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Rambo's four goals lead No. 6 Maryland men's lacrosse over No. 12 North Carolina, 11-8

COLLEGE PARK — Most of the talk headed into the Maryland-North Carolina game centered on how the Terps had to slow the Tar Heels high scoring offense, which was averaging nearly 14 goals per game.

But it was the Terps offense that dominated in No. 6 Maryland's 11-8 win against No. 12 North Carolina before an announced crowd of nearly 5,000 at Maryland Stadium on Saturday.

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Following a 10 day rest from their last game, the Terps (5-2) came out with a variety of different offensive looks that appeared to catch the Tar Heels (5-4) unprepared, including inverting attackmen and midfielders more than usual.

Attackman Matt Rambo paced Maryland with four goals followed by three from midfielder Connor Kelly and two from fellow attackman Colin Heacock. Attackman Patrick Kelly led the Tar Heels with two goals.

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"Connor, Colin and Matt allow us to do a lot of different things because they are so flexible," said Terps coach John Tillman. "We like getting Matt up high and letting him go. Schematically, it just worked out that way."

Three of Rambo's goals were from 15 yards and straight out from the goal. They were beauties; high, tight and ones that goalie Brian Balkam had trouble tracking.

Connor Kelly scored from outside, behind the goal and even in the crease. Of Maryland's six goals in the first half, Kelly either scored or assisted on all but one.

It appears that after struggling in the first two games of the season, Maryland's offense has found a rhythm. The Terps have scored 50 goals in the past four games.

"The 10 days in between games gave our guys some mental and physical rest," said Tillman. "One of the things we harped on during that time was getting better off ball movement. We have selfless guys, but a lot of time was just spent watching the ball early in the season."

"But they [North Carolina] are strong in sliding so fast that there were some openings," said Tillman.

Kelly took advantage early. He scored off an alley dodge with 11:28 left in the first period, and then scored on a 15 yard shot that bounced off Balkam's stick nearly a minute later as Maryland took a 2-1 lead.

From that point on, Maryland never trailed in the game and the Terps had a 6-4 lead at the half. Maryland had three goal leads three times in the third quarter, but couldn't finish the Tar Heels until Rambo, running to his left, scored to give Maryland an 11-6 lead with 1:45 left in the game.

"We have a lot of talent on this team and anybody can do anything on any given day," said Connor Kelly, who also had three assists. "We had great momentum coming into the game; we had a great week of practices and things just opened up out there."

Not much opened up for North Carolina. Terps defensemen Mac Pons, Matt Dunn and Tim Muller cut off any passing lanes and penetration inside near the crease.

Maryland only outshot North Carolina 44-41, but most of the Tar Heels shots were forced and way off target. The Terps allowed only one goal on four extra man opportunities.

"Overall, I thought it was a good overall effort against a very good team," said Tillman, who acknowledged the Terps plan on keeping their rivalry going with North Carolina next season.

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Maryland and North Carolina have been playing since 1964 with the Terps winning 42 of 66 games.

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