COLLEGE PARK -- Whether Maryland coach Dick Edell likes it or not, the Terrapins can't motivate themselves as being the underdogs. It's an unwanted reversal of roles this year, where Maryland is the motivation.
But the No. 3 Terps showed their talent can be more troublesome than their emotion yesterday, putting together a mediocre effort yet still coasting past Penn State, 14-6, before 317 at Byrd Stadium. Andrew Whipple was involved in six of Maryland's first nine goals with two goals and four assists, and Matt Hahn added three goals.
"It's a situation where we used to really feast on being the hunter," Edell said. "I loved that mentality with a chip on our shoulder. But people are pointing to us.
"Today, we were not at our best. We made some mental mistakes, we made some physical mistakes and played a team that was a little more inspired than us. We weren't anywhere near our best, but we still got a convincing win."
After the Nittany Lions (1-2) cut the lead to 4-3 late in the first quarter, Maryland scored four straight goals, holding Penn State scoreless for nearly 22 minutes.
The Terps (4-0) punctuated the first half as Jon Kemezis scored on a fast break with five seconds remaining to go ahead 7-3.
Brian Zeller started the transition by intercepting a clearing pass at midfield, sending the ball upfield to Whipple, who set up Kemezis on the crease.
Penn State, which couldn't cut the lead below four goals the entire second half, continually saw its opportunities backfire as the Nittany Lions tried to score too quickly on their chances. That's why Penn State failed to clear the ball nine of 20 times and didn't score on five extra-man situations.
"I didn't think we would have have the opportunities that we had to score," Penn State coach Glenn Thiel said. "What I didn't like is that we didn't convert on them and made too many defensive errors. The clearing game, in particular, where we were slopping the ball around, just killed us."
Although Maryland played sloppily at times as well, the Terps still exhibited versatility and efficiency, scoring 14 goals on an assortment of 34 shots.
Play the Terps straight up, and they'll dodge past you. Play help defense against the Terps, and they'll pass until they find the open shot.
It's one of the most potent attacks at Maryland in more than a decade. The Terps have averaged 16 goals per game, scoring at least 14 goals after four games for the first time since 1987 -- their last undefeated regular season.
"Coach [Scott] Marr is a great offensive coach and we know what they're going to do coming in," Whipple said. "If they change it up, he'll adjust and change it up with what the defense does. If teams aren't going to slide us, we have some great players that can beat their defenders one-on-one. If they are sliding to us, people just move to the ball, so it's one more pass, one more pass and then a goal."
Penn State 3 0 2 1 -- 6
Maryland ..4 3 4 3 -- 14
Goals: PS--Chescavage 2, Schiller, King, Korte, Pitarra; M--Hahn 3, Radin 2, Hochstadt 2, Whipple 2, Kemezis 2, Osberg, Ruhl, Hughes. Assists: PS--Kleinman, Schiller; M--Whipple 4, M. LaChapelle 2, Zeller, Radin, Kemezis. Saves: PS--Keenan 12; M--Healy 15.
Pub Date: 3/12/98