May 22, 2011

Maryland Drops Syracuse on Catalino's OT Bomb, Reaches First Final Four in Five Years

by Dan Hickling | | Live Blog Replay | Blog/Chat Center

Maryland players mob Grant Catalino after his game-winning goal in overtime Sunday against Syracuse. The Terps will return to the final four for the first time since 2006.

© Kevin P. Tucker

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Maryland has one of the most storied programs in the realm of college lacrosse, but it had been five years since its last appearance in the final four.

Grant Catalino closed that gap by lashing in the overtime game-winner that toppled No. 1 seed Syracuse, 6-5, Sunday, in an NCAA quarterfinal tilt at Gillette Stadium.

Catalino, a senior, netted the clincher 3:28 into the extra session and propelled the unseeded Terrapins into next Saturday's semifinal with fifth-seeded Duke.

"It's unbelievable," said Catalino, who hails from Webster, N.Y., about a long pole clear away from Syracuse. "We've gone through so much, so many ups and downs. It's an awesome opportunity to spend another week with the guys we love as family. It's just an awesome feeling to be able to practice on Monday."

Fellow senior Scott LaRue agreed.

"It's undescribable," he said. "Four years and I've never been to a final four. I can't really put it into words.

"We just wanted to show we could play with some of the best teams out there. We knew it was going to be hard fought. But that's the game that we like to play."

Catalino, who leads the Terps with 26 goals, may have been an expected offensive source.

But LaRue?

Hardly. Not as a defensive middie.

Prior to Sunday, LaRue had scored just five times in his varsity career, and just once this season.

"Scotty has always been the 'X-Factor' for us," Catalino said. "He's very quiet. Under the radar."

Said LaRue: "It just kind of fell into my stick today. I'm not the star. Everyone is the star. I was just in the right spot today. We just looked for those opportunites and took advantage of them."

Both teams showed great defensive discipline throughout the first half, which ended knotted at two goals apiece.

"It wasn't like the offenses were struggling," Catalino said. "It was two stellar defenses playing."

None of those tallies came cheap.

Syracuse's Jeremy Thompson netted the lone goal of the first quarter after 11:57 had elapsed on a slick left-handed shot while blowing through two Terrapin defenders.

Jovan Miller made it 2-0 with 4:45 left in the half on a right-handed bullet from 25 feet away.

"We've gone through so much, so many ups and downs. It's an awesome opportunity to spend another week with the guys we love as family. It's just an awesome feeling to be able to practice on Monday."

Maryland senior attackman Grant Catalino

The Terps responded with two goals late in the half, the first coming from Drew Snider, who took Ryan Young's feed near the left post and slammed it home.

Then, with 2:03 left, LaRue scored just his second of the year after barging in alone on Galloway.

"They didn't slide," LaRue said, "so I just took it to the goal. And it went in. I knew exactly where I was putting it."

Maryland eased into a 5-3 lead after three, thanks in part to a strange buzzer-beater by LaRue.

Stationed near the left post, LaRue grabbed a blistering last-second second feed from Young from the far left side, then rerouted it past Galloway.

"I looked at the clock and there were 10 seconds left," LaRue said. "I just cut to the goal. I don't know if [Young] saw me or not. But I just caught it and [stuck] it in there. I didn't know if any time was left on the clock. Luckily there was."

Said Galloway: "Sometimes those things happen. Unfortunately, in a one-goal game like this, things like this can decide it. It's our fault for not getting in the hole and holding my pipe, and making the save. But I don't think that's what decided the game."

Indeed not.

Miller brought the Orange back in the fourth quarter by tallying twice. His clutch goal with 1:05 to play knotted the score at 5.

But it only served to set the stage Caltalino's dramatic game-winner, which came off a set-up by Young, the Terps' emotional leader who had three assists.

"He gave me a great pass," Catalino said, "like he always does. Not a lot of thought went into that shot. [But] a lot of practice."

For the Terps, that practice paid off handsomely.

News and Notes

Plenty of synergies will be afoot when Maryland and Duke meet next Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore -- not the least of which will be the coming clash between Young and his twin brother Kevin, a Blue Devils middie. Their mother, Maria, died April 17 after a four-year battle with pancreatic cancer... Maryland freshman goalie Niko Amato was credited with nine saves, as well as a deflection on a try by Kevin Drew which saw him scurry to the end line and give the Terps that critical final possession. "[Drew] had that certain look in his eye," Amato said. "I just tried to stand my ground. As soon as he took the shot, I just reacted to it and noticed there were no backups, so I tried to really hustle."

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