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May 10, 2014

Harvard, Cornell Fall in NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship First Round

Portions courtesy of Cornell Athletic Communications and Harvard Athletic Communications

COLLEGE PARK, Md. & SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Both Cornell and Harvard dropped first-round games in the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship on Saturday. 

In College Park, Cornell stormed out to a 5-1 halftime lead but saw sixth-seed Maryland come back before Mike Chanenchuk buried a shot with two seconds remaining in the contest to hand the Terps an 8-7 victory this evening in Byrd Stadium.

The goal just beat out a shot clock violation as the officials put started the clock with :32 to play.

The Big Red ends its 2014 season with an 11-5 record overall.

Everything went right for the visitors in the first half, but UMD turned the tables in the second half by winning the face-off battle and the time of possession to outscore Cornell 7-2 over the final 30 minutes.

"We knew it would be a hard fought game right to the bitter end," said interim head coach Matt Kerwick. "I thought we were still playing hard and going to the cage in the second half but we didn't have the ball as much. They are a patient offensive group and we had some uncharacteristic turnovers that really hurt us down the stretch."

Cornell was led by Matt Donovan's three goals and one assist, while John Hogan finished with one goal and one assist. 

In goal, freshman Christian Knight was outstanding with 13 saves, including 11 through the first three quarters, and he also caused one turnover and picked up two ground balls.

Chanenchuk finished with two goals and two assists to lead the Terps, while freshmen Matt Rambo and Connor Cannizzaro tallied three and two goals, respectively.

Maryland goalie Niko Amato stopped eight shots in the win.

UMD held the edge in shots (42-25), ground balls (27-20) and face-offs (11-of-17), but nearly all those advantages were gained in a second half when the Terps won 8-of-10 restarts.

"Lacrosse is a game of runs," said Donovan. "We went through a lot this year as a team. I'm proud and honored to be a part of Cornell lacrosse. I grew up a lot this year and there isn't a better place to grow up than in the Cornell lacrosse family."

In South Bend, Ind., Harvard could not overcome a first half slump as it lost in the NCAA tournament first round to sixth-seeded Notre Dame, 13-5.

The Fighting Irish began the game on a 7-0 run before Harvard scored its first goal with 6:15 remaining in the first half. The goal, scored by Will Walker, sparked a 4-0 run for the Crimson as it cut the lead to 7-4, but Notre Dame found the answer with five unanswered goals to pull away for the win.

Harvard, which was playing in its first NCAA tournament game since 2006, was paced by Deke Burns' two-goal effort. 

Penn plays its first round game on Sunday at home against Drexel. The 3 p.m. start will be televised by ESPNU.