UMBC, 6-goal lead dissolve

Delaware gets last 7, 12-11 overtime victory

May 17, 1999|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

Will one of the biggest fourth-quarter collapses in Division I men's lacrosse tournament history be remembered for how quickly UMBC folded or how slowly the deciding goal rolled into the net?

Faster than you can say season-ending breakdown, UMBC squandered a six-goal lead with 10: 25 left in regulation, watching its brief playoff run crawl to a halt when Sean Carney's shot 42 seconds into overtime inched into the goal to complete No. 8 Delaware's 12-11 stunning victory yesterday at Towson's Minnegan Stadium.

"We could have put them away," UMBC coach Don Zimmerman said. "When you have a six-goal lead, you have to put a team away. I'm very disappointed we didn't. We did have some opportunities."

The Retrievers (11-4) built an 11-5 fourth-quarter lead, but hopes of their first win in this tournament crumbled before the first-round crowd of 4,103 as quickly as their composure. UMBC flopped under the Fighting Blue Hens' new-found defensive intensity, turning the ball over in 11 of its final 12 possessions.

And the unforced mistakes became more magnified.

With the Retrievers ahead by a goal with 3: 41 left, Chris Turner lobbed a pass over the head of a wide-open Casey Hard on the crease. Only 41 seconds later, Hard wound up for a uncontested look on goal and whiffed, as the ball slipped out of his stick before completing his overhand shot.

"I think we forced the ball a few times we shouldn't have," Turner said, "and we didn't capitalize when we should have."

Case in point: the first possession in overtime.

After Brian Lawton won the opening faceoff, UMBC called timeout. Seven seconds after play resumed, Dan Marohl was called for pinning his stick against his chest, trying to avoid the check of Delaware defenseman John Ciliberto.

UMBC would never regain possession again, closing out its season with a 14-minute scoring drought.

After a three-shot flurry, Delaware banked on the playmaking of John Grant, the nation's leading scorer. Moving toward the crease, Grant flashed a stick fake before whipping a pass up top to Carney.

Because the Retrievers reacted to Grant's initial move, Carney floated to a gap in the defense where he fired a low 7-yard shot. UMBC goalkeeper Andrew Hampson dropped down to smother the ball, but it sputtered underneath Hampson's stick and two feet into the goal.

"In that situation, we had the guy we wanted in the goal," said Zimmerman, whose Retrievers hadn't lost since March 27. "He's done so much for us this year and is one of the big reasons, if not the major reason, why we came back this season. It doesn't do him justice to have one trickle past him to end a season."

That short roll propelled the Fighting Blue Hens (14-2) to the first playoff win in school history and into Sunday's quarterfinal against No. 3 Virginia. But a large scoring wave carried them to that point.

Delaware, however, had to withstand a 5-0 Retrievers run in which UMBC controlled seven consecutive faceoffs. Scott Steele's unassisted goal gave UMBC that six-goal margin, leaving the Retrievers to only produce a growing panic the rest of the game.

Creating fast breaks off UMBC's mounting turnovers, the Blue Hens scored five times in five minutes. The last goal in that string was on a skipping shot by Grant which was set up by goalkeeper Ron Jedlicka's knocking down a Retrievers pass on the other end.

Grant continued to manipulate the defense, flipping a behind-the-back pass to Carney for a goal that tied the game at 11 with 59 seconds remaining in regulation. Less than a minute into overtime, this combination lifted the Blue Hens to their winningest season.

"There was no sense of urgency," Grant said. "Basically we said: The defense will get us the ball and we have the offensive capability to come back. Six goals was a big concern, but we didn't want to rush anything."

UMBC rushed enough for both teams.

Yet the Retrievers retained thoughts of victory late in the fourth quarter despite Delaware's comeback. Remember, this is the team that failed to score in the second half against Maryland a week ago and won.

But yesterday, the UMBC defensive stop fell a few feet short.

UMBC 1 3 5 2 0 -- 11

Delaware 2 1 2 6 1 -- 12

Goals: UMBC--Marohl 2, Hard 2, Ratcliffe, Cornes, Hahn, Harasym, Barger, Turner, Steele; D--Grant 3, K.Lavey 3, J.Lavey 3, Carney 2, DeBusschere. Assists: UMBC--Harasym 3, Hahn, Turner, Carney, Gibson; D--Grant 4, J.Lavey, Motta. Saves: UMBC--Hampson 16; D--Jedlicka 11.

Pub Date: 5/17/99

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