- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 23, 2004

CHARLOTTESVILLE — The final act was jarring but familiar, Princeton walking off with another NCAA tournament overtime victory, this time leaving third-seeded Maryland to ponder how a seemingly certain win slipped away.

Ryan Boyle scored twice in the last two minutes and freshman Peter Trombino capped the sixth-seeded Tigers’ rally on a goal with 2:18 left in overtime to lift Princeton past the Terrapins 9-8 before 2,869 at Scott Stadium.

The Tigers stormed the field after Trombino’s goal, while senior midfielder Drew Virk summed up the Terps’ frustration at the shocking finish by slamming his stick against the goal and bending it to nearly a right angle.

“If you’ve seen Princeton in the past, if we get the ball once [in overtime], we’re usually pretty good,” Boyle said. “Luckily, Peter popped open. It wasn’t even a good feed, and he just buried it.”

Princeton (11-3), back in the final four after a one-year hiatus and now 6-1 in postseason overtimes, will play the winner of today’s Cornell-Navy game in Saturday’s semifinals in Baltimore.

Boyle, a Tewaaraton Trophy finalist, was the catalyst for Princeton’s often brilliant, sometimes lucky comeback. He was in the mix throughout the final five minutes, challenging Maryland’s Chris Passavia with his shiftiness and agility around the crease. Boyle scored with 12 seconds left by coming around the goal, wedging his way between Passavia and goalie Tim McGinnis (12 saves) and then sticking it in the lower right corner to tie the score.

“It was one of those things where Chris was pushing me and I was able to get down underneath his hold a little bit,” said Boyle, who finished with three goals and two assists. “When you have that little time left, [assistant coach Dave Metzbower] stresses not to make an all-or-nothing play, but when you have that little time left you have to go all or nothing. Luckily it was all.”

Maryland (13-3) took a man-advantage and possession into overtime but turned it over 17 seconds into the extra period. The Terps then compensated for Boyle by sliding to him, but it left Trombino open for the game-winning shot.

“He shot a good shot. The kid made a good catch, and the feed was there,” Maryland coach Dave Cottle said. “We slid to him because we had to slide since we got caught when we didn’t slide. We had to make a decision, and we went aggressively.”

Added Trombino: “I think it was a lot of confusion on their part. Everyone slid down to Ryan, and somehow he found that little hole, and I thought, ‘Is the ball really coming to me?’ Everything went well from there. It was surreal to get that open and get that shot in the playoffs.”

Maryland had several chances to close it out in regulation, but one in particular will haunt the Terps for some time.

Sophomore Joe Walters, who finished his season with 46 goals, had possession on a fast break with 35 seconds remaining. Yet instead of calling his remaining timeout, Cottle opted to allow his best offensive player to attack the cage. Defenseman Ricky Schultz blocked a shot, and goalie Dave Law scooped up the groundball and sent it the other way.

“When you lose, there’s a hundred different reasons for losing,” Cottle said. “I was put in the position where I had to make a decision to call time out with our leading scorer going one-on-one with goalie or roll the dice a little bit. In hindsight, I made a mistake, so I’ll take the blame for it. … If I had it to do over, I’d probably have taken the timeout, and then all you [media] guys would be asking me why I took that timeout when he was going one-on-one with the goalie.”

The Terps seemed in control up until the final moments of regulation. After a timeout with 2:16 left, Boyle took possession behind the cage, then took on Passavia before squeezing between the defenseman and the goal. Boyle quickly zipped it past McGinnis to pull the Tigers within 8-7.

Drew Casino won the faceoff for Princeton, which promptly burned its final timeout with 1:49 left. McGinnis saved a shot by Boyle, and Passavia forced a turnover after Princeton’s Scott Sowanick snared the rebound, but the Terps quickly gave it back.

McGinnis made another save on Boyle before Jason Doneger’s shot clanged off the post and set up Walters’ ill-fated fast break.

Princeton held a 6-5 advantage on the Terps after Boyle scored on a quick restart with 4:24 left in the third, but Maryland midfielder Bill McGlone tied it just more than two minutes later, and senior J.R. Bordley scored a pair of transition goals to put the Terps ahead with 10:26 remaining in regulation.

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