December 24, 2009

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This article appears in the December issue of Lacrosse Magazine. Don't get the mag? Join US Lacrosse and its 300,000-plus members today to start your subscription.

Best of 2009
Male Player | Female Player | Male Performance | Female Performance | Male Coach | Female Coach| Game | Comeback | Breakthrough | Look | Mainstream Moment | Fan


'09 Rewind: UVA-Maryland (7OT), Game of the Year

Brian Carroll's left-handed runner in the seventh overtime sealed an epic Virginia win over Maryland on March 28.

© Virginia

The best lacrosse game of the year did not occur in an NCAA tournament setting — unless you’re a hockey fan, that is.

Regular-season lacrosse games on ESPN2 are a rarity. Frankly, they don’t mean much. Maryland-Virginia on March 28? Yawn. With the redundancy of the ACC tournament and the strong likelihood both will eventually qualify for the NCAA tournament regardless (only five times in the last 20 years has that not happened), it lacks drama.

Not since 1995 had The Deuce aired regular season lacrosse games before picking up games in 2008 and this year. Little did we know we were in for a doozy.

So were those waiting to watch North Dakota play New Hampshire in an NCAA ice hockey tournament regional. They should have been OK, what with the action in Charlottesville starting at noon and UND-UNH not on until 2 p.m.

Joe Beninati called play-by-play. Quint Kessenich provided color commentary and translation for the not-so lax savvy. He compared Maryland beast Grant Catalino’s shooting to a golfer teeing off, the way he used his back and leg muscles, for instance, and talked about how Steele Stanwick was the only Virginia player with a traditional leather pocket — all the better for this off-and-on rainy day.

They found a cadence, and hit their crescendo at the right time, as Virginia scored three goals in 62 seconds to forge a 9-9 tie and force the game into overtime.

And oh, the drama.

Catalino scored what appeared to be the game-winning goal just nine seconds into overtime on a low scorcher that beat Virginia goalie Adam Ghitelman, only officials waived the goal. Dave Cottle went berserk. You could hear the Terps’ head coach through the microphone on the field imploring, “We never called timeout!” An inadvertent whistle negated Catalino’s goal.

The game would continue to epic lengths.

When was the last time you saw a game-saving penalty? That’s what Ghitelman got for coming out of the cage to cross-check Ryan Young, who was fed stark naked on the crease with one second remaining in the first OT.

In came Mark Wade, UVA’s seldom-used backup, for double overtime. Terps sniper Dan Groot made sure Wade wouldn’t go untested, forcing Wade to sprawl for a save 38 seconds into Ghitelman’s one-minute penalty.

Ghitelman would return, amassing six of his game-high 22 saves in overtime. The action did not cease. It was unrelenting. Maryland’s Brian Phipps was almost as good.

It took seven overtimes to settle the matter.

Finally, Brian Carroll’s left-handed runner 51 seconds into the seventh overtime sealed a 10-9 victory for then No. 1-ranked Virginia.

And so it was that a national TV audience — including some unwilling hockey fans (or potential lax converts, depending on how you see it) — witnessed the longest game in NCAA lacrosse history.

HONORABLE MENTION

Northwestern 13, Penn 12 (2OT)

The Quakers rallied from down 11-7 to force overtime in this NCAA semifinal, but it'll be remembered for Katrina Dowd's flip goal that sent it into sudden death.

F&M 11, Salisbury 10 (OT)

Seven ties and six lead changes marked the NCAA Division III women's final, won by the Dips thanks to Blake Hargest's goal 2:20 into overtime.


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