May 15, 2010

By Avi Creditor
Special to NCAA.com

COLLEGE PARK, Md.--Hofstra junior Jamie Lincoln ran from one edge of the offensive zone to the other, seeking any bit of open space he could find.

Maryland junior defender Ryder Bohlander shadowed him every step of the way.

It was that kind of afternoon for Hofstra's star attacker.

Maryland's defense suffocated Lincoln and the rest of the Pride attack on Saturday in the Terrapins' 11-8 NCAA Division I men's lacrosse first-round victory over Hofstra in front of 1,641 at Byrd Stadium.

The Terrapins held the Pride to less than nine goals and they completely shut out Lincoln, who entered the game with 33 goals and 20 assists. Both were season-firsts.

"If it's not one guy it's another on their defense that steps up and makes a play, or their goalie will come up and make a save on a lay-up-type look," Hofstra coach Seth Tierney said. "They keep coming at you."

And they did, in waves.

If it wasn't Bohlander shadowing Lincoln, it was fellow junior defenders Brett Schmidt or Max Schmidt. Maryland's short-stick midfielders did a great job as well, with senior Bryn Holmes leading an effort that forced 15 turnovers, 10 of which came in the second half.

"Our short-stick middies stepped up and caused a lot of turnovers and forced them into bad shots," Maryland goalie Brian Phipps said. "We just played really well on-ball defense so our other guys could concentrate on (Jay) Card and Lincoln, because they're very good off-ball cutters."

Card did find space on a couple of occasions, tallying two goals off curling runs with the game's result still in question. He added two more goals in the final moments to up his season total to 31, but he was operating in the face of extreme pressure for most of the afternoon.

"They did a great job of getting in our hands and pressuring the ball," Card said. "I found it very difficult to get into a groove, because they were always in our hands. It was just hard to operate and get into our sets with that happening."

Hofstra entered the game averaging 13.3 goals per game, but Maryland was able to counter the high-powered attack with a sound game plan that never allowed the Pride to develop a true rhythm.

"I thought Coach (defensive coordinator Dan) Slafkosky thought out a good game plan," Phipps said. "We had certain variations we could play to their invert, and they inverted us a lot during the game."

It also helped that Maryland had faced Lincoln before.

When Lincoln was a freshman at the University of Denver, he scored a goal against the Terrapins in an NCAA Tournament first-round game. With his game evolved two years later, the Maryland coaching staff wasn't about to let him strike again.

"We had an idea of what he can do," Maryland coach Dave Cottle said. "Ryder Bohlander did a really good job on him. He stayed in front of him. When he dipped under, we let him get one under shot."

Lincoln's only shot came with 2:41 left in the game, and it went well left of Phipps' cage.

For the Hofstra shots that did make it on frame, Phipps was up to the challenge. He stopped 14 attempts, including two from point-blank range in the fourth quarter with the Pride desperately needing a tally to stay in the game.

And if Maryland wasn't getting out and running into the open field off of Phipps' saves, they were doing it on 50-50 balls on the ground. The Terrapins dominated ground balls, 41-21, enabling them to get out in transition, where they are at their best.

"I think transition is a big part of our game," Cottle said. "Our poles can pick the ball off the ground and run, and they can score. We have to get in transition in order to be effective."

The Terrapins did, and it'll be up to either Princeton or Notre Dame to try and stop them from advancing even further next weekend.