UMass Handles #10 Terps to Advance to Title Game

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - UMass advanced to its first-ever national championship game with an 8-5 win over No. 2 seeded/No. 4 Maryland on Saturday at the NCAA Final Four at Lincoln Financial Field. The Minutemen have reeled off consecutive victories against three of the top four ranked teams in the nation on the way to the title game which will be played on Monday, May 29 at 1 p.m. and televised live on ESPN.

Senior First Team All-American Sean Morris tallied his 14th career hat trick and added an assist for a four-point game. On defense, UMass was amazing holding Maryland scoreless for a span of 32:34 from the first through the fourth quarter. The Minutemen kept three of the Terrapins top scorers without a point including First Team All-Americans Joe Walters and Bill McGlone.

UMass freshman goalie Doc Schneider made 15 saves as he stoned the Terps in the fourth quarter making seven saves in the period. UMass' defense featuring First Team All-American Jack Reid along with junior Dan Whipple and sophomores Sean Krygier and David Von Voigt did a great job all afternoon.

The Minutemen had knocked off No. 3 ranked/No. 6 seeded Cornell in the NCAA First Round, No. 2 ranked/No. 3 seeded Hofstra in the Quarterfinals and Maryland in the Semis.

Freshman Jim Connolly scored two goals while Jake Deane, Rory Pedrick and Brian Jacovina scored the Minutemen's other goals. Morris made it 8-5 with 6:33 left in the fourth quarter off a stutter-step goal and shot past Alford to the left side for his third goal of the game, marking his 14th career hat trick.

Maryland's Dan Groot made it 7-5 off a pass from Max Ritz with 10:10 left in the fourth. Off a Walters turnover, a UMass fastbreak ensued with Clay Stabert feeding Jim Connolly for the transition goal with 11:52 left in the fourth to give UMass the 7-4 lead. Max Ritz scored a cutting goal with 12:48 left in the fourth quarter to cut UMass' lead to 6-4.

UMass held Maryland off the scoreboard for a span of 32:34 -- from the first through the fourth quarter -- including shutouts in both the second and third quarters before Michael Phipps scored 1:05 into the fourth quarter, making it 6-3. Deane won ensuing face-off, dashed to the goal was stopped by Alford, but grabbed the rebound and beat the goalie to make it 6-2 with 2:33 left in the third quarter. That goal came in a span of five seconds, tying the NCAA record for two fastest consecutive goals which was set previously by Army in 1999 and Butler in 2004.

Brian Jacovina scored on a rebound off a Morris shot with 2:38 left in the third quarter to make it UMass defense continued to dominate in the third quarter Morris scored with 8:43 left in the third quarter on a shot from 15 yards out on a bounce shot to the low right corner. Schneider made stellar back-to-back saves on Xander Ritz in the first two minutes of the second half including a second stone from point-blank range.

UMass' defense was tremendous in the second quarter as they held the Terrapins scoreless in the period and off the board for a span of 16:29 to end the first half. The Minutemen killed off a penalty in the run where Maryland didn't even get a chance to take a shot. In the quarter, UMass held Maryland to just and held Maryland to just eight shots in the quarter as despite the Terrapins having the ball of nearly the entire quarter.

It was the fifth time this season UMass held an opponent to two goals of less in the first half. Sean Morris scored on a low-liner 1:24 into the second quarter to give UMass a 3-2 lead. The goalies were on display in the first quarter as Alford made six saves and Schneider stopped four for the Minutemen.

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2006-05-27



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