But when the scoring drought ended, it brought a flood. With 7:30 to go in the first quarter Hess flung in the game's first goal, unassisted. Fifty-five seconds later Princeton midfielder Lorne Smith, a Maryland native, fired in number 2. Only 35 seconds after that, Katz thumped in his first. Talk about crash, boom, bang. It was scary, and it was only 11:15 a.m. Poor Sean Keenan. The Maryland goalkeeper had to endure this assault practically by himself. His defenders were flat-footed and a little slow, and the only theory anybody could come up with was that they had spent everything they had against Syracuse. The Terrapins must have been dazed by this combination of punches because they never showed any sustained signs of life after it. "We went through a six- or seven-minute period where we couldn't get the ball," said Terrapins coach Dick Edell.
In the first 15 minutes the Tigers outshot the Terrapins 17-3. They won eight of nine face-offs. They picked up 19 ground balls, while Maryland fielded just eight. The only statistic in which Maryland outperformed Princeton was saves, by a 4-2 count. That's usually a bad sign, and it was again on Monday.
But according to Cairns, the finale was not only about identifying the best collegiate lacrosse team in the country. It was also about growing the game, beyond Maryland and Long Island and upstate New York, the sport's traditional spawning grounds. As lopsided as the game was, it seemed no one left early. Everyone was there to watch lacrosse. Grandmothers in Maryland have been known to say of a newborn grandson, "Looks like a goalkeeper to me!" Cairns knows all about that kind of passion, and he'd like to see his sport catch on across the country. In the meantime he was heartened by what he saw early on Monday afternoon—thousands of Terrapins fans standing and saluting the national champion Tigers with polite applause. In Maryland they know lacrosse talent when they see it.