Forced out of its game from the opening seconds, Maryland's lacrosse team nevertheless played even with topseeded Johns Hopkins for 49 minutes today, but fell apart in the final 11 minutes of the NCAA quarterfinal at Homewood Field and lost 19-14.
Jim Zaffuto, a senior attack man not having his best season at Hopkins, scored six goals and assisted on another in picking up the slack resulting from Maryland's intense coverage of high-scoring Jeff Cook and Brendan Schneck. Zaffuto came into the game with 11 goals in Hopkins' first 11 victories.
The Blue Jays, seeking their fourth straigh NCAA title, will host No. 5 Virginia in Saturday's semi-finals. Virginia defeated Massachusetts today, 16-12.
Zaffuto scored twice in an 11-second span of the fourth quarter as Hopkins responded to a 12-12 tie with three goals on its next three shots. Hopkins took advantage of Maryland's mistakes at that point and, with Howard Offit winning eight of nine faceoffs in the quarter, scored seven of the game's next eight goals.
"They are just so doggoned opportunistic," said Maryland Coach Dino Mattessich. "We gave it all we had, but as soon as we made a mistake they jumped on it. We just ran out of gas."
Mattessich said before the game that he wanted to stop Hopkins' big guns. With Mark Wheeler doing a particularly good job on Cook, and Jack Francis holding down Schneck, the Terrapins held the Blue Jays' top scorers to one goal apiece. Other than that, an unusually sloppy Hopkins dictated the pace.
If Maryland had any thoughts of stalling, as it did in a 12-8 regular season loss to Hopkins, it was forgotten by 2:44. Cook, who scored five goals against Maryland during the season, hit Bill Cantelli with a pass that gave the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead at :33. Joe Ciletti and Cook scored to make it 3-0 within the next 2:11.
"We were prepared, if they came out in a stall, to make them play," said Hopkins Coach Henry Ciccarone, who was not pleased with his team's overall performance. "We were fortunate we got off to a quick lead and forced them to play with us."
The Terps trailed, 7-2, after Cantelli, who had taken only 12 shots during the regular season, good for four goals, scored for the second time in the opening 8:59. Maryland called time at that point and organized its defense into something that could not be picked apart so easily.
The Terps got a break at 7:19 as Hopkins' Jeff Kendall was ruled to have a stick one inch too short. Maryland used a three-minute penalty to score extra-man goals by Tim Worstell and Jim Wilkerson, both the result of hard work at the offensive end by Pete Worstell. The goals cut the margin to 9-6 with 4:48 left in the half.
Maryland tied the game, 10-10, as Pete Worstell scored an extra-man goal on an assist from Don Sadler at 6:52 of the third period. Wilkerson had scored an unassisted goal 42 seconds into the quarter.
Peter Scott and Jeff Harris, who finished with three goals, put Hopkins up 12-10. Maryland came back again as Pete Worstell fired a 15-yard grounder from the right side with 50 seconds to go in the quarter. Ron Martinello tied the game, 12-12, at 4:23 of the final period as Sadler scooped a loose ball at midfield and fired it to the charging attack man.
Worstell, who finished with three goals, fell one short of tying Frank Urso's Maryland career record of 127.