By Anthony Caruso
and from Press Releases
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/25/15
Maryland’s women’s lacrosse team went on a 6-2 run in the second half to come from behind and defeat North Carolina, 9-8, in the NCAA championship game on Sunday night at PPL Park. Carolina had led, 6-3, at halftime. The Terrapins capture their second consecutive national title and their 12th overall.
Carolina finishes its season with a record of 18-4, tying the school record for wins in a season set in 2013 (18-3). The Tar Heels were making their second appearance in the NCAA final in the last three years and their third overall. Two years ago, UNC won the 2013 national championship.
Maggie Bill led the Tar Heels with three goals and two assists. Marie McCool (Moorestown) scored twice and Sam McGee had a goal and an assist. Aly Messinger and Sydney Holman both scored single goals.
NCAA Tournament MVP Taylor Cummings finished with three goals and two assists for Maryland. Megan Whittle had three goals and an assist, and Erin Collins, Kelly McPartland and Brooke Griffin each scored one goal.
“I think you have to give a lot of credit to Megan (Whittle) and Taylor (Cummings), both are great dodgers,” said North Carolina senior defender Margret Corzel (Merion Mercy), who had two groundballs and two draw controls. “Some of the adjustments we made were just a little too late.
“In the first half our slides went earlier and in the second half we were just a little late on it and they capitalized on those errors that we made. I think that they’re great dodgers, and we made a couple of mistakes that we wish we could take back.”
“I enjoyed it; I wish we had a better result, but you have to give them credit,” added McCool. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to come here next year and have a different result.”
Tar Heels Bill, Caylee Waters and Sarah Scott earned spots on the All-NCAA Tournament team.
Also from Philly, Kelly Devlin (Downingtown East) had a groundball and Stephanie Lobb (West Chester East) contributed on defense.
Bill started the scoring quickly with a free position goal just 15 seconds into the game. She assisted on McGee’s goal three minutes later for a 2-0 Tar Heel advantage. The Terps tied it five minutes later on back-to-back goals by Cummings and Whittle. After over 10 scoreless minutes filled with strong defense from both teams, Collins scored off a Cummings assist to give Maryland its first lead at 3-2.
Bill and Messinger scored consecutive goals for Carolina to retake the lead at 4-3 with 7:06 left before halftime. McCool made it a 3-0 Tar Heel run, taking a pass from Bill and scoring for a 5-3 lead. Holman pushed the lead to 6-3 with a spinning, unassisted goal with 3.4 seconds left in the half.
The score was 6-3 at the break, as Carolina won six of 10 draws in holding the Terps to a season low for first-half goals. Bill led all scorers with two goals and two assists prior to halftime.
The second half was another story, however, as Maryland out-shot UNC 12-4 and won seven of nine draws after the break.
McPartland scored the first goal of the second half, dodging and scoring to make it 6-4 UNC and end a Maryland scoreless drought of 24:27. After a failed Tar Heel clear, Griffin took a pass from Cummings and scored to make it 6-5. Cummings scored her second of the game at 19:12. Carolina had six turnovers and just one shot in the first 12+ minutes coming out of halftime. Whittle’s second goal of the game made it 7-6 Maryland with under 17:00 to go, and her third came just over a minute later for an 8-6 advantage.
McCool scored on a free position opportunity with 13:59 to go, ending a scoreless span of over 16 minutes for Carolina. Cummings responded two minutes later with her third goal of the night to make it 9-7 Maryland. Bill scored unassisted with just over three minutes left to play to pull the Tar Heels within a goal, but Maryland was awarded the ensuing draw after a UNC substitution penalty and ran out the clock.
“It’s been a really fun year, especially the seniors did a good job welcoming me and all the other freshmen and we’re going to miss them a lot,” said McCool, the Phillylacrosse.com Co-Player of the Year last season. “Especially on defense; I’m a midfielder, but I was more experienced on the attacking end, and I think that having seniors on defense really helped me, they have given me so many tips and so many pointers.”
“I’m really proud of my team’s effort tonight, especially in the second half,” said Maryland head coach Cathy Reese. “We came out and these guys fought hard every possession against a good Carolina team. Give them a lot of credit, they were going hard all game long, but we found a way to crawl our way back after the hole we dug ourselves in and pull out a great victory.”