Matt Rambo had said he was looking forward to playing in front of his hometown fans. But even he probably didn't think it would be this good.
Rambo, a sophomore attacker from La Salle High, scored four goals and added two assists to match his career high with six points and lead Maryland to a 12-11 victory over archrival Johns Hopkins on Saturday in the NCAA men's lacrosse semifinals at Lincoln Financial Field.
Rambo saved his best for last, scoring with Maryland in a man-up situation with 9 minutes, 59 seconds left in the fourth quarter. A little more than two minutes later, Rambo extended Maryland's lead to 12-10 when Brian Cole fed him the game-winner in the crease with 7:24 to play.
"It was great to be out there, playing in front of all of those people from home," Rambo said. "I have to give all the credit to my teammates, though, because they were creating opportunities for me to get open in the crease when I was popping off. So I'd give them all the credit. I was just finding holes and spots to fill in."
The Terrapins (15-3), looking for their first title in 40 years, will face Denver (16-2), an 11-10 winner over top-seeded Notre Dame.
The Terrapins had to stave off a late rally by Johns Hopkins (11-7) to secure the win. The Terrapins led, 10-5, late in the third quarter. The Blue Jays, paced by Joe Crawley's four goals, rallied and drew within 12-11 on Shack Stanwick's extra-man goal with 1:13 to play.
Johns Hopkins, which saw its seven-game winning streak come to an end, had two more opportunities to pull even, but both failed. Stanwick's shot with 48 seconds to play sailed wide right. And with seven seconds left, Kyle Bernlohr's save on Joel Tinney's shot ended any hope the Blue Jays had of advancing.
Maryland's victory exacted a measure of revenge. Earlier in the season, Johns Hopkins ended Maryland's 11-game winning streak with a 15-12 victory.
"We had our opportunities against them, but they are a difficult team to play," Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said. "We were a little jittery at first, but we settled down. They did what they needed to do to advance."