Using the quick artificial turf to its advantage, Maryland's lacrosse team forced sixth-ranked Virginia into an uneven running game and downed the Cavahers, 15-10, in an NCAA tournament quarterfinal match yesterday.

The victory earns the third-ranked Terps a semifinal game Saturday at Johns Hopkins, winner over Hofstra, 20-8, yesterday.

Because of heavy rains, the game was mixed from Byrd Stadium to the football practice field. The Terrapins led throughout the contest, surviving a rather bizarre three-minute penalty for an illegal stick, in which the Cavs scored three goals to narrow the margin to 11-8 with about 12 minutes left.

Maryland, perturbed at the stick call, came back with three straight goals to put the game away.

Terry Kimball scored five goals and jumped three notches on the single-season goal list, moving to fifth place with 3-1. Bob Boneillo had five assists in the Terps' ninth win in 10 games.

Maryland took advantages of each of its six extra-man situations to score a goal, while the Cavs, down 5-3 in the second quarter, passed the ball around so much that they didn't get a shot off in a 51-round span when Maryland was down two men.

"They gave us some chances, and we took some pretty good shots, but they didn't go in," said Virginia Coach Jim Adams. "They were stronger than us physically. They rode through some of our checks. We weren't able to stop the things they were doing as well as w'd like."

Adams conceded that his team was tight in the first period when the Terps sped to a 5-1 lead, outshooting the Cavs, 13-5.

"The Astro-Turf played to our advantage," said Terp midfielder Barry Mitchell. "The only way for them to beat us was to try to slow it down, and they did it at the wrong time. That's the problem with a slow-down offense. When we were two men down, they didn't take a shot."

Maryland was up 11-5 going into the final period when the game was stopped to check Mitchell's stick, a manuever that drew insulting comments from the Terps' half of the sideline. The pocket of Mitchell's stick was judged to be too deep and the Terps were assessed a three-minute penalty, and the Cavs used it to score three goals.

"I thought it was bus league myself," said Mitchell. "It was raining. On a rainy day, everyone has a deep stick. I checked it before the game and it was fine. But for them, it was a good mose."

When the penalty ran out, the Terps led by only 11-8, but they scored three goals in the next two minutes to restore order. Mitchell got the first one alone and assisted Kimball on the second.

"It made me mad, so I shot more," said Mitchell. "The coach has been stressing ball movement and body movement just keeping the game moving all the time. We're in good condition. We can run for a long time, and we just wore 'em down."