With two seconds left and his lacrosse squad trailing Loyola, 4-3, St. Mary's Rob Chomo was within striking distance of the unprotected Don net.
Midway through the third quarter, the senior attackman hadpulled his squad even at three.
Now he had a second chance.
So with a defender on his tail, Chomo charged a ground ball, scooped it up and fired from five yards away before being pushed to the ground. But as the last second ticked off the clock, the blast went inches over the goal's right post.
Chomo's was the last of three desperation attempts in the final 15 seconds.
"What'd he miss it by -- that much?" asked St. Mary's coach Jim Moorhead, squeezing his right thumb and forefinger together.
His gesture also symbolized the Dons' narrow victory after trailing, 1-0, 30 seconds into the game and, 2-1, midway through the second quarter on two goals by St. Mary's senior midfielder David Jones.
But Dons coach Joe McFadden had Jones' number this time by having defenderChris Ginter shadow him step for step.
"They had that long-stick middie on me, playing on top of me, always lining up on my left hand so I was going right-handed all day," said Jones, a natural southpaw."He was trying to shut down my left so I wasn't able to put it on goal as much."
Saints keeper Chris Brown (15 saves) made four point-blank stops during a Loyola barrage before St. Mary's got the ball back with 1 minute, 54 seconds to go.
With 15 seconds left in the game, Jones spun around Ginter about 10 yards out on to the left of thegoal and -- while being shoved from behind -- got off an off-balanceshot.
It found the net -- in the lacrosse stick of keeper Jason Johnson, for his fourth save of the game.
"I felt the slide coming and I was leaning to the right, but the guy just made a good save of my right-handed shot," said Jones, who raised his season total to 19 goals and eight assists.
"He tore us apart last game, and we knew we needed someone to close him down," said Ginter, who with 11 seconds left also made a diving save of Ryan Kelly's 30-yard shot on an unprotected goal. "Coach thought I could handle him, and I thought I could do it."
The Dons came from behind on goals by Mike Vaughn, BillEvans and Chris Farmer to take a 3-2 lead early in the third quarter.
Mike Boyle's goal with 4:12 left in the third period was enough for the winning margin.
"They obviously were ready for us and theywere a little more methodical this time, but I don't think they did anything that differently. The bottom line is that this game could have gone either way," said Moorhead.
Loyola and St. Mary's finishedtied (7-3) for the Division I title for the second straight year, but the loss cost St. Mary's the top seed and home-field advantage for Tuesday's Maryland Scholastic Association A Conference tourney.
"Obviously we wanted the home-field advantage, but the bottom line was winning," said Moorhead. "We can't worry about the fact that we've got to go and play Boys' Latin (Tuesday). They're a very good club and it's always tough to beat a team for the second time within a week and half. By and large, we're good enough to win."