April 25, 2010
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Led by five points from Caitlyn McFadden and a career-high 12 saves from Brittany Dipper, Maryland upended No. 1 North Carolina, 10-5, to win its second consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference Championship title Sunday.
McFadden, who racked up her second-straight tournament most valuable player honor, scored or assisted on three of Maryland's first four goals of the match. She opened play with a give-and-go goal via an assist from fellow senior captain Amanda Spinnenweber at 29:29. The Tewaaraton nominee then notched her second goal of the day off a similar play, this time courtesy of a dish from Sarah Mollison at 24:16. UNC (14-2) cut the Terrapin lead in half with a free position goal from Megan Bosica with 10 minutes elapsed in the contest, but it would be the only goal the Terrapin defense would allow in the entire period as it held UNC to a season-low one tally in the first half.
Meanwhile, the Maryland offense was running on all cylinders. The Terps rallied for a 4-0 run to cap the half, highlighted by a pair of goals from sophomore Kristy Black. Spinnenweber and Karri Ellen Johnson also found the back of the net in the drive for a 6-1 advantage. The Terps were able to maintain momentum throughout the half, much in part to the services of Dipper, who saved three consecutive free position attempts en route to five saves in the stanza.
Carolina began the second half with two goals to shrink Maryland's lead to three before Laura Merrifield powered down the middle of the fan for an unassisted goal at 23:12 and Johnson caused a turnover at the restraining line, setting up a 2-on-1 opportunity against the Tar Heel defense, ending with a Mollison goal with 18 minutes remaining in the period. Following a Tar Heel score from Corey Donohoe to move the match to 8-4 with less than six minutes remaining, McFadden sealed her MVP-bid by topping off her hat trick on the day with a goal at 4:58.
The tournament championship is Maryland's seventh in program history and its' second consecutive. Sunday's win avenges a loss to the Tar Heels earlier this season as well as a defeat at the hands of UNC in the 2009 NCAA Championship semifinals.
Maryland, which is currently ranked third in both major polls, compiled more shots, ground balls and draw controls than top-seeded Carolina in the match. UNC was held to its lowest goal output of the year while Brittany Poist led the Terrapin defense with two ground balls and two caused turnovers. Maryland, which has played host to the ACC Women's Lacrosse Championship twice, has won the tournament in both attempts with defeats of Carolina in the title game on each occasion.
"We played hard right off the opening whistle," head coach Cathy Reese, who has now won two ACC titles in four seasons at Maryland, said. "We came out and executed our offense and played great defense against a very talented offense.
"I thought our team really wanted to demonstrate what we are capable of and I think we showed that today."
McFadden was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Dipper, Mollison, Johnson, Merrifield and Karissa Taylor.
A replay of the championship match will be available on NESN at 5:30 p.m. Sunday as well as Monday at 7 p.m. on Sun Sports.
Maryland, which moved to 16-1 on the year, welcomes UMass Saturday at noon at Ludwig Field.