Senior Ryan Moran had a final chance to tie the game and keep the top-seeded Maryland men's lacrosse team from falling in the semifinals of the ACC tournament. But A.J. Kincel, the Duke goalkeeper who had given the Terrapins hope by surrendering a soft goal with 46 seconds left, had another idea. He knelt and saved the shot Moran unleashed just before time expired, preserving the Blue Devils' 7-6 upset.
Duke will go for its third straight championship on Sunday against Virginia, which capped a cold, wet day of ACC lacrosse with a 13-12 overtime win over North Carolina. The fourth-ranked Cavaliers squandered a three-goal lead in the final 2 minutes 30 seconds of regulation but were saved by senior midfielder Billy Glading 2:20 into the extra period.
In today's first game, the Maryland women kept alive their bid for a fifth ACC title by cruising past North Carolina, 13-5. Virginia also played well in a 12-9 win over Duke.
The weather was far from pleasant throughout the day, but the Maryland and Duke men got the worst of it. Playing in steady rain, the Blue Devils (8-5) took an early lead with the game's first three goals, then stayed ahead by thwarting the Terps' offense for most of the game.
"Right now we're not scoring enough goals to beat good teams if everything doesn't go right for us," Maryland Coach Dave Cottle said.
The Terrapins (7-3) launched 12 of their 29 shots in the fourth quarter, finally cutting the Duke margin to one when freshman Joe Walters scored his second goal with 46 seconds remaining. After a timeout with 15 seconds left, Moran (three goals) broke free from a double team, but Kincel made his 12th save.
"For any NCAA hopes, we had to beat Maryland," said Duke Coach Mike Pressler, whose team has the lowest of the tournament's four seeds after closing the regular season with four losses in five games.
Virginia reached the men's final for the seventh time in the past eight years after Glading buried a feed from sophomore Joe Yevoli on the Cavaliers' second possession of overtime.
John Christmas scored three of his goals during a string of six straight goals that turned Virginia's early 3-0 deficit into a 6-3 lead. The Tar Heels recovered with three goals in a row and tied the game at seven midway through the third quarter, but Yevoli and freshman Kyle Dixon pushed the Cavaliers back in front with back-to-back goals.
Sunday's women's final will mark the sixth Maryland-Virginia meeting in the tournament's seven-year history. The Terps, who had their string of seven consecutive national championships snapped last season, have won each of the previous five meetings. Yet the Cavaliers say they are playing as well now as they have all season.
"I think we're a different team than we were two weeks ago," said Virginia sophomore Cary Chasney, who scored three goals this afternoon. "Hopefully that team will show up Sunday. The new team."
Second-ranked Maryland (14-1) held North Carolina (5-8) to the lowest output of any team in ACC play this season. Senior Sonia Judd and junior Kelly Coppedge, who finished with four goals apiece, led the Terps to a 6-1 halftime lead.
"We started out strong and kept getting stronger and stronger as the game went on," Maryland Coach Cindy Timchal said.
Fourth-ranked Virginia (12-3) took a 4-0 lead and held off a late push by the third-ranked Blue Devils (11-3).
"The start of the game is really what helped us carry it all the way through and come out on top," said Virginia Coach Julie Myers, who got four goals from senior Amy Appelt. "I was thankful we had a five-, six-goal lead at [the end], because they had the firepower to come back on us."