Anyone even remotely associated with Retriever Nation knows the date March 15, 2008 – a date that is likely to surface later in our #retriever50for50 countdown. But the prior evening, March 14, 2008 – in fact a mere 16 hours before the ESPN broadcast signed off from the RAC Arena - featured one of the most enthralling lacrosse games ever played at UMBC came started the weekend off in grand fashion.
Sixth-ranked Maryland came into UMBC Stadium on a clear, crisp evening with revenge in mind. The Retrievers had bounced the Terrapins from the NCAA Tournament the prior May at Byrd Stadium.
UMBC had broken slowly from the gate in 2008, dropping decisive decisions to Delaware and Rutgers. But the Retrievers returned to the friendly atmosphere of UMBC Stadium and defeated Denver and Yale, gaining steam heading into the match-up with Maryland.
Over 2,000 fans witnessed the game, which was knotted at 4-4 at the half and after three quarters. In a wild fourth quarter, Maryland pulled ahead, 8-7, with 1:50 remaining. UMBC could not take advantage of an ensuing man-up chance, but retained possession of the ball and junior middie Kyle Wimer found senior attackman Ryan Smith eight yards from the goal and Smith sent the game to overtime with a bounce shot that found the net with six seconds remaining.
UMBC goalkeeper Jeremy Blevins made a brilliant save on Maryland's Grant Catalino in the first overtime session and sent the contest to a third extra frame with a late second OT save on Ryan Young.
The game seemed destined for a fourth overtime period, as sophomore midfielder Maxx Davis had the ball in the waning seconds, but was hounded by the Terrapin defense. With two seconds left, Davis let a shot go from a sharp angle on the left wing, but it found its mark, bouncing past Terp netminder Jason Carter and just under the crossbar with 1.5 illuminating from the clock at that end of UMBC Stadium.
UMBC killed off all six Maryland man-up opportunities in nearly 72 minutes of action.
The Retrievers would not lose another game in 2008 until a heart-wrenching 10-9 loss at Virginia in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. And, there was another game played at UMBC Stadium in that same memorable campaign which will find its way into the countdown.
Many athletics' staff members got a couple of hours of sleep that night and were back just after the sun rose to prepare for the "day-cap" of the most thrilling "doubleheader" in Retriever history.