May 28, 2010
TOWSON, Md. - Led by four goals from Caitlyn McFadden, who celebrated her 22nd birthday Friday, No. 1 Maryland topped Syracuse, 14-5, to advance to the NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship game.
McFadden was one of seven Maryland (21-1) goal-scorers on the night. Karri Ellen Johnson, Katie Schwarzmann, Sarah Mollison, and Laura Merrifield all added a pair of goals as Maryland advances to its first national title game since 2001 and its 15th overall in program history.
The Terps put together a spectacular first half in which they dominated every statistical category and, most importantly, the score. A 7-2 first half lead was due much in part to an 8-2 draw control advantage. Merrifield and Mollison led the scoring charge through 30 minutes with two goals each. The Maryland defense did not allow an Orange goal until Hillary Quillinan finally got a shot past Terp goalie Brittany Dipper at 12:52. Maryland outshot Syracuse, 17-9, in the first stanza.
After striking first in the second half with a McFadden goal at 28:14, the Terps were able to survive their longest scoring drought of the season. The Orange defense held Maryland scoreless for nearly 22 minutes, while tallying three unanswered scores to lessen Maryland's lead to three.
Despite the scoring lull, the Terp offense awoke with 6:26 remaining in the match, erupting for five goals in a three-minute span with scores coming from four different players - Katie Schwarzmann, Johnson, Kristy Black and two from Tewaaraton nominee McFadden. Freshman Alex Aust capped the match with a free position freebie with 2:11 remaining after Syracuse goalie Liz Hogan was served a red card.
"Tonight was a really exciting game," head coach Cathy Reese, who has been a part of seven national championships at Maryland as either a player or assistant coach, said. "We went through a lot of spurts and ups and downs, but I'm really proud of our girls and the effort they put forth tonight. We are going to push this team forward and compete for a championship Sunday.
"We are super thrilled to be here. We are so proud to represent the University of Maryland. This is what these guys have worked for all year."
Johnson, who tied a career-high with three assists, led Maryland in ground balls (4) and caused turnovers (2). The Terrapin defense has now held 20 of the 22 opponents it has faced to 10 or fewer goals.
Maryland will vie for its 10th NCAA championship crown at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday at Unitas Stadium. The Terps will face the winner of the Northwestern/North Carolina semifinal live on CBS College Sports.
Notes: Karri Ellen Johnson extended her streak to 44 consecutive games with a goal...Caitlyn McFadden has now tallied a point in 47-straight games...Maryland will play in its nation-best 15th NCAA championship game...The last time the Terps landed in the national title game in 2001, current Maryland assistant coach Quinn Carney was a senior midfielder and head coach Cathy Reese was on the sidelines as an assistant...Maryland has now defeated Syracuse in back-to-back NCAA Tournaments after disposing of the Orange, 12-10, in the quarterfinals in 2009...Syracuse, which upset No. 4 Georgetown and No. 7 James Madison to get to the semifinals, finishes its season at 15-7.