FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Senior Drew Snider scored four goals to lead the Maryland men’s lacrosse team to it’s second straight NCAA title game with a 16-10 victory over No. 3 seed Duke in the semifinals Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium.
The Terps (12-5) will play No. 1 seed Loyola on Mon., May 28 at 1 p.m. for the NCAA championship. The Greyhounds advanced to the title game with a 7-5 victory over No. 4 seed Notre Dame in the first semifinal. The Blue Devils finish their season with a 15-5 record.
After a rocky start for both teams that saw the first five possessions of the game end in turnovers, Maryland got on the board first when junior Kevin Cooper skipped a cross-crease pass to junior Billy Gribbin and Gribbin one-timed the ball past Duke goalie Dan Wigrizer with 10:28 to play in the first.
Gribbin then gave the Terps a 2-0 lead at the 3:11 to go in the first when senior Joe Cummings found him open on the crease for an easy score.
The lead grew to 3-0 a minute later when freshman Kevin Forster came around the left side of the Duke goal and hit a running jumper with 2:12 to go. It was Forster’s first goal since the Terps’ season opener on Feb. 18 vs. Hartford.
The Blue Devils wouldn’t let the first quarter go without making a run and goals by Josh Dionne and Rob Rotanz in the final 1:30 made it a 3-2 Terrapin lead going into the second.
The Terps’ EMO unit took advantage of the opportunity with junior John Haus skipping a pass to redshirt sophomore Mike Chanenchuk in the top right slot and Chanenchuk ripped a laser into the top left corner to give Maryland a 4-2 lead 32 seconds into the second.
The lead would be trimmed back to one on the ensuing faceoff. Two Terps got tangled up going for the groundball, which allowed Duke’s CJ Costabile to come down the middle and he hit a bouncer at the 14:19 mark.
Cooper upped the lead back to two when he worked a perfect pick-and-slip with Forster on the left side of the goal. Cooper got off a quick shot that beat Wigrizer to the far post, making it 5-3 with 13:05 to go in the second.
Another brilliant pass from Cummings to junior Owen Blye on the left side of the crease gave Blye a one-on-one with Wigrizer and the Blue Devil goalie couldn’t keep up with the fakes and Blye scored with 10:26 to go in the second to up the lead back to three, 6-3.
It looked like Blye scored again around the 6:00 mark, but the officials waived it off, calling that Blye stepped on the crease line before the ball went in the goal.
Duke cut it back to a two-goal deficit with a put-back goal by Christian Walsh at the 3:13 mark. Sophomore goalie Niko Amato made a spectacular one-on-one save, stoning Dionne, but the rebound went right to Walsh.
Amato made another big save on the Blue Devils’ next possession to give Maryland one more crack at the Duke goal before the end of the half. Cummings made that possession pay off when he ran the clock down to under 20 seconds before making his move. He didn’t get to the goal, however, but he slipped a pass to Snider on the crease for a one-timer and a 7-4 Terrapin lead going into halftime.
Maryland started the second half a man-down after junior Jesse Bernhardt was called for a trip on Costabile on the ensuing faceoff.
But, the extra-man chance came to an end thanks to two huge stops by Amato, who first stuffed Rotanz and then saved the rebound effort by Dionne.
Snider then completed his third hat trick in as many NCAA tournament games this season, scoring twice from the left alley to put the Terps up 9-4 with 7:20 to go in the third.
Duke then got back-to-back goals from Justin Turri and Josh Offit to trim the Terrapin lead back to three at 9-6 with 3:58 left in the quarter.
Maryland pushed the lead back to four at the 2:58 mark when Gribbin found Haus open in front of the goal and Haus snapped off a quick shot that found the net for the 10-6 Terrapin lead.
Turri netted his second score of the third with 2:20 to go to make it a 10-7 Maryland lead going into the fourth.
Duke scored 1:26 into the final period to make it a two-goal game on a transition goal by Rotanz.
But Maryland scored the next six to put the game away for good.
Snider started the run with his fourth of the day with a fantastic individual effort. He started with a dodge down the left wing, but was forced to roll back to the front of the cage and somehow found some space to finish into the top right corner.
Blye made it a 12-8 game with 10:04 to play with another dodge to the front of the crease. Unlike his earlier effort, he stayed off the line this time and connected on a high-bouncer under the crossbar.
The run continued with Cummings scoring his first of the day off a feed from Cooper, who found Cummings cutting across the crease and Cummings hit a turn-around with 9:10 left on the clock to make it 13-8.
Blye then scored his third of the game off of a feed from Cooper to push it to 14-8 with 6:01 to play.
The six-goal lead allowed the Terrapins some flexibility in the final minutes and Forster and sophomore Sean McGuire finished off the scoring for Maryland.
Andrew Vekstein and Eddie Loftus scored the final two goals for the Blue Devils.
Maryland dominated possession in large part because of the play of junior Curtis Holmes at the faceoff X. Holmes won 12-of-21 faceoffs with six groundballs.
• With today’s 16-10 win, Maryland is now 60-20 all-time vs. Duke.
• The Terps are now 3-2 all-time vs. the Blue Devils in the NCAA tournament and 2-1 in the semifinals.
• Maryland is now 11-10 all-time in the semifinals of the NCAA tournament.
• With four points on one goal and three assists, senior Joe Cummings now has 31 multi-point and five multi-assist games for his career.
• The four points gives Cummings 115 for his career, which moves him into 30th on the all-time points list.
• With four points on four goals, senior Drew Snider now has six hat tricks, 17 multi-point and 12 multi-goal games for his career.
• With three points on three goals, junior Owen Blye now has four hat tricks, 22 multi-point and 12 multi-goal games for his career.
• With two points on a goal and an assist, junior John Haus now has 19 multi-point games for his career.
• With five points on one goal and four assists, junior Kevin Cooper now has 11 multi-point and six multi-assist games for his career.
• With three points on two goals and an assist, junior Billy Gribbin has nine multi-point and seven multi-goal games for his Maryland career.