Second-ranked Maryland flexed its offensive muscles early, roared to a 4-0 lead and easily cruised to a 17-13 lacrosse victory over No. 4 Virginia today at Scott Stadium.

Midfielder Ron Martinello and attackman Bob Boneillo each scored four goals for the Terrapins, who dazzled the Gavaliers with their fast-breaking opportunistic offense.

Meanwhile, defenseman Randy Ratliff, who Maryland Coach Buddy Beardmore called the best defender in the nation, showed Cavalier attackman Bato Pellington why. Pellington had scored 20 goals on 38 shots in Virginia's first seven games. But Ratliff shut him down, holding hime scoreless until the attackman rebounded a teammate's shot into an open net with 6:27 to play.

That made it 17-11 and Virginia (6-2) scored two cheap goals in the final 1:04 after trailing by as many as nine goals late in the third period.

"We came out on fire, gunning, gunning, gunning," said midfielder Klay Johnson, who totaled five points on a hat trick and two assists.

"Virginia normally slows it down and runs a lot of patterns. But after we got off to a big lead, they had to play catch-up. That made them more offense-minded and that's the type game we play best."

The Terrapin total of 17 goals was four more than Virginia gave up to top-ranked Johns Hopkins last week and more than doubled the Cavalier average yield of eight per game. Maryland (5-0) has beaten Virginia four straight times.

Virginia outshot Maryland, 60-36, but saw 23 attempts stifled by the fine play of Terp goalkeeper Bryant Waters. Waters was assisted by the game-long ballhawking of defenders Wilson Phipps and Ratliff.

The Terps were off to a confidence-shattering four-point lead before many in the crowd of 6,000 had doffed their outer garments to soak in some sunshine. Boneillo's unassisted tally opened the scoring at 1:37. Barry Mitchell ripped in an unassisted shot after penetrating unmolested 15 yards and Martinello and Mike Duffy shot assisted goals for a 4-0 score with 9:09 gone.

With 11:16 played, the Cavaliers got on the board with Matt Rainis' shot from a crowd of Terp defenders. That was only the second goal the Terp defense had yielded in the last three periods extending over two games.

Martinello responded with Maryland's only extra-man goal of the game for a 5-1 count with 1:19 left in the first quarter. The Terps set Martinello's score up with deliberate passes: Maryland shooters were getting so open all afternoon that the Cavaliers must have though the Terps were playing with 12 men.

Many of Maryland's scores came on fast-break, one-man-up situations.

"Waters was the key to the breaks," said Beardmore. "He was making the saves and then hitting a midfielder breaking downfield. That gave us a lot of five-on-four situations and we're extremely effective with an advantage."

The Scott Stadium crowd saw a quick burst of offense by both squads during a six-goal, 21/2-minute span late in the game. Three times the Terps scored and each time the Cavs took the ensuing possession in for an answering goal.