(Photo Courtesy of Virginia Athletics)
The No. 2 seed Virginia Cavaliers and the No. 3 seeded Maryland Terrapins met at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md. for the 2003 NCAA semifinals. The contest was a rematch of a March contest between the two ACC foes, where Maryland defeated Virginia, 7-8.
Watch the full game here.
While Virginia was able to get out to a fairly quick 2-0 lead, with Matt Ward and Trey Whitty each scoring unassisted goals to get the Cavaliers going, Maryland did hang around for the entire first half. Joe Parker got the Terrapins on the board to make it a 2-1 Cavaliers lead heading into the second. After more of the same in the second quarter, Virginia took a 5-2 lead into the half.
However, late in the first and through the entire second quarter is when Tillman Johnson started to get hot. The Cavaliers’ goalie absolutely robbed any Maryland shooter. The energy that Johnson created for the Cavaliers was monumental and carried over into the second half, where he continued his impressive performance.
Feeding off that energy coming out of the half, Virginia started to fire on all cylinders in the third quarter. The Cavaliers went on a 5-1 run in the third, which included two consecutive unassisted goals from Joe Yevoli. The Cavaliers run continued early in the fourth, as Yevoli and Kyle Dixon each found the back of the net early.
Again, Maryland had some prime opportunities, but Johnson and the Virginia defense was there. From 3:20 mark in the second through the end of the game, the Cavaliers outscored the Terrapins 10-2. Virginia stepped on the gas and never let up, as they took down Maryland, 14-4, to secure their spot in the national title game against Johns Hopkins.
Game Within The Game
As usual, the game within the game came at the goalie spot. And Tillman Johnson clearly won the matchup between himself and Dan McCormick, as he stood on his head all game long and made some of the most impressive and athletic stops we have ever see in college lacrosse. McCormick stood his ground early on and made some crucial saves in the first half, but once the Cavaliers got hot it was almost impossible to recover.
Johnson ended the game with 18 saves and McCormick ended the game with 11.
Virginia: While the Maryland defense was able to hold Johnny Christmas and Chris Rotelli scoreless in this contest, they could not stop Matt Ward. The freshman attackman took the reigns of the Cavaliers’ offense and ran with it, ending the game with four goals and one assist.
Maryland: Not much went right for the Terrapins in this contest, but defensemen Michael Howly did make as big of an impact as he could have on that end. The defenseman drew the Johnny Christmas matchup for most of the game and held the electrifying attackman scoreless. He also scooped up three ground balls in the contest.
Play Of The Game
Tillman Johnson shuts the door on Brian Hunt right in his face, tracking his stick the entire shot and sending the ball wide.