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Maryland scores 13-7 win over Syracuse in battle of nation’s two top-ranked teams
CHESTNUT HILL, Massachusetts (theACC.com) – Maryland’s sixth consecutive ACC Women’s Lacrosse Championship title came in convincing fashion.
Tournament MVP Brooke Griffin, Kelly McPartland and Taylor Cummings led a solid offensive performance, and the top-seeded Terrapins (19-1) limited Syracuse (17-2) to two second-half goals en route to a 13-7 win in Sunday’s championship game at Alumni Stadium.
“Wow, what a game,” Maryland coach Cathy Reese exclaimed. “Syracuse played great, and we knew we were going to have a very tough game heading into this matchup. Our team really executed our game plan on both ends of the field.
“Taylor (Cummings) really controlled the middle of the field for us today. Our defense really played well, especially in the second half. We were able to make some changes at halftime, and it really paid off in the second half.”
The ACC women’s lacrosse championship for Maryland in its final season as a conference member is its 11th overall, with the last six coming under Reese’s head coaching watch.
“I’ve been emotional all day,” Reese said. “The history and tradition of Maryland lacrosse in the ACC has been incredible. This was a special moment and a championship that I’m really proud of.
“It is a sad moment knowing that we are headed in a different direction, but knowing that we played a traditional Maryland brand of lacrosse in our final ACC championship makes me happy, and I couldn’t be more proud of the girls.”
Griffin and Cummings both delivered hat tricks on Sunday, while McPartland added a pair of goals and three assists. Griffin also assisted on two goals, and Cummings on one.
Beth Glaros and Jen Mendez also scored twice each for Maryland, and defenders Alice Mercer and Casey Pepperman each earned all-tournament accolades for their help in holding the potent Orange attack in check.
Griffin, who tied an ACC Championship record with seven goals in Friday’s semifinal win over Virginia, picked up where she left off with a hat trick in a span of just over 15 minutes to open the game on Sunday. The Edgewater, Md., junior added a pair of assists.
McPartland also came up big for the Terps in the first 30 minutes, contributing a goal and all three of her assists.
Treanor countered with a first-half hat trick to allow the Orange to remain within striking distance, but the flow of the game remained a concern for Syracuse. Maryland held a 10-3 edge on first-half draw controls and outshot the Orange 15-8.
Maryland took control at the outset of the second half, scoring the first three goals to double-up Syracuse by a 10-5 score, and the Orange never got closer than four goals at any point in the final 14:27.
Katie Webster finished with two goals for Syracuse, while Alyssa Murray took over sole possession of third place on the school’s all-time goals scored list with the 208th of her career.
Maryland finished with a 27-15 advantage in shots taken, an 11-9 edged on ground balls and wound up winning draw controls by a 13-9 margin.
“Tough game,” Syracuse coach Gary Gait said. “That was an outstanding match against a Maryland team that is very strong in the midfield. They obviously dominated the draw control, especially in the first half, just really limiting our possessions. I think our defense was under pressure all game long. I think they had possession for about 70 percent of the game, and that makes it tough.
“(But) we didn’t quit and we played until the end. We have a lot more lacrosse left this season.”
After entering the match as the nation’s top two ranked teams, Maryland and Syracuse each anticipate high NCAA Tournament seedings when pairings are announced next Sunday (May 4). The ACC is hopeful of placing as many as seven teams in the NCAA field.
The 2014 ACC Women’s Lacrosse All-Tournament Team:
Brooke Griffin, Maryland (MVP)
Kelly McPartland, Maryland
Taylor Cummings, Maryland
Casey Pepperman, Maryland
Alice Mercer, Maryland
Alyssa Murray Syracuse
Kayla Treanor, Syracuse
Katie Webster, Syracuse
Caitlin Gargan, Notre Dame
Mikaela Rix, Boston College
Liza Blue, Virginia
Megan Ward, North Carolina