Maryland's lacrosse team, expecting to breeze in its opener yesterday against North Carolina State, needed two critical defensive plays by Mike Voucas and a goal by Ron Martinello with 3:36 left to claim a 16-15 triumph at College Park.

The Terps, playing without two All-Americas -- defender Ed Pray (sprained knee) and attacker Pete Worstell (bad Back) -- dominated every statistical category but were unable to shake the pesky Wolfpack.

N.C. State was blitzed, 6-0, in the third perios but still regrouped in the final quarter to gain a 15-15 tie. The Wolfpack also had several opportunities to pull out the win in the final minutes.

Voucas helped set up the winning goal when he intercepted a pass just outside Maryland's goal area and the Terps quickly moved up the field.

Maryland worked the ball around the State defense until Barry Mitchell shoveled a pass to Martinello, who slipped in pass to Martinelli, who slipped in the winning goal -- his fourth of the day -- from close in.

Voucas helped clinch the victory when he intercepted another State pass, and Maryland held the ball for the final two minutes to win the game.

"I didn't think it would be that close," said Terrapin Coach Bud Beardmore. "Our defense overall played pretty well. We used a lot of inexperienced players but they did a good job. We had a couple of mental lapses at times where we stood and watched a lot of ground balls. We didn't come up with our share. I'm not too pleased with the game but you have to give N.C. State credit. They played extremely well."

Maryland wasted little time jumping on State, grabbing a 3-0 lead on goals by Mike Farrell, Barry Mitchell and John Lamon.

N.C. State which had played two games (1-1) and two exhibitions before yesterday, finally began to warm up and eventually tied the game at 7 on a goal by Walter Lusby with 7:27 to play in the second period. The goal was preceded by three sharp passes by State players following a save by Wolfpack goalie Bob Flintoff.

In the second period, Maryland went through one of its "mental lapses" and allowed State to take a 10-7 lead at halftime.

The first half was not an indication of our ability. We had too many turnovers," said Beardmore. "We forced the ball a bit on offense but we had some nice shots down there to take."

Beardmore gave his charges a stern lecture at halftime, according to defender Randy Ratliff, and the Terps came out smoking.

Maryland's defense shackled the State offense and the Terp offense began to find openings in the Wolfpack's tightly packed defense. Martinello scored two goals, Klay Johnson, Mike Duffy, Mitchell and Lamon each added a goal in the period to send the Terps ahead, 13-10.

"We tried our four-corner offense but we couldn't get any movement," said State Coach Larry Gross. "Maryland got that good movement inside and when we tried to stack it up they scored, anyway. We started to press a little and, I guess, we lost our composure."

State All-America Stan Cockerton, who had 13 goals in his first two games, had a rough afternoon. The junior could not escape the close checking of Ratliff, and did not score a goal. Cockerton did get three assists.

State, unable to get the ball to its star attacker, began to force a few shots. Both Mark Thames and Bill Lamon, brother of the Terps' John Lamon, scored unassisted goals to cut the deficit to 13-11 with 1:34 gone in the last period.

Each team picked up two goals before Dan Wilson scored unassisted to pull the Wolfpack even at 15 with 5:11 to play.

Martinello led the Terrapin attack with four goals, Lamon had three goals and an assist and Kimball and Mitchell two goals each. Bob Boneillo had seven assists for the winners.

Dan Wilson and Bill Lamon led State with three goals each and Claude Dawson and Mark Thames chipped in with two each. Flintoff, who had 15 saves, five less than his counterpart, Bryant Walters, stopped several point-blank shots throughout the contest to keep State in the game.

Maryland outshot State, 45-41, and won three of the four faceoffs.