- The Washington Times - Monday, May 23, 2005

PRINCETON, N.J. — Nothing has come easy for the Maryland lacrosse team this season. It was only appropriate finishing off a quarterfinal victory wouldn’t be any different.

The Terrapins overcame Bill McGlone’s three-minute illegal stick penalty late in regulation to upend Georgetown 9-8 yesterday in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals before 6,315 at Princeton Stadium and advance to the final four for the second time in three seasons.

Andrew Schwartzman scored the game-winner in overtime and Joe Walters had four goals for the third-seeded Terps (11-5), who have won six straight and will meet Duke (16-2) in the semifinals Saturday at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field.

Georgetown (10-5) was denied its first final four berth since 1999.

“We played as tough as nails today,” Maryland coach Dave Cottle said. “We had a situation where we didn’t play great, but we kept playing and we found a way to win.”

And a creative one at that. Maryland looked in control with a 7-4 lead in the fourth quarter, but the Hoyas narrowed it to 8-7 by the closing minutes. After the Terps called a timeout, Georgetown pulled goalie Rich D’Andrea out of the cage on the restart. McGlone evaded long pole Brodie Merrill and deposited an empty-net shot to seemingly secure the victory with 1:33 left.

That was before Georgetown coach Dave Urick asked for a stick check. Hoyas assistant Matt Rienzo mentioned the possibility of an illegal stick to Urick, who figured he didn’t have much to lose by making the request.

“I think it falls under the heading of desperate times call for desperate measures,” Urick said.

Rather than the more common penalty of having too deep a pocket, officials concluded the ball wouldn’t roll out of the stick when it was tilted at a 45-degree angle. That sent McGlone to the sideline for a nonreleasable three-minute penalty, and the Hoyas’ Peter Cannon tied it 29 seconds later.

“You go from an extreme high to an extreme low in an instant,” McGlone said. “Before the game I even had the stick checked and it was legal, so when they wanted to check I said ‘No problem.’ … I would have taken that solely on my back if we had lost. We put so much into the season that I probably wouldn’t have been able to get over that for the rest of my life.”

Georgetown didn’t manage a shot on goal the rest of the half, and Maryland burned off the rest of the penalty after gaining possession about a minute into overtime. Merrill forced a turnover against Walters, but Maryland midfielder Brendan Healy intercepted a pass to give the Terps possession for good.

That left it to Schwartzman, who scampered around the cage past Georgetown short stick Mike White and beat D’Andrea (four saves) with 56 seconds remaining.

The victory was a bit of vindication for the Terps, who nearly went to the final four last year before coughing up a lead in the final minute of regulation to Princeton before losing in overtime. Maryland also started this season 5-5 and endured questions of whether it could even finish the season at .500 and reach the tournament, let alone the final four.

“The lacrosse gods up there must have really wanted to test us because they put us in the exact same situation as last year, really a much more difficult one,” said Schwartzman, who had a career-best three assists.

Maryland built its lead behind pinpoint shooting (9-for-21) and goalie Harry Alford, who made 12 saves.

Brendan Cannon had three goals and an assist for the sixth-seeded Hoyas, whose season came to a depressingly familiar conclusion. Georgetown joined 1986-89 Navy as the only programs to lose in the quarterfinals in four consecutive seasons, and it was the third time in that stretch the Hoyas had fallen by a goal in their final game. The Hoyas also fell to 0-5 all time against Maryland.

“It’s the toughest thing I’ve ever dealt with in my whole entire life,” said senior midfielder Andy Corno, who won 15 of 20 faceoffs for the Hoyas. “I don’t know how to pinpoint [it]. I just wish we had those last two minutes back.”

Added Urick: “We’re unfortunately making a habit of coming up one goal short in these things. I’m fairly confident that someday that will change.”

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