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April 22, 2011
DURHAM, N.C. – Third-seeded Maryland rallied with five consecutive goals in the fourth quarter to defeat second-seeded North Carolina 7-6 on Friday in the semifinals of the 2011 Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Lacrosse Championship at Koskinen Stadium.
The Terrapins (9-3) advanced to Sunday afternoon’s championship game on the campus of Duke University. Maryland will face the winner of Friday’s second semifinal between top-seeded Duke and fourth-seeded Virginia.
North Carolina led 5-1 in the middle of the third quarter and 6-2 heading into the fourth quarter, but the Tar Heels couldn’t hold the lead. The momentum-changing game was similar to the teams’ regular-season meeting in College Park, Md., when UNC fell behind 4-0 before winning 11-6.
This game felt like an early season tilt, with steady drizzle and temperatures in the low 50s. The teams settled into a slower pace, and Maryland felt comfortable even down 4-1 at halftime.
“We kept our poise at halftime and even staring at 6-2 going into the fourth, our bench had a lot of energy,” Maryland coach John Tillman said. “We took it one goal at a time and kept grinding away and grinding away.”
Maryland had 10-4 edge in ground balls in the fourth quarter and a 10-2 edge in shots. North Carolina coach Joe Breschi said Maryland’s possession put pressure on the Tar Heels and goalie Steven Rastivo.
“We obviously missed some opportunities, and we were gassed at the end,” Breschi said, lamenting the Tar Heels 0-for-3 showing on extra-man opportunities. Drew Snider and Owen Blye scored two goals each for the Terrapins, and Grant Catalino had the winning goal with 3:04 to play.
Thomas Wood led North Carolina with two goals, and Nicky Galasso had a pair of assists.
Both teams are ranked in the nation’s top 10.
Additional men’s lacrosse championship information can be found at http://www.theacc.com/championships/11-mens-lacrosse-championship.html. Sunday’s 3:30 p.m. championship game will be televised by FOX Sports.
Maryland head coach John Tillman
Opening Statement: “I’m really happy for our players. It was a tough first three quarters and I give North Carolina credit. Defensively they did a really good job of holding us down. The game settled in early, you knew it was going to be a low scoring game. At 4-1 we kept our poise at halftime, everybody was extremely positive, even staring down 6-2 going into the fourth our bench had a lot of energy. We kept grinding away, and I think that’s part of the process of the year. You get knocked down a few times, things don’t go your way, and it’s how you bounce back and how you deal with adversity. To score five goals and not give up any in the fourth quarter is a credit to the players, their effort, and their willingness to suck it up when things were tough and they were tired.”
On the intermission before the fourth quarter: “We just brought it back in a said we just have to stay together. The great thing was the guys were really positive. Everybody agreed this was not out of reach and we just needed to get the first one. We really wanted to get that next goal and turn the momentum. In our sport three or four goals is nothing.”
Maryland sophomore midfielder Owen Blye
“In terms of the tying and winning goals I like to think they are not too much different from any other goal throughout the game. You’re trying to stick to the offense and execute your way out of trouble, which is something our coaches tell us all the time. Once you get down you can’t start taking shots that you don’t usually take. You can’t start forcing things because those shots aren’t going to go. You have to stick to the game plan, stick to what you know you can do as a player. Whether the scoreboard reads you’re up, down, whatever, you have to stick to the game plan and work together and do what the coaches are asking you to do.”
North Carolina head coach Joe Breschi
On his message to the team at the last timeout: “I just wanted to give them a rest or a break because momentum had clearly swung in the other direction and they were clearly gassed and Maryland capitalized on those opportunities. I just told them to stay the course and play poised. I’m proud of how we handled ourselves. They made a run in the fourth quarter and we couldn’t stop it.”
North Carolina senior defenseman Ryan Flanagan
On his frustration: “We are in it to win it. I think we learned a ton. We will definitely go back and look at the film and see where we broke down in the fourth quarter. We will work on clearing a bunch of ground balls and firing through it. We are here to win it. No one is satisfied with playing 45 minutes. We are here to play 60 minutes and win it. ”