The Maryland Terps made the big plays when they needed to as they defeated the Navy Midshipmen in the 2nd overtime, 8-7. In front of 14,625 fans at Navy Marine Corps Stadium (3rd largest total in Navy history, 11th in NCAA Lacrosse regular-season history), midfielder Drew Evans ripped a shot with just :07 left in the game to send the game to overtime. Both teams had balanced scoring efforts. Maryland had four players with two points apiece, while Navy was led by the three point efforts of Ian Dingman and Tim Paul. Maryland freshman goalie Brian Phipps may have been the X-factor with his 13 saves for the Terps.
Annapolis, MD – In what was arguably the most exciting game of the year, the feeling leaving Navy Marine Corps Stadium was electric as all in attendance watched Maryland steal a game between two rivals. Navy controlled every statistical category except for saves and controlled the pace of the game for the majority of regulation.
Navy got on the board early as freshman Tim Paul, starting in place of injured attackman Bruce Nechanicky, found Basil Daratsos less than two minutes into the game. Both defenses took over and proved that they are deserving of the hype. Both are physical, fast and experienced, and both are in the top 15 for scoring stinginess. At the tail end of a long possession, sophomore transfer Jeremy Sieverts drove down the right side and ripped a nice right-handed shot in to get Maryland on the board with 4:37 to play in the first. Navy would answer shortly after. Ian Dingman draws a lot of attention from opposing defenses, and that was evident as he drove from X. He barely had a step on his man, but he found William Wallace open who put one past Maryland goalie Brian Phipps.
The first half would become pretty much all Maryland defense and Navy offense. Brian Phipps provided the difference as he contributed four saves in the 2nd quarter to keep the game tight, despite playing man-down for three of the first thirty minutes.
“The boy [Brian Phipps] grew up. When you have kids playing as a freshman against Navy in a game like this, they either take a giant step up or a giant step down, and he took a giant step up,” said Maryland head coach Dave Cottle.
With less than a minute to go in the first, Phipps came up with a huge man-down save. Navy worked the ball around, found Nick Mirabito on the back-side, but the man-down unit recovered nicely. Unfazed, Navy kept the pressure on and worked it back-side to Ian Dingman who took a righty jump shot that dinged the pipe and went out-of-bounds. Navy finally got their third goal of the game with 1:59 to play in the 2nd. Phipps made another save, but on the rebound, Navy fought hard for the groundball. Dingman came up with it in the alley and they worked it around until Basil Daratsos beat Phipps. On the ensuing face-off, freshman Bryn Holmes won it forward for Maryland. Navy’s William Wallace thought he had won it, so he started to step around Holmes. Holmes raced towards the Navy goal with Wallace recovering. Holmes got close, and saw Michael Phipps open on the wing, so he threw a cross-handed flip pass to Phipps, who ripped a lefty shot in just :07 after Daratsos’ goal. Despite their dominance, Navy was only up 3-2 at the half.
“We threw the ball away. We fouled too much. We talked all week in a game like this with a lot of emotion, you got to use your head, not lose your head. We fouled four times. It kept us from having the ball and when we had the ball, we threw it away. At halftime, we talked about how positive it was to be playing as badly as we played and only be down one at the half. If we could hang in there, all we had to do was play a good 30 minutes and get a win,” said Cottle.
The third quarter wasn’t much different from the first half, except Maryland was able to have some more success on offense. Max Ritz tied the game with 7:53 to play in the quarter and on a man-up less than a minute later, Ritz found Dan Groot who gave Maryland their first lead of the day. Phipps again came up big for Maryland in the final minute of a quarter. This time, Navy worked the ball around and seemingly got Phipps out of position. Attackman Nick Mirabito found himself wide open with an open net. He casually went to put the shot away. Phipps darted down the line and cooly handled it as he got back into position, keeping the lead for Maryland.
The fourth quarter is where the game really got interesting. Navy opened the quarter with a three goal run. The third goal (Navy’s 6th) came following a nice Maryland defensive stop. Maryland All-American defenseman Steve Whittenberg picked off a pass at around goal-line extended. He flipped it to Phipps who looked to clear it up field quickly to defenseman Ryan Clarke. Clarke bobbled it and Navy’s Terence Higgins came up with the loose ball. Looking up, due to the unsettled play, Higgins found Dingman wide open in front of the net. The senior finished it giving Navy a two goal lead and momentum with just 8:27 to play.
Needing a lift, it didn’t take long for 2006 3rd-team All-American Ray Megill to provide one. He lined up to take the face-off with 8:27 left in the game to a team he had lost to three years in a row; the last two were one goal games. By the way, he had never in his life taken a face-off in a game before tonight (he finished 3 for 6). Megill proceeds to push the face-off forward, pick up the groundball, and carry it towards the Navy goal. With no slide, he puts a right-handed bounce shot in and cut the lead to 6-5.
Why was Megill even facing off? Navy had dominated so far on the night, with the exception of a couple of wins by Bryn Holmes. Their main face-off threat, Will Dalton, was injured at practice this week as he was used at practice to emulate Ian Dingman.
“Will Dalton, who’s been our face-off guy all year, got hurt playing Dingman this week. We only used him a couple of times. We started at the end, we couldn’t win face-offs. They beat us a little bit with Paul and Bryn, except Bryn had some success against #42 [Wallace]. We practiced all week Whittenberg and Megill facing off. I thought Ray really gave us some energy. They score to go up two or whatever, Ray wins the face-off and goes down and scores,” said Cottle.
Navy again calmly answers. This time Tommy Wallin took matters into his own hands. He was dodging against a short-stick, forced down the side, then rolled back towards the middle, away from pressure. This gave him his hands free and he beat Phipps with a nice right-handed shot.
“Well I give them credit. They were really running down the alley. We were forcing them weak-handed and they’d run full speed weak-handed, then roll back and get off a strong side shot. Wallace scored a goal that way; Daratsos scores a goal that way. We wanted to come to them when they rolled back to their strong hand, but they did a good job of moving off ball and we were a little late,” said Cottle.
With another two goal lead, Navy’s offense went into stall mode, while Maryland’s defense kept the pressure up. Maryland got another chance as Michael Phipps found Jeremy Sieverts cutting through traffic who handled the pass and brought the game to 7-6 with just 4:53 left on the clock. From there, Navy just had to hold on and kill the clock, but Maryland kept the pressure on.
“I thought it was a heck of a game. It’s unfortunate; we battled back after we got down, 4-3. I think we took a 6-4 lead with about seven minutes left, and to their credit they got one on the face-off. We go up again, they get another one we slide, we don’t recover right, they bang the ball inside to Sieverts. I thought at the end of the game we have a one goal lead with 1:30 left, we have their shortstick playing one of our attackman, and they take the ball from us. There are always a million plays in a game like this that can make a big difference,” said Navy head coach Richie Meade.
That set up a great ending. In the final minute, Sieverts had to come up with heading towards the sideline. Only this time he dropped it again and nearly turned it over. He carried it down and gave it to Drew Evans. With time winding down, Evans pushed it himself. It looked like he wasn’t going to be able to get a shot off, but he did.
“I’d like to tell you that we told to Drew to drive up, roll back seven times and shoot it low-to-high because we thought that would be a great place to shoot it. Drew just made an athletic play himself, he scored another goal just like that in another game. We had seen it before, we just hadn’t seen it with six seconds left,” said Cottle.
“I’ve seen Drew make that same shot one other time. I saw him rocking back and forth, and in the back of my mind was just ‘please shoot, please shoot,’” said Ray Megill.
“In particular at the end that was probably the most significant play. Then obviously Evans’ shot that was a great individual effort. There’s no way you defend something like that. There’s eight seconds left, it’s kind of a desperation shot. He turns and puts the ball from low-to-high in the opposite corner from about seven or eight yards, you know, you get a goal for that,” said Meade.
Evans heroics set up the chance for the fireworks of the overtimes. Navy won the opening face-off, but quickly turned it over. Maryland called a timeout when they got it on offense. After working it around, the ball went down just a few yards wide and above the crease with Thomas Alford covering it up. Navy converged as did Maryland, but the officials deemed it a withholding penalty and awarded the ball to Navy. On the next possession, Tommy Wallin had a nice dodge to get his hands free and let rip a shot…just wide. As time was winding down, defenseman Ryan Clarke stripped his man and on the looseball Basil Daratsos came up with it and found himself in a one-on-one with Phipps. Another great save by Phipps.
Maryland got the ball back on offense, possessing it for a significant part of the first overtime. As time was going down, it didn’t look like Maryland was going to get a shot off. They overthrew a pass to Dan Groot at the top. Groot looked at Sieverts thinking he was going to get it, while Sieverts looked at Groot thinking that he was going to get it. Meanwhile Navy’s Billy Looney was making a break for the looseball in between the two. Groot was able to get in front of Looney just enough to keep him off the ball. It looked like a looseball push call could have possibly been made by Looney. Sieverts hurdled both of them and picked up the looseball. Sieverts pushed it down the side and was pressured into forcing a pass across and was eventually taken away by Navy’s defense. Maryland got the ball back and held for the last shot. Evans again tried for a last second shot, but this time Colin Finnegan made a nice save against the pipe just before the overtime ended.
“In the 2nd overtime, I’ve never had a freshman say, ‘if 42 goes out there, I’ll win the face-off.’ My coaches gave me a wild look when I said ‘I’m putting Bryn Holmes out there.’ I’ve never had a freshman ask to go out in a double overtime game to win a face-off and I said ‘anybody that wants it that bad, I’m going to put him out there.’ Jimmy Borell gets a good groundball and Danny Groot gets a great shot,” said Dave Cottle.
Holmes did exactly that, he didn’t win the face off clean, but held it long enough that he was able to direct it out to Borell. On the possession, Maryland got a great look inside, but Finnegan again made a big save. The rebound careened towards the sideline where Sieverts came up with another important groundball. Shortly after Dan Groot drove and gave Maryland their first win over Navy since 2003.
Both coaches expressed similar sentiments after the game.
“Whenever you win a game like this, I always walk off the field knowing that we could have lost. Whenever you lose a game like this, I always walk off the field remembering that we could have won. The effort is what we really appreciate. Sometimes at this time of year, you get so focused on the outcome of what happens that you neglect to continue to practice well, you neglect to continue to try to improve and there’s a lot of lacrosse left to be played for us, so that’s going to be our focus next week,” said a disappointed Meade.
“Obviously this is disappointing, but I feel like we played really hard, it was a very physical game, it was pretty much the game we all thought it was going to be. Obviously we’re disappointed that we didn’t win it, but I’m proud of our team, I’m proud of the way our team played and how hard we competed. And I’m proud of Maryland, the last couple of years, it’s been a disappointing game for their guys to lose.”
“You’re always satisfied with the win. In our business, you’re as good as your last win. So after last week’s loss to Virginia, we didn’t feel very good about ourselves. This gives the kids some time off, we start back practice Monday for Hopkins, we get a full week,” said Cottle.
“Will’s injury, but all week you look at William Wallace, he’s winning 71%. We set up Plan A was Will, Plan B was Bryn, Plan C was Paul and then we came up with D and E. Unfortunately, we had to get to D and E. Ray Megill does an unbelievable job, even when he didn’t win the face-off, he found a way to get the ball back for us. I think that goal that he scores gave us tremendous energy, when they went up two and he goes down and scores.”
As for Navy, they have a week to get ready for their next opponent, Army.
“Playing against Army it’s not like anything. It’s not like what we went through tonight, it’s not like anything that you can explain. I’m the only person in our organization that’s ever lost an Army-Navy game. One of the things that I always fear coming into the Army-Navy game is to make sure that we come in with a tremendous amount of desperation and a tremendous sense of urgency. I really like our team. I like coaching our team, it’s a great group of kids, they work real hard, they play very hard. You know there’s only one outcome that’s acceptable. We won’t be sitting here next week talking about what a great game we played and coming up short, that’s not an option here. We’re going to go through our week of preparation to prepare to play against Army and we will respond next week in Navy Marine Corps Stadium at 12 o’clock. I guarantee you that,” said Meade.
|Tim Paul||(2, 1)|
|Ian Dingman||(1, 2)|
|Basil Daratsos||(2, 0)|
|Terence Higgins||(0, 1)|
|William Wallace||(1, 0)|
|Tommy Wallin||(1, 0)|
|Colin Finnegan||7 (0.467)|