Terps persevere, win in 2nd OT

Groot's goal decides it after two-goal rally in last five minutes of regulation ties Navy

No. 10 Maryland 8 No. 6 Navy 7

College lacrosse

April 07, 2007|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Sun reporter

Before last night, the senior class from the Maryland men's lacrosse team had never beaten Navy. But this time, on a night on which they battled through all kinds of problems, the Terps found the winning combination, and it was a group of younger players who ultimately made it happen.

Sophomore midfielder Dan Groot hit a running 6-yard shot with 3:18 left in the second overtime period to lift No. 10 Maryland to a come-from-behind 8-7 victory over sixth-ranked Navy before 14,625 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

"It's probably the best goal I've scored in my life," said Groot, who beat Navy senior long-stick midfielder Victor Barger before winning the game. "I just went down the left alley and got off a good shot."

The victory, the biggest of the year for Maryland (8-3), ended a three-game losing streak against the Midshipmen, who dropped their second straight and fell to 8-2. It was the third straight game between the teams that was decided by one goal.

And this win was not short on thrills. Maryland had to rally from a 7-5 deficit in the final five minutes of regulation. First, sophomore midfielder Jeremy Sieverts cut the margin to 7-6 with 4:53 left after he cut between two Navy defenders and took a feed on the crease from attackman Michael Phipps.

But that was merely a warm-up for junior midfielder Drew Evans, who pushed the Terps into overtime after Maryland had regained possession with just under a minute left.

With time winding down and Maryland out of timeouts, Evans dodged back and forth from about 17 yards away up top, then turned right on midfielder Terence Higgins and fired a rising shot past Navy goalie Colin Finnegan. Two minutes earlier, Finnegan had stuffed Evans in close.

"I saw [Evans] rocking back and forth, and I'm just thinking please shoot, please shoot. We need a goal," said Maryland senior defenseman Ray Megill, who was a symbol of the Terps' resourcefulness.

Megill, who had never taken a faceoff in his career, helped stop the bleeding in that area, where Maryland lost 13 of 19 draws. But Megill won three of six draws and he won his first faceoff, then charged down the field and scored the second goal of his career to cut Navy's lead to 6-4 with 8:19 left in the game.

The Terps recovered all night. They were outshot 15-5 in the first half, yet trailed only 3-2 at halftime. Their second goal came after freshman midfielder Bryn Holmes won the faceoff, then passed to Phipps for an easy score.

Later, with 1:47 left in the first overtime, Maryland preserved the tie when freshman goalie Brian Phipps went down low to deny Navy freshman midfielder Basil Daratsos the game-winning shot from 10 yards out. That would be Maryland's last shot of the game.

"We were very fortunate to be down by one at the half," Maryland coach Dave Cottle said. "Navy controlled the first half. We had to play tough and play well. Our young team is growing up a little bit."

Navy swallowed a tough defeat, during which the Mids went 0-for-5 in extra-man situations. But the Mids found a replacement at attack for the injured Bruce Nechanicky in the form of freshman Tim Paul, a converted midfielder.

Paul scored two goals and added an assist. His back-to-back goals in the fourth quarter turned a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 Navy lead with 9:19 left in regulation.

"Obviously, Evans' shot was a great individual effort. There's no way to defend that," Navy coach Richie Meade said. "Whenever you win a game like this, I always walk off the field knowing we could have lost. Whenever you lose a game like this, I always walk off the field knowing we could have won."

gary.lambrecht@baltsun.com

Maryland 1 1 2 3 0 1 - 8

Navy 2 1 0 4 0 0 - 7

Goals: M-Groot 2, Sieverts 2, Ritz, Phipps, Evans, Megill; N-Paul 2, Daratsos 2, Dingman, Wallin, Wallaced; Assists: M-Holmes, Phipps, Ritz; N-Dingman 2, Higgins, Paul. Saves: M-Phipps 13; N-Finnegan 7.

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