CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- As far as beauty and grace, this was not a game for the ages. But as far as grit and determination, it was one of the best college lacrosse has to offer.
No. 3 Virginia scored two goals in the final five minutes and defeated No. 2 Maryland, 12-11, before 1,795 at Klockner Stadium yesterday.
Virginia midfielder Greg Traynor scored on a high shot off an extra-man situation with 4:18 left to put Virginia ahead 11-10, and nearly two minutes later midfielder David Jones put away the Terps (6-1 overall, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) with a follow-up goal off the rebound of a shot by Tony Nugent.
Maryland's Andrew Whipple scored with three seconds remaining, but by then Virginia (7-1, 1-0) was already celebrating. The Traynor and Jones goals capped a four-goal fourth quarter by the Cavaliers.
"That was not a work of art out there, but it's the kind of game you need to win, a pleasing win," said Dom Starsia, Virginia's coach. "That's a reason why we should not play the ACC !B tournament, because every game is physical. And we may have to meet these guys again."
Maryland outhustled (a 61 to 58 advantage in ground balls) and )) outhit Virginia for most of the game, and trailed for the first time only after Traynor scored.
But Maryland's physical approach resulted in 12 penalties for nine minutes, and three Virginia goals. The Terps also wilted at the end, caving in to Virginia's depth.
"I should have substituted better," said Maryland coach Dick Edell. "I didn't demonstrate the confidence I have in the young kids, and went with the guys that are proven. Then in crunch time, we ran out of gas. If I had been smarter, we would have had something left and went on to win the game down the stretch."
This was the third one-goal game played by Maryland, and the Terps' first loss after beating Towson State, 6-5, and North Carolina, 13-12. And it was played in typical Maryland style: intensity, ball control, great goaltending by Brian Dougherty (19 saves), and a sheer desire to outwork the other team.
Maryland got some help from a Virginia team that has played poorly in the last week, and yesterday had trouble clearing and getting its attack involved in the offense.
Maryland pushed around the Cavaliers for a 4-2 lead at the end of the first quarter, and a 5-2 advantage after Whipple scored 2:01 into the second quarter.
But the Terps gave up two extra-man goals, one by Michael Watson and the other by Sean Miller, in the last nine minutes as Virginia cut Maryland's lead to 5-4 at the half.
"I think we played right with them, ran with them and worked our game plan," said Maryland midfielder Kip Fulks. "But we just had too many penalties. That was the bottom line."
Maryland twice had two-goal leads in the third quarter, but it couldn't put Virginia away. Greg Nelin scored with 11:31 left in the game to give Maryland a 10-8 lead, but that's when Virginia began its run.
Nugent scored at the top of the crease with 11:02 remaining, and attackman Doug Knight made a great dodge on defender Dave LaChapelle to score 12 seconds later.
Next up was Traynor, who scored on a high shot from 15 yards out; and then Jones, who happened to be in the right place at the right time.
"Their goalie played a great game," said Traynor. "He was sucking up everything we threw at him early in the game. I think their middies got a little tired in the end, and we started using bouncing shots on their goalie. And I just got the ball in the right place, too."