Duke's Zach Howell looks to pass as Maryland defenders including Ryder Bohlander (34), move in during the first half of an NCAA college men's Division I lacrosse semifinal game on Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)
Maryland certainly took advantage of playing in its own back yard.
Niko Amato made 13 saves to anchor a suffocating defense, and the unseeded Terps rode the support of a partisan crowd of 44,039 to a 9-4 victory over fifth-seeded Duke on Saturday night to earn a spot in the NCAA men's lacrosse championship game.
Maryland will play Virginia for the title Monday.
Amato, a redshirt freshman, made seven saves in the first half to stake the Terrapins to a 5-2 lead. He got great support from defenders Max Schmidt, Brett Schmidt and Ryder Bohlander, which held Duke scoreless for about 18 minutes in the first half and 22 in the second half.
"Our long poles are big, physical and strong. They pushed out on Duke, got sticks on their hand and let me see the type of shots I'm comfortable with stopping," Amato said.
Grant Catalino scored three goals for Maryland (13-4), which advanced to the finals for the first time since 1998. Midfielder Joe Cummings had two goals and an assist for the Terrapins, who are seeking to capture their first national championship since 1975.
"It was unbelievable to see so much red in the stands supporting us,'' Catalino said. ``Every time we made a big play, the crowd went wild. I still have chills running down my spine.''
Maryland has lost in the finals five times since winning its last title. The Terps will try to end that slide against Virginia, which beat sixth-seeded Denver 14-8 in the first semifinal.
The Terrapins won the regular-season meeting against Virginia, 12-7.
In women's action, the top-ranked Maryland squad will take on Northwestern for the NCAA title on Sunday. It's a familiar place for both teams - the Terrapins (21-1) or Wildcats (19-3) have won it all 13 times in the last 16 seasons.