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Postscript from Yale vs. Maryland men's lacrosse

The fourth quarter, a white-knuckle adventure in Maryland's two previous games, broke the right way for the No. 6 seed Terps in Saturday's 8-7 win against Yale in their NCAA Division I tournament first-round game.

Trailing 7-4 just 44 seconds into the final period at Byrd Stadium, Maryland got a goal from four players to complete its comeback. The rally was a dramatic departure from the Terps' past two games, in which when they surrendered late one-goal leads before losing to Johns Hopkins on April 25 and Ohio State on April 30.

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The irony was not lost on coach John Tillman.

"I think the big thing for us was staring down what we had experienced in the fourth quarter, really, in the last couple weeks," he said. "We were staring down something similar, and I give [senior faceoff specialist] Charlie Raffa a lot of credit. He really gave us a lift toward the end. We got a little momentum, and we kept building and fighting, and our kids stuck together. Although you'd like to win during the year a little more comfortably, I think those close games we had really helped us today. It's weird how things work out."

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Bulldogs coach Andy Shay, meanwhile, lamented his team's collapse in the final quarter. Yale lost the ground-ball battle 9-1, won just two of five faceoffs and committed three turnovers.

"I thought we made some uncharacteristic mistakes late in the game," he said. "I felt like it was ours to finish. We had a couple turnovers that we don't normally do. We made some missed executions that we don't normally have. That's going to be the difference between two evenly matched teams."

Circling back to "Three Things to Watch"

1) Team defense. Yale (11-5), the Ivy League tournament champion, got quiet performances from its big guns. Freshman attackman Ben Reeves, who set a team record for points bya freshman with 41, had a goal and an assist, but sophomore attackman Jeff Cimbalista was shut out by Maryland sophomore defenseman Mac Pons (Boys' Latin). And senior attackman Conrad Oberbeck, who posted three goals and two assists in the Bulldogs' 10-6 victory over Maryland on Feb. 21, was held to just a goal and no assists by Terps junior defenseman Matt Dunn (Loyola Blakefield).

"Thought Matt did a great job defensively on Conrad Oberbeck, who is a terrific player," Tillman said. "We knew they'd probably go to him. [Redshirt junior goalkeeper] Kyle [Bernlohr] stayed true on holding the pipe and didn't give him a lot to look at, and we kind of survived."

2) Faceoffs. Senior faceoff specialist Charlie Raffa continues to prove why he might be Maryland's grittiest player. Raffa, limited by a right arm/shoulder injury in April, took all 17 draws, winning eight and collecting two ground balls. He wasn't dominant, but Raffa was key in the second half, when he won six of 10 overall, including three of five in the fourth quarter. Tillman said Raffa benefited from the nine-day layoff the team had after losing to Ohio State.

"Charlie said he felt better this week than he had in probably three weeks," Tillman said. "That extra rest that we got helped. Obviously, we would have liked to have won that Ohio State game. But by Charlie not playing that week, he got two weeks of rest."

3) Fourth quarter. See above.


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