This week the Terps return to the scene of the inadvertent whistle. Ok, what happened two years ago may not matter to this game, but there's no way to get ready for this week's game at Virginia without going back and looking at the last time Maryland played in Charlottesville (you know - that game).
The Virginia game will be the main focus of this week's Maryland Men's Lacrosse Blog, but we'll also touch on the terrific job Curtis Holmes has done facing-off and we'll shed some light on the milestone Ryan Young reached last weekend.
Maryland-Virginia: A History of Controversy
Every other year the Terps travel Route 66 to Charlottesville, Va., to play Virginia. It's always a big game. It's always important and there is always something riding on the outcome.
But this time it's different. There's something about the recent history between the Terps and the Cavaliers that make this one feel a little bigger.
Before I get into the meat of this section I want to make one thing clear - the events that have taken place during many Maryland-Virginia games since 2008 are not impacting this team. They have more on their minds than worrying about what happened in the past. This year's Terps are not worried about revenge or getting payback for what may have happened in previous games. For this year's Maryland team this is the biggest game of the season because it is its next game.
Now that I've hammered that point across, there is still no way to get around the fact that for Terp alums and fans that this game has a little more meaning because of what's happened during Virginia games in the recent past, especially of what transpired the last time Maryland played in Charlottesville.
For those that are relatively new fans or just casual readers I'll give you a quick rundown of two other controversial Maryland-Virginia games from the past three years:
2008 NCAA Quarterfinals: This was the rubber match. Maryland defeated then-No. 1 Virginia at home during the regular season. The Cavaliers then topped the Terps in the ACC tournament semifinals on their home field. The stage was set for a heavyweight slugfest when the two met at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium with a trip to the Final Four on the line. Early in the fourth quarter, with the Maryland holding a 7-6 lead, Travis Reed appeared to give Maryland a two-goal cushion, but a Cavalier defender pushed Ryan Young into the crease before the goal, nullifying the score. The Cavaliers went on to tie the game in regulation before scoring the game-winner with just 34 seconds left in the first overtime period.
2010 Regular Season: The Wahoos raced out to a 6-0 lead in the first quarter and held a 10-5 lead early in the fourth. But Maryland scored four unanswered goals in the fourth to cut the deficit to one. The game appeared to be tied when Ryan Young batted a loose ball into the Cavalier goal with 2:00 left in the game. But, the goal was waved off when the cross-field official whistled Young for being in the crease. The controversy came when TV replays of the play failed to show Young step in the crease conclusively. Virginia went up 11-9 on the transition following the call. Will Yeatman scored with less than a minute to go to cut the lead to 11-10, but the Terps couldn't get the tying goal before the clock expired.
But the controversies of those two games pale in comparison to what took place on March 28, 2009 at Virginia's Klöckner Stadium.
2009 Regular Season: This had all of the makings of another knockdown, drag-out slugfest between two of the sports most storied programs. And, wow did it ever live up to the billing. Virginia entered the game undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the country. Maryland was No. 9 nationally at the time after pulling out a crazy one-goal victory over North Carolina the week previous.
The game was physical and tight. The Cavaliers held a 4-2 lead after scoring right off of the opening face-off of the third quarter, but the Terps then scored four goals in less than three minutes to take a 6-4 lead with just over 11 minutes to go in the third.
After Virginia trimmed the lead back to one, Travis Reed scored back-to-back goals to give Maryland an 8-5 lead at the start of the fourth quarter.
Cavalier freshman Steele Stanwick scored early in the fourth to make it an 8-6 game, but Bryn Holmes won the ensuing face-off and scored 13 seconds after Stanwick's goal to up the lead back to three.
But the lead wouldn't hold as Virginia scored three times in 1:02 to tie the game with 4:39 remaining. Neither team could get the game-winning goal in regulation and the game was headed to overtime.
That's when it happened.
Holmes won the opening face-off of the first overtime when Dan Burns scooped up the groundball. Burns quickly raced into the box, giving Maryland a 5-on-4 advantage. Grant Catalino recognized the situation and slid toward the middle of the box, looking for a clean shot. Burns spotted Catalino and got him the ball and with time and room, Catalino ripped the game-winning goal past Virginia's Adam Ghitelman nine seconds into OT. But, officially that never happened because an official, anticipating a timeout call that Maryland never called, blew the play dead before Catalino's shot.
From there the game would go on ... and on ... and on ... and on ... and on ... for seven overtimes!
Finally, one minute into the seventh overtime Virginia's Brian Carroll hit a running left-handed shot from the left alley to end the longest game in NCAA history.
Devastated is an apropos word to describe how the Terps felt after that game. Make no mistake about it - Maryland had opportunities to win the game even after the faux-timeout. The Terps had three extra-man opportunities in the overtime periods, including starting the second overtime with Virginia having to play its backup goalie due to Ghitelman being called for an illegal body check with one second left in the first OT. But that still doesn't erase the feeling that Maryland ended up losing a game that it had already won.
If you want to relive this moment in Maryland-Virginia history you can check out the highlights below.
For the record: Yes, I know this Saturday's game will be played at Scott Stadium and not Klöckner Stadium, so it's not exactly returning to scene of the crime. If you want to get that technical we can go into the 2004 NCAA quarterfinal vs. Princeton that took place in Scott Stadium, but there's no reason to open up that old wound.
Holmes Honing In
One thing that makes lacrosse different from other team sports (except for hockey, which we'll conveniently disregard for the sake of the argument) is the face-off. In no other team sport do the teams have an opportunity for possession immediately following a score. What would football be like if after a touchdown or field goal the officials placed the ball at midfield and had teams line-up 11 guys on their respective 40 yard lines and on the whistle they go for the ball. Imagine a jump ball after every basket of a basketball game. I'm not sure what would be done in baseball after an inning, but you get where I'm going here.
The idea of "make it, take it" is unique to lacrosse and makes the face-off such an important aspect of the game. That brings us around to what a great job sophomore Curtis Holmes has done so far this season at the face-off X.
Through eight games this season Holmes has won 95 of 151 face-offs for a winning percentage of .629. That's the highest winning percentage of any regular Terp face-off man through eight games since 2005. Here is a list of Maryland's top face-off men for each season from 2005 up to 2011:
2005: David Tamberrino 56/91 (.615)
2006: David Tamberrino 76/124 (.619)
2007: Will Dalton 74/132 (.561)
2008: Bryn Holmes 47/81 (.603)
2009: Bryn Holmes 52/86 (.605)
2010: Bryn Holmes 63/134 (.470)
2011: Curtis Holmes 95/151 (.629)
What makes Holmes' 62.9 winning percentage even more impressive is that he has taken a greater percentage of the team's face-offs this season than any other Terp in the previous six seasons. So far, Holmes has taken 85.3% of Maryland's draws. The only other time a Terp has taken more than 80% through the first eight games was 2006 when Tamberrino took 82.1%.
A Rare Accomplishment
In the past few weeks we've had the opportunity to take a look at 100-point scorers when Travis Reed reached the 100-point mark and 100-goal scorers when Grant Catalino became just the 12th player in Maryland history to reach that milestone. Today we get to look at the all-time assists leaders thanks to Ryan Young picking up his 80th career assist in the North Carolina game.
The 80+ Assist Club
1. Ray Altman (1961-63) 146
2. Bob Boneillo (1977-80) 126
3. Charles Wicker (1953-56) 121
4. Roger Goss (1958-60) 114
5. Rob Chomo (1992-95) 107
6. John Kaestner (1969-72) 105
7. Andrew Whipple (1995-98) 97
8. Jack Heim (1965-67) 96
9. Mike Mollot (2000-03) 95
10. Mike Hynes (1974-77) 91
11. Ed Mullen (1972-76) 89
12. John Lamon (1976-79) 83
13. Frank Urso (1973-76) 81
13. Jim Wilkerson (1980-83) 81
15. Brendan Hanley (1985-88) 80
15. Ryan Young (2008-11) 80
While 80 doesn't have the gravitas that the number 100 does, reaching the 80-assist mark may be a greater achievement than getting to 100 points or goals. After reading that you might think I'm crazy, but stay with me for a minute and let me explain.
If you just go by the number of Terps to reach one of these milestones then scoring 100 goals is certainly the greater achievement. As I've pointed out only 12 have scored 100 goals, while there are 37 Terps to tally 100 points during their careers and Young is the 16th Maryland player to hit the 80-assist mark.
But the game is not the same as it used to be. If you don't believe me just ask someone that played "back in the day" and they will tell you all about it.
But you don't have to go that far back to see the changes and for this demonstration we'll go back to 1980 (players who were freshmen in 1980).
Since 1980 there have been 16 Terps to total 100 points during their career and seven that have scored 100 career goals. During that same time only six Maryland players have tallied 80 or more assists.
While it's unlikely (but still possible) that Young will reach 100 career assists, it still bears mentioning that there are only seven former Terps to reach that mark. Using 2,200 as our total number players in Maryland history, which means that less than one-third of one percent of all players to suit up for the Terps have totaled 100 career assists.
In case you're wondering there are only three former Terps to belong to both the 100-goal and 80-assist clubs: Frank Urso (208g, 81a), Ed Mullen (102g, 89a) and Jim Wilkerson (117g, 81a).
That's it for this week's Maryland Men's Lacrosse Blog. I hope you're enjoying this weekly dive into the world of Terrapin lacrosse. Believe it or not I do get a weekly report that includes the number of readers and I am very grateful for each and every person that takes the time to read this blog. If you have any questions that you would like answered (if I can) in a future blog send me an e-mail and do my best to answer them.
Game notes for the Virginia game will be posted on Thursday. As I mentioned above, the game will be played in Scott Stadium and will precede the Orange-Blue spring football game.
Tickets for the men's lacrosse game will be $7 for adults and $5 for youth and seniors for General Admission seating. General Admission seating will be available on the east and west sides of the stadium in the lower level. Scott Stadium's East, West and South lots and the North D lot off Alderman Road will be available for free parking starting at 8 a.m. Free public parking will also be available in the Emmet / Ivy Parking Garage and University Hall parking lots. Hourly rates will apply at the Central Grounds Garage. Scott Stadium's gates will open at 11 a.m.
I hope to see you in Charlottesville to root on your Terps.
Be The Best!