By Anthony Caruso
and from Press Releases
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/23/15
Oh, what a homecoming for Matt Rambo.
The sophomore attackman from La Salle had four goals and two assists as the Maryland men’s lacrosse team defeated Johns Hopkins 12-11 in the semifinals of the NCAA tournament on Saturday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field.
With the win, Maryland advances to the national championship and will play Denver on Monday at 1 p.m. It is the program’s 12th appearance overall in the title game and third in the last five seasons.
Rambo took over the game in the fourth period after the Blue Jays rallied with five straight goals to forge a 10-10 tie with 11:45 remaining in the game.
With the game on the line it was Rambo who gave the Terps the list they needed.
The Glenside native scored the final two goals for Maryland to finish the game with a career-best tying six points on four goals and two assists. His third goals came on Maryland’s only successful extra-man opportunity at the 9:59 mark. He then scored what proved to be the game-winner with 7:24 left in the fourth, finishing off a nice feed from Cole.
Hopkins tried to rally late in the game and got a goal from Shack Stanwick at the 1:13 mark after Rambo was called for a 1-minute roughing penalty, but the Terrapin defense rose to the occasion.
“I was just making plays, so were my teammates,” said Rambo, who played for the Duke’s Lacrosse Club. “My teammates were drawing doubles, so I was able to pop off and shoot the ball. I have to give the credit to my teammates.”
Rambo added that he had to accommodate 35-40 family members for the game. He also said that he received texts from former teammates, who were at the game as well.
“I’ve been in the stands many times here,” Rambo said. “The Final Four has been here many years and now I’m on the field. I’m looking up to the crowd with thousands of people in it. I was once one of them, and now I’m on the field. It feels great and is definitely a dream come true.”
Rambo hopes to bring the Terps their first National Championship in 40-years. They last won in 1975 when the school defeated Navy.
“We talk about that, and it was 40-years-ago yesterday,” Rambo said. “Some of the guys come back and they say words of encouragement. I don’t think anyone is thinking about it’s been 40-years since we last won the championship. It’s a new year and it’s our team. We’re a different team with a different coach.”
Senior All-American Casey Ikeda had a ground ball and played a key role in stopping the vaunted Hopkins attack.
“It was an awesome atmosphere,” Ikeda said. “I was so happy to play the Final Four in Philadelphia. Hopkins is an amazing team with the rivalry that we have with them.
“We couldn’t take anything for granted. We knew that they were going to make some runs, but we were hoping to get just one more stop on them.”
Rambo said the playoffs have brought out the best in him and his teammates.
“It’s different than the regular season,” he said “It’s a new season, and that’s how I look at it. The playoffs and regular season are two different seasons.
“Any team can do anything when they get in the playoffs. I’m in the Final Four, so I had to step my game up.”
Junior midfielder Henry West struck first for the Terrapins to open up the scoring at the 11:25 mark of the first.
The Blue Jays knotted the score with 5:36 left on the clock, but Maryland rattled off three straight goals from Rambo, senior midfielder Joe LoCascio, and junior midfielder Bryan Cole to hold a 4-1 advantage at the end of the first frame.
Hopkins scored three times in the second quarter, but Maryland responded with a pair to hold a 6-4 lead at halftime.
Sophomore midfielder Colin Heacock found the back of net at the 6:46 mark of the second, while senior attackman Jay Carlson scored his first of three goals on the day with 3:04 remaining.
The Terps and Blue Jays traded goals to start the third quarter before Maryland went on a 3-0 run to open up a 10-5 lead. West kicked off the run with his second goal of the game. Rambo also scored his second during the 2:22 stretch, while Carlson finished his hat trick to close the run.
The Blue Jay offense rallied with five straight goals of their own to tie the score at 10-10
First Team All-American goalie Kyle Bernlohr, who finished with six saves, preserved the one-goal victory with a save on the doorstep in the final seconds. All-American defenseman Casey Ikeda had a groundball and helped shut down the Hopkins attack for much of the game.
Along with tallying his first goal of the year, senior faceoff specialist Charlie Raffa secured 14-of-26 at the X and added a game-high seven groundballs.
– With the 12-11 victory, Maryland is now 41-64-1 all-time vs. Johns Hopkins and 5-9 in NCAA tournament play.
– Maryland is now 12-11 all-time in the semifinals of the NCAA tournament.
– The win also set a new program record for wins in a season with 15.