Sunday, April 4, 2010

the song remains the same

If this blog were written by the many-memed Bill Simmons, there would no doubt be a Pantheon of Faces involved, and prominently featured would be the Dave Cottle Face.

This is the "Refs waved off another Maryland goal RAAAGGGGE" face that is fast becoming a staple of UVA-Maryland lacrosse clashes. Notice the effective matching of facial color to red shirt collar. The combination of acutely angled eyebrows and lifted cheek muscles (the better to open the mouth as wide as possible so as to unleash the fury) overwhelm the eyes, which become little more than tiny furious slits.

Last year it was a premature whistle that came about one second before a thusly-nullified overtime goal that would have finished the game in Maryland's favor. This year, I'll let the Maryland official site recap describe the scene. Take it away, Terps:

But, like the last two Maryland-Virginia games, this one was not without controversy. With just a little more than two minutes remaining Virginia goalie Adam Ghitelman stopped a shot by junior Grant Catalino, but the rebound bounced in front of the crease where junior All-American Ryan Young swatted the loose ball into the Cavalier goal. But the goal was waived off when an official whistled Young for being in the crease, disallowing the goal. However, the controversy came after television replays clearly showed that Young was not in the crease when the goal was scored.

Oops. Never mind. You're fired from this guest-writing gig, douchily-biased Maryland recap writer. The only way that line about television replays could be true was if he perhaps was referring to the UNC-Hopkins game, aired earlier yesterday. (And that's not the only laugh riot in that silly article, either.) Not only did the three announcers each agree that Young dragged his foot across the crease:

I'll break this down so even a Twerp recap writer can understand it: when the heel is on one side of the line and the toe is on the other, that means it's in the crease. Unlike last year when Maryland pretty obviously got jobbed on the mystery whistle, the call here was unequivocally the correct one. I'll grant that what sucks for Maryland is that it had no effect on the play whatsoever, but the rule is what it is and unlike hockey, not at all open to interpretation.

It would have been really nice not to let it get to that point, however, after starting the game off so nicely. Three times a Maryland goal was scored just seconds before the clock ticked zero; twice at the end of a quarter and once at the absolute last second of a man-advantage. And the Brattons. Oyyyyy. As much as they were the reason for the domination of Hopkins, they were the reason for this near-collapse. Shamel was nearly invisible save for the insurance goal that directly followed the crease call (ball don't lie), and that was a big improvement over Rhamel's performance which directly led to a couple Maryland goals.

It's unfair to single them out, though; the team's performance in general was weak for three quarters. Fans have been saying for a while that a wake-up call was coming and the team could maybe use a regular-season loss to get it. Sure is nice to get the wake-up in a win and not a loss, yeah? The game film is going to show a lot of bad decisions, lost opportunities, and defensive breakdowns, and I think the ultimate lesson to be learned here is: that's better proof of our status as #1 team in the land than last week's Hopkins beatdown. Because #1 teams find a way to win when the best competition has them against the ropes.

Some more thoughts:

- Maryland's Will Yeatman is huge. Good lord that guy is big.

- Adam Ghitelman did not look good at all in net, but the horrendous .286 SV% was not as bad as that looks. Way too many defensive breakdowns in front of him, plus one illegal pick the refs missed, made that stat look way worse than Ghitelman deserved. This was really more of your typical argh mediocre performance that Ghitelman spits out, rather than the pathetic collapse that the save percentage implies.

- By contrast, Maryland's goalie Phipps kept them in the game when it could have broken open a lot wider than six goals.

- Defensive breakdowns, yes, but it should also be noted the defense did a tremendous job keeping Grant Catalino off the score sheet entirely. Five shots, no goals, and no assists.

- "Quint will be there autographing everything, especially for the ball boys." My inner twelve-year old LOLlerskated.

- This game was like that old lawyer joke: 90% of lawyers give the other 10% a bad name. It's too bad the first quarter got overshadowed by the other three because we're not going to dominate a quarter like that against a team that good for the rest of the year.

- I really don't get the final call for Shamel to just roll the ball back to the Maryland defense at the first sign of trouble on the closing sequence. I mean, that's just baffling. Yes, I get that we had put our defensive alignment on the field with long-stick middies and everything, but it was either a terrible coaching call or poor execution by Shamel; I lean toward the former. Why not have him run around, you know, toward the net and make Maryland take it from him? The fighting for the resulting ground ball would have eaten up a lot more time than that did. And even if you do intend to just hand the ball back, why roll it tamely on the ground for the easy scoop? Why not chuck the ball upwards for some hang time, perhaps even throwing it out of bounds on the other end and making them run the ball up further than they did? Of all possible ways to execute that play, that was the worst.

Video is already ready already, here at YouTube as always and archived forever on the videos page.


Bird said...

I don't know anything about Lacrosse but I like the uppercut you landed on the anonymous recap writer's jaw. FYI, the word verification I got was LOLzers. Awesome.

Brendan said...

"I don't know anything about Lacrosse..."

More's the pity; for my part I wish more ACC teams would play it at the D-I level.