Best lacrosse season in Quinnipiac history comes to an end at hands of No. 1 Maryland

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Henry West, Matt Rambo and Bryan Cole each had three goals to lead the top-ranked Maryland men’s lacrosse team to a 13-6 win over Quinnipiac in an NCAA First Round game on Sunday afternoon at Capital One Field.

With the win, the Terrapins improve to 15-2 overall with 14 straight wins and move on to next weekend’s NCAA Quarterfinals at Providence, where they will face the Syracuse-Albany winner. Quinnipiac, which had a nine-game winning streak snapped, sees its season end at 12-4 after making its first-ever NCAA appearance (and picking up its first NCAA Tournament win against Hartford on Wednesday in the preliminary round). The Bobcats were led by two goals from sophomore midfielder Anthony Carchietta (Syosset, N.Y.).

The loss ends an extremely successful 2016 campaign for the Bobcats, who were picked to finish second in the MAAC but swept through the regular season at 6-0 and swept both MAAC Tournament games over Canisius (13-7) and Marist (13-9). The team’s 12 wins represented the second most in school history, behind only the 14-2 mark of the 2001 team, while the 6-0 conference record was the first unblemished mark in league play since the 2001 squad was 9-0. The nine-game winning streak was also the second-longest at Quinnipiac, behind the 12 straight wins that the 2001 team began the season with 15 years ago.

The Bobcats hung tough in the early going, as the first three possessions went as well as they could hope. Maryland turned the ball over after winning the opening faceoff, and Carchietta scored on a run from 30 yards out to give the Bobcats a 1-0 lead. Junior goalkeeper Jack Brust (Baltimore, Md.) then made a save on Maryland’s first shot and Quinnipiac successfully cleared.

However, Maryland finally was able to swing the momentum its way with three straight goals to take a 3-1 lead. Cole started the run, and defender Bryce Young capped it off when he scored in transition after a loose ball scrum in the Quinnipiac offensive end led to a leakout for the Terrapins.

The Bobcats withstood that punch and closed to within 3-2 when sophomore attack Brian Feldman (Canandaigua, N.Y.) whipped one in from straight out after senior midfielder Connor Meth (Basking Ridge, N.J.) found him from behind the cage for his 36th goal of the season. Quinnipiac had a pair of chances to even the score, but missed wide, and West scored twice in the final 1:20 of the first quarter to give Maryland some separation with a 5-2 lead.

Quinnipiac struck first to begin the second quarter, as senior attack Ryan Keenan (Oshawa, Ontario) ducked under a stick check and converted his 33rd goal of the year to make the score 5-3. Maryland answered with the next two, though, as Pat Young scored an unassisted goal on a spin move and Cole added his second to push the lead to 7-3 with just under seven minutes left in the half. The score stayed there the rest of the way, as Feldman hit the post, Keenan had a shot blocked trying to circle around from behind the net, and junior attack Drew D’Antonio (Norwalk, Conn.) missed wide in the final minute.

The Bobcats scored first in the second half, as freshman midfielder Foster Cuomo (Oakville, Ontario) scored when he came around from behind the net off a restart, but his goal was answered with 8:43 left in the third as Colin Heacock came from behind the net and scored from a sharp angle. Quinnipiac had a man-up opportunity denied when Kyle Bernlohr made a point-blank save, and West completed a hat trick at the other end to push the lead to 9-4. Matt Rambo then scored in front and fed Louis Dubick in front for another goal at the 1:41 mark of the third to stretch the lead to 11-4.

The end of the third quarter essentially put an end to Quinnipiac’s hopes as the Bobcats turned the ball over breaking to the net with seven seconds left, and Maryland was able to go end to end and convert in front of the net as the buzzer sounded to make the score 12-4 and cap off a 5-0 run to end the third. Carchietta scored his second goal, both unassisted, in the fourth, and long-stick midfielder Adam Bellamy (St. Catherines, Ontario) added his first.

Quinnipiac will lose six seniors off this year’s team, including Keenan, who graduates as the No. 4 all-time goal scorer (94) and No. 5 all-time leader in points (131) in program history. Starters Chris Kendall (Dublin, Ohio) and Ryan Lawler (Port Washington, N.Y.) will leave some holes on the close defense, while Meth and Nate Nibbelink (Hampstead, Md. – pictured) will be lost from the Bobcat midfield, and Connor Devane (Wilton, Conn.) will move on as one of the team’s faceoff specialists.

The Bobcats will have a young core to build around next year, though, with Brust returning for his fifth year to anchor the defense from his goalie position, in front of juniors Riley Palmer (Oshawa, Ontario) and Bellamy. A total of 30 this year’s 42 Quinnipiac roster spots were filled by freshmen and sophomores, with Feldman leading the team in goals scored (36), and Cuomo ending the year as Quinnipiac’s top scoring midfielder (22). The Bobcats’ top faceoff specialist Will Vitelli (Milford, Conn.) will also return, along with starters Carchietta and D’Antonio.

Maryland will move on to the quarterfinals next week after improving to 17-4 in first round games in its NCAA Tournament history, as well as 33-6 all-time at home in NCAA Tournament games.

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