1997 Review--Terps Capture Third Straight NCAA Crown
The Terps rewrote history again in 1997. After the graduation of an extremely strong and talented class in 1996, there was doubt about how the Terps would fare in the 1997 season. However, to the dismay of many people in the lacrosse world, the Maryland Terrapins captured their third straight National Championship after combining the talents of a strong senior class and a talented freshmAn class.
The Terps opened up the 1997 season with a 10-8 win over North Carolina and returned the following day to defeat Duke with a convincing 13-2 win. It was obvious the Terps were well on their way to another incredible season.
With the addition of Duke and North Carolina to the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Conference sponsored its inaugural tournament in Charlottesville, Va. The first-seeded Terrapins met the fourth-seeded Duke Blue Devils in the first round. The Terps were victorious and met the second-seeded Virginia Cavaliers in the finals. At halftime the Cavaliers held a narrow 7-6 lead. However, the Terps never stopped playing, and at the final buzzer, the Terps prevailed, 11-10, to capture the inaugural Atlantic Coast Conference Championship.
The win over Virginia marked not only the first-ever ACC championship, but it also marked win No. 50 for the Terps, and a new Division I record in both men's and women's lacrosse.
The season marched right along and found the Terrapins in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. Maryland hosted Penn State and went on to defeat the Nittany Lions, 6-2. The following weekend the Terps traveled down another familiar road...the road to Lehigh University to participate in the NCAA Championship. Temple, Loyola and North Carolina joined Maryland as the other three teams vying for the trophy. Maryland and Temple squared off in the first semifinal with the Terrapins handing the Owls a very aggressive, well fought 9-6 defeat.
Maryland was headed to its fourth consecutive national championship game, meeting the Loyola Greyhounds for the second time in one season. Loyola upset the Terps, 7-6, earlier in the year to end their 50-game win streak. The championship game was exhilarating, the lead changed hands a couple of times, and the winner wasn't decided until the final seconds. In the end, it was Maryland claiming its third consecutive National Championship.
The end of the season marked many accomplishments made by several individual players. Maryland had seven players earn NCAA All-Tournament team honors, five players receive All-America honors, and senior Sarah Forbes finished her career being named the ACC Female Athlete of the Year and the NCAA Division I Offensive Player of the Year.
With all of the individual honors aside, Maryland exhibited its incredible stick skills with a determination to win, and finished with the No. 1 prize for the third year in a row.