By Anthony Caruso
And Press Releasaes
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/23/15
The NCAA semifinal matchup Friday at PPL Park between North Carolina and Duke proved to be a homecoming for many hilly girls who starred in local high school.
With key contributions from Marie McCool (Moorestown), Margaret Corzel (Merion Mercy), Kelly Devlin (Downingtown East) and Stephanie Lobb (West Chester East), second-seeded North Carolina advanced to the NCAA Tournament championship game by routing third-seeded Duke, 16-7.
The Tar Heels (18-3) will face top-seeded Maryland, which beat Syracuse, 10-8, at t 8:30 p.m. on Sunday night for the national championship at PPL Park. ESPNU will televise the game nationally.
Duke, which featured Taylor Trimble (Episcopal Academy), closed its season at 16-5.
McCool, the Phillylacrosse.com Co-Player of the Year last season when she led Moorestown to its third straight Tournament of Champions title, had two goals on Friday. Corzel, a former All-Phillylacrosse.com pick, had two caused turnovers and a grounball to lead the defense. Devlin, a former All-Phillylacrosse.om pick who led Downingtown East to the state finals in 2011, added one draw control, one groundball and and one assist. Lobb, who has emerged this year as a key reserve, scored once and added a groundball.
“It’s so nice to be back home,” said McCool. “I’ve been counting down the days until we came back to Philly to play in front of our friends and family. I had a lot of friends come to the game tonight. A lot of my family is actually from Philadelphia, so they came, too.”
The Tar Heels will be looking for their second National Championship in Philly in three years; they won two years ago over Maryland at Villanova University.
“I’m so excited,” McCool said. “We’ve been working hard this whole season. There’s been ups-and-downs and injuries, but we knew we could overcome that. We’re playing better and better each game. I’m excited for Sunday.”
The Tar Heels were led by Aly Messinger with three goals and two assists. Besides McCool’s two goals, Sydney Holman, Lindsay Scott, and Maggie Bill also scored twice. Four other Tar Heels players had a goal each.
“Aly played amazing,” McCool said. “She’s always amazing. I always can believe in her, and her shot is amazing. It always goes in; she barely misses,”
Trimble was thrilled to get to play a Final Four game in Philly, but was disappointed in the outcome.
“We had our opportunities, and we just didn’t finish the play,” Trimble said. “And that’s just unlucky and it’s on us to finish those draws.
“We haven’t had a season like this and I am honored to have it happen during my senior year…”
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 (Haverford Higfh grad) 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, 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 half.
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.
Maryland 10, Syracuse 8
Taylor Cummings finished with two goals, four assists and five draw controls to pace top-seeded Maryland (20-1). Kristen Lamon tallied a hat trick while Brooke Griffin scored twice. Zoe Stukenberg, Erin Collins and Kelly McPartland each notched one goal.