CHESTER, PA. 5/29/2016 – The third time is the charm for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels. Meeting the Maryland Terrapins for the third consecutive season in the championship game, this one went UNC’s way, and they claim the title by virtue of a 13 – 7 victory in front of 7,129 at Talen Energy Stadium. North Carolina won the second crown in program history, the last coming in 2013 against Maryland. They did it with a complete game effort on both sides of the field, and it started with the defense.
“Our best games were when our defense started out really solid,” said North Carolina Coach Jenny Levy. “Every time we play a great game is when our defense starts it. We get stops, get in transition, and into a nice rhythm. The play of the defense sparks the offense. That’s is what happened, and it was a complete game for us.”
This was the lowest goal output for the Terps this season. Senior goal keeper Megan Ward came up big when Maryland penetrated. She had a career-high 14 saves on 28 shots, turning away many from close. Ward credited the defense for her performance.
“They played incredible and they made it very easy on me,” Ward said about those in front of her. “They were unbelievable. There were probably three plays where we got together and said something went wrong. They made my job easy.”
In getting the win UNC was able to get the ball and stay patient on offense to get quality shots. UNC had a 13 – 9 advantage in draw controls, 8 – 3 in the first half. Of the 24 Tar Heel shots, 19 were on goal.
“Our plan is to stay patient and let the ball do the work,” said senior attacker Aly Messinger. “We take our time and find the openings.”
North Carolina got out to a 6 – 1 lead. Messinger, who was named the tournament Most Outstanding Player, contributed all four of her assists in that run. Maryland closed the gap to 7 – 6 early in the second half when Taylor Cummings scored at the 23:24 mark. UNC put the game away by scoring the next five goals, the first two in fifteen seconds, by five different players getting the goals.
” We thought were we going to let them go on a run or buckle down and take care of business,” Levy said about weathering the final charge by the Terps. “By responding with two goals in fifteen seconds, I thought that was our response. We were not going to let them go on a run. Our response was critical and we responded the way we wanted them to for the rest of the game.”
Molly Hendrick of North Carolina scored three goals and Megan Whittle of Maryland also netted three.
The Terrapins came into the game undefeated. This was only the fourth loss the senior class has suffered. The team and the class has accomplished much, and will not let sixty minutes define them.
“I’m so proud of my team and the fight we put in today,” said senior Taylor Cummings. “We played against a really good Carolina team, and they’re better. I’m sad that’s the way my class went out and that’s my last game, but I couldn’t be more thankful.”
Carolina ends the season with a school-record 20 wins and a 17-game win streak. And a title they wanted; National Champions.
Written By: Glenn Papazian
Taylor Cummings, M, Maryland
Alice Mercer, D, Maryland
Marie McCool, M, North Carolina
Aly Messinger, A, North Carolina – Most Outstanding Player
Carly Reed, A, North Carolina
Megan Ward, GK, North Carolina
Madison Cyr, M, Penn State
Jenna Mosketti, A/M, Penn State
Kayla Treanor, A, Syracuse
Nicole Levy, A, Syracuse