Maryland's start to the season has been fantastic, claiming 7 victories out of 7 to start the year. But now it was time for the stretch run to take place and a win would mean the Terps passed another big test and all but sealed a trip to the ACC Tournament in late April. That is indeed what they did and it means a 3rd Top 10 win of the year for Maryland.
Note: I wasn't able to watch the first half so my updates won't be very in depth.
Stephen Kelly was out injured for the Tar Heels so RG Keenan took face-off duties for UNC. Raffa won the opening FO but the Terps couldn't cash in. Carolina countered but Niko Amato made the save. Carolina would counter quickly again and Joey Sankey put them up 1-0. Raffa won the FO again and after a patient build up, a theme of the first half, Maryland tied it through Colin Heacock. Raffa made it 3/3 from the X and after a great pick from Rambo, Cannizzaro wrapped around and scored an made it 2-1. Rafa's success continued but Maryland couldn't cash in. Carolina earned an EMO on their next possession and scored through Foster. After 3 minutes or so of scoreless play Chad Tuttin scored to put Carolina up 3-2 and that's how the score would hold. Maryland would score the first two of the 2Q as Raffa's dominance continued. Cannizzaro scored the 3rd and an unlikely tally from LSM Michael Ehrhardt gave UMD the lead. Shane Simpson would answer for Carolina as part of a 3 goal Tar Heel run and the consensus was it had been a rough first half for Amato and a sloppy one on offense or the Terps. UNC led 6-4 despite a dominant half from Raffa at the X.
Maryland began the second half well with Mike Chanenchuk getting on the board for Maryland. Carolina answered quickly through Sankey however and the lead was brought back to 2. Brian Cooper got his first career goal off a direct outlet from Amato after Niko made the save. Again though, UNC answered with Simpson someone getting the shot home and UNC lead 8-6. Maryland garnered the next possession and got a few shots off including testing Burke but the goalie was up to the task. Carolina went down and held a prolonged offensive possession which included multiple shots that went wide. Amato finally got a big save and released the outlet for the Terps to clear. Maryland again was patient biding their time for an opportunity but nearly gave it away after a good check from the UNC Dman. The Terps got a shot off and it was a high laser from LoCascio to cut the lead to 1. Carolina took the FO but threw it away and fouled Amato with a slash. The Terps earned the EMO and got a shot on cage but Burke saved and UNC cleared. The Tar Heels had the last offensive possession of the quarter but threw it away and they took an 8-7 lead to the 4th.
Raffa won a key opening FO to start the 4th for the Terps and after a timer on was called, turned it over and possession went to Carolina. After Amato made a key save the Terps quickly countered and Rambo pushed his way to the cage and earned a 30 second man up for UMD. Maryland immediately turned it over and the chance was gone. After a timer on was called, Joey Sankey dived in and scored for his Hattrick and the Tar Heels went up 9-7. After a FO violation was called on Raffa (the refs wanted to make the game about themselves all day long) Carolina earned the possession and scored to go up 10-7. Maryland was now in trouble with the game getting away from them and needed to stem the tide. The Terps did just that as Chanenchuk fed to Heacock who scored on an underhand shot and cut the lead to 2. Maryland would go immediately back on offense after claiming the GB off the FO. Maryland would have yet another ridiculous turnover with the goalie out of the cage and Carolina countered immediately to restore the 3 goal lead. After a lengthy UNC possession Amato made a crucial save to give Maryland the ball back with just under 6 minutes left. After a prolonged possession Maryland killed themselves with another TO, the issue of the day, and dug themselves a deeper hole with under 4 minutes to play. Maryland regained possession with 2:32 left and got a shot off but it was saved by Burke and Maryland's fate was sealed. The Tar Heels would run it out and win 11-8.
Maryland committed 14 TO's and that simply was the difference. The refs were far too involved but Carolina capitalized on the TO's and came away with the win. Maryland did well very on FO's and Niko Amato improved after a rough start, but the Terps just weren't sharp enough for 4 Quarters and that was the ultimate difference.
Maryland lost last year 10-8 to Carolina for their first loss and never really recovered. With a big game against Virginia next Sunday and multiple big games still to come, that can't happen again. This was a tough loss, but it's up to Maryland to decide how it impacts their season. It either can be just a bump in the road and a loss or it could be the start of a rough fall. The Terps control their own fate, and need to bounce back quickly vs Virginia next Sunday.