Only a flurry of four Maryland goals in the final five minutes today prevented Virginia from inflicting on the Terrapins the worst lacrosse loss in their history.
As it was, the fourth-ranked Cavaliers scored more goals than any other Maryland opponent ever has in defeating the fifth-ranked Terps, 23-12, before a crowd of 6,739 at Scott Stadium.
Virginia (5-2 overall, 3-1 in the ACC) gave the Terps (5-2, 2-2) a lesson in fundamentals from the very start, when captain Steve Kraus won the opening faceoff. Kraus continued to win faceoffs after almost every goal, and when Matt Rainis scored 29 seconds into the second period, Virginia held an 8-1 lead that was only a portent of how the remaining 44 minutes would go.
Attackmen Mkie Caravana and Randy Natoli, who came into the game as Virginia's leading scorers with 11 and nine goals, respectively, each scored three times today. But a true indication of how the Cavaliers dominated was that midfielders Ray Giusto and Scott Gerham, who had had five goals each, also scored three apiece.
Virginia Coach Jim Adams said a tough two-goal loss to top-ranked Johns Hopkins last week helped his team record its 11th victory in 39 tries against Maryland.
"Part of it was that we are still growing and learning," Admas said. "After the Hopkins game, I think some of our younger players started believing we could play with teams like Hopkins and Maryland. The team also felt they really had to win. We had two good games so far this year (Hopkins and North Carolina) and lost both."
With Kraus winning 13 of 17 faceoffs in the first half, the Cavaliers controlled the game's tempo and prevented the Terps from doing what they do best, run. Virginia's patient offense often lured the Maryland defense into lapses.
The most goals previously scored on a Maryland team was 22 by Johns Hopkins in 1977. Maryland's Peter Worstell scored three of his game-high five goals in the fourth quarter to avert a 12-goal margin of defeat, which would have been the Terps' worst ever.