Postscript from Denver vs. Maryland men's lacrosse

FOXBOROUGH, MASS. — In the aftermath of top-seeded Maryland's 9-8 win over No. 5 seed Denver in Saturday's NCAA Division I tournament semifinal at Gillette Stadium, Pioneers coach Bill Tierney said it's time for college lacrosse to install a shot clock and bring back the dive.

Tierney based his argument on the final two minutes of the game. Terps senior attackman Colin Heacock converted a feed from senior attackman Matt Rambo with 1:28 left in the fourth quarter to give his team a 10-8 lead, but the goal was waved off after an official ruled he had stepped into the crease after taking his shot.


Junior midfielder Connor Donahue then appeared to score the game-tying goal for Denver with 9.2 seconds left, but his goal was also wiped out by a crease violation after he scored. The ruling angered Tierney, but the game continued and Maryland ran out the clock.

"It will show up in the replay," Tierney said of Donahue's play. "Who knows? Connor made a great effort. Honestly, we need a shot clock in this game, and we need to let the dive be back in the game. They've taken away the two greatest parts of the game. It's silly. It's silly to see a kid make an effort – and their guy, too, by the way, seconds before that, so I'm not just saying our guy – to see young men work as hard as they do and make that kind of athletic effort and have some guy in stripes say, 'No, no, no.'"


The dive, which is still legal at the Major League Lacrosse level, was outlawed to protect goalkeepers from physical collisions while they're trying to block shots. Maryland coach John Tillman said that protection would be his biggest concern.

"I think the first reaction to me – and I'm not saying I wouldn't do it – I think the reason they took it out was the safety of the goalies," he said. "That would be my first thing, would be worrying about that. But if the pro league does it and they don't have injuries and people think it's great for the game, I certainly would be part of that conversation."

Circling back to "Three Things to Watch"

1) Denver's offense. The Pioneers' starting attack that combined for 107 goals and 74 assists did not gain much traction against Maryland. Freshman Ethan Walker did score two goals, but senior Connor Cannizzaro scored just once on four shots, and sophomore Austin French finished with one assist. Cannizzaro, who transferred from Maryland after his freshman season in 2014, was especially hounded by Tim Muller, who was named Division I's outstanding defensive player on Friday. Muller, who posted three ground balls and three caused turnovers, deflected credit for his performance.

"Didn't try to do anything out of the ordinary," he said. "Just played our basic Maryland defense, fundamental, relied on the rest of the teammates to slide when I needed to and slide to him when he had a matchup on someone else. I guess I didn't really do anything that I hadn't tried to do the rest of the year."

2) Maryland's Rambo. With a goal with 9:41 left in the first quarter, the senior attackman broke a tie with Joe Walters to become the school's all-time leader in goals with 154. But Rambo added only one assist. The Tewaaraton Award finalist finished with nearly as many turnovers (three) as shots attempted (four) as he was not as involved in the offense. That might have been because of the play of Denver's Dylan Gaines. The sophomore defenseman had two takeaways and one ground ball, and senior defenseman Christian Burgdorf praised his 6-foot-2, 215-pound teammate for mixing it up with the 5-10, 210-pound Rambo.

"I thought Dylan Gaines did a great job matching defensively," Burgdorf said. "They're both pretty big guys, so it's a heavyweight battle between the two. I thought [assistant] coach [John] Orsen did a great job of choosing Dylan Gaines for the matchup. Just playing physical with him and dictating his intensity throughout all four quarters was important to us."

3) Matt Ward's perspective. The former Virginia attackman and 2006 Tewaaraton Award winner had said that one key to a potential Denver victory was the play of the midfield to loosen up Maryland's defense from up top. The Pioneers got two goals and one assist from their first line of senior Tyler Pace, junior Connor Donahue, and sophomore Colton Jackson, but three goals from their third line of juniors Joe Reid and Jeremy Bosher and sophomore Nate Marano. Asked if he considered sending out the third midfield for the offense's final possession, Tierney said that decision was up to offensive coordinator/associate head coach Matt Brown.


"It was kind of a mix," Tierney said. "We were up and down with it. Those guys do a great job. They're part of our team. Look, when Matt Brown draws up offenses and his guys score 20 goals, I don't walk in and take credit for it. I know better than that. Matt drew up a great play, and to Maryland's credit, they defended it, and Connor had to make a great individual effort. Would have, could have, should have. But Nate Marano was having a good day. We felt like we couldn't get the matchup. They did a cool thing, a smart thing in putting the pole on Connor Donahue, and it kind of threw us off. They pressed out a little bit and threw us off a little bit. But I'm not second-guessing Matt Brown."

Twitter: @edwardleesun