- The Washington Times - Monday, May 30, 2016

Chris Cloutier scored with 1:39 remaining in overtime, giving North Carolina its first national championship in men’s lacrosse in 25 years and prolonging Maryland’s drought with a 14-13 victory in Philadelphia on Monday afternoon.

The Tar Heels, who had not advanced to the championship game since 1993, became the first unseeded team to win the tournament in its 46 years. Top-seeded Maryland, meanwhile, lost in the title game for the fourth time in the past six seasons and has not claimed the NCAA’s top prize since 1975.

Cloutier scored five goals for North Carolina, including three in the third quarter. Playing a man up once Maryland’s Mike McCarney was penalized for cross checking, Cloutier whipped a shot around the far side of Terrapins defenseman Greg Danseglio and past goalie Kyle Bernlohr, finding the top far-side corner of the net.

“I’m thinking, ‘Shoot it as hard as I can into that little corner,’” Cloutier said following the game in a televised on-field interview. “That’s my go-to spot every time. I found it, and it worked.”

With the victory, North Carolina became the first school since Princeton in 1994 to win the men’s and women’s national championships in the same year. Its women’s lacrosse team won the title on Sunday, also by defeating top-seeded Maryland.

Luke Goldstock added four goals for the Tar Heels, who started the season with losses in three of their first six games and held a team meeting at a hotel following a loss to UMass in mid-March.

“They are unbelievable kids, young men,” North Carolina coach Joe Breschi said on the field after the game. “They worked their tails off and they believed and they never quit.”

Maryland, which defeated Brown in overtime in the semifinals, trailed by four goals in the opening minutes and took its first lead with a goal by Matt Rambo that put it up, 8-7, with 3:28 left in the second quarter.

Connor Kelly put Maryland up, 13-11, with 7:49 to play, but Goldstock scored with the man up with 3:53 remaining and Patrick Kelly tied the score 31 seconds later.

Rambo, a Philadelphia native who finished with three goals and three assists, had a chance to break the tie with 7.6 seconds to play, but his shot hit North Carolina goalie Brian Balkham in the stomach. Balkham recovered the ball with 3.9 seconds remaining, but any chance North Carolina had to win the game in regulation ended once Goldstock drew a dead-ball foul for unsportsmanlike conduct after cross-checking the Terrapins’ Mike McCarney.

Maryland’s Colin Heacock ran out the remaining time, and the Terrapins couldn’t score with 56 seconds of a man advantage once overtime began. Their best attempt was with 3:26 remaining in the extra period when a shot by Kelly, who finished with a team-high four goals, went off Balkham’s midsection.

The Terrapins, who also lost the national championship under coach John Tillman in 2011, 2012 and 2015, won a team-record 17 games and entered the championship on Monday with a 16-game winning streak.

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