The 41-year wait for a national championship continues. Maryland men's lacrosse had a chance in overtime while up an extra man, but North Carolina narrowly edged the top-seeded Terps 14-13. The Terps lose in the title game for a second straight season, and haven't won a championship since 1975.
Maryland saw a 13-11 lead evaporate quickly thanks to goals by Carolina's Patrick Kelly and Luke Goldstock. After a goalless, tense few minutes, the game went to overtime.
Chris Cloutier was North Carolina's hero of the game, scoring on goalkeeper Kyle Bernlohr from deep in overtime to bring the national title back to Chapel Hill.
Henry West, who had a humble senior campaign, left everything on the field Monday in his final collegiate game. He finished with two goals and four assists, leading the Maryland offense when it was in desperate need of veteran leadership.
Faceoff specialist Austin Henningsen had his way at faceoffs, bullying North Carolina's Stephen 'Bones' Kelly all day and winning 19-of-30 draws. This comes as a bit of a surprise, because one of the biggest questions coming into the title match was how the Terps would play at the X.
Still, Kelly initially showed why he's one of the most feared faceoff men in the country. He won the first two draws, and the Tar Heels scored on their first four possessions of the game to jump to a discouraging 4-0 lead.
When everything was going the Tar Heels way, senior Dylan Maltz singlehandedly brought the Terps back to life. He picked off an attempted clear from North Carolina goalkeeper Brian Balkam and put it into the net to put the Terps on the board, and fed Henry West with the shot clock winding down to steal all the momentum back.
With Maryland still down a goal after an underhanded lazer by Matt Rambo, Maltz scooped a rebound and scored falling down to erase the deficit altogether.
Connor Kelly's late-quarter goal brought the Terps back within one, avoiding what could've been a disastrous game-defining quarter for Tillman.
A moment of silence blanketed Lincoln Financial when Heacock's helmet popped off after getting leveled by a Tar Heel defender, but he'd return shortly after.
As it did against Brown in the semis, Maryland's defense bunkered down after a rocky start. After allowing six first quarter-goals, it allowed just one in the second quarter while the offense went to work to take a 8-7 lead by halftime.
The Tar Heels could've kicked off the half with morale-boosting goal in transition, but Bernlohr stood tall and made a low stick save from point blank range.
Rambo connected on a fast break to complete his hat trick in the third quarter, but North Carolina battled back to take the 10-9 lead.
As we've learned all season long, the Terps thrive under this pressure. Kelly tied the game at 10-apiece just before the fourth quarter, and Heacock scored his first of the game to give Maryland the 11-10 advantage.
North Carolina didn't go down easy, eliminating the Terps' late 13-11 lead to tie it with less than a minute to play.
In an unusual turn of events, Luke Goldstock lost his cool at the very end, getting called for unsportsmanlike conduct to give the Terps a man-up opportunity headed into overtime.
They couldn't convert on that golden opportunity, and Bernlohr made an incredible overtime save to keep the Terps' season alive.
But then Maryland got hit with a penalty in overtime themselves, the ensuing man-down possession led to Cloutier's heart-breaking goal.
Four Things to Know
1. Matt Rambo's postseason run was legendary
This was a career defining game for the junior. The Terps needed his offensive playmaking to have a shot at the title, and the Philadelphia-native came up big. He finished with three goals and three assists, and now holds the Maryland record for points in an NCAA Tournament run with 23. Let's be glad he's got one more season with the Terps.
2. The Terps (almost) battled back from what could've been a game-ending start
Social media was freaking out about the Terps rough start. At first, it seemed like North Carolina was going to dominate Maryland all game.
Omg Maryland. We're never winning the national title in men's lax again.— Dave Tucker (@TestudoDave) May 30, 2016
After falling behind 4-0, Maryland went on a 8-3 scoring that looked like it would lead them to the national title. Unfortunately for Terps fans, the wait continues.
3. Let's look forward to Connor Kelly's junior campaign.
The sophomore out of Connecticut had a promising breakout year on a team needing a go-to third option. Kelly put up just eight points as a freshman, but exploded for 31 goals and 13 assists this year. If you're a fan of trends, he's bound to have an even better junior season for Tillman.
4. Next year, Maryland should be right back in the thick of things
Despite the heartbreaking loss, Maryland is going to be in a good situation next season. Bryan Cole, Pat Young, and West are definitely going to be huge losses for the offense, as well as Bernlohr between the pipes. But Rambo and Heacock are set to have stellar senior seasons, supported by a young returning cast of Kelly, Lucas Gradinger and Tim Rotanz.