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Terps headed to championship game

By: Charlie Wright

Matt Rambo scored four goals to lead Maryland past Johns Hopkins and into the National Championship game on Monday.

Matt Rambo scored four goals to lead Maryland past Johns Hopkins and into the National Championship game on Monday.

With the scored tied and just under ten minutes to go in the NCAA tournament semifinal matchup between Maryland and Johns Hopkins, Terp sophomore Rambo spun around his defender and put the Terps ahead for good with a missile to the back of the net. Less than three minutes later, the attackman scored again, tying his single-game marks in points and goals, as well as doubling the Terps’ lead. The Terps would hold on for a 12-11 victory to advance to the National Championship game on Monday against Denver.

“For Matt, it’s only fitting we get back to Philly and [he] plays so well,” said Maryland coach John Tillman.

Rambo grew up in Glenside, Pennsylvania, just 15 miles from Philadelphia. He attended LaSalle College High School, and had many highlights in those days. But in his return to Philadelphia on Saturday, he wasn’t concerned with past greatness.

“I wasn’t really focused on memories that we had,” Rambo said. “I was just trying to make a new memory here with Maryland.”

Hopkins would threaten in the final minute, but eventually succumb to a 12-10 defeat. In their first Final Four appearance since 2008, the Blue Jays came out slow, with just four goals in the first half.

“I think our first half cost us the game,” said Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala. “We got out-played. I thought we got out-hustled and out-worked.”

Faceoff specialist Drew Kennedy won the game’s opening faceoff for Hopkins and drove straight down the center of the field, but All-American goalkeeper Kyle Bernlohr made the save on Kennedy’s shot. This would be Bernlohr’s only real action of the quarter, as Hopkins only managed five shots and one goal.

Midfielder Henry West got it started for the Terps, scoring after Joe LoCascio found him cutting just above the crease. The Blue Jays’ Joel Tinney would answer, muscling inside for an unassisted goal, but the Terps would score the next three goals to close the quarter 4-1.

Hopkins got a gift to open the second period, as Bernlohr was called for slashing and received a one-minute penalty. This forced backup goalkeeper Dan Morris into the game, and the Blue Jays scored shortly after. The teams would trade goals to close the half, and the Terps held a 6-4 lead at the intermission.

Maryland received some good fortune of its own early in the second half, as Henry West’s shot rebounded off goalkeeper Eric Schneider’s stick and right into the waiting basket of Jay Carlson. The attackman flip a shot past Schneider as he fell into the crease, and the lead was back to three goals.

“I know a lot of times other teams think it’s a frustrating goal to give up, but it’s always been … one of my favorites,” Carlson said. “It counts as much as a 15-yard shot, so I’ll take what I can get.”

Then midfielder John Crawley made his presence felt for the Blue Jays. The sophomore typically comes off the bench to give coach Pietramala’s squad a lift, but started on Saturday and responded with four goals, including three in the third quarter. The first came when he juked past midfielder Adam DiMillo and rocketed one past Bernlohr, cutting the Terps lead to two goals. Maryland responded with three consecutive scores, but Crawley came back with two more.

“We felt like we needed to make a move to midfield, and you know John Crawley is a guy who has been a jack-of-all-trades for us,” Pietramala said. [He] really stepped up today. And I hope that it’s something that he’s going to carry as we move forward,” Pietramala said.

Rambo dove in front of the net and scored near the end of the quarter, but his body was in the crease before the ball went in, nullifying the goal. The Terps took a 10-7 lead into the final period, and the atmosphere was eerily similar to their previous meeting with Hopkins. Maryland held a lead, and had dominated for three quarters, but momentum seemed to be with the Blue Jays.

After Crawley’s pair of goals, Hopkins added three more to open the fourth quarter. Tinney pump faked and drove past his defender for a goal, and Crawley put in his career-high fourth score. Ryan Brown (Calvert Hall), who notched eight goals in the previous matchup in College Park, scored his first of the day to tie the score at 10. This capped a 5-0 run, similar to the 6-0 stretch the Blue Jays used to pull away from the Terps less than a month ago.

But Rambo made sure this game ended differently.

“I really felt like that when they got to 10-10, we needed to be able to weather that storm and I thought Matt’s goal was a big play,” Tillman said. “It got us a little bit of the momentum back.”

After Rambo’s fourth score, the Terps maintained a two-goal lead with less than two minutes to play. After an unnecessary roughness penalty, Shack Stanwick (Boy’s Latin) scored an extra man goal to bring Hopkins within one. The Blue Jays won the ensuing faceoff, and called a timeout. Stanwick got another look driving to his right, but fired a shot off the side of the net. Cheers from the Hopkins crowd quickly subsided when the fans realized the ball hit the wrong side of the net, but a turnover gave the Blue Jays another chance. Tinney drove and launched a shot, but Bernlohr made the save with his pole, and that was it.

The Terps will make their 12th championship appearance on Monday, and their first since 2012. Maryland has not won a title in 40 years. They will meet Denver, who has never been to the championship. Tillman hasn’t seen much of the Pioneers, and only has a couple days to prepare.

“I gotta start the coffee brewing and it’s going to be a long night,” Tillman said.

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Charlie Wright

Staff Writer
Charlie is a lifelong sports fan who grew up cheering for hometown teams. He developed a passion for writing in high school and chose to pursue the profession in college. Charlie followed most of his family to the University of Maryland, where he is pursuing a degree in journalism. He plans to enter the sports journalism field after graduation, hopefully covering a local team.

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