CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -By the end of the game, players from the Maryland and Virginia men's lacrosse teams wearily offered congratulations, sought any liquid that could hydrate their bodies and then trudged off to their respective destinations.
But at the end of the longest game in NCAA history, the heads and shoulders of the host Cavaliers hung slightly higher than those of their counterparts.
No. 1 Virginia got a goal from junior midfielder Brian Carroll with three minutes left in the seventh overtime to outlast the No. 9 Terps, 10-9. The finish ended 85 minutes of play and capped a contest that took about 3 hours, 45 minutes to complete before an announced 5,019 at Klockner Stadium on Saturday. (A regulation lacrosse game usually takes two hours.)
Afterward, players from both sides remarked on the length of the game, which featured a combined 89 shots (52 by Maryland), 83 ground balls (43 by the Terps) and 53 turnovers (28 by the Cavaliers).
"I don't think many people have been in games that long," Maryland junior attackman Will Yeatman said in what might have been the understatement of the day. "It was pretty fatiguing towards the end. I try to hydrate myself well before the game, but when you go into seven overtimes, it's hard enough to have enough H2O in your body to stay hydrated."
Added Carroll, a Towson native and Gilman graduate: "It was by far the longest game I've played in, but I actually wasn't as tired as I thought I would be. I guess the adrenaline was going and everyone was real pumped up after the game, so I felt good."
As the overtime periods began to pile up, no end appeared in sight. Virginia coach Dom Starsia acknowledged that he missed Carroll's game-winner "because I wasn't sure that we were ever going to score the goal that was going to win the game," he said.
Carroll's bullet from about 8 yards was the third game-winner in overtime of his career, and all three have come in the past two seasons. From 2005 to 2007, Virginia was just 1-3 in contests extended beyond regulation.
"I guess I'm confident shooting at the end of games," Carroll said of his overtime heroics. "At the same time, it probably just ends up going that way."
Just one minute into the seventh overtime, Carroll sprinted down the left alley and launched a shot from a sharp angle that eluded the stick of Terps goalie Brian Phipps (11 saves) and settled into the upper right corner.
"The alley was open, and there was a short-stick [defender] there kind of in a position to slide, but he never came," said Carroll, who ranks third among the Cavaliers (11-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) with 19 goals. "Just decided to let it go."
Carroll's goal capped a 4-0 run that began with less than six minutes left in the fourth quarter. Trailing 9-6, Virginia got goals from freshman attackman Steele Stanwick (a career-high-tying four goals), senior attackman Danny Glading (one goal, four assists) and Carroll in a span of 1:02 to tie the score.
Starsia said the team never panicked despite leading for just a total of 13:27 until the end.
"In every huddle and during every break of the action, it was always very positive," said Starsia, whose squad had trailed just three times before Saturday's game. "Guys were always on top of it and saying, 'Let's get things going.' And that's what you want to hear."
The Terps (6-3, 2-1) were paced by Yeatman (two goals, three assists) and Ryan Young (two goals, one assist) but could not knock the Cavaliers from the ranks of the undefeated for the second consecutive year. Virginia won its first nine games last season before falling, 13-7, in College Park exactly a year ago.
Maryland wasted extra-man opportunities in the second, fourth and fifth overtimes, and an apparent game-winner from Grant Catalino nine seconds into the first overtime was waved off when officials ruled the Terps' bench had called for a timeout before Catalino's shot.
"I think both teams had missed opportunities," Maryland coach Dave Cottle said. "We had opportunities in that one."