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April 21, 2012
Durham, N.C. (theACC.com) - The Maryland women's lacrosse coaches vowed to spend Saturday night in diligent film study, actively seeking flaws in the Terrapins' 12-3 victory over Duke. If they really want to make a list of the errors, they may have to go frame-by-frame.
Just how efficient was this ACC Championship semifinal? The Terps committed exactly one turnover while firing 28 shots. Their defense tied a tourney record by allowing the three goals.
"This was the most complete game of lacrosse we've played all season," said coach Cathy Reese, happy to state something bordering on the obvious as her team earned a spot in Monday's title game against North Carolina (7 p.m., ESPNU and ESPN3).
There really was a stretch when the Terps had grounds for frustration. It came during the television time out midway through the first half.
"I said, 'Look at the scoreboard. What stands out at you?' We had seven shots and hadn't put one away," Reese said.
What followed was a clinic in execution with 701 witnesses at Duke's Koskinen Stadium. One day after setting the single-game assist record with five, Aust delivered four more to establish the standard for an entire ACC Championship. And she may not be through yet. The third-seeded Terps (14-3) will seek to become the first team to win four straight ACC Championship titles when they face UNC, this year's No. 1 seed, for the third year in a row.
"We certainly put a lot of pressure on them in transition and settled in defensively, but they did a great job," Duke coach Kerstin Kimel said. "They were on point. To have one turnover at this level? And I don't think our kids sat back and retreated."
Offensive spacing was critical for the Terps, who thrived once they got everybody in precise spots and found an instigator in Aust, who assisted two of Katie Schwarzmann's four goals and both of Kristy Black's tallies.
"When (Aust) gets the ball back there," Kimel said, "she can be deadly. We did a good job of mitigating those cutters in the first half, but in the second, we really struggled with them."
Even so, every team anticipates the opponent will throw the ball away on occasion. The national average for turnovers per game is eight. Maryland wasn't feeling generous on this day. That helped facilitate life for Terp goalie Brittany Dipper, who stopped nine of the 12 shots Duke put on goal just for good measure.
"I had my defense there, and they were doing a great job of keeping shots wide," Dipper said. "We were communicating and we clicked up and down the field. Made my job a lot easier."