Before the opening faceoff today, the 7,000 fans in sun-soaked Scott Stadium heard the following over the public-address system: "Tickets are on sale for May 28, the final of the NCAA Lacrosse Tournament here, between the University of Virginia and a team to be designated later."
By the game's end, the Cavaliers, like the male sunbathers, had lost their shirts, as well as any reasonable chance of an appearance in the championship game they will host. Unbeaten Maryland destroyed the Cavaliers, 22-12.
Virginia tried everything, even an 11-man lineup late in the second period. Nothing worked, as the Terrapins raced through and around the Virginia defense for easy scores.
Maryland coach Buddy Beardmore said of his midfielders: "They ran today. They'd better. If they don't run, they know there's somebody waiting on the bench who will."
Twice Maryland notched goals 12 seconds apart. Two others were separated by 14 seconds, another pair by 20. In five games, the Terrapins have collected 13 goals within 20 seconds of a faceoff.
Freshmen Bob Boneillo and Pete Worstell each scored four times for the Terrapins. Boneillo added two assists, while fellow attackman Mike Hynes collected six. Boneillo and Hynes simply stood on either side of the goal and fed unimpeded playmates charging toward Virginia netminder Cam MacLachlan, deserted like a guy who'd been robbed of his deodorant.
Worstell, a crease attackman in high school, raced past weary Cavaliers all day as the most untiring of those workmanlike Maryland mid-fielders. Beardmore wasn't far off when he said, "Pete runs like a deer."
While Virginia fans chanted "Pocock" to lift the spirits of their faceoff specialist, Maryland's Bob Ott and Lance Kohler captured 29 of 37 exchanges. Ott took one faceoff and 12 seconds later was firing the ball into the Virginia net.
While MacLachlan was stopping 17 shots before departing -- sub Bo Manson added five saves -- Maryland's Jake Reed was blocking 19, many of them difficult. The most startling stop came in the fourth period when the 5-foot-7 Reed leaped forward and batted the ball from the stick of 6-5 Bruce Barker heading goalward without a defenseman in sight.
"Jake played one of his best games ever at Maryland," Beardmore said, "and it was against a very potent offense."
The difference in the offenses, though, can be seen in the assists. Virginia had four, Maryland 14. A team that can run all day and still fire pinpoint passes will take some beating, No. 3 ranking or not.
"There's added pressure when you are No. 1." Beardmore sadid. "We don't mind being No. 3 right now. It doesn't count until they're making the NCAA pairings."
By winning, Maryland captured the Atlantic Coast Conference title for the fifth time in six years. But clearly, the Terrapins are looking farther ahead, to May 28 in Scott Stadium.