For the first time since 2013, a team from the state of Maryland will not play in the NCAA Division I national semifinals in men's lacrosse.
The Maryland lost, 13-12, in overtime to third-seeded Virginia during the quarterfinals May 18 after a botched call by the officials. Eighth-seeded Loyola could not keep pace with No. 1 Penn State, as the Greyhounds fell, 21-14, May 19.
The Terrapins (12-5) led Virginia led, 12-7, with 10 minutes left in the game. The Cavaliers then mounted a furious comeback and pulled to within a goal in the closing minutes.
Virginia attackman Michael Kraus then attempted a long-range shot that hit the bottom of the crossbar and caromed close to midfield with 1:14 remaining. The officials awarded Kraus the game-tying score even though replays clearly showed the ball never crossed the goal line.
The Cavaliers carried the momentum and won the game on a goal by sophomore Matt Moore 45 seconds into overtime. Virginia (15-3) plays ACC foe Duke (13-4) in the national semifinals in Philadelphia.
The controversial goal could spark more momentum for using instant replay to review calls in the college game.
"It's about getting it right, and if we can do that, certainly on a stage this big and you're going to have TV anyway and you're going to have the ability to do it anyway, why not?" Maryland head coach John Tillman said. "Whether it hurts you or helps you, it's really about getting the play right. If we can do it in a timely fashion, why not try it?"
Virginia won 19 of 28 faceoffs, including eight of nine in the decisive fourth quarter and extra period. The Terrapins were also content to run time off the shot clock as opposed to attacking Cavaliers goalie Alex Rode (six saves) as aggressively as they had in the earlier periods.
There are some questions whether Tillman might have played too conservatively with the five-goal lead.
"As a coach, those are always things you reflect back on," Tillman said about the approach. "Our kids did everything they needed to do. I need to do a better job in that moment and managing some of the things of the game."
The Terrapins have plenty of talent returning to make another run in 2020, but this loss will sting for awhile. Leading scorer Logan Wisnauskas (44 goals, 35 assists), Jared Bernhardt (51 goals, 27 assists), Anthony DeMaio (28 goals, 18 assists) and Bubba Fairman (25 goals, 17 assists) will lead a potent scoring attack.
Bernhardt will be a senior next year, while the rest will be juniors.
However, the loss against Virginia will sting for awhile.
"It's tough to go out like that," said Bernhardt, a 2019 Tewaaraton Award finalist who finished with four goals and an assist.
Another pair of Tewaaraton Award finalists put on a show in Penn State's 21-14 victory against Loyola.
Greyhounds attackman Pat Spencer had five goals and six assists for a career-high 11 points. The Boys' Latin alum finished his college lacrosse career as the NCAA's all-time leader in career assists (231), and he finished second in total points (380).
"I've been surrounded by great people, great coaches for four years and it sucks that it ends like this," Spencer said after the game. "I'm just grateful for all the support from everybody. I had a blast. It's kind of surreal right now that it's over, but thankful for all the people who have been a part of this for me and pushed me and made me better."
Spencer also set Loyola and Patriot League records in points and assists, and he finished second all time with 149 goals.
Penn State attackman Grant Ament finished with a goal and eight assists. He made a strong case for the national player of the year award with potentially two games left on his schedule.
The Nittany Lions (16-1) closed out the first half and led 14-7 at the break. The Greyhounds (12-5) pulled to within 16-14 on a goal by Pat Spencer (Boys' Latin) with 2:16 left in the third quarter.
But that was as close as the game would get. Penn State pulled away with five straight goals and will meet Yale (14-3) in the national semifinals.
Loyola senior goalie Jacob Stover (McDonogh) tied a career high with 19 saves, finishing the year with 250, which ranks second in Loyola single-season history and third in the Patriot League.
Penn State attackman Mac O'Keefe scored nine goals, tying an NCAA Tournament record. O'Keefe has 75 goals on the season, which ranks third all time in NCAA D-I history, trailing Jon Reese (Yale, 1990) and Miles Thompson (UAlbany, 2014), who both scored 82 in 18 games.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Loyola Athletics and Maryland Athletics