Matt Rambo lifts Terps to National Championship game


Attackman Matt Rambo put Maryland on his back on Saturday.

In doing so, the Terrapins beat Johns Hopkins 12-11 to advance to the national title game.

Rambo tied a career-high with six points (four goals & two assists), including the final two goals that clinched the win for Maryland.

“I would give all the credit to my other teammates around me on the offensive end. They were creating opportunities for me to get open off the crease when I was popping off. So I would give all the credit to them and I was just finding spots and holes that I could just fill myself in. So I would give most of the credit to Bryan Cole, Joe LoCascio, some of the older guys like that just helping me out.”

Rambo was one of five Terps to register multiple points on the afternoon.

Despite Johns Hopkins going on a 5-0 run in the second half, Maryland was able to weather storm.

With 11:45 left, attackman Ryan Brown weaved around the Maryland defense and ripped one past Bernlohr to tie the game. The tally was Brown’s 61st goal of the season and the fifth consecutive goal for Johns Hopkins. However, Brown only recorded three points (one goal & two assists) after putting up a mind-numbing eight goals when the two teams played on April 25.

Rambo answered Brown’s lone goal as he sidestepped a few Blue Jays to give Maryland an 11-10 lead with 9:59 to go. The goal halted a 5-0 run from Hopkins.

The Glenside (Pa.) native found the back of the net just over two minutes later. The tally gave him four goals and two assists on the afternoon, which ties a career-high in points.

Despite the close contest, Maryland held the advantage in most categories. Maryland won 14-of-26 face-offs (all won by midfielder Charlie Raffa) and scooped up 21 of the 35 ground balls.

“Charlie kicked off some rust against a really good Yale guy,” coach John Tillman said. “He was hot in the fourth quarter. He was hot last week. And he was huge for us today. We win by a goal. He wins more than he loses and he throws in a goal.”

The Terps were able to grab the early edge, thanks to a stellar, but methodical offensive approach.

With 11:25 left in the first quarter, midfielder Henry West got a pass from fellow midfielder Joe LoCascio and ripped a shot past goalie Eric Schneider to give Maryland a 1-0 lead.

LoCascio and West both registered two points apiece on Saturday and were especially involved early on.

With 5:36 left in the opening quarter, midfielder Joel Tinney scored right in front of the cage to tie the game. Tinney had a hat trick when the two teams met last month.

Just seven seconds later, Raffa took the ball off the face-off, dodged a defender, and beat Schneider low. It was Raffa’s first goal of the season to give Maryland a 2-1 lead. Raffa also went 5-of-6 at the ‘X’ in the opening quarter.

Raffa did take a few vicious hits, but coach John Tillman seemed confident that the senior would be ready to go on for Monday’s national title game against Denver.

Rambo made his stamp on the game in the first half as well. He was the beneficiary of some great setups from teammates.

His first goal came with 2:24 remaining in the opening quarter as he scored on some tic-tac-toe passing. Attackman Jay Carlson found the hometown star to the left of Schneider for the tally.

With 1:09 left in the opening quarter, LoCascio drew his man almost behind the net and dished to off to midfielder Bryan Cole for the tally. It was Cole’s fourth goal in the past two games and gave the Terps a 4-1 lead.

Goalie Kyle Bernlohr was assessed a slashing penalty early in the second quarter. Backup Dan Morris came in, but the Blue Jays smelled blood as midfielder Patrick Fraser sent a scorcher past Morris to cut the lead to 4-2. Fraser’s goal was set up by star attackman Ryan Brown.

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Hopkins was able to cut the lead to one when attackman Wells Stanwick came behind the cage to score. Stanwick’s goal cut the Maryland lead to 4-3 with 8:07 to play in the second quarter.

As soon as the shot clock was slapped on, attackman Colin Heacock found the back of the cage on an unassisted tally with 6:46 left.

Maryland had the shot clock implemented on them six times on Saturday and Heacock’s tally was the only successful shot.

With just 3:04 left in the first half, Rambo found Carlson cutting into the slot and the Cockeysville native didn’t miss his shot to make it 6-4. Maryland had six different players score goals in the first half.

Maryland controlled most of the categories in the opening half. The Terps held a 13-6 advantage in shots on goal, won 8-of-12 face-offs, and scooped up 13 of the 22 ground balls.

The Terps started off the second half with some luck. West let one go that was stopped by Schneider, but he couldn’t control the rebound and Carlson knocked it in to make it 7-4.

At the 8:26 mark, Rambo spun off long-stick midfielder Nikhon Schuler and sent a cannon past Schneider. Rambo’s goal extend Maryland’s lead to 9-5.

Tinney made his mark just 1:06 into the fourth quarter when he shook off defender Isaiah Davis-Allen for the tally. Tinney’s second goal cut the Maryland lead to 10-8.

Midfielder John Crawley scored his fourth goal of the game at the 12:44 mark to make it a 10-9 game. That tied a career-high for Crawley.

With Maryland clinging to a narrow lead and time dwindling, midfielder Shack Stanwick beat Bernlohr to cut the lead to 12-11. Stanwick’s goal came when the Blue Jays were on an extra-man advantage due to an unnecessary roughness penalty that was charged to Rambo.

Maryland had six different goal scorers on the afternoon and saw big performances from Rambo (4 goals) and Carlson (3 goals).

The Terps also got supreme goalkeeping from Bernlohr when they needed it, including Bernlohr stoning Tinney right in front with just seconds remaining.

Maryland will face Denver in the NCAA Tournament Championship game on Monday at 1 p.m.

“It’s not pretty,” Tillman added. “We’re not always clean, but the guys stuck together. They fought and that’s really a credit to those guys for what they’ve done from the beginning of the year until now. They just stuck together and fought. I’m really proud of them.”

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