Joe Cummings and Maryland ruined Lehigh's first appearance in the NCAA Division I men's lacrosse tournament.
Cummings (Loyola) scored with six seconds left Sunday night to advance the unseeded Terps, who celebrated a 10-9 victory over Lehigh in a first-round game before an announced 2,278, a Lehigh record, at Ulrich Sports Complex.
The Patriot League champion Mountain Hawks furiously rallied from a five-goal deficit to take an 8-6 lead into the final quarter, but Cummings' heroics ended the thriller. Maryland held possession in its offensive end for the final 4:41.
Cummings fired his game-winner over the shoulder of Lehigh goalie Matt Poillon.
“I took advantage of a little crease, and the shot went it,” said Cummings, a senior who is the Terrapins' leading scorer this season. “But this was a team win. By no means did any one player win this game. We really focused last week on finishing quarters strong, and that just happened to be the final quarter.”
Maryland (10-5) moves on to meet second-seeded Johns Hopkins (12-3) in an NCAA tournament quarterfinal Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis. Game time is noon.
Drew Snider's three goals and Owen Blye's four assists led Maryland. Kyle Stiefel scored three goals — his first career hat trick — to lead Lehigh, the No. 7 seed.
The Mountain Hawks overcame a 6-1 deficit by scoring seven consecutive goals in the second and third periods to take a lead into the fourth quarter. Snider brought the Terps within one at the 13:26 mark, but Dante Fantoni scored 32 seconds later to widen the Lehigh lead to 9-7. Maryland again got within a goal on Snider's second of the period with 8:03 remaining and eventually tied the game at 9 on Mike Chanenchuk's goal with 6:42 left.
It all set up Cummings' decisive shot.
“The story of the game was Maryland controlling the ball on offense,” Lehigh coach Kevin Cassese said. “We didn't get enough possessions on offense. They managed the clock very well at the end. Our defense played a lot of the game on their end of the field, so I'm not about the blame them. They left it all on the field.”
The fourth-quarter offensive outburst was unlikely after Lehigh held coach John Tillman's Terps scoreless in the third period.
Maryland failed to score for a 22:26 stretch that spanned two quarters. The Terps, who prefer a deliberate style on offense, were shut out in a quarter for just the second time this season.
“We were reeling there early in the third period,” Tillman said. “We needed a break, so I called a timeout. I was pretty surprised we opened up a 6-1 lead because I know how good a team Lehigh is. I'm just proud of my guys for fighting through it. We're not the prettiest team, but we fight with the best of them.”
Added Cummings: “Lehigh's a great team, and they had the momentum. But we played the game — we didn't play the scoreboard. That was big for us.”
The Terps briefly took control of the action in the second period. Consecutive goals by Billy Gribbin, Jay Carlson (St.Paul's) and Michael Shakespeare put Maryland ahead 6-1 with 5:52 left in the quarter and forced Cassese to call a timeout.
Immediately, the Mountain Hawks rallied. David DiMaria's close-range conversion with 4:09 remaining before intermission ended a 21-plus-minute scoring drought for Lehigh. Stiefel cut the deficit to 6-4 with a pair of goals in a 70-second span.
Maryland prepares for its rematch with Johns Hopkins with a spot in the semifinals at stake. The Terps defeated Hopkins, 9-6, at Homewood Field on April 13.
“They're a terrific team,” Tillman said. “We got that first one, but they're playing well right now and I'm sure they'll make some adjustments. We'll have to do the same.”
MARYLAND 10, LEHIGH 9
Maryland 3 3 0 4 – 10
Lehigh 1 3 4 1 – 9
GOALS: M: Drew Snider 3, Joe Cummings 2, Owen Blye, Jay Carlson, Michael Shakespeare, Billy Gribbin, Mike Chanenchuk. L: Kyle Stiefel 3, David DiMaria 2, Roman Lao-Gosney, Ryan Snyder, Adam Johnson, Dante Fantoni.
ASSISTS: M: Blye 4, Chanenchuk 2. L: DiMaria, Fantoni, R. Lao-Gosney.
FACE-OFFS: M: 14. L: 9.
GROUND BALLS: M: 20. L: 22.
PENALTIES: M: 3. L: 3.
SHOTS: M: 37. L: 30.
SAVES: M: Niko Amato 6. L: Matthew Poillon 16.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun