Terps Edge Virginia in ACC Semis

April 23, 2010

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COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Laura Merrifield and Brandi Jones each netted hat tricks as No. 2 seed Maryland advanced to the title game with a win over Virginia, 10-6, in the ACC Championship semifinals Friday.

Maryland, which shoots for its second-straight ACC tournament championship Sunday against top-seeded North Carolina, outscored Virginia, 8-4, including four free position goals, in the second stanza to move to 15-1 on the year.

A low-scoring affair headlined the first 30 minutes of action with both teams only managing two scores apiece. Virginia opened the match with a goal from Brittany Kalkstein at 23:30 before goals from Katie Schwarzmann and Jones provided the Terps with their first lead of the game at 17:08. A late goal from Kalkstein knotted the game at 2-2 after one half of play.

Maryland then opened the second stanza with a devastating 5-0 run, with two goals each off the sticks of Jones and Karri Ellen Johnson and a score from Merrifield to begin the scoring frenzy. Virginia finally brought the Terrapin rally to a halt at 15:42 when Kalkstein tacked on her third goal of the game. A fourth tally from the senior All-American cinched Maryland's lead to three at 14:14 before Caitlyn McFadden became the fifth Terrapin goal-scorer of the match with a free position goal at 12:41 for an 8-4 game.

Virginia briefly brought the lead back to three with a score at 8:10 but Merrifield capped her hat trick with a pair of goals 30 seconds apart around the closing minute for a five-goal cushion while the defense allowed the Cavaliers only more score for a 10-6 final.

Maryland ended the match with its best free position shot percentage of the year, nailing five of its seven attempts. The Terrapin defense stymied Virginia into six-of-13 clear attempts while causing seven Cavalier turnovers, led by three from freshman Iliana Sanza. Brittany Dipper picked up the win in goal after surrendering a mere six goals while making six saves.

"I thought we did a great job of kicking it gear in the second half and we got better as the half progressed," head coach Cathy Reese, who has won at least a share of the ACC regular season crown in each of her four seasons at the helm of the Maryland program, said. "I thought we played great defense, especially in the second half. When they were ready to go to goal, so were we."

Defending champion Maryland will play host to No. 1 seed North Carolina at 1 p.m. for the ACC tournament title at Ludwig Field. The game will be televised live on FOX Sports South.