CHESTER, PA. 5/24/2015 – The University of Maryland Terrapins successfully defended their national women’s lacrosse championship coming from behind to win the title 9 – 8 over the North Carolina Tar Heels at PPL Park. Maryland trailed 6 – 3 at halftime, but battled back winning the second half by a 6 – 2 margin. This is the 12th National Championship for the Terrapins.
“What a great night for the Terps!”, said Maryland Coach Cathy Reese. “I’m really proud of my team’s effort tonight, especially in the second half. We found a way to crawl our way back after the hole we dug ourselves in and pull out a great victory. I’m really proud and pleased with our effort.”
Second ranked North Carolina came out fast scoring the first two goals of the game, then pulled away to a 6 – 3 halftime lead when attacker Sydney Holman scored with 3.4 seconds prior to intermission. It was the fewest goals the Terrapins scored in a half this season.
In the second half top ranked Maryland began to exert pressure on UNC. The Terps lost the draw control battle in the first half by a 6 – 4 margin. In the second half led by midfielder Taylor Cummings, Maryland won that battle by five.
“Taylor (Cummings) ended up having seven draw controls and in the second half they beat us 7-2 on the draws and I thought that was a difference, because we were playing a lot of defense,” said North Carolina Coach Jenny Levy.
“First thoughts in my mind are, ‘Get it!,’ said Cummings, who was named the tournament Most Outstanding Player. “I think in the second half we made it Maryland ball. The only way we were going to come back is if we had the ball. We said it all year long ‘It’s four seconds of focus.’ We did that, and I think it’s exactly what got us back in that game.”
The pressure by Maryland on the Carolina defense took its toll as the Heels cleared the ball from their defensive zone 3 of 8 times. The Terps outshot the Tar Heels 12 – 4 in the half and 19 – 15 for the game.
“They put a lot of pressure on us because we didn’t have any possession, you’re playing long sets of defense, and then you gotta clear the ball under their pressure.” Levy said. “They have great speed and great intensity, and we got checked under pressure and other times we threw the ball away. Credit Maryland and their intensity and their want.
That allowed the Maryland offense to get in rhythm. The Terps scored the first five goals of the half. Cummings tied the game at 6 on a goal at the 19:12 mark. The goal was assisted by attacker Megan Whittle who would follow with two consecutive goals within 1:05 to give Maryland an 8 – 6 lead with 15:51 on the clock.
“I think that everything started to click in the second half at that point,” said Whittle. “We were getting turnovers and we were also efficient with our shots.”
UNC midfielder Maggie Bill scored with 3:02 left to bring her team to within a goal at 9 – 8. The next draw control was crucial. Maryland was awarded the ball when North Carolina tried to make a substitution. The Terps forced the Tar Heels into chasing them around the field, and did so on a man-up situation.
The clock ran out and the Terps won the title.
“I think we really exemplified what Maryland lacrosse is in that second half,” Cummings said.
Cummings led Maryland with 5 points on 3 goals and 2 assists. She finished the season with a team-high 94 points on 61 goals and 33 assists. Whittle also scored 3 goals in the contest and finished the season as the team leading goal scorer with 67 tallies. Maggie Bill led North Carolina with 5 points on 3 goals and 2 assists.
Written By: Glenn Papazian
Claire Scarrone, D, Duke
Gabby Moise, D, Duke
Kayla Treanor, A, Syracuse
Taylor Gait, M, Syracuse
Sarah Scott, D, UNC
Maggie Bill, M, UNC
Caylee Waters, GK, UNC
Megan Whittle, A, Maryland
Megan Douty, D, Maryland
Kelly McPartland, M, Maryland
Taylor Cummings, M, Maryland
MOP: Taylor Cummings, M, Maryland