- The Washington Times - Monday, May 14, 2007

A door to a fourth final four trip in five years seemed to open for the Maryland lacrosse team when possible quarterfinal opponent and defending national champion Virginia lost yesterday.

Maryland-Baltimore County emphatically slammed it shut last night.

The seventh-seeded Terrapins limped out of the postseason with a 13-9 loss to the Retrievers before 2,200 at Byrd Stadium, their first exit in the first round since 1994

“It’s real disappointing to lose on your home field,” senior defenseman Ray Megill said. “They played outstanding. I just don’t think we executed as well as we should have.”

That wasn’t an issue for the Retrievers (11-5), who won a Division I tournament game for the first time in four appearances and snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Terps (10-6).

Jeremy Blevins made a career-high 18 saves, and Cayle Ratcliffe scored four times for UMBC to set up an improbable quarterfinal meeting of unseeded teams with Delaware on Sunday in Annapolis.

“We believed we were one of the teams that should have been invited to this tournament, and tonight we proved it,” said UMBC coach Don Zimmerman, who earned his first NCAA victory since 1989, when he was at Johns Hopkins.

The Retrievers deciphered Maryland’s Harry Alford with ease, peppering the goalie from all over the field and sending several shot deflections right back at the senior. Alford surrendered five goals and stopped just one shot in the second quarter as UMBC surged to a 7-5 lead.

It was only the third start of the season for Alford (10 saves), who missed the first month after offseason shoulder surgery and sat behind freshman Brian Phipps for another month. Despite Phipps’ solid play, Maryland coach Dave Cottle said he did not consider yanking Alford.

“If it was one thing we could have put our finger on, we would have made the switch,” Cottle said. “They had 10 saves, and we had four, but I thought where they were getting the shots from was unfair to him, and by doing that, I just didn’t feel comfortable with that.”

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