May 23, 2009
TOWSON, Md. - One game, one goal. The second-seeded Maryland women's lacrosse team dropped its only game of the season late Friday night, falling in the 2009 NCAA semifinals to No. 3 North Carolina, 8-7, at Johnny Unitas Stadium on the campus of Towson University.
Maryland (21-1), after being forced to wait an extra 47 minutes due to bonus sessions in the other semifinal match, didn't quite get the clean start it was hoping for, failing on two clears to begin the contest. Once the Terps settled and a yellow card was issued to the Tar Heels, Caitlyn McFadden found Karri Ellen Johnson from overtop of the cage to provide Maryland with an early 1-0 lead at 22:57. North Carolina answered with a free position goal from Megan Bosica a minute later before Johnson picked up her second goal of the match with an unassisted score from mid-range at 18:56.
Tar Heel Laura Zimmerman was able to manage a goal despite a heavy dose of Terrapin defenders to tie the game at 17:50. An international connection set up a 3-2 game in favor of the Terps when England-native Laura Merrifield dished to Australian-attacker Sarah Mollison who scored at the feet of UNC goalie Logan Ripley with 15:34 remaining in the first period. Kristen Taylor tied the contest with another UNC 8-meter score four minutes later.
North Carolina (16-4) picked up its first lead of the game when Zimmerman's strike sailed past Terp goalie Brittany Dipper with 3:17 left in the first half. Merrifield countered with a drive all the way across UNC's defensive zone and fired a shot past Ripley to knot the game at 4-4 heading into halftime.
The first period was eerily similar to the last outing between the two squads earlier this season, when the Tar Heels and Terps played to a 5-5 tie through 30 minutes. Maryland's four-goal first half tied a season-low for the Terps in 2009.
Johnson moved up to third on Maryland's all-time single-single season list with a goal, her 73rd in 2009, to open the second stanza. UNC midfielder Jenn Russell tied up the game at 25:20 with a score in traffic. Corey Donohoe then nailed a free position attempt to allow UNC to regain the lead at 22:06. Following a yellow card to Terp defender Katie Gallagher, the Tar Heels pushed their scoring drive to three-straight with a man-up goal from Bosica for a 7-5 UNC lead.
Johnson added to her hat trick when she bounced off a Tar Heel defender and tallied a goal to halt a 15-minute scoring drought and cut UNC's lead to one. Mollison tied the game up once again with a dribbler for a 7-7 score at 9:03. Zimmerman netted her third score of the game off a Bosica assist to spark yet another lead-change. After another yellow card, Maryland went a man-down and, while utilizing a penalty-kill style offense, McFadden found the back of the net with five minutes remaining in the half. Her goal, however, was waved off after a crease violation was called.
With 1:07 remaining, Gallagher picked up her second yellow card of the game and was forced to the sidelines for the remainder, forcing the Terps to play a man-down for the duration of the contest. North Carolina was able to control the possession for the remainder and escape with the semifinal win.
Maryland was led by Johnson's four goals. The freshman also tallied five ground balls and two draw controls. Mollison ended the contest with two goals. The Terrapin offense was held to a season-low 22 shots in the game.
"It was a tough night for the Terps," head coach Cathy Reese, who advanced to her first final four as a head coach this season, said. "Obviously this isn't the way we wanted to go out. I don't think we played our best lacrosse, but I give credit to North Carolina...they held our offense, which is normally able to score lots of goals, to a season-low seven tonight."
Reese and the Terps return all 12 starters next season. Friday's semifinal match, which drew an NCAA record-crowd of 7,549, marked the final contest for Terp seniors Alex Mavris, Marie Moorman, Kearny Raver, Lynne Cooper, Maeve McKew and Mindy Jones.