Cavs, Navy, U-Md. Fall in First Round

By Rich Campbell
Special to The Washington Post
Monday, May 14, 2007

Max Ritz hopped up and down in frustration and put his face in his hands in disbelief. The seventh-seeded Maryland men's lacrosse team was enduring a cruel end to its season in a 13-9 loss to unseeded UMBC in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Byrd Stadium last night, and this particular indignation was just too harsh for the Terrapins' attackman to grasp.

Maryland trailed by three in the second half when Ritz intercepted a pass from UMBC goalie Jeremy Blevins. The only things between Ritz and the goal were Blevins and 20 yards of turf, so Ritz lobbed a shot he hoped would sail over Blevins and bounce softly into the goal. Instead, it floated two inches over the crossbar.

Maryland (10-6) had a scoreless drought of 23 minutes 14 seconds that spanned from late in the second quarter to the early fourth.

The Retrievers (11-5) won for the first time in four NCAA tournament games and avenged their regular season loss to Maryland, an 11-7 defeat on March 17.

Maryland's loss was especially bitter because second-seeded Virginia was upset earlier yesterday by Delaware. Had the Terrapins won, they would have played the unseeded Blue Hens next Sunday in Annapolis with a Final Four berth at stake.

Instead, a quarterfinal matchup between UMBC and Delaware ensures an unseeded team will play in the Final Four for the second straight season.

The Retrievers' dangerous trio of attackmen -- Drew Westervelt, Cayle Ratcliffe and Andy Gallagher -- tormented Maryland goalie Harry Alford all game. Those three, who accounted for 100 goals during the regular season, combined for eight goals last night.

Maryland used both short- and long-stick defenders to attempt to slow Ratcliffe, but neither was effective. After Ratcliffe scored his fourth goal, which made the score 13-8 with 6:28 to play, he sprinted toward UMBC's bench with his arms raised in jubilation.

Meantime, Blevins (18 saves) was outstanding in goal for UMBC. He settled down after surrendering three unanswered goals to start the game. His eight saves in the second quarter -- compared to Alford's one -- helped UMBC turn a 3-2 deficit at the start of the second quarter into a 7-5 halftime lead.

With each second-half goal, the excited Retrievers jumped up and down, sensing the upset. Just a few feet away on the sideline, Maryland's players stood dazed as chants of "U-M-B-C" filled their home stadium.

ยท DELAWARE 14, VIRGINIA 8: The Blue Hens (12-5) scored seven straight goals in the second half and defeated the defending national champions before 2,328 at Klockner Stadium in Charlottesville. Senior Alex Smith entered with an NCAA record for career faceoff wins and faceoff winning percentage in a season, and he won 18 of 26 (69 percent) against the Cavaliers (12-4).

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