There will be a substantial amount of debate after Saturday’s NCAA Tournament quarterfinal matchup in which Maryland lost to the Virginia Cavaliers by a score of 13-12 in overtime.
Maryland held a 12-7 lead with over 10 minutes left in the game with all the momentum and an offense that looked virtually unstoppable. With Maryland slowing down on offense and taking its foot off the gas, Virginia put the pressure on Maryland to preserve the lead, mounting its comeback by winning 10 of the final 11 faceoffs to eventually seal the game in the sudden death period. There is, however, a bit of controversy surrounding the game’s eventual ending.
With Maryland still clinging to a 12-11 lead in regulation, Virginia’s Michael Kraus looked to fire a hard shot right above the left shoulder of Terps’ goalkeeper Danny Dolan before hitting the post and deflected back into the field of play. It appeared that the official closest to the crease signaled for the shot clock to be reset, meaning there was no goal on the play. Another official quickly overruled this shot clock reset and instead ruled that the shot had hit the back of the net.
With calls like this one not being able to be reviewed, many, including the entire Maryland sideline, were frustrated with the call. After looking at the replay several times, the ball clearly hit the post without crossing the goal line.
In the overtime period, another faceoff win by Virginia granted them first possession of the period for the Cavaliers. After controlling the ball and finding the best shot opportunity, Matt Moore delivered a laser shot past Dolan to earn a final four bid. For head coach John Tillman and his young team, the call ultimately led to the team’s demise in the overtime period. With the loss, the team will not have the chance to compete in a sixth straight final four.
In the first half, the game was extremely even on all facets of the game. Virginia had taken a one-goal lead into the half, but Maryland was hanging right with the Cavaliers’ potent offense that has been seen throughout the tournament.
Moving to the beginning of the third quarter, Maryland went on the team’s largest run of the game to take control of the quarterfinal matchup. Jared Bernhardt, Anthony Demaio, Louis Dubick and Christian Zawadzki combined for the next five goals in the game to break the 7-7 tie and take a five-goal lead with only ten minutes remaining in the fourth. The rest of the game will be remembered for the call that favored Virginia and swayed the whole complexion of the game.
Bernhardt and Demaio led the scoring charge for the Terps with four goals each while Dolan finished with nine saves and a .409 save percentage.
Maryland was an at-large bid in the tournament after losing in the Big Ten tournament, but the bar was still set high by coach Tillman and the rest of the staff as the Terps are well-known for making it into the final four. With still a very young team returning almost all of its premier scorers, Maryland should be set up for another competitive season next time around.