Junior goalie Niko Amato was not among the five Maryland men’s lacrosse players chosen to sign autographs after an 8-7 victory over Yale on Saturday at Byrd Stadium. But that didn’t stop Amato from being besieged by autograph requests from fans young and old alike, and for good reason.
Amato finished with 24 saves, the most by a Maryland goalie since the 2005 season opener, including at least five saves in every quarter.
Yet it was a sequence in the final seconds that caused controversy against the Bulldogs. The fourth-ranked Terrapins took an 8-7 lead on an extra-man goal by junior Mike Chanenchuk with 13 seconds remaining.
The No. 15 Bulldogs won the ensuing faceoff and with two seconds left sophomore Harry Kucharczyk took a shot from 10 yards from the middle of the field. What happened next is up for debate.
The ball appeared to hit a low goal post, then Amato’s foot, before bouncing away as time expired. Kucharczyk and most of the Yale players and coaches standing yards from the play raised their arms in the air, believing the ball had crossed the goal line.
But the referees said there had been no goal and the game was over.
“It hit my foot actually and I got a little nervous because I didn’t know where it went off my foot,” Amato said. “I felt pain and I would really have [been angry] if it went in. But I don’t know, did it hit the pipe?”
Said Yale Coach Andy Shay: “It was a goal. It bounced off the flat iron [in the back of the goal] and came out. Difficult to lose like that.”
The game was not televised and replays were not immediately available.
Yale took its last lead at 7-6 on a goal by junior Brandon Mangan with 12 minutes 6 seconds to play. The Terrapins (9-2) answered with a goal by sophomore Jay Carlson with 4:36 left to tie the game. Yale (8-4) won the ensuing faceoff, but Amato made a save with 3:34 left and, following a couple of turnovers, made another save with 56 seconds to play.
The Terrapins cleared the ball and earned an extra-man chance after Yale senior Kirby Zdrill was called for tripping with 25 seconds left.
●JOHNS HOPKINS 15, NAVY 4: Perhaps fittingly, the season ended for the Midshipmen (3-10) with a long scoring drought.
They went scoreless over the final 28:02 after sophomore Gabe Voumard tied the game at 4 with 13:02 left in the third quarter. Meantime, the host Blue Jays (8-4), ranked No. 11, scored the final 11 goals on 18 possessions.
Voumard scored three goals for Navy, which went scoreless for at least 20 minutes for the sixth time this season. Navy also finished with the most losses in school history.
“I’m not sure if we were a 10-win team, but I’m shocked to be sitting here with a three-win team,” Navy Coach Rick Sowell said. “It starts with the head coach, I’m going to put the blame on the head coach. Maybe we weren’t good in this area or good in that area, but it’s up to the coach to figure it out and it just didn’t happen.”
Junior Brandon Benn scored five goals and sophomore Wells Stanwick added five assists for the Blue Jays.
●SYRACUSE 9, GEORGETOWN 8: Senior Dan McKinney and sophomore Charles McCormick each scored in the final two minutes, but the Hoyas (5-8, 2-3 Big East) fell at home. Still, Georgetown can reach the four-team Big East tournament with a victory at Rutgers on Saturday.
The Orange (10-3, 4-1) used a 4-0 run in the second half to pull away. Georgetown had one more possession after the goal by McCormick with 1:13 left but turned the ball over.