What a difference a month makes. On March 8, the Virginia lacrosse team was embarrassed, 14-5, by North Carolina.

Last Saturday, the same Cavs ended Johns Hopkins' 25-game winning streak with a stunning 12-9 victory. The Cavs now are ranked No. 1 in the nation, but they can't strut around withheadlines stapled to their jerseys. Today, it's Maryland in College Parkat 2:30 p.m. with the ACC title at stake.

"We'll be ready for this game," back-up goalie Brian Gregory said. "We had a cocky attitude in the beginning of the season and North Carolina shoved it down our throats. We know what we have to do now."

Last year, the Terps gave Gregory nightmares, scoring six goals before he could get settled.The Terps won, 17-13, but Virginia sees positive signs stemming from that game. The Cavs will be starting Joe Bottner in goal today.

"We outshot them by a lot (60-37) last year but they just went ahead so fast," said Cay Coach Jim Adams. "I think we still have the problem of stopping them. They have so much speed on offense. Bob Boniello is probably the premier attack man in the country."

The Cavs haven't beaten Maryland since 1975 and not at College Park since 1969.

"I think our win over Hopkins provedwe can play with anyone," said Virginia co-captain Tony Savarese. "Maryland has really put it to us in the past few years. We just have to bevery ready."

Today's game will be a contrast in styles. Virginia is a strongly disciplined, defensive-minded team. Maryland is a fast, flamboyant, run-and-gun team.

Virginia is led on offense by Mike Caravana and Bato Pellington. Caravana, a freshman, had a goal and four assists against Hopkins. The most devastating Wahoo statistic is that midfielder Kevin Corrigan has won 57 of the 76 faceoffs.

The Terps, 3-0 in the conference, can wrap up the ACC crown with a victory today. If the Cavs win, they would gain at least a third of the title, contingent on the North Carolina-North Carolina State game later this month.

Just as the Cavs were upset by the Tar Heels, the Terps were shocked by Rutgers in a one-goal loss two weeksago. Maryland came back to soundly defeat North Carolina, 18-12.

But the Cavs don't plan on the Terps stomping them.

"The loss to Carolina was embarrassing," Savarese said. "We had a team meeting after that game and said we wouldn't let it happen again."