Each week during the 2013-14 season a Maryland student-athlete, who has shown excellence on and off the playing field, will be selected as the Solomon Eye Associates Terp of the Week. This week's Solomon Eye Associates Terp of the Week is freshman Connor Cannizzaro of the Maryland men’s lacrosse team.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Connor Cannizzaro played the role of facilitator for the first 52:26 of the Maryland men’s lacrosse team’s 12-8 victory over No. 8 Notre Dame on April 19 in Notre Dame, Ind., but over the final 7:44 of the game the freshman went on the offensive, netting the natural hat trick to secure Maryland’s win and the 2014 ACC regular season title.
“Early on, I thought he did a great job of letting the game come to him,” said Maryland coach John Tillman to The Diamondback following the game. “Then there were some opportunities late where we needed him to make some plays, and he really delivered.”
After assisting on senior Mike Chanenchuk’s first goal of the game to give the Terps’ a 2-0 lead early in the first quarter, Cannizzaro didn’t get back on the scoresheet until the 7:44 mark of the fourth. He cored his first goal of the game on a sensational individual effort, going under a Notre Dame defender, tip-toeing the crease and finishing from in close.
His second goal was the dagger that took the air out of the Irish comeback effort.
With under 2:00 to play, a timer-on call was signaled just prior to a Maryland timeout, meaning the Terps would have just 10 seconds to get a shot on cage before a turnover would be called.
Maryland had its defensive midfield already on the field when Cannizzaro picked up the ball to the left of the box for the restart.
Most expected him to just run a few seconds off the clock before rolling the ball into the corner. No one expected what happened.
“We had to attack the goal,” Chanenchuk told The Diamonback. “So we just let Connor do what he does best, and that’s dodge hard to the goal. And he made a really incredible shot.”
Cannizzaro made a sharp cut into the box down toward goal line extended, lessening his angle with every step. When he looked to have run out of any shooting angle at all he ripped a left-handed shot that found a sliver of space between the pipe and the Notre Dame goalie.
Instead of it being Irish ball with a chance to cut the Maryland lead to one, Cannizzaro pushed the Terrapin lead to three with 1:35 left on the clock.
He finished his hat trick with an empty net goal just 19 seconds later.
“I was just waiting for my opportunities throughout the game,” Cannizzaro said to The Diamondback. “I just tried to make the most of it.”