COLLEGE PARK -- It was a perfect day for Maryland to upse No. 1 North Carolina. It rained. The game was played in mud, which slowed the Tar Heels' transition game. North Carolina was cold in the first period, and Maryland was hot.
And what happened?
Maryland's big guns were no shows. Attackmen Rob Chomo, no goals, no assists; Matthew Parks, no goals, no assists. Midfielders Dan Reading, one goal, no assists; Jay Pasko, one goal, no assists.
Final score: North Carolina 12, Terps 6 at Byrd Stadium yesterday.
"We knew coming in that we had lost to them the last five times, twice in each of the last two years," said Maryland coach Dick Edell. "We knew we had to play hard and well, and we achieved the first goal.
"But we needed to have our kids at the top of their game, and we didn't have it. They took on our best and came up winners."
Actually, the game showed how much talent the Terps have lost from last season. A year ago, Maryland lost to North Carolina 15-13 and 11-10. But the Terps had a bruising defenseman named Brian Burlace, solid goalkeeping from Steve Kavovit and one of the best faceoff specialist in the country in Andy Claxton.
They all ran out of eligibility.
And Maryland (1-2 overall, 0-2 ACC) seems to be out of the conference race as well as the national championship picture.
"We can't go to the waiver wire," said Edell. "We'll just have to gear it up for next week. Remember, this is a North Carolina team that has some super athletes. They have beaten Syracuse, Princeton, Loyola and Penn State. That's not exactly chopped liver."
And now add Maryland to the list, but oh, what could have been.
Maryland outshot the Tar Heels 9-2 in the first 5:40 of the game and controlled the tempo in the first period, but still trailed 1-0 at the end of the quarter as Carolina's Mike Acee scored with 3:21 remaining.
North Carolina (7-0, 1-0), at times just outrunning the Terps, went ahead 5-1 when midfielder Donnie McNichol scooped up a loose ball near midfield and ran untouched for a goal outside the Maryland crease with 10:47 left in the half.
But Maryland rebounded. Pasko had a shot that ricocheted off keeper Billy Daye for a goal with 3:38 remaining, and freshman Chris Rimorin scored the first of two long stick goals by the Terps with 13 seconds left to cut the Tar Heels lead to 5-3.
North Carolina scored 14 seconds into the third period, but Maryland answered with a goal each from Reading and defenseman Matt Ritter to pull within 6-5 with 10:54 left.
Maryland had a number of chances to tie the score, but it was North Carolina that scored next as midfielder Ryan Wade picked up a loose ball at midfield and then hurled a long pass to attackman John Webster for a goal with 2:57 left in the third period.
McNichol then assisted midfielder Steve Schattner on a goal 51 seconds later. North Carolina scored twice in the first five minutes of the fourth period to put the game away.
"The score is 6-5 and the weather has slowed them down," said Matt Back, Maryland's goalie. "That's where we should have put them away. We've got to take advantage of a situation like that."
"We tried to play their game, slowing it down, and it may have taken us out of ours," said Mike Bordi, Maryland's sophomore attackman. "Maybe we need a little bit more experience at running this type of offense."
North Carolina 1 4 3 4 -- 12
Maryland 0 3 2 1 -- 6
Goals: NC--Acee 2, Wade 2, Langhoff, Speers, McNichol, Shimaitis, Webster, Schattner, Greene, Levy; M--Huggins, Pasko, Rimorin, Reading, Ritter, McMahon. Assists: NC--Webster 2, Speers, Shimaitis; M--Huggins. Shots: NC--40; M--31. Saves: NC--Daye 22; M--Back 21. Groundballs: NC--54; M--52. Faceoffs: NC--9; M--13. Penalties: NC--4 for 4:30; M--5 for 4:30.