The Maryland men's lacrosse team's chance to atone for its first loss of the season took a little longer than anticipated, and the wait will go on for at least another week.
The No. 4 Terps rallied from a four-goal deficit midway through the fourth quarter to go to overtime, but junior attackman Danny Seibel's goal with 33 seconds left in the extra session capped a 13-12 decision for unranked Villanova before an announced 1,931 at Maryland Stadium on Saturday evening.
After a 5-4 loss at No. 2 Notre Dame on March 4, Maryland had hoped to get back on the winning track, but weather conditions postponed its game at No. 8 Albany on March 11. So a game against a Wildcats team that had dropped four of six games this season was the right remedy, right?
Wrong. Instead of Maryland improving to 10-0 against Villanova, the Wildcats (3-4) won for the third time in their past four games, and the Terps (4-2) have now lost back-to-back contests.
"Heck of a ball game," Maryland coach John Tillman said. "Obviously, a game that could have gone either way. We dug ourselves a hole, but a lot of that had to do with Villanova coming out and playing fast."
Seibel's fourth goal of the evening was somewhat unexpected. First, senior attackman Jake Froccaro attempted a dodge down the right alley, but sophomore defenseman Curtis Corley was joined by senior short-stick defensive midfielder Isaiah Davis-Allen to influence Froccaro to fade away from the net.
But Froccaro still managed to fling a centering pass to Seibel, who caught the ball with his back to the cage and junior short-stick defensive midfielder Adam DiMillo seemingly draped on his back. Seibel had the presence of mind to pivot to his left and whip the ball past junior goalkeeper Dan Morris and set off a raucous celebration on the sideline opposite where the teams were standing.
Even Wildcats coach Michael Corrado seemed surprised by the turn of events.
"From my angle, yeah, it didn't look like it was going to end well," he said with a wry smile. "It looked like he caught it with his back to the goal and a guy on top of him. He just kind of turned and got it off. But we'll take it. We're not giving it back."
The Terps started slowly and found themselves trailing 7-2 late in the second quarter. The offense lacked rhythm against Villanova's zone defense and made too many turnovers — two of which led to Wildcats goals in transition. And Maryland's defense offered creases for Villanova to attack Morris, who was forced to make four of his nine saves in the first quarter.
But senior defenseman Tim Muller dismissed any notion of a two-week layoff affecting the team.
"We should have been ready," he said. "We had a week of preparation. So that definitely shouldn't have played a factor. I think we came out slow. That's just on us. That's not on us not playing for two weeks. I don't think it really made too much of a difference."
When Froccaro scored his third goal (to go with two assists) with 7:58 left in the fourth quarter to give the Wildcats a 12-8 advantage, the deficit seemed insurmountable. But the Terps chipped away on the back of senior attackman Matt Rambo, who scored with 6:59, 3:52, and 1:22 left in the period.
After senior Jon Garino Jr. won the ensuing faceoff, junior midfielder Tim Rotanz drove the right alley and bounced a shot into the left side of the net to tie the score at 12 with 27 seconds remaining. Then freshman midfielder Jared Bernhardt appeared to score the game-winning goal when he dodged from the left wing and rolled the ball past senior goalie Dan Willis with eight seconds left, but officials ruled that Bernhardt had stepped into the crease and waved off the goal.
Tillman did not dispute the ruling, saying, "I'm not sure. We had a good crew there. If they said he was in the crease, I trust that he was in the crease. They certainly l have a better angle than I do. Those guys have such a tough job, and it's really hard. So I'm certainly not going to second-guess an official. If they felt that he was in, I trust that they made the right call."
Rambo paced Maryland with four goals, and Rotanz added three. Garino won 15 of 18 faceoffs (his most since April 2, 2014, when he claimed a career-best 17 against Robert Morris) and scooped up a game-high 13 ground balls.