Looking Back: Greatest NCAA Quarterfinal Games

Were the 2019 NCAA Quarterfinals the best ever?

This past weekend there were three heart pounding overtime games and one of the highest scoring playoff games ever. Whether it was a controversial goal call in the Virginia vs Maryland game, brilliant performances by players on every team, or players selling out all over the field each game felt better than the last.

The Quarterfinals have always been defining games for programs. If you win you will be off to the Final Four and two wins away from a National Championship and etching your name in college lacrosse history. If you lose your season is cut short after everything it took to get to that point and you do not get to experience Championship Weekend. Some of the most exciting games have been played in the Quarterfinal round.

Let’s look back at some of the best Quarterfinal games in recent Division 1 history.

All Quarterfinal Games 1994

The only Quarterfinals that might be able to compare to this year’s is the wild games that were played in 1994. There were two Overtime games with Brown beating Loyola in OT and eventual National Champions Princeton knocking off Johns Hopkins in OT. The other games were also close as Syracuse beat Duke 12-11 and Virginia beat North Carolina 12-10.

Towson vs Maryland 2001

#6 seed Towson pulled off a surprise win over #3 Maryland to make their way to the Final Four and stun the lacrosse world. Kyle Campbell scored the game winner with less than 30 seconds left to give the Tigers the 12-11 win.

Princeton vs Maryland 2004

In a thrilling game, it came down to Overtime to decide who would move on to the Final Four. Senior Ryan Boyle found Peter Trombino who scored the game winning goal winning the game 9-8 for the Tigers and sending them back to Championship weekend.

Cornell vs Albany 2007

Tied 11-11 with 30 seconds left Max Seibald made a diving check to knock the ball out of a streaking Albany players stick. On the hectic ensuing play, Cornell went down the field where John Glynn buried a shot on the crease with 4 seconds left to give the Big Red the 12-11 win and send them to the Final Four.

Virginia vs Maryland 2008

The Cavaliers and the Terps battled all game and had to settle it in Overtime. In front of a packed Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Ben Rubeor curled around the net and scored the winning goal to win 8-7 and send them to the Semifinals against eventual National Champions Syracuse.

Virginia vs Stony Brook 2010

A Virginia team featuring the Bratton Brothers, Steele Stanwick, and Adam Ghitelman faced a crafty Stony Brook team lead by Kevin Crowley, Jordan McBride, Steven Waldeck, and company playing at Stony Brook in front of their own fans. In a fast paced wild game, Virginia was able to escape Long Island with the 10-9 win.

Denver vs Johns Hopkins 2011

No one seemed to give Denver a chance in this game in their first ever Quarterfinals appearance especially considering they were playing one of the most storied programs in college lacrosse history in Johns Hopkins. In Bill Tierney’s second season as Denver head coach, Denver defeated Hopkins convincingly 14-9 in front of a stunned crowd at Hofstra University.

Maryland vs Syracuse 2011

This was one of Syracuse’s most decorated Senior classes ever that had one 2 National Championships in 2008 and 2009 with 2011 being the year they believed they would do it again. Unseeded Maryland had other plans as they played a slowed down game that went to Overtime where Maryland’s Grant Catalino fired a low to high shot past John Galloway to win 6-5 and send the Terps to the Final Four over #1 seeded Syracuse.

Denver vs Loyola 2012

In their third meeting of the year, Denver and Loyola played an intense back and forth game featuring several highlight reel goals. Denver unfortunately ran into Eric Lusby who had 5 goals and would set the NCAA Tournament record for goals at the time with 17. Loyola would win 10-9 and go on to win the National Championship.

Notre Dame vs Albany 2014

This was the ultimate showcase of the Thompson Brothers as they put on a show and Lyle Thompson pulled off several wrap around backhanded shots that kids would go on to copy in their backyards and is now in every player’s arsenal. Despite Albany’s efforts, Notre Dame was able to come back and send the game to Overtime where Matt Kavanaugh buried the game winner to give the Irish the 14-13 win.

Towson vs Syracuse 2017

Towson shocked the lacrosse world again by beating a very good Syracuse team 10-7 thanks to an amazing effort by their defensive midfielders and a great performance by their offense. Towson’s Joe Seider also gave us one of the most perfect lacrosse replays ever as one of his shots went right into the top corner of the net.

Denver vs Albany 2018

This game featured the match up of the two greatest faceoff men in college lacrosse history with Denver’s Trevor Baptiste going up against Albany’s TD Ierlan. Albany’s Connor Fields and Tehoka Nanticoke also put on a show as the Great Danes were too much for a great Denver team to get by as Albany won 15-13. Fittingly, the faceoff battle between Baptiste and Ierlan ended in a 50/50 draw.

What is your favorite moment or game in recent NCAA Quarterfinal history? What games did we miss?

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