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2015 NCAA Lacrosse Tournament: Maryland Survives Yale, 8-7

The Terps scored the last four goals of the game to secure a trip to the quarterfinal round.

Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Yale v. (6) Maryland

Maryland erased a three-goal deficit in the fourth quarter on the strength of a four-goal blast late in regulation to collar an 8-7 victory against Yale in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The loss ends the Elis' season at 11-5 while the Terps improve to 12-3, journeying to Annapolis for the quarterfinal round of college lacrosse's most important event. Maryland's Joe LoCascio led all goal scorers with three tallies on seven shots while Conrad Oberbeck was limited to only one goal on nine shots for Yale.

The first 30 minutes at Byrd Stadium were a slog through treacherous territory. Both Yale and Maryland were content to permit their defenses -- and especially their goaltenders -- to dictate the course of the first half. The teams combined for 31 estimated possessions in the first two quarters -- a fairly notable pace considering the Terps' desire to drastically deflate tempo -- but those possessions were generally impotent attempts to breach stout defenses: Yale accumulated only an estimated 18.75 offensive efficiency against the Terrapins in the first half, shooting only 18.75 percent, while Maryland was slightly stronger than the Elis at generating markers on their offensive trips, scoring on an estimated 20 percent of their offensive trips. Both Eric Natale and Kyle Bernlohr were exceptional for their sides, Natale holding a mind-bending 70.00 save percentage in the first half while Bernlohr wasn't far behind with a 66.67 save percentage. The save percentages of Natale and Bernlohr weren't inflated as both were challenged in the game's build up: The Bulldogs put over 56 percent of their 16 shots on goal and Maryland put over 47 percent of their 21 first half shots in Natale's save radius, each keeper standing tall and turning away attempts to accelerate momentum. The net result of this struggle was a scoreboard deadlocked at three at the intermission. Maryland registered the first two goals of the game -- both coming out of the crosse of LoCascio -- and Yale deposited the final two markers of the second quarter, the teams trading goals around the break after the opening stanza. The Terps never trailed in the first half.

The first 15:44 of second half witnessed Yale shake loose and force Maryland into a chase position. The Terps ripped off the first marker of the third quarter on a Bryan Cole score, but the Bulldogs would rush to four straight goals in an 8:39 stretch that built a 7-4 advantage for the Elis with 14:16 remaining in regulation. Yale appeared to wrestle complete control of the game away from the Terrapins, using an especially powerful third period -- a 3-1 capitalization for the Bulldogs -- that featured the Elis holding an estimated two-possession advantage while converting on a third of their offensive opportunities. The Terps, contrastingly, didn't get a save out of Bernlohr in the penultimate period and shot just 20 percent, banging home only one tally on an estimated seven offensive possessions.

Maryland, however, did not capitulate and kiss Yale's ring. A Bryan Cole bucket snapped a 14:23 scoring drought and drew the Terps within two with 13:17 left on the clock. LoCascio followed Cole's goal with his third and final tally just 59 seconds after Cole found twine. Then, almost as if Maryland was channeling an offensive spirit that had left its body weeks ago, Matt Rambo curled to his left from behind Natale's crease and rammed the bean home to knot the score at seven with 7:27 left in the final period. A turnover from Jeff Cimbalista on Yale's possession following Rambo's game-tying goal gave Maryland it's decisive opportunity: Henry West finished a beauty in a shot clock posture on a helper from Cole to propel the Terps to an 8-7 lead, the team's first moment on the positive side of the toteboard since Cole's marker to open the second half.

Yale would have one strong chance to force overtime. Out of a Maryland turnover, the Bulldogs had 2:04 to generate a goal. A Conrad Oberbeck shot trickled wide in a shot clock posture, Yale backing up the ball despite Bernlohr appearing to win the race to the sideline. The Bulldogs took a timeout and were able to get an incredible look for Michael Keasey that found pipe, although it may have breached the goal line before careening back into the field of play:

The Terrapins pounced on the loose ball and were able to run out the clock.

TRUNCATED ESTIMATED ADVANCED BOX SCORE: YALE-MARYLAND
METRIC YALE MARYLAND
Score 7 8
Estimated Possession Margin E (29) E (29)
Estimated Raw Offensive Efficiency 24.14 27.59.
Raw Offensive Shooting Rate 23.33% 23.53%
Estimated Turnover Rate 44.83 41.38
Team Save Percentage 55.56% 53.33%