Maryland played a strong match-up defense and its revamped extra-man offense produced five goals yesterday as the seventh-ranked Terrapins upset two-time defending national lacrosse champion North Carolina, 11-9, in a steady rain at Byrd Stadium.
Jim Wilkerson, Chris O'Brien and Tony Olmert each scored two goals in helping Maryland to improve to 4-1, 2-0 in the ACC. No. 3 North Carolina, which lost to Division III power Hobart earlier this year, is 2-2, 0-1. The Terrapins play No. 4 Virginia in Charlottesville Saturday.
Maryland's defense ensured yesterday's victory. Mark Wheeler constantly shadowed the Tar Heels' second-leading scorer, Mike Burnett. Wheeler held the all-America to two goals, both in the final 2:14 after the Terrapins had built an 11-6 lead. Dave Parker stopped Carolina's top scorer, Dave Wingate, holding him to two goals; one came late in the game.
"We controlled the game through faceoffs and ground balls," said Dino Mattessich of his biggest victory in three years as coach at Maryland. "Any time you do that, you can beat a team no matter how good they are."
Mattessich had been unhappy with his extra-man offense, but yesterday he switched Wilkerson and Kevin Sullivan in key positions several times when Carolina was penalized. Wilkerson scored once and Sullivan assisted on goals by Marc McGeady and Olmert, accounting for three extra-man goals in the third period.
Maryland led, 6-3, at the half, but goals by Peter Boelkel and Jeff Holmire cut the lead to 6-5 with 4:08 left in the third quarter. Three Carolina penalities in the final three minutes of the quarter gave the Terrapins' extra-man offense the opportunity to extend the lead to 9-6 by the end of the quarter.
Allen McGuckien and Olmert scored in the fourth period to make it 11-6. Olmert's goal came off an assist by Doug Trettin in an extra-man situation with 7:30 remaining.
"We didn't recognize several formations they threw at us," said Tar Heels Coach Willie Scroggs, whose team averaged 15 goals a game before yesterday. "I thought we made corrections, but I guess we didn't."