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Kyle Bernlohr and the greatest save that won't matter

Kyle Bernlohr and the greatest save that won't matter

It was going to be Maryland lacrosse's defining image.

The one plastered on walls inside the soon-to-be-rennovated Cole Field House. 

It was set to become the greatest moment in Maryland Terrapins lacrosse history.

There was Senior goalie Kyle Bernlohr, lunging forward, contorting his body in the opposite direction, reaching out to deny North Carolina's Chris Cloutier the overtime game-winning goal. 

But it wasn't just any goal. It was the goal that would once again keep Maryland from claiming its first lacrosse national championship since 1975. The goal that would — for the fourth time in six years — stop the Terps short of the their national championship dream.

Bernlohr's rejection of the brief championship moment lacked basic goalie technique and execution, but made up for it with — well — everything else.

As Cloutier drove toward the crease, Bernlohr made one final lunge to match his stick with Cloutier's. 

That's when Cloutier dipped to the left, hoping to find one last sliver of goal space before fading to behind the goal.

Bernlohr, weight firmly planted on his front foot, was out of position and out of options. Cloutier faked high, and had the game-winner in his sights. Bernlohr was on uneven footing and without much hope.

Then, instead of shifting back toward the middle of the crease and finishing low and away, Cloutier kept the head of his stick up high, drifting away from the goal and away from a better scoring angle.

The better option for the Kitchner, Ontario native would have been to use the traditional Canadian 'box" technique for close-range shooting by bringing his stick back across his body without switching hands, resulting in an awkward yet effective shot that would have opened up more shooting space. 

But lacrosse is a game made up of thousands of breakneck, hectic moments. If you have to stop and think, you've already lost.

Bernlohr made one final — if not desperate — lunge across his body, jumping off his line to snatch the ball —and  impending defeat — from the Tar Heel attackman who would finish the game as the NCAA's all-time leader for goals in a single tournament.

In one graceful yet reckless moment, Bernlohr — a lefthanded goalie — jerked the stick across the front of his helmet while diving in the air, then readjusted to rob Cloutier and North Carolina of the title

It was a true championship moment, but also just that. 

A moment.

It was supposed to go down as the greatest save in NCAA Tournament history.

It was supposed to be the catalyst to Maryland breaking its streak of nine-straight championship game losses. 

Bernlohr's save was the pure embodiment of competitive spirit. It was a magical moment. One that defied proper fundamentals. It was the beautiful meeting point of reaction, instinct and sheer desperation.

But it was also a run-of-the-mill moment for a goalie. Not the save, that was phenomenal.

But the moment. That fleeting feeling of nothingness despite having just accomplished everything.

A goalie's greatest moment is never remembered.

You're more likely to be last seen digging a ball out of the back of the net than you are making the game-winning save. The next save is always the most important, which is why the great saves are hardly ever remembered.

Goals in lacrosse are scored at a premium, 27 on Memorial Day to be exact.

The goalie is the last line of defense but given arguably the most difficult task in sports: Stop a 90 MPH shot from ten feet away with minimal equipment standing in front of a net with four times as much surface area as the human body.

It's an unenviable task that features brilliant athletic accomplishments forgotten in a matter of moments.

Goalies get all the glory, but at a cost. It's there for a moment, and then it's gone, just a blip on the high-speed radar of "the fastest game played on two feet."

And so, just like the off-balanced, double-clutch 3-pointer hit by North Carolina's Marcus Paige in the waning seconds of the 2016 NCAA Basketball Tournament Championship game against Villanova, and like Jay Beagle's Herculean, diving save in the Capitals' overtime playoff game against the Penguins, Bernlohr's save was on the cutting room floor within moments.

There was Cloutier, playing the role of Villanova's Kris Jenkins and Pittsburgh's Nick Bonino, blasting a shot low and away, completely out of reach of Bernlohr, into the back of the net, giving the Tar Heels a 14-13 championship victory. It was his 19th goal of the tournament, the most in NCAA Tournament history.

It was also the lasting image, the one nobody could have expected given what took place just moments prior even though it's all part of the vicious goalie cycle.

Maryland's championship nightmare did not vanquish, but the greatest save in tournament history did.

But that's the violent nature of sports, and the painful truth of being a goalie. One minute you're the hero and the next you're the goat.

It's absolutely heartbreaking.

But you can't predict sports. You can't script sports.

And yet, it's better that way, even if it ends with players like Bernlohr being reduced to a mere footnote. 

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Big Ten season comes to a close for Maryland in final seconds of second round


Big Ten season comes to a close for Maryland in final seconds of second round

NEW YORK -- After struggling with injuries and poor play most of the season, Wisconsin is peaking at the right time.

Brevin Pritzl broke a tie with a foul-line jumper with 28 seconds left and Khalil Iverson secured the win with a steal in the waning seconds, leading Wisconsin past Maryland 59-54 on Thursday in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament.


Brad Davison and Iverson each made two free throws in the final nine seconds, and the ninth-seeded Badgers (15-17) advanced to the quarterfinals against top-seeded Michigan on Friday at Madison Square Garden after winning for the fifth time in seven games.

"It's a credit to these guys to my right and also the guys back in the locker room, how they've grown over the last month," Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. "It has been fun to watch and hopefully we've got a lot more basketball yet to play."

The win wasn't pretty, but the Badgers made all the key plays down the stretch and eight-seeded Maryland (19-13) didn't.

The biggest plays were offensive rebounds by Iverson and Ethan Happ after Pritzl and Davison missed 3-point shots with the game tied at 53.

After the second miss with 40.3 seconds to go, Wisconsin called timeout and Pritzl got the game-winner 12 seconds later.

"I think, especially at the end of this game, the possessions are magnified," Davison said. "When you do things right those final possessions, you can really turn things around."

Maryland had a chance to tie the game when Kevin Huerter was fouled by Happ with 9.2 seconds to go, but he missed the first of two free throws and the Terps came up short for the seventh time in 11 games.

"I feel like we were fighting uphill all night," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "We had the lead 24-23. It's the one time we had the lead. We tied it a bunch of times. It really came down to two things. We fouled too much and we couldn't get a rebound when we needed a rebound."


Happ had 14 points and seven rebounds for Wisconsin, which lost to Michigan State 68-63 less than a week ago. Davison finished with 13 points while Iverson had 11 and six rebounds and Pritzl 10 points. The Badgers, who lost starting point guard D'Mitrik Trice and reserve Kobe King to injuries in December, won despite shooting 36 percent.

"I personally figure we just have to string together an entire game for 40 minutes and just staying toe to toe with them like we did last game," Iverson said. "I know we'll be ready for them."

Huerter had 20 points to lead Maryland. Anthony Cowan Jr. added 16 points and Bruno Fernando had 12 points and nine rebounds.

Wisconsin never trailed in the second half, but it never led by more than three points in the final 11:40 until the closing seconds.

Pritzl's jumper broke a 53-all tie. Huerter then missed the first free throw and made the second. Maryland fouled Davison on the inbounds pass and he made both shots with 8.5 seconds to go for a 57-54 lead.

Wisconsin fouled Cowan rather than let him attempt a game-tying 3-pointer. Since it was a nonshooting foul, the Terps had to inbound with 5 seconds to go and Iverson stole Dion Wiley's pass and then closed the game with two free throws.

"He has evolved into our defensive end stopped," Gard said. "For him to come in and make a play like that at the end to seal it was great."


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Cowan, Fernando, Huerter receive All-Big Ten honors


Cowan, Fernando, Huerter receive All-Big Ten honors

In a roller-coaster season for the Maryland Terrapins, there have been three points of consistency on their roster: Anthony Cowan Jr., Kevin Huerter, and Bruno Fernando.

On Monday, the Big Ten awarded them each their first conference recognition.


Sophomore guard, Cowan was named the All-Big Ten Third Team and the All-Defensive Team. The 6-0 guard finished 10th in the Big Ten in scoring with 15.7 points per game. He also was third in assists (5.2) and steals (1.5). He was a nightmare to defend, filling right into the role that Melo Trimble left vacated this year. Both recognitions were from the Big Ten coaches and media.

Freshman forward, Fernando was selected for the Big Ten All-Freshman Team. Leading all freshmen with 6.4 rebounds and averaging 10.2 points a game, he instantly had an impact on the Terps. From Angola, the 6-10 forward capped his season with 21 points against Iowa on Jan. 7. In his first year, he went from a bench player to a starter, to Sportscenter. It was the first time ever a Terp has been named to the All-Freshman Team 

Huerter was named a Big Ten Honorable Mention by the coaches and media. Stepping into a new role in the 2017-18 season, Huerter struggled but still managed to be highly productive. With the ball in his hands more he shot 42.1 percent from deep and made 72 three-point baskets on the season. Already through two seasons, he is 12th on Maryland’s all-time three-point list.  He also scored 14.6 points a game.