DURHAM, N.C. — — Two things happened when Maryland scored twice in one minute early in the fourth quarter of the Terps' ACC men's lacrosse semifinal against North Carolina on Friday night.
The first was Tar Heels coach Joe Breschi calling a timeout to halt Maryland's momentum. North Carolina had dominated most of the game, but the Terps' two quick strikes had cut the Tar Heels' lead to two.
The second was Maryland's bench noticeably springing to life. For the first time in the game, the third-seeded Terps had to reason to believe they might actually beat second-seeded North Carolina. Maryland used that new-found sense of confidence and critical goals by Owen Blye and Grant Catalino to rally from a four-goal deficit and surprise North Carolina 7-6 on a dreary night at Koskinen Stadium.
"That's all we wanted to do was turn the tables on them," Maryland coach John Tillman said. "Make them tight, make them a little tentative and put momentum in our favor. I really felt like that's what happened."
The Tar Heels (9-5) built a 6-2 lead heading into the fourth quarter thanks to a stingy defensive effort and goals by Thomas Wood, Ryan Creighton, Pat Foster, Chris Hunt and Matt Davie. With time slipping away, it seemed likely North Carolina would have a chance to win its first ACC title since 1996.
Then the Terps' John Haus and Drew Snider scored in rapid succession, cutting North Carolina's lead to 6-4 and leading to Breschi's 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," Breschi said. "They made a run in the fourth quarter and we couldn't stop it."
Maryland's comeback continued with back-to-back goals by Blye. The second of Blye's goals came with 5:06 remaining and tied the score at 6.
"Once you get down, you can't start taking shots that you usually don't take," Blye said. "You can't start forcing things because those shots aren't going to go. You have to stick to the game plan."
One of the focuses of Maryland's game plan was Catalino. The Tewaaraton Trophy nominee scored the game-winner with 3:04 remaining, converting a nifty behind-the-back attempt.
Maryland (9-3) had little trouble killing the final minutes — the Tar Heels only had two possessions and two shots in the fourth quarter — setting up a championship meeting against either Duke or Virginia.
"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," Tillman said.