Navy vs. Maryland
April 8, 2005
The Game Story:
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Navy senior midfielder Graham Gill (Medford, N.J.) scored two goals in the final 2:02 of Friday night's contest against No. 7 Maryland (5-4), including the game-winning goal with 14 seconds remaining, to lead the eighth-ranked Mids (8-2) to a 9-8 victory over the Terps at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The 9-8 result marked the fifth time in the last seven years in which the game has been decided by one goal. The previous four times were won by Maryland by identical 6-5 outcomes (1999, '00, '01, '02).

More than 14,000 fans came out to see what has been a fantastic rivalry over the last several years. With 14,124 spectators on hand, it marked the third-largest crowd to see a Navy lacrosse game at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The top-two attendance marks were set against Johns Hopkins (18,694 on April 24, 2004 and 15,271 on April 20, 2002).

The first 10 minutes of the first quarter were relatively quiet until Terrapin junior midfielder Bill McGlone scored on an unassisted goal at the 4:44 mark to put Maryland on the scoreboard first.

After Maryland face-off specialist David Tamberrino was whistled for a hold at 4:09, Navy answered, as Gill scored his first of three goals on the evening on an extra-man opportunity with the help of freshman Nick Mirabito's (Binghamton, N.Y.) feed.

On the ensuing face-off, Navy's Chris Pieczonka (Hamburg, N.Y.) flipped the ball to teammate Ben Horn (Mill Valley, Calif.) who fired in a shot at 3:45 to give Navy its first lead of the game, 2-1.

The Terps opened up the second quarter by scoring back-to-back goals, including at the 10:16 mark when junior attack Joe Walters scored his 20th goal of the season to put Maryland back on top 3-2.

Navy was able to take advantage of its second extra-man opportunity of the game when Horn fed junior midfielder Steve Looney (Silver Spring, Md.) to knot the game at 3-3 heading into the half.

The Mids opened the second half on fire, scoring three-straight goals, capped off by a wide-open shot by midfielder Tommy Wallin (Mountain Lakes, N.J.) with 6:32 remaining in the third quarter to give Navy a 6-3 advantage.

Walters' man-up goal with 5:27 on the clock in the third stanza not only stopped Navy's scoring run, but it sparked a three-goal rally by the Terps over the next 53 seconds. Walters scored back-to-back goals at 5:27 and 4:42, followed by a break-away goal by Tamberrino, the first of his career, at the 4:34 mark after winning the face-off.

With the game tied at 6-6 heading into the fourth quarter, Navy struck first as junior attack Jon Birsner (Levittown, N.Y.) sliced his way to his seventh goal of the year with 11:26 left in the game.

Junior midfielder Brendan Healy ran the same exact play on two-consecutive offensive possessions and scored on both to give Maryland a one-goal edge, 8-7, with 8:52 to play.

Gill evened the score with 2:02 on the clock on a play that had most fans in their seats asking "how did he do that?" In fact, Gill lay flat on his back asking his teammate if the goal actually went in the net.

"I can't wait to see the replay," Gill laughed.

Pieczonka won the ensuing face-off and Navy kept possession, patiently working the ball around for the right shot. Gill took the ball, split his defenders and dodged to the middle where he was able to thread the ball past sophomore goalkeeper Harry Alford for the game winner.

"I thought Nick Mirabito made a great decision on the possession not to force the ball inside," said Gill, who broke down the Mids' final possession. "Billy Looney set a pick and the defense got on my back.

"I buried it, finally," said an elated Gill.

Paired with its 9-6 victory over Maryland a year ago, it's the first time since the 1980 and '81 seasons that Navy has captured back-to-back wins against the Terrapins.

Gill led the Mids with his hat trick, while Horn produced a pair of goals and an assist. Steve Looney added a pair of goals, while Birsner and Wallin each scored a goal. Navy's extra-man unit was nearly unstoppable, scoring on four of its five opportunities.

"We were definitely concerned with Maryland's ability to get back into the game after we were up 6-3," said Horn. "We stayed together and down the stretch when we needed to depend on one another, we got it done."

Navy junior goalkeeper Matt Russell (Madison, Conn.) had a solid evening in goal for the Mids, especially considering the fact that as of 1 p.m. Friday, he was not going to play in the game. Russell suffered a severely sprained ankle late Wednesday night, after stepping off a curb and rolling his ankle. He gave praise to Navy athletic trainer Ray Chronister who tended to Russell's injury over the last two days.

"Obviously I was worried about my ankle, realizing that this was a time sensitive issue," said Russell. "Ray is a miracle worker. I was on crutches Thursday morning and was jogging before the game. He spent 48 hours with me and I just can't say enough about him and how he helped me.

"Coming in, I wasn't sure I could play," added Russell. "The adrenaline kicked in and there's no better time than a Friday night against Maryland to play lacrosse."

The Terps were led by Walters' three goals, ,while Healy added a pair of goals and a pair of assists. Alford made six saves for the Terps, seeing 30 shots.

The Mids return to action next Saturday when they play host to archrival Army in one of the most storied rivalries in college athletics. Army and Navy meet at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Field at 12-Noon with action carried live on CSTV and on the Mids' flagship radio station, 1430 WNAV.