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CHESTER, PA. – North Carolina got goals from 10 players and dominated the second half to beat third-seeded Duke, 16-7, in an NCAA Tournament semifinal contest on Friday night at PPL Park. The second-seeded Tar Heels advance to the NCAA Tournament championship game to face top-seeded Maryland, which beat Syracuse, 10-8, in Friday’s second semifinal.
Tar Heel junior Aly Messinger led all scorers with five points on three goals and two assists, as five different Tar Heels scored at least two goals. Maggie Bill, Sydney Holman, Marie McCool and Lindsay Scott each scored twice, Sam McGee had a goal and an assist and Sammy Jo Tracy, Stephanie Lobb, Courtney Waite and Brittney Coppa all scored once. Katie Trees led Duke with two goals and an assist. Brigid Smith and Taylor Trimble both scored once.
Carolina out-shot Duke, 34-19, in the game, including 17-9 in the second half. After the Blue Devils scored the first goal of the second half, the Tar Heels closed the contest on a 9-2 run.
“Obviously, we are happy with the win today,” Tar Heel head coach Jenny Levy said afterward. “I thought it was a total team effort. Congratulations to Duke on their tremendous season while my great friend Kerstin Kimel has been courageously battling breast cancer. I just want to congratulate them because I think on and off the field they’ve done a lot of great things, and I know it can’t be easy for her.
“We were anchored by an unbelievable defense that held a really good Duke team to just seven goals tonight. I thought both of our goalies played great, and all of our defenders and middies who play defense made plays. On the offensive end, a unit showed a complete team game and showed how much fun it can be.”
The Tar Heels move on to the national title game for the third time in program history. In 2009, Northwestern beat Carolina for the championship in Towson, Md. Two years ago in Villanova, Pa., UNC beat Maryland, 13-12, in triple overtime for its first national championship.
Carolina’s defense limited Duke to seven goals after having held the Blue Devils to a season-low six goals in the teams’ regular season meeting on April 17 in Durham, N.C. The Blue Devils averaged nearly 13 goals per contest coming into Friday’s NCAA semifinal.
Carolina struck first in the first half with a goal by Messinger 50 seconds into the action. The teams traded goals until they were tied at 4-all with 8:20 left before the break. Carolina ended the half on a 3-0 run, getting unassisted goals from McCool, Messinger and Coppa to close the period. UNC led, 7-4, at the break.
Coppa scored her first goal since April 4 at Louisville, scoring in her second game back after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee on April 11. For Waite, a senior defender, it was her first career goal, coming with 8:20 left in the half. The Tar Heels won the subsequent draw and McCool scored on a fast break just nine seconds later.
Duke scored first coming out of the second half to make the score 7-5 Tar Heels, but Carolina responded with a 6-0 run over a span of nearly 13 minutes to seize control of the game at 13-5. The Blue Devils scored again to make it 13-6, only to see UNC score three of the game’s final four goals.
Caylee Waters started in goal for Carolina and played the first half to pick up the victory while making four saves. Megan Ward played well in the second half, making three saves.
Carolina and Maryland will meet at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday night for the national championship at PPL Park. ESPNU will televise the game nationally.
Philadelphia, Pa. - Despite a late-rally from No. 4 Syracuse (17-7) that pulled 'Cuse to within two, the Orange fell to No. 1 Maryland (20-1) 10-8 in the NCAA Semifinals at PPL Park in Philadelphia, Pa. on Friday night.
Junior Kayla Treanor recorded five points and became just the fourth player in school history to record 300 career points. She ranks fourth on Syracuse's all-time scoring list with 303 points. In addition, she tallied three goals to take over sole possession of fourth place on the Orange's career leader list with 210.
Maryland got off to a fast start, scoring the first three goals of the game. Junior Halle Majorana got Syracuse on the scoreboard with a bounce shot at the 21:38 mark. That goal sparked the Orange on a 5-1 scoring run that gave Syracuse a one-goal lead. Treanor scored on an assist from senior Loren Ziegler to cut the deficit to one. With the Orange trailing, 4-2, Treanor recorded her 300th career point when she assisted on junior Taylor Gait's goal. Majorana followed with a wrap-around goal and Gait found the back of the net on a high shot to the left corner to give Syracuse a 5-4 lead with 5:24 remaining in the half.
The Terrapins regained the lead with back-to-back goals and a failed clear attempt by the Orange led to Maryland's final goal of the half as it took a 7-5 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Junior Erica Bodt opened the scoring in the second half off an assist from Treanor to cut the deficit to one. But three straight goals by Maryland gave the Terrapins their largest lead of the game of four, 10-6, with 19:09 on the clock. Treanor halted Maryland's scoring run with another wrap-around goal and then found the back of the net again to bring the Orange within two, 10-8, with 7:18 remaining.
Maryland controlled the ensuing draw control and retained possession for the final moments of the game without the Orange being able cause a turnover, ending the 'Cuse season in the 10-8 loss, but not before becoming just the fifth program to make four-straight Final Four runs since the NCAA Tournament's expansion in 1997.
Senior Kelsey Richardson stood tall in net for the Orange, turning away seven shots, including stopping an early onslaught with five first-half saves.
In addition to Treanor's five points, she also led the way with three ground balls and three draw controls. Gait also added three ground balls and a caused turnover. Senior Mallory Vehar added a caused turnover of her own in the contest.