April 11, 2009
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - If there were any lingering doubts what this year's Maryland women's lacrosse team is capable of, they were erased Saturday, as the second-ranked Terps captured its third-straight Atlantic Coast Conference Regular Season Championship with a win over No. 4 North Carolina, 13-8, at a rain-soaked Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex.
Maryland (14-0, 4-0 ACC) and UNC (11-3, 3-1 ACC) battled to a 5-5 stalemate in the first half. Caitlyn McFadden started the scoring with 3:26 elapsed in the period before the Tar Heels regained the lead with a pair of goals from Jenn Russell and Megan Bosica. Brittany Jones equalized the score for the Terps with a free position hit at 20:11. Russell supplied the Tar Heels with the lead two minutes later when she connected on an assist from Kristen Taylor. Reigning ACC Player of the Week Laura Merrifield then tied the score with her first of three goals in the game with 17:07 left in the period.
UNC claimed its biggest lead of the game as Bosica and Taylor stretched the score to 5-3 with less than 10 minutes remaining, but Maryland was able to recapture the momentum with two goals from the youth-laden attacking tandem of Sarah Mollison and Karri Ellen Johnson to close out the stanza. Mollison, a sophomore, scored in traffic while Johnson, a freshman, generated her wide open shot off a spin move. It was only the third time this season that Maryland has headed into the locker room at the half with a tie score.
Johnson provided Maryland with its first lead since the opening goal with a score at 28:46 in the second period. Bosica tied the game momentarily with her team-high third goal of the contest but the Terps caught fire and ran off five unanswered goals as it possessed the ball the majority of the second half. Karissa Taylor made a nice play on the defensive end, drove the ball the length of the field and drew a foul that led to a free position goal to spark the Maryland rally. Scores from McFadden, Merrifield and a pair from Johnson capped the run. North Carolina's Laura Zimmerman finally stopped the drive with a goal at 3:42, but the damage was done and Maryland went on to cruise to the top seed in the upcoming ACC Tournament later this month.
"It was a great effort today and I am really proud of this team," head coach Cathy Reese said. "It was a hard-fought battle between two talented teams with a lot of competitive players. I thought we stepped on the field in the second half, tweaked a few things and played more disciplined on defense."
Maryland will face intrastate rival Johns Hopkins in a midweek match on Tuesday. First draw control is slated for 4 p.m. at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex.