The two teams exchanged long, drawn-out possessions in the first three quarters, and UNC was able to take a lead by hitting cutters and scoring quick-stick goals.
The Terrapins were able to control possession in the fourth thanks to UNC’s four turnovers and Maryland’s 10-4 advantage in the groundball battle.
“The biggest thing is we’ve got to clear the ball and pick up ground balls,” UNC defenseman Ryan Flanagan said.
Maryland coach John Tillman was proud of the way his team didn’t quit despite the deficit after three quarters of play.
“Everybody agreed this was not out of reach and we just needed to get the first one,” Tillman said. “We really wanted to get that next goal and turn the momentum.”
Once the Terrapins got the next goal in the form of a John Haus rising shot that beat UNC goalie Steven Rastivo with 12:25 remaining, they didn’t look back.
Maryland then won the next faceoff and scored another goal just a minute later to cut the Tar Heels’ lead to two.
“I think as soon as we got two in a row, now all of the sudden we were able for the first time to put two together,” Tillman said. “Then we could build off it.”
Breschi sensed this, too, and called a timeout to rest his defense.
“Momentum had clearly swung in the other direction,” Breschi said. “They were clearly gassed and Maryland capitalized on those opportunities.”
But a timeout would not be enough to stop the Terrapins.
Soon Owen Blye scored two straight goals to tie the score.
The Terrapins weren’t satisfied with just a tie. Catalino, whose six-goal performance led Maryland to its ACC semifinal win against UNC last year, scored the game-winning goal for the Terrapins.
“I was moving a lot in the crease all game and they were staying with me,” Catalino said. “But it’s just that one time at the end that they lost me.”
Catalino was able to get free and catch the ball just outside the crease and to the left of Rastivo. Left with virtually no shooting angle, he quickly shot the ball behind his back and beat the goalkeeper.
The beautifully executed goal finished off a dramatic comeback by the Terrapins and an epic collapse by the Tar Heels.
“We know the ball can’t roll your way the whole game,” Catalino said. “It’s got to turn sometimes and in the fourth quarter, it turned in our direction.”
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