No. 3 North Carolina Sprints by No. 11 Virginia in ACC Semis

DURHAM, N.C. Fourth-seeded and 11th-ranked Virginia was defeated by No. 1 seed and No. 3-ranked North Carolina, 14-6, in the semifinals of the 2012 ACC Tournament on Saturday (April 21) at Koskinen Stadium.

The loss dropped Virginia's record to 11-6 while North Carolina improved to 14-2.

Senior attacker Josie Owen (Gibson Island, Md.) scored her sixth hat trick of the season with three goals and added two assists for five of Virginia's eight points.

Sloan Warren (Philadelphia, Pa.), Caroline McTiernan (Garden City, N.Y.) and Ainsley Baker (Corning, N.Y.) each had one goal for the Cavaliers.

In a low-scoring first half, the score was tied, 2-2.

North Carolina came out on a 7-1 in the second half that was the difference in the game.

Trailing 12-4 late in the second half, Virginia got back-to-back goals from McTiernan at the 8:34 mark and Owen at the 7:56 mark to pull within 12-6.

North Carolina scored the game's final two goals, however, as the Tar Heels won by a final score of 14-6.

In goal for Virginia, Kim Kolarik (Riva, Md.) finished with six saves. UNC's Lauren Maksym tallied 11 saves in goal for the Tar Heels.

In addition to her scoring, Owen added three draw controls and one ground ball. Warren posted a team-high four draw controls.

Virginia was out-shot, 24-22, and lost the ground ballbattle, 14-12. The Cavaliers committed 12 turnovers to the Tar Heels' 11.

Kara Cannizzaro led all players with four goals for North Carolina, while Abbey Friend (two goals and one assist) and Becky Lynch (three goals) each had three points.

Virginia has a final regular-season contest remaining April 28 at No. 1 Northwestern.

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Durham, N.C. - North Carolina ran into the ACC Women's Lacrosse Championship Game on Saturday afternoon, breaking free after a low-scoring first half, the top-seeded Tar Heels secured a 14-6 victory over the No. 4 Cavaliers in the championship semifinals at Duke's Koskinen Stadium.

UNC (14-2) went on a 7-1 spurt early in the second half to overcome the Cavs, who held the ball for the final five minutes of the first period and who were content to take a 2-2 tie into the locker room.

"I guess that's frustrating, but I wouldn't say it was a game-changer," UNC attacker Becky Lynch said.

What did swing this one fully in the Tar Heels' favor was their open-field athleticism, which routinely makes opponents pay for turnovers.

"We felt connected, and when you feel connected with everybody on the field, you have the confidence that they're going to make the next, right move," Lynch said. "We always knew it was there."

The Heels moved into Monday's title game (7:00 p.m., ESPNU) against the winner of Saturday's second semifinal, which pairs Duke and Maryland. They remained undefeated against the conference, sweeping five regular-season contests.

Lynch scored three times and now holds second place in career goals (19) and points (27) in ACC Championship history for herself. While impressive, none of that suggests she's a one-woman team or fascinated with the individual stuff. Kara Cannizzaro tallied four times and the Heels displayed an aesthetically compelling all-around attack in making the finals for the seventh time.

"We made the decision collectively to come out and finish, take the right shots and not force anything," Cannizzaro said.

Perhaps the best display of North Carolina's skill produced a 7-3 lead with 21:28 to play. The Tar Heels isolated assist leader Abbey Friend on one side of the field and Emily Garrity on the other. Garrity cut in front of the cage, took Friend's feed and beat goalie Kim Kolarik, who excelled in Friday's first-round win over Boston College but could not duplicate the performance against the Tar Heels.

The Cavaliers had hoped to make a charge to win it.

"We try to control tempo, especially when we know the team we're playing is so fast and powerful offensively," Virginia coach Julie Myers said. "We had chances. Our execution and desire were there; we just didn't match them with our sticks today."

2012-04-21



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