Gutsy Third Quarter Has Terps Advancing to Elite Eight for Fourth Straight Year


Maryland defeated UNC 13-6 in the first round of the NCAA tournament Sunday, thanks in large part to redshirt freshman Niko Amato, whose seven saves in an exhilarating third quarter prevented the Tarheels from ever coming within one goal of the Terps the entire second half.

Despite losing the first seven face-offs of the game and only securing four ground balls in the first half compared to Maryland’s 16, UNC trailed just 6-4 at halftime.

Terp junior Drew Snider scored the first goal of the second half, but, at the 9:12 mark of the third UNC midfielder Jimmy Dunster cashed in on a cross checking penalty called on Maryland’s Michael Shakespeare with a man-up goal that made the score 7-5. Once again, the Tarheels were down just two goals, too close for comfort in a game the Terps had seemingly dominated.

Things became even more threatening when UNC was awarded another man-up opportunity on their very next possession.

There is no doubt what both teams were thinking at that moment: “Here we go again.”

In the fist regular season meeting between the two, UNC came back from down 4-0 to win in College Park. In the second meeting, Maryland came back from down 6-2 to steal a trip to the ACC championship game. It was starting to look like Sunday’s NCAA tournament game in Chapel Hill would also see a blown lead.

But Amato put on a stellar performance and saw to it that Dunster scored the only Tarheel goal of the third quarter, despite UNC taking 11 shots.

And with the 7-5 lead miraculously preserved, the Terp offense was able to swing momentum back in their favor for good.

With six minutes, six seconds remaining in the third quarter, the Terps received an emotional jolt when one of their two top goal scorers, junior Joe Cummings, found the back of the net for the first time since April 16 against Johns Hopkins. Cummings, as well as senior Grant Catalino, both scored 24 goals in the regular season, and both sat out the regular season finale vs. Colgate with hand injuries.

Cummings’ goal gave Maryland a much needed three-goal cushion and the comfort of seeing one of their leaders get back on track. But it was the game’s next goal that provided perhaps the most memorable moment of the Terps’ season thus far.

With about two minutes remaining in the third, the Terps decided to try a hidden-ball trick with senior Brian Farrell pretending to casually dump the ball into Catalino’s stick. Even the ESPN camera was fooled as it followed Catalino who acted as a decoy, cradling and making moves on defenders. Meanwhile, Brian Farrell went off camera, passed the ball to Drew Snider on the opposite side of the field and Snider scored an easy goal. In the replays, North Carolina’s goalie can clearly be seen staring right at Catalino while Snider’s shot sails into the wide open net behind him.

This unlikely series of events in the third quarter put Maryland up 9-5 and finally the team with the four goal lead was able to hold on for a win. Snider scored his fourth goal of the day early in the fourth quarter, helping the Terps cruise to victory. The win earns them a trip to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA for the Elite Eight.

Editor’s Note: Here’s video of the trick play goal: