May 16, 2009
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - It's been five seemingly long seasons since the esteemed Maryland women's lacrosse program has advanced to the final four, but the wait finally ended Saturday as the Terps topped No. 7 Syracuse, 12-10, in NCAA quarterfinal action at the Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex.
Maryland (21-0) went down early after Syracuse came out on-fire to begin the match. The Orange, which fell in the semifinals to eventual national champion Northwestern last season, picked up four goals in a matter of three minutes. Tewaaraton finalist Katie Rowan assisted on the first score and added a pair of goals in the Syracuse run. The Terps continued to pepper shots at the Orange defense, but goalie Liz Hogan made eight first-half saves to keep the Maryland offense at a minimum. Sarah Mollison put the Terps on the board with a goal at 20:40 and jumpstarted a 4-0 Maryland drive. The attacker from Melbourne, Australia tallied two more goals in the run to even the score with 11 minutes remaining in the period.
Rowan gave the lead back to Syracuse with an unassisted score at 7:31 but Maryland quickly answered with goals from Brittany Jones and Karri Ellen Johnson for a 6-5 Terrapin lead. Following another Orange goal, Maryland freshman Kristy Black tallied a caused turnover, a ground ball and a goal in the final seconds to spark a momentum shift in favor of the Terps heading into halftime.
Johnson scored first in the second period to cushion Maryland's lead to two before Rowan struck again for the Orange with a pair of goals to tie the game at 8-8. Not to be outdone by Rowan, a fellow teammate on the U.S. National team, McFadden went into action with three goals in a four-minute span to give the Terps a final thrust heading into the closing minutes of the match. Amanda Spinnenweber took a quick pass from Mollison overtop of the cage to provide the Terps with their biggest lead of the game at 12-9 while the defense allowed just one Syracuse shot and goal in the last five minutes.
"This was an outstanding game for both teams," head coach Cathy Reese, who is headed to her first final four as a head coach, said. "After going down four goals, we knew we were here before in the ACC championship game against Duke and we found a way to pull it together again. It's all about Maryland and doing what we do best and sticking to our game plan."
The Terps advance to the NCAA semifinals for the 16th time in program history. McFadden, a Tewaaraton finalist, paced the Maryland offense with four goals. Mollison added a hat trick and an assist for a team-high four points. Rowan ended the contest with a game-high five goals and seven points for Syracuse, which concludes its season at 14-5.
Maryland dominated the draw control category, 16-8, and cleared a perfect 10-for-10 despite turning the ball over 14 times.
Maryland, which completed its 11th perfect home season on Saturday, will battle ACC-foe North Carolina in the NCAA semifinals next Friday on the road at Towson University.