OTD in 2009, Brian Carroll lifted UVA to a 10-9 win over Maryland in the 7th OVERTIME. At the time it was the longest game played in college history. To this day its still the longest DI game played in college history. Check out the call by @JoeBpXp & @QKessenich #GoHoos pic.twitter.com/HhCVpQM4tE
— Virginia Men's Lacrosse (@UVAMensLax) March 28, 2020
By Jeff White (firstname.lastname@example.org)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — On a gray, drizzly afternoon at Klöckner Stadium, Virginia and Maryland played a game for the ages on March 28, 2009, an 85-minute slugfest marked by controversary and drama. It unfolded in front of more than 5,100 fans, most of whom undoubtedly still remember the occasion.
At times it seemed like this ACC clash might never end, and the tension grew to almost unbearable levels. Sixty seconds into the seventh four-minute overtime period, however, junior midfielder Brian Carroll scored to give top-ranked UVA a 10-9 victory over No. 9 Maryland in the longest game in the history of NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse.
“I remember hearing that over the loudspeaker,” recalled Steele Stanwick, who was a freshman attackman for the Cavaliers in 2009.
“Everybody was very tired,” Stanwick said. “Everybody just wanted to make a play, but you tend to tighten up a little bit in those situations. It was just emotionally draining, because every time you didn’t score, you were like, ‘All right, it’s over,’ because that’s just usually how it goes in overtime. Then you kept getting the ball back, and you gripped your stick even a little tighter. It was just one of those crazy games. I don’t know if we’ll ever see another one like it.”
Back then, the Wahoos and the Terrapins played each other annually, alternating between Charlottesville and College Park, Md. After Maryland left the ACC for the Big Ten in 2014-15, though, the series took a hiatus.
The longtime rivals met in the 2019 and 2021 NCAA tournaments, with Virginia winning by a single goal each time, but they didn’t renew their regular-season series until last year, when Maryland romped 23-12 at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. (The Terps defeated the Hoos again last May in Columbus, Ohio, winning 18-9 in the NCAA quarterfinals.)
The regular-season series returns to Grounds this weekend for the first time since 2013. At 2 p.m. Saturday, in a game to air on ACC Network, top-ranked UVA (6-0) hosts No. 3 Maryland (4-2) at Klöckner Stadium. The Terps are the reigning NCAA champions, and the Cavaliers won their program’s sixth and seventh NCAA titles, respectively, in 2019 and ‘21.
“The motto at Maryland is, in order to be the best, you gotta beat the best,” Brian Phipps said, “so it’s great to have [Virginia] back on the schedule.”
Phipps, now the head boys lacrosse coach at Archbishop Spalding High in Severn, Md., was the Terrapins’ starting goalie in 2009. Like the other principals, he hasn’t forgotten the epic game at Klöckner.
“It was never-ending,” Phipps said, “just kind of going back and forth on a rainy, yucky day. It was kind of delirious, going on and on.”
Carroll said: “It was just a tough game.”
The head coaches were Dom Starsia for UVA and Dave Cottle for Maryland.
“In those, Maryland was a fierce rival, and we always had hard-fought battles with them,” recalled Starsia, who won four NCAA titles in his 24 seasons at Virginia. “You never would have imagined at this level that things could go six overtimes without scoring a goal.”
With the Terps leading 9-6 with six minutes left in the fourth quarter, even one overtime period seemed unlikely. But a Stanwick goal made it 9-7 at the 5:41 mark, and fellow attackman Danny Glading scored 33 seconds later to make it 9-8. Carroll tied the game at 9-9 with 4:39 left, and that’s how regulation ended.
The first OT supplied the controversy. Nine seconds into the period, a shot by 6-foot-5, 240-pound attackman Grant Catalino appeared to win the game for Maryland. But the goal was disallowed after officials ruled that, an instant before Catalino shot, an inadvertent whistle had blown to signal a Maryland timeout.
The “phantom timeout,” Stanwick said. “I remember thinking, ‘Gosh, we really dodged a bullet there.’ ”
The Maryland sideline was enraged. “Cottle was complaining that they didn’t call it,” Starsia said. “I didn’t hear anybody on our bench call it. I didn’t call it. I can’t call a timeout in that situation, and you can watch on film, as Catalino is lining up to shoot the ball, you can see [UVA goalie Adam] Ghitelman kind of drop his hands and let his guard down [because of the whistle].”
Stanwick said: “The whistle was blown, I think, before Catalino shot it, or as he was catching it. I don’t know. But you’re getting it from a UVA guy.”
Ghitelman, a sophomore in 2009, finished the game with a career-high 22 saves, six of them in the extra periods. “We had our chances, for sure,” Phipps said.
For all of Ghitelman’s brilliance, though, the game’s biggest (and most improbable) save was made by his backup, Mark Wade.
With one second left in the first OT, Ghitelman was penalized for an illegal body check on Maryland attackman Ryan Young, who just happened to be his best friend.
“I remember feeling it was the best play to make in that situation,” said Ghitelman, who’s now based in Utah. “I caused him to play faster than he thought he had to and forced a 1-v-0 into a missed shot.”
But the penalty sent Ghitelman to the sideline for one minute, and Wade replaced him. (The Hoos played a man down in the field.) With all the momentum on the Terps’ side, Wade stopped a shot by midfielder Dan Groot, and Virginia killed the rest of the penalty.
“To this day whenever we gather and Mark Wade is nearby, it’s what everybody wants to talk about,” said Starsia, who now coaches the team at Blue Ridge School near Charlottesville. “We talk about a single event being the distinguishing characteristic of your playing career.”
Wade’s save “was critical,” Ghitelman said, “and shows how important it is for all players, goalies especially, to be focused and prepared when it is their time.”
In college lacrosse, games that require overtime rarely last past the first extra period. During Starsia’s tenure at UVA, for example, his teams played 38 overtime games. Thirty-two were decided in the first OT. Four went to two overtimes and another to four extra periods. And then there was the 2009 game with Maryland.
“It’s absolutely extraordinary,” Starsia said of playing 25 additional minutes. “With two top teams, there’s too just much firepower on the field. It’s too easy to score in our sport for one of the top teams not to get it. And then again, it’s so ironic that we score the winning goal the one time we don’t call the timeout and we just let the kids play.”
Each team is allowed one timeout per OT, and Starsia and Cottle took full advantage of the breaks.
“In the first six overtimes, Cottle and I both used each of our timeouts.,” Starsia said. “So in the first six overtimes there were 12 timeouts called, and it got to the point later in the game when I would call a timeout—you’d have to be on offense to do that—and I’d be saying, ‘Hey, fellas, you know what we talked about the last time? Do it this time, but do it a little bit better, would you, please?’ There was nothing more to say, really.”
Stanwick said: “I just remember being so tired from running in and out of timeouts, because everyone kept calling timeouts.”
Finally, in the seventh OT, Starsia tried a different approach. Twenty seconds into the period, after Ghitelman stopped a shot by Young, Starsia turned to associate head coach Marc Van Arsdale. “I said, Marc, let’s not call it. Let’s see what happens.”
The ball came to the right-handed Carroll up top on the left side. He dodged, switched to his left hand and fired a shot past Phipps that found the upper right corner of the cage. Game over.
“We just did it out of our normal substitution pattern, and Brian got a running start and did what Brian does,” Stanwick said.
Even before that game-winner, Carroll’s teammates had nicknamed him Big Shot Brian. As a sophomore in 2008, Carroll had punctuated wins over Syracuse and Johns Hopkins with overtime goals, and now he’d done it a third time.
“I liked having the ball in big moments,” said Carroll, who lives in Baltimore. “I think a lot of that was, I spent a lot of time working on my shooting and kind of visualizing situations and putting in that work, so that in the big moments I wasn’t really overthinking it. It’s just kind of muscle memory, and you’re confident in the work you’ve put in.”
Starsia said Carroll “knew how to get open. He had a great shooting stroke. He was a big boy player. People have asked me, oftentimes, ‘How do you win close games?’ And I say, very unremarkably, ‘With good players.’ There’s certain players that gravitate to the light, and Brian was one of those guys.”
For Virginia, Stanwick scored a game-high four goals that afternoon, and Carroll had two. Glading, Shamel Bratton, Steve Giannone and John Haldy contributed a goal apiece, and Glading had four assists.
At the other end of the field, defenseman Ryan Nizolek helped Virginia hold 6-foot-6, 220-pound attackman Will Yeatman, a former Notre Dame football player, without a point for the final 43:52, and it “was clearly Adam Ghitelman’s coming-out day,” Starsia said afterward.
“I simply remember the energy of Klöckner and all the big plays my teammates made at critical points in the game,” Ghitelman said.
Connections abounded then, as they do today, between the UVA and Maryland programs. Ghitelman and Young were close friends. Carroll had played against Phipps in high school, and they’d been club teammates.
“So we knew each other pretty well,” Phipps said.
In the years that followed, Phipps said, when he and his fellow Terps would see Carroll, “we would just give him a hard time about [being called] Big Shot Brian. But he was a class act. It was more just jovial talk and us complaining about the phantom timeout call, but it’s all in good humor.”
When the game ended, about half of the UVA players ran to the offensive end to mob Carroll. The others piled on Ghitelman at the other end of the field. Virginia fans, including a local boy named Connor Shellenberger, stood and cheered. Shellenberger, of course, is now an All-America attackman for the Hoos.
Amid the Cavaliers’ celebration, Phipps was too tired and too disappointed to immediately grasp the historic implications of what had taken place, but he realizes now that it was once-in-a-lifetime game.
So do those who represented UVA that day.
“Just an event that you’ll never forget being a part of,” Starsia said.
“It’s a great memory,” Stanwick said. “I’m glad we came out on top. I have some Terp buddies who still claim that we called the timeout [in the first OT], and I don’t know what happened. They claim it came from our bench. They claim they didn’t call it. I’m just glad it worked out for us.”
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