FOXBORO, Mass. -- Maryland has heard the murmurs. The dreaded 'S' word has been uttered.
"We've been picked on the last few weeks about being a stall team," Maryland coach John Tillman said. "We've never used that terminology."
The unseeded Terrapins displayed a proficient, efficient offense to knock off ACC rival No. 3-ranked Duke, 16-10, Saturday in the second NCAA men's lacrosse semifinal at Gillette Stadium before a crowd of 31,774. Maryland will face No. 1 Loyola (Md.) at 1 p.m. Monday for the national championship.
"The season is a journey," Tillman said. "I've said all year that I have no problem with anybody going to the goal. But you have to be responsible to your teammates. If you shoot and turn it over quickly, you're hurting your defense."
That wasn't the case against Duke (15-5). Drew Snider matched his career high with four goals, Owen Blye had three and Billy Gribbin and Kevin Forster chipped in two each. Mike Chanenchuk (St. Anthony's) scored in the second quarter as the Terrapins tallied 16 goals on 29 shots, an amazing percentage.
"The Maryland kids were sharp. They shot very well," said Duke coach John Danowski, the former Hofstra coach. "They're rugged kids and they were much more confident than we were. I thought our guys backed down a little. I don't think we played as well as we're capable, but that may be due to the way the University of Maryland played."
Maryland built a 9-4 lead early in the third quarter but two goals by Justin Turri (West Islip) helped the Blue Devils rally to within 10-7 at the end of three. But the offense was still out of synch. "We didn't hit some of the shots we usually hit," Turri said.
It was 11-8 when the Terrapins put the hammer down for good. Goals by Blye, Joe Cummings, Blye again, Kevin Forster and Sean McGuire made it 16-8.
Duke inserted Kyle Turri (West Islip) in goal for a few minutes because the freshman is a former midfielder with stick skills and the Devils wanted their goalie to double-team. It was a desperate gambit and Maryland scored two empty-net goals during that five-goal burst.
"At that point, I didn't care if they scored 20 goals, we were going to try to win," Danowski said.
Maryland also got solid defense from a young unit that included sophomore starter Michael Ehrhardt (Chaminade) and good goaltending from Niko Amato who made 10 saves after delivering an inspirational pregame speech. "We feed off our defense," Snider said. "And Niko got us going with that speech."
Amato said he reminded his teammates, "We are talented, but we were an unseeded team and we wanted to play with a chip on our shoulders. The Terrapins did that and more, showing off an offense some in the lacrosse cognoscenti would not have imagined. "This is not a one-man show," said Cummings, who scored a goal and added three assists. "We've been getting better all year. We have good chemistry on offense now."
And Saturday, stalling wasn't part of the equation.