Maryland Wins Fourth-Straight ACC Women's Lacrosse Championship
April 23, 2012
Patience, Efficiency Hallmarks as Terps Earn Fourth-Straight ACC Women’s Lacrosse Title
DURHAM, N.C. – Maryland’s Terrapins earned a 14-10 victory over North Carolina on Monday night to become the first team to win four-straight ACC Women’s Lacrosse Championship titles. They did it with precise stick-handling, accurate passing and artful dodging that prevented the Tar Heels from threatening a late comeback on a 45-degree evening at Duke’s Koskinen Stadium.
If the Terps’ Karri Ellen Johnson hadn’t scored the last of her four goals with 18 seconds left, her team would have likely run out the final 5:41 against a talented, athletic team that was desperate to regain possession.
“If you have the ball, the other team doesn’t,” Terrapins coach Cathy Reese said. “I know that sounds really complicated.”
For Maryland, nothing about this whole story was really that self-evident. For the first time since 2007, the Terps actually lost two regular-season conference games, including a 14-11 verdict at UNC on April 7. That result required them to win three games in four days in this event. Furthermore, they’d need to do it with as many as five freshmen on the defensive end.
Katie Schwarzmann delivered four goals of her own and Alex Aust contributed four more assists to expand on her championship record and establish the career standard. She has 13 feeds in her three ACC Championship games – all in 2012.
Aust was the chief instigator in a patient, skilled offense. Of the Terrapins’ 41 goals in the tournament, 25 were assisted. That’s 61 percent. Nationally, only 41 percent of all Division I goals this season have been assisted.
“Alex Aust has really improved throughout the season,” North Carolina coach Jenny Levy said. “I watched their (semifinal) game against Duke, and she just picked them apart. If you go behind the cage with her, then you have to deal with Schwarzmann coming down. They play a nice team game. They share the ball well.”
UNC (14-3) trailed 13-6 midway through the second half but made the sort of run for which it has become well respected. When Emily Garrity scored with 5:41 to play, the Tar Heels had cut the deficit to three. There was still time.
“The draws made the difference at that point,” UNC’s Becky Lynch said.
Actually, there was only one draw that mattered. When Maryland controlled it, the Terps were intent on maintaining possession. In their final two games of the championship, they committed only six turnovers.
The efficiency was especially impressive in light of the schedule’s requirements. Maryland has won nine of the 16 ACC Championships, but this was the first that took the Terps three victories to earn.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Reese said. “I had no idea. Fortunately, I don’t have to run around anymore at my old age.”