Nature in all of its glory could be seen in the eastern sky in the form of not one, but two, rainbows during the Big Ten men's lacrosse tournament championship, and if one believes in good omens and leprechauns it had to swing toward top-ranked Maryland.
The Terrapins took the lead on a goal by attacker Colin Heacock with 3:27 left and eventually gained critical possession with 1:38 remaining on a forced turnover by midfielder Jared Bernhardt to come away with a 10-9 victory over Ohio State last night before 2,384 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Maryland (12-3) won its second straight conference championship and got back at Ohio State (13-4) for an overtime loss during the regular season.
The Buckeyes will find out whether they will host a first-round NCAA tournament game when the bracket is revealed tonight on ESPNU.
“Sometimes you’ve got to get a bounce, and in the last few minutes they won a couple of big face-offs,’’ Ohio State coach Nick Myers said. “If we had one more possession, I think we could have tied the game. I hope this speaks volumes for our senior class. Tonight is a credit to our seniors for all the work they’ve put in. It’s bittersweet not having a trophy to hold up.’’
Ohio State tied the score at 9 with 5:53 left when Jack Jasinski sprinted from behind the goal and fed the ball to Eric Fannell, who ripped a shot into the net from 10 yards out.
But Heacock had an answer when he did a reverse pivot against his defender and scored the winner on a wicked left-handed shot from 5 yards to the left of the goal. He attributed the goal to stars Matt Rambo, Connor Kelly and Tim Rotanz taking pressure off him.
“A lot of guys are worried about finding them and that just opened a spot for me,’’ Heacock said. “Coach always wants you to work on different moves — right-handed and left-handed — and it’s always in the back of your mind.’’
The Buckeyes were on the move, though, after goalkeeper Tom Carey made a save with 2:01 left and defenseman Ben Randall took a pass and raced up the field.
Bernhardt, a freshman, caught Randall from behind and stripped him of the ball. The Terps eventually got possession for good in Buckeyes territory.
Maryland coach John Tillman said it was the type of game where one or two plays made the difference.
“Oh, just a tremendous play — great effort and great hustle,’’ he said of Bernhardt. “Thank God he did make that play because if (Randall) shoots that ball there might be another team celebrating.’’
Myers said it might take two or three days for the players to get this game out of their systems.
Ohio State senior co-captain Tyler Pfister of Upper Arlington is excited about the possibility of playing one more home game.
“We’re building our brand and we’ve shown we can be a contender,’’ he said. “We have a lot of respect for Maryland and the things they can do. We have some plays we’d like to have back, and they made some plays.’’