By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/26/13
Freshman Sammy Jo Tracy scored 31 seconds into the third overtime to give North Carolina a stunning 13-12 victory over Maryland tonight at Villanova in the longest women’s championship game in NCAA history.
Tracy scored after a brilliant save by freshman goalie Megan Ward and a length-of-the-field sprint by Brittney Coppa. Ward’s save was on Brooke Griffin, who came in on a point-blank shot with no one near her.
The championship was the first for North Carolina (18-3), which got major contributions from three Philly grads – senior midfielder Emily Garrity (Strath Haven), sophomore defender Margaret Corzel (Merion Mercy) and sophomore midfielder Kelly Devlin (Downingtown East).
Garrity had two groundballs and a draw control and earned All-Tournament honors, Corzel had a caused turnover and a draw control and Devlin scored a goal and plucked three draw controls. Also receiving championship medals were freshmen Alyssa Andress (Archbishop Wood) and Stephanie Lobb (West Chester East).
“It’s unreal,” Garrity said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better team, a better coaching staff or a better game That’s a championship game right there!”
“Nobody gets to say they are national champions!” added Corzel. “It’s unreal; I don’t have words to explain it.”
North Carolina led the entire first half and held a 9-6 advantage at halftime. But the Terrapins (22-1) responded with five straight goals to start the second half and led 11-9 when Katie Schwarzmann (three goals) scored with 19:55 to play.
But UNC would not fold as the crowd of 9,391 dug in for a game few will ever forget.
Coppa scored to tie with 18:23 to go and Most Valuable Player Kara Cannizzarro (four goals, two assists) tied it and then put her team ahead, 12-11 with nine minutes to play. Alex Aust tied it with 3:51 in regulation to set off an overtime for the ages.
The goalies played major roles in OT as Maryland’s Kasey Howard had only one save in the first 60 minutes, but four big ones in overtime as the Tar Heels had several golden opportunities to score. The Terps also had numerous chances to win (the game became sudden victory in the second overtime) as well, but Ward notched three of her six saves in the OT frames.
During much of the overtime periods, Maryland (won 19 of 30 draws) possessed the ball andtwice the Terps had a man advantage due to yellow cards. But Ward and the UNC defense held tight.
“Coming out and getting stops gives us motivation,” Corzel said. “If you get a stop, it propels you through each overtime. In my mind a defensive stop is just as motivating as a goal.
“We have fresh legs; we are one of the most in shape teams in the NCAA so that wasn’t a factor. We just stayed so focused and we wanted to make sure we didn’t lose our cool.”
Said Devlin: “It’s unreal. I had a great feeling ever since we came to Philly. It’s great to be home and it’s an unbelievable feeling to win it here. This is everything.”
Devlin, who is one of the team’s top reserves and used mostly for draw controls, said maintaining poise was essential.
“You really had to calm your nerves,” she said. “This is big stage and the biggest crowd we ever had. You had to believe in yourselves. We always say that belief is the 12th man on the field.”
And what did it feel like to beat a team that entered play undefeated and had already toppled the Tar Heels twice this year?
“Maryland is always intimidating,” said Devlin, “but we believe in ourselves so much more. We’re faster we’re stronger and we know how hard we worked, so that trumped any intimidation.”
Garrity said the Heels were prepared to play the rigors of overtime.
“That’s something we practice for all year,” Garrity said. “We do two-minute drills. That’s just ‘Put your nose down to the ground and grind’ and that’s what we did. “Megan played a phenomenal game. She came up huge when we needed her to.
“I think this puts our program over the hump – it shows that North Carolina does win and North Carolina will win.”
Garrity recalled losing her last high school game for Strath Haven in the state finals against Radnor.
“To finish at home was awesome,” she said. “I didn’t get it in high school, but I did it in college – I came out on top!”
North Carolina (18-3) vs.
Date: May 26, 2013 Attendance: 9391
Weather: Sunny, 60s, wind NW 9
SCORE BY PERIOD 1 2 OT O2 OT3 Tot
North Carolina…… 9 3 0 0 1 – 13
Maryland………… 6 6 0 0 0 – 12
North Carolina SCORING: GOALS: Kara Cannizzaro 4; Brittney Coppa 3;
Aly Messinger 3; Taylor George 1; Sammy Jo Tracy 1; Kelly Devlin 1.
ASSISTS: Kara Cannizzaro 2; Brittney Coppa 1.
Maryland SCORING: GOALS: Taylor Cummings 3; Katie Schwarzmann 3;
Brooke Griffin 2; Beth Glaros 2; Alex Aust 1; Erin Collins 1.
ASSISTS: Brooke Griffin 3; Alex Aust 1; Taylor Cummings 1.