- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 28, 2007

DURHAM, N.C. — A lingering injury kept Ben Rubeor out of Virginia’s starting lineup. It didn’t prevent him from making an impact in the Cavaliers’ ACC tournament semifinal.

The junior attackman scored three goals as second-seeded Virginia fended off third-seeded Maryland 11-10 before 6,648 at Koskinen Stadium to earn a spot in tomorrow’s title game against Duke, which defeated North Carolina 13-9 in the second semifinal.

It was also the latest harrowing escape for the Cavaliers (12-2), whose last three victories have come by a goal.

“We’re happy with a win any time we can get it, but unfortunately that question has been asked too much this season,” Rubeor said. “We haven’t taken care of things, we haven’t been sharp enough, we haven’t played sharp enough. We’ve been lucky enough and played hard enough to come out on top, but I don’t think we’re satisfied with that.”

Dan Groot scored a career-high four goals and senior goalie Harry Alford made nine saves in his first start of the season for the Terrapins (9-5), who went 8-for-25 on faceoffs.

The decision to start Alford, who missed the first seven games after offseason shoulder surgery, was an intriguing one. Brian Phipps, the ACC freshman of the year, owns a .591 save percentage, but Alford possesses two years of starting experience and a solid record in the ACC tournament.

“He’s a senior and he’s been playing better in practice,” Maryland coach Dave Cottle said. “We were going back and forth and Brian Phipps came up to me and said ‘I really think Harry should start.’ When the other kid does that, it makes it pretty simple.”

The shifty Rubeor, who said a kneecap has popped out a few times to create some short-term pain, didn’t play for nearly seven minutes and was quiet for nearly the rest of the first quarter. His most notable play was a pushing penalty on Maryland defenseman Ray Megill, which set up an extra-man goal and a 4-1 lead for the Terps.

Megill barely played thereafter with a concussion, and Rubeor soon established himself. He came around cage for a goal on the next possession, then slipped one in off a quick restart. Rubeor also delivered a go-ahead goal in the second quarter.

The Cavaliers asphyxiated Maryland for much of the second half, holding the Terps scoreless for a stretch of more than 26 minutes while building a four-goal lead. But Maryland rattled off a 4-1 run that featured a pair of extra-man goals by Groot to pull within 11-10 with 1:21 left.

The Terps won the ensuing faceoff and went up a man when Virginia’s Adam Fassnacht was called for holding.

Groot tried to tie it with 49 seconds left, but Kip Turner (nine saves) turned it back and then helped convert a clear to clinch the victory.

“It was a second good win — you beat Maryland twice in the same season, that says a little something,” said Virginia coach Dom Starsia, whose team surrendered 10 goals for the first time since its season-opener. “We’re pleased to come away even at 11-10.”

The Terps, meanwhile, showed improvement from a 12-8 loss to Virginia last month, leaving another hint they could prove to be a tough draw in next month’s NCAA tournament.

“I think Maryland’s getting a lot better and now we have to find a way to win some games,” Cottle said. “I think we’ll be playing our best lacrosse at the end of the year.”

PATRIOT LEAGUE

No. 11 Navy 12, Army 1

ANNAPOLIS — The Midshipmen (10-3) scored the first seven goals in a rout of the Black Knights (6-7) in the Patriot League semifinals.

The Mids defeated Army for the 13th straight time and matched the largest margin of victory in the series.

They will meet Colgate, an 11-10 winner over Bucknell, in tomorrow’s title game.


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