Five things Maryland will miss from the ACC

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Five things Maryland will miss from the ACC

Increased financial stability ultimately led University of Maryland President Wallace Loh to pursue membership in the Big Ten athletic conference. For Maryland, almost 60 years of ACC tradition was tossed aside for the greener pastures of the Midwest and the revenues delivered by the Big Ten television network.

As Maryland fans grapple with the conference shift, CSN examined some of the aspects of life in the ACC that Maryland fans might miss most.

Tradition -- For multiple generations of Terp fans, a prominent place in the ACC was a source of pride. Maryland was a founding member of the conference in 1953, and for almost 50 years Maryland served as the northern most point in the ACC. While many in the Terp crowd claimed that the conference held a bias for its North Carolina teams, Maryland won multiple championships in basketball and football. Non-revenue sports in the ACC are another strength; Maryland enjoyed much success in ACC men's and women's lacrosse, soccer and field hockey amid some of the best competition in the country.

College basketball experts still speak of the famous N.C State-Maryland 1974 ACC Tournament championship game.

The matchup featured 10 players that would go on to the NBA, and N.C. State's 103-100 overtime win led to big changes for the NCAA. In 1974, only conference champions made the NCAA Tournament. After that Maryland team failed to make the tournament, despite finishing the year ranked the No. 5 team in the country, the NCAA expanded the tournament from 32 to 48 teams.  

Duke Rivalry -- While Maryland enjoyed many great years in men's basketball throughout its time in the ACC, when the Terps were at their best in the early 2000s, Duke often played the role of heel.

No rivalry in the ACC was as intense at that point as the Jason Williams and J.J. Redick Duke squads facing up with the Juan Dixon and Lonny Baxter Maryland teams.

Many would argue that the most heartbreaking loss a Maryland team ever suffered came in the 2001 Final Four, an epic collapse against a Duke team that would go on to win the national championship. But that loss also propelled the Terps to their first and only national title the following year.

 A bitter memory for Maryland fans, Duke also registered an absurd win in Cole Field House in the infamous "Miracle Minute" game. 

In January 2001, Maryland led Duke by 10 points, 90-80, with about a minute to play, only to lose the lead, lose their composure, and eventually lose the game in overtime 98-96.

The game will forever live in College Park folklore, and former Duke star Shane Battier acknowledged that the intensity of those Duke-Maryland games from that era were the most intense he ever faced in college. 

Maryland also won some monumental games over Duke.

One of the best wins came when the Lady Terps delivered a victory over Duke in the 2006 national title game. Duke was a heavy favorite in the game, but coach Brenda Frese and star freshman Kristi Toliver brought home the title in a 78-75 overtime win.

All ACC Rivalries -- For a period of time, no rivalry played like Duke against Maryland. But for the almost 60 years Maryland competed in the ACC, every game was intense. Every rivalry mattered, especially in the pre-expansion days when all teams in the conference played a home-and-home round robin basketball schedule.

Maryland knew it would play NC State, North Carolina and Virginia twice every year. The crowds at Cole Field House were some of the best in the country, and famous Terp coaches like Lefty Driesell and Gary Williams battled ACC legends like Dean Smith, Jim Valvano, Bobby Cremins, and later Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams. 

Tobacco Road -- Despite all the cries of "Carolina refs" heard from the Cole Field House crowd, there was a lore and excitement to visiting the famed programs along North Carolina’s “Tobacco Road.”

Duke, N.C. State, North Carolina and to a lesser-degree Wake Forest gave the Terps great competition, while Maryland coaches could use the Tobacco Road trips as a selling point to recruits. Nothing will replace playing in Cameron Indoor Stadium or the Dean Dome.

Geography -- Though for most of the ACC’s existence Maryland served as the northern-most team, many of the Terps' foes were within an easy car ride for fans to attend away games.

From College Park, Md., driving to Charlottesville, Va., would take about two hours, while a trip to Duke, N.C. State or North Carolina would take roughly four hours. Add another hour to get to Wake Forest.

In the Big Ten, the road trips will get much longer. 

Both Penn State and Rutgers are roughly four hours from College Park, but the next closest team plays 400 miles away in Columbus, Ohio. To arrive at Ohio State will require a seven-hour car ride, the next closest school is Michigan, a mere nine-hour trip.

Much will change as Maryland shifts to the Big Ten, but there is plenty to miss from the ACC. 

 

The most defining image of the 2016 NCAA Tournament had little to do with lacrosse

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The most defining image of the 2016 NCAA Tournament had little to do with lacrosse

It was yet another heartbreaking Memorial Day afternoon for the Maryland Terrapins and head men's lacrosse coach John Tillman.

For the fourth time since 2011, the Terps fell short in the NCAA Championship game, this time with a heartbreaking, 14-13 overtime loss against North Carolina.

But even a heartbreaking championship loss can serve as a canvas for something better.

After all, this was just a sport, and sports are at there very best, a distraction from the rigors of everyday life.

Take five-year-old Fionn Crimmins, who in June of 2014 was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, the most common form of childhood cancer.

Fionn has become the embodiment of Maryland lacrosse; overcoming odds while performing with pure happiness and childlike passion.

Fionn is, unquestionable, the biggest fan of the 2016 Terps' team. There was no one more distraught following Chris Cloutier's overtime goal than the enthusiastic kid from Kensington, Md.

And there may be no greater image from the 2016 NCAA Tournament than the one captured moments after the Terps' crushing loss.

Fionn cheered for the Terps all season long, and in turn they played for him, both in the two early-season losses and the sixteen consecutive wins before Monday's loss.

But it isn't the result that matters, but the journey to get there, and more importantly, the people you meet along the way.

RELATED: KYLE BERNLOHR AND THE GREATEST SAVE THAT DIDN'T MATTER

 

Kyle Bernlohr and the greatest save that won't matter

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Kyle Bernlohr and the greatest save that won't matter

It was going to be Maryland's defining image.

The one plastered on walls inside the soon-to-be-rennovated Cole Field House. 

It was set to become the greatest play in Maryland Terrapins lacrosse history.

There was Senior goalie Kyle Bernlohr, lunging forward, contorting his body in the opposite direction, reaching out to deny North Carolina's Chris Cloutier the overtime game-winning goal. 

The goal that would once again keep Maryland from claiming its first lacrosse national championship since 1975.

His rejection of the championship moment lacked basic goalie technique and execution but made up for it with — well — everything else.

As Cloutier drove toward the crease, Bernlohr made one final lunge to match his stick with Cloutier's, opening up the goal for easy access. 

That's when Cloutier dipped to the left, hoping to find one last sliver of goal space before fading to behind the goal.

Bernlohr, weight firmly planted on his front foot, was out of position and out of options. Cloutier faked high, and had the game-winner in his sights. Bernlohr was on uneven footing and without much hope.

Then, instead of shifting back toward the middle of the crease and finishing low and away, Cloutier kept the head of his stick up high, drifting away from the goal and away from a better scoring angle. 

Bernlohr made one final — if not desperate — lunge across his body, jumping off his line to snatch the ball —and  impending defeat — from the Tar Heel attackman who would finish the game as the NCAA's all-time leader for goals in a single tournament.

In one graceful yet reckless moment, Bernlohr, a lefthanded goalie, jerked the stick across the front of his helmet while diving in the air, then readjusted to rob Cloutier of all the glory.

It was a true championship moment.

It was supposed to go down as the greatest save in NCAA Tournament history.

It was supposed to be the catalyst to Maryland breaking its streak of nine-straight championship game losses. 

Bernlohr's save was the pure embodiment of competitive spirit. It was a magical moment. One that defied proper fundamentals. It was the beautiful meeting point of reaction, instinct and sheer desperation.

But it was also a run of the mill moment for a goalie. Not the save, that was phenomenal. But the moment. The feeling of nothingness.

A goalie's greatest moment is never remembered. You're more likely to be last seen digging a ball out of the back of the net than you are making the game-winning save. The next save is always the most important, which is why the great saves are hardly ever remembered.

Goals in lacrosse are scored at a premium, 27 on Memorial Day to be exact.

The goalie is the last line of defense but given arguably the most difficult task in sports: Stop a 90 MPH shot from ten feet away with minimal equipment standing in front of a net with four times as much surface area as the human body.

It's an unenviable task that features brilliant athletic accomplishments forgotten in a matter of moments.

And so, like the off-balanced, double-clutch 3-pointer hit by North Carolina's Marcus Paige in the waning seconds of the 2016 NCAA Basketball Tournament Championship game against Villanova, and like Jay Beagle's Herculean, diving save in the Capitals' overtime playoff game against the Penguins, Bernlohr's save was on the cutting room floor within moments.

There was Cloutier, playing the role of Kris Jenkins and Nick Bonino, blasting a shot low and away, completely out of reach of Bernlohr, into the back of the net, giving the Tar Heels a 14-13 championship victory. It was his 19th goal of the tournament, the most in NCAA Tournament history.

It was also the lasting image, the one nobody could have expected given what took place just moments prior even though it's all part of the vicious goalie cycle.

Maryland's championship nightmare did not vanquish, but the greatest save in tournament history did.

But that's the violent nature of sports, and the painful truth of being a goalie. One minute you're the hero and the next you're the goat.

It's absolutely heartbreaking.

But you can't predict sports. You can't script sports. It's better that way, even if it ends with players like Bernlohr being reduced to a mere footnote. 

Terps once again suffer championship heartbreak thanks to OT loss

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Terps once again suffer championship heartbreak thanks to OT loss

The Maryland men's lacrosse program seemed destined to finally get the championship monkey off its back.

But for the fourth time since 2011, the Terps fell just short in the National Championship, losing to North Carolina 14-13 in overtime.

Maryland began the overtime with possession thanks to an unsportsmanlike penalty by UNC at the end of regulation. But after Tar Heels goalie Brian Balkam denied Connor Kelly from outside, North Caorlina got possession and a chance to win.

Chris Cloutier, who set the all-time goals record for a single tournament with 19, had a great look on the crease but Maryland senior goalie Kyle Bernlohr made an incredible save.

But following the play, a late hit by Maryland's Mike McCarney resulted in a man-advantage and possession.

On the ensuing possession Cloutier once again found the ball in his stick on the crease and finished the game, and once again dashed the Terps' title hopes.

Maryland held leads of 9-7 and 13-11, but could not pull away from the Tar Heels. Cloutier scored three straight goals to but Carolina up 10-9, and after Matt Rambo led the Terps back in front, Steve Pontrello and Luke Goldstock closed the gap.

Cloutier finished with five goals and was named championship game MVP. Goldstock finished with four goals while Pontrello and Brian Cannon scored twice as well for the Tar Heels. Midfielder Connor Kelly led the Terps in scoring with four goals on eight shots. Philadelphia-native Matt Rambo finished with three goals and three assists in the loss. Colin heacock finished with two goals and two assists, while Dylan Maltz the third member of the Terrapins' attack trio, finished with two goals and one assist. 

Bernlohr finished with nine saves, while Balkam finished with 13. The victory gives the Tar Heels' its fifth in program history and first since 1991. With the Tar Heels defeating the Terrapins in the women's championship game on Saturday, North Carolina becomes the first university since Princeton in 1994 to win both the men's and women's championships in the same year.