April 24, 2009
BLACKSBURG, Va. - After falling victim to three-time defending champion Virginia the past two seasons, the top-seeded women's lacrosse team was able to knock off the Cavaliers Friday, 15-7, in the semifinals of the 2009 ACC Championship at Thompson Field.
Maryland (17-0) battled Virginia throughout the first half, much as it did in the first meeting between the two teams back in early March. After Karri Ellen Johnson put Maryland on the scoreboard first with 1:36 elapsed in the game, Virginia countered with an unassisted goal by Jenny Hauser at 27:11. The Terps regained the lead two minutes later with a pair of Caitlyn McFadden goals that sparked a 4-0 run. Virginia rallied to keep the game close with three unanswered goals in 43 seconds around the seven-minute mark as Maryland and Virginia exchanged goals to close out the period for a 6-5 tally.
Maryland left little doubt in the second half courtesy of a potent Terp offense and a career day from rookie goalie Brittany Dipper. Brittany Jones picked up a deflection and put it in the back of the net to kick off the scoring onslaught in the second half. Laura Merrifield rounded up a draw control and drove it all the way to the cage for a score before Sarah Mollison hit an unassisted tally for a four-goal cushion. Virginia netted one of its mere two goals in the second half to temporarily kill the Maryland drive at 19:42, but the Terps pulled away with two additional goals from McFadden and Merrifield for an 11-6 score.
Following another Cavalier score, Maryland ended the game on a devastating 4-0 run, highlighted by four points from the Jones sisters on two goals from Brittany and two assists from Brandi.
Dipper ended the game with a career-high 12 saves while the rest of the Maryland defense held All-American Ashley McCulloch without a point for the second time this season. The Maryland offense was led by hat tricks from McFadden, Merrifield and Brittany Jones. The Terps were able to advance to the finals despite Virginia winning more draws and creating fewer turnovers.
"We made some adjustments at the half and worked on keeping the possession and winning draw controls," head coach Cathy Reese said. "I think that really played into our second half success.
"Brittany Dipper really stepped up for us today and was ready for the challenge...she had a fantastic game."
Maryland will face Duke in the ACC finals at 1 p.m. on Sunday. The game will be televised live on FOX Sports Net. The second-ranked Terps are in the championship game for the second-straight season. Maryland is on the hunt for its sixth ACC championship as a program and its first since 2003.