The easy thing to say - and plenty of message board posters have - is to use the clichéd title "A Tale of Two Halves." That doesn't even do the comeback justice, as the Terps didn't take its first lead of the game until the 13:45 mark of the fourth quarter. Prior to Will Yeatman's (more on his performance in a bit) game-tying goal at 13:56 of the fourth, Georgetown held the outright lead for more than 38 minutes (the Hoyas took a 3-2 lead at the 7:50 mark of the first).
The last time Maryland erased a four-goal deficit was April 28, 2006 against North Carolina in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament. That game, which was played at M&T Bank Stadium, was actually a bigger comeback (Maryland trailed UNC 6-1 at the half), but the Georgetown comeback seemed a more dramatic climb. Take a look:
• Carolina entered the ACC Tournament in 2006 unranked, while Georgetown was No. 13 in the country with a senior class that was touted as the top recruiting class in the country prior to the 2007 season.
• Maryland trailed the Tar Heels 6-1 at the half, but the Terps rattled off five straight (including three in a row by senior middie Brendan Healy) to open the third quarter to tie the game at 6-6 with 4:29 left in the quarter.
• After the 5-0 run against UNC, the game settled into a back-and-forth contest. Carolina regained the lead at 7-6 and then took a 9-7 lead before Maryland scored the last three over a span of 7:43 to win the game 10-9. Against Georgetown, Maryland never surrendered the lead and the game seemed to reach a crescendo with the 7-0 run. The Hoyas scored two to cut the lead back to one, but when Jake Bernhardt scored with 3:56 left Georgetown didn't seem to have another push left in it.
• The difference of playing in a big, neutral site like M&T Bank Stadium and playing on the road in a more intimate venue at Georgetown. The attendance was not much different for both games (3,806 for UNC, 2,532 for Georgetown), but the venues were entirely different. M&T Bank Stadium seats 69,000, while the Hoyas list Multi-Sport Field with a capacity of 2,400. That means M&T Bank Stadium was only 5% filled for the UNC game, while the Multi-Sport Field was 5% above capacity for the Maryland comeback.
Both were terrific wins for the Terps and maybe we have a tendency to rate what we just saw higher than what we remember, but I don't recall a more dramatic victory for the Terps in the six years I've been with the team.
A lot of people have been hard on Will Yeatman since he arrived in College Park, but if anyone saw what I saw on Saturday they will now realize they made a big mistake. Yeatman took the game over in the third quarter and was easily the best offensive player (I'll get to Brian Farrell soon) on the field in the second half. Yeatman is a very unselfish player, but when the game was on the line and the Terps were closing in on the Hoyas he wanted to be the one to have the ball and take the shots.
After missing wide with a shot at the 12-minute mark of the third, Yeatman took three shots and scored on all three. Twice he dodged his defender one-on-one and the other goal was perhaps the biggest (Grant Catalino had the assist, making that a 475-pound goal) man-up goal in NCAA history.
The other thing to point out with Yeatman is that he has committed to playing defense this season. He asked to be moved to midfield during the preseason, but he didn't want to be a guy that just ran to the box on a turnover or a save. Yeatman has put in a lot of time learning the defensive sets and seems to relish the opportunity to dish out a few hits rather than be the target. While he's not going to be sent in as a defensive stopper with the game on the line, he had a couple of lengthy runs at the defensive end of the field on Saturday and held his own.
Now, lets get to the best defensive player on the field on Saturday. What a difference a year makes. Last year against Georgetown Farrell gave it a go and finished with three groundballs and a caused turnover, but he just wasn't himself and couldn't push the ball in transition. No one knew at the time that he was playing with broken ribs that would eventually end his season after the Georgetown game. While last year's Georgetown game was the end of the year for Farrell, this year's game at Georgetown signaled his return to form - and what a signal it was! Farrell was all over the field on Saturday and finished with 10 groundballs and six caused turnover (both career highs). He was asked to guard Andrew Broncacaccio and Farrell held the Hoyas' powerhouse middie to 0 goals on seven shots (only three of which were on goal). In a game that was dominated by offense (28 total goals makes this the highest scoing Md-GTown game in history), Farrell was easily the best defensive player on the field.
A couple other notes on the Georgetown win:
• It's hard to imagine that a six-point game is as ignored as it was on Saturday, but make no mistake - Ryan Young had a huge hand in that win. Young, however, was more than happy to let his teammates face the media and do the talking after the game. While Yeatman, Farrell, Brian Phipps and Jake Bernhardt answered questions, he simply walked quietly to the bus and the awaiting tailgate spread.
• It was more than a year in the making, but it was great to see Owen Byle finally make his Terrapin debut vs. the Hoyas. The third line didn't get too many runs, but for a guy that's battles through pneumonia last year and a bad stomach illness this year, it must have been a great feeling to finally get out on the field.
• The sky is the limit for the Bernhardt brothers. I'm sure we'll talk more about them in the future (and they will be featured in the Washington Examiner later this week), but they combined for three goals, an assist, nine groundballs and four caused turnovers vs. the Hoyas.
This week has the Terps heading up I-95 to M&T Bank Stadium for the ACC opener against No. 9 Duke at the fourth annual Konica Minolta Face Off Classic. The Terps and the Blue Devils played in this event last year and the Terps came away with an impressive 11-8 victory. Don't really remember the game? Check out the highlights ...
One thing that's been asked a lot about this video is the music. The song is "Sophomore Slump or Comeback of the Year" by Fall Out Boy. Considering the impact the sophomores had on that game it seemed an appropriate choice.
This year the event is a triple-header with Hopkins-Princeton and Loyola-Notre Dame following the Terps and Blue Devils. The weather should be much better this year - near 50 and sunny as opposed to upper 20s and windy last year. There is no choice for missing this great day (and it is a full day with six hours plus of lacrosse). If you have tickets - great! If not, head over to faceoffclassic.com and order them today.
Here's what is on tap for Maryland men's lacrosse on umterps this week:
• New weekly awards given by the team and coaches will be announced on Wednesdays (this week is a double-dose with Bellarmine and Georgetown winners announced).
• Game notes will be posted on Thursday.
• Highlights from the Georgetown game will be up by end of the day on Thursday.