— A day that began in celebratory fashion for No. 6 Maryland Saturday quickly turned into a game of survival. The host Terrapins took the field on Senior Day against No. 14 Colgate without their top two scorers, then stammered their way through the first half, falling behind by four goals.
Despite a late rally, the newly minted Atlantic Coast Conference champions couldn't complete the comeback, allowing goals in the final 2:12 to Ben McCabe and Peter Baum in a 10-8 loss that suddenly puts what looked to be a sure NCAA tournament home game next week in doubt.
"It's my responsibility to get this team ready, and they weren't ready," Maryland first-year coach John Tillman said. "We just came out flat today."
A major reason for that was injuries that sidelined both attackman Grant Catalino (undisclosed injury) and midfielder Joe Cummings (right arm), who entered the day tied for the team lead with 24 goals. Without them, the Terrapins (10-4) never found their groove in a first half in which they fell behind, 6-2, while accumulating nearly as many turnovers (nine) as shots (10).
"I think in terms of leadership and just calming some guys down and having some poise under pressure, those guys are really good at that," Tillman said. "It's always great to have them, but that's just part of the game. You're going to have guys injured and other guys have to step up."
While not discussing the exact nature of the injuries, Tillman said he expects both Catalino and Cummings to return for the postseason, which may have just grown more difficult for Maryland.
The loss may hurt the Terps' chances at a top-eight seed and first-round home game when the NCAA reveals its tournament pairings tonight. . Prior to the loss, a home game seemed a lock.
Colgate (11-5), meanwhile, may have salvaged any chance it had to make the field.
"I thought we were out of the NCAA tournament … but with this one I'm not so sure you can keep us out," Red Raiders coach Jim Nagle said. "We've been pushing transition all year, and we got quite a bit of it today."
Tied at 2-2 late in the second half, Colgate took command by scoring four straight goals in a span of 1:51, including the final three — by long pole Dave Tucciarone off a fast break and Peter Baum and John Donally off faceoffs — in just 27 seconds.
"That second quarter … was a dagger to the heart," said attackman Ryan Young, who led the Terrapins with two goals and an assist.
Young led a comeback that saw the Terrapins open the second half with four straight goals to pull even. Later, trailing by a goal, they made it 8-8 when sophomore Owen Blye came from behind the goal, drove to his right and fired from a severe angle with 3:35 left.
But this one wasn't to be. Blye (two goals) blamed neither the injuries nor Maryland's two-weeks between games.
"You can't make excuses. It's on our shoulders," Blye said. "It's all about how you go out there and play, and we didn't get it done today."