Officially, the sixth-seeded Maryland men’s lacrosse team edged visiting Yale, 8-7, in an NCAA Division I tournament first-round game before an announced 1,729 at Byrd Stadium. But Bulldogs coach Andy Shay would not accept that outcome entirely Saturday afternoon.
In a postgame news conference, Shay argued that junior midfielder Michael Keasey’s shot from about 15 yards out with 22 seconds left in the fourth quarter hit the net before spinning out. So instead of Yale’s season ending at 11-5, Shay thought the team deserved overtime.
“I thought it was a goal,” he said. “I’m hearing the TV guys thought it was a goal. I don’t really know. I’ll watch the tape, but I thought it was a goal. Apparently, there’s a review process that looks at the goals relative to the time left. I’d like it to be able to look at the goal, whether or not it was a goal. In that situation, there’s a lot riding on it, but that’s not the review process with the way it’s set up. I think with the coverage we get and the technology, hopefully, we can move toward that in the future.”
Shay got some support from ESPN lacrosse analyst Quint Kessenich. During halftime of Towson’s first-round game at No. 1 seed Notre Dame, the former Johns Hopkins goalie said he thought Keasey had scored.
“It looked like the ball hit the crossbar, bounced into the goal and then kicked out with some backspin,” Kessenich said. “I believe the ball bounces behind the goaltender, over the goal line and then out. A very difficult call by the referees.”
Maryland coach John Tillman, standing on the opposite end of the field, said he could not tell whether it went in.
“It just happened so fast that I really didn’t see it,” he said. “I just thought it hit the crossbar. Their bench was certainly closer than mine. So I couldn’t tell. I would’ve had to watch it on the monitor and maybe get a closer look at it. I think the officials have such a tough job. Those plays happen so fast that sometimes it’s just really hard to tell.”
The Terps (13-3) ended a two-game skid and will meet the winner of Sunday’s first-round game between No. 3 seed North Carolina (12-3) and Colgate (10-5) in a quarterfinal at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium next Sunday.
Maryland’s 16th victory in 20 first-round games was made possible by a four-goal comeback in the fourth quarter. In back-to-back losses to Johns Hopkins on April 25 and Ohio State on April 30, the team surrendered one-goal leads in the final quarter en route to three-goal losses in both.
Against Yale, the Terps got goals from junior midfielder Bryan Cole with 13:17 left in the period, senior midfielder Joe LoCascio (7:27), sophomore attackman Matt Rambo (6:41) and junior midfielder Henry West (5:07) to erase a 7-4 deficit.
Cole paced Maryland with two goals and an assist, and Rambo added a goal and two assists. But Tillman appreciated the offense’s diversified approach.
“I thought Joe’s goal was big. I thought [Cole’s] goal was big as well, [and] Matt coming through,” Tillman said. “It really meant a lot that it was different people. We didn’t panic, but we kept sharing the ball, and when we got the opportunities, we stuck it.”
The Terps limited the Bulldogs to a season-low-tying seven goals, and junior defenseman Matt Dunn (Loyola Blakefield) held senior attackman and Ivy League tournament Most Outstanding Player Conrad Oberbeck to just one goal on nine shots and no assists.
“As a defense, we just pride ourselves in holding teams to as few goals as possible,” Dunn said. “In reality, it wasn’t about just looking at their numbers and holding them low. We just want to win any way possible. So every time they get the ball on offense, our defense’s primary job is to prevent them from scoring.”
Senior midfielder Colin Flaherty and freshman midfielder Jason Alessi each scored twice for Yale. Senior goalkeeper Eric Natale (Westminster) made a game-high nine saves.