MEN’S LACROSSE | Bulldogs fall to Terrapins

Two officiating decisions at the end of the elis’ contest against maryland helped the Terrapins escape with a one-goal victory.
Two officiating decisions at the end of the elis’ contest against maryland helped the Terrapins escape with a one-goal victory. Photo by Frederick Frank.

In a game marred by controversial refereeing decisions, No. 4 Maryland scored with 13 seconds left in the fourth quarter to squeak by the No. 12 men’s lacrosse team. The Bulldogs (8–4, 3–2 Ivy) led 7–6 with 12 minutes left in the game after a goal by Brandon Mangan ’14. But they were unable to prevent the Terrapins (9–2, 2–1 ACC) from responding and conceded two goals in the final five minutes, including the heartbreaking man-down goal with 13 seconds on the clock.

Although Maryland’s game-winning goal was preceded by a controversial holding penalty against attackman Kirby Zdrill ’13 with 25 seconds remaining, the penalty was completely overshadowed by the sequence of events after the Maryland goal. Dylan Levings ’14 won the ensuing faceoff with 10 seconds remaining, and midfielder Harry Kucharczyk ’15 fired a shot that appeared to deflect off Maryland goaltender Niko Amato’s foot and then bounce off the frame on the inside of the goal, but the officials did not award a goal and time expired. Instant replay was unavailable, and so officials were unable to verify whether or not the ball had crossed the goal line.

“It’s really disappointing to lose in that way, and even though we played really well, a loss is a loss so we were not happy,” Kucharczyk said. “We know that we can play with the best of them, but now it’s crunch time and we have to play our best for the remainder of the season.”

A win over the No. 4 team in the country would have provided a major boost to the Bulldogs’ tournament resume, but it is now very likely that Yale will have to win the Ivy League tournament and earn the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Yale currently sits tied for second place in the Ivy League and has clinched a spot among the top four teams that advance to the Ivy tournament.

The pair of disputed refereeing decisions overshadowed an impressive performance from the Bulldogs. Facing a Maryland team that has advanced all the way to the NCAA championship game the last two seasons, the Bulldogs held an edge over the Terps in ground balls, shots, faceoffs and turnovers.

After coming from behind to win their last five games, the Bulldogs would again be forced to fight their way back into the game. At the beginning of the second quarter, Yale was assessed a three-minute nonreleasable penalty for an illegal stick after an official check during the first intermission. Maryland, ranked second in the ACC in man-up scoring, capitalized on this opportunity as attackman Owen Blye scored twice within the opening minute of the second period to complete his first-half hat trick. However, Levings’ faceoff win would allow the Bulldogs to kill off the rest of the penalty and avert further damage. Colin Flaherty ’15 continued a string of impressive performances this season, scoring one of his two goals of the game to bring Yale within two. Maryland and Yale would then trade scores to give the Terps a 5–3 lead heading into halftime.

Two Maryland penalties with five seconds remaining in the first half gave the Elis a two-man advantage that carried into the third quarter. Yale took advantage of the penalties, scoring two goals to tie the game at 5–5 within the opening two minutes. With a man advantage, Mangan added his 29th goal of the season 12 seconds in and midfielder Ryan McCarthy ’14 scored his second goal in as many games a minute later to shift the momentum in the Bulldogs’ favor.

Maryland and Yale would again trade scores to leave the score at 6–6 with under 10 minutes left to play in the third quarter. In the remaining 10 minutes, the Bulldogs fired 12 shots towards Maryland goalkeeper Niko Amato and Conrad Oberbeck ’15 nearly put the Elis ahead with a shot that ricocheted off the post. However, Amato stood tall, making five saves in that stretch to keep the game level. Yale thought it had taken its first lead after John-William McGovern’s ’16 shot beat Amato with four minutes to go in the period, but the officials canceled the goal after a crease violation by another Yale player.

The Elis took the lead after goaltender Eric Natale ’15 made a save, one of his nine on the day, and hit captain Michael McCormack ’13 on a fast break up the field. McCormack fed the ball to Mangan, who ripped a shot past Amato to give Yale its first lead of the game.

But the Bulldogs were not able to break through again as Amato, who had a career-high 24 saves, and the Maryland defense stood strong, holding Yale scoreless while the Maryland offense took over with two goals, including the late man-up winner, to best the Bulldogs at their own game and come from behind to end Yale’s winning streak at five.

“Although we lost, the entire team realized how good we can be and more importantly that we can beat any team in the nation,” Flaherty said. “Amato played a great game against us. He’s one of the best in the country, so I don’t think we are too worried about our shooting. It just goes to show how well our defense played to keep us in the game.”

The many controversial refereeing decisions, including Kucharczyk’s nongoal at the end of the game, inspired an article on InsideLacrosse.com arguing for the introduction of instant-replay technology in college lacrosse. And Yale’s debated goal was not the only controversial incident that has happened in a nontelevised game this season. On April 3, during a matchup between Army and Bucknell, an Army player’s shot appeared to cross the goal line before the ball bounced out to give Army a 8–7 lead late in the game. However, the referees saw differently and play continued, allowing Bucknell to score on its next possession and come away with the 8–7 victory. While the Bulldogs were disheartened by the denial of a last-second goal that would have sent the game into overtime, their strong performance against a top five team bodes well for their hopes in the Ivy League tournament.

The Bulldogs will look to secure the No. 2 seed in the Ivy League tournament with a win against Harvard this Saturday at Reese Stadium.

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