Thanks to a thrilling fourth quarter comeback, the Terps survived the ACC semis on Friday and went on to win the tournament on Sunday with a 11-9 victory over Duke in the finals.
On Friday, No. 3 seeded Maryland was down 6-2 to No. 2 seeded UNC entering the fourth quarter of the ACC semi-final match up at Duke’s Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C. The Terps then scored five straight goals to win 7-6.
The victory over UNC came at the end of what had been an emotional week for the team. It was their first game since the passing of senior leader Ryan Young’s mother, Maria, last Sunday. Maryland will be wearing purple “MY” stickers on their helmets for the rest of the season in honor of Maria, who had been battling pancreatic cancer for over a year.
Young, arguably the MVP of the Terps’ 2011 season, has provided the spark for Maryland’s offense all year long with a team-leading 17 assists entering the ACC tourney. That was no different on Friday, as the senior attacker helped spark a comeback that Terrapin Nation won’t soon forget.
The unbelievable run started with an unassisted goal from sophomore John Haus. Young then assisted Drew Snider to cut the deficit to two before the Terps’ other sophomore standout, Owen Blye, stunned the Tarheels by tying the game with two goals in two minutes.
Grant Catalino capped the dramatic comeback by calmly netting a behind-the-back goal after receiving a quick pass from Kevin Cooper. Seemingly in the blink of an eye, three quarters of terrible lacrosse were erased, and three minutes later the Terps were advancing to the ACC finals.
In the other semi-final game, No. 1 seeded Duke earned the right to host Maryland in the championship game at Koskinen by defeating No. 4 seeded Virginia 19-10.
The Blue Devils remained hot in the opening of the title game on Sunday, and got off to a quick 4-1 lead against the Terps. Duke would also lead 5-2 and 6-3 before Maryland began mounting their second comeback of the weekend. The Terrapins closed out the first half with a 3-0 run to knot the score at 6-6, and then outscored the Blue Devils 3-2 in the third and 2-1 in the fourth.
The 11-9 victory capped an emotional roller coaster ride for Maryland and secured the program’s fourth ACC Tournament title. Since the tournament began in 1989, the Terps have won in 1998, 2004, 2005 and now 2011. Young had two assists in the championship game, as well as the game-winning goal. Catalino had a hat-trick and was named MVP of the ACC Tournament.
In defeating #10 UNC and # 7 Duke this weekend, Maryland has improved to 10-3. If they can also win against #16 Colgate on May 7 to close out the regular season, they should be in good shape as one of the top eight teams that get seeded for the NCAA Tournament.
In addition, you gotta imagine the Terps are extremely confident right now, having just avenged two of their three regular season loses. And that third loss, the one to Johns Hopkins, went down to the wire. Over the course of the season, and especially this weekend when they won arguably the most competitive conference in college lacrosse, Maryland has proved, that, at their best they can beat anybody in the country.