got possession again.

“I tried to get timeout. I wish I would have said timeout quicker,” Maryland coach Dave Cottle said. “I tried. I just couldn’t take a timeout.”

The Terps erased a 7-5 deficit in the fourth quarter, receiving a score from Jeremy Sieverts before Chris Feifs stuck his third goal past Schwartzman with 7:07 left. Hopkins, though, had the final chance to score, but Maryland goalie Brian Phipps stopped Stephen Peyser’s transition attempt in the closing seconds.

That came after an ugly first half when Maryland had 10 turnovers and 10 shots and trailed 4-2 at the break. The Terps scored the first three goals of the second half, but were still snakebit with turnovers and shaky decision-making in the already sub-optimal conditions.

“We had a lot of mental errors,” Maryland attackman Michael Phipps said. “We threw the ball a lot, a lot of unforced turnovers, and that’s what we’ve been harping on all week. We just had too many turnovers.”

It was a game that left both coaches feeling better about the near-future and perhaps vindicated for how their respective seasons have unfolded so far.

Hopkins was in danger of falling under .500 after nine games for the first time since 1971, its last losing season. Instead, it collected its best victory in more than a month and prevented the Terps from winning back-to-back games in the series for the first time since 1995-96.

“We’re still not out of the woods and we still need to continue to get better, but I thought what we did was we grew up a little bit,” said Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala, who collected his 100th career victory.

“You guys gave us a lot of motivation when you said our season was done. Our guys were pretty excited to play and prove a lot of people wrong tonight.”

Maryland, meanwhile, overcame an injury to defensive midfielder Jimmy Borell by mixing and matching defensemen to contain Hopkins’ talented offense for much of the night. It wasn’t enough to provide a boost to the Terps’ postseason resume, but it was a hint Maryland won’t go out meekly in next month’s NCAA tournament.

“A lot of people wrote us off before the beginning of this season, that we couldn’t play with the big guys,” Cottle said. “Today, we were in position to win a game. We just didn’t win it.”

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